Welcome Neighbors! First, I want to apologize for not getting y’all more reviews and What’s On the Table articles this last month. Just starting school, selling a house, buying a house, and everything else in life has proven a bit more than I thought it was going to be. I do apologize, but I will keep getting stuff out at least on a monthly basis until I’m into my groove and figure out a better strategy for putting out content. Just bear with me a bit longer.
Last month (and the beginning of this month) had a ton of fun stuff to come along. I was able to play Pandemic Legacy, Robinson Crusoe, Terraforming Mars, go to a convention, start a new Dungeons and Dragon game, and begin 3 new game designs while starting playtests for another. *Wipes brow* Yea, it’s been busy and fun all wrapped in one.
But, without further ado, here is everything fun from DragonCon, a review of Hanabi, a look at Robinson Crusoe, and the introduction of The Forge of Fury! Sit back, relax, and enjoy!
The light of a thousand suns (actually just one bathroom light) shines forth into my eyes, waking me from my slumber. Alas, this day had been foretold for some time (well, more like a week). Today is the day! The day in which we venture forth into the depths of the dragon’s den (hmmm) and slay the foul beast with wit and might (more like it slayed my wallet). Today, we venture forth to…
Okay, now that I have gotten the theatrics out of the way let’s get right to it with DragonCon. First off, this is the first major convention that my wife and I have had the privilege of attending. We did get to do Siege of Augusta twice and even Geekfest out in Tx, but we have never experienced one of this magnitude. And we had a BLAST!
This convention was not specifically about board and tabletop games, but more of a tribute to all things geek culture. Anime, puppetry, games, fantasy, scifi, steampunk, some weird music style called filk (yea, had to look it up too) and so much more. One of our favorite parts of the festival was an improv class on clowning around with puppets in which we got to get up, run around, and be silly. Sheesh, I didn’t even get to play any games throughout the entire thing, but it was still amazing seeing all the stuff.
I was able to make it out of there without having to take out a second mortgage, which was a surprise to my wife. Made my way over to the CoolStuff Inc booth and grabbed Scythe and Harry Potter then found the CMON booth and picked up The Grizzled and the expansion. I really REALLY wanted to grab Massive Darkness, Bloodrage, Arcadia Quest, and so much more, but my wife was watching so I had to keep it cheap. Next year, I will be sure to save up a bit of money and have a better list going in that way I know for sure what I want and then won’t feel so bad. This goes for Origins and GenCon next year which I also hope to make it to if all things work out well.
Yea, I really do like conventions, but I need to make sure I am careful with all the crazy crowds. If I had to give one piece of advice to anyone that suffers from a bit of anxiety or related issues, especially in large crowds and around loud noises, then I would say find yourself a place to decompress every now and then. Even though I really wanted to run around and see every little thing, I felt myself getting angry, frustrated, and a bit nervous a few times throughout the convention and thus had to get off to the side and take a seat to decompress. Definitely find a place to take a break at every now and then to help extend your time at the event. A little rest now and then will reap major benefits throughout the weekend of the event.
Other than that, I am looking forward too many more to come and hopefully getting a booth in the future once I get a few of my games out of my head and into the printers. It will be cool to see both views of the con and see all it has to offer.
Now, let’s take a look at all these games I got to play in August and get y’all caught up on all the fun.
Let’s start off with the creme de la crème of the boardgames for August with one of our favorites. Hanabi is a 2 to 4 player card game where players do not look at the cards in their hand, but can see those of their allies around the table. They spend tokens in order to give clues to each other so that the others have information to help create the proper sequence of cards onto the table. Players may: 1) Spend a token to give a hint to one other player 2) Discard a card to gain back a hint token or 3) Play a card from their hand to the table, hoping it isn’t the wrong card, or they go one step closer to losing the game (oh and you only get 4 wrong guesses *gulp*).
This game is a great memorization, cooperative game that really tests a person’s mental capacity, creativity in the clues they give, and friendships when their fellow mates forget that you already hinted that those 3 cards are 1’s, they rearrange their hands, point to the new card they just drew (which is a 5) and sate without an ounce of doubt that they remember you telling them it’s a 1. All you can then do is look with wide eyes and shame as they play that card, dashing all your hopes and dreams. #flashbacks. Ahh, good times.
This game is a staple game for my family and is great for almost any crowd (keep it over 6 because memorizing those cards is a doozy). One gripe I have always had with the game is the color aspect and the fact that we will probably never be able to play it with my brother-in-law because of the colors, but I think that can be solved easily. Recently, they came out with a colorblind version of UNO that utilizes a new symbol set to represent RGB color schemes and even the combinations of those colors. This system could easily be adapted over to Hanabi and would allow for so many more people to play. Here is to hoping they do it one day.
If you like a light game that makes you think then go out and grab this one. It is a challenge, but plays quickly and has massive replayability. It is also easy to teach thus making it a great introductory game in the hobby genre. Oh, and have I mentioned you can get it fairly cheap too. Just go check out amazon.com or your local target. They had copies for about $5 a few weeks back so I am sure you can get a good deal on this great game.
Hmm…hmm…how best to describe this game. Well, one word comes to mind I guess to describe my experience. Tired. I know, that is a weird way to describe a game, but bear with me for just a moment as I explain myself.
First, Robinson Crusoe is a cooperative survival game for 1 to 4 players, in which each of you are survivors of a boat wreck on an unknown island somewhere. From here, you have a mission to complete in a set amount of turns that consists of you and your fellow survivors going out onto the island and exploring, gathering necessary equipment, and building a camp to help you survive mother nature and all the little nasties she is going to throw at you. And that is the gist of it. You got X number of turns to complete your task (which is based off of which story you pick) and if you do without someone dying, you win.
Now, for the tired part. As I played this game I felt just like my poor survivors (The Cook, Friday, and my faithful dog) as I worked to get a stockpile of wood built up so I could make a bonfire to signal ships coming near the island. I worked, I hunted, I gathered, and I built, all the whiles suffering wounds to my body, mind, and soul along the way. After the game was finished, with me barely surviving the last storm and finally having a bon fire built, I sat back at the end of the game, let out a sigh, smiled, and couldn’t decide if I just had fun or not. Well, now it’s been a few weeks and I can without a doubt say that I had a BLAST! I felt trapped, I felt desperate, I felt hardship, and I felt the story. Yes, this game created a story from the get-go and kept it going to the end. And the best part is, even though I survived that Island, there are so many other scenarios for me to try out and see (to include the Swiss Family Robinson and King Kong). I can’t wait to get this one back to the table when I have a chance to commit 3 hours to another game of it…oh yea…forgot it took a bit.
Robinson Crusoe is not for the faint of heart and is definitely not for everyone. If you enjoy and adventure that keeps you wondering, guessing, losing hope, gaining hope, and worn out at the end, then this is the game for you. It was an adventure and offered such amazing story that once it was done, just like any good book, you felt like you had lost a part of yourself once the story ended. It really is an experience and one I recommend to any who wish to have a major sense of adventure.
With that though, this game is a major time investment and takes a bit of time to learn. I would recommend going over to Watch it Played and watching Rodney’s 45 mins video how-to on the game. That saved me a lot of time one I got into it, though there was a lot of going back and rereading rules and clarifying things. Overall though, the game was major fun and I look forward to playing it again.
Just keep one thing in mind when considering this one; this is not for the faint of heart.
Dungeons and Dragons 5e: The Forge of Fury
The sound of music and talking permeated through the Yawning Portal tavern as the members of the Hunters Guild sat around their table. A they sat together enjoying their drink, recounting their adventure into the depths of the Sunless Citadel, Duran (the innkeeper) speaks with a gentleman there. After a moment, he points him towards the table of the heroes of the Sunless Citadel and the man makes his way over to the table.
“Hello and good day to you illustrious members of the Hunter’s guild. My name is Sir Faron of house Duwal and your guild master has sent me here with a job,” the man calling himself Sir Faron says to the heroes as he reaches into a pouch to pull forth a scroll. Upon it, the seal of the guild showed its legitimacy and as they read over it they knew their mission to one of great adventure.
“You will venture forth to the ancient home of the dwarves and recover artifacts from their vaults. Though the exact location of the vault is not known, we have heard rumor of the possibility of it being located near the Khundrukar. I would suggest starting here and visiting the small logging town of Blasingdell for supplies and maybe more information.” He stood from the table and with a smile on his ace he bid the adventurers luck and made his way from the inn.
The group of heroes knew that adventure awaited them, but they did not know that what awaited in that dark place, may be more than they alone could handle.
On towards adventure!
Woohoo! After defeating the evils of the Sunless Citadel, we finally were able to begin adventure two of the Tales From the Yawning Portal book. We ended up losing two players due to work circumstances and school stuff, but gained three others in return. I am looking forward to diving deeper into the Forge of Fury and testing the characters creativity with some of these awesome encounters and traps. Will be fun to see how the novice players handle the things and the put the more seasoned players characters into body bags…I mean situations that could result in their demise…I mean grand adventure with fluffy kittens and huggable orcs. Yea…that last one.
Anyways, be sure to check out those adventures in the podcasts and hopefully will have a story write up done after my school stuff calms down in the winter.
Game Design Update
I mentioned that I had 3 new game design ideas in the works and was playtesting another earlier, but that’s not entirely true. I actually have about 5 or 6 ideas, 3 that are getting fleshed out onto the table, and 1 (about to be 2) that I have made stuff for to begin playtesting. Just to give y’all some ideas of the fun and maybe even your opinions, here are some of the concepts I have been working on and hopefully will have more information on in the future.
First – Now, I want to give names and themes for all of these, but not all are quite at that stage yet. This first one though has a very specific theme in which it fits into. Music. So far, it is a two-four player 54ish card game where players take turns attempting to make measures of music. Each in turn has a “solo” that they play, where they look to play the most notes, most difficult sequence, and all in all stand out above their band mates. The basics use the musical concepts of a “measure” of music which consists of a number of beats (in most cases 4). The players use the notes to play 1, .5, or .25 of the beats within the measure each looking to get to the total beats for that measure. Now, the tricky part is the soloist wants to get the most notes possible, but also for the most measures possible so as to increase his points in a round. While he is doing that, his band mates (the other players) are backing him up by playing sufficient notes to support him, but not letting him get too carried away and outshine them before they get a chance to solo. Play continues around with new hands being drawn each round and a new soloist doing his most epic play possible.
So far this is basic concept, but with what I have currently the game is a bit…boring. I enjoy the play and the thinkiness, but I definitely want to spice up the fun a bit. Will keep testing it out and find that nice middle ground to make it awesome.
Second – This one is going to take a LOT longer to playtest. I have been wanting to make an RPG system that integrates into a boardgame. The system would not require a DM, but would still offer great roleplay opportunities, a very large number of classes that are customizable based off of the skill “tree” a player goes down in multiple techniques and classes, and finally plays relatively quick encounter wise to help with the boardgame side of things.
The first thing to get down is the basics of the combat system. Each character will utilize a specific deck of cards with various moves in it that can be used to accomplish tasks. Once these are used they are placed in the discard to represent the exhaustion fo the player. The players will also be able to use action points to redo many of these moves, but again, this will represent their level of exhaustion and will eventually result in them having to rest.
I like the ability deck idea and want to adapt an item system to compliment it. Various items will use different dice based off their types, damage, and abilities. These will be the dice rolled when abilities are used. For example, if a player plays their “Slash” card while wielding a sword, the sword uses a custom “sword” die with various idons to represent hits, specials, and more. Later, since that card is in the discard, they could spend X number of ability points to use that card again as their action for a turn. This will take a lot of balancing and testing, but will make it so there are never two characters that are exactly the same.
Finally, I don’t want to use Hit Point (HP), the traditional “I’m hurt” counter. Instead, I want to use Armor Points for various pieces of armor on the character. Once the armor is broken, then the character…well gets wounded and dies. This would speed up combat tremendously since you wouldn’t have to count up every single HP, plus modifiers, plus advantages/disadvantages, plus the location of the Sun to the third power, minus the butterfly effect of a dragon’s wing in a far off land. Well, at least that’s my hope, but as they say…
Play test, play test, and play test some more.
Thanks everyone for stopping by! If you enjoyed what you read be sure to share it with your friends and give me shout. Would love to hear from you and to talk about the awesomenesss of games. Also, be sure to check out the Facebook page at facebook.com/thetokendiceguy, follow on Twitter at twitter.com/thetokendiceguy, and find me on boardgamegeek.com as TheTokenDiceGuy, and finally at my website: thetokendiceguy.com