My playtest report just kept getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger, so I decided it was a review. Some aspects of play are sketched out only briefly, but I’ll be playing this one again (watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat – this time for sure!), so I’ll probably be able to fill more stuff in as I regale you with tales of my victories. So click the friggin’ link and get Ready To Serve, baby!
Archive for November, 2003
I love when I can use that joke. Anyway, Fantasy Flight seems to be okay at making solid, sustainable CCGs from somewhat nichey source material, so this new entry, a non-Mythos-compatible new design for a Call of Cthulhu CCG due in the spring, certainly has a shot. Nothing on FFG’s site actually mentions it yet, so I’ve put the whole release below. In a GR post, some amusing comments further reveal the conservatism of some Cthulhu fans – yes, as a matter of fact, they should fail in an original way, except given the amazing run FFG’s had lately, they likely won’t. But man, between this and that Cyberpunk game, it’s like 1996 all over again.
Another Rio Grande Games newsletter has been released. Pirate fans (whose numbers have increased lately due to a certain film) should be pleased by Corsari, a crew-building card game due out in December or January. Those waiting for the reissued Ricochet Robots (complete with new boards) will have to be patient, as its release (along with that of Attika, Samurai and Alexandros) has been slightly delayed due to printing problems. Still, the flow of English-friendly editions of German games remains strong.
Wizards of the Coast has announced plans for a new CCG based on one of parent company Hasbro’s biggest properties, G.I. Joe. The G.I. Joe brand turns forty next year, and what better way to celebrate the creation of the “action figure” than a collectible card game. The game will be based “on the rich mythology created for the 1980s G.I. Joe comics and cartoons.” Yep, by Fall 2004 you’ll be able to command Duke, Scarlett, and Snake Eyes as they battle Destro, Storm Shadow, and Cobra Commander. Expansion sets are scheduled to follow in 2005. This could either be seen as a damn good idea, or as WotC grasping at any idea for an uber-CCG to replace Pokémon. Better this than a Tonka CCG.
The latest of Invisible City‘s games of the month has arrived. In Quadruple Agent, a confused secret agent wanders around a board following instructions sent to him by multiple commanders (the players). The goal is to allocate resources and arrange orders in a manner that eventually leads the agent to your side of the board. Get out your cardstock and scissors and have some fun!
You know you believed that headline for a second. But the real story is that Fleer has allegedly contracted him to design a mass market American Idol card game. Thousands sing, millions kill, one dies! Or something like that. This is still in rumor territory and we’ll follow up. Update: Ernest has confirmed his involvement in a message to the Cheapasses mailing list. He added that Fleer has been good to work with and doesn’t seem likely to instigate a Looney Tunes-esque disaster.
This is not a joke. Stoner Fluxx is a new version of Fluxx with appropriately (or inappropriately) adjusted Keepers and Goals, as well as some special rules you can probably imagine. Looney Labs will be donating one dollar to organizations such as NORML and the Drug Policy Alliance for each copy of Stoner Fluxx sold. The Looneys originally conceived this product with the title NORML Fluxx… I wonder if they got negged on that. I also wonder if this isn’t gonna backfire on them in a big way – their core audience of young-ish casual players probably has high overlap with those who would favor legalization in this country, but do they set foot in game stores often enough, and will they want to buy the game anew? And what about the families and schoolteachers that love Fluxx so much? And who has the Cheetos?
Apparently GAMA wants to flesh out its library of old Origins convention materials, ‘cuz we just got word of a contest. Anyone who sends in photos from previous Origins conventions, or program book covers, or entire program books, will be eligible to win a trip for two to Origins. Or a sports bottle. See the press release below for details, and start scrounging through your garage for that old program you’ve got stashed away.
If you’re like me, you had no friggin’ clue about Decipher Online Gaming, but lo, you can play both the Lord of the Rings CCG and the original Star Trek: TNG CCG in a manner similar to that of Magic Online. Also, look at this weird thing Sega is doing in Japanese arcades. Hold actual cards in your hand, but play with them on a touchscreen monitor? Brilliant, or the worst of both worlds?
GAMES Magazine’s 2004 GAMES 100 is up in its entirety at ye olde Funagain, and the veteran design team of Alan Moon and Aaron Weissblum took Game of the Year honors with their tile-laying Pilgrim fiesta New England. Curiously, last year’s winner Dvonn is listed again this year to fill out the Abstract Strategy top 10. Whatever. Further down, there are even more “returning guests.” I guess it just underscores my theory that so little of interest happened this year that you may as well fill your shopping guide with standouts from years past. (OgreCave’s upcoming Twelve Games of Christmas lists will not do this, incidentally. Also incidentally, yes, those Funagain links will kick back a percentage of resulting sales to OgreCave, disclaim disclaim. If you’ve supported your local retailer lately, feel free to support us by shopping at Funagain.)
FFG’s in-house board game designs are just looking really sharp these days: they aren’t what you’d call mind-blowingly original, but they preserve the feel of their source material and keep the focus on fun, fun, fun. Game of Thrones: the Board Game is basically Diplomacy modified until unrecognizable. It has the standard starting board setups for each faction, which generally set your strategic direction; it has the tight board that’s guaranteed to get you into trouble with someone rapidly; it has the emphasis on raw, naked bloodlust. Wait, Diplomacy doesn’t have that so much.
Yeah, I still pine for NetRunner. Cyberpunk the CCG is an entirely different design and may get some things right that NR, God rest its soul, got wrong, at least from a marketing perspective. The post-apocalyptic sci-fi thing seems to be riding a wave in CCGs right now – rumor has it that even Magic is going to start making good on its pan-planar promise and incorporating sci-fi themes. You can download the beta version of the Cyberpunk rules; they look pretty straightforward.
Rio Grande Games has once again found the time to release another newsletter. In addition to the usual notes on release date changes and such, five new games are featured: Nero, dealing with the struggle for Rome following Nero’s death; Age of Napoleon, a diplomatic and military strategy game; Alexandros, a game of economics in the wake of Alexander’s conquest; The Prince, a card game about the struggle for Papacy; and Maya, a pyramid-building strategy game.
Avalon Hill has announced a new revision of good ol’ A&A to hit in March. It’s billed as the first major revision in 20 years, although splitting the thing into two parts seems pretty friggin’ major to me. There’s no word in either the press release (included below) or the web site on whether the Europe and Pacific versions of the game have a future. Announced changes include a reduced-size box, presumably along the lines of the new, svelte Risk 2210 form factor, and new territories on the board(!!). [Update: some clarifications are in the comments.]
We’ve just announced the winner in our Redhurst Spellflag Season Contest. The lucky winner should be receiving their copy of The Redhurst Academy of Magic student handbook, signed by Matt Forbeck, very soon. (Am I jealous? Oh yes.) Thanks to everyone who entered, and special thanks to Matt and Human Head Studios for making the contest possible.
We played as near to a “complete” game as we could muster, which was damn near – I was able to play a faction-pure 300-point squad of elves, and we even used the wacky weather modifier things on the PVC cards – and the higher point total did indeed make Allan feel a little better. He still bitched about not being able to spin and attack with a figure in one action, but that’s the way the mace bounces; a move is a move, and when you finish one, you’d better think about your facing and keep tempo in mind. If you take turns, you’re going to get situations where a figure can just stay one move ahead.
Overall, there is not much else to report. Elves kind of suck, but you all knew that already. We found our first utterly ba-roken figure: Caldera, a 136-point lizard guy who couldn’t fit into our first game because, well, he was bigger than our squads could be. Homeboy has like seven or eight dominating special abilities right up at the front end of the dial, and high-ass stats. It’s a good thing Allan forgot that we had a little thing called objective points, and that they were, you know, the objective.
So I won this time. We both like Mage Knight, and we are only about a year late getting onto that train. Apparently the attendance at local MK events has fallen way off; mileage may vary in your area, and I don’t have any nationwide sales figures handy. What do you think: is it too late for the original clicky-base game to bounce back?
For you d20 Modern fans, Wizards of the Coast has started a new online column, Bullet Points, to answer rules questions for the system. The “sage” providing the answers for the column is Charles Ryan, codesigner of d20 Modern. In the first installment, skills and feats are the main course, with subjects ranging from the Dead Aim Feat to Two Weapon Fighting to house rules for computer security.