Tag Archive: “APE Games”

GEN CON, August 4-7 at the Indiana Convention Center

by David C. Obenour & Adam Talicska

Midwestern modesty makes it hard to acknowledge, but there’s no denying that Gen Con is one of the largest gaming events in the world. And while nerd culture going mainstream has derailed other conventions into watered-down celebrations of all things pop culture, Gen Con has remained dedicated. That’s not to say there aren’t things to do that aren’t gaming related (including a full section of the guide book somewhat humorously titled SPouse Activities or “SPA”) but if gaming’s what you’ll want, well then gaming’s what you’ll get! And since you’ve asked so nicely for gaming here is our first batch of highlights from 2016.


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Sagrada (Floodgate Games)

Dave: Sagrada is a great example of masterfully matching a game’s components with its theme. In this puzzle-styled game, players fill the panes of a stained glass grid with different beautifully colored translucent dice. The grid patterns are limited by varying levels of difficulty that determine where dice can be placed and how many resources the player has available at the game’s start. Dice can’t border other dice of the same color or same number and certain patterns score bonus points at the end of the game. It’s a little like a Sudoku, but arguably way more fun. The Kickstarter comes in September.


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Mechana Rising (Dimension Games)

Dave: If you look back through all of the gaming conventions we’ve covered, you can tell I’m not much of a collectible card game guy. It seems most walk-throughs start off with, “You know Magic, right?” and then they go into how they’ve supposedly perfected one of the best selling games of the last two decades (which I’m not that big of a fan of either). All of which makes it pretty surprising that I really enjoyed Mechana Rising! A starter set providing four factions gives you a number of different ways to play this sci-fi battle. Only the human and mutant decks were available to try at Gen Con, but the interesting mechanics of humans starting out heavily equipped while the mutant slowly added their mutations worked well in the game and thematically. Also of note is the heavily stylized work of illustrator Dashiell Kirk who did an amazing job with the oversized playing cards.

Adam: I will second Dave’s comments about the art.  It was really refreshing to see such a different style of artwork in a game.  Too many times games fall into the same high fantasy, hard sci-fi, or european resource-management art styles.


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Let Them Eat Cake (Osprey Games)

Dave: Having been introduced to Osprey Games just this year with the great fantasy miniature ruleset of Frostgrave and then releasing Kris and my favorite game of Origins with Escape From the Aliens in Outerspace, this English publisher seems to be able to do no wrong in my book. Unfortunately I didn’t get to play Let Them Eat Cake, but Adam did so I’ll let him take this one.

Adam: Let Them Eat Cake is a really fun multiplayer game in which each player is a member of the Revolutionary Committee.  Gameplay consists of electing your fellow players to positions of authority, forming alliances to gather power, all the while deciding on how best to betray said alliances and send your opponents pawns to the guillotine in order to amass the greatest amount of cake!  Through a simple system of colored cards to represent votes it allows what appears to be a fun, silly game about the Revolution to become surprisingly political.  As Dave said, Osprey continues to be a game developer produces high quality games that deserve greater recognition.


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Karuba (HABA)

Dave: A nominee for this year’s Spiele des Jahres, Karuba is a smart and accessible tile-placement game from all ages designer HABA. In it, players lay path tiles on the grid of a jungle island to lead their explorers from their beached ships to the hidden temples. Tiles are drawn by a caller and each player arranges the same tile on their individual map or uses it to move their explorer along the trail. The concept is similar to what Days of Wonder went for with Relic Runners but streamlined. This is the sort of easy to explain and highly replayable game that should sell as well at Target as your FLGS.


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The Great Dinosaur Rush (APE Games)

Dave: A fun and unique concept sure can go a long way in making a board game. And what’s more fun then getting to play as the truly ruthless paleontologists of the Great Dinosaur Rush of the mid to late 1800’s? Playing as the too ridiculous to be made up historical figures of the era, players collect different dinosaur bones (leg, head, rib, exotic and more) to assemble in whatever fashion gets them the most notoriety. Steal bones from each other, sabotage work sites and influence public opinion, learning sure can be fun when you don’t realize you’re doing it!

Adam: I loved the aspect of making up your own ridiculous assemblage of dino bones into the most shocking configurations.  Behold!  The Seven-Necked Frumposaur!


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Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle (USAopoly)

Dave: Hogwarts Battle was another undeniably hot game at Gen Con, selling out within the first hour of each day. It’s hard to tell whether this response is the doing to a wildly popular series made even more popular with a recent book release or if the game itself is to credit. As playtests were hard to come by and most copies seemed to be sold before anyone would have had a chance to get one anyway, it seems to be the former but that doesn’t discount the latter. A 2-4 player cooperative deck-building game, players take on the role of Harry, Hermoine, Ron and Neville as they defend Hogwarts against you-know-who. Licensed products are sometimes a red flag, but USAopoly has been on a roll these last few years so it will be interesting to find out more.

Adam: I am a little concerned about the replay value of the game due to the idea that every game takes place during a specific year of Harry’s education at Hogwarts. Before each game you open up a specific pack of cards corresponding to that year and add them to your collection.  Unfortunately we were unable to get a look at the cards, but I am hoping that a simple mechanic of marking the cards with the years that they come from would allow players to sort them out and play any specific year.


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Eschaton (Archon Games)

Dave: Archon, formerly Travesty Games, makes some beautifully evil looking games. We first encountered them at last year’s Gen Con with Deathfear and though I’d surprise past me by saying it, they’ve topped themselves with Eschaton. In this deck-building meet dudes on a map game, players take on the role of a cult leader fighting for the dark one’s admiration in the dying days of civilization. Zealots march across the map, slaughter each other and then rise up with renewed fervor. An ever-building deck of cultists, monsters and spells dictate turns like a game of Dominion where you get to orchestrate the destruction implied from the flavor text. Selling out of the limited number of handmade copies made available ahead of the Kickstarter’s completion, Eschaton was my game of the convention. You should go back this right now.


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Meow (Asmadi Games)

Dave: Asmadi may have perfected the light-hearted in between games game with We Didn’t Playtest This at All. It’s fast-paced, silly, but also surprisingly engaging. These quick type of games seem to be their market and Meow plays to that. For this particular card game, you draw from a deck of cards that are mostly illustrations of cats that say Meow, but some that aren’t cats that say Not Meow. Either way, after you draw a card, you say “Meow” and play continues. That is unless someone accuses you of having a Not Meow card. At that point you show all of your cards – if any are Not Meows, you’re out, but if none are Not Meows, they’re out. That’s all there is to it! It’s definitely fun for a little bit and that’s all it’s really meant to be.


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You Gotta be Kitten Me! (Stone Blade Entertainment)

Dave: Continuing the theme of light-hearted and fast-paced card games about cats – enter, Stone Blade Entertainment’s You Gotta Be Kitten Me! I’m not as familiar with their back-catalogue of games but this definitely occupies shelf-space next to Meow. Slightly more complicated, each card has an illustration of some cute animal(s) wearing or not wearing different colored hats, glasses and/or bow ties. On your turn you say an ever-increasing number of accessories or a color. Example “five bowties”, then “seven red”, and “eight hats.” Whenever a player doesn’t believe the number, they exclaim, “You gotta be kitten me!” and cards are revealed to show whether they were right or not. Hands are then redealt with whoever was wrong drawing one less card. Whoever last has cards in their hand wins. Not a bad little game, but emphasis is on little game.

Adam: A different take on the bluffing game Liars Dice,You Gotta Be Kitten Me! is pretty easy to pick up and play, but not very deep in the strategy department.  The cutesy black and white pictures of puppies and kittens bedecked in bowler hats or glasses can definitely bring the “d’awwwwwww,” factor though.


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Ice Cool (Brain Games)

Dave: This may win Gen Con for most outside of the box board game. An award that’s made a little confusing as Ice Cool comes in a box that’s filled with other boxes that make up the playing board. Does that make this more of an inside of the box game? Nevermind, let’s just talk about it already! You’re a rascally penguin that’s trying to skip out of class (Ice Cool, High School – get it?) and scarf down some fish. To do this you’ll flick your penguin from room to room, all of while avoiding the hall monitor. It’s similar to the poison rules for croquet but on a tabletop! Lots of people were talking about this game and they were right to be.

Adam: So many times at the con I observed people playing this game and invariably a stranger would stop and ask questions about it.  It has such a unique look with it’s multiple box rooms it really catches your attention.


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Sea Fall (Plaid Hat Games)

Dave: Sea Fall wins the gamer rage award as copies of the highly-sought after Legacy game were snatched up by VIGs on Wednesday before the exhibitor hall even opened to joe schmoe attendees. I even heard a few slighted vendors grumbling about how they denied sales in favor of those lucky VIGs. Marketing strategy and the fairness of this will probably be hotly debated on forums, but as for the game itself all I can say is that Sea Fall does look awesome. Designed by Rob Daviau of the popular Risk and Pandemic adaptations, this is his first wholly self-designed game for the multiple play sessions Legacy format. I didn’t get in a playtest as those lists filled up each morning in a matter of minutes, but I did lean over shoulders and tables and drooled heavily. (sorry)

Adam: I too like many missed out on a playtest of this game.  Having encountered strong word of mouth about it, I was disappointed that there was not nearly enough copies to meet even a fraction of the fervent demand.  I was really intrigued by the system of discovering and developing of islands and how choices in each game can influence how following games are played.  Hopefully Plaid Hat is hard at work churning out more copies to get in the hands of these rabid fans.


We’ll be back next week with part two of our Gen Con review, featuring Scythe, Grimslingers, Rattlebones, Dragoon, Unfair, GKR: Heavy Hitters, Adventureland, Saloon Tycoon, Vikings on Board, Trash Art, Save the Cupcake!, and Ticket to Ride: Rails and Sails.

It’s that time of year again. Gamers the world over are nearly bursting at the seams in anticipation of “The Best Four Days in Gaming”™ at Gen Con 2014. Well, I’m not going. My decision to skip this year isn’t out of protest or anything of that ilk. It’s just a busy time of year, and I have other things to do. So I figured I’d post my super late thoughts on the 2014 Origins Game Fair, an event I actually attended.

I like Origins. A lot of gamers seem to think of it as an appetizer to Gen Con’s main dish.  Others describe it as a lesser convention. I don’t know if either perception is necessarily accurate. Columbus’ Origins has it’s own identity and a pacing that is very different from its neighbor in Indianapolis. My experience this year was a more relaxing one than any time I’ve spent at Gen Con. Granted, I wasn’t there on Saturday and heard that lines on that day only were nearly unbearable. Anyway, here are a few games I played and stuff I thought seemed cool.

I saw this bootleg Archer shirt. It was probably funnier when ISIS wasn't real and super scary. Organized murderers are the real monsters.
I saw this bootleg Archer shirt. It was probably funnier when ISIS wasn’t real and super scary. Organized murderers are the real monsters.

This year’s theme was monsters, so it was cool seeing Ninth Level get some attention for the full-color release of their beer and pretzels RPG Kobolds Ate My Baby! They also featured a quick and easy card game starring the same hungry kobolds from their RPG. A brief demo was enough to recommend a purchase. It was also nice hearing the occasional bellowing of, “All hail King Torg!” Things like that warm a gamer’s heart.

I spent some time with our Editor-in-Chief and Lead Designer at the Cool Mini or Not booth. They make some really fun games. Their price point seems a little higher than average, but that’s easily explained by all the neat plastic miniatures included. No cardboard standees here. Kaosball offers a unique update in the vein of Blood Bowl or Bill Lambeer’s Combat Basketball. It’s a two-to-four player board game in which your team can try to score the most points or simply murder the opposition. The core set comes with four full teams, all of which have beautifully designed (although unpainted) miniatures. Tons of additional teams are also available for purchase. Rivet Wars was their other game we demoed. It has elements of RTS games with two players building up armies that will ultimately march to their doom. If you’re the type of gamer who doesn’t mind a substantial initial investment for hours of fun in the longterm, you can’t really go wrong with Cool Mini or Not.

A four-player game of Kaosball in progress
A four-player game of Kaosball in progress

As I’ve been building my WFB Skaven army, of course I had to pick up some bits. I managed to score some different sized bases that I plan to use in creating some unit-filling scenery, a few Dwarf victims, a Plague Priest, an older Warlord model, and a reasonably-priced Forge World Warlord on Brood Horror. The army is coming together nicely. Check back for studio updates and hopefully some battle reports.

I picked up what looked to be a trading card on the top of a trashcan. It turns out it was some clever advertising from illustrator Kelsey Cretcher. Her work has a very clean, almost storybook feel to it. Check her out if you want some drawings or design work.

Dead of Winter from Plaid Hat Games is a pretty cool twist on what could be a tired zombie trope. Two-to-five players try to get their group of survivors through a deadly post-apocalyptic scenario. Basic concerns like food, fuel, and ammo come into play. Most interesting, however, is that each player has her own secret objective. Victory conditions can be met for the team, but individual players can still lose if they fail to meet their secret objectives. Add to this the fact that one or more of the players may win by betraying the others, and things get very interesting. Votes to exile members of the community show that even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse politics still plays a vital role. There’s potential here for a huge amount of replayability.

Sticking with this year’s monstrous theme, RARRR!! by APE Games could be a great educational tool. It involves elements of betting, pressing one’s luck, and a whole lot of basic math. The demo was enjoyable, and the art style is a perfect fit for a light-hearted monster game.

My RARRR!! monster tearing shit up
My RARRR!! monster tearing shit up

White Wizard GamesStar Realms just might be my favorite game of Origins 2014. It’s a two-player deckbuilding game in which each side attempts to build up their fleet while decreasing her opponent’s influence. Think Dominion or Ascension… only in space. Ships and bases belong to one of four factions. Some allow players to get rid of their basic cards, some allow for draws or forced discards, some build up for massive attacks, and others help replenish a player’s influence. The core set is fantastic, inexpensive, and has me very excited about future expansions. If this sounds even the least bit intriguing for you, be sure to grab a copy of Star Realms.

That’s that, I suppose. All in all, I had a pretty great time. I guess not everyone around me shared my perspective. I heard the comments, “I’d rather be at the Geneva Convention,” or “I wish this was Gen Con,” more than once at this year’s Origins. For all those gamers left longing a couple of months ago, it’s just about time for those wishes to come true. Enjoy the hustle and bustle, everyone! If you’re lucky or rich enough to play in the Cones of Dunshire charity event, then bully for you. Thank Adam Scott (or Ben Wyatt if he’s in character), and tell him that he’s a goddamn genius. 

ORIGINS GAME FAIR, July 11-15 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center

by David C. Obenour

The annual warm up for Gen Con, what Origins lacks in size it delivers in less crowded halls and less hurried play-testing tables. Having to awkwardly defend your space behind a fellow gamer for 15 minutes while they finish their play-test isn’t much fun and neither is having someone lurk over you when it is your turn to play. So taking advantage of this more laid back convention, Ghettoblaster was able to get in a whole lot of gaming! Not all of the games featured here are brand new, but they were new to us and maybe you too.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that there’s a lot more to do at Origins besides just playing games and some of our past reviews have covered all of the great food and fun that surrounds this five-day event (see Origins 2012: Day One).

But without any further ado, onto the games!


KAOSBALL (CoolMiniOrNot, 2014)

CoolMinisOrNot lives up to the first half of its name with the new, Kickstarter funded, Kaosball! Sure the base set with a board, rules and four teams retails for a hundred clams, but as a parental figure may or may not have told you growing up: you get what you pay for. Fantasy teams made of trolls, lycantropes, valkyries, cowboys, steampunks and more, all battle for your insatiable appetite for blood sport. Players control runners, bruisers and ringers as they fight, steal and tackle their way to possessing the ball and holding on for dear life, and points, atop of the scoring zones. Each team has their own special rules, and cool figures too, so Kaosball can potentially be a dangerous cash sink, but when you’re having this much fun…


RIVET WARS (CoolMiniOrNot, 2013)

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Let’s time warp back a year (and to last review): CoolMinisOrNot lives up to the first half of its name with a previously successfully Kickstarter funded project, Rivet Wars! While steampunk is a pretty polarizing style, the World War I fashioned robo-minis made for Rivet Wars are pretty undeniable awesome looking. Infantry, artillery and vaguerly tank-ish looking contraptions fight through trenches and over hill and dale as provided by the nine double-sided battlefield terrain tiles. Unlike some military tabletop games, the rules are fairly uniform and simple, plus the battlefield is grid-ed out so you don’t need a tape measure for shooting or movement. Again, retail for this starting game set is $100 (though Amazon has it new for only $70) and again with a number of additional expansions with more cool minis it’s a potential cash sink… but also again, fun.



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The ‘get your attention while walking through the Exhibitor Hall’ pitch is that Xenoshyft Onslaught is a cooperative, deck-building, tower defense game. For those of you not fluent in geek, that means you’re using a starting deck to acquire more and better cards, using those cards to stop your enemy, and all working together as a team. Concept-wise, Xenoshyft is pure Avatar. Humans have scoured the galaxy, seeking out resources, and in this case, are mining a planet dry of its inhabitant’s main food source. Players take the role of department heads (Med Bay, Weapons Research, Science Lab and Armory) for the company, NorTec Military. Each round a new wave of sunken-eyed, famished aliens assault the base and players must work together to defend each other and the base. It’s not easy, and you can tell the designers wanted you to feel torn about what it is your actually doing, but it’s still fun.



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Freedom: The Underground Railroad is a remarkably well-made game. For all of the mindfully-done and historically influenced mechanics that it employs, once the turn order is ran through and understood the game plays fairly intuitively. Not getting bogged down in complex decision making minutia allows players to appreciate Freedom both as a game and as a look back at a time when America was most divided. Taking on the role of historical figures from the abolitionist movement, players work cooperatively to help guide escaped slaves along the Underground Railroad while evading slave catchers, and work to raise funds and support for the cause. Each character has his or her own special abilities, so a smart group utilizes their individual strengths to help the team. The main possible flaw for Freedom comes with this, as it does with most cooperative games, in an overly controlling alpha player can easily takes the reigns if not checked.


STAR REALMS (White Wizard Games, 2014)

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A head-to-head deck builder, Star Realms is deceptively simple and insanely addictive. Players take on the role of star fleet admirals and amass ship and base cards. Most all cards come with an alignment (either The Trade Federation, The Blobs, The Star Empire or The Machine Cult) and the more cards you’re able to play in a turn from the same alignment the more bonuses you receive – drawing more cards, additional attacks, higher purchasing power, etc. The starter set for a 2-player games is only $15. Want to add a third or fourth player? All you have to do is buy another set! There’s really not much else to say about Star Realms or maybe there is but writing about the game just makes me want to go play it again… I’ll be right back.


QUILT SHOW (Rio Grande Games, 2014)

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Admittedly, a game about competitive quilting doesn’t sound all that exciting at first but then a new game from Rio Grande sure does! Designed with the help of longtime quilting advocate and designer, Judy Martin (having published the most number of original patterns, she’s the Robert Pollard of quilting) Quilt Show is a fun little game. Players collect scraps of different colored fabric, much like collecting different colors of trains in Ticket to Ride, and use these combinations to acquire quilt square tiles of varying intricacy and point value. After a set number of quilt squares have been made, the first of three quilt shows is triggered. Players arrange their squares in patterns either different or alike, add up their quilts’ point value and ribbons and cash prizes are awarded. The fun twist here is that your unused fabric cards and quilting squares carry over to the next show, so while you might not have done well this time you’re in a much better position for the next show.


COPYCAT (Rio Grande Games, 2012)

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The overall concept of Copycat matches its theme completely. Designer Friedemann Friese took all of the best mechanics from some of our favorite games – Dominion, Agricola, Through the Ages, Puerto Rico and Power Grid – and implemented them for a game about political campaigning. Benefit from and then take credit for the work of others. Perfect, right? Friese’s work isn’t completely void of it’s own inspiration though. While a lot of games can suffer from this sort of direct… copycatting, Copycat borrows enough different mechanics and uses them in a way that you never find your mind wandering to thoughts like “this is fun, but I’d rather just be playing…” or “I already kind of own this.”


TSURO OF THE SEAS (Calliope Games, 2012)

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Tsuro of the Seas takes much of its game play from the classic 2004 puzzle game, Tsuro. Players place tiles with interweaving paths, trying to keep those paths from the edge of the board for as long as possible. However, with the seas come monstrous daikaijus that add an element of randomness to play by devouring ships whenever their paths cross. The Veterans of the Seas expansion (2013) adds even more twists with Tsunami, Uzushio (Whirlpool), Taihou (Cannons) and Mystic Portal tiles. Ultimately, a lot of the original Tsuro’s beauty lay in its simplicity so Tsuro of the Seas’ variants, while interesting and beautifully designed, only clutter the concept.


RARRR!!! (APE Games, 2014)

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The Zombie tide has crested (or at least plateaued) and rising from the murky depths to challenge the undead’s pop-culture dominance is the mighty daikaiju. While a constant staple, over the last few years Godzilla and the Godzilla-like have been gaining more and more favor as the next big nerd theme. The aptly named Rarrr!!! starts with players building their Japanese movie monsters by drafting single syllable cards (creating fun names and divvying out electrical, toxic, radioactive and fire powers). After your monster is created another round of drafting creates your starting hand of power cards and you’re ready to clash over the major cities of Earth. Though different in its play mechanics, there did seem to be a fair amount of similarities in the look and feel to iello’s 2011 game, King of Tokyo. That said, there’s probably enough room for two hulking monsters on your gaming shelf.

 By Kristofer Poland

The historic Origins Game Fair was held this past weekend (if you consider weekends to begin on Wednesday) at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. Hercules himself, Kevin Sorbo was there signing autographs, presenting awards, and debuting his new movie Julia X. He was joined by unpronounceable Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd (Mr. Fantastic) and more. Ghettoblaster was also there to bring you the lowdown on some really cool games both newer and older. Rather than giving you an overall convention review, I thought readers might get more out of learning about some of the games we saw as highlights of the convention.


Our first great surprise was followed immediately by our first big disappointment. We played a quick game of Steve Jackson Games’ Castellan. It’s a simple game of building castles and claiming space within them. It comes in blue/red and yellow/green varieties, and both can be combined for a four player experience. As much as we enjoyed it, it was completely out of stock by Friday. Lame.


A blimp race doesn’t inherently seem that cool to me. However, the good folks at Split Second Games just may have changed my mind with their first game Quicksilver. How? It features intuitive movement mechanics, a near infinitely modifiable game board, wonderfully thematic card art, and versatile combat. Keep an eye on these guys. If this game is a sign of the quality of things to come, gamers are in for a treat.

Legend of the Three Kingdoms
Legend of the Three Kingdoms

ZiKo games brought Legends of the Three Kingdoms stateside for the first time to my knowledge. As they explained it, it’s a game that plays a lot like Bang! featuring the stars of Dynasty Warriors. I’ve always enjoyed Bang!’s mechanics, and China’s rich history/mythology is a natural source of characters and conflicts for gameplay.

Space Cadets
Space Cadets

Everyone in our gaming group is excited to play Space Cadets. We’ve had our eye out for Stronghold Games’ cooperative spaceship crew simulator for over a year now, and Dave fortunately grabbed the last copy at the convention. Each player takes one role as captain, helmsman, engineer, weapons officer, shield officer, or sensor officer. Everyone has to work together to keep the ship operational by completing unique challenges specific to each role. Looks like fun on a bun!

Guilds of Cadwallon
Guilds of Cadwallon

Observant readers of our magazine may have already seen our review of Cool Mini or Not’s Guilds of Cadwallon. It charges players with taking control of different regions by placing their minions around them. While the design on the miniatures and the cards are drastically different, they’re all very nicely designed. Card illustrations are particularly beautiful. While the deluxe edition was a bit pricey, the standard set is cheap enough. This one’s a must have for anyone who loves screwing over their friends in order to claim a last second victory.

Flame War
Flame War

Flame War by Fun to 11 is a silly game. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s a game about forum moderation. While being a forum administrator doesn’t initially sound like a very fun concept, Flame War’s mechanics are enjoyable and simple. It makes for a great, quick game that’s full of internet themed humor. All players need to do is begin and close out three threads, making sure that conversations within them go both ways. Other players can post negative topics onto opponents’ threads to keep them open. It’s an excellent game to play when you are lacking in time or just want some quick competition between longer gaming sessions. Just watch out for the powerful ban hammer.

APE Games’ Kill the Overlord is another card game we looked into. It doesn’t take too long to play and can support up to eight players. It has the feel of a party game and was described by its makers as having a “hot-potato” feeling. All players send out Executioners to assassinate the Overlord. Unfortunately, Executioners in this game are idiots that can be easily manipulated. It has absolutely charming artwork and, despite its murderous theme, may be a good way to include your snotty, obnoxious children into your gaming hobby.

World War I dogfights have fascinated me ever since playing Red Baron on my PC as a 12-year-old kid. So it should come as no surprise that I’ve had my eye on Wings of Glory (particularly the WWI line) for years now. I was surprised to learn that Ares had acquired the rights to the game from Nexus and Fantasy Flight over a year ago, and I love what they’ve done with the Duel Pack. There are two varieties available, but I had to go with the one that included von Richthofen’s legendary Fokker Dr.I. He was the Red Baron himself, after all! It serves as a starter, providing two nicely detailed models, bases, cards, and simple rules to get players dogfighting on the quick. 

Having lost an aunt to cancer and with my father currently battling the disease, I was immediately interested in John Gillick’s Castles & Chemo (Sorry to get so serious all of the sudden. We’ll return to our regularly scheduled lightheartedness soon). Gillick is publishing his own adventures and supplements and running fundraising gaming events  all to raise money for cancer research via the American Cancer Society. He claims that D&D sessions were incredibly helpful in helping him deal with his own battle against cancer and sincerely wants to help others develop that sort of support. In his own words Gillick’s organization aids in, “Granting a +4 bonus to Saves vs. Cancer.”

Founding Fathers is a game about the Constitutional Convention. Christian Leonhard and Jason Matthews at Jolly Roger Games went to great lengths to ensure the historical accuracy of this title. Everything from the design of the hall to the ideologies and quirks of individual delegates is represented here in loving detail. Articles are presented both as they appear in the Constitution and as opposing factions would have wanted them. In the end each player wants to have the most influence on the final outcome of the document. This looks to be a great title for the history buffs amongst us who might like a bit of a break from historical wargaming.

The New Science
The New Science

The New Science just might be the game that stole the show for most of us. Columbus’ own Conquistador Games gives us a new lens through which we can view the giants of scientific history. It plays as a resource management (or Euro-style) game with players taking on the role of famous 17th century scientists as they research, experiment, and publish their findings in a race for prestige. If you’ve ever wondered how Galileo’s unpopularity with the church affected his studies, then this is the game for you. A special point should be made of just how attractive this entire package is. A great game can be aesthetically ruined by poor graphic design. Conquistador went out of their way to make this one as enjoyable to look at as it is to play.

There you have it. We played quite a few games, and you read about them. I played in one Magic: The Gathering mini master tournament. It was single elimination, and my two crap packs and horrible land draws ended in immediate defeat. That was enough competition for me.

Although a little underwhelming this year, Origins still offered up a lot of fun. The patient gamer had opportunities to playtest dozens of new games. There were plenty of competitive tournaments for those who like to game for cash and glory. Plus, attendees could take pride in the fact that their gathering was not the most socially unacceptable gathering to take place in Columbus at the time. That dubious distinction goes to a Brony-filled Trot Con being held at Columbus’ other convention center. I secretly hoped for an all out nerd war between guys dressed as superheroes and other guys dressed as ponies. Kind of like the episode of Home Movies with the battle between the Renaissance Fair and Science Fiction Convention (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkBb1k6_GkY). It didn’t happen. I guess there’s always next year. 

Come on back to Gamers’ Paradise here on ghettoblastermagazine.com for upcoming reviews of the games described here and more!