11 Games Depicting Dystopias Past, Present, and Future
Hi Gradstudent, I know there were dystopian role playing games all the way back to the 80's (Gamma World, Aftermath, Morrow Project), as for boardgames we had Fortess America, originally printed in 1986 and reprinted in 2012. For an extensive database of games and giant user community, check out: http://www.boardgamegeek.com
2011 Halloween Board Game Roundup
OK, I have to confess, I have NES and Sega emulators on my computer and I've even played Zork online recently. I'm also a big MechWarrior fan and have very fond memories of Might & Magic III. It does seem however that these first person shooters just replace each other one after another. Thanks for the tips on the games. Another Halloween game to watch for: Eaten by Zombies … there has been a glut of deck builders and right now and there are too many on the market, but this one looks different. Buy equipment and beat up zombies or runaway and be forced to take a zombie into your deck. Tongue in check, 1950's B-movie art. I didn't include it in the post because the initial Kickstarter print run is sold out and a new print run won't come until next year. Another twisted Kickstarter deck building game that is still open for funding: Miskatonic School for Girls … um, yeah, the title says it all.
Reporting on Science: Does the Press Get it Right?
I'm not even remotely a physicist, but I was intrigued (and driven nuts) by the popular media's instance on emphasizing that Einstein may have been wrong. If the CERN results are verified it won't be the first time Einstein has been off, wasn't he notoriously dubious of many Quantum Mechanic theories that have become more or less accepted fact in modern science? I believe his famous quote "God doesn't play dice with the universe" is often used out of context to show support for a religious world view when in fact he was disputing the random elements of quantum theory. Also, isn't the use of the word wrong inappropriate? Many of the news reports liked to mention how Newton was wrong. I don't think many auto engineers include speed vs. mass change effects or the gravitational effects of other cars in a traffic jam when computing the performance of a new car design … isn't it more likely that Einstein will be right for the scale of particles he was describing and new equations will be required for really small subatomic particles?
Clash of the Heavy Weight Game Licenses: Star Trek vs. Star Wars
The US release date for Star Trek: The Deck Building Game has been announced: October 7, 2011.
Five Pirate Games Not Inspired by an Amusement Park Ride
Oops, forgot to mention. Anyone interested in Merchants & Marauder's should download the official Cutthroat Variant and I would strongly recommend using the variant, even for a first game. The variant allows inactive players at sea to hunt for active players passing through their sea zones. This is far more realistic, dramatically increases the potential for player conflict, and prevents cowardly merchants from "port hopping" and never being exposed to attack. Pirate King also has a Cutthroat Variant that is included in the box. This variant has lots of options that simply accelerate the game by jump starting the start positions, but the crew special abilities is a definite keeper.
Five Pirate Games Not Inspired by an Amusement Park Ride
@SaltManZ – It took me three plays to love M&M. A port action has 9 optional steps and new players will fumble with the choices available and take entirely too long, but there's no way around teaching/learning the game other than to work through it. My most recent game had 3 experienced players and one new player and a full port action took no more than a minute each. This game definitely works best with 4 players that know what they're getting into; a longish game with a bit of learning curve and some randomness (this is no Euro at sea) and tons of theme. If you have players that like games like Twilight Imperium this would be a good fit. I haven't played Loot. Knizia is hit or miss with me, pasted on themes don't bother me as long as the mechanics are interesting but with Knizia you never can tell. Let us know if you try it again.
Five Pirate Games Not Inspired by an Amusement Park Ride
Aarrgggg, Munchkin Booty is indeed worth looking into. I shall make amends on my Halloween list by remembering Munchkin Cthulhu.
Clash of the Heavy Weight Game Licenses: Star Trek vs. Star Wars
Those games are going to be huge on this side of the pond as well. I have to confess, I know little to nothing about Terry Pratchett's books (and I understand I'm in the minority), but any game designed by Martin Wallace is worth a look.
Clash of the Heavy Weight Game Licenses: Star Trek vs. Star Wars
Thanks Lightening, you're right, I should have been more specific. I was referring specifically to board game conversions which tend to fair particularly poorly. I'm not a expert on video games but my understanding is that licensed video games don't do much better. As you pointed out, novel and/or comic spinoffs do seem to fair much better. @Magentawolf – ST:Expeditions has been on the market for a while now but GenCon 2011 does seem to have been the coming out party for these two licenses with WizKids about a year ahead of Fantasy Flight Games in terms of development.
Ridley Scott Returns to Blade Runner
A prequel following Roy as a tragic hero would have some potential, but I suspect Hollywood will take the most obvious path and give us the further adventures of Rick Deckard.
The Analog Gamer: Deck-Building Card Games, Part 4: Resident Evil—the Deck-Building Game
There was a lot of buzz when Thunderstone was first released about its similarities to Dominion. By the time Resident Evil was released Dominion had already been cloned several times so it didn't raise any eyebrows. Despite the similarity in rules, the current crop of deck building games do in fact play differently enough for me to be satisfied that they are different games and not simple re-themes. Within the gaming community Dominion is still recognized as the archetype for this style of game, but you're right, none of the later games actually give it credit in writing. I am not a lawyer but my understanding is that publishers can attempt to protect game mechanics with a patent (very rare) but not with copyright law.
Not Your Father’s d6: A Look at 6 SFF Dice Games and Other Dicey Things
Lol, you're right, CD has one decision to make (choosing who to roll against) which is exactly one decision more than LCR ;-) Hmmm, throwing dice at other dice … I see a future post on SFF dexterity games in the works here. Actually, Catacombs isn't dice but it's pretty good in that whole flicking things at other things genre.
Not Your Father’s d6: A Look at 6 SFF Dice Games and Other Dicey Things
@SmileyMan - The Shapeway's site was a last minute find as I was finishing the article so I don't have any firsthand experience. The link I provided in the article is to Shapeway's home page, user Chuck Stover (CeramicWombat) made the thorn dice and a number of other interesting designs (direct link to his store front). The thorn dice set has 89 comments with 4/5 stars. Chuck has stated that the dice appear to roll without any bias. There have been some minor complaints about the plastic dice being very lightweight, I would be concerned about the thorn points wearing down. The consensus seems to be that the metallic materials are a better choice (but at $89.60 you'd have to be a serious collector). One of the comments seemed to indicate that there is a new acrylic material that might be a reasonable compromise between cost and functionality. If anyone takes the plunge and picks up one of these dice, or the other designs from Shapeway, I'd love to hear back. As for Dice Age, I'm on board for a full alpha set and excited to see it come out. I've only backed one other KickStarter project (yes, its another game: The Road to Canterbury) but it seems to me that Tristan has been exceedingly proactive in keeping his backers informed and is constantly sweetening the pot with incentives to reach higher funding goals.
Not Your Father’s d6: A Look at 6 SFF Dice Games and Other Dicey Things
@SaltManZ – the original poster on BGG (Chris Schenick) credited Cosmic Wimpout but you're right, it's the same end game as PtP. ZD has the potential to be an interesting game, it just needs a little more something to keep it interesting. Thanks for the tips on the other games. @MagentaWolf – lol, yeah, I saw the ST: TNG game while doing my research for the post but in general I try to avoid listing out of print games (I know, I've broken that rule several times). For those that are interested the dice are still available on eBay. For the record there are two other out of print dice games that didn't make it into the final article: Dungeon Dice, a mass market game from Parker Brothers published in 1977, and the Dicemaster series, published by Iron Crown Ent. in the 90's If you think $30 is bad, check out the $106 gold plated set. For the record, at least for the thorn dice pictured, $30 is for the set … this is about twice the cost of a nice set from Q-Workshop, expensive but still within the realm of the imaginable, the gold set on the other hand… Also, an update on Chessex … they have expanded their custom die manufacturing to include any standard polyhedron, not just d6's. Also, they have expanded their offerings on dice jewelry holders, so maybe they are serious about offering the product. Available as a necklace or key ring for any standard polyhedral die.
Not Your Father’s d6: A Look at 6 SFF Dice Games and Other Dicey Things
Thanks for the tip Mark. He does some interesting work with multicolor inlays that I haven't seen before and the light up dice are very cool.
The Analog Gamer: Galaxy Trucker
For the record, Galaxy Trucker is now back in stock and available. Big Expansion 2 is due out this year.
Star Trek VII: Generations Appreciation Giveaway
Don't worry, they'll build another, and another, and another...
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Appreciation Giveaway
Cool, I just painted my first miniature in 20 years, this could be my first plastic model in an equally long time.
Games of Game of Thrones
@Sharat, these are great games that really capture the political wheeling and dealing in Westeros, but if you want something storytelling / RPG-Lite you should also check out Mansions of Madness, Dan Wells did a review here on tor.com just recently.
Games of Game of Thrones
@toryx check out the Storm of Swords expansion. It has a new map detailing the Trident riverlands, designed specifically for four players. I have a brief comment on both expansions which should post here shortly as soon as tor admin clears it.
Games of Game of Thrones
For the record, there are two expansions for AGoT – the Board Game, listing for $39.95 each. The base game is excellent on its own but from what I understand these are nice additions for experienced players: AGoT: A Clash of Kings adds components and a map overlay for a 6th player; House Martell, introduces port rules (which may be used without the expansion to moderate the power of navies), introduces two new units; siege engines and fortifications, and increases the power range of the house cards. AGoT: A Storm of Swords provides a new map designed specifically for 4 players, introduces leaders with the option to capture, tactics cards to add more variety to combat, new house cards, and an alternative Westeros event deck.
Games of Game of Thrones
It's a great game, play it with 5 if possible. If you're playing with serious gamers I'd also suggest downloading the FAQ from FFG. House Lannister starts the game surrounded by enemies, a very small change to the game setup evens out the playing field.
Decade’s Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Movies Viewer’s Poll
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Lord of the Rings: Fellowship Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (yes, in this order) The Fountain Star Trek 2009 Iron Man A.I. Artificial Intelligence The Illusionist The Road Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Honorable mention for guilty pleasure: Terminator: Salvation Best technical achievement with a dull story line, awful acting, and worse dialog: Star Wars Trilogy Most overrated film(s) of the decade: Transformers
Warhammer 40,000
Thanks for the links Doug. There's a link in the second article to the MMORPG Dark Millennium Online with a cool video. It's tough to know if it will go anywhere, Warhammer Fantasy Battles Online had a tough time gaining traction against World of Warcraft.
The Enterprise Prepares to Dock with the Intrepid in NYC
Free Space Shuttles... According to NPR: Space Shuttle: $0.00* Shipping and Handling: $29,000,000.00 *Launch vehicle, launch pad, and rocket fuel sold separately. All shuttles sold "as is", NASA does not guaranty suitability for space travel. Not recommended for children under 14.
11 Games Depicting Dystopias Past, Present, and Future
@[1][2][8] (yes, you have all been reduced to numbers) – I tried penning an article on Paranoia but my computer froze up and a blue screen appeared which read: "Please remain seated and calm, help is on the way". Paranoia is thematically perfect for the week but it's mostly an RPG which is above my security clearance, outside my expertise, and why I overlooked it … at least that's what I'm going to tell the interrogators when they get here. For people that have no idea what we're talking about ignorance is bliss, ignorance is safety, knowledge can only bring harm, continue no further… Paranoia is an RPG originally published in 1984 (coincidence? I think not.) by West End Games and republished over the years with the most recent 25th anniversary edition published by Mongoose Publishing in 2009. Games take place in the underground megalopolis of Alpha Complex, a tranquil, perfect city run by the friendly, all knowing, and very dysfunctional civil service AI known only as "The Computer". Players are troubleshooters, The Computer assigns them to incomprehensible missions to find trouble and shoot it. Life in Alpha Complex is glorious but short. Players are often geared with dangerous, lethal experimental equipment subjected to shoddy quality control and suspiciously little user instruction. Adventures often tumble into chaos with team members assigned orders pitting themselves against one-another as often external threats. There are many secrete societies, your team members can't be trusted – The Computer says so. When in doubt, terminate. Because trained troubleshooters don't come cheap, each player controls a set of six clones, known as a 6-pack, which allows new troubleshooters to step in when old troubleshooters are … retired. To quote the publisher: "Paranoia is fun. Other games are not fun. Buy Paranoia."
11 Games Depicting Dystopias Past, Present, and Future
Android cribs most of its theme unapologetically from Blade Runner which is hailed as an iconic dystopian film … so yes, it's most definitely noir but with a healthy dose of dystopian background. In play terms the dystopian aspects are most noticed in what society has done to make the 5 player investigators dysfunctional … and of course there is the omnipresent, oppressive corporations.
Living the Dream (Well, H.P. Lovecraft’s Dream, Anyway)
@Ashe – I'd have to say with Mansions of Madness there are advantages to playing both keeper and investigators and there's no reason why players can't switch between scenarios. Lots more information about MoM here: MoM @ FFG and here: MoM @ BGG And if you really want a full RPG, there's no need to write your own. Call of Cthulhu is a great system, it's been in print for decades, and has volumes of supplements and adventure books: CoC 6th Edition
Living the Dream (Well, H.P. Lovecraft’s Dream, Anyway)
RE: Setup time – we might be making the setup time sound a little worse than it actually is; all players are actively engaged during the setup and it's length hasn't bothered anyone yet. Investigators can be customized somewhat so players spend some time discussing various options (I count that as playing). Investigators are also responsible for laying out the tiles and reading the story prologue. While this is happening the keeper is sorting out his or her seed cards, action cards, etc… The setup is long but no one should be twiddling their thumbs waiting for the game to start. Of course, if you're hosting the entire game can be setup in advance. RE: Betrayal at the House on the Hill – I've played and enjoyed BatHotH but I think MoM is a much better game both in terms of mechanics and theme. The rules are straight forward, we've made small mistakes here and there but nothing major, nothing that stalled or broke the game. The keeper is actively trying to win so you get that feeling of head to head competition right from the start, BatHotH is cooperative until the end game. On top of this, MoM actually has two traitor mechanics. The keeper has an action card called "Uncontrollable Urges" that can be played when an investigator reaches 0 sanity. The investigator still takes his turn as normal but the keeper gets to move the investigator again during the keeper phase and execute a limited range of actions, usually with the intent to cause some mischief. The other traitor mechanic is scenario specific and much more dangerous … I'll just leave it at that. @Ashe – the only relation to Clue is that they both take place in a mansion. Much more RPG like but you can't lose sight of MoM being a game; the keeper isn't a neutral gamer moderator, the keeper is an active player attempting to win.
Living the Dream (Well, H.P. Lovecraft’s Dream, Anyway)
@Ranbato – for each scenario, the keeper answers a series of multiple choice questions which determine the scenario objective and setup details. The first question sets the story line and is by far the most important with each scenario having 3 possible answers. So, you can look at it as 5 scenarios x 3 story lines each = 15 plays without significant repetition. The investigators should, on average, lose 50% of the plays and will want re-matches to complete the story, so you're looking at more like 22 plays (the secondary questions move items and change some details so the re-matches will not be exact repeats). And of course, this is Fantasy Flight Games we're talking about, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that expansions are already at the printer.
Living the Dream (Well, H.P. Lovecraft’s Dream, Anyway)
Thanks for the review Dan, I've run this game twice as keeper and love it. Yeah, the setup is huge but it's totally worth it. @Zeta, for me it has retired Arkham Horror. AH has lots of atmosphere but it's complexity sometimes gets in the way of the narrative. Mansions has a genuine story arc with simpler game play and a much more intimate feeling. Despite simpler mechanics it feels like a richer game in terms of options, you can hide in chests, barricade doors, set things on fire. Much closer to a roleplaying experience without the Game Master overhead. With expansions MoM is likely to become the definitive Lovecraft boardgame. @Dan – RE: broken scenario – I think I encountered the same problem as you. There is one scenario variant that can result in a Keeper auto win in as few as 2 or 3 turns after a 45 minute setup. Depending on which clues the investigators have uncovered this can happen with no warning. I played through it. I killed off the triggering investigator (and he got his replacement) but kept the game going, I'm glad I did. I won't spoil the ending but it was tense with all four investigators on their feet shouting at each other for the last 3 turns.
Sucker Punch, Part 1: The Story That No One Is Talking About
My gaming group loves this film. I haven't seen it yet but it's one of the few movies I'll probably pay full ticket price to see (I'm usually happy to just wait for RedBox or NetFlix streaming).
Where No Plot Has Gone Before: Why the New Star Trek Movie Doesn’t Need a Villain
While I loved the reboot the content creators for Star Trek (in any media) should be contractually banned from using time travel or similar plot devices (like cryo-sleep), it's getting a little old. Nevermind that City on the Edge of Forever was the best TOS episode and First Contact the second best movie (behind Khan), it's still time to move on ;-)
For the Love of Pi: The Gateway Drugs to Science and Math
Lol, it wasn't my $1,000,000. Interesting though, I was considering that in the initial sort the money is far more likely to be on stage, but you're right, opening the cases at random doesn't concentrate the odds on stage, it incrementally increases the odds in all remaining cases (more likely to be on stage initially but by the time there are two cases it's 50/50). Good thing I'm not a statistician either ;-)
For the Love of Pi: The Gateway Drugs to Science and Math
While we're at it, here's some interesting mathematical trivia from my own passion, gaming: Everyone knows the game Rock-Paper-Scissors. The chief property of this game is that each choice beats one selection and is beaten by the other, this is known a nontransitive property. What is less commonly know is that there is such a thing as nontransitive dice … a set of three dice, each one more likely to roll higher than one of its siblings but lower than the other, no matter how you pair them. Die A has sides 2-2-4-4-9-9 Die B has sides 1-1-6-6-8-8 Die C has sides 3-3-5-5-7-7 On average, die A will beat B, die B will beat C, and die C will beat A. There are other types of nontransitive dice (Efron's dice use 4 cubes) that increase the success probability of the dominant die in any pairing.
For the Love of Pi: The Gateway Drugs to Science and Math
Lol, it's a good thing I'm not an engineer … or a mathematician for that matter. Another interesting piece of math trivia that cost a contestant on the game show Deal or No Deal $1,000,000. The game starts with 22 suitcases, one of which contains the big prize. One random suitcase is given to the contestant, the other 21 are placed on the stage and eliminated one at a time until there is one remaining on stage and one in the contestant's possession. At the end the contestant is offered the opportunity to keep their original suitcase or swap it with the remaining suitcase on stage… There have been many physiological studies demonstrating that people in this position will almost always value an object their possession more highly than a similar object in someone else's possession. What this contestant failed to realize is that by the time there are only two suitcases remaining, the money is 21 times more likely to be in the suitcase on stage than the one in her possession. During the initial sort, the probability of the money being in her suitcase is 1/22 while the probability of the money being on stage is 21/22, by eliminating 20 suitcases off the stage that probability is concentrated into the last stage suitcase, the probability of the contestant's suitcase remains at 1/22. Needless to say, she chose to keep her suitcase and ended with $5.
For the Love of Pi: The Gateway Drugs to Science and Math
I remember in college calculus, my friends and I were fascinated by this little paradox: Graph the simple equation 1/X as x=0-> inf. Revolve the graph around the X axis, what you get is a cone with the following properties: Area = 2pi ln(x) Volume = pi(1 – 1/x) The interesting thing about this cone is that it has finite volume but infinite surface area, so can be filled with a specific amount of paint but there isn't enough paint in the universe to paint it's outside.
Spock’s Spacebook Profile Creates Some Drama
Looks like TOS computers got an upgrade to TNG OS. I bet Spock's tricorder is jail broken as well.
Welcome to the Tor.com Redesign
Nice Job! One small note: I tried the Facebook share button on this article … No thumbnail was offered and the article title wasn't transferred. I haven't tried sharing any other articles yet so the problem may be particular to this post only. IE8 32bit on Win 7 Pro 64bit
SFF and the Classical Past, Part 7—Labyrinths
Hmmm … 14 comments and no one has mentioned the Cube series of movies
The Analog Gamer: Galaxy Trucker
@John: My Bad, I started writing this post two months ago and was able to pick up a copy at my local game store at a reasonable price. There is an unconfirmed report that Rio Grande Games had trouble with a reprint in December and was forced to short ship most retailers. Fear not, this is a very popular game and a reprint is announced on RGG's site due in April. This is a straight up reprint, not a new edition so any copies still on store shelves are just as good. I'll look around and post links if I can find any online. Many of the larger online retailers offer automatic eMail notification when an item is back in stock. Galaxy Trucker turns up on eBay from time to time as well. @radynski: Yeah, you absolutely have to embrace the chaos. I do find however that for most players the cash total at the end is almost an afterthought. There's lots of table talk about the ship that almost made it, getting screwed by the epidemic, etc… Only after that talk dies down does someone think to ask "who won?" In the base game round 1 is very much practice, which for me is usually a good thing because there's almost always a noob at the table. When I teach the game I often don't go into the details of the race phase, I just explain the basics of construction and teach the race on the fly. With the expansion round 1 is more important because it's now possible to go into debt and start round 2 behind other players.
The Analog Gamer: Deck-Building Card Games, Part 2: Thunderstone
Dominion and Thunderstone use similar methods for determining the cards available for purchase. There are suggested setups or the selection can be randomized. For Thunderstone, four types of cards are always available (until the supply runs out): Daggers, Torches, Iron Rations, and Militia (essentially level 0 heroes). There are always 4 types of classed heroes (fighters, wizards, clerics etc…) available for hire (either picked from the types available or determined randomly). These heroes are stacked in level order 1 to 3, so as the stacks deplete higher level heroes become available. Lastly there are 8 types of items/equipment available for purchase, 10 copies of each, once again either selected per a suggested setup or determined randomly during game setup. As described in the post, the dungeon deck contains 3 classes of monster, each class containing 10 monsters each. A monster class is a group of related monsters of varying strengths, for example: Oozes would contain 10 ooze type monsters, some tough, others easy. Which 3 classes to select follows the same pattern as village selection, it can be random or you can use suggested setups. You start a typical game turn with a 6 card hand. The goal of deck building in Thunderstone is to create a deck that will yield hands with heroes and properly matched equipment eg: heavy weapons for fighters, blunt weapons for dwarves, light sources, items to buff strength etc… Six cards may not be enough to get everything you need so some sort of card drawing engine can be useful as well. Even if the monsters were selected randomly, understanding what's in the dungeon deck is critical for strategy. Are you going to need lots of magical weapons? Is the deck filled with monsters that are resistant to edged weapons (eg: oozes)? Are there monsters that spread disease? … better get some clerics then. Keep in mind, Dominion set out to put a CCG in a box and capture the feel of a game of Magic with long combo chains and complex card interactions. Thunderstone uses nearly identical mechanics with a completely different goal and result. Combo chains are possible but they're not as common in Thunderstone. Thunderstone is much more about making wise hero and equipment choices to match the expected mix of monsters in the dungeon deck and getting those choices in the right proportions so that your deck plays out smoothly and effectively.
The Analog Gamer: Deck-Building Card Games, Part 4: Resident Evil—the Deck-Building Game
Remember, you can never have too many free games: Tor.com is giving away 3 games here, entries must be in by Friday Jan 21, 11:59 EST AEG is giving away 1 copy of NightFall every day for 100 days here. They started Jan 1st but there's still plenty of time to enter for the remaining copies.
The Analog Gamer: Deck-Building Card Games, Part 2: Thunderstone
The storage solution for Thunderstone: Wrath of the Elements which introduced tabbed dividers for each card type was nothing short of brilliant and I'm surprised other deck building games haven't cloned it yet. Readers that don't yet play deck building games may wonder why it's easy to get excited about a box, but how a game is stored can have a lot to do with how easy it is to setup and play, and games that setup easily tend to get played more often. I'll also have to admit, early in my ownership of Thunderstone I took the game to a local FSLG that didn't have the game yet and ran a demo for the owner and 3 other players (5 total, counting myself). We used the suggested beginner setup and had a blast. We set the game back up and randomized the setup, big mistake. The intelligent randomizers (or using suggested setups) may be the key to maximizing enjoyment of the game.
The Analog Gamer: Deck-Building Card Games, Part 2: Thunderstone
For players of Thunderstone, there is a web based intelligent randomizer that creates matched sets of village cards, monster cards, treasures and traps (when using expansions). I haven't tried it myself and the interface isn't very flashy, sorry about the pun ;-) … but players of the game seem to like it and it goes a long way toward insuring that all village cards will be useful: http://asmor.com/scripts/tsrand/
The Analog Gamer: Deck-Building Card Games, Part 2: Thunderstone
To the designer's credit, it really is amazing how different this game feels compared to Dominion. I haven't talked about dungeon crawlers yet, games like Descent or Castle Ravenloft, but anyone that enjoys those types of games will find Thunderstone worth investigating.
The Analog Gamer: Deck-Building Card Games—Cures for Magic: The Gathering burn out?
@Zeta – I may have done Dominion a disservice by focusing on the simpler action cards (I figured people that haven't played the game would find them easier to understand), even some Magic cards taken out of context may seem simple on the surface. It's the interaction of cards and tuning the balance of cards in a deck that really makes the game but there are a number of Dominion cards, even in the base set, that introduce interesting mechanics. Here's an example of the Thief: "Each other player reveals the top 2 cards of his deck. If they revealed any Treasure cards, they trash one of them you choose. You may gain any or all of these trashed cards. They discard the other revealed cards." The latest expansion, Dominion: Prosperity also introduces Treasure and Territory cards with added functionality (special Territory cards can also be found in earlier expansions but the special Treasure cards are new) For anyone sitting on the fence, if you have a local game store with in-store gaming there is almost a 100% likelihood the store has a demo copy and people that will play it at the drop of a hat.
The Analog Gamer: Deck-Building Card Games—Cures for Magic: The Gathering burn out?
Draft is a great format and actually seems to be preferred to constructed at my FSLG. The only downside is that it still requires players to be able to valuate cards on the fly. To some extent Dominion does to but it's only 10 cards at a time. For experienced Dominion players there are a few alternative ways to play. Brettspielwelt (http://www.brettspielwelt.de/) is a German site (with an English language option) that is very popular for online play. Unfortunately, patience for beginners or slow players is sometimes limited. I would strongly recommend learning the game face to face first. There is also an unofficial app for Android OS (Androminion). It's actually reasonably well done but text only, no card art. The app assumes you understand the game, there's no guidance for new players so once again, the best way to learn is face to face.
The Analog Gamer: Stocking Stuffers—10 Science Fiction and Fantasy Games Under $20.00
My bad, it's been a while for Citadels. Yes, to clarify, (let's face it, to correct): The player with "the crown" (determined randomly at start, moved to the King character thereafter) draws from the character deck first and passes the deck left. One hidden card has been removed from the deck and a certain number of face up cards may also have been removed. This means the first player knows with almost 100% certainty what roles will be in play for the turn but doesn't know who has them (depending on the player count there may be 1 extra card not in play), the next player to draw will know with 50% probability what character the first player has chosen and so on. Certain characters exist solely to screw other characters so it becomes an interesting game of bluff and deduction when trying to precisely target your screwage (or avoid being screwed) and still make progress on building districts. As said by SaltMan, it's the interaction between characters and trying to guess who has what that makes this game. For this reason, Citadels shines with lots of characters in play, one attribute that makes this game a rare gem is that it plays best in its upper range of player count.
The Analog Gamer: Stocking Stuffers—10 Science Fiction and Fantasy Games Under $20.00
I agree, I'd like more people to pay attention to designers but these descriptions were intended to be brief and for a mixed audience of gamers and non-gamers. For the sake of completeness, here are the US Publishers and lead designers. Space Hulk: Death Angel Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games, Designer: Corey Konieczka Forbidden Island Publisher: Gamewright, Designer: Matt Leacock Pocket Rockets Publisher: Asmodee Editions, Designer: Antonie Bauza Onirim Publisher: Z-Man Games, Designer: Shadi Torbey The Stars are Right Publisher: Steve Jackson Games, Designer: Klaus Westerhoff Dungeoneer Series Publisher: Atlas Games, Designer: Thomas Denmark Fluxx Series Publisher: Looney Labs, Designer: Andrew Looney Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League Publisher: Z-Man Games, Designer: Heinrich Glumpler Citadels Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games, Designer: Bruno Faidutti Lord of the Rings: Confrontation Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games, Designer: Reiner Knizia
The Analog Gamer: Stocking Stuffers—10 Science Fiction and Fantasy Games Under $20.00
I was skeptical too but I've played it up to 5 and it works well, I don't see any problem up to 6. My preference is for 2 or 3; having 2 combat teams per player reduces the possibility of player elimination until the entire squad is about to be overrun. I am not a 40K or Space Hulk player but I've introduced this to people that are with great success. They love how tactics from the full sized game seem to work in the card game, mostly they've taught me not to shoot at every opportunity. If there's only a single Geanstealer in your sights it's often far better to take a support action and save the fire option, the value of the special support actions are often overlooked.
The Analog Gamer: Stocking Stuffers—10 Science Fiction and Fantasy Games Under $20.00
The FFG sale has some amazing deals on games over $20 (no dungeon crawlers though, sorry). I blogged about Android which they have for $25, Age of Conan may show up in a future blog and is marked down from $79.95 to $25, Tribune isn't science fiction or fantasy but it's still a great game, particularly for $15. As for Fluxx, they are great games. I didn't mention it in the post but Fluxx games can be found in-store at some Barnes & Nobel and Borders book stores.
The Analog Gamer: Android
Just a heads up, Fantasy Flight Games has Android on sale for the holidays at $25 … this is an amazing price. http://store.fantasyflightgames.com/client/client_pages/sale2010.cfm?catid=14
The Analog Gamer: Android
I like to show the video to new players at the start of a session. It covers a lot of the back story and hasn't failed to psych players up to get started.
Playing Tabletop Dungeons & Dragons Online
Looks cool. I thought Fantasy Grounds looked pretty slick for running CoC with my old gaming group, never got past the planning stage though. What we needed was a way to play asynchronously because we could never get our schedules matched up, something like play-by-forum but with a more graphic interface.
The Analog Gamer: Steampunk 3D
Thanks for the link Lynne. Also somewhat steampunkish, the Dwarf, Chaos Dwarf, and Orc fleets from Games Workshop's Man O' War. Regrettably out of print since the early 90's, MOW featured navel combat in the Warhammer Fantasy Battles universe.
The Analog Gamer: Steampunk 3D
Thanks. I did in fact overlook the Space: 1889 reprint. Actually, on the RPG side of gaming there are a couple of other titles I may be called out on. Some of these I considered while writing the original post but dropped when the miniatures theme became dominant. For the sake of completeness, here are some other RPG titles to consider: Lady Blackbird – a free steampunk scenario and simple RPG rules system combined. http://www.onesevendesign.com/ladyblackbird/ Cthulhu by Gaslight – a source book to move the Call of Cthulhu RPG from the 1920's New England to 1890's London. Long out of print and expensive to buy. Sky Galleons of Mars – long out of print tactical ship combat for the Space: 1889 RPG. The miniatures produced for this game were a product of their time (late '80s) and will look dated by today's standards. For card gamers there is Infernal Contraption … a steampunk/fantasy card game in which goblin players score points assembling "a device" out of arcane components. For board gamers there is Red November … a semi-cooperative game of gnomes attempting to repair or escape from a sinking submarine.
The Analog Gamer: 10 Board and Card Games for the 2010 Halloween Season
The competitive play mode in aToE is a nice feature as well. Not everyone enjoys cooperative games, there can be a tendency toward "alpha dog" syndrome (experienced players dominating the game) Not a big problem in AH, somewhat more of a problem in Ghost Stories (although it's still a great game).

Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.