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News Bits 1/13/2013

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Well kids, Farmerlenny did something ridiculous last week: he went and had himself another baby.  So, to give the guy a break I am officially taking over the news.  For this week, anyways. So, stay tuned for some very news-like links, a few special announcements, and of course learn why Farmerlenny does the news every week instead of me. Onward and forward, ridiculous denizens of the dragon-slaying-realm!

iSlaytheDragon is now a Website [link] Maybe you noticed something different around here. That’s because today, we’re launching our brand new site.  It’s not just a graphical overhaul, this new site works a lot like a website – you can click on articles, see related posts, and browse our content a lot easier than you used to be able to. The link will jump you to my official “Welcome to the new site” post which goes over some of the cool new features of the site, and also talks about goals from last year and for the next year. Yes, I just reported something about ourselves.  You’ll be begging for Farmerlenny by the time this post is over.

Quantum has a release date [link] If you’re like me, you noticed Quantum because it has a beautiful, beautiful cover design. You might have also noticed that its a mini-4x-ish game that is supposed to play in about 30 minutes. Hopefully the game turns out to be rockin’ but at the very least, it finally has a release date in the US: January 24th.  The link takes you to the Quantum product page; you’ll just have to take my word for it that they announced the date on facebook and twitter.

Learn How To Make Cards [Link]: Our favorite low-cost gaming company released a video instruction booklet on how to make cards.  Especially relevant since our partner, iheartprintandplay, is all about, you know, printing and playing. I don’t personally feel like I have enough skill with my hands to print and create cards I would actually want to play with long term, but if you’re looking to up your game or try it out for the first time, WATCH THE VIDEO.

Geekdad plays board games with kids [10 reasons to play with kids, 10 tips to teach younger gamers]: Geekdad posted a few articles about gaming with kids.  I thought this relevant since Farmerlenny just had a baby, Andrew has a kid waddling around somewhere, Jason has something in the realm of 200 kids due to fostering, and I’ve got my first kid on the way schedule to arrive in March. Chances are a bunch of you have kids as well. Playing games with kids can be a test in patience, but it can also be rewarding, so check these articles out.

AEG teases more Smash-Up [Link]: The next Smash-Up expansion is entitled Science Fiction Double Feature, and includes 4 new science-fictiony factions.  They’ve been teasing cards on their Facebook page, and they always give just enough to make you salivate.  Assuming you’re into the whole smash-up thing, which of course I am.

FFG announces Witcher adventure game [video link]: We don’t have much information, but Fantasy Flight announced a new board game based on the Witcher series of books and video games. I can’t say I’ve read the books, but I’ve certainly heard of the video games. The trailer claims it will be a story-based adventure game, even though it gives very little gameplay detail. Well, it looks well-produced as far as graphic design, art, and component quality, but I guess we’ll find out if the game is fun.  Someday.  Could be years.  Anyways “Adventure” and “story-based” seems cool to me, lets hope the game isn’t overcomplicated and over-long.

Grant Rodiek Makes Our News Again [link]: Seriously, what’s up with this guy? Why does he keep writing such interesting posts? Anyways, for those unfamiliar, Grant Rodiek is the designer of the card game Farmageddon and has many more game designs in the works, and he writes about the process a whole lot.  In this post he discusses information in a game; information, as in rules, to remember, in order to play correctly.  The idea is to remember not to put too much information into a game, lest you overwhelm anyone trying to learn with too much data.  Helpful for designers who are trying to keep their games family friendly, but the details are also helpful to keep in mind when teaching family and friends a new game.

Everybody loves Gravwell [link]: This is definitely a “fluff” news piece.  As it turns out, a LOT of people have fallen in love with Gravwell.  Cryptozoic seems pretty excited that people actually enjoy one of their games, rather than just buying it for licensed themes, and they compiled a list of people who can’t stop talking about the game.  Included in the list is yours truly.  Yes, I am now reporting news about a news post reporting our own review. This is why Farmerlenny does the news.

Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Nothing Personal Review, La Boca Review, Old World New World review, Andrew reviews 3 years of gameplay data] Hopefully none of these links are broken due to our website switch, but anyways, we had a full week of reviews plus some geeky-interesting data analysis from Andrew, who is in fact way smarter than me. No biggie, Andrew, I can still roll with my mad dice skills. No, wait no I can’t. This week we’ve got some more reviews and our GAME OF THE YEAR awards. Did I mention our site has a completely new look? CHECK IT OUT.

Game of the Year Awards [Geekdad, DriveThru, DiceHateMe]: It’s that time of the year, when everybody starts picking their favorites of last year. Everybody else is wrong, of course, but you can check out their opinions anyways.  Find out the REAL best game of last year when we post our GOTY awards this friday.

Kickstarters of Note

  • Space Junk: This project relaunched, but it looks interesting (although maybe similar to Galaxy Trucker?). 39 CAD.
  • Chaosmos: This game looks pretty cool, and I like the theme. $60. (And check out our interview with the designer here.)
  • Spurs: A Tale in the Old West: A competitive adventure game set in the Old West that lets you play it straight or be an outlaw. Also with real-time-ish gunfights.  $45 gets you the game.

Games Played

  • Eldritch Horror: A friend of mine, we’ll call him Blake since that’s his name, received Eldritch Horror as a christmas gift. We tackled it right away as a 2-player game, but at my weekly game night we finally had a chance to play it with a big group.  Probably too big of a group, but we took on Azathoth with 7 players. Our review of Arkham Horror is a positive one, but honestly, in my opinion, Eldritch Horror leaves Arkham behind in the dust.  It seems to remove almost all of the frustration of Arkham (namely, being stuck in situations where you can literally do NOTHING to contribute to the game), shortens gameplay length, streamlines rules, and makes the suffering that is inevitable in a lovecraftian game actually enjoyable. The coolest part of the game is the set of “condition” cards which you can gain for various reasons – such as making risky deals or suffering the consequences of insanity – conditions that don’t immediately hurt you, but if they flip over have a unique and surprising effect. Unfortunately, a few mistakes mid-game resulted in our failure to unlock Azathoth’s mysteries, and the entire world was devoured. Sorry, everyone.  Exciting stuff, definitely would play again.
  • Hegemonic: I managed to get Hegemonic to the table for the second time, this time with a full compliment of players. The game is definitely better when you’ve played and start to understand how things all work together. We did have some newbies and I managed to get an early lead by controlling the galactic core all by myself. Bonus points! After that I managed to extend a powerful network of embassies and started subverting my enemies bases. Eventually everyone started turning against me, but I managed to barely hold on to my lead, namely by abandoning my embassies and building a new network of industrial complexes scattered across the entire galaxy.   It’s definitely key in Hegemonic to try and have a presence everywhere, even if you don’t have control, and my vast-but-thinly-spread network gave me just enough to keep the lead and win the game. It’s definitely a more euro-styled space game, but it retains a certain level of theme, and the plastic bits are a delight. I’m also pleasantly surprised at the games duration; 6 players only took about 3.5hrs, with 2 newbies and all inexperienced and slow.  Which, okay, 3.5 hours is long but not for an epic 4X space game. C’mon people.
  • Flash Point: Fire Rescue: Did you know there are like 17 expansions to Flash Point? Well, I do now. My wife and I have started digging into the first expansion, “2nd story.” Which adds, you know, a second story to the building. It also adds ladders and windows.  The 2-story setup definitely changes the game without changing the rules; fire is more contained on each level, but it’s also harder to move around between those levels. The rules for ladders are a little confusing to remember, and I keep having to check the rulebook for the action point costs.  However, they are fun to play with; it’s nice to be able to create your own exits without having to chop giant holes in the wall.  Our first game did not go so well – we foolishly both went after victims and the fire spread a LOT before I decided my skills were better put to use in dousing flame, but it was too late and the first floor tore itself to pieces. In our second game we planned much better, and while I kept the flames to a minimum, my wife scooted expertly around the house, pulling victims to safety just in time, to a wild success. Still a great game, and the new additions add a lot of replay value.
  • Keyflower: Reflecting on 2013 made me think about what games I hoped to play this year and Keyflower was near the top of the list.  It’s been a while since I’ve played so I reviewed the rules several times since I was planning to teach it.  Teaching went pretty smoothly but it’s hard to give new players a sense of direction because so much of the scoring happens in the last two seasons.  Needless to say there’s a pretty big learning curve but it is well worth getting past your first game (which is still enjoyable).  In this game I focused heavily on producing workers because both of my winter tiles had to do with them.  I had a pretty good surplus of workers by fall but lost one pretty important tile that went to a bid of 5 which I didn’t care to match at left 4 workers stranded.  Unfortunately I ignored green workers and 4 of the 5 tiles in winter ended up with green bids so I was pretty badly locked out there.  This is a fantastic game and I’m looking forward to more plays. (Andrew)
  • Race For The Galaxy: Alien Artifacts: During the game of Keyflower a couple of my fellow Race enthusiasts were eyeing my copy of Alien Artifacts and threatened to steal it if I didn’t play it as my next game of the day.  Since they were Race veterans I finally got a chance to try out the Orb scenario.  This was the first play with the expansion for all of the other players involved so the game went quite long as everyone learned the new cards along with the orb.  I’ve heard a lot of hate for the orb so far but I will gladly disagree by saying that I think it’s a very clever addition.  I’ll have to get in many more plays before I can really assess how smoothly it can integrate with the game by my initial reaction was positive. (Andrew)
  • Blueprints: I introduced this one at work to see how well it would go over as a lunch time game.  Turns out it went over so well that we ended up playing three games in a row.  I continue to be impressed at how easy this one is to teach and how much it packs into a really quick play time.  If it can hold up to repeated plays like I think it can then this will be one of my new fillers of choice. (Andrew)

 

 

Futurewolfie loves epic games, space, and epic games set in space. You'll find him rolling fistfuls of dice, reveling in thematic goodness, and giving Farmerlenny a hard time for liking boring stuff.

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