Join us for a fancy party at the Netherfield Estate and try and find the most eligible most eligible bachelor and get married in the end. Marrying Mr. Darcy is a quick card game set in the world that Jane Austen created, and it can…
Tag: table top
So, I was going to do an article on kickstarter games that I had backed in 2019 because most of those are coming to me in 2020, but I decided to expand upon that with a series that will be running between Christmas and New Years (and depending on how many I prep into the New Year as well).
Let’s start by talking about some Kickstarters that I will have coming in. I’m counting reprints/second editions with this, so the first one is:
Middara – This game rivals Gloomhaven in terms of size and is bigger in terms of story. There has been so much put into it, and the first kickstarter took forever to fulfill. However, I’m just backing what came out in that Kickstarter so I expect to get mine next year, and projected date places it the middle of next year. In Middara, you are in an anime-esque world and fighting through a massive story with lots of different dungeons and interactions. You make decisions that might change up things in the future, and you upgrade your characters with interesting skills and weapons. This game looks amazing, when I’ll play it, who knows, but I’m excited for it.
Village Attacks – Another reprint, I played it at GenCon last year, got a scenario and a few bits for it, found out that it was impossible to find, but then they kickstarted an expansion for it, which I backed so I could use my GenCon scenario. In this game, it’s tower defense, but you’re the bad guys who are keeping those pesky villagers with their torches and pitchforks from running you at of your house. It’s fully cooperative which I like, and the theme is just a lot of fun. I’m excited for this one to get it back to the table and properly deal with those villagers again. The scenarios are a lot of fun, and depending on what villagers come out when, the game will feel different playing the same scenario.
Dice Throne Adventures – I’ve talked about how much I like Dice Throne. This Yahtzee/King of Tokyo style game where you are fighting a character against another character. You’re part of a massive tournament that the evil emperor has set-up that isn’t at all like Mortal Kombat or anything like that. But in Dice Throne Adventures, you are fighting your way through the evil emperors lands, leveling up your characters, and playing cooperative against the game with whatever characters you want from Season One or Two of Dice Throne. It sounds like a campaign dungeon crawl, and while it does have some of that feel, it’s shorter in terms of campaign so you can get through it and play again without the time commitment like you need for bigger dungeon crawls.
Shadows of Kilforth – I blame Rolling Solo Youtube Channel for getting me into this game, the original, Gloom of Killforth is a one shot adventure game where you are in a world where things are going poorly and you as an adventurer are leveling up, exploring locations, fighting monsters, hoping to get strong enough to be able to take down whatever monster is blighting the land. The original game had a fantasy feel, and while this maintains the fantasy, it also has an eastern feel to it as well, which is cool. This game is also a smaller footprint game as you’re not setting up massive dungeons and needing a million tiles to play it.
Those are ones that I’ve kickstarted already that I’m really excited for. There are two that I know I want to kickstart in 2020, so let’s talk about those.
Frosthaven – Sequel to my #1 game of all time, no brainer I want this. I expect to get it sometime in 2021, but it kickstarts in March of 2020, so I’ll have paid for it then. It builds off of Gloomhaven and the Forgotten Circle expansion to tell you a whole new story set in the same world. But unlike in Gloomhaven where you start out of a set city, in Frosthaven, it adds in some city building and you have to worry about defending the town as well as going out on adventures. The out of the box characters seem a bit more challenging but also seem amazing to play. I’m curious to see how this game differs from Gloomhaven, but I hope it keeps a ton of the same feel.
ISS-Vanguard – A story game from Awaken Realms, sign me up. I have Tainted Grail that I’m dying to play (I’m going to try and play it over my time off around Christmas), but ISS-Vanguard is supposed to be more of an open world sort of game (or open worlds since you’re in space). You can go to different planets in different orders and experience the story that way. The art work that came in the Tainted Grail surprise box is amazing and I really love the style. I’m going to be curious to see how an open world game with a story comes together, but I like the idea of a non-fantasy big story exploration game.
Roll Player Adventure – Now, I don’t like the base game, but I got to play an early prototype of this at GenCon, and this is very different than a game where you’re rolling up your character like Roll Player is. In this, it’s a campaign game, but as compared to some games with campaigns, like from Awaken Realms or Gloomhaven, it isn’t nearly as heavy. The story is a little bit sillier, but the mechanics are fun. Can you manipulate the dice to be able to get through all the story and encounters that you run across. The mechanics were cool, and the game at GenCon, even in an early form, was a ton of fun. Helped that I might have been a power hungry sorcerer.
And, finally, and these aren’t last or least, but there are a few games that are coming out in other ways that I’m definitely interested in. Might just be normal publisher, but also might be kickstarter, I haven’t researched enough.
Deranged – Wait, you’re saying, it doesn’t say 2020, but for it coming to the US, it’s coming in 2020. I played this at GenCon and it was amazing. The game play was smart and simple, the world building of the game was really cool. While it’s not story driven, there is a lot going on, and the card play is really really fun in the game. I like the light horror theming as you’re trying to avoid monsters, get rid of your curses and not become deranged. But it’s very possible that you will or that you’ll die, and then you’ll need to get rid of more curses. It seems like a cooperative game where you’re trying to escape this town with no curses, but it’s competitive, and only one person can escape, so if someone gets too close, time to get kill them and give them another curse. Can someone win in all that fighting, who knows.
Time of Legends: Destinies – I almost kickstarted this game, then I decided I wanted Oathsworn instead. But this one seems really interesting. Each character has secrets that they are trying to solve as well as solve the story that is happening in this game that is set in the same world as Time of Legends: Joan of Arc. But in this one they combined with Lucky Duck games that did Chronicles of Crime, so there’s app integration. And there is a scenario builder that people can use to create more, since out of the box it seemed to come only with a few. For me, I really want to try this one next year, and hopefully if I can make it to GenCon it’ll be there for demoing.
Pandemic Legacy Season 3 – Some of my best gaming experiences have been playing through the first two season. I’m so excited for the 3rd season and last season. I don’t know anything about the game, I just know that I want it and I’m going to be ready to play it the second that I get it. No official release date yet for it, but it sounds like it should be a 2020 release and I’m guessing first half of 2020. That’s about it that I know about it, but it’s an instant buy for me.
There’s so many games coming out and with my proclivity for campaign games, I need to get cracking on the ones that I already have. I need to figure out a more consistent time to play them on Malts and Meeples, but we’ll talk about that in a future article about New Years Nerdsolutions.
What games are you looking forward to, is there a game coming out or to kickstarter that you just need to play?
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Another GenCon game, this time a little roll and write about cats. And when you think about it, with how popular roll and write games are are right now with the likes of Welcome To…, That’s So Clever, Dino World, etc., and etc., and etc., it was only a matter of time before someone did one about cats and hit another area that is really popular in our culture.
Cat Cafe, as I said, is a roll and write game where you are trying to build up your best cat tree(s) so that you can attract the most cats possible. On every turn you roll a die for each player, plus one. Going in a circle, you draft dice until there is only one left. Then, you pick which die you want to use for drawing a symbol and which die you want to use to determining the placement on a cat free for that symbol. These symbols are things like food dishes, cat beds, toy mice, etc. You get points in the game for complete cat trees, but also for placing the certain cat items in a particular pattern, depending on what you’re drawing, on the cat trees.
I haven’t played this game a ton yet, but when I have, I’ve gone for a different strategy than the other person (oh, I should say this game plays up to four people). They went for the strategy of building up their cat trees as fast as possible, because once one person completes three cat trees that ends the game. I, on the other hand, went for building combos. The food dish wants to be surrounded by different items, so the more unique items, the more points you get, the mouse toys want to be a in connected path, so the more of those, the more points you get. I think that I messed up the strategy and wasn’t as efficient as I could have been for scoring points, but in the end, I lost a close game. I was kind of doing this intentionally because I wanted to see how balanced the game seemed. And while I do think you need to complete some cat towers to really have a chance, I don’t think it’s a race to completing the towers.
Aesthetically, I think that this is a pretty good looking game. The sheets are actually very nicely laid out to add to the puzzle aspect. But the dice in the game are bad. I have a picture on this page from Board Game Geek, those are not the dice you get with the game. The dice you get with the game look like someone took some old six sided dice (D6) and painted them again to be D6. So you can see the old pips underneath them and it makes no sense. I also wish that the score tallying area was a little bit larger. I do want to point out, though, that their pencils come with erasers, which is amazing. I really wish that more roll and write games did that.
Overall, Cat Cafe is a fun roll and write game. I wasn’t expecting anything too thinky, but Cat Cafe gives you some interesting choices to make. And with the drafting of the dice, I can see a lot of interesting choices coming up in the game. It’s definitely a roll and write that is a bit more than something like Second Chance, but probably around the same weight as Welcome To… in terms of the decision making, however, Cat Cafe is a smaller package. If you like roll and write games and are looking for another to try, I think that Cat Cafe could scratch that itch.
Overall Grade: B+
Gamer Grade: B
Casual Grade: A-
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The name says it all really, we’re going to be doing a zombie apocalypse. However, we aren’t going to be playing the game where the players are trying to stop it. Instead, we’re going to pull from things like The Walking Dead, Dead of Winter, and Shaun of the Dead to find out how to survive and how people act in a zombie apocalypse.
This is definitely going to be grim fantasy setting where you are dealing with some fairly heavy issues. Much like the show The Walking Dead and game Dead of Winter deal with humans who are causing problems to the other humans.
So, we have a small group of survivors who are our players. They are going to have to look for a safe haven. Whether they all know each other before the apocalypse is up to the players, but it’s possible that some of them could be an outsider to the group. I think that would be a way to cause tension in the game quickly by planting seeds of doubt, whether the person can be trusted fully or not.
You can also set this up by having an DM PC, something that I would say never do, in the party where you have a character, but really they are a reoccuring NPC who is going to screw over the party some night. They are using the party for their own good, but then they decide that the party isn’t useful for them, so they are going to take what they want and then leave. I’d make this a lower level bad guy for them to deal with, while still having to fight zombies often or try and sneak around zombies. You could even, if they don’t track down the NPC and kill them, have that character build up into a larger bad guy.
If they do kill the NPC, then create a new one who has a rival gang fighting for resources and doing a scorched earth policy to keep other people from following behind them and getting the zombies to follow those people and getting to them. However, this would obviously have a very negative effect on other survivors beyond the more resourceful PC’s.
Eventually, I think the big bad of the campaign, besides the zombies, should be a wizard or lich who has a controlling rod that they build after the apocalypse has started. This rod is what they are using now, to control zombies and take over territories and subjugate people. Taking out the lich/wizard won’t solve the problem of the zombies, but will at least give people a fair chance.
I’d make it so that the BBEG is either the only who who can control the zombies, or that the rod is something like a crystal ball so that the players won’t likely get the magical item that allows them to send zombies away or keep them away from an area. Or at least cause that as a threat for the players and the players can either decide that destroying the control rod, which would then cause the zombies to attack the BBEG as well as the players might be an object, or try and figure out how and use the control rod.
Maybe give it to the players, now that I’m thinking about it, or give them a chance to get it, because then you could narrate a cool ending where the players could use the control rod to create a little oasis of safety for people to live.
With all these kind of major points, I’d also have the players dealing with survivors, dealing with injured people, dealing with bitten people who haven’t turned yet, and things like that. I would nerf a few healing options, basically only wish should be able to stop the zombie virus as it takes over the body where it could be argued that Greater Restoration or even Lesser Restoration might be able to normally.
Now, would I want to run this game? I think it could be interesting to run. I think the big focus of this game is going to be putting the players into situations where there isn’t a good outcome. This is supposed to be a dark fantasy scenario, and you don’t want them to be too heroic. I’d throw them up against situations where it’s about surviving. With that, though, I’d also give them a saving throw against turning into a zombie, but I would expect some PC’s to die along the way.
Would you want to play in a dark fantasy game?
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Board Game Battle – Star Wars Imperial Assault vs Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth vs Mansions of Madness
We have a triple threat match this time as we have three heavyweights from Fantasy Flight facing off. The reason that they get to face off is because all of them have app integration. What this means for all these games is that you don’t…