Author: Peder

Top 5 – Board Games 2020 Edition

Top 5 – Board Games 2020 Edition

Continuing on the top 5, we’re going to look at board games that I have played, for the first time in 2020. This is a bit of a more challenging list to do this year. It might seem like that shouldn’t be the case because 

Top 5 – Anime 2020 Edition

Top 5 – Anime 2020 Edition

Every December I do a bunch of Top 5 lists, just to talk about some of the things that I’ve found this past year and to see if they make it to the top of some of my other lists for the future. This year, 

Board Game Design Diary – Building a Level Part 1

Board Game Design Diary – Building a Level Part 1

So when building characters, the whole thing was pretty easy, the game is going to get you up and running pretty fast. For building the level, there is a whole lot more going on. I didn’t think that I was going to demonstrate how I was going to build the first level, but turns out that I am, because I want to kind of demonstrate who I want the first floor or level of the game to help you get into how the game works.

The Premise

The Characters

The Bosses

The Guilds

The Levels

The Boards

Cards vs Dice

Character Leveling

Skills, Weapons and More

Quests

In Town Activities

Level Events and Monsters

Boss Battles

Building a Character

Building a Level Part 1

So the first level is going to be a bit different than every other level. In those you’re going to be able to start in immediately doing whatever you want. And I do want you to be able to do that mainly on the first level, but I also want to help players along with knowing how to play the game, so I want to kind of create some of a walkthrough or how to play within the first level.

The first level is going to have basically everything that a normal level would have. You will have NPC’s and PC’s to interact with, you will have quests, floor events, the guild and monsters, and you’ll have a shop to go to.

That’s probably the first difference is that you won’t have several different shops to go to, you will have a single bazaar that you will go to and you will go to it on your first turn. The first floor event you flip over, before you decide where you’ll go will direct everyone to go shopping. Why do that? Because you don’t start with armor, weapons, etc. It will take you through the shopping experience, let you spend your money and explain how skills work and weapons work. When you talk to the shopkeeper they are going to explain and give examples of the cards and how they work so that you aren’t having to spend as much time in the rule book learning that. That stuff will be in the rule book for refresher, but it won’t be something you need to read to get started.

The next day you’ll flip a new event and it’ll send you fall out to go fight a monster. This is going to give a chance to show how the monsters work and show one of the key mechanics for a level as you draw a hand of modifier cards and use them. This also will show off how XP is gained and tracked as the players defeat the monsters and get rewards. This should be a fairly boring but quick event for everyone to go through, but it’s also important because besides maybe a few PC and NPC actions as well as the shopping, you’ll be given the option to use modifiers on almost everything and to learn how they’ll be removed from your deck for the boss battle and how you can manipulate that.

The third level event is going to kick off the game proper. It’s going to be a level event that everyone has to go to and deal with. This is where the whole game will kick off. There probably will be some thing that you’ll spend a card on, but I don’t really want to spoil any story ideas right now. But most likely this event will lead to some quests or paths that can be opened up in the game.

Then for the rest of the level, another as many rounds as you want, there really won’t be any negatives, creatures will run out so you can’t grind character levels on level one, NPC’s and PC’s will run out eventually, but from that point you’ll be able to go and do quests, fight monsters, research, whatever it is. Also from this point on, there won’t likely be another set of level events that require all players to do something. It might be a very rare occasion where a player is needed to go to a level event, but that would only be if they don’t want to send a guild marker there, or they can’t because the guild is too small.

Once the players have decided they’ve done everything that they need, the boss monster will be up for them to fight. And I again want to do some of a tutorial for this. That means that this is probably going to be a smaller map, just to fit some text onto the page. I’ve talked about how the boss monsters and boss battles will work, but the first boss battle is going to lay out those details as well as how turn order works. Don’t worry, there will be cheat sheet cards that explain how both the levels and the combat works that will have this information as well, but I want to be able to go into more detail and lay out kind of that first monster turn and what is going to happen as well as how some of the combat will work for the players. I don’t with it, however, want to tell the players what they have to do, no play this card as the optimal play or attack this way as the optimal way.

Finally, just to recap some of the layout of how this will all be set-up. This will be in a book, there probably will be a page of intro story that can be read at the very beginning and how to use the book/mark where you are at, that sort of thing, but general layout will be, on the left page, you’ll have spots for all the actions that you can take. For the quests, monsters, NPC’s, etc. Most won’t be limited as to how many people can go there, but sometimes they might be, in particular for something like the monsters, the quests, or the level events there might be a limit, otherwise people can go to the same spot if they want. With this there will also be spots to put down the cards for the level. That might be the level events, it might be cards that you have unlocked as new quests, it might be a list of the NPC’s or PC’s whom you can talk to, or it might be the monsters that you could fight. These are generally going to be small cards, think like the modifier and item card size from Gloomhaven if you are familiar with that game. They aren’t meant to have a ton of information on them, they are meant to drive you to the story book or adventure book in the game. Then on the right page you’ll have the map for the boss battle. It’s going to also help you know what type of level it is, there will be artwork throughout the levels as well, but this will be generally a large spot to highlight that.

The next part of the level design will start to dive into samples of how quests, level events, NPC and PC interactions and more might go.

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Back or Brick: Creature Comforts

Back or Brick: Creature Comforts

Craft cozy comforts in this animal themed light weight Euro dice placement game from Kids Table Board Gaming. Pros Theme Aesthetic Mechanics Game Difficulty Price and price options Cons Theme The Page I love this page, they do a great job on it and honestly, 

Board Game Battle: Ganz Schon Clever vs Doppelt So Clever vs Clever Hoch Drei

Board Game Battle: Ganz Schon Clever vs Doppelt So Clever vs Clever Hoch Drei

Time to bust out your German as we’re headed over to Westside Xtreme Wrestling. We’re looking at three games that are coming over to the US from Stronghold games when they do, but that were originally released in Germany, and those are also the names 

Point Of Order: Black Friday

Point Of Order: Black Friday

So, I talked some before about Black Friday sales that are going on, and I think it’s worth talking about more more and some more things that I’ve picked up.

From Deep Water Games: Claim 1 & 2

Claim is a 2-4 player trick taking game. You need both 1 and 2 to play it four player, and I do like trick taking games quite well. This one does something interesting in that you play through once gaining cards which will be your next hand and then you play through the second time trying to collect like fantasy race groups of cards. This one is really interesting because that first time through you are playing to win (or lose) a trick to get either a card off the top of the deck, if you lose, or a face up card if you win. But you might try and lose a hand because that face up card won’t do you any good, even if it’s a good card you might be trying to short suit yourself or something like that.

Image Source: Thunderworks Games

From Mythic Games: Super Fantasy Brawl

Imagine a game where crazy fantasy creatures are pulled from the past and all across the realms to face off, that is what Super Fantasy Brawl is. This game is about knocking your opponent out to get trophies as well as completing objectives. I like this one because it seems pretty simple but also very tactical. On your turn you play down three cards, one red, one blue, and one yellow, and you activate the character on those cards to move, push, attack, and what not. You have a team of three, so you might activate each person once, or, you might activate one character several times. And you can determine your plan of attack with that. You can also use cards to sort your deck, or as a reaction to something that your opponent is doing. It has almost a little bit of Magic the Gathering sort of feel to it as you do a number of things with cards, but lighter since you don’t have a massive card pool, you just get the cards for your characters.

Thunderworks Games: Roll Player: Monsters and Minions and Fiends and Familiars

These are the two expansions for Roll Player. In the base game you are drafting dice to build your best Dungeons and Dragons style RPG character. you get more points for having certain colors of dice in certain spaces on your character sheet, plus you are looking for certain numbers, for strength, dexterity, etc. The expansions add more, my one knock on the base game is that it felt a little bit like playing half a game. You just created your character and now you’re doing nothing with them, you just score it up and see who wins. Now you can face off against monsters, plus there are just more things going on in the game beyond even that with minions, fiends, and familiars getting added into the game as well. Overall a really good game, and I was able to get the Monsters and Minions expansion with store credit which is always awesome.

Floodgate Games: Sagrada Life

Image Source: Floodgate Games

So, I love Sagrada, even though it’s been a bit since I’ve played it. It’s such a simple and well designed game that offers interesting challenges as you draft dice. Apparently I like buying stuff for drafting games. Sagrada Life is a small box expansion that adds in some new things to do. I don’t know everything it does in particular, but it adds in news ways to manipulate dice that seem very interesting. I need to play with the expansions to experience them and see what they add or change up, but they seem like a lot of fun.

Kolossal Games: Western Legends & Ante Up

Western Legends is a game that has been on my radar since the first Kickstarter for it. It is a sandbox style Western game that allows you do do anything that you want. If you want to be a bad guy, you can be, if you want to gamble, you can gamble, if you want to sell cattle, you can sell cattle. But everything gives you points and you can pick whatever you want to do. I like how everything seems balanced, and if you want to be a bad guy for a bit until you get caught, you can then be a good guy after that, it’s up to you. This game also has you playing and facing off by using playing cards, which have a wonderful old west look. Ante Up is an expansion that gives you even more that you can do. It increases the ante so to speak, and does that by giving you a train that you can rob which moves around the board. There are a lot more expansions too, but I’m really excited to try this game and have been kicking myself for not picking it up before.

Which of these games sounds the most interesting to you?

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TelevisionTalks: A Wise Man’s Grandchild

TelevisionTalks: A Wise Man’s Grandchild

Let me start by saying, remember that I do this for you, I do this for you so that you don’t have to watch as many lousy anime. I also do this or me, because they can be silly fun even if they are bad, 

Thankfulness

Thankfulness

This is going to be an article that is a bit different than normal, and probably shorter than normal, but I think it’s worthwhile to write and to reflect. 2020 has been a pretty massive bummer for so many people for a lot of really 

TelevisionTalks: Fire Force

TelevisionTalks: Fire Force

As I’ve said, I’ve been binging anime while I’ve been working, so I’ve fallen a bit behind on the shows and talking about them. I’m coming back with another one this week, Fire Force.

In a world where spontaneous human combustion is a thing, and when it happens, the people turn into monsters, there is a special elite set of stations. Station 8 was created because every other station either has allegiances to their area, the Hijima corporation, or the religious order, and everyone is supposed to be working to figure out the cause of spontaneous human combustion, but they aren’t and Station 8 is tasked with figuring it out. That’s where new recruit, Shinra Kusakabe, is assigned. He’s a 3rd Generation pyrokinetic which mean that he can create and manipulate fire. Can he complete his dream of becoming a hero and help figure out what happened years ago when he lost his mother and brother in a fire?

This is a pretty standard anime in that it has a big ensemble cast of characters who all get their moment to shine, there is a lot of fighting and completely absurd situations that happen. There’s humor and fan service, and it kind of meanders towards the main plot at times, introducing new characters along the way, and then will rush through other parts of the plot. That said, I like the story. I think that it’s fun, and it’s not an anime that I’m going to think about after watching it, but I’ve had a good time watching it, and I feel like in 2020 that’s what I really want, and more so when it starts to get darker earlier, it’s just nice to have a show that you can pay attention to but doesn’t demand all of your brain power.

Image Source: Funimation

The cast of characters is what really makes this show. I think that the villains, while mainly just monsters, work pretty well, and I like the whole of station 8. They’ve done a solid job in the show of giving them all their moments, though the show does focus mainly on Shinra. There are plenty of other characters, like Arthur, Iris, Maki, and more that are getting a lot of chance to shine. While Shinra often gets to take down the biggest bad guy, in combat, it’s not like some anime and shows in general where the side characters get beaten up and the main character then comes in and saves the day for everyone. In this, everyone is very good at what they do and fairly competent about it, as competent, if not more than the main character.

The story itself makes a fair amount of sense actually, in an anime way. I think that they do a solid job of building the world out further and further as they go, which is really great because they don’t do a knowledge dump on you at the start. You learn more as you go, possibly matching when the creator learned the stuff or decided on stuff, but it works. And I think that it really is so character driven around Shinra most of the time, it also works. He has good motivation for what he is doing, why he is doing it, and an attitude that makes sense for the story and for the problems that he needs to overcome.

Let’s talk a bit about fan service. I wrote about Food Wars! last time and the fan service for Fire Force is no where near on the same level. There is a character who will lose articles of clothing at times and shots of cleavage, but for the most part the losing of the clothing is more for comedic affect than for fan service reasons. That isn’t to say that there aren’t characters who are drawn the way they are drawn so as to be fan service almost every time they are on the screen. That is certainly something that is the case for a few of the female characters. There is also an episode where there is a nude calendar shoot, but that is all the male characters in the calendar, and also no nudity is shown.

Overall, I think this is a pretty classic anime in terms of what it does. And I like that about it. It’s a show that doesn’t pretend it’s going to go that deep, but it also isn’t a random nonsensical plot to it. I would recommend this one to most anime fans, I think some will find it a bit to light and goofy for their taste, but I think that this is a pretty safe anime for most people to watch and enjoy.

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Point of Order: Sentinels of the Multiverse

Point of Order: Sentinels of the Multiverse

Black Friday has struck again with a vengeance, and there is an amazing sale that people should checkout from Greater Than Games. They have stuff from 15% off to over 80% off, and if, like me, you don’t have enough Sentinels of the Multiverse, there