Archive for April, 2005

OgreCave reviews: Solid! and Kung Fu Samurai

Tuesday, April 12th, 2005

Today’s batch of reviews adds some humorous titles to our library. Justin gives us his take on Solid! from Wingnut Games, which he wasn’t impressed with for several reasons. Then Matthew describes Kung Fu Samurai on Giant Robot Island from Z-Man Games, and quotes some of his favorite cards in the process.

Amazon ventures into print-on-demand

Monday, April 11th, 2005

We’ve heard through the grapevine that Amazon has just acquired a print-on-demand company called Booksurge. Yes, the giant online store can now offer to print and bind a book for you that only exists in electronic form until you buy it. Depending on what Booksurge charges, Amazon could be in a position to lower the barrier of entry into the game industry and the book trade in general. It has long been debated in certain circles that print-on-demand could eliminate the need for physical game stores, or at least complement their shelf stock. And yes, print-on-demand has been around for a while, and several companies make use of it to stock their shelves, but now a huge entity has the ball and might decide to run with it.

Hecatomb site (and logotype) rapidly improving

Wednesday, April 6th, 2005

So there’s some interesting stuff to read there now. Including this “first small hit of game information”: “When you attack with your abominations and your opponent is foolish (or devilish) enough not to block them, the abominations reap souls from that player. Be the first to reap 20 souls, and you win!” Er… yeah. While I’m aware that there is more to Hecatomb’s design than running a search and replace on the Magic quick start rules, the latter concept does amuse me. What if Star Sisterz had gone this way? “Be the first to make 20 poorly-dressed, non-Limited-Too-wearing younger girls cry…”

OgreCave reviews: Cthulhu Dark Ages & One False Step

Tuesday, April 5th, 2005

As this fine Tuesday draws to a close, I’m finally able to get back online and get some reviews up. Matthew gives us his analysis of Cthulhu Dark Ages by Chaosium, and he pulls no punches. Then Demian tells us about One False Step for Mankind by Cheapass Games, and how he got to color a bunch of poker chips. Pull up a chair and have a look.

Sword and Skull Playtest Report, plus sort of some news

Monday, April 4th, 2005

This interview with Sword & Skull designer Mike Elliott leads off with a note on one of those missing Wizards CCGs – a Xiaolin Showdown license – and goes on to explain some of the numerous ways in which S&S is like Monopoly but less sucky. I mean, how many times have you glided your top hat past Park Place and thought, “this is okay, but I wish I got to fight pirates”? Your wish was not in vain, sir.

I won’t repeat Elliott’s specific claims – my 3-player test on Friday night basically confirmed them all. We did have one player who seemed to want the game to be over sooner than it was, although she ended up winning (maybe because she was the only one goal-oriented enough to want the game to end). S&S can suffer from a bit of Talisman Syndrome – wander around the board trying to build some stat up, have random things happen to you that knock you down, lather, rinse, repeat. But you do get some ways to ameliorate the grip of luck, and frankly, just staggering around trying to get your friend back for stealing your gold last time is pretty fun. Our game ran a little under two hours.

So: light and frothy by contemporary AH standards, not the grind Monopoly can be, all the “advanced” stuff that Elliott goes on about doesn’t drag it down (but doesn’t end up being all that salient either), and we liked it. We recommend that you rechristen your Pirate and Officer figures as Giant Dwarf and Nancy-Boy, respectively.