Tabletop Tuesday: Holiday Mega-Guide 2013, Part I

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Happy Holidays fellow Token Titans!  It’s that wonderful time of year where the temperature drops, the snow begins to accumulate and folks find more time to spend in-of-doors playing tabletop games!  For the next few weeks, I’ll be recommending some of my favorite games to suit any gift-giving situation.  With Thanksgiving just a couple of days away, I think it’s best to start with 3 of my favorite party games.  Each of these games is suitable for 3 or more players with easy rules and fast gameplay.

Aye, Dark Overlord by Fantasy Flight Games

Aye, Dark Overlord is a personal favorite and has lead to many a night spent gasping for breath due to raucous laughter.  One player takes on the role of the twisted and evil Rigor Mortis, a powerful wizard (and skeleton) who has made the unfortunate mistake of hiring a troupe of bumbling goblins as his less-than-firm right hand.  The other players act as these subordinates and play begins with Rigor Mortis discovering that his minions have failed him in their latest task.  Using the games Hint Cards, the other players must weave a tale of blame and finger-pointing that ensures the Withering Gaze of their understandably irate boss doesn’t fall on them.

ado1

A hapless goblin prepares for the worst…

ADO requires a fair amount of creativity, ad-libbing and outright treachery from each of the minion players.  Using the hint cards to weave a story isn’t necessarily for everyone, but with the right group players will find themselves in tears as they try and pass the buck to their neighbors using Hint Cards like Zombies!, The Black Knight, or Naughty Succubi.  The Rigor Mortis player, on the other hand will have to keep it together to spot any holes in the narrative and exploit them by dishing out Withering Look cards.  This fell gaze brings whoever it is bestowed upon one step closer to defeat.  Once a player has accumulated 3 Withering Looks, the game is over and their fate is sealed!

ado2

Now THAT’S a Withering Look…

With beautiful card art, fast-paced gameplay and a great theme, Aye, Dark Overlord is a great party game for a creative party of 4-10 players.  The game comes in a nice, small box that is easy to cart around and sells for the modest price of $24.95

 

The Resistance: Avalon by Indie Boards and Cards

Next up we travel to far off Albion where the court of King Arthur reigns in perfect peace and harmony.

Well, almost perfect.  In The Resistance: Avalon, players will embark on quests for king and country.  Unbeknownst to many of them, there will be traitors hiding in their midst.  At the beginning of the game, players will secretly draw loyalty cards that will mark them as faithful servants of Arthur or despicable followers of Mordred.  From there, players will nominate some among their number to embark on quests.  A vote is then called to determine if those nominated are trustworthy.  If they are, then play continues.  If not, then it means the good of the realm has been forestalled and the dissension sewn by Mordred’s minions has brought them one step closer to victory.

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In case you couldn’t tell, this is a Minion of Mordred

Assuming the quest-goers have the rest of the kingdom’s blessing (the vote is based on majority), then they’ll get to contribute either success or fail cards to see if the quest is successful.  Loyalist players will always want to play success cards.  Minions, however, will have to choose carefully.  Playing a fail card will result in Mordred moving one step closer to victory, but it may expose you as a traitor which will make derailing future quests more difficult.

Avalon is a great hidden role style game with enough depth to keep everyone involved.  The rules are simple and the game plays quickly.  Once players have the basics down, they can also introduce new roles like Merlin, Percival and the Assassin which can add more strategy for loyalists and traitors alike.  The game supports 5-10 players and is a steal at $19.99

 

Red Dragon Inn by Slugfest Games

We’ll close Part I of the Holiday Mega-Guide with Red Dragon Inn.  For a game that’s all about drinking, gambling and backstabbing your friends there’s a decent amount of depth and strategy that players will have to leverage against one another.  The premise of the game is simple – each player takes on the role of a fantasy adventurer that is relaxing after a hard day of dungeon-crawling with his compatriots at the local tavern.  Using their plunder to buy drinks and engage in rounds of cards, each player attempts to lie, cheat and swindle their way into the overflowing purses of their friends.

rdi1

Just a few of the cards from Red Dragon Inn 2

The game begins with each player choosing a deck which represents a different kind of fantasy adventurer.  Their  are currently 4 completely interchangeable sets to choose from and each set has 4 characters ranging from the smug bard to the pious paladin.  The decks all have their own strengths and weaknesses, but overall seem to be well balanced.  After choosing their decks, players will play cards to either add drinks to their opponents drink pile, open a round of gambling in an  attempt to take gold from other players or utilize their character’s unique ability cards to prevent other players from doing the same to them.  Everyone has to pay the piper, though and at the end of each player’s turn they must turn over the top card in their ever-changing drink pile and suffer the consequences of the foul brew that is placed before them.

The winner of Red Dragon Inn is the last player standing.  Normally, I don’t like to recommend games with player elimination, but RDI has a great theme and hilarious sense of humor that should keep every player engrossed to the very end.  As I stated, there are 4 sets to choose from.  Each one can support 2-4 players and retails for $37.99 each.  Multiple sets can be combined to add more players.

Next Week – 

That’s it for Tabletop Tuesday.  Tune in next week for Part II of the Holiday Mega-Guide: Cooperative Games!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
According to his peers, Ryan plays far too many board games, an awful lot of role-playing games, and occasionally makes time for video games. If asked his opinion, he would just laugh and wish for more hours in the day to create characters and place meeples. On the rare occasion he isn't rolling dice, he's reading comics or watching movies. He eats and sleeps between initiative steps

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