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Tabletop Tuesday: Gaming While Colorblind

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If you were to sit down and play a game with me, the odds are pretty good that you’d learn something about my genetics.  If said game had different colored pieces for each player, you’d notice that I tend to go for either black, white or something very prominent like yellow.  The reason for this is because I suffer from deuteranomoly, commonly known as red-green color blindness.   For me, colors like reds & greens or blues & purples have a tendency to blend together, making them tough to distinguish from one another.  This can make some games frustrating to play if hues are too similar or if the lighting in our play area is too dim.

Someone who is color blind is often thought of as not being able to distinguish any colors at all – seeing the world in black, white and gray.  In reality, the vast majority of people classified as being “color blind” can see colors, but they are often skewed or tend to blend together.  Red-green color blindness is the most common form.  It occurs in approximately 8% of the male population, 0.5% of the female population and accounts for 99% of all color blindness.  After that is blue-yellow color blindness which is only present in approximately 0.01% of the entire human population.  Total color blindness is a very rare and serious vision condition which inflicts roughly 0.003% of the entire human population.

Left to Right – Original Image, Deuteranope (red-green) Simulation, Protanope (blue-yellow) Simulation

Now, here’s an example.  Most of you should be able to tell the difference in these images.  I, on the other hand, have a hard time distinguishing the left and center images from each other at all and the rightmost image is just slightly different.  As you can imagine, this kind of deficiency can throw a serious wrench in gaming since so many games rely on colorful iconography to relay important information.

In most cases, my red-green problem is just a minor inconvenience, but color blindness of any type presents a unique challenge for game designers and can become an issue for groups of players who have one or more color blind individuals among them.  One of the best positive examples of this is theTicket to Ride by Days of Wonder.

I won’t go into a huge breakdown of the rules for Ticket to Ride, but there is a fair amount of color matching that needs to be done between the cards and the different train routes.  In addition, each player has a unique set of colored trains that they use to mark who has claimed which route.  It can be a huge mess and, in fact, I have a really hard time playing the mobile app, Ticket to Ride Pocket because the greens and oranges tend to blend together.  However, Days of Wonder has made the boardgame itself (and the iPad version of the app) much more color blind friendly by including shapes on the route spaces that correspond to shapes printed on the cards, making it easier for me to match them to each other.
Where shapes are impractical (perhaps your game has too much iconography as it is), then bright primary colors can succeed.  Runewars by Fantasy Flight Games is a great example.  The 4 different factions in this empire-building wargame are light blue, dark purple, red and green.  Having a lighter blue against the darker purple makes them easier to distinguish from one another and the red and green pieces are colored using very stark, bright hues.
A selection of components from the Runewars: Banner of War expansion
Boardgamegeek is also chock-full of resources for various games to make them more color blind friendly.  Usually, these take the form of reference sheets or alternate component lists.  Last but not least, if you have any type of color blindness or know someone who does and it seems like a game company hasn’t taken this into consideration, contact them!  Most game companies appreciate any sort of feedback that will help them make future releases more attractive to prospective players.

This humble article could have easily turned into a discourse on ocular genetics.  The subject is pretty fascinating, so here are just a few links to websites where you can learn more!


Tabletop…uhh, Wednesday?

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Surprisingly, a lifetime of analog gaming has done little to prepare me for dealing with digital problems. I must’ve rolled every die I owned and played every spell card I could get my hands on, but I just couldn’t make the stars align so that Tabletop Tuesday could happen on…you know…Tuesday. I apologize for this scheduling hiccup.

Without further ado, let’s take a joureny 38,000 years into the future and take a look at a fantastic (albeit hard) little co-op game called…

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Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game is a co-operative card game for 1-6 players by Fantasy Flight Games.  It plays in about 30 minutes, but new players should be prepared to double that for their first time through.

Components: Fantasy Flight can always be counted on for solid components and this game is no exception. The cards are a nice, sturdy stock, and the art is very crisp and fresh while capturing the grim darkness of the Warhammer 40,000 setting. The rulebook is another story and is definitely a step back for FFG in terms of layout and comprehension.  It’s worth noting that the two Print on Demand expansions available for the the game use a lighter, more flimsy card stock that just does not match up with what comes in the base game.  This however, does not affect play.

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Rules: The poor layout of the rulebook only adds to the confusion of a ruleset that requires at least one game devoted solely to learning how to play. After stumbling through a few turns (both solo and with friends) I finally got comfortable with how a turn is supposed to be played andonce the ball gets rolling, SH:DA does a good job of capturing the feel of an elite team of Space Marines beset on all sides by horrifying alien creatures.
Gameplay: My experience with the game varies. As a solo game (once I got the hang of the rules) it plays quick and easy. With a group, things tend to run a little longer due to the small space the game occupies and the fact that players generally gravitate towards discussing the best courses of action. In both cases, SH:DA succeeds in delivering tense moments where success or failure hinges upon a die roll. The luck factor is mitigated some by the ability to gain re-rolls, but sometimes you’ll lose a team member in the blink of an eye.  If a player loses both of their team members, then they are eliminated from the game completely – a huge black mark for me.
Overall: This game is well worth the price of entry for something to pack up and play either with a few people or by oneself – especially if you’re a 40k fan. However, there are several other games that will scratch the same itch with less frustration at the rules and without the possibility of player elimination.The aforementioned Print on Demand expansions (Marine Pack 1Mission Pack 1, Tyranid Enemy Pack and Deathwing Space Marine Pack) add some nice new options to the game and are well worth picking up, but do little to mitigate the luck/elimination factors.
While it might sounds like I don’t think too highly of this game, I have to say that it holds a place of honor in my collection.  It’s random and difficult and the rules are frustratingly stacked against the players, but it’s a very satisfying experience to go through – even when you lose horribly to a horde of Tyranid horrors so large that you never had any hope of defeating them.

Tabletop Tuesday: Holiday Mega-Guide 2013, part III

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With stockings hung by the chimney with care, you’re going to want a few smaller gifts to make sure you’ve crammed the spirit of giving into every nook and cranny.  Luckily, there are dozens of great games that come in small packages.  This week, I’m going to share 3 of my favorite small-box games that work great as stocking stuffers, Secret Santa gifts or just a little something for yourself while you’re out and about!

Love Letter by Alderac Entertainment Group

Love letter is a simple card game of only 16 cards.  Thematically, these cards represent different members of a royal court – from the lowly Soldier all the way up to the beautiful (and totally available) Princess.  Players are attempting to curry favor with these various members of court in order to gain the affection of the aforementioned Princess.  Every turn, players will draw one card and play one card.  Each type of card has a potent ability that, if played correctly can lead to another player’s elimination from the current game round.  Each player will attempt to knock out their opponents by playing the right castle servant at the right time and by keeping a careful eye on which cards have already been played.  Should the players reach the end of the deck, then they will have to compare the influence value of each of their final cards and see who has the highest.  THe winner of each round gains an affection token and the first to 4 is the winner!

Love Letter is a great filler game.  It is easy to transport and can be broken out in nearly any environment.  AEG currently sells 2 versions of the game – The Kanai Factory Edition and the Tempest Edition.  The difference between the two is purely cosmetic (though I prefer the artwork in the Kanai version).  A 3rd version based on the Legend of the Five Rings setting is due to come out soon as well.

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Zombie Dice by Steve Jackson Games

It certainly isn’t the right holiday for a game about the living dead, but Zombie Dice is too fun a stocking stuffer to pass up.  This push-your-luck dice game is fast to set up, easy to play and tons of fun for those short breaks between bigger games or while the family is unwinding after a holiday meal.  Players take on the role of zombies trying to be the first to eat up 13 sweet, sweet brains.  Each turn a player will take 3 of the game’s 13 dice and roll them in an attempt to score brain symbols.  As long as a player doesn’t roll the dreaded shotgun blasts they are free to keep rolling until they decide they’ve had enough for the round.  However, if a player happens to roll 3 shotgun blasts, they’ll lose any brains they’ve accrued on their turn.

The dice in this game are gorgeous.  They are thick, chunky and have a nice bit of weight to them.  The iconography is colorful and easy to see even from across a gaming table.  What’s more, the game gives players a nice tense experience as each player needs to decide whether to go for the gusto on their turn or play it safe and gather brains slowly.  If you want to add a little holiday flair, there’s always the expansion that includes a Santa die!

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Kanzume Goddess by Japanime Games

Not every game that comes in a small package has to be a quick, fun filler.  Kanzume Goddess is a serious deckbuilding game with a more adversarial tone than others of its genre.  The game begins with players choosing from a suite of different gods and goddesses from Greek and Norse mythology.  Each of these character cards lists various special abilities that the deity can leverage during the game.  From there, play begins with each player taking a small set of basic currency and defense cards.  Kanzume Goddess plays like many other deckbuilders out there, but has one unique mechanic that really sets it apart.  A player in KG can only play multiple cards during their turn by linking them together.  Each card has a primary type indicated by a colored symbol in the top left hand corner.  This symbol has two smaller symbols beside it that represent which type of card can be played after it.  Only by chaining cards together can a player hope to defeat their enemies.  Figuring out which cards will  create the most powerful combos takes a decent memory and a little luck, but can be very satisfying.

Kanzume Goddess has found a place on my game shelf as my current favorite deckbuilder, but it might not be for everyone.  This has nothing to do with the game itself and everything to do with the game’s artwork.  The various mythical beasts that players draft into their decks are represented by girls with…*ahem*…legendary proportions.  The art itself isn’t any worse than say…a Soul Calibur game, but it’s worth mentioning because it is a bit over the top and may not be suitable for younger audiences.

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Yeah, that hug is probably totally platonic.

Next Week – 

The Holiday Mega-Guide will conclude next week with a feature on something a little more hardcore than what I’ve covered so far.  Gird your wallets and prepare your souls for the wonderful world of miniatures gaming!


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.

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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!

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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.

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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!


Tabletop Tuesday: Mega Man Goes Analog & the Stars Align

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The Blue Blomber Hits the Table!

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Jasco Games announced on Facebook that they’ll be publishing a Mega Man board game via Kickstarter.  Now, Mega Man hasn’t been treated with the most respectful hand lately, but the folks over at Jasco are no strangers to marrying tabletop and video games.  They currently publish the Universal Fightng System Card Game which incorporates franchises such as Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, Tekken and King of Fighters.  There aren’t any details yet, but the following placeholder on Jasco’s website at least looks promising –

In 2013, Capcom and Jasco Games became licensing partners for the exciting property of Megaman! Megaman, who is celebrating his 25th anniversary, is already making his way to debut into the Universal Fighting System universe, with collectible tins that feature both Megaman and Protoman. However, not too far in the near future, Jasco Games will be producing a board game for Megaman. You’ll take control of your favorite hero, and battle Dr. Wily and his forces of evil robots!

Now excitement is natural because, c’mon…  It’s Mega Man!  But as with every other Kickstarter campaign only time will tell – and if Bass isn’t a playable character they won’t see a single red cent from me.

The Legacy Continues…

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Way back in 1957, the classic game of world domination known as Risk hit the scene.  Over the last several decades, the game has seen dozens of iterations, but in 2011 Rob Daviau shocked many gamers with the concept of a version of Risk that would change and grow from game to game.  The result was Risk Legacy – a game which sees players regularly destroying unused components, writing on the board and creating something unique with each game.

I could go on for ages about the merits of Risk Legacy, but I’ll save that for another time.  I bring it up here only to grant context to the latest announcement from Plaid Hat Games for a new Legacy game from Rob Daviau and his game company, Ironwall Games – Seafall!

SeaFall is a 4X game (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) set in an age of sail world that is reminiscent of our world.  In SeaFall the world is just starting to claw its way out of a dark age and has just begun to rediscover seafaring technology.  Players take on the role of a main land empire who each consult with a consortium of advisors to discover new islands, explore those islands, develop trade, send out raiding parties, take part in ship to ship combat, and more.  In fact that ‘and more’ may be the biggest understatement I’ve ever made.  Just as in Risk Legacy, SeaFall will evolve as player play it.

If you’re as intrigued and excited as I am, you can check out the latest episode of the Plaid Hat Games podcast for the official announcement from Rob himself.

Dark Powers Gather in Roseville, MN

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With Halloween around the corner, all manner of dark and sinister forces work to sow evil.  Of course, shortly after that Fantasy Flight Games will be hosting their annual Arkham Nights weekend at the Event Center in Roseville, MN.  As in past years, attendees will be spending their time playing games inspired by the work of H.P. Lovecraft such as Arkham Horror, Elder Sign, Mansions of Madness and the Call of Cthulhu Card Game.  As an added bonus, demo games of the recently announced Eldritch Horror will also be available!

Tabletop Term of the Week

In honor of Risk, I thought I’d define the game’s primary mechanic – area control.  Many games use area control mechanics in a variety of ways.  The name is pretty self explanatory, but  basically players use their in-game resources to dominate the board in some way.  In games like Risk or Small World, area control is the primary means of victory, but games such as Setters of Catan use area control as a means of gaining resources to be used later.  Regardless of how it is used within a game, area control almost always has players fanning out to take as much territory as possible without spreading oneself to thin.

 


Tabletop Tuesday: Holy Red Shirts and Russians, Batman!

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Greetings once again, dice slingers, card wizards and tabletop enthusiasts!  This week’s Tabletop Tuesday takes us from the 40’s to the 60’s and then all the way to the 22nd century.

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To begin, we start with an old favorite of mine – Batman.  No, not Christian Bale.  Obviously not Clooney or Kilmer, either.  Not even Keaton.  That’s rights, folks.  We’re talking Adam West.  The year is 1966 and for 3 seasons Adam West and Burt Ward would don the guises of Batman and Robin (respectively) and face off against a colorful array of the caped crusader’s most conniving criminal counterparts.  With Caesar Romero as the Joker, Burgess Meredeith as the Penguin, Vincent Price as Egghead and no less than 3 Catwomen (played by Julie Newmarr, Eartha Kitt and Lee Merriwether), this campy take on the Dark Knight is a far cry from the darker and more violent films of recent memory.  I only ever caught episodes in syndication more than 20 years after it had aired, but the show definitely has it’s charms and more than it’s fair share of fans.  To that end, WizKids has been releasing teasers for their next line of HeroClixBatman Classic TV.

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Now, the HeroClix site has been abuzz with updates for this expansion for a while now, but it wasn’t until I saw this Joker preview that I got really interested.  I’m still waiting on the set as a whole before I can put together any sort of opinion on the new mechanics/abilities/figure options, but the fact that WizKids is reaching way back to the Batman TV Series is pretty exciting.  I think there’s a lot of potential here for them to have fun  and for players/fans to snag some really great models.

I also think the “Bang! Boom!  Zap!” bubbles are a great touch.

Who knows?  If this takes off, Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond sets might not be far behind…

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As a quick addendum, in other Heroclix News, Wizkids announced the original Enterprise (as in, the one from the show of the same name) would be debuting for Star Trek HeroClix Tactics Series III.  They’ll be joining the likes of the Borg and will allow players to conceivably field 3 generations of Enterprises on the battlefield!

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Moving away from Clix, there’s been some hot buzz over on Kickstarter lately.  Way back in March, Fantasy Flight Games announced that they were handing the reins of their excellent World War II board game series Tide of Iron over to 1A Games.  The transition of ownership took place over the summer months and now 1A Games is set to begin distributing the same great game on their own.  To that end, they’ve begun a Kickstarter campaign for a new starter set and the Stalingrad expansion.  Both the new core box and the expansion will be 100% compatible with the Fantasy Flight original and Stalingrad is set to add more urban maps and an entire Soviet army.

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The Tide of Iron franchise offers a rich, deep WWII strategic combat experience with many of the bells & whistles of a full-on miniatures game in a neat, controlled board game package.  It also has a ton of top-notch components ranging from variable boards for different scenarios to oodles of detailed plastic infantry and tanks – so, you know, I’m sold.

Tabletop Term of the Week: Board & card games are a substantial investment and protecting them so that they’ll last is always a good idea.  There are a great many things you can do to extend the lifespan of your games, but one of the big ones is sleeving your cards.  Companies like Ultra Pro, Mayday and Fantasy Flight Games all make plastic sleeves for various different card sizes.  Choosing which ones are right for you is largely a matter of preference and you can get them in a myriad of colors or with artwork on the back to suit you.  The only downside?  Sleeving cards can be expensive.  In the end I often have to decide which games are worth sleeving and which ones probably aren’t going to see enough action to warrant worrying about wear and tear.


Tabletop Tuesday: The Returnening

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Greetings, fellow dice fiends!  It has been a few weeks since my last column and for that I owe you all an apology.  My greatest nemesis, real life, got in the way when I began a new job.  Now that I’m settled in, I’m back to bring you the best highlights from the world of cardboard.

Now, I’ve missed some big bits of news, but with GenCon around the corner, there’s no shortage of new info coming out.

hcommandFirst off, Privateer Press has announced Hordes: High Command.  This strategic deckbuilder will act as a counterpoint to Warmachine: High Command.  For those of you unfamiliar with Privateer Press’ main moneymakers, Warmachine pits powerful wizards in command of steam-driven robots against one another. Hordes, by comparison, is about large beasts under the thrall of potent warlocks.  The catch is that both of these games can be played against one another.  That’s right – your 20 foot tall steampunk robot wielding a flaming ball and chain can go toe to toe with the alpha of a werewolf pack.

But I digress.  High Command (in either the Warmachine or Hordes variety) promises to be a compelling deckbuilding experience that fully leverages the rich intellectual property that is Privateer Press’ Iron Kingdoms setting.  Players will be able to choose a faction and then draft units into their decks to compete for various objectives.  I’ll be keeping an eye out for this one for my personal collection!

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Now if there’s one thing I like, it’s a good historical game (like Founding Fathers or Twilight Struggle).  If there are two things I like, then the other is a game that isn’t afraid to tackle an interesting and perhaps controversial topic for a game (like Pandemic or Archipelago).  Enter Freedom: The Underground Railroad by Academy Games.  This Kickstarter project blends a tumultuous time in United States history with compelling cooperative mechanics.  Players work together to gain funds and further the abolitionist cause while moving slaves along the Underground Railroad.  The game will throw pro-slavery events and slave catchers at you, though so you’ll have to be savvy with your actions and funds.

The game is already funded, so backing it at this point is a sure thing (or as sure as Kickstarter projects can get).  I have to admit that the title didn’t grab me at first, but the artwork did.  The graphic design choices for the component’s they’ve shown have me very intrigued.  The campaign has 25 days left, so give it a look!

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Aaaaaaand finally, we come to Star Wars.  I’ve been playing a bit of the Star Wars card game from Fantasy Flight Games whenever I can get a chance.  In fact, a certain webcomic reviewer has been hounding me to play lately.  As if the game weren’t compelling enough, Fantasy Flight announced the game’s next big box expansion – Balance of the Force!

This new expansion adds mutliplayer modes to the game.  Two light side players can tackle two dark side players or a group of 2-3 players can tackle one super-powered rival!  If neither of those is your particular cup of tea, though, the box still has several new objective sets that can be added to your existing one-on-one decks.  Look for Balance of the Force in stores during 2013’s fourth quarter.

 

Tabletop Term of the Week:  Since we’ve got 2 card games in the news today, I figured I’d cover a fairly common term in the tabletop world that has come to have 2 distinct meaning – deckbuilding.  Classically, deckbuilding refers to constructing a deck from a pool of cards.  In the case of classic collectible card games like Magic: the Gathering and Pokemon this would constitute sitting down with your collection of cards and choosing which ones to include in the deck you plan to use against a given opponent.  The Star Wars card game from Fantasy Flight Games has this kind of deckbuilding component (though each game does it a bit differently and Star Wars’ method is unique – that’s a story for another time).

On the flipside, a more modern genre of card games has emerged over the last few years where players build a deck of cards while they play.  The grandaddy of this genre is Dominion by Rio Grande Games.  Players will start with a small number of basic cards (usually some form of currency) and use those cards to draft more options into their deck from some form of central supply.  As new cards get added, new abilities may be unlocked that will allow players to combo cards together to achieve the particular game’s victory condition.

Deckbuilding in either form is a bit tricky to explain in short, simple terms but that’s the basic idea.  Stay tuned because next week, I’m going to go more in depth with some of my favorite “traditional” card games and how deckbuilding works for them.


Tabletop Tuesday: All aboard for Elder Gods and Cylons!

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What a week it has been!  Well, actually it’s been two weeks since I was on a bit of a hiatus, but that’s besides the point.  As GenCon creeps ever closer, it seems like the world of tabletop gaming is pulsing with barely contained energy.  This week, I’ve dug up my usual array of news on roleplaying games, boardgames and 1 very intriguing Kickstarter project.

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To get the ball rolling, I have to spread the word on a fantastic looking Kickstarter called Cthulhu Wars.  I know, I know…  It’s probably poor form to blend my journalistic integrity with religion, but just look at those game pieces!  Fans of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos will likely be foaming at the mouth once they get their hands on these beauties (I personally plan to build a tiny altar to the Nyarlathotep model).  Luckily, the game isn’t just pretty to look at – it’s designed by Sandy Peteresen who has danced with dark and elder things before when he helped design the infamous Arkham Horror.  As of right now the game is well past funding and, while expensive, has a plethora of great pieces and some very exciting stretch goals.

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Now, if the dread minions of Cthulhu weren’t enough to make you feel stressed and hopeless, let’s talk about Battlestar Galactica.  The exceptional game of intrigue, betrayal and hidden toasters is getting it’s 3rd expansion later this summer.  Dubbed “Daybreak“, this expansion adds a new mutiny mechanic that allows players to betray one another in new and exciting ways – all for the good of the fleet, of course.  The decision of whether or not to mutiny rests on the shoulders of several new characters incuding Dr. Cottle, Hot Dog and Romo Lampkin.  The game also includes a few new components to spruce up your existing copy of the main game – namely, Cylon Centurions!  Keep an eye out for this one in Q3 2013.

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Now, let’s take a break from all the scifi drama and enjoy a lighter bit of news.  CNet recently reported the launch of Ticket to Ride of Android via Google Play.  At $6.99, the game is only slightly less robust than it’s iOS counterpart – lacking local, pass & play multiplayer.  It is also, unfortunately, optimized for tablet play (though it works pretty well on my own Samsung Galaxy Note II).  Despite these faults, the gameplay is still incredibly well implemented.  If you’re looking for a masterful rendition of a boardgame to take with you on your preferred mobile device, it doesn’t get much better than Ticket to Ride.

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And finally, off in a galaxy far, far away we have another piece of news from Fantasy Flight Games involving the upcoming Star Wars: Edge of the Empire roleplaying game.  It seems that aboard the space station of thieves and cutthroats known as the Wheel, rumors of a long lost Trade Federation ship are catching the attention of many a would-be treasure hunter.  In the full length adventure Beyond the Rim, players will have the opportunity to seek out the fabled wreck of the Sa Naloar.  If you think you’ve got the chops to brave the farthest reaches of space where even the Emperor fears to tread, then gather your crew and chart a course in Q3 2013!

Tabletop Term of the Week: This week, I’d like to share a term that is very near and dear to my heart – components!  Components are very simply any and all of the pieces contained in any game.  The board, the meeples, the chits and tokens all fall under the header of components.  This might not seem like a very mystifying term, but it comes up fairly often in regular discussions on hobby boardgames and is worth having clarified.  Plus, I’m a HUGE sucker for really, really good components.

That’s all for this week folks, but before I call it a day I’d just like to say thank you all for reading so far and if you have any feedback for me, I’d love to hear it.  Want to hear more about a particular genre of game?  Maybe you want the 411 on a certain publisher?  Whatever the case may be, feel free to leave a comment or contact me via GonnaGeek.  See you all next week!


Tabletop Tuesday: Wherein Elder Gods get smashed and the Dominion blitzes the Alpha Quadrant

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Welcome back for another week of delightful tabletop gaming news.  It’s been a busy, busy week in the wide world of analog gaming.  We’ve got space ships, dark gods from beyond space and time, a few coveted awards and ELVES…IN…SPAAAACE!

 

 

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Arguably the most exciting news this week was WizKids’ announcement of an Organized Play Event for their upcoming Star Trek: Attack Wing game.  As a huge fan of Star Trek: Deep Space 9, the theme of this event was particularly exciting – the Dominion War!  Beginning in September, game stores will be hosting tournaments and events for 6 weeks.  Players will be able to take their fleets into battle to fight back the iron grasp of the Dominion and their Cardassian allies or to bring order to a barbaric Alpha Quadrant by crushing the likes of the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire.  These Organized Play events will feature exclusive ships that players can compete for as well as the prestigious title of Fleet Admiral for the winner!

 

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While we’re on the subject of…umm, stars…  It seems like the folks over at AEG have foreseen the movements of the celestial bodies.  Rising from the depths this summer, Smash Up: The Obligatory Cthulhu Set will add the likes of Cthulhu Cultists, the odd-looking inhabitants of Innsmouth and foul Elder Things to the fast paced card game all about pitting the most popular factions of fandom against one another.

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The Crimson Hunter is an Eldar strike craft designed to obliterate heavily armed targets from the skies.

And finally, for the space trifecta, we’re going to have a look at some of the amazing new models for the Eldar of Warhammer 40,000.  This ancient and powerful race of spacefarers has a slew of new models coming out this summer and fans of the popular sci-fi miniatures game can get these impressive sculpts to add to their existing models or being a new army to take control of the galaxy!

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These Eldar Wraithknights are constructs brought to life by the spirits of fallen Eldar Warriors.

 

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The powerful form of the Wraith Knight looms over the battlefield, rending the foes of the Eldar apart and leaving nothing but destruction in its wake.

 

Table Term of the Week: This weeks tabletop term is “meeple”.  The term was coined by Allison Hansel in 2000 during a game of Carcassonne in which she fused the words “my” and “people” to describe the game’s wooden worker figures.  In modern use, the term refers to almost any pieces (usually wooden) which represent either a game’s players or their minions.