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News Bits: 12/2/2013

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The NEWS is a little sparse this week (Thanksgiving holiday, over which my family celebrated Christmas). We should return to business as usual next week. In the meantime, the NEWS:

Stonemaier Games offers charity auction for special edition of Viticulture [Link] Stonemaier Games has “made it about others” by auctioning several copies of Viticulture for charity. They reached out to various gaming blogs to choose which charities get donations, and we chose Children’s Relief.
Fantasy Flight Games ends development of Warhammer: Invasion LCG [Link] One of the great paradoxes of gaming: what happens when a Living Card Game dies?

Holiday gift guides [Ours, GamerChris, The Board Game Family] ‘Tis the season for opinionated people to tell you what you should buy your family and friends. We are one such group of opinionated people. In any case, good suggestions all the way around. I’ll post more next week as I find them.

Stephen Fry shuffles a deck of cards [Link] As a hobby gamer, I can sometimes forget the nigh limitless possibilities of a simple deck of cards. This YouTube clip is a reminder.

Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Lords of Waterdeep review, 2013 Holiday gift guide] Last week was a little slow because of the holiday, but we will be back in full swing this week. Keep slaying!

Kickstarters of Note

  • The Manhattan Project: Digital Edition: The Manhattan Project is one of the best worker placement games I’ve played (see my review), and now it’s on its way to iPad and Android tablets. $10.
  • Dark Horse: Rebels and Rogues: This Kickstarter is for the expansion to Dark Horse (reviewed here). Looks to add some interesting bits with reputation. $25.
  • Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age: Tom Lehman’s sequel to Matt Leacock’s Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age is here. It’s very pricey, but might be worth it if you liked the original. (I liked the original, but if this is on a similar difficulty level, I find the price tag prohibitive.) $50.
  • Elevenses: This is a card game about morning tea. I like the offbeat theme and the matching illustrations, though the price for the game is prohibitive to me (one price for worldwide shipping, methinks). 20 AUD for the game.
  • Stak Bots expansion: On Kickstarter is an expansion to Stak Bots. I’ve not played the game, but it looks cool, and if you have the original game, this will add more to it. 12 GBP.
  • Privateer: It seems in vogue these days to cancel, retool, and relaunch Kickstarter campaigns. I’m not a fan of this practice, but it seems to have worked for this pirate game, and the game does indeed look pretty cool. $55 gets the game.
  • Hold Your Breath: Another pirate game, but this time the pirates are silly. Yes, these are the same pirates from Walk the Plank and Get Bit. This time they’re trying to hold their breath the longest in the water. Looks fun and light, and the price is right. $18.
  • Pixel Lincoln: Re-election: This is an expansion to the Pixel Lincoln game (successfully funded on Kickstarter and reviewed here). $35.

What We’ve Been Playing
My family celebrated Christmas over Thanksgiving, which means lots of gaming happened, including several new games. I’ll post my games in a separate session report sometime this week. In the meantime, here’s what Futurewolfie’s been playing.

  • Nothing Personal: One of the best things about this game is that when you backstab someone after urging them they could trust you turn after turn is that all you have to say is “well, it’s nothing personal…” and everyone laughs and hard feelings are pretty easily wiped away. Oddly enough, when I played over the weekend I decided to pursue a different strategy: attempting to field a fiercely loyal alliance with another player and ride with them to the top, then let loose for a free-for-all in the last round. It would have worked, too, except for the fact that I rolled no less than 6 DAGGERS in a row when attempting to make a move upward in the family, resulting in 1. the death of gangsters I controlled, 2. losing 4 Respect for each failed move and 3. failing to gain 4 Respect from another player for a successful Move. Alas, the horrid dice rolling left me tied for last place in the end, although my ally soared to the top of the heap. I think the die had a personal vendetta against me. (Futurewolfie)
  • 12 Realms: I finally managed to get this game out of the box and onto the table. IT’s a thematic, fantasy themed, universe-crossing game featuring Snow White, the Nutcracker, Joan of Arc, and… a cat version of Robin Hood. Er… yeah… Anyways, a wild assortment of other heroes are teaming up to save all of their realms from the reality-jumping explosion of EVIL. We had to fight enemies, collect money and “artefacts” and cross realms to defeat the dark lords. My first game we got a LOT of rules screwed up resulting in a very easy, although slow-plodding pace. We had no trouble collecting all the necessary artefacts (not a mispelling) and actually ended up advancing the “invasion” track artificially to move the game along. In my second game, I learned from my mistakes (and had a better understanding of more icons) and what resulted was… much more challenging, and satisfying. I will say, the game can be quite swingy… the invasion track does not advance at a steady pace. It may not move for 2-3 turns and then the next turn move up 8 to 12 steps (out of 20). Fortunately, player powers can be just as mind-numbingly powerful. Just as we were about to fall to a horde of enemies, my wife played a card that gained her 17 gold (normally players have 2-3 gold), thus allowing her to bribe most of the army to leave. Later, when things were about to go south one more time, she found and utilized the services of a celestial knight who wiped out the invading army, leaving myself to defeat the dark lord, saving the fairy forest for another day! (Futurewolfie)
  • The Resistance: I’m always a little nervous introducing new people to the Resistance. I never feel certain it will “click” with them or if they’ll be put off by the concept of having to lie, even in the context of a game. On thanksgiving, I pulled it out for my family with a couple of visitors who were newbies. The first game started off poorly… both people I chose to go on the mission put in a “fail” card, meaning they both had to be spies, although they tried to convince us a mistake had been made. Still we had to discover the 3rd spy, and although we did figure it out, a mistake in voting for team approval resulted in a spy win. Fortunately, halfway through this “practice game” the concept clicked with the new couple, and the next game they were quite into arguing and discussing the spies. My wife sneakily tossed in a fail card in round 1 and pinned it on my dad, but before I figured it out it was too late and I was under suspicion, so it was another Spy victory, though well-earned the second time around. (Futurewolfie)

I'll try anything once, but my favorite games are generally middleweight Euros.

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