Tabletop • Deep down in my soul I know that, mechanically, Dark Tower isn’t a great game, and yet few games have stuck with me the way Dark Tower has. I was 10 years old when Milton Bradley unleashed this cardboard and plastic monstrosity upon the world, and I remember it occupying my every thought as 1981 crawled towards Christmas. I didn’t get a copy of the game that year, but my cousins did, and it didn’t disappoint. A game with little plastic, sword-sporting figures, 3D plastic buildings and awesome art of kingdoms in decline, and, of course, the massive black monolith standing at the hub of this strange fantasy world? I loved the game, eventually getting a second hand copy a year or two later and then forgetting about it when my tower, like so many others, stopped working. It’s the one grail game that I’ve considered spending $300 or more via Ebay to get a working copy to play with my kids only to realize that I’d then be divorced and probably wouldn’t be spending much time with my kids. Luckily, Restoration Games has picked up the mantle and announced a re-imagining of Dark Tower set to release in 2020.
Tabletop • It’s only been in the last couple years that I’ve really taken to solo gaming and a lot of that has to do with Victory Point Games. A lot of other games offer solo variants or whatnot, but VPG pumps out games that were made to solo, and I haven’t found one that wasn’t a blast to throw down on the table. My first venture into this brave new world was even more remarkable considering the theme, the third edition of Dawn of the Zeds. This deluxe edition of Zeds was out of print for a bit, but it’s back on Kickstarter now and, if you want a copy, now’s your chance.
Tabletop • Before I left for Europe I was asked if I wanted to attend PDXCON, Paradox‘s annual navel gaze, in Stockholm. Of course I said yes, but before you think I’m a lucky bastard, I should tell you that I didn’t go. I’m traveling with my dad and deviating from our itinerary nearly put him in the cardiac ward, so I had to crawl back and turn them down. Luckily, there’s this thing called the internet and you can pretty much be there without actually, you know, being there. It’s been a big week of announcements thus far: Age of Wonders: Planetfall, Imperator: Rome, and more. That said, the biggest announcement (in my board game centric eyes) was made today. Paradox is bringing some of their biggest franchises to the tabletop.
Tabletop, PC/Mac/Linux • There’s something very cool happening over at Victory Point Games. For years they were known as a company that made interesting games with components that weren’t very interesting, but not anymore. Over the past 2-3 years they’ve started to reprint second and third editions of games and upping their component game. Thus, we’ve seen gems such as Nemo’s War, Dawn of the Zeds, Healthy Heart Hospital, and Darkest Night all reappear with shiny new versions, begging for gamers who had poo-pooed VPG in the past to love them. It’s not hard to do, they’re all fantastic. The latest reimagining is another title I hadn’t heard of called Gem Rush. Not only is the shiny new 2nd edition currently on Kickstarter, but they’ve also announced that a digital version is on its way to Steam for PC/Mac/Linux.
Tabletop • I’ve been pondering whether or not to review Journal 29 from the moment I cracked its first truly difficult puzzle. You see, it’s not the usual fare here at Stately Play, and I wasn’t sure if our readers wanted to live the dread of English teachers everywhere, having to read a poorly written book report. Yes, a book report. You see, Journal 29 is an actual book made out of dead trees without a battery to recharge or screen to tap. It’s like the 80’s, with the exception that I’m not listening to Spandau Ballet [for the record, Dave is totally still listening to Spandau Ballet -ed.].
Tabletop • Many years ago the folks at Ares Games created a miniatures game so easy that even non-miniature gamers, like me, could figure them out and play them. Even better, they sold the games with pre-painted miniatures and all the stuff you needed to play. No searching for a tape measure or blistering your fingers prying plastic off sprues. Even, even, better the theme was World War I and II air combat. Of course, I’m talking about Wings of War (now Wings of Glory) and, for a short time, I was hooked. This was followed up by Sails of Glory which takes the basic premise and moves it onto the high seas. All was well and good and then Fantasy Flight used a system that was…similar…in their blockbuster hit X-Wing and then followed that up with capital ship combat in Armada. Who wants to shoot shells when you can fire laser cannons and make pew-pew sounds as you play? Don’t count Ares out yet, however, as they just announced their own sci-fi miniatures combat game, Battlestar Galactica-Starship Battles.
Tabletop • Despite two school musicals, umpteen volleyball tournaments, and a spring break drive to Florida, I’ve finally managed to get the second video of our Darkest Night 2nd Edition playthrough finished. Whew. This video picks up where the last one left off and brings us three full turns, namely turns two through four. Future videos will be one turn (maybe two) so I can get these things out the door quicker. Seriously, trying to do all these turns at once was a big mistake and just too much damn work. Not like you care about that, but I really want to get at least one out per week. Two per week would be amazing. Also, my microphone broke while in Florida, so I had to record using a crappy headset mic. It sounds like I’m recording in a bathroom which, I assure you, I only did for 37% of the video. See if you can figure out which scenes! I’ll be looking to get a new microphone, but it might be awhile. I apologize in advance for your aching earholes.
Tabletop • I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know when I say 80’s nostalgia is a hot commodity right now. It can be done the right way (Stranger Things) or the wrong way (Ready Player One), but either way it seems to be a means to print money. Restoration Games is jumping on the bandwagon with their latest blast-from-the-past, Fireball Island. You might remember this one from your childhood or just been unable to avoid the hype on #boardgame Twitter. Either way, it’s gone live on Kickstarter today and it’s a doozy.
Tabletop • As I mentioned last Friday, I spent last Thursday through Sunday up in the woods with four of my best [only? -ed.] friends where we would drink and eat far too much while playing as many games as we could fit in the time allotted to us. This was the seventh year we’ve done this and, in the past, I would try to bring as many new games as possible. It slowly dawned on all of us that trying to teach games to folks who’ve been drinking since noon isn’t a great idea unless you start teaching well before noon. Thus, I’ve limited my new game exploration to only one each morning and after that–once the Sailor Jerry starts flowing–we sink back into the comfortable arms of games we already know how to play. This year our fallback was 18xx. Lots and lots of 18xx.
Tabletop • I recently got an itch to play Sails of Glory, a game which wonderfully illustrates the joys which games, especially historical games, offer outside of the game itself. Sails of Glory puts each player in charge of one or two warships from the age of sail (late 1700s/early 1800s). Turns out, there are an embarrassing array of ways to commit to it, and it was with an eye toward justifying myself that I thought of writing an article on the topic.