Tag Archive: “Cryptozoic”

RICK AND MORTY: TOTAL RICKALL (Cryptozoic Entertainment)

In preparation for this review, I felt the need to view the source material: Rick and Morty Season 2 – “Total Rickall.” Having not watched much Adult Swim since my teen years I was happy to find it much more funny than I remembered most of the shows being. Basically, the jist is that crazy alien parasites have come into the Rick and Morty home disguised as family and friends. Using powerful memory implantation, they are able to convince the family that they’ve always been around. The wacky parasite characters are mildly amusing. There’s the pork-adorned Japanese military noble, Hamurai; the anthropomorphic pencil man, Pencilvester; and the magical lamb with a rainbow unicorn horn, Tinkles. Need I go on? For the Rick and Morty gang, the only way to tell if these silly characters (and each other) are real-life friends or if they’re parasites is to shoot them. Are you seeing the dilemma here? If they’re parasites, they’ll die, but if they really are family, well, they’ll die. And that’s what Total Rickall card game is all about.

There are two variants included in the box. “Standard Mode” is fully cooperative. “Real” and Parasite” identity cards are randomly laid face down on the table, to be kept secret from players. Character cards are then placed on top of the identity cards. These are characters from the episode—there’s Hamurai, Pencilvester, Tinkles, and all the other zany characters. Character cards each have one of three different color backgrounds. Every round, players play action cards that correspond with one of the three colors (or are wild). Actions only work on characters of the matching color. Action cards might allow you to look at a character’s identity or mix up the identity cards underneath the characters. Players use deduction and memory to determine whether a character is real or a parasite. And of course, they can just start shooting, too—if they have an action card that allows them to do so, that is.

“Advanced Mode” switches things up a bit and makes the game semi-cooperative, adding secret roles into the mix. In this variant, each player randomly draws a character and an identity card and becomes part of the story. They will either be a parasite or real, which adds a bluffing element that definitely enhances the game. Does the person sitting next to you really want to help you take out the parasites, or are they full of shit?

 img_0021

Ultimately, I found myself pleasantly surprised with Rick and Morty both as a game and as a show. While Total Rickall is far from essential to anyone’s collection, save for the late-night bong-on-the-table Adult Swim diehards, this simple card game makes for an amusing and fun little hidden-role filler while you’re waiting for the rest of your group to show up. (Cryptozoic Entertainment) by Josher Lumpkin

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

by David C. Obenour & Adam Talicska

Gen Con never really feels over until we’ve published the second part from our gaming round up and so with this post we say adieu to Gen Con 2016! The games, the food, the friends – a beloved annual tradition for gamers the world round. But enough getting misty eyed! Gen Con 2017 is on the books already and you’ve still got more games to read about.

 

A gen con games-09

Grimslingers (Greenbrier Games)

Dave: Having spent much of the last 3 years reading through Stephen King’s Gunslinger series, Grimslingers is one of the games I went into Gen Con most excited for. Taking place in a familiar world adjacent to our Wild West, but twisted by raw and powerful magic, the inspiration is apparent and purposeful. While Roland’s boots are certainly big ones to fill, game designer, Stephen S Gibson has done a great job with this deck-building meets RPG game. Perhaps most impressive is that for the very reasonable price of $30 players are treated to two distinct styles of play for Grimslingers with a multi-session co-operative campaign or a shorter single session versus game… No, on second thought most impressive has to be the art. The cards are all beautifully illustrated with great uses of foil to make certain magical elements pop.

 

A gen con games-01

Rattlebones (Rio Grande Games)

Dave: People who complain about “too much luck” in games will not enjoy Rattlebones. But who needs those grumpy old rules-lawyers anyway? Welcoming you into a creepy and colorful carnival is ringmaster Rattlebones who invites you to play his many different games of chance. Circling around the board, players pop out and add new die faces to the three game dice they choose from each turn. Some die results win you prizes, others can win you in-game advantages. It’s a balance of which mechanic you want to rely on all while knowing there’s only so much you can do without the right rolls. It’s a lot of fun if you’re more concerned with having a good time then winning.

Adam: As a completely new style of game than I had played before, Rattlebones really piqued my interest. I heavily enjoyed the ability to pop off the die faces and replace them with new ones that granted different abilities when rolled. However, there wasn’t much depth of strategy to the game. I found that I focused solely on building my primary and secondary dice and completely ignored the third once I got those abilities I needed. It then became a race to get those more desired die faces.

 

1 gen con games-12

Scythe (Stonemaier Games)

Dave: It would be an omission not to include Scythe because it certainly was one of the games tucked underneath arms all weekend long. Reimagining 1920s Europa after the First World War players take on the role of a fallen leader, looking to restore their faction to its former glory in this 4X game (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate). While there’s no denying its beautiful artwork and well-designed pieces, the level of popularity was surprising for a game so long and complex in a market ruled by Euro-style.

 

A gen con games-07

Dragoon (Lay Waste Games)

Dave: There seems to be a growing trend over the last few years of coming at well-known gaming themes from the opposing side. For Dragoon’s part, players play not as valiant knights but as prideful and treasure-hoarding dragons, terrorizing and extorting the oncoming throngs of humans looking to colonize their island. Without getting a chance to play a full game, Dragoon still could be one of my favorite games from Gen Con. The only thing holding it back is a rather hefty $75 pricetag. Is the metal they used for the dragon playing pieces cool? No doubt. Are they expensive to produce? No doubt, again. Could Lay Waste Games have sold out of copies by no later then midday Saturday if they’d have used more affordable plastic pieces instead? …maybe?

Adam: Possibly, but come on Dave. It’s metallic dragons made from actual metal!

Dave: Okay, okay. That is cool.

 

A gen con games-03

GKR: Heavy Hitters (Weta Workshop / Evolver Studios / Cryptozoic)

Dave: Seeing the awesome marketing materials on display at Origins it was great to get a chance to look at GKR: Heavy Hitters in all of its plastic and cardboard glory at Gen Con. Unfortunately this was another one of those hot games where it was nearly impossible to get a playtest without investing a couple of hours in waiting around or getting up and rushing the doors far earlier then I was willing to do. From what I could tell, GKR is a lean and mean miniatures meets board-type game, taking less then an hour to play. Created by a conceptual design company with history in movie and film, Weta Workshops has designed their entire own world through awesome and comic book-y art and… I mean guys, the game is called Giant Killer Robots: Heavy Hitters, what more do I really need to say here to get you excited?

 

A gen con games-05

Alan’s Adventureland (Rio Grande Games)

Dave: The best introduction for a game came as we were patiently waiting for a playtester to walk us through this bright and colorful amusement park building game. Coming over to our table we were greeted with, “Hi, I’m Alan and this is my Adventureland.” It was pretty funny how dryly game designer Alan Ernstein said it, but he was then very helpful in explaining his game. The theme for Alan’s Adventureland really serves as more of a vehicle for this intricate and puzzle-ish game. This could be disappointing if you were hoping for strategic park building (he did mention he was currently working another game more like this), but it was still a fun game of thoughtful victory point collecting through a wide variety of different plays.

Adam: I have always hoped for a fun adventure park-building game that would replicate the park building experience. While this game doesn’t really capture the feeling of designing your own amusement park you do get a really colorful game where you place ride tiles on a grid to represent your park. I felt that the scoring system was pretty interesting even if it did take some time to puzzle out. Do you upgrade your rides for that extra thrill factor, or do you spread out with a wide variety of rides and attractions?

 

A gen con games-02

Unfair (Good Games Publishing)

Dave: Where Alan’s Adventureland didn’t really provide the payoff of a more thematic park-building experience, Unfair does! On each turn players build attractions and food vendors, add on upgrades and thematic elements, and hire personnel to man their parks. This is all done through stacking cards that provide further benefits and income to go buy and hire more cards. Turns progress with an at first helpful but later obtrusive local government for you to navigate your own and complicate your opponent’s projects. Unfair is currently on Kickstarter and I’d definitely suggest you consider backing it!

 

A gen con games-06

Saloon Tycoon (Van Ryder Games)

Dave: Saloon Tycoon five times lapped their Kickstarter earlier this year and looking over the finished game at Gen Con it’s not really hard to imagine why. In this game players take turns in building up their wild wild west saloons from the ground, or in this case the board, up. Using the same sort of layer stacking used for Rampage, players upgrade their saloons with additional rooms and business. The game also makes use of character cards, hidden agendas and of course, “goooooold!” (shouted in an old timey prospector voice).

 

A gen con games-08

Save the Cupcake! (Asmadi Games)

Adam: There was a lot of fun buzz about this game at the show, but there is only so much time to demo games and I missed it! Your thought’s Dave?

Dave: I thought I heard wrong when the people at Asmadi compared Save the Cupcake! to the famous Price is Right game Plinko. Nope! Plinko is exactly what they said and what you get from this fun little 2-player card game. Arranging a pyramid of cards, the defending player hides their cupcake in the bottom row. The attacking player then runs his chips through the array of cards, displaying differing routes when landed on. I wasn’t sure it could be done, but dag gum it! Asmadi sure did it. Save the Cupcake! is an inventive and fun fifteen minutes.

 

A gen con games-04

Ticket to Ride: Rails and Sails (Days of Wonder)

Dave: Ticket to Ride is one of the greatest modern day board games. The easy to explain rules, the quick turns, the balance of strategy and luck – everything’s there. With its well-deserved success there have been a number of expansions, keeping the game fun (and highly profitable). For this stand-alone release, players build train and shipping routes across the globe and around the Great Lakes on a double-sided board. While the addition of ships and ports are fun twists, they probably don’t offer enough difference for the casual player. But if you’re not the casual player, you’ve probably already bought and thoroughly enjoyed Rails and Sails.

Adam: I have to echo Dave’s thoughts on this game. Chances are, if you consider yourself a boardgamer you have played some variation of Ticket to Ride. Each new game variant changes up the mix oh so slightly, but the excellent core gameplay remains the same; collect cards, claim routes, and complete tickets. I have to say though, having grown up in Michigan I am a sucker for the Great Lakes map.

 

A gen con games-11

Junk Art (Pretzel Games)

Dave: This is a game I saw at both Origins and Gen Con but unfortunately didn’t get a chance to try. I’m glad Adam did though as every time I’d pass by it sure seemed like people were having a blast!

Adam: The demo table for this game was busy all show long and it wasn’t hard to see why. Junk Art is a fun stacking game with multiple variations of play, all of which revolves around placing different shaped blocks and pieces onto a base. Each piece comes in four different colors and has a corresponding card. Some of the gameplay versions include a speed stacking one, another where you create the most precarious sculpture that you opponents then have to add to without knocking it over, and one where you try to place the blocks with the highest point value in your construction. At first it appears that the blocks are just random “junk,” but they all connect in surprising, ingenious ways. My only gripe with the game was that the demo board was made up of pieces much larger than the home version of the game. I kinda wish I could have bought a version with the demo sized pieces!

 

A gen con games-10

Vikings on Board (Blue Orange Games)

Dave: Vikings on Board was definitely one of the most eye-catching games at Gen Con, a fact that wasn’t lost on Blue Orange who produced a large-scale demo to further elicit the “wow” factor. After being drawn in by cardboard Viking longboats crashing on the beaches, hearing a run down of the game felt somewhat reminiscent to daily Gen Con sell-out and Spiele das Jahres nominee, Imhotep (which we reviewed earlier this year). One main way where Vikings seems to differ is with the betting mechanic that allows players who may not have been as fortunate to pick the sailing conditions a chance to still profit off of their fellow Nordic marauders. It’s hard to say more without having played a full game, but I’m definitely on board… for Vikings on Board. (yukyukyuk)

GEN CON, July 30-August 2 at the Indiana Convention Center

by David C. Obenour & Kris Poland

Oh shit, dog! It’s Gen Con time! Well, it was last week. It’s over now, but don’t fret. Your pals from Ghettoblaster were there and are back with impressions from the biggest gathering of gaming geeks in North America. After being packed into convention halls with over 61,000 other gamers, we’re both relieved to be back and excited about new developments in the tabletop gaming world. Please keep in mind that Gen Con is way too massive for just a few of us to cover everything that’s on offer. What follows is a list of things that caught our attention, explanations and demos that we were privy to, and some other stuff. Enjoy part one, and check back soon for part two!

 

FLEET ADMIRAL (Castle Games, 2012)

1 fleet admiral

Kris: I watched over Dave’s shoulder as he toyed around with this one. It looked pretty neat. That’s about all I can say with any certainty.

David: The thing about Gen Con – as I’m sure you picked up from the intro – is it’s insane how many people are there. Getting a demo can be hard and so can just getting a few minutes of an exhibitor’s attention. The guys at Castle Games came up with a pretty ingenious way around that for Fleet Admiral. As I looked down at their table with interest at the game before me I was greeted with, “roll a die!” and handed a dice to roll. Intrigued and admittedly, not one to really question orders, I did so and then played through a quick turn of this fun and inexpensive “push your luck” cooperative game. The whole thing was over and done in less than two minutes and while that’s a pretty small sampling, it was a really enjoyable one.

 

ONE NIGHT REVOLUTION (Indie Boards and Cards, 2015)

1 one night

Kris: Take The Resistance and condense it down into a single, paranoia-fueled round. That’s One Night Revolution. Rather than going out on multiple missions, the rebels get one shot at finding the informant(s) in their midst. Just like Mafia/Werewolf, this is a party game that gets more interesting and exciting the more players who take part. Not only are players assigned identities as Rebels or Informants, they also play roles that take different actions during the night. For example, the Investigator can look at a single player’s ID. Despite its name, there’s nothing really revolutionary here. However, this could be a good time if you have too many people over to play other games or are looking for a time-filler to play between longer, more involved affairs.

David: I’m a pretty horribly liar. I don’t mean that as some kind of, “Oh, I’m such an honest guy” #humblebrag, it’s just to let you know that I normally have a hard time keeping a straight face during games like The Resistance and Werewolf. I can, but I really need to psych myself out. A fun mechanic for One Night Revolution is that even though you get to see if you’re a Rebel or Informant at the start of the round, during the night your alignment card may have been switched by one of the other players’ abilities and you’re not allowed to check until the game’s over. Confusion, deceit, deduction, “Hey, my card was to the left of me when I closed my eyes!” – it all plays into it and it’s all a lot of fun!

 

COUP: REBELLION G54 (Indie Boards and Cards, 2014)

1 rebellion

Kris: Coup was always a good game, but with only a handful of characters its variety and extended appeal were quite limited. Rebellion G54 addresses that very issue expertly by increasing the number of characters from 5 to 25. There are still only 5 character types in a single game session, but they can be any combination of the 25 characters included. Where I would normally have had enough Coup after two or three 15 minute rounds, Rebellion offers enough variance to turn those multiple 15 minute rounds into an entire night of gaming. I guess it’s true that often the simplest solution is the best one.

David: Yeah, pretty much exactly what Kris said. While a lot of party games benefit from not having to explain overly complex rules, they also can get old way before someone finally says out loud, “So… do we still want to play this, guys?” Rebellion G54 gives you simple rules with added variety from a number of new characters and roles. Figured out how to win with the Farmer? Too bad! We’re not using the Farmer in the next round.

 

DEATHFEAR (Travesty Games, 2012)

1 deathfear

Kris: Deathfear traps players in a dungeon with a dismembered demon. The only way to escape is to collect powerful pieces of this demon’s body and murder everyone else in the dungeon. Movement is handled via rolling 2D6 and allows for a re-roll of one die if desired. It’s such a simple idea that really speeds up gameplay. Attacks are automatic when the active player lands on an opponent and result in stealing either demon parts or spirit items from one’s victim. There isn’t a ton of complexity here, but it certainly is an enjoyable romp. The good folks at Travesty definitely know good visual design, as exemplified in their hand-crafted wooden boxes for this game. The playmat is also screen printed on black fabric. These extra touches are what can make a relatively simple game such as Deathfear stand out from the crowd. Good show!

David: This game looks epically awesome. The demon parts adorning the top of its all black wooden box, the rolled-up cloth dungeon map, apparently it comes with a narrator DVD too that we didn’t get to experience at the con – the only thing that’s missing is a copy of Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality. Deathfear might be a little overly simple on repeated plays, but it’s nothing that a few thought out house rules couldn’t improve on (I’m thinking some sort of sanity cost as you attach more and more of these demon parts to your flesh).

 

WWE SUPERSTAR SHOWDOWN (Gale Force Nine, 2015)

1 WEE

Kris: Dear god. The WWE have gone and made a tabletop game. They’ve also managed to somehow swerve us all. How? It’s actually incredibly fun to play! Gameplay is handled through an easy to understand rock/paper/scissors mechanic that keeps things simple but still allows for tactical planning. The included wrestlers are Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, John Cena, Big Show, Randy Orton, and (for some unknown reason) Big E. The miniatures are nicely detailed and their accompanying card decks to a decent job of covering each wrestler’s in-ring repertoire. Unfortunately, the free promo piece for those who purchased the game at the con was supposed to be Hulk Hogan. For obvious reasons, those promos never made it to Indianapolis. The good news is that expansions are already in the works. Play testers spoke in hushed tones about folding chairs in future releases. I’m most excited to play as legends like Savage or Flair or Mankind. I also want Cesaro and Owens and the entire NXT roster. There is huge potential for this to be a real cash cow for both WWE and GF9. Just give the people what they want: more wrestlers whom they love.

David: I’m always afraid when it comes to licensed products and doubly afraid of WWE screwing up something that could have been great (for the most recent example, see Kevin Owens’ current bewildering storyline and win/loss record). Those fears were immediately erased by the fun and simplicity of Superstar Showdown. Even Ghettoblaster’s lead designer (and my wife), who could barely care any less about wrestling, enjoyed it. The only drawback is for the 2 and 3 man tag games the players outside of the ring are left just watching. Still, there’s plenty of action within the squared circle to compel everyone. I’m holding my hopes for the Mick Foley’s Cactus Jack, Dude Love and Mankind expansion!

 

PORTAL: THE UNCOOPERATIVE CAKE ACQUISITION GAME (Cryptozoic, unreleased)

1 portal

Kris: This is a triumph. Seriously. I was very cynical when I first learned about the Portal board game. Slapping the name of one of the most beloved video game franchises in the last decade onto a board game seemed like a guaranteed way to separate nerds from their money and nothing else. I’ve never been so glad to be so wrong. Players take turns sending test subjects into Aperture Labs, moving portals, a turret, and a companion cube across test chambers, all in an effort to get the most cake (and incinerate opponents’ cakes). Rules change as players activate different abilities, so tactics must be altered on the fly. It’s fun, quick-paced, and retains the fantastic deadpan humor of the video games. Plus, it comes with a free copy of Portal 2 on Steam! Simply put, this one is a no brainer. Buy it when it comes out this holiday season.

David: Spot on! Again, fear of licensed products, but Cryptozoic’s got a pretty great track record so far with their games based off of the Locke & Key comic book, FX’s Archer and Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time (sorry, haven’t and don’t have any plans on playing their Castle or Big Bang Theory games). One thing Kris didn’t address that I wanted to talk to is how aesthetically pleasing this game is. From the turret piece to the pieces of cake pieces, this game was sharply designed.

 

MONARCH (Tiltfactor, unreleased)

1 monarch

David: Honestly, I was really drawn in by the gorgeous art and while Kris was paying attention to the explanation I was staring at the cards. I’ll let him handle this one.

Kris: Who will reign? It’s a simple question with an often complex answer. Players in Monarch attempt to answer that question by gathering favor, assembling the best possible court, and ultimately impressing their matriarch. The main mechanic involves pulling together the most glorious individuals and treasures to ensure one’s future rule, all while figuring out the most advantageous ways to tax and/or harvest from lands. Its playtime is less than an hour and should provide a good time for three to four players. Monarch’s most impressive trait is its scratchboard art by Kate Adams. There’s a certain beautiful darkness to her fantasy artwork that adds a lot of atmosphere to the game. Monarch should be available in September.

 

AGE OF SIGMAR (Games Workshop, 2015)

1 warhammer

Kris: Oh boy. Where to begin? I only started playing Warhammer Fantasy a couple of years ago. I’ve grown to love it, and now they’ve pretty much killed it. GW’s presence at Gen Con was pathetic. They had a tiny booth displaying the models from the Age of Sigmar starter set and two terrified employees who seemed desperate to sell people on this… thing. Ghettoblaster’s experience here can be summed up in a simple interaction. Dave and I asked what AoS meant for Warhammer Fantasy. One GW rep confidently said, “Age of Sigmar is its own thing. It’s totally different.” The other GW rep then approached us and stated, “Age of Sigmar is Warhammer Fantasy.” I expressed my dissatisfaction with that statement, and we walked away.

David: I keep typing things out, sighing heavily, and then deleting them. There’s no way around it, Age of Sigmar is a huge disappointment. I’m not saying Warhammer up until now was without flaws, major ones even, and if internet truth holds any water, it didn’t sound like it was staying financial feasible for Games Workshop – though the End Times campaign sure did seem to get a bunch of people (me included) very excited. But to so suddenly and seemingly so decisively change everything about the way the game plays and how the game looks even (put a new Stormcast Eternal up next to a High Elf spearmen and try to tell me we’re still playing the same game) and then refuse to give a clear answer about what Age of Sigmar is and about what that means for Warhammer? Sigh, just… just fuck you Games Workshop.

 

Stay tuned for part two of The Games of Gen Con, featuring Blood Rage, Mysterium, Cthuluhu Wars, Nefarious, Pocket Imperium, Shinobi Clans, Luchador!, Bad Detectives, The Grizzled and The Captain is Dead!

EPIC SPELL WARS II: RUMBLE AT CASTLE TENTAKILL (Cryptozoic Games)

From their original concepts to their licensed projects (basing games off of the comic book Locke and Key, tv show Archer and coming soon, video game Portal – included in our upcoming Gen Con review), Cryptozoic has fast become a favorite publisher of our gaming group.

And at the summit of that stack of boxes of fun, sits Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre. Playing as a demented and depraved wizard driven only to be the Last Wizard Standing (the title bestowed upon a round’s winner) your goal is to create the most deadly spell card combinations. Each turn’s spell is made up of a Source, Quality and Delivery, each from one of the five types of magic, all playing off each other for more devastating effect. The cards also have fun names to shout out in a booming wizardy voice, like Midnight Merlin or Devilicious or Meatier Swarm or Testikill.

Now Cryoptizoic have delivered unto us the electrifying follow-up, Rumble at Castle Tentakill (hurray callbacks!). Playable as a stand-alone game or as an expansion to the original, either shuffled in or set aside as a separate drawdeck, Castle Tentakill delivers more of what we loved about Mt. Skullzfyre. The concept and play remain the same, but now we have access to reaction cards, creatures (spell cards that remain in play), blood (a new resource in spellcraft) and the Standee – a cardboard tower that grants benefits and blood to its controller.

FullSizeRender

Though it’s a lot of fun, Castle Tentakill probably isn’t different enough that if you have Mt. Skullzfyre you don’t “need” to have it too. But if the idea of adding Carnivorous Clowns, Baconus the Butcher, Baron Squirrlington, Bung Burner and Fart Knight to your wizarding vocabulary has you in a bloodlust (for blood magic, no doubt), Tentakill is a welcomed new battleground. (Cryptozoic Games) by David C. Obenour