Friday, August 22, 2008

Articles Up

My GenCon Part 1 report is up on Gameshark, this is video / pc game related only so you can check it out if you want. Also and interview I did with David Gaider is also up on Gameshark, David is one funny guy and if you don't buy Dragon Age will come to your house and beat you with a severed arm.

Can I say again I so want to play another game of BSG right now. I wish I had 4 clones of myself.

BattleStar Galactica FRAK YES!

Consider this a teaser because I have so many thoughts in my head after last nights first play of BSG that it's going to take me a while to write them up but here is one for you. The BSG board game is one of the best games I have played.

Not this year.

Not recently.

Pretty much ever.

How can I make that claim after one playing you ask, well I'll pen that post later. I'm also quite sure that not everyone will feel this way, in fact I bet of the 6 player game last night there might be some who didn't enjoy it, but if you enjoy a co-operative game with a twist element like Shaodws over Camelot then I can't see you not liking this game.

Kudos to Mark from Eagles for pretty much blindsiding me and I think the other human players last night when the shit had hit the fan. It was much like watching a sci-fi flick, you know the good guys up against incredible odds, the tension builds and the hero's barely escape.

We had all of that last night, except thanks to some excellent playing we didn't escape. No quite the opposite I felt like I got punched in the stomach, someone ran over my dog and ran off with my wife.

When a game can get those kind of emotions out of me, well then it immediately goes to the top of my internal lists. The game also is very true to the show and it's atmosphere with the added benefit of getting to say motherfraker a lot.

As the title says, BSG FRAK YES!

Battlelore to FFG

Most of you have probably heard by now that Battlelore has been sold to Fantasy Flight Games, you can see the FFG press release here. I'll have more to say about this at a future time, anyone who reads this blog knows I am a big FFG fan.

I think what Days of Wonder has done here is nothing short of crappy. They have misled the Battlelore community for over a year know. Promises of expansions and taking the game new ways was nothing but a lot of hot air apparently. For their part anyone who pre-ordered the Troll expansion is going to get it for free, but that didn't stop them from selling them less then a week ago at GenCon for full price.

As I said once I see what FFG does with the line I'll comment more, but transitioning to a new company and then formulating a road map for the line is a time consuming thing. So for Battlelore fans we're looking at another long year with nothing new.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008

TOI and WoW to XBLA and PSN

Somehow I forgot to mention this upon my return from GenCon but both of these games are coming out to your console service of choice. Wings of War was on display at the FFG booth and it looked decent. With no one around to tell me what was going on though I gave it a brief look. This is due out winter 2008.

Tide of Iron was not on display and is due Spring 2009, I really can't comment much more. I assume a press release will be on the FFG sight soon or on other services. Actually it was the guys over at the Nut and Feisty Weasel who posted something earlier and reminded me this was announced.
Monday, August 18, 2008

Gencon General Wrap Up

In a word GenCon was a zoo this year. I have boat loads of pictures, saw a lot of games as well. Because i was covering for Gameshark as well my first two days were loaded with electronic game appointments.

I'll be doing more on the games I picked up but consider these general notes.

Well aside from surprising everyone with a limited release of Battlestar Galactica, Game of Thrones Card LCG, Tomb of Ice the new descent expansion, the new Arkham Horror Kingsport Expansion and the Moto GrandPrix game not much else happened.

Actually FFG was out in force, demoing pretty much everything they could and several proto types. The crowds at their booth was larger then normal. Conan was on display, TOI Normandy and huge demos of AT-43 and Confrontation: The Age of the Rag'Narok.

In fact they werre giving away 2 copies of AT-43 and Confrontation every hour and I was lucky enough to score Confrontation. Despite many efforts I could never hook up with Jeremy from FFG for some interview time, GenCon being what it is it happens.

Flying Frog
I got a little time to speak with both Jason and Scott and look at A Touch of Evil and of course I picked it up. I had a feeling I could of scored a review copy but I feel supporting a smaller company like this is warranted. Flying Frog has several games in the works and they are not all Horror related, I hope to get some follow up time with the flying Frog Team in the future. I am looking forward to playing this one soon.

Days of Wonder
DOW flew under my radar, frankly I forgot they were there until Day 3 and I missed some pre-con notifications. Both TTR Nordic Countries and Battlelore For Troll and Country where there for sale in limited quantites. I am really disappointed about missing the Troll expansion.

Valley Games
While I didn't pick up either one of these games, one of my gaming buddies scored both Titan and SuperNova from the show. Each one was there in very limited release. I did get pictuers of Titan that I'll get around to uploading.

Surprise Games
Dominion - This card game doesn't come out until Octboer but let me tell you it is instant crack. many people were inside Rio Grande games room (smart move having their own room outside the hall) playing this repeatedly. The game is going to coem with 500 cards and because you can use 12 different buildings (out of 36) in each game being adaptable is going to be a key. This is a sure fire hit, I gurantee this is going to be popular.

Tomb - I knew little about Tomb but it was a Dungeon Crawl where each player controlled a party of adventurers and is advertised as playing in 90 minutes (a stretch) and the first play didn't disappoint. There are 84 characters which you build your party from meaning it has a lot of replayability.

Rattlesnake - A bit on the lighter side but a game with magnets has to work to go wrong. Definitely something for the familty and perhaps a nice two player for a break from the serious.

Jamaica - Really not worth $60, very disappointing. Beautiful to look at though.

No Shows
- Scenario book for TOI
- No Gears of War demo
- No Tales of the Arabian Nights reprint (Novemeber is the word from Zed)
- No Hannibal Generals (haha had to get that in there)

Overall GenCon was as expected, no real show stoppers or exciting news that I saw or heard. For whatever reason the show seemed more crowded then last year and I didn't get as many games in as I wanted.

Oh and congratulations to fellow Eagle Todd Sweet who won the Catan Champions Tournament, no small feat I tell you. I heard he pocketd a nice bunch of prizes including the insane 3D Catan game worth about $400.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

GenCon Day 1 Notes

I'm bushed after a whole load of appointments todayo just some general notes for now.

- FFG had the Battlestar Galactic game for sale, scored a copy. Also Tomb of Ice Descent expansion, Game of Thrones Card game, Arkham Expansion and some others. Many upcoming games on display and prototypes as well. I'm meeting with them tomorrow.

- Touch of Evil the next Flying Frog game is also here in limited supply. I scored a copy of that as well.

- Tomb from AEG is also here and I got one of those.

- Meet with maqny PC companies for Gameshark, Turbine has a strong showing here.

Haven't eaten since 7 am.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Galactic Emperor Impressions

I've only manage to play Galactic Emperor once this far and it was a 4 player game. Game time was around 2 hours or so. I can see that once everyone knows the game that this can be played in 90 minutes easily.

First impressions upon opening the box weren't great. The chits are made of some really cheap card board, the ends frayed just from punching the pieces. We'll see how long they hold up, the game board and the ship miniatures were fine however. I also was not crazy about the printing on the chits either, some of the color choices are very hard to read. In fact I could find the purple home sector, I thought I was missing a piece. Luckily the manual shows the names for all the home sectors, only by seeing the name and then closely examining the tile did I see the icon to indicate the purple home world.

The rules are simple enough that you should be playing in 20 minutes, some of them are open to interpretation (I made an FAQ on the Geek) and other important rules are found in the sidebar of pages. However once you know how to play none of that really matters.

So all minor quibbles aside what do i think of GE?

It's one fun game

I was actually surprised to find that I enjoyed GE much more the WOW:TAG. The game definitely has strategy involved and knowing what the roles do and when to play them is the key to success. Through proper use of roles i was able to win the game easily and I fought only 3 battles.

Early game is a bit on the slow side as empires expand and start planning for conquest, by mid game skirmish start and by end game is usually a dash for Victory points in any way possible. The role mechanic is straight out of Puerto Rico , the combat Nexus Ops or Starcraft but it all works very nicely.

The main complaint I have seen is the lack of theme and here I would concur, the different empires are nothing more then a color choice. Much more could have been done by giving them unique abilities, bonuses or even weakness.

As it stands after one playing I really enjoyed this game, sure it's not original in any way but it sure is fun, in the end isn't that what gaming is about?

WOW:TAG Initial Impressions

World of Warcraft the Adventure game is certainly a departure from the WOW: Board game. I've had a chance to play this game three times so far. The first was a 2 player game, then a 3 and finally a 4 player jaunt.

I won't be detailing the rules as this isn't a review and the rules can be found on FFG site. The goal is WOW:TAG is to be the first to acquire 8 Valor Points. This is done primarily by quests although there are certain space on the board which allow you to acquire these points as well.

The board itself has an Arkham Horror feel to it in terms of layout and art direction. In every game we've had a hard time finding various places, something that will change with added play I am sure. The art itself is very good on the cards, board, ability cards, my only complaints is the text on the challenge cards is very small. My eyes aren't even close to perfect but I've played with people who do have great eyesight and they have trouble reading some of the cards.

So the game has an adventure game feel, Talisman and Runebound come to mind although I think this game is better then both of those. On a turn each player moves, explores, does a challenge (event) and then manages his character. Most turns take 2-10 minutes, with the average turn about 4 or 5 and this includes combat.

In terms of downtime there certainly isn't a lot unless you get a player who doesn't look at their abilities during his downtime. My 2 player game was a learning game and it only took about 90 minutes. The 3 player game took just shy of 2 hours and with rules explanation. The 4 player game however took over 3 hours, there was rules explanation but the main culprit was over character management from a single player. This game should never take 3 hours, granted a lot of it comes with quest draws and knowing the way to win the game is to finish quest, not gather loot.

The characters have a good variation and I found playing some a lot easier then others, it's hard to speak of balance after 3 plays but each time a different class won the game. The quests are interesting enough to keep the game enjoyable after multiple plays but there is a good amount of luck involved in draws. In game two we were all around 3 or 4 valor points and a player happened to draw a quest card to eliminate another player, which is no easy task unless the other player is currently hurt which he was. So just through that random draw and luck he won the game out of no where.

On the whole WOW:TAG is a decent game, I will continue to play it and see how my feeling change on it. It's definitely primed for expansions, not only charcter expansion but Map ones as well.

Is it the perfect Adventure game? For me no I am still looking for that but right now WOW:TAG is a solid game that will see a lot of table time at least for a while.
Monday, August 04, 2008


I'll be heading down to GenCon next week and my schedule is fast filling up with meetings. I'll be spending some time with Turbine to learn about the LOTRO expansion, new D&D content and some information on my first MMORPG Asheron's Call. It's amazing that product is still going strong.

Also should be meeting with Bioware for some DragonAge, hopefully Some Champions online coverage and there are a few others on the schedule. Publishers of computer / video games are pretty active when it comes to setting up interviews, I've heard from exactly zero board game publishers about coming by their booths. In fact I actually had to pursue them in order to set up meetings.

I don't want this trip to be all work, in fact wasn't the intent at all so I'll hopefully be reporting from down their on much board gaming news. If anyone is going down and wants to play a game give me a shout via email.

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