Tabletop Game Reviews, News and Round-Ups
It's been a great summer for gaming! While we're soon to say goodbye to summer, it's had some amazing gaming moments. Kingdomino winning the Spiel Des Jahres and GenCon 50 being two big highlights. As we head into the end of a board game summer 2017 and into early fall there are some fantastic quick play, card based, storytelling games funding on Kickstarter. Here are our picks that wrap up in the next week or so. And I know it's tough think about it now, but with the delivery dates planned for some, they might just be your new winter favorite board games!
Final Boss: The Card Game from Rafael Gonzalez
Ends August 27 – Funded - Why we love it: Quick play (~20 mins) - player options from solo up to 6 - win by victory points - play co-op or competitive - awesome video game theme - sharp card art - we expect it's hilarious. Core pledge is €21. 1-6 players, 15+, 20 mins. Campaign details here.
Itchy Feet: The Travel Game from Malachi Ray Rempen
Ends August 30 – Funded - Why we love it: Unique design - designed for travelers - game cards are marked to double as playing cards - comes with postcards - sized for light travel - easy to learn, easy to share - Canadian co-designed. Core pledge $24USD ($5USD Print N Play). 2-6 players, 9+, 10-40 mins. Campaign details here.
Enchanters from Gindie-LudiBooster
Ends August 31 – Funded - Why we love it: Quests and crafting in one - build your own gear and upgrade character gameplay - we're a mage at heart - tons of depth without being complex - all the unlocked stretch goals (new cities) add a lot to the game. Core pledge is $39USD. 2-4 players, 14+, 30-60 mins. Campaign details here.
Dark Masts: A Dead Seas Card Game from Roger Ogre
Ends September 6 – 54% funded - Why we love it: Head-to-Head action - unique fantasy/high sea mix - heavy combat focus - centered on weakening and defeating your opponents base(ship) rather than their heroes - fast paced. Core pledge is $30USD. 2 player, 20-30 mins, unknown. Campaign details here.
Gauntlets & Goblins from Ian Gibson
Ends September 9 – 40% funded - Why we love it: Light and fun RPG - play with kids to help introduce the game style and concept - gives you all the tools to play out a great story - leaves the storytelling all up to you. Core pledge is $30USD ($15 Print N Play). Our guess: 2-5 players, 30 mins+, 6+. Campaign details here.
We love new board games and RPGs (role playing games), especially if it means supporting new game designers. We’ve been backing games for a while and thought it was time to share our picks each month. August is an exciting month with GenCon 50 is around the corner. Before it arrives there are some amazing new games already showcased, with Kickstarter campaigns ending this week! Here are our favorite Kickstarter board games and Kickstarter RPGs for early August 2017.
Star Scrappers: Cave-in from Hexy Studio
Ends August 8 – Funded - Why we love it: Sci-Fi theme with a unique story arc – amazing art and card graphics – win by victory points – accelerating pace as you play. Core pledge is $25 USD. 2-4 players, 12+, 60 mins. Campaign details here.
Out of the Woods from American McGee
Ends August 17 – 80% Funded – Why we love it: Hauntingly beautiful yet dark art – brings a new take on classic storylines – horror themed game that plays in quick rounds. Core pledge is $25 USD. 2-4 players, age and time unknown. Campaign details here.
Firelight: The Questing Card Game (RPG) from HobbyHorse Games, LLC
Ends August 8 – Funded – Why we love it: It makes RPGs more accessible – it packs great storytelling into a card based game – plays as a one-shot rpg in a 60 to 100 minute sitting. Core Pledge is $30 USD. 2-4 players, age unknown, 60-100 minutes. Campaign details here.
Sakura from A-Games (publishers of Ave Roma)
Ends August 15 – Funded – Why we love it: Cool mechanic of paying supporter cards to change game play – easy to learn and play – gorgeous cherry blossom card art. Core Pledge is €20. 2-6 players, 10+, time unknown. Campaign details here.
Spire RPG from Grant Howitt
Ends August 15 – Funded – Why we love it: The theme – city-bound fantasy horror – tons of story and character depth – straightforward D10 system. Core pledge is £15. 3+ players, age and time unknown. Campaign details here.
A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game from CMON
Ends August 14 – Funded – With a popular publisher and popular theme it was going to be a hit. Classic style tabletop wargaming with unit formations and massive armies. Campaign details here.
Star Realms: Frontiers by Robert Dougherty (White Wizard Games)
Ends August 9 – Funded – Another really popular title and publisher, Frontiers is both a stand alone game and expansion for Star Realms. Backers get access to tons of add-ons from the other White Wizard titles too. Campaign details here.
Thankfully we’re still mid-summer and it means lots of warm nights gaming. We’re huge GoT fans so to warm up for the latest and final season of the show we’ve been playing Game of Thrones the Card Game (2nd Ed) from Fantasy Flight Games. This was our first Living Card Game so we were keen to see how the play style was compared to a TCG (trading card game).
There’s beauty in Winter but you might think it has come on your first play through
We loved the cards. A set for all the major houses and factions (such as the Night’s Watch). Beautiful looking banner cards plus our favorite (and love-to-loathe) characters. A Game of Thrones the card game is a deck builder. Players build a deck based around their house of choice and then alternate through turns bring new cards into play (called marshalling), attacking each other through challenges and collecting victory points in the form of power tokens. The game seemed a little too complex off the hop - include a 16 page learn to play guide and a full rules reference book. After a first play through it got easier and turns flowed more naturally.
Game play follows a series of actions each turn. Players collect gold, buy cards and then issue challenges. This is where house selection really comes into play as the types of challenges you can issue, and also defend, depend on your characters. As you might expect the Lannisters seem to have more intrigue challenges with the Starks and The Nights Watch heavily military challenge focused. The third type is a power challenge that seems to be common across all houses. Our experience is that the Martell’s are the most balanced house between all the challenge types. Of course all the house characters can be buffed or have challenge types added to them through attachments (item cards), but that part of the game play felt a lot more secondary than how you play items in a typical TCG.
Everyone is plotting something when you’re in the Great Game
A unique element we experienced for the first time were the plot cards. Plots cards are secondary decks assigned to each player. Plot cards influence the entire round. When played they represent gold the players earn to marshal (play) new cards, which player wins initiative and the claim bonus for winning a challenge. Each round starts with players selecting and the simultaneously revealing their chosen plot card. Selecting plot cards and building your play around them is key to the game play. Do you want a round where you get a lot of gold to bring as many cards into play as possible? You might build an unstoppable force or you might bring through a ton of cards. Do you want to ensure initiative and get an extra claim for winning our challenges? You might finish the round with a lot of power tokens only to have them stolen or they might be the extra you need to close out a win.
Playing with just one opponent was ok, but became predictable and the challenge types (attacking and defending) felt more limited. Playing with at least 3 added the dynamic to really open up the game.
play at least 2 games with new players, one to learn and one to actually play; best played with 3 or 4 players; plots cards add an awesome element of strategy to each round and keep games fresh; just like in the television series, houses can rise or fall quickly based on a few key decisions/moves and a combined force of multiple characters; we’re really excited for Game of Thrones season seven #GoTS7!
Let us know if you’ve played A Game of Thrones the card game or Living Card Games and which is your favorite!
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