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Tag: Star Wars

10 Games that Blew Me Away

Hey there loyal readers!

Once again, I find myself writing about the top ten games of some description (I did so thoroughly enjoy myself last time!). However, rather than looking forward to games I haven’t yet played, I’ll be diving into the past to tell you about the ten games that blew my mind when I played them.  Some of these may not be surprising, sure, but that doesn’t make the impact they had on me any smaller. If you’re just starting your foray into the hobby, or are just looking for high quality games, then this is the list for you! Let’s get straight into it.

10. Illuminati

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Way back when I was a wee lad, I used to accompany my mum to her boyfriend’s house. One night he pulled out Illuminati, touting it as “the game that got him into gaming”. Taking control of a secret organisation vying for world domination, Illuminati is a wild, mathy ride of alliances, betrayal, blowouts and secrecy that kept me entertained for hours on end; the game manages downtime exceptionally well by keeping everyone involved in the action pretty much all the time. It also did hidden identities and variable player exceptionally well, and is a game that, in my opinion, was well beyond its time.

It’s definitely an involved game. It requires a lot of calculating and some probability knowledge certainly won’t go astray. It  lends itself to kingmaker scenarios  especially as if the leader snowballs out of control. Surprisingly, some cheeky humour combined with a gaming experience I haven’t found elsewhere make Illuminati an easy include. It  That being said, dedicated hobby gamers whose feelings are not hurt by vicious, potentially backstabbing friends will love what is offered in this game of conspiracy.

9. Revolution

Revolution Box Cover

At CanCon many years back, someone brought Revolution back to our cabin to give it a go. Many hours later, we finished our session of several games of this cutthroat, strategic bidding/area control game. Each turn, you spend all of your resources in order to influence various members of the city and gain a mix of resources, points and influence in the city. Rinse and repeat until the city is filled with influence, then the person with the most points is the winner, with the different areas of the city awarding points for the majority influence holder in them.

Bidding games are sometimes a bit tedious but Revolution’s revolutionary (I love my puns) bidding mechanic drew me in quickly.  Resources are great, but temporary; Influence is awesome, but it can be removed. Points are great, but they make it harder to gain support on the following turn. What do you go for and when? Do you focus on controlling a few, powerful members of the city or do you try and influence as many as possible, risking getting outbid? A quick forty or fifty minutes per game, Revolution has been a hit every time, and I still happily play this one to this very day.

8. 7 Wonders: Duel

7 Wonders: Duel Box Cover

When 7 Wonders came out, it was a roaring success among many board gamers, myself included. However, as time went on, I grew  tired of it; sometimes the player on the other end of the table would win and it wouldn’t mean anything to me. It was bland at times, and sometimes the game left it completely out of my control. It became a little too chaotic at higher players counts, where it becomes a popular choice due to how “well” it plays so many. I’m not saying 7 Wonders is a bad game; on the contrary, it’s quite wonderful. But something was missing…

And it feels like 7 Wonders: Duel has taken everything I loved in the original and added so much more. Easily a stronger game than its bigger brother, this little two player head-to-head card drafting game is now my go-to two player game for anyone looking for a great two-player game. Accessible but strategically very deep, Duel is an exciting journey through the ages in around thirty minutes, with a constant back and forth feeling in the game, as well as different avenues to victory that are all viable. What’s not to like about all that? If you loved 7 Wonders, you’ll likely adore this smaller yet strategically richer entry in the line.

7. Agricola

Agricola Box Cover

I debated putting this one higher on my list, but here at number seven we find the game that introduced worker placement to me.  Agricola is a controversial game that divides many gamers. Some abhor having to feed their people and the constant pressure they feel because of it. Others, myself included, love this stress and almost problem solving gameplay, layered with so many different card combinations that no two games will be the same. The first few times we played, we simply dealt out the cards randomly, which resulted in some very powerful combinations. Since then, we’ve implemented the drafting variant, and man oh man does the game really shine then.

There are many valid criticisms of Agricola, and it certainly takes a lot of getting used to. All that being said, I often think of Agricola as a very important steeping stone in my own gamer journey, and there was a time when we played it weekend after weekend without tiring of it. I have yet to play Caverna, which supposedly addresses some of Agricola’s shortcomings. Even so, I doubt it would supplant this wonderful, whimsical farming game from this list.

6. BattleCON: Devastation of Indines

Really, this could stand in for any of the BattleCON games, but this was the big one which really secured my love for it. After playing the game on iPad, this was the first game I really went out of my way to get because I loved it so much. Whereas Yomi was an absolute dud for me, BattleCON captured my love of arcade fighting games and tactical card games.

The result is one of the most innovative games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. What’s more, there is enough replayability in the box that you’ll never run out of content. Wildly different characters, simple yet deep mechanics, and an amazing double-think style of play mean this is likely to never leave my shelf.

5. Apotheca

Apotheca Box CoverThe most recent in mind blowing games, Apotheca is the game that came out of nowhere. I’ve not heard of the companies that made it nor the designer, nor did I hear anything of the game on Kickstarter. But one gaming night, when I was preparing to play Archipelago, I saw the fanciful potions and the grid-like board of a puzzle game, and kept a constant eye on it as I played my own game of colonisation. The more I watched, the more I wished I was playing this wonderfully unique abstract game.

Something of a very advanced Connect Four, Apotheca asks players to find clever ways to get three potions of the same colour in a row. With many unique player powers, a solid catch-up mechanic, simple set up and great player scaling, I’d go so far as to say that Apotheca is the best relatively unknown game I’ve played ever. This is a criminally underrated and unknown game; if you can, track down a copy and you won’t regret it. This has been a success with gamers and non-gamers alike, and at some point I’ll get around to getting a copy for myself too!

4. Power Grid

Power Grid

Few games have racked up nearly as many plays as Power Grid for me. I can distinctly remember playing five or six games of it in a row late on a weekend night in Canberra, sleeping only as the sun was just about to come up again and my brain was out of energy. Incredibly mathy and punishing, Power Grid is one of those games that really rewards precision. Make one wrong calculation, one wrong purchase, one misstep, and you’ll be crushed underfoot.

That is what blew me away about it, though. Everything you do, the bidding on power plants, the purchasing of resources, where you expand to, what you use to power your cities, literally everything matters so much. You have to be paying attention to everything in the game, every slight change in what people are doing, lest you fall behind in the money race. It’s been years since I’ve tabled this, but if someone were to ask me for a game, I’d happily jump in and be a power company CEO again.

3. Codenames

Codenames Box CoverAt the end of last year, I began hearing about a party game all about words. A game where players would try and link as many words together with a single clue. The premise sounded interesting, and when I managed to snag a copy of Codenames at CanCon, it was an instant crowdpleaser. We played so many games that night at varying player counts, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had playing a party game. Dixit amazes me too, but there’s something so satisfying about giving a good clue in Codenames, or even just being on the same wavelength as the spymaster. And, of course, it’s an absolute riot when you’re not. As the rules booklet says, win or lose, it’s fun to solve the clues.

Codenames is one of the only games that I consider to be “perfect”, winning the Spiel des Jahres. In fact, it’s the only game on this list of games that blew my mind that I consider so. That’s quite a testament to this game’s magnificence, especially given that it has to compete with my favourite game of all time:

2. Star Wars: Rebellion

Star Wars: Rebellion Box Cover

It’s no secret I’m a huge Star Wars fanboy. When I finally got the chance to play Rebellion, I tried to keep my expectations in check. I’d heard wonderful things, and I was worried about being disappointed. The giant board was set up, I’d read the rules the night before in anticipation, and took Imperial Command. And so began the greatest Star Wars experience any game has ever offered me. Having played two games since then every single one has had me hooked for every second, from the setup ’till the destruction of the Death Star or the Rebel Base.

With the exception of extended combats, which tend to be a bit of a drag, Rebellion blew me away not only thematically, but also mechanically. Never had an asymmetrical experience felt both so unfair yet fair at the same tim. It encapsulates the struggle of the rag-tag Rebels and the might of the Empire so well, you constantly feel hounded and sneaky as the Rebels, whilst feeling almighty and unstoppable as the evil Empire. The mission mechanic is also something I want to see in more and more games going forward; the assigning of all your favourite characters to missions truly evokes an emerging narrative as you play, and even though it does take quite a while, I’ve always come away wanting more.

1. Pandemic: Legacy

Pandemic: Legacy Box Cover

Number one on boardgamegeek for a reason. Pandemic: Legacy is one of the most revolutionary game in board gaming history. This is not the best game by no means. Sometimes we were eliminated by pure chance, or a series of fortunate draws or events meant we breezed through. There were lulls or gameplay that seemed a bit tedious. Yet here it is, at number one, and here’s why.

There is no game like it on the market at the moment. No game can come close to delivering the ongoing and mostly engaging story that it can. No game makes your triumphs feel better or your failures feel as bad as this one. No game has made me this attached to a character, or had me as surprised  at the twists it offered. Playing through those twenty games it took us to emerge victorious was an incredible journey; far and away the most novel and unique gaming experience I’ve ever had. Simple enough to get into, and if you have four willing to play, Pandemic: Legacy is hours of fun. Forget the naysayers talking about the finite experience. if I had three people eager, I’d go through it all again even though I completed the story.

Yeah, it was that good.

 

 

All About Living Card Games

Introduced by Fantasy Flight Games  all the way back in 2008, the Living Card Game (LCG) model of distribution is an innovative alternative to the widespread collectible card game model.  Anyone who has played Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokemon will know the sting that competitive play can bring to your wallet, as you try and track down those rare competitive cards whose prices make money strapped gamers sad. The LCG model was the answer to this, beginning with A Game of Thrones and Call of Cthulhu back in 2008, with many more games joining the fixed distribution model later on.

For those who don’t know what the main draw of an LCG is, it’s quite simple; no random packs. Before you purchase a product, you know exactly what you’re going to get. No more chasing down those money cards and forking out ludicrous amounts of money just for the right to compete. Just work out which pack the cards you want are from and grab that. Or just grab everything; keeping up with an LCG is really not an expensive venture, and they combine excellent gameplay with their lowered barriers to entry to create a healthy and thriving scene.

If you’re not sure which LCG is for you, then you’ve come to the right place; I’ll be looking at each LCG that is currently in print and still continuing to release product (as well as one upcoming one), giving a brief rundown on my own thoughts on the game, as well as a quick recommendation on who I believe it’s suitable for. Note that this article doesn’t cover the LCG-like games of other companies (Doomtown: Reloaded and VS2PCG come to mind), but only those offered by Fantasy Flight Games.

I’m going to use the generic terms “Pack” and “Deluxe” to represent the smaller sixty card expansions (well, three times twenty different card) and the larger box expansions respectively. They are called different things depending on the game, but for the sake of simplicity, I will be using these two terms instead. If you’re thinking about getting into the LCG, click on the title just before their respective sections. Without further ado, let’s get into it, starting with:

Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (2011)

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

Lord of the Rings is an interesting product in that whilst it has been out the longest and has far and away the most product available for it (currently 33 Packs and 12 deluxe expansions), it is also the game that has the lowest barrier to entry, a virtue of the fact that the game is entirely co-operative. You need not be concerned with needing everything; you can grab everything at your own pace and slowly discover the game. In fact, the Core Set itself contains so many powerful cards that with the Core Set and even just a handful of packs, you can build decks to take on any adventure.

The game has really ramped up in the last few years. I found the initial quests in the early cycles to be a bit lacking, but the last three cycles have been absolutely amazing, as have the Fellowship adventures, which allow for a campaign mode as well. And boy oh boy have the quests gotten harder; even with well tailored decks and experienced players, the game is very difficult, just as a co-op game should be.

A great option for solo-play and even as a pseudo board game on its own, Lord of the Rings is definitely worth a look into if you’re looking for a readily expandable cooperative experience that’s thematic, challenging and innovative. Probably one of the further advantages of the game is that even if your area lacks a playgroup, you’re still able to enjoy all of the game by yourself, or even with friends; you don’t need a community for the game to be at its best. A good entry point would be two Core Sets and some of the Fellowship deluxes, Alternatively, one cycle of six packs plus the deluxe to go with it can replace the Fellowship deluxes. An important thing to note is that each cycle is tied to a deluxe, thus you’re better off not buying random packs without the corresponding deluxe. As far as cycles go, I was a huge fan of the Land of Shadow, and am really liking the interesting direction the designers have taken with the Grey Havens, so either of those would make for awesome places to begin your adventures in Middle-Earth.

Android: Netrunner (2012)

Android: Netrunner

I will freely admit that Netrunner is one of the few LCGs I haven’t had much experience with. An asymmetric card game set in a cyberpunk world, one player plays as the hacker trying to bypass all of the traps and blockades set up by the corp played by the other. It’s certainly a very unique game, forgoing much of the standard spend resources, play character of other games and replacing it with a game full of risk management, bluffing and constant tension. Sure, cards still cost money, but the main driving force of the game is action and risk management.

Netrunner has easily seen the most success out of all the LCGs, with hundreds of players turning up for its largest events.  Now many cycles in, the game is very deep and deck possibilities are vast and varied. That, however, comes at a cost, and the entry point at the moment is intimidating. In my own experiences, it’s the type of game that you have to make your main game to truly enjoy it;  the hidden knowledge component of the game means that not being up to date with the cards is going to cost you even more than in other games, and the risk management/math heavy nature of the game means that in order to get the most out of Netrunner, you have to invest yourself in it,

Thankfully, the community resources are far and away the most expansive of the LCGs, and you will likely have no issue finding tournaments or competitive-minded players to play against. I would recommend Netrunner to the competitive card gamer looking for something to throw themselves into, but definitely not for those looking to just dabble and play for fun; to me, the game just doesn’t quite do casual well, and shines brightest in the heat of competition.

Star Wars: The Card Game (2012)

Star Wars: The Card Game

Yet another asymmetric game, though not quite to the extent of NetrunnerStar Wars: The Card Game  has had a bit of a tumultuous history. After an excellent and interesting core set, the first cycle was rather weak, and that coupled with delays meant that many became disillusioned with it. As a point of comparison, Star Wars and Netrunner were released in the same year, but Star Wars is seven packs behind! This means that it’s much more difficult to find a tournament for Star Wars.

That said, the game is not without fantastic mechanics that, again, got much better as time went on (the second cycle was magnificent). If you’re a true fan of the license, you can have a lot of fun with this game, and there are a whole heap of viable options for deckbuilding at a casual, fun level. There is a bit of a thematic disconnect which a lot of people have taken issue with (an X-Wing blasting down Darth Vader, or the Executor being poked by Ewoks for example) but with two core sets and two Edge of Darkness expansion packs, a lot of fun can be had. It pains me that I can’t recommend this higher, given how interesting the game play is (really, if you like game design, try play a game of it) and how much I like the license, but you can’t win ’em all.

Warhammer 40000: Conquest (2014)

Warhammer 40,000: Conquest

Speaking of excellent game design, the LCGs continue to deliver with Eric Lang’s Warhammer 40000: Conquest. Much like Netrunner, Conquest really lends itself to tournament play above anything else; you can certainly play the factions you like, but due to the super tight game play, not playing with competitive options means you’re going to get crushed quickly. With a much more spacial aspect than the other LCGs (fitting given the license) and the extremely innovative and well thought out simultaneous decision making mechanic, Warhammer 40000: Conquest has a lot going for it gameplay-wise for a start.

What’s more, on top of the strong license, great gameplay  and fantastic artwork is the relatively low price point of the game at the moment. With only two deluxes and thirteen packs, you can have everything in the game for a relatively low entry point. Whilst recent developments on the game have been slow and it lacks the same consistent community which both Netrunner and the next game have in spades, you could do far worse as far as great, skill intensive competitive games go.

A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition (2015)

A Game of Thrones: The Card Game

Wasting no time after ending First Edition, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition (AGOT 2.0) is running pretty hot at the moment. If you’re a fan of the source material, you’ll find all of your favourite characters faithfully represented in AGOT 2.0, which currently has a heavy focus on these unique fan favourite characters going into various challenges against one another as you struggle for the Iron Throne. With a healthy mix of luck and skill, relatively simple mechanics, a healthy and steadily growing community and the fact that it’s currently FFG’s youngest LCG, AGOT 2.0 is definitely the game to get into at the moment if you’re on the fence about all the others (or you’re just a mega-fan of the series).

Much like Netrunner and ConquestAGOT 2.0 is primarily a competitive game. The first of two game modes, Joust is the more common of the two and is  a traditional one versus one affair. In addition, casual play is much more encouraged mechanically than in any other LCG, at least in my opinion. This is further exemplified by the wilder, more chaotic Melee format, where three to four players struggle for the throne, forging alliances only to break them off just as quickly. The melee option even works quite well as just a family board game on its own, making AGOT 2.0 one of the easier games to sample first before committing.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game (4th Quarter 2016-Early 2017)

The only LCG not yet released that we’ll be looking at today is the mysterious Arkham Horror: The Card Game. Not too much is known about this game yet, but early reports point towards a hybrid LCG/roleplaying experience unlike any other game on the market. I’m incredibly curious to see how much FFG has learned about making a cooperative LCG from Lord of the Rings, and if they can get it right from the beginning, the popular theme and innovative design space may prove to be a winner!

Whichever LCG you do end up choosing, I hope you have an amazing time with the diverse, thematic experiences awaiting you in each and every box. Fantasy Flight Games have done a wonderful job with the core of each of their card games, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this innovative model of card games (there are two more upcoming LCGs, but they’ll have to wait for another article).

Fulfill Your Destiny with Star Wars: Destiny!

There has been an awakening!

For those of you who aren’t aware, Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) released an article about an upcoming dice-based collectible game. Oh, and it’s from a pretty cool IP too.

Star.  Wars.  Destiny.

swd01_cardfan_1_good
I’ve taken the time to pull apart all the information from the original release article and the product page in order to extrapolate as much as possible about the rules of the game and what we can expect.  Without for ado, let’s get into it.

1. It’s collectible!

FFG is quite well known for creating new games using their existing LCG system. For those that don’t know, this meant that there were no randomised booster packs or collectible aspects to a game; instead, you simply purchase an expansion pack and bam, you have a playset of every card (most of the time). It’s a great system for fostering healthy game environments and keeping the cost barrier to card games lower than CCG counterparts.

I believe that FFG saw the incredible success of Wizkids’ Marvel Dicemasters (which literally sold out everywhere and became impossible to acquire initially) and began to ponder the viability of a collectible dice game. The strength of Marvel Dicemasters was definitely its license (some may say that designer Eric Lang was also a big drawing point, but lets face it; Generic Heroes Dicemasters would have faired far worse), and if FFG has anything going for it at the moment, it’s access to some of the biggest licenses possible (Game of Thrones and Star Wars most prominently). The little spiel by the designer about the game only working as a collectible game is certainly a stretch, as the success of Quarriors (of which Dicemasters was a successor) can show.

Regardless, I personally have no issue with FFG experimenting with a collectible game again, and from a business perspective, it makes absolute sense. I can see people easily going nuts over it, just as they did with Dicemasters.

swd01_mystery_booster

2. It’s NOT a Quarriors or Dicemasters Clone

Star Wars: Destiny has eschewed the Quarriors model of “dice-building” and replaced it instead with something more akin to a miniatures game. You begin with all of your characters in play, and as the battle goes on, you get rid of your opponents as they try and get rid of yours. You win the game by eliminating all of your opponent’s characters. Let’s take a quick look at a character card:

swd01_character-card_diagram

Now, the article mentions a few things regarding the cards in the game. There are three colours of characters (red for Commanders, yellow for Rogues and blue for Force Users) split between Heroes and Villains. Apart from the Hero/Villain divide, you are free to construct your force as you please. However, also note that there are point values in the bottom left (two in fact, separated by a slash). From viewing videos and thinking logically, I predict that the higher point value allows you to play a second dice of the same character (in one of the videos, you can clearly see a second Kylo Ren dice being rolled). Point Values also implies a build limit, again, much like a miniatures game. A key aspect of the game will be attacking the units which are key to the strategy of the opponent; do you focus on taking out lower health units to take them out of the game and cause your opponent to have fewer actions to take, or do you try and take out the bigger, more powerful units? Colour me intrigued.

3. Destiny is a hybrid card/dice game.

Continuing in their trend from Imperial Assault, Destiny features not only face-up open information character cards but also a deck of extra supporting cards, mixed with support and event cards. One of the dice faces in the game provides you resources which presumably you can spend to play these. Like the characters, they are also split into colour and faction. Note below the spoiled card “The Best Defense…” is a Red Villain Event:

The BEst Defence

This means that, like Imperial Assault, there are lots of hidden surprises just below the surface of what may appear to be a mostly puzzle-like experience (that is, simply calculating the best play given there are no tricks to be seen). I applaud this move; adding this extra element to the game not only vastly expands customisation options, but also adds tension and far more replayability to the game. I haven’t played Dicemasters at any competitive level, but I can easily see it becoming incredibly samey each and every game. Destiny, however, just like any other card game, allows you to see different outcomes and options each and every game.

4. It Features Characters from All the Star Wars Movies

Some may hate on Episodes I. II and III but no-one can deny that there are characters from it which are extremely popular. While it’s easy to cite Jar Jar as one of the most annoying characters in the series and a permanent stain on the series, it’s hard to find any fan who doesn’t think that Darth Maul and his double-bladed lightsaber, or Mace Windu and his purple lightsaber are not iconic parts of the franchise. Forget the flavour; I look forward to taking Jango, Boba and other villainous rogues into dice-chucking combat!

In summary, Destiny might look like the type of game that will be quickly be brushed aside (anyone heard anything about Warhammer Diskwars in a while?) but given the strength of the license, the excitement of finally being able to crack packs, and the simple yet innovative looking gameplay, I know that Star Wars: Destiny is something that’s going to be on my radar. As soon as I get my hands on some starters, there’s gonna be dice flying all over the place!

Excited about Star Wars: Destiny? You can pre-order it and check out some of the other games mentioned in this article:

TAG13, Dragon’s Maze and New Games

Toy and Games Expo 2013

Toy and Game Expo season is upon us! Save the date for the Queens Birthday Long Weekend for an entire weekend of gaming and crazy goodness. Tickets are on sale now and are at 25% off for a limited time only!

Big draws for TAG is the gaming, sales and all the cool exhibits. I will definitely be there ready to try all the newest and funnest games.

Dragon’s Maze

Last weekend was the Dragon’s Maze Prerelease for Magic the Gathering. Selesnya all the way! All the cards look real amazing to draft which is my format of choice. I can’t wait to try DM/GTC/RTR. Came 4th in my flight with a powerful Selesnya/Orzhov mix lead by my BFF Obzedat, Council of Ghosts!
Sick thing I saw : 18 damage from a Flesh and Blood Teysa which pretty much went all the way. 18 life is the new red zone.

New Games just in!

Zombies X for all you zombie fanatics.  

New Yu Gi Oh! Hidden Arsenal 7 for all you duelists.

Dungeon’s and Dragons 3.5 Premium Spell Compendium for all those nostalgic for better times

Strangely a Caverns of Time raid deck when the game is already in the Mists of Panderia.

Words with Friends which is a board game based on an app based on another board game.

Munchkin Penny Arcade in light of Penny Arcade EXPO which will be all over Melbourne in a few short months.

Other News.

The Friday Frenzy is back after a long hiatus and is here to stay.

Next Tabletop product is X – Wing the miniatures game. We are restocking the expansions for that product late next week so keep an eye out for them.

Star Wars Expansion Universe

Heaps of expansions are in this week and an all new limited edition poker set.
What’s new? 

A new poker chip set from Cartamundi boasts light saber poker chips and an awesome Death Star dealer chip.

Expansions for that awesome 2 player Card Revolver is in stock. Hunt the Man Down and Ambush on Gunshot Trail

War of the Ring is expanded with the Lords of Middle Earth Expansion mellon!

A Game of Thrones the Board Game is expanded with a print on demand expansion from FFG: A Dance with Dragons which reportedly spoils some of the story!

Cutthroat Caverns has a new expansion with the good old fit-all box that more publishers should look forward too.


What’s restocked?

Dungeon! , the Wizards of the Coast remake is back in stock. Its frantic push your luck mechanism is a great way to introduce people to rpg’s or board gaming in general.

Can of Worms is back in stock just in time for Christmas.

How to Host a Murder of Mythic Proportions

Whats News?
Complete restock of the How to Host a Murder line. All the old favourites are back in stock and that includes the oldies and the goodies:

Class of ’54
Tragical Mystery Tour
Last Train from Paris 
The Great Chicago Caper

The last time I tried one of these it also came with cool recipes ( Roman Ruins) which ended up being surprisingly edible.

Also the Dexter Board Game and the Asmodee game Seasons was restocked.

Whats New?

Mythic Battles from Iello brings to the table two player card based combat, as does doppelganger Mage Wars. It probably comes down to which theme you enjoy, greek mythos vs MAGIC but it also boils down too whether or not you own a copy of Summoner Wars or Magic the Gathering.

Return to Ravnica has dropped. Had tons of fun with the prerelease and the set looks like an amazing limited coup as there are so many combat abilities. Fatpacks, Booster Boxes and Intro packs are in with event decks sure to follow up.

Last week all X – Wing games reported in with a full set of Expansions and the dice pack in large quantities. All preorders are out so enjoy recreating Yavin IV like Wedge while your opponent recreates it like Jek Porkins.

What we played

Netrunner. This is clearly one of the best duelling card game I have played for a long time. So many decisions, so many plays! It plays completely differently for Corp and Runner with a mad theme to boot. Made me rewatch RoboCop. All of them.

Also drafted Return to Ravnica and it was quite a hard draft. My Advice: Stay open early and pick up the solid 2-4th picks on colour pack 2. Signals are super IMPORTANT.

GenCon 2011 Roundup

GenCon 2011

GenCon Indianapolis, the largest and most well-known gaming convention in the US, has just closed for another year after four days of the latest and greatest in role-playing games, miniatures wargames, board games, live action role-playing games, collectible card games, non-collectible card games, and strategy games.

There were lots of new games and exciting announcements, so let’s round up some of the most important information so you can start drooling over the cool new games that are coming your way over the next six months.

Fantasy Flight Games just seems to be growing bigger and bigger every year, and this year they made some big announcements and launched some very cool new games at their huge booth. The big news is their acquisition of the Star wars licence, and at genCon they were already showing advanced prototypes of Star Wars: The Card Game, a new cooperative LCG, and X-Wing, a tactical miniatures game with pre-painted miniatures of Rebel X-Wing and Imperial TIE fighters battling it out in space. The Star Wars stuff all seems to be set in the framework of the original 3 films, which I personally think is a clever decision because the new films were terrible. You may heartily disagree with me in the comments of this post, of course! 🙂

X-Wing Demo

X-Wing demo (photo courtesy of The Hopeless Gamer).

Two unexpected surprises came in the form of a brand new edition of the Tom Jolly classic Wiz War, and the new version of the much-loved Dune, which has been ‘rebranded’ to take place in the Twilight Imperium universe and is now called REX. Another surprise was a new second edition of Descent, featuring 8 new heroes and 40 monsters in 9 different new types, plus campaign rules. Thoughtfully, they’ll also be a Conversion Kit so you can easily use all your existing Descent stuff with the new streamlined system.

Wiz-War and REX

Wiz-War and REX (photo courtesy of The Hopeless Gamer).

Of course advance copies flew out the door of such new games as Elder Sign and Gears of War, and other new games were on display such as Ventura, Blood Bowl Team Manager card game, Rune Age, The Adventurers: Pyramid of Horus, A Game of Thrones Board Game 2nd edition, Dust Warfare, the new tabletop miniatures system for Dust Tactics, and Black Crusade, the new W40K RPG.

Now, onto other companies! Asmodee released the new expansion for their excellent dungeon-crawler Claustrophobia, which is called De Profundis and includes a new 55-card deck, new demons, events, and objects; 10 new room tiles, 4 painted figures and 12 new scenarios.

Plaid Hat, makers of Summoner Wars, released their new game Dungeon Run, a fast-paced, dice-rolling dungeon crawler (or should I say runner?) They also have a new Summoner Wars: Master Set packed with six new factions and storage for your existing factions.

Flying Frog Games had their highly-anticipated new game Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game for sale. This is an Indiana Jones-style game of worldwide pulp action and adventuring and—you guessed it—cliffhangers set in the late 1930s. As usual for this company, the game is dripping with theme and in their trademark style of photographic illustrations of actors playing the characters.

Fortune and Glory

Fortune and Glory – back of the box.

Z-Man Games sold out of 50 pre-release copies of their new game Ninjato (for which, I’m proud to say, I created the graphic design) in the first five minutes of GenCon, so here’s hoping it will be a big hit! In the future I’ll have lots more information about this exciting game set in medieval Japan. They also showed off Guards! Guards! A Discworld Boardgame, set in Sir Terry Pratchett’s fantasy city of Ankh-Morpork and featuring artwork by Discworld illustrator Stephen Player.

Whizkids had a couple of new releases, notably Quarriors, a deckbuilding, dice battling game, and Star Trek: Fleet Captains, a fleet exploration and combat game set in the ‘pre-new-film’ Star Trek universe.

Well there you go, just a brief look at all the fantastic new games that will be coming your way over the next few months. No shortgage of great gaming there then!

Now I want all my readers to start lobbying Games Paradise to send me to the convention next year so I can give you a ‘from-the-showroom-floor’ report next time! 🙂

Feel the Force! FFG Gets Star Wars Licence

Star Wars

There’s exciting news for gamers this morning as Fantasy Flight Games announced that it has entered a comprehensive licensing partnership with Lucasfilm Ltd. for the worldwide rights to publish card, roleplaying, and miniatures games set in the popular Star Wars™ universe!

Two have already been announced: X-Wing will be a tactical ship-to-ship combat game in which players take control of powerful Rebel X-wings and nimble Imperial TIE fighters, pitted against each other in fast-paced space combat. FFG promise stunningly detailed and painted miniatures and exciting Star Wars space combat in several included scenarios (or you can create your own). You can also customize your ship and crew with advanced rules that let you allot resources to your ships: your pilot, fighter specifications, and (in the case of the X-wing) Astromech droid, all of which have a direct impact on your strategy.

Star Wars: The Card Game is a cooperative Living Card Game (LCG) that puts 1-4 players in command of a Rebel strike force and mission team. Players will launch fleets of starships and direct some of the most famous heroes in the Star Wars galaxy as they confront the might of the Empire. By working together, players can fend off Imperial assaults and complete their mission, winning the game! We’re told they’ll be a wealth of characters, starships, missions, and enemies, and it looks like this game will have some similarities to the recently released Lord of the Rings Card Game, with a range of deck-building strategies: Military, Rogue, Tech and Operations.

Stay tuned for more information as it comes in. May the force be with you!

Friday’s Gaming News Update

Friday again already? Let’s have a look at what’s been happening in the world of gaming this week!

New Releases from Games Paradise
The new revamped version of the Tom Wham classic Kings and Things by Z-Man Games is out. Originally published back in 1986 by Games Workshop, this a fun game of waring fantasy kingdoms.

Star Wars fans won’t want to miss out on the 3D illusion of the Star Wars Lenticular Chess Set.

A new supplement for the Warhammer 40,000 roleplaying game system Rogue Trader is out—Edge of the Abyss. This new book features in-depth descriptions of several important locations in the Expanse, including some never-before-revealed worlds. Plus you’ll find background information, statistics, and ships for the most powerful alien races and organizations of the Expanse, not to mention adventure ideas, location guides, and much more.

News From the World of Gaming
Games Workshop have released an updated errata for Warhammer 40,000.

Michael Barnes has an extremely positive review of the new Space Hulk: Death Angel card game.

Matt Drake reviews Guardians of Graxia.

Dale Yu reviews the upcoming Isla Dorada.

Check out this great gaming blog – Fire Broadside!

Some fantastic fan-made extras for Arkham Horror The Grudunza Horror: Part 1: The GOOs, Part 2: Karma and Part 3: Unsung Heroes.

I couldn’t resist showing you this fantastic dwarf and Santa miniature from Scibor Miniatures in time for Xmas.

Fantasy Flight keeps the good stuff coming with new articles:

A bit more information on Dust Tactics and the kits, toys and comics of the non-gaming Dust Models range.

At last, more information about the eagerly-awaited Lord of the Rings: The Card Game.

A new supplement announced for Deathwatch, the Warhammer 40,000 roleplaying game for space marines – Rites of Battle.

Another single miniature release announced for TannhäuserOksana.

A new expansion for the excellent Cosmic Encounter game announced – Cosmic Conflict. 20 new aliens, components for a new black player, and a new Hazard deck to shake things up.

Get some gaming in this weekend!