Posts tagged ‘fantasy flight’

Descent: Journeys In The Dark – New Video Posted

Hey gamers!

We put together another video for you. This one is about a really big game by Fantasy Flight Games. If you like dungeon crawling and you have not seen Descent, you need to check it out.

Descent is the core game in a system – there are several expansions that go with it. For those of you that might even be curious, this game is in the same “universe” as Runebound, but they are not even close to the same game. Basically, they are similar in the fact that some of the heroes are the same and you will find some of the same monsters. Otherwise…totally different gaming experiences. 

Descent is also modeled after the modular system Fantasy Flight introduced with DOOM: The Board Game. So, if you were interested in that, you will probably like this one.

Like we said, this is a big game. It is so big that Gary mentions that “even though we would love for you to buy all the expansions and the core game at one time, we don’t recommend that approach”.

Hope this helps you identify if this is a game you would like to play.

March 27, 2009 at 4:09 am Leave a comment

Android Review – Blade Runner As An RPG/Board Game

Seth Brown – www.RisingPun.com

Android is a giant 3-5 player board game for ages 13 and up, that can take 3-4 hours to play.

This conspiracy-filled board game set in a dystopian future inspired by various famous science fiction novels, where players each play a detective on a murder case. You have two weeks to follow leads, uncover evidence, reveal conspiracies, and resolve your emotional baggage. Imagine if Blade Runner were a 3-hour adventure board game, and you’ve got the general idea. At the end of two weeks, detectives are awarded points for correctly tagging the murderer, uncovering conspiracy, and resolving their own issues. Whoever has the most points wins.

Pieces/Parts:

Many.

A large fold-out board six times the size of the box, conspiracy puzzle pieces, event cards, murder-specific cards, suspect cards and sheets, and hundreds of cardboard chits of various types representing everything from favors and evidence to baggage and trauma. Each detective also has their own playset that includes a play sheet, a strategy guide, a flying car caliper, two decks of twilight cards, a deck of plot cards, and more.

Yes, you’ll want some bags.

How Do You Play?

Even summarizing the 48-page rulebook may take half an hour, but the basic mechanic is this: Every day, you have six times in which to explore the world and make progress.

Each time allows you to do any of these options:

  • Move to another location – Go anywhere you can reach from your current location by measuring with your flying car caliper.
  • Follow up a lead – Use the lead on your space to either uncover a piece of evidence (which you then place on a suspect to increase/decrease guilt) or uncover a piece of the conspiracy (to add a piece to the puzzle and possibly effect end-game victory points)
  • Draw, discard, or play a card – Play light cards on your turn for various benefits. Dark cards may only be played on other players’ turns, to attack them, but take no time.
  • Use a location ability – Various locations on the board allow you to spend time to acquire favors or trade favors for other benefits.

All the while, you’ll also be trying to add good baggage to your plot. In addition, each detective has their own unique mechanic with some affect on the cards.

What’s Cool?

Android has theme coming out the wazoo. Check out the trailer on the Android product page and you’ll have a pretty good idea for the feel of the game.

Unlike many more cerebral games where you calculate points and rarely get into the game itself, Android really draws you in. After flying around earth and the moon for two weeks chasing suspects, retrieving evidence, and dealing with the personal baggage of your detective, you really feel like part of a large story. The flavor text on all your character’s light and dark cards really adds to this, and the plots weave theme into gameplay really nicely.

Android easily could have been a movie, and many people would still want to see it. The same cannot be said of most board games.

There are also a number of interesting mechanics.

  • When you draw dark cards, you choose which player’s dark deck to draw from, and then the card is keyed to attack that player only. Each player has a twilight marker that can shift from light to dark. Playing light cards and dark cards requires shifting the marker in opposite directions, with the result that players must balance the types of cards that they play.
  • The conspiracy puzzle is also quite innovative, with 24 pieces of actual puzzle that can be constructed into a 5×5 grid during the game. In addition to scoring points for completing rows or columns, the placement of pieces determines whether certain favors are worth points at the end of the game, as each piece has a line that can connect the conspiracy to different organizations.

Perhaps the best combination of theme and mechanics comes in the interplay of cards with locations on the board, such as seedy locations. When entering a seedy location, you draw a dark card to injure other players and enable more light card play, which is good. However, many of the dark cards played against you may only injure you in a seedy location (and have appropriate flavor text), which is bad. Players can enable this by moving leads to seedy locations, luring you there. The end result is that you and your detective start to feel that seedy locations are dangerous but good sources of information, which is exactly how things should be.

What’s Not To Like?

Android is an absolutely huge game. It takes up a lot of space, it has hundreds of pieces, takes a lot of time to set up, lots of time to learn (48 pages of rules), and lots of time to play. If you only have a small card-table, or aren’t willing to invest a few hours into playing a single game, then Android may be more game than you want to deal with. The reward (in terms of fun) can be quite high, but the time investment is substantial, and may be off-putting to players who can’t imagine spending 4 hours on a single game.

Some people may also be disappointed that “solving the murder” consists mainly of adding evidence to the suspect you believe is guilty, rather than any process of deduction. Try to think of it as uncovering evidence that confirms your hunches (rather than planting evidence), and it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Finally, some players dislike being directly attacked by other players, and that’s what dark cards are. However, most characters can easily reduce the risk of attack cards by avoiding certain locations.

Overall Thoughts

Android is a giant 4-hour adventure board game, far bigger than my usual Euro-style fare. The first game took way too long to set up and learn the rules, but I really wanted to play again. Things are a lot faster the second time through, and after that, setup time becomes almost reasonable. My friends immediately wanted to schedule a time to play again, because the game just has so much fun in it. Any big science fiction fans – especially if they like Blade Runner – should definitely consider this game. Android is still a very long game, but if you don’t mind spending a full evening on it, it will provide a full evening of entertainment.

Buy your own copy of Android

January 5, 2009 at 11:00 pm 1 comment

Kingsburg – Dice Games Regain Respectability

Author: Lyndon Lampert

Once upon a time, deep in the realm of Eurogames, playing anything with dice afforded you all the social standing of someone with the Black Plague. In those dark days, the Eurogaming Elite viewed even the venerable Settlers of Catan with some suspicion because Klaus Teuber’s creation contained–dare we say it–two dice! Those were dark days indeed, when purists divided gamers into two camps: the enlightened ones who played strategy games that sought to eliminate any trace of “randomness” and the pathetic masses who could only play “dice games.”

Now, however, thanks to some fine work by a couple of Italian revolutionaries, Andrea Chiarvesio and Luca Lennaco, the old paradigm that “no real Eurogame can contain dice as a major element” is being shaken to its roots. In their landmark 2007 game Kingsburg, by Fantasy Flight Games, Chiarvesio and Lennaco have created a game that is eminently playable, cleverly tactical, and just plain fun. But the most remarkable part of their accomplishment is that good old-fashioned six-sided dice comprise the central element of Kingsburg. Move over, Euro-purists, dice are back!

The Theme

Kingsburg is essentially a resource-allocation and building game, set in a medieval fantasy realm. The basic concept is simple and familiar to Eurogamers: players collect wooden cubes that represent either gold, wood or stone, and then “spend” these resources in various combinations to buy buildings that in turn grant further abilities and/or victory points. Victory points are scored throughout the course of the game, so the players’ true positions are visible to all throughout, with no “hidden surprises” at the end.

The Storyline

You’re attempting to gain influence over some of the King’s advisors, who then in turn will grant you the resources (gold, wood or stone) to build your buildings. The theme works well, but the real fun comes in the clever way in which the influence is gained.

Rolling for Influence

Each player (2 to 5 can play) controls three dice of one color. The game is divided into a time span of five years of four seasons each. For the three seasons of spring, summer and fall, all players roll their dice simultaneously. Each player adds up their total, and the player with the lowest total has the first crack at obtaining influence (a great balancing mechanism for a bad roll). Influence is gained over any one of 18 advisors by matching a die or dice to the Advisor’s number. The higher the Advisor’s number, the more resources he/she offers.

So, the player who rolled 1, 4 and 6 could make his first placement with any one of his dice on

· Advisor 1

· Advisor 4

· Advisor 6

· Combinations 1 and 4 to claim Advisor 5

· 1 and 6 to claim Advisor 7

· 4 and 6 to claim Advisor 10

· Use all of his/her dice to claim Advisor 11 (1+4+6)

After the first player places a die (or dice) to influence one Advisor, the next player places his or her die or dice on an Advisor, and so on, until all the dice are allocated.

The rub is that (with one minor exception), once a particular Advisor has been claimed for that turn, no one else can claim the same Advisor until the next roll. Invariably, someone will grab the Advisor you wanted first, forcing some interesting “Plan B” tactical decisions.

Buildings and Battles

After the resources are collected each season, players have the opportunity to claim buildings on their building chart (each player has an identical “province” board of 20 buildings). Each building has a specified resource cost (two gold and one wood, for instance) and the building generally affords immediate victory points and a special ability that will be applicable for the rest of the game.

The Unknown Enemy

One complication is that once a year (the winter season) all players must individually square off against an unknown enemy, too. An enemy card is flipped over and all players must check their soldier points against that of the enemy. If they meet or exceed the enemy’s points, good things happen, if they don’t they’ll lose resources and/or victory points. Soldier points are collected in the same way as resources, by influencing certain advisors and by special buildings.

Is Kingsburg for You?

Kingsburg has some minor additional rules, but that’s the essence of the game. It’s all about how to best allocate your dice to gain resources. Then, you can plan how to spend those resources to construct a series of useful buildings, always keeping in mind those nasty enemy cards.

Kingsburg succeeds in mixing the best of strategic Eurogames with the pure fun of rolling dice. Of similar complexity to Settlers of Catan, it would be a great introductory game to Eurogame newcomers, especially to those who are already comfortable with dice games. Kingsburg’s only downside is the time consumed figuring out the possible dice combinations for each roll. But since all players are doing this simultaneously, the total amount of downtime is relatively minor. If you’re a true Eurogame lover but still secretly long to roll a fistful of dice now and then, Kingsburg could well be the solution that scratches both of your itches at once!

Get your own copy of Kingsburg

December 10, 2008 at 3:55 am 1 comment


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