The holiday season is nearly upon us! In the past we’ve brought you an extensive gift guide and this year it’s expanding to take over the whole week. Make sure to stop by the gift shop on your way out of town to grab some games for your loved ones!
Community Talk[fifth width=”30px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”70px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]If you’ve joined me on my last couple of walks around town you’ll be familiar with the people that I’ll be visiting today. For those just arriving at the Village Square for the first time I’d like to introduce you to our humble gathering. We’re all here because of our mutual passion for board games – designers, producers, reviews, gaming enthusiasts, and any visitors that may be joining us from elsewhere in the world. To start things off we’ll swing by the folks at TGIK Games for some community building.[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full] –[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]We are in this together. Designers and Reviewers should be each other’s best friends. Designers work for the joy of creation and reviewers review for the love of the games.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]
TGIK Games[/fifth][full][/full] [fifth width=”30px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”70px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]If you’ve got the time to stick around I’m sure you can hear all about a variety of topics with the chatty TGIK crew. Perhaps you’re interested in taking notes, doing some guerrilla playtesting, or maybe just some daily design ideas.
I’ve heard people around here discussing games that every designers should play or whether a fresh perspective could be worthwhile. For a recap on the conversation we should go right to the source of the dialog, The League of Gamemakers.[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full]–[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Are we designers “losing the love of just playing”? I hope not. But, if I’m honest, I have to admit that my gaming experience since starting to design games had, at some point, become less fun. I began concentrating so much on mechanics, lessons I could learn, and ways I would have made the game different if it were my design, that I stopped actually enjoying the play of the game.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]
The League of Gamemakers[/fifth]
I’ve also been encouraged seeing the passion and involvement of designers with the people that enjoy their games. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, if you want a spokesman to foster this relationship then you need look no further than Ignacy. We’ll swing by his place, I heard his door is always open.[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full]–[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Every single designer I know loves to teach their game and to see their game be played and enjoyed by players. It’s not work. It’s pure fun. It’s the best payoff for all those hours spent on the game. It’s the best that can happen – real people playing and enjoying his game.
It’s not work. It’s exactly 100% opposite.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]
Boardgames That Tell Storiess[/fifth]
And speaking of designers that I’d love to meet, up at the top of my list is Tom Lehmann who brought us the fantastic Race For The Galaxy. While I may have to wait until later to meet him I’m ecstatic to hear from someone that did get that opportunity.[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full]
–[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]This month we’re extremely excited to be joined by Tom Lehmann who was able to chat with us about his design philosophy, collaborations with other designers and a few of his upcoming projects including Roll for the Galaxy.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]
Before we go I’d like to help spread the word about an upcoming piece that our good friend Grant is working on. It calls for a bit of community involvement and I’ll turn things over to him for the details.[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full]–[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]We’re in the final months of 2014, which means it’s a good time for reflection. In the past I’ve hosted community articles about the upcoming year, as well as ones about the recently completed year. This post is seeking submissions for the latter.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]
Dragon Slayer Roundup[fifth width=”140px”]–[/fifth] [third]
Games On Our Table
Roll Through The Ages: The Iron Age – I didn’t get to play anything this week but I have a new game on the way so I’ll talk about that instead. I’m acquiring Roll Through The Ages: The Iron Age from the latest BGG Math Trade and I’m quite happy about it. What makes this trade amusing is that I’m trading a game that I kickstarted, Greed, for one that I initially passed on. I was really hoping to play Greed with my family having had success with drafting (7 wonders) and Donald X but the theme proved problematic so I sadly decided to let it go. RTtA is my first acquisition in a promising line of dice games that are about to hit the market (including Roll For The Galaxy, Nations: The Dice Game, Ciub, Dice Brewing). I ended up trading the original Roll Through The Ages: The Bronze Age away after being disappointed with the replayability. Hopefully I’ll have better luck with Tom Lehmann’s reworking.
Tiny Epic Kingdoms – This highly successful Kickstarter game has been making the rounds, and I got my own chance to get it to the table. After getting over my initial disappointment in the fact that we weren’t taking the role of actual tiny creatures and races (brownies, fairies, etc.) but just normal fantasy races in a tiny box. While TEK is billed as a streamlined, fast-playing 4X game. While it does have some semblance to the civ-building and combat of much larger games, I think it’s much more of a simple, abstract-ish area control game. It was a close race, and I focused heavily on upgrading my magic and then utilizing my powers to grow my army of undead. Unfortunately not much war happened so I couldn’t collected too many resources that way, but I did manage to get my magic level up quickly in order to end the game. I thought I had it cinched, but another player had built up just enough on the tower to tie the game’s points – and the game’s first tiebreaker is, of course, the player with the highest tower level. Close game! I think next time we play there will be much more conflict between players, as that seems the best way to slow people down. All in all, though, the game worked well, the rules were streamlined, and it played very, very quickly. I look forward to future plays.
Demonslayer – This little-known deckbuiding game comes out of China. It features mystical chinese heroes battling demon lords and their hordes of minions. The game does a few unique things – while it has both enemies to fight and cards to purchase (With separate currencies for each), there are two separate sets of cards. So there are pretty much always enemies to fight and there are always the cards you can buy – the complete set, same as everyone else. No luck-of-the-center-card-row draw here. In addition, each player has a set of 3 types of cards – one weak, one medium, and one very powerful (that there is only one copy of) that only they have access to. Players are tasked with building up an efficient deck so they can lay waste to monsters, earning points in the form of tokens. Another unique element – these tokens can be “spent” for even more powerful cards. They’re still worth points at the end of the game, but you get to keep them in play once you play them, and they do very useful things.
We were all new to the game, so it took a bit to get started, but once we got into it the game flowed very well. I’ve played some clunky and wildly-swingy deckbuilding games, but Demonslayer was actually pretty tightly designed with a lot of interesting choices and ways to approach your deckbuilding. Oh, and the card art is beautiful. It didn’t take us too long to be slaying demons left and right. There was one major drawback – the enemies come in waves of 9 creatures at a time, and you don’t refill the enemies until the overlord has been defeated. This creates a relatively interesting combat arc, but it also slows the pacing of the game. And, with 7 waves of creatures, the game can stretch into the painfully long territory – we had to keep cutting down demons long after our deckbuilds were complete. The other caveat is that, with every card available every game, it could grow stale fairly quickly. We’ll see how future plays go.