Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

New details on Pathfinder Adventure Card Game redesign

Monday, September 10th, 2018

PFACG logoIn his latest Design Diary blog post, Paizo’s Lead Adventure Card Game Designer Mike Selinker describes some of the adjustments gamers can expect in the revised edition of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. Fans of the game should keep in mind the main game won’t be changing too dramatically – as Selinker stated, “we’re not making this a ‘second edition.’ Our goal isn’t to invalidate anything you have currently”. According to Selinker’s updates, the game is being redesigned to address several factors, including the goals of speeding up gameplay, adding control for varying difficulty, making the co-op game feel more cooperative, and perhaps most importantly, adding more story. Story is always king, so we applaud the notion of increasing influence of the source materials for PACG sets – namely, the Pathfinder RPG Adventure Paths. The new Core Set will be based on the Pathfinder Module The Dragon’s Demand, and the first Adventure Path being translated to the card game will be Curse of the Crimson Throne. If all goes as planned, the revised PACG Core Set should hit stores just before PaizoCon 2019 (so, May 2019).

Meanwhile, if you still haven’t taken the plunge and tried the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, you can find our review of the original PACG here. Happy to help.

OgreCave review: Goblin Grapple

Sunday, May 6th, 2018

Goblin Grapple logoOn the day of it’s Kickstarter launch, Lars Roberts brings us a review of Goblin Grapple from Silver Gaming Company. A fantasy-themed card game of speedy combat, this Stratego-like design is perfect for playing a few rounds between longer games.

Have a look at our review to see what Lars thinks of the upcoming game, then if you’re interested, stop by the Goblin Grapple Kickstarter page to learn how to get your own copy.

OgreCave review: Brothers

Friday, December 29th, 2017

BrothersTo close out the year for us, Lars Roberts offers us a review of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons from 505 Games. This adventure game for PC and consoles stands out for its unique controls, which both play off of and add to the game’s story. If you’re in the mood for a heartbreaking faery tale plot with lovely scenics, Lars may have found your next indulgence.

Watch this space for more reviews soon, and watch us on Instagram for what we’re discovering now.

MAID RPG, Tokyo Brain Pop, and why GTE couldn’t just fix their network

Monday, September 26th, 2016

First, a public apology. A few years ago, Andy Kitkowski, publisher of Tenra Bansho Zero and co-publisher of MAID RPG, sent us a review copy of MAID and was very flattering in a note he attached to it. We’ve felt for a while that we let him down by not getting a review up. Not to put Allan on the spot, but Allan looked MAID over and couldn’t figure out how to approach it. [My players were just plain confused by it, honestly, and wouldn’t try it. – A] I have a feeling that a lot of you reading this are right there with him. We asked all our other reviewers if they wanted to take it on, and they all recoiled.

Now, I know the deal with MAID, because I happen to know this particular deal with anime culture and Japanese pop culture in general. Said deal is that a lot of stuff from Japan looks to us like it’s being presented sincerely, and is thus creepy and crazy, when it’s understood in Japan as being satirical. The original MAID game falls into that category, as does most of the maid-themed anime that inspired it. You can certainly still argue that attempted satire of sexist tropes just spreads sexism, particularly when the culture as a whole – ours in this case – doesn’t get the joke. I myself feel more or less this way, in fact, but the comparatively low-titillation presentation style of MAID does a lot to redeem it for me.

The failure of cultural translation was utterly predictable with MAID – enough so that its publication, the first of an original Japanese RPG into English to make it to print, was neither a great business move nor a good strategy for opening American minds to Japanese RPGs. That said, if you’re one of the many American nerds who understand anime tropes deeply, a game with MAID‘s themes can be hilarious, and MAID delivers. The execution is dead on. The players play the many stereotypical French-style maids of an aloof male master – you could run it as My Life With Master, only funny (comedy and horror are close cousins). The game runs beautifully and is a pretty amazing source of random tables (tragedy tables! Mental complexes! The mind-shreddingly massive Costume Table 2!).

But there’s no saving MAID in the Western market. You could possibly reskin the system and sell the conversion, but that’s not the same. And you could run and sell it at anime cons, but not outside anime culture. (I am not suggesting that any of this is news to Andy.)

A while ago, an RPG we’ve honored in the past did a sort of splashy relaunch; I mean, it debuted in an Asian-culture-themed round of Allen Varney’s indefatigable Bundle of Holding, right around Christmas, which is not bad. It’s called Tokyo Brain Pop, and it’s about Japanese schoolgirls amongst whom one or more has horrifying psychic powers. Its mechanics focus on social dynamics amongst teens and fighting evil demons in equal measure. It’s pretty great.

And if it sounds familiar, it should: it’s Panty Explosion, which OgreCave has honored in our Christmas gift guides in the past. It was renamed in response to long-building public resistance to the name, including its publisher getting blocked at one point from tabling at GeekGirlCon. Now, to my ear, the title Panty Explosion was always pretty transparently an ironic shot across the bow of anime tropes as they play in the US. But there was no saving it in the Western market either. Too many people, for reasons either respectable or reflexive, are just gonna do this.

Let’s talk about “branding,” and what it really means.

OgreCave review: Little Wizards

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Little WizardsA fun, gentle game to ease young players into the roleplaying hobby can be useful from time to time. While luring in new, young gamers is not a unique goal, each attempt to create a kid-friendly introduction to RPGs serves to inform those that follow, helping to build better game systems. Merwin has read through the new introductory roleplaying game Little Wizards from Crafty Games, a revised and reworked (English) edition of a French game. The game puts young roleplayers in a world of young spell casters that ride brooms through the air, but also a world without violence. Does it seem feasible? What did Merwin think of it? Read today’s new review to find out.

OgreCave review: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Pathfinder Card GameSometimes the whole roleplaying group just can’t meet up, but you still need some roleplaying time. Many games have tried to capture the essence of RPGs in another format, with varying degrees of success. Due to a lack of other roleplaying activity, Demian has been playing the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game from Paizo Publishing, Mike Selinker’s game design that translates the Pathfinder RPG into card game form. The Pathfinder card game has become popular enough to prompt plans for an Organized Play program starting next month. But what did Demian think of it? Read today’s new review to find out.

OgreCave review: Cthulhu Invictus Companion

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Cthulhu Invictus CompanionAs you prepare for whatever weekend festivities you have lined up (like perfecting your Easter Bunny themed zombie game scenario, perhaps? We don’t judge.) you may want to take a moment and peruse today’s new review. Andy has made a full assessment of the Cthulhu Invictus Companion by Chaosium, a supplement for Call of Cthulhu. This Roman Empire resource provides adventures, monsters, and, of course, cultists. But how much is new, and how much is reprint? Andy tries to clear away the veil of… is that ooze? Ew. Anyway, he clears up some confusion you might have had about facing the Great Old Ones in ancient Rome, and lets us know what this Companion brings to the arena.

OgreCave review: Boss Monster!

Monday, October 21st, 2013

The Cave dwellers are lurking again, and have played a few things that need reviews. Therefore, let’s get started by meeting Chris and reading his review of Boss Monster! by Brotherwise Games. This dungeon-building card game is done from the viewpoint of 8-point console game boss monsters (hence the name) who must lure heroic victims into their carefully constructed deathtraps. Gaming culture references are everywhere in this game, and the art evokes the feel of old school videogames perfectly. See what Chris had to say about it here, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

OgreCave reviews: Murder of Crows, Building an Elder God

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Please welcome P.J. Cole-Regis (“Jude” to his friends) to the ranks of the Cave dwellers, as he has provided us with two new OgreCave reviews on this fine day. First up: Murder of Crows from Atlas Games. This quick card game has players compete to spell out “murder” before all others, and the winning card combo tells a random tale of murder most foul. Then we get a look at Building an Elder God by Signal Fire Studios. In the creepiest pipe-style game yet, players race to connect creature segments and make a twisting, turning Elder God before the other cultists. Click through and see what Jude thought of these two creepy titles.

OgreCave review: Cthulhu Gloom

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Cthulhu Gloom‘Tis Halloween, and while we’ve been dealing with Real Life TM issues a lot lately, the Cave dwellers don’t want to leave you in the dark… at least, not without something creepy to stalk you. So today we offer Demian’s review of Atlas Games’ Cthulhu Gloom. Is it better than the original game? More importantly, is it fun? If you’re lucky, and offer him some candy, Demian might tell you.

OgreCave reviews: ScrumBrawl, D&D Shadow Plague

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

ScrumBrawlTo welcome you back from the long weekend, we’ve posted two new reviews today. First, Dennis has taken a look at a new take on “fantasy sports” in the form of VicTim Games’ ScrumBrawl. This fast-paced arena sport board game pits fantasy beasts against each other in such a deadly game, the ball might even explode! Then Daron clues us in to the first graphic novel reviewed at the Cave, Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Plague, Volume 1. Though the comic brings certain clichés back to the table, Daron still thought we should know what Shadow Plague has to offer. Have a look – we’ll have more reviews dished up shortly, so check back early and often.

OgreCave review: Summoner Wars reinforcements & Got It!

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Summoner Wars Reinforcement packsA pair of new reviews are up today. Troop movements for the Summoner Wars game continue, and Lee is back to provide military intelligence in his review of the wargame’s Cloaks and Jungle Elves Reinforcement Packs. Then Demian gives us a look at a simple-yet-engaging game of mathematic puzzling, Tom Jolly’s Got It!. Click through to find out if you should add these goodies to your collection.

By the way, stick with us here and on our OgreCave facebook page for reports from this weekend’s KublaCon 2011. And if you’re at the show, say hello to any ogres you might come across.

OgreCave review: Nightfall

Friday, April 29th, 2011

NightfallAs a student of deck building games, Lee felt it was his sworn duty to examine Nightfall by AEG. Though the card game’s dark world of vampires and werewolves has plenty to explore, Lee’s review focuses mainly on the basic question of “How well does the game work?” Draft yourself a seat, buddy – you’ll want to read more about this action-packed, confrontational deck building game system.

OgreCave reviews – Cargo Noir, Factory Fun

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Cargo NoirAnother pair of reviews is in to wrap up the week and keep us spending our gaming dollars wisely – in fact, making money is the goal in both titles. First Lee gives us his review of Cargo Noir from Days of Wonder. As you sail from one exotic port to the next, do you have the savvy to make the most money on the black market? Meanwhile, Andy has examined Factory Fun from Z-Man Games. If you can set up your machinery correctly, your production line will earn you big bucks in this game. These and many more reviews await in the OgreCave review index, so get to reading.

OgreCave review – Thunderstone: Dragonspire

Monday, April 4th, 2011

DragonspireLee has been exploring the deck building game Thunderstone in all it’s versions in order to keep us properly informed. Today he continues to keep us up to date on the latest expansion with his review of Thunderstone: Dragonspire from AEG. This set adds Setting cards to the mix, directly affecting gameplay for every player. But more importantly, how does the new set affect your strategies, and do you need to pick up a copy? Read on to learn more, or cruise through previous entries in our growing OgreCave review index.