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What’s Hot: Pathfinder RPG Beginner Box

Pathfinder

The Adventure Begins!

Take your first step into an exciting world of fantasy adventure with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Beginner Box! Within you’ll find simple rules to create and customize your own hero, as well as a robust system to run your character through challenging adventures and deadly battles against villainous monsters like goblins and dragons!

Will you be a courageous fighter who masters weapons and armor to cut a trail of destruction through your enemies? A wise cleric who calls upon the power of the gods to heal your allies and burn enemies with sacred fire? A witty rogue able to disarm traps and strike with deadly accuracy? A brilliant wizard whose magical powers bring foes to their knees? All the details of your character are yours to control. The only limit is your imagination!

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Beginner Box is packed with everything you need to get started with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, an imaginative tabletop fantasy adventure game for 2–5 players. Scores of monsters, challenges, and advice give gamers the tools to create their own worlds and adventure, providing countless hours of gaming excitement. With streamlined rules and a focus on action-packed heroic adventure, this deluxe boxed set is the ideal introduction to the world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and the best starting point for a lifetime of pulse-pounding adventure!

The Pathfinder RPG Beginner Box Includes:
64-page Hero’s Handbook, detailing character creation, spells, equipment, and general rules for playing the game

96-page Game Master’s Guide packed with adventures, monsters, magical treasures, and advice on how to narrate the game and control the challenges faced by the heroes

A complete set of 7 high-impact polyhedral dice More than 80 full-color pawns depicting tons of heroes, monsters, and even a fearsome black dragon

Four pregenerated character sheets to throw you right into the action

Four blank character sheets to record the statistics and deeds of your custom-made hero

A durable, reusable, double-sided Flip-Mat play surface that works with any kind of marker

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Guides and Vaults

Earlier this year I wrote an article introducing you to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Fantasy Flight Games’ third edition of the grim and perilous roleplaying game set in the Games Workshop world of Warhammer.

There are some new releases by the busy goblins at FFG that make some changes to how you can play this excellent fantasy roleplaying game. Let’s have a good look at the new Guides and Vaults!

Many players have been a bit confused by these new releases, since they effectively re-release a lot of the information that has already been covered in the Core Set and subsequent supplements. The bottom line is, if you already have the core set and the supplements that cover corruption and mutation (WInds of Magic) and disease (Signs of Faith), you don’t need to buy the Gamemaster’s Guide and Vault and the Player’s Guide and Vault. Everyone will most likely want to get the Creature Guide and Vault however.

But if you’re an avid WFRP player like me, you’ll definitely want to get them all—and here’s why.

Each of these new releases consists of a Guide—a hardcover book—and a corresponding Vault—a box containing cards and components. The reason FFG has created this new format for the WFRP rules is that they have received feedback from some customers who want to play WFRP in a more ‘traditional’ fashion. This new third edition of WFRP relies heavily on the use of cards and counters to track actions and effects, and some players found these difficult to work with. Personally, it took my players a few sessions to get used to the new system, but we’re now running very smooth games and everyone enjoys this revolutionary and convenient way of keeping track of information.

In order to appeal to all types of gamers however, these new hardback releases allow you to play the game without the use of cards. All the actions and effects are now listed in the hardcover Guide books. You can access this information, and list it on a character sheet, in the same way you do in any traditional roleplaying game.

If you’d prefer to play with the components, the Vaults make them available in a separate box. In each of the Vaults you’ll find the relevant cards, counters, tracking meters and character and creature stand-ups—plus some of the special WFRP dice (also available separately).

So there are now several ways to start playing WFRP. You can either buy the Core Set, which has everything you need, rules and components (save the corruption, mutation and disease rules and components given in the Magic and Faith expansions), or you can buy just the Gamemasters, Players, and Creatures Guide hardbacks and play in a ‘traditional’ way, or you can buy the Guides and their matching Vaults for the entire experience with cards and components.

It’s still worth getting the Magic and Faith expansions in any case, as they have lots of excellent background material on their subjects, as well as information on the Chaos gods Tzeentch and Nurgle.

For everyone, the Creature Guide is an essential buy, as it covers dozens of new enemies and adversaries for your games. If you’re playing with components, you’ll want to grab the matching Vault as well. This also includes creature cards, with an illustration of the monster on one side and relevant stats on the other, and group cards, a quick and easy way to set up encounters with groups of creatures.

So, why would I get the lot? Well, I enjoy playing WFRP with the components the way it was first designed, because I think after the initial period of adjustment, it’s a lot faster and more convenient way of playing. But it is a bit more difficult for players to peruse their options when they are taking their experience advances, as there’s only one set of cards in the core set. It can also be slower to go through a deck of cards, when you’re looking up some action or effect options, than checking a table. So for the sake of convenient reference, these new Guides are a must.

In fact, my players will also be buying a Player’s Guide each so they can have a personal reference for the rules and their character advancement options.

The Creature Guide and Vault is a no-brainer, since it completely expands the creature options, and the creature cards especially will be a great addition to the game. The Gamemaster and Player Vaults are less essential since I already own the core set and all the expansions, but they offer an extra set of these components, which can be handy. It’s also very important to note that the rules have been reorganised and rewritten and include more examples of play and explanations of mechanics, so there’s something useful even for experienced WFRP gamers.

I hope this clears up some of the confusion about the new Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay releases. If you have any further questions, feel free to post a comment below and I’ll do my best to help!

(Don’t forget to check out FFG’s new downloadable content—including an expanded character sheet—for WFRP.

An Introduction to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay

The roleplaying game Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP) has had a long and interesting history since its first release in 1986. But if you’ve only just become aware of the fact that you can roleplay in Games Workshop’s venerable Warhammer world, now’s the perfect time to get started, because Fantasy Flight Games recently released a brand new third edition.

First, a little history. The first version of WFRP was a thick, everything-in-one hardcover book, and immediately the game set itself apart from other RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons with two innovations.  The first was the career system. Instead of progressing through ‘levels’, WFRP characters could move through a series of careers that ran the gamut from lowly grunts like rat-catchers and charlatans to respected members of society like nobles and scholars. Careers were just the first sign of a strong emphasis on roleplaying and storytelling instead of ‘dungeon-bashing’. The second innovation was a combat system surprising in its lethality. Unlike D&D, for example, where you could bash away at a powerful character for ages without significantly wearing down its stock of hit points, WFRP characters were always at the mercy of a few lucky arrow shots or well-placed blows; and a gruesomely detailed critical hit system made combat damage far more realistic and visceral. It was indeed, as advertised, A Grim World of Perilous Adventure!

(Personally, I’ll never forget our very first game, when one of the players confidently picked a fight in a bar and ended up being carried out with a broken leg and various other wounds which led to a protracted period of healing as they journeyed down river. But then again, the other guy ended up in the river …)

WFRP was a great success, not least because the first adventure campaign for the game, The Enemy Within, is still regarded as one of the best in RPG history.  The first four episodes—Mistaken Identity, Shadows Over Bogenhafen, Death on the Reik, and The Power Behind the Throne—established all the classic elements of WFRP gaming; the grim and gritty atmosphere, the secret Chaos cults among the powerful, the quirky English sense of black humour and bad puns, and a pageant of interesting and memorable characters. Unfortunately, the quality of the last two episodes, Something Rotten in Kislev and Empire in Flames, didn’t live up to this high water mark, and some would say that WFRP fans are still awaiting adventure material to match the incredible inventiveness of those first releases.

After a strange D&D-like adventure series, the Doomstones campaign, WFRP went out of print and entered the first of several ‘hibernation periods’. Fans kept the game alive—most notably in the Strike to Stun newsletter—but some years passed before finally, in 1995, a small English company called Hogshead Publishing gained the rights to publish WFRP material. The original rulebook was reprinted, and along with other reprints came some excellent new books, especially material centred around the Venice-like city of Marienburg. In 2001 their most ambitious release came with the long awaited magic supplement Realms of Sorcery (this author had the honour of designing the cover around the Ralph Horsley illustration), and later a Dwarven sourcebook, but the game was once again to slide back out of print when Hogshead gave up the licence for various reasons in 2002.

After another long break, the GW division Black Industries, in collaboration with Green Ronin, re-released WFRP in a brand new edition in 2005. The combat system was changed somewhat to add more options and variety, character characteristics were modified a bit, but the game was essentially the same. A veritable tide of WFRP material followed, in both soft- and hardback form; almost 25 books and supplements, including the Paths of the Damned and The Thousand Thrones campaigns, and many interesting sourcebooks covering places in the Old World that players had never seen in detail before, like Tilea, The Border Princes, and Karak Azghal.

In 2009, everything changed again. WFRP moved to Fantasy Flight Games, and ater selling some of the old v2 material and releasing a Character Compendium, FFG suddenly announced a totally new version of WFRP that would see the most changes to the game since it was first released. It was a controversial announcement, especially among older players; when it became clear that the new system relied on dice pools and printed components there were cries of “boardgame!” But now that the game has been out for a while and the dust has settled, old players seem to have accepted the changes and realised that the focus is still on the storytelling, and the unique atmosphere of the Old World.

The new version is quite a different beast from its predecessors. In keeping with FFG’s reputation for graphic quality, it looks stunning, and instead of using tables of information in a hardcover book, most of the gaming information is presented in the form of full colour cards which players can acquire as their characters progress, all in a big box. The career system is still there, and combat is still lethal, but there are many more options in combat, and much more interpretation and flexibility due to a ‘dice pool’ system. This means that instead of calculating a particular chance to achieve some action and rolling a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ result, players roll a pool of different dice that represent, for example, the relevant characteristic, the level of challenge, and the vagaries of fortune, and then interpret the results depending on the final number of success or fail icons, and other results like ‘boons’ and ‘banes’. So not only can you see if your action succeeded or failed, but by how much, what factors were responsible, and what other quirks of fate affected the outcome. It all adds up to a greater emphasis on creativity and storytelling, and after you quickly get used to the system, you’ll find your games flowing faster than ever before.

So far the core game and an Adventurer’s Toolkit has been released, and coming soon is a Game Master’s Toolkit. The most hotly anticipated release however is a new adventure boxed set, The Gathering Storm. It remains to be seen whether FFG can live up to the high hopes and expectations of players worldwide and release a WFRP campaign that recalls the glory days of The Enemy Within

For more information about WFRP mentioned in this article, visit Fantasy Flight Games at http://www.fantasyflightgames.com. You can also find rules summaries and reference sheets for the game at http://www.headlesshollow.com/freebies_games.html#wfrp3.

by Universal Head

Universal Head (www.universalhead.com), has been designing graphics from the most corporate to the most creative for more than twenty years. He’s responsible for the graphic design of several boardgames, most notably ‘Tales of the Arabian Nights’ by Z-Man Games, and once spent a year recreating the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in 3D for the computer game ‘The Omega Stone’. In between he’s designed everything from large corporate websites, to postage stamps, to a mobile phone interface. His personal site www.headlesshollow.com is an obsessive repository of professionally designed rules summaries and reference sheets for popular boardgames.

Fantasy Flight Games and Games Workshop – A Match Made in Gaming Heaven

Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) is probably the premier boardgame company in the world, and they’re having a huge impact in the roleplaying game industry as well. One of the reasons for that success is their decision to base many of their exciting, thematic boardgames on established licences from video games (Doom, World of Warcraft) and television (Battlestar Galactica). But possibly their biggest coup was the licence from Games Workshop (GW) to not only re-release some of GW’s old boardgame designs with new components (and often new mechanics), but to create brand new games that explore the incredibly successful universes of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000. Let’s have a closer look at some of these great games…

Re-Released Games

Fury of Dracula (1987) was the first of the vintage GW boardgames to be revamped (groan!) and re-released by FFG, in 2006. It was an excellent choice, because there are many gamers (this author among them) who consider the original game to be one of GW’s best. This is a game dripping with theme, and one of the precursors of the current wave of ‘co-operative’ games, since a group of players must work together to explore Victorian Europe to discover and destroy the Prince of Darkness himself, Dracula. One player is Dracula, and must stay one step ahead of the others, all the while laying traps and red herrings to damage the adventurers and put them off his trail. The new FFG version brought some effective innovations to the game system; most notably, Dracula now keeps track of his recent locations with a set of cards played face-down on a track, and players can pick up his trail by stumbling upon one of these locations. It can also now be played with 2-5 players, instead of the original 2-4. Anyone who is a fan of Dracula—especially the Bram Stoker original—will love this richly atmospheric game.

Warrior Knights was the next game to get the FFG treatment, but once again the company didn’t just re-release an old favourite, but brought it up to the expectations of modern boardgamers. The 1985 original was a deep, strategic game of kingdom building for 2-6 players with an interesting Assembly phase where players voted on various motions; leading to a lot of alliance building and breaking. The 2006 remake is in some ways a brand new game, but manages to retain the unique flavour of the original. It’s highly recommended for players looking for something with a bit more complexity that explores both political and military avenues to achieving ultimate victory over your opponents. And there’s also an expansion available: Warrior Knights: Crown and Glory.

Talisman is a game that needs no introduction to veteran boardgamers; it pretty much defined the genre of ‘fantasy adventure boardgame’. For the uninitiated, players choose a fantasy character and explore a land filled with magical locations and fearsome enemies, gathering strength, craft, items and followers in a quest to reach the fabled Crown of Command. The original Talisman was released by GW way back in 1983 and several expansion sets quickly followed, along with further editions, the last in 1994. There followed a long hiatus, when old copies slowly fetched higher and higher prices on Ebay, until finally, a few years ago, the GW company Black Industries caused a lot of excitement in the gaming world by re-releasing the original.When Black Industries moved out of game publishing, their games Talisman, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and the Warhammer 40,000 roleplaying games all moved over to FFG, who have kept the expansions coming thick and fast. You can already expand the base Talisman set with a small sets called The Reaper and The Frostmarch, and a larger set (with extra board) called Talisman: The Dungeon; and there’s a new large expansion, The Highland, coming soon.

Chaos Marauders is a fun and chaotic card game for 2-4 players that FFG recently re-released with very few changes from the 1997 original as part of their small-box ‘Silver Line’ range of games. Players place, in a battle-line, cards representing the various weird troops and characters in an orcish army. It’s fast-moving, random and doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and it’s a perfect ‘filler’ game with the right players.

New Games

After the successful re-release of some old GW favourites, it was time for FFG to see what they could do on their own with the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 universes. The first of these new games was Chaos in the Old World, and it’s a fantastic blend of the rich background of the Warhammer melieu, and modern boardgaming at its finest. Players each take on the role of one of the four ‘Ruinous Powers’, the horrific gods of Chaos in the Old World, trying to corrupt and destroy its innocent denizens. Not only is the game absolutely drenched in the grim, gritty fantasy of Warhammer, but its mechanics successfully blend modern area-control mechanics, combat and just the right amount of randomness to deliver a deeply satisfying and immersive game.

FFG have had great success with heir ‘Living Card Game’ (LCG) concept, creating popular card games set in the worlds of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos (Call of Cthulhu LCG), and George R. R. Martin’s world of Westeros (A Game of Thrones LCG).  These games are different from the traditional collectible card game format, in that fixed sets of cards are released regularly, thus keeping the game alive and expanding but doing away with the random blind-buying that could rapidly make collectible systems too expensive for players. Warhammer: Invasion LCG is their Warhammer-themed game in this format. The artwork absolutely jumps off the cards, and the game itself is fast-paced, easy to learn and offers endless strategic variations, card combos and surprises. There are several card expansion packs already available and more coming thick and fast from the FFG studios, making for an ever-expanding game experience.

Horus Heresy is the next big release on the horizon, and should be ready to buy soon after this article is published. Preview articles on the FFG website promise a spectacular, complex and exciting wargame in FFG’s reknowned ‘big box’ format, set in the gothic science-fiction Warhammer 40,000 universe that GW players know so well. There was an original Horus Heresy game, a relatively traditional map-and-counters affair that came out in 1993, but FFG looks to have really pulled out all the stops in re-making the game into something very special indeed. It’s full of plastic figures, now has a more tactical card-based order and combat system, and in general looks to be the boardgame that all Warhammer 40,000 aficionados have been eagerly waiting for.

RPGs

The FFG role-playing games (RPGs )that have been licenced from GW really deserve an article of their own, but here’s a quick rundown.

Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, and Deathwatch are the titles of the three roleplaying game systems set in GW’s sci-fi universe of Warhammer 40,000. Recognising that there was just too much good background material to squeeze into one game, FFG have released three, each of which focusses on a different aspect of roleplaying in this dark and gothic future. Dark Heresy was the first, and gives you rules for playing Acolytes in the service of the Emperors’ Inquisition, hunting down the enemies of mankind in the form of foul mutants and aliens on distant planets, huge space hulks in the depths of space, and deep in the claustrophobic tunnels and underground vastnesses of planet-wide cities. Rogue Trader takes the game out into the spaces between the stars; you are the eponymous spaceship captains searching for profits in an endless, pitiless universe, battling pirates, buying and selling worlds, and discovering ancient civilisations. Deathwatch has just been announced, and finally allows players to become those guardians of the Emperor, the engineered super-soldiers known as Space Marines. Of course all of these system have (or will have, in the case of Deathwatch) numerous expansion books available.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP) is a venerable fantasy RPG, first released by GW in 1986. With its surprisingly lethal combat and innovative career system—which let players be anything from a lowly rat-catcher in an Imperial city to an spiky-haired Dwarven Trollslayer—it immediately carved an axeblade-shaped chunk in the RPG world. Since then it has gone through several publishers and three distinct editions, the latest being FFGs brand new revamp. There was some controversy when the new system was announced as relying on dice pools and printed components—a big change from the earlier two editions—but that has pretty much settled down as people play and enjoy the new  game, and realise that the focus is still on the storytelling. So far the core game and an Adventurer’s Toolkit has been released, and coming soon is a Game Master’s Toolkit and a new adventure boxed set, The Gathering Storm.

As you can see, FFG is doing incredible things with the opportunity to develop new games set in the vast universes of Games Workshop. There will no doubt be many more great games to come!

For more information about the games mentioned in this article, visit Fantasy Flight Games at http://www.fantasyflightgames.com or http://www.gamesparadise.com.au

by Universal Head

Universal Head (www.universalhead.com), has been designing graphics from the most corporate to the most creative for more than twenty years. He’s responsible for the graphic design of several boardgames, most notably ‘Tales of the Arabian Nights’ by Z-Man Games, and once spent a year recreating the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in 3D for the computer game ‘The Omega Stone’. In between he’s designed everything from large corporate websites, to postage stamps, to a mobile phone interface. His personal site www.headlesshollow.com is an obsessive repository of professionally designed rules summaries and reference sheets for popular boardgames.

Board Games weekly giveaway! (Entries close 28/03/2010) CLOSED

Searching for a new board games in 2010? Would winning over $200 worth of FREE board games help?!?!

Simply enter your response (Right side of the Games Paradise Blog), and the weekly winner receives a Games Bundle worth over $200 as pictured below!
Competition Question

In 100 words or less, Name your favorite place in the world of monopoly and why?

The winner will be chosen by Games Paradise Australia on relevance, use of humour, style and content on March 28th 2010 and contacted by email by a Games Paradise Australia representative. This is a game of skill. Chance plays no part in determining the winner.

Entries close 28th March 2010!

Winner Announced 29th March 2010!
Board Games Pack up for Grabs this Week

This Weeks winner: Jason Conlon

Monopoloy’s Community Chest spots are my favourite, because: 1) I like surprises; 2) whenever I get to say the word “chest”, I can’t help doing it in a pirate voice, with a hearty “ARRR”; and 3) it’s the only chance this average Aussie bloke will ever have of winning a place in a beauty contest.


Fun and educational children’s games

Fun, energetic, smart and good looking. I’m not just describing your ideal partner here, but the essential criteria for a winning kids’ board game. Kids, like their parents, are usually time poor these days, so a game that’s fun and educational is hard to beat. If you want your kids to have a great time while developing valuable language, maths and/or problem solving skills, there are a whole range of fantastic games that will do the trick.

Games for young children that can:

Boost literacy skills Bananagrams

  • Articulate for Kids
  • Junior Scrabble

Test general knowledge

  • Trivial Pursuit for Kids
  • Wits End Junior

Extend creative skills

  • Pictionary – Junior Edition
  • Cranium Cadoo
  • Charades for Kids

Develop reasoning and problem solving skills

  • Cluedo Junior Detective
  • Rush Hour Junior

Teach numeracy skills

  • Ludo  (Links with National Curriculum Maths)
  • Dominos

Enhance colour & shape recognition

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar Game

Are you nurturing a 21st century Picasso or Meryl Streep?

All these games prove that being fun and educational are not mutually exclusive. For example, as well as improving vocabulary and spelling, Bananagrams encourages your kids to yell out cool stuff all through the game like “Split”, “Peel”, “Dump” and “Bananas”. (Funny voices are optional!) Cluedo Junior Detective hones kids’ analytical and deductive skills while Cranium Cadoo develops a whole range of creative skills like acting, sculpture and drawing. You could be shaping a 21st century Picasso or Meryl Streep in your very own living room!

Many kids’ games also come in a variety of themed editions, so you can often match a game to your child’s interests. As some games are essentially junior versions of adult games, kids can gradually grow into these more advanced versions as their skills develop.

What’s your pick of the best educational, fun kids’ games?

My list is in no way exhaustive. It’s just a small selection from the huge array of children’s games available in stores. But ultimately, it’s up to the kids. If they’re asking to play a game over and over, and seem to be learning at the same time, then the game’s a winner. What’s your child’s favourite learning game?

Monopoly: Talkin’ bout a Revolution

A classic game’s anniversary is something to look forward to, because it usually means a new, improved edition is waiting in the wings. To celebrate Scrabble‘s recent diamond anniversary, a slick, portable version hit the shelves and Scrabble fans have never looked back. Monopoly’s 75th anniversary this year will also be a date to remember. Monopoly: Revolution Edition has already been unveiled by Hasbro and it’s a complete contemporary update targeting Gens Y and Z.

Monopoly Anniversary: Revolution Edition and more

There are a whole range of Monopoly variations already on the market. We even have our very own 25th Anniversary edition of Australian Here & Now Monopoly. Or how about an Anti-Monopoly Edition or the popular Dog Lovers Monopoly? There’s also a whole host of re-branded editions to choose from, such as Garfield Monopoly, GI Joe Monopoly, Elvis Monopoly, Muppets Monopoly, Las Vegas Monopoly, Beatles Monopoly and the nostalgic Retro Monopoly, to name just a few.

Hasbro mantra – Innovate or detonate

So is there really a strong demand for another version? For me, the answer is yes, yes, yes, and many other die-hard fans will agree. Monopoly is a classic game, which means it has what it takes to never go out of style. This latest edition however cleverly targets the savvy youth market in an attempt to prise them from their computer and video game screens. Hasbro has put the digital age mantra – innovate or detonate – into practice.

Pass GO and get – 2 million dollars!

Monopoly: Revolution Edition has not only been updated, but reshaped. As the name implies, the board is now round instead of square. This is either a stroke of genius or just a novelty factor. Players now wheel and deal using debit cards and an ATM instead of cash. An electronic banker oversees the game from a centralised pod, making cheating impossible. To catch up with 75 years of inflation, you now get $2,000,000.00 for passing GO instead of $200.00! Sound effects and music clips by performers like Beyonce, Rihanna and Elton John (“Elton who?” Gen Y might ask), are also brave attempts to connect with younger players.

Generations Y and Z

Time will tell if everyone is thrilled with this latest anniversary edition, but its development reflects the reality of the age that Gen Y and future generations will live in – for better or worse. In an increasingly cashless society with more leisure time and greater spending power, Monopoly: Revolution Edition may yet capture the imaginations of a wider, younger audience.

Ghouls, zombies and vampires! What’s the appeal?

Vampires! Once the mere mention of this word would evoke fear and loathing and send shivers down a normal person’s spine. But now, due to their recent sexy makeover in Hollywood’s Twilight series of films, there’s been a massive resurgence of interest in all things ghoulish and supernatural.

The Twilight Effect

Fantasy stories and games have always been popular. They have a timeless, escapist appeal. The nineties TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer normalised vampire killing as a past-time, but these poor vampires were always cast as the bad guys. Now that the Twilight effect has taken off – zombies, ghosts, werewolves and even your run-of-the-mill ghoul – are suddenly so much more appealing! But whether cast as good guys or bad, these creatures play an important part in our shared cultural mythology.

Satisfy your ghoulish cravings

And don’t you just love being scared out of your wits?  Isn’t it exciting to believe that there’s another more mysterious and dangerous shadow reality, just waiting to be discovered and explored? The problem with the movie or TV experience is that it only lasts a couple of hours at most, leaving us unsatisfied and hungry for more. This is where a great game trumps a movie or TV show every time. Playing fantasy games can satisfy our ghoulish cravings for weeks, months and even years!

There are many games to choose from that fulfil our yearnings for blood, human flesh and unlimited power! From Dark Heresy to Dungeons and Dragons – fantasy games earn a respectable slice of gaming revenue each year. A great macabre RPG is Vampire: Prince of the City, which uses blood as one of the currencies used on an ultimate quest to become the new Prince of all the Kindred.

The Zombie Game is coming – hold on to your brain!

And if you love zombies as much as I do, then you’ll love playing either a hero or zombie in the hugely successful Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game, which sold out on release and is into its second printing. Hold onto your brain while you can because this is a must-play game for all zombie horror fans. Let’s face it. Zombie lovers are truly spoilt for choice. There’s the whole Zombie!!! series of games to choose from, and the recently released All Things Zombie: The Board Game, which is an intense strategy RPG well worth getting your hands on.

There are so many supernaturally themed games to choose from, there’s no end to exploring this genre. Just be warned ! All vampires do not look like Twilight’s Robert Pattinson.

What’s Your Style?

What’s your learning style?

We can all recall the anticipation. The exhilaration. The crinkle of cellophane. The frenzied unwrapping and the heart-stopping lifting of the lid. A new board game lies before us. We inhale its heady aroma, savour its newness and look forward to our very first game play with mounting excitement. But if you are totally unfamiliar with a new board game, there’s one unavoidable obstacle determined to stifle your fun and delay your ultimate gaming pleasure. The instruction manual.

How can we successfully learn the rules of a new game, without ruining the spontaneous fun of playing our brand new board game? Most people fall into different learning styles that can help or hinder their enjoyment of the game. It can often make or break your opinion of the game as well – especially if the rules are overly complex and detailed.

Which learning style are you?

I’ve outlined the six most common game learning styles. Which one are you?

  • The Plunger. These players just dive in and start playing and never read the instruction manual, instead learning by error and instinct.
  • The Stepper. These players follow the instructions step by step while playing, with the manual handy at all times.
  • The Plodder. These players read the instructions cover to cover first to learn all the rules by rote and become a walking, talking instruction manual.
  • The Dipper. These players are impatient and start playing immediately, but still dip in and out of the instruction manual as they play.
  • The Observer. These players invite friends over who are already familiar with the game and watch them play to learn their tricks and tactics.
  • The Desperado. These players refuse to look at the manual and only sneak a peek only when desperate. This group may also stoop to cheating.

Do any of these categories sound like you or someone you know? Or is your style something else entirely? Maybe you‘re a bit of both? I’m a die-hard dipper, but of course I also learn from more experienced friends.

Everybody gets there eventually, but there are some learning styles that work better for some than others. Everyone is different, which also means it can be frustrating playing a new game with someone whose learning style is different to yours.  Just imagine a Plunger and a Stepper trying to learn a new game together!

Whatever your style, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s a foolproof way to learn, so just go for it. Exploring a new game is a great experience and once you’ve mastered the rules, there’s no looking back.

What’s your style?

Cooperation is the name of the game

Cooperation is the name of the game

Life is better shared. We’ve all heard this wise saying before, but are there some concrete ways we can make this maxim a reality? Nothing sums up this heart-felt sentiment more than when we make the effort to socialise with friends. I don’t mean just sitting around passively talking about mundane stuff like work , or aimlessly passing time on Facebook, but truly connecting through actively sharing experiences that give us a buzz and leave us on a high.

Schedule regular gaming nights

It sounds too easy to be true, but scheduling a regular gaming get together on a weekly basis with like minded friends brings rich rewards, and not just in monopoly money. Many board games can be the perfect backdrop for entertaining at home, and the more the merrier: four people or more joining in the action raises the fun level through the roof.

Which games are better shared?

I’ve found that cooperative style strategy games are best for bonding with your friends. Avoid hard-core competitive dog-eat-dog style games that can test the strongest friendships. Choose games that can be played within around 90-120 minutes, so you can make a night of it and still have plenty of time for the other stuff – like beer, pizza and gossip!

Caring and sharing games

Some great examples of caring and sharing games are the eurogames Agricola and The Settlers of Catan. Agricola is a turn based game ideally suited to couples, even though it can also be played solo. Role playing a farmer and spouse partnership can really hone friends’ cooperative skills.

The Settlers of Catan also depends on players being supportive of each other rather than combative.  As a recent immigrant to the island of Catan, you work cooperatively with other players through trade. You can expand your island colony by utilising surrounding resources wisely – but only with a little help from your friends of course.

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