Friday, September 22, 2006

That's Life Review

That's Life is a really neat game that plays fast, is easy to learn and will probably be attractive to casual or non-gamers at your next dinner party. The game plays up to six players and having played it twice with both four and six players I prefer it with four but found no downside to having six. The game is a die rolling, move your pieces type game which is very simple to play. There are a bunch of tiles laid out in a path, each of them has a numerical value from -1 to - 10 and then +1 - +8. There are also clover tiles (not sure what there official name is) that if you collect those will turn a negative card into a positive one at the end of game scoring. On top of these 5 clover tiles and the +8 and +7 tiles sit guards which I will get to in a minute.

So that standard board has a start square and you have 3 pawns of your color there, then the playing surface is laid out -1 to -8, then the clovers, then +8 - +1, then -1 to -10 again. I'll try and snap a picture next time we play of the setup. The basic rules are as follows, you roll a six sided die. You move one of your pawns that many spaces, or you may move a guard token that many space if the guard token is on a tile occupied by a pawn. So in other words no moving the guard tokens unless someone else is on the tile.

If you're the last person to leave a tile, you must pick it up and add it to your scoring stack. so if i start and I roll a 4 I move my guy to the -4 tile, lets say down the line i move him off the -4 tile and he is the only pawn on it. I must pick it up and add it to my scoring stack. That is the whole game right there, but don't let it's simplicity disguise the strategy that very quickly ramps up once people get multple pawns on the board and are playing chicken for the clover and positive scoring squares. Moving guards as opposed to your pawns becomes instantly useful.

I think if you're a family gamer or just want something to entertain the friends at the next dinner party you can't go wrong with That's Life. It's a perfect mix of quick play, conventional game mechanics and a smidgen of strategy to keep everyone having fun.

OBGB Rating: A-
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dice Spotting

So I needed a system for my game which would involve a bit of chance but stay away from the typical D20 mechanic. While rolling dice is certainly something a lot of gamers dislike, it is not something that bothers me. I did want to try something a little different and I'm not sure if I played a system like this before and that is how it came to me, but I'm quite sure it exists somewhere.

So each player will have ten D10's. Whenever they attemt to preform an action or engage in combat that requires die rolling they will roll a set number of dice (determine by modifiers etc) and be required to "spot" a certain number of dice for success. Spotting means they must match a number, think rolling pairs except they all have to be the same number. Here an example:

Agent Dotkins has drawn a security encounter, he has run into a door which is sealed but has a computer keypad guarding it's entry. He has a few options here, but he elects to try and disable the locking device. This calls on his technology skill attirbute which is a 4 (he is fairly skilled in technology) he also has a electromagnetic lock picking kit which gives him 2 additional dice and gets to re-roll any dice not spotted once.

Agent Dotkins will be rolling 6 d10's to try and disable the door lock. According to his encounter he needs 4 spotted dice to succede (this is a hard lock). Also not having any spotted dice will result in an alarm sounding and an encounter being drawn.

Dotkins rolls and gets the following on 6 dice: 10,8,7,3,7,and 4. Dotkins has spotted two dice (the two sevens) he sets those aside and because of his kit, he gets to re-roll the other dice looking for more sevens.

He rolls again and gets the following: 7,1,1,5. he adds the seven to his others and has spotted 3 dice succesfully, not enough to disarm the lock but enough not to raise the alarm. The two 1's he rolled could also be spotted, but he would have only two successes. If for example he had rolled four 1's on his re-roll he could have spotted all four of them and hit the target to unlock the door and ingored his saved 7's.

I won't go into what happens next for Agent Dotkins, he has several options on his next turn. But this is an example of the main mechanic of the game, so you can see it is a die rolling game.
Monday, September 18, 2006

My Game

So I've been working on a game for a while now. It's what would be considered a light game. It uses cards and pieces and the theme is espionage. Kind of a cross between an RPG and minatures game, but very..very light.

It's a 4 player game, the base game is simple enough. Each players works for a different organization, their all assigned the same goal on a mission for example retrieve a top secret microchip. The players all start at different entry points at the objective and away they go.

I don't wantto give to much away right now, but I will be posting about it periodically as it developes. Actually the rules are done and I am in card making mode. I plan to start play testing in a few weeks.

Anyway tomorrow I will be posting about the main mechanic in the game and that is dice spotting.
Friday, September 15, 2006

Descent: Expansion

If you're a Descent player (and if you're not give it a try) you probably know there is an expansion due out sometime soon. Called the Well of Darkness. well I'm not sure how long they have been posted, but the rule can be found online here

Looks like we get 3 new monsters (Kobold, Golem and something called a Ferrox) and then a whole bunch of cards. Looks like 10 new map pieces and lots of Prop markers. The new rules look interesting as well.

I really love this game with some house rules, but anyone who has played can tell you that the OverLord is at a disadvantage. The new rules seem (on paper anyway) balance that out. As the OverLord can now customize his base deck with new Treachery Cards on a point buy system.

I find descent plays best with a few hosue rules for limiting town visits, and also for adding AOE 9area of opportunity) attacks. In the base rules a player could run in, attack point blank and move out. Not in my house rules.

Paranoia the Card Game - Session Report

A month or two back at the regular thursday night session I attend, we decided to play my new Paranoia card game. If you've never played the original Paranoia RPG in the 80's then this game will not mean much to you.

Lets get this out right away, this game should only be played with the right group of people. Whats the right group you ask? Well not the other 3 people I played with that evening.

This game is about screwing the other player, and that is all it is about. Through the use of cards you perform various actions on other players. the goal is to get the highest security level by the end of the game. A lot of board game geeks call this a "munchkin game", fortunately I'm not that much of a nerd so I can use the "double quote" thing to reference it here.

So if you have the "If i lose a game sucks" type player or someone who is not very interested in trying this game, stay away from them playing.

Ok so the game itself, well there is not much too it. You're all troubleshooters for the computer and everyone starts out at the lowest security level. One person is choosen to be team leader, they are 1 level higher then you. Your security level determines your hand size. The team leader also rules on actions that need to be settled (I'm not going to go into specific cards here)

Each player has 6 clones, or lives. When one dies, you lose your security level and when one person has lost all their clones the game is over. It is very easy to lose your clone, either by combat with other players, or having the most distrust from the computer by round / missions end.

One thing we did wrong is when the Team leader dies, another one is immediately choosen and they go up a security level. By not doing this we really didn't play the game it was meant to be played. would it make a big difference in the outcome, there is no questioning that. Would it have helped this group of players enjoy themselves, no chance in hell.

Keep in mind these thoughts are off of a game I played once about 2 months ago, so I'm not being real specific on rules etc, you can find all that at BGG.

So what am I saying about this game, well its more a rambiling post then anything. But the bottom line if you have the right group of players (ie don't take themsleves too seriously) and have a history with the old RPG there is a chance you would enjoy this game as a filler (geek term - A filler is a game that can be played quickly, usually 30 - 60 minutes, that is used to fill time between bigger games) otherwise Paranoia is going to put a damper on your evening.


I decided to start a blog again, this time it will cover my new passion for board gaming. I hope you enjoy it.

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