Final top 5 list, I think that I could maybe come up with some more lists, but I might do eventual lists of games that play best or up to two through six or seven to give ideas for games like that. As I know […]
Tag: Fantasy Flight
Between campaign building, I want to go back to some of the board game lists. And this is probably my favorite mechanic for a game, where people can do things just a bit differently than other players. 5. SmallworldThe lightest game on the list by far, […]
I’ve talked a lot about theme in board game before and how I like board games with a good theme on them. Instead of talking so much about why I like themes in board games, I think I’ve covered that decently well, I’m going to talk about some of my favorite themes in board games and why I like them.
Now, that could be less exciting, because there are a lot of generic themes out there, and a lot of games that are using themes over and over again. Especially now with copyrights not being extended to kingdom come, there are more works that are now public domain. A few years ago Sherlock Holmes became public domain and HP Lovecrafts work some time before that.
So what are some of my favorite themes on board games?
Epic Fantasy –
Super generic, but I really do enjoy a good fantasy game. Especially since a lot of them have a better developed story than most. Now it helps that I’m a big fantasy fan, so I can quickly understand what is going on with the various fantasy tropes and it allows me to get quickly into the story being told. Games like Gloomhaven and Legends of Andor do a good job of baking story into the actual game play themselves. I think what I like about the fantasy theme on board games is that it gives me a bit of that feeling of playing an RPG in a lot of the games and I can make my decisions like I am that hero. In a lot of ways it scratches my itch to play an RPG when I can’t be in a game as a player or as the GM.
I did a big board game battle post about all of the Fantasy Flight games that I’ve played with the HP Lovecraft world theme on them. I’m a bit surprised with how main stream Lovecraft is in board games, but it works in most of the cases. I will say that it gets slapped onto a lot of games that don’t need it. Like in Unspeakable Words, you’re just doing a pretty standard word game, but it has the Lovecraftian theme and cute Lovecraftian artwork on it. Now, that’s fine because it takes a game that wouldn’t have artistic direction and gives it some, but it’s kind of silly. Then there are games like Arkham Horror, Mansions of Madness, and Arkham Horror LCG that are just steeped in theme. Those games seek to make you feel like an investigator of some background who is really going through this world, dealing with the monsters, progressing the story, looking for clues, and sometimes dealing with the events of the normal world. It also does a good job of setting an aesthetic that is generally pleasing to play in but also being a horror focused game. It really doesn’t rely on blood and guts like some horror games would.
Another super generic option, like epic fantasy, but I figured I should say more than just Star Wars. While the Star Wars games are great that I’ve played, Imperial Assault and Star Wars: Rebellion, there are other sci-fi games out there that I’ve liked as well. It’s interesting because you have a wide variety of scope with games in the Sci-Fi genre. Games like Star Wars: Rebellion, Battlestar Galactica, and Cosmic Encounters are planet level Sci-Fi games. And while Cosmic Encounters doesn’t feel like quire as grand a scope as Rebellion, it’s still a bigger game in some ways. Compare that to Imperial Assault and Clank! In! Space!, those games have a focus that is much more on a smaller part of the world. You’re on a planet or in a space ship dealing with things, but you aren’t as worried about the whole cosmos. Having that variety is what makes Sci-Fi such a strong genre to me.
Now, there are so many more genres out there, but you’re not going to have that much issue finding games in these genres, and I tend to gravitate towards them. There is one that I want to see more of though.
Weird West –
I really enjoy the weird west setting. Some might say that it’s a bit Lovecraft mixed with the wild west, and that’s probably pretty accurate. But when people say a Lovecraft game, that’s generally meaning 1920’s and Arkham area. Weird west can be a lot more than just that, and I like Shadows of Brimstone for that, though I’ve only gotten it to the table once. I need to go back and fix the monsters and hopefully stream that game at some point in time so I can actually play it some more. But the game is interesting and has some cool big moments to it.
Now, some might say this is part of fantasy, but I think I would qualify it differently than “Epic Fantasy”. Theming of games like Lords of Hellas, which I haven’t played or Santorini which is really an abstract game, but has the Greek mythology added to it, that’s a theme that I can get behind. What makes it generally pretty thematic is that all the deities have their own powers which really do track with the mythology that you’re in. Even if you aren’t going the standard Greek, there are now a lot of games with Norse Mythology. Blood Rage on the cards you draft does a really good job of creating that mythological feel for each deity that you can draft cards from. In fact, those cards are where you really get the theme of Norse Mythology in Blood Rage.
I could go on talking about more themes in board games. There are games with a heavily influenced theme by Japan and/or Anime. There are games t hat have cool adventuring themes that give you the Indiana Jones feel. There are a few themes that I’ll generally avoid though. If a game has the “trading in the Mediterranean” theme, that’s a hard pass for me. I’m also kind of done with the zombie theme at this point. I do like Dead of Winter, so I’m not opposed to it, but a zombie themed game isn’t all that interesting to me most of the time.
What are some themes you like in board games. What are themes that you want to see more of in board games?
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This is a game that I’ve talked about some in previous articles, but I wanted to do a proper TableTopTakes review of it. Legacy of Dragonholt is a combination of an RPG and choose your own adventure book. However, it does feel different from something […]
If you go into Fantasy Flight Game Center (or to their website), you see loads and loads of board games that have Star Wars on the side of the box. They have X-Wing, Armada, Rebellion, Imperial Assault, Legion, and Destiny, and I’m probably missing a couple, not to mention the RPG where they have Force and Destiny, Edge of the Empire, and Age of Rebellion. It’s really cool to see them because they all give you different feels for games, Rebellion lets you feel like you’re controlling the over arching saga of the original trilogy. X-Wing gives you space dog fights, and Armada gives you big interstellar combat. Imperial Assault gives you quick hitting rebel missions and Legion pits larger forces against each other. And Destiny gives you a card game with Star Wars art and a lot of fun dice.
These are all games that Fantasy Flight has taken from a license and turned into a ton of products. I’m pretty sure I’m evening missing a game. There are also other games like the Game of Thrones living card game or the new game that came out from CMON, Song of Ice and Fire. There’s a whole system of games, the Legendary Encounters based off of Marvel Legendary (another licensed property) for Alien, Predator, Firefly, Big Trouble in Little China, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and now X-Files. The point of writing all of that was that there are a ton of board games that have cool properties behind them and there are more coming out all of the time.
Unlike Robin Hood and Lovecraft’s work which can be slapped on anything because they are public domain, there are a lot that need to be licensed. So, what are some of these other stories that I can to see board games made out of?
I’m going to give the title of the book, TV show, movie, and some description of what I think would make it an interesting game or how I might go about building a game. I’m also going to be avoiding things that I know are already board games, you might not know there is a Kung-Fu Panda game, but there is, so I won’t be making my own for that.
R.I.P.D. is a movie and comic about a cop who dies and then becomes a cop in the after life taking crazy bad guys. I like the theme for this one and think that with a bunch of minis and different cops who you could play, it could be a fun game playing against a scenario(s). You’d be trying to defeat different bad guys, or maybe a scenario would have you get information while trying to survive long enough to get back out. There’s a good number of stories that you could do with it, and while it is a lot of the current meta, I’d lean into the supernatural. Give the players and monsters abilities that they can use that are a bit game breaking, but come at a cost to the monsters of the players. That would then give the game a unique feel as compared to other scenario based games because it’s the last ditch sort of move instead of other variable player powers.
Now, there is something coming out that can have some tie in to this series by Patrick Rothfuss, but I want to take it in a different direction than that game. That one looks like it is more about the whole fantasy world, and like I said, it isn’t an actual game on the series, it just has a module for it, so it counts for me. I’d focus on the time at the university. People could take on different students, doing different things for different classes and the game would be split into four or five parts which would be different years at the school. Each turn you’d take an action to either study, go to classes, make money, or if you are playing a character who has money, just get money. You’d play as different characters who are studying at the university and at the end of each round you’d score points and depending on how you did and your income, you’d get your tuition set for the next year which would take money from you, and you’d repeat the process. If you didn’t have enough money, you’d be limited to actions in town or going and taking out a loan to be able to stay in school, but that would be costly for you. I think you could make this game interesting by having characters increase in skills, do sneaky things, and complete missions for teachers. I think I’d then have the players try and get as many points as they could in completing their education or at least advancing in it.
Killjoys is a space television series about a crew who picks up criminals and turns them in and deals generally with all the problems that are going on in their world. I don’t think I’d make my game as dramatic as the show, but I do think I’d set it up so that it really focuses on bringing in those criminals like the earlier part of the show does. It would somewhat be a pick-up and deliver game where you fly to a planet, pick up what you need, and deliver it back for money. However, the longer you go, the more troubles you are going to run into completing missions and also the more events and worse events that will be happening to the Quad, the area of planets you are working in. In the end, the winner would have the most money at the end of the game from bringing in criminals, but you have to decide how to use it because you might want to upgrade your ship, weapons, or crew to make the jobs easier.
I’m a little surprised I haven’t heard of one besides some company branding an ouija board with Stranger Things, because of money. For those who don’t know, Stranger things is about a girl who escapes from the grasp of an evil company that is messing around with her abilities and is also looking into another dimension, the Upside Down where there are monsters that start bleeding over into this small town. I would make this as an asymmetric game for up to five people as that’s about how it works in the game. There are the kids, the teenagers, the adults, the company, and the upside down. The upside down and the kids would be required to play the game, but the rest could be optional. As the kids, you are trying to keep Eleven safe and close the portal to the Upside Down, as the Upside Down, you are trying to capture all the kids or get enough monsters into the world that you win. If you were the adults, your goal would to find one of the kids who gets lost in the upside down, and as the teens your goal is to kill as many monsters as possible. Finally, as the company, your goal would be to keep Eleven alive, but have her under your control, and not have anyone else win for a certain number of rounds. I could also see cutting it down to three factions and having the people of the town, adults, teens, and kids, all be the same person. But I think it could be interesting, each group having their own special powers and goals that they are going for in the game.
What are some stories that you think would turn into a good board game? What are some of your favorites that are already board games?
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Yes, this is a four way showdown between the heavy hitters that I’ve played of the Lovecraftian world. Now, there are lot more Lovecraftian/elder god games out there, including Eldritch Horror that could have joined the list. In fact Eldritch Horror would have made a […]
Back for more reviews on games that are a bit older, but I’ve finally gotten a chance to play them, and in the case of Mansions of Madness, was totally worth the wait to check it out. So spoilers, I’m going to review this pretty well.
Mansions of Madness is a story based game where you are investigators in a Lovecraftian world, trying to figure out different scenarios, solve puzzles, and search for clues. The investigators have been called to look into weird things that are going at on this mansions and exploring through the rooms, meeting the Butler, and trying to track down the cultists who are working on bringing through one of the elder gods. Things aren’t that easy though, and the monsters that show up and cultists that are running around are definitely trying to hurt you or drive you insane.
So, this game seems like there should be a ton of set-up that you need to do throughout the game. You are placing where the clue tokens are, you are setting up the rooms and there are monsters to be placed. That’s one of the cool features of the 2nd Edition of Mansions of Madness, it comes with an app.This app tells you what to set-up, where you need to set it up, and what you are seeing. You aren’t just placing a few clue tokens onto a board to investigate, you are getting a description that there is a family portrait on the wall, and that’s what you’re investigating, or the pile of mail that is sitting in the foyer, or maybe papers on the office desk.
There are other cool features to the app as well, it gives you story pieces, in fact it’s voice acted as you get the information for the case when you start. And it fills in the details as to what you find, so no flipping through a book, you just pick the clue you investigated (and it even tells you how to investigate it), you can then find the clue and information. It allows Mansions of Madness to feel like an RPG but without having someone run the game. And it allows them to do puzzles. Maybe you are very smart, then you can take more turns trying to figure out a puzzle, but they might be worse at combat. Finally, it makes the board different for you, we played the same scenario twice, and the board and clues came up differently.
The app is definitely the big selling point to this game. There are other fun features as well. The fact that each character is unique and has a unique power is great. Along with that, it’s an annoying thing, but also a fun thing, when you get more wounds than you can take, you get a permanent wound, so you don’t die right away, but now instead of being able to hold a lot of items, now you can only hold two. The same thing happens with sanity, you are going more and more insane, and if you reach your insanity threshold then you go insane, and if you reach it again you die. But, like wounds, going insane means something, for example, when I went insane in the game that we barely won, I had to have a slashing weapon (I think that’s what it was called), and be in the same spot as the other player otherwise, I think the other player would have won, but I wouldn’t have. Now, what I was doing with that knife, never explained, but now I had to do weird stuff in order to be able to win.
Overall, this is a fun game and the app makes this game accessible to people who aren’t gamers. That said, I do think that this is more of a gamers game, and while it is cooperative, someone who is less of a gamer might just be doing what someone else says for them to do, versus playing the game as much themselves. However, and I think this is how it should be, if you are playing Mansions of Madness with someone who isn’t as much of a gamer, let them play, and it’s not super difficult to learn and once they do, they are going to enjoy it more.
Overall Grade: A
Gamer Grade: B+
Casual Grade: B-
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As I’ve been teasing for a little bit, we are doing Star Wars trilogies. Using the Star Wars RPG system created by Fantasy Flight Games. So this is the first part of the Trilogy of Tatooine Troubles where we have a group of Bounty Hunters […]