After another brief absence, I’m back with a solo play session of the very bleak but excellent This War Of Mine: The Board Game!
And we’re back after vacation, sickness, work-related insanity and injury! Lots of exciting stuff to talk about but let’s start with a Kickstarter Spotlight!
It seems like there has been an ever-increasing number of board games that are trying to introduce some form of education into their gameplay, whether it’s a serious attempt to teach a second language or a light way present a science at a very high level. This week’s Kickstarter Spotlight asks the questions: can fiscal responsibility be fun?
In Debtzilla players take the role of heroes who are not only attempting to save the city from financial super-villains who are trying to scam money out of the citizens but also must manage their cash flow so that they can purchase the necessary equipment to fight them. Debt can not only clog your hand if it’s not paid off, but it affects the power of Debtzilla, which everyone will need to face when the villains are gone. Debtzilla is a deckbuilding, tableau building and dice pool manipulation in a fun and strategic way and looks like a nice way to introduce the idea of debt management to younger players.
Here is the pitch video:
Fantasy game villages really have it rough, don’t they? The town of Tinderbox has the great misfortune of having been built surrounding the Pyromancers University, whose experiments are constantly going awry and setting the buildings on fire. In ‘The Brigade’, it’s up to Tinderbox’s greatest heroes, not the idealistic adventuring kind, but the members of the village fire brigade, who all come from the same standard fantasy stock of humans, dwarves, elves, and orcs. You’ll pick your warden, manage your crew and water wagon while gaining the support of the townsfolk by saving their abodes and businesses.
I enjoy the idea of turning the fantasy tropes on their head. It seems very Discworld-ish to me in the best way possible. Looking forward to trying this one out!
Here’s the pitch video:
Once upon a time, in the magical 1980s, a much younger me was riffling through drawers in the storage room in my house when I stumbled upon a board game that I had no idea we owned. The cover had cartoon people rowing boats and swimming in a creature filled ocean while a volcano erupted in the background. The title of the game took up most of the box and simply read “SURVIVE!”.
Being very young at the time the game served mostly as a toy, having a large number of colourful, and not to mention highly swallowable, pieces. The rules were in a small book and not on one sheet or printed inside the box lid. I remember attempting to read them on occasion, but I didn’t get very far. The rules book, all the components, even the smell of the box had this distinctly ‘adult’ nature to them. The idea that grown-ups had their own board games struck me as a revelation. It seems silly now, but the memories have stayed with me to this very day. When Stronghold Games announced plans not only to remake the original Survive but also to release a separate version with a space theme and updated rules I was excited to see what I missed as a child. Does Survive: Space Attack live up to the hype I built up all those years ago?
The advent of new technologies has brought an interesting time for board games. How long will cardboard and dice be the core of the tabletop experience when we’re all increasingly tied to our portable computing devices of various sizes and holographic technology seems to be the next big thing. Until the day we have table sized tables and ubiquitous holo-lenses our smartphones, tablets, and PCs have the potential to become a powerful component to enhance tabletop gameplay. When revising Mansions of Madness for its second edition, Fantasy Flight Games took the bold step of replacing a major part of the original game with a free-to-download software application. Does this gamble pay off and improve the experience or is it just a gimmick?
I pull out a game I haven’t played before with Arctic Scavengers, a nuclear winter deck building game by Rio Grand Games. Hope I packed an extra warm jersey!
Lords of Hellas has some of the best looking minis in a Kickstarter since Dark Souls and looks like it has the huge gameplay to back them up. The 12 cm tall monuments are almost too big to call miniatures. The Greek mythology meets high technology aesthetic is fresh for the board gaming world and the strategic territory control combined with the adventure elements looks very epic. A campaign mode with a solo player option is right up my alley as well. Having smashed its funding goal means it’s less of a risky venture for those Kickstarter shy and contains lots of bonus content.
Here’s the pledge video:
It’s no secret that I love games with a strong theme. Games where the aesthetics, concepts, and mechanics are tied together, are the ones that draw my attention. On the other hand, I do understand that sometimes theme based mechanics can get bogged down in details to make them coalesce, adding too many layers of complexity to truly make it an enjoyable experience (I’m looking at you Dungeon Pets). Finding games that balance the richness of a great theme and flow of mechanics is one of those great joys I have as a board game enthusiast, and when a game like Scythe comes around and falls right in that sweet spot, I know I’ve found an extraordinary gaming experience.
I tackle the final chapter of the Arkham Horror main campaign taking Roland into the woods to track down the cultist’s ritual site. Hope everything goes well for him! Enjoy!
I needed a break from big tactical miniature heavy games this week so I was happy to stumble on Rise of Tribes, published by indie game house Breaking Games. Civilization building games have always been high on my list especially when they have unique mechanics. Rise of Tribes’ dice management mechanic is unlike any I’ve seen before, requiring some forethought since some combinations can make certain actions more and less effective. With everyone using the same dice pool you have to pay attention to your own actions, less you give an opponent an advantage. Rise of Tribes also features stunning art design and all the components, whether you chose to go with cardboard or wooden ones, have a nice tribal aesthetic.