Tabletop • Games Workshop has been in the business of creating miniatures and games for more than 30 years. Earlier in their history, when this writer was much less grey, the company was known for creating a wide series of miniatures board games that served as entry points into their Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Fantasy universes. Some were great fun, while others were wild, crazy and unbalanced (and still a bit fun). Nevertheless, the company took efforts to attract gamers into their orbit and keep them there. GW underwent a change in focus for many years, purging almost all of those gems from their catalogue and putting their time and money solely into miniature games. It seems there has been a change at Games Workshop, however, and they’ve been quietly releasing a series of miniatures board games for the last few years. Many of these were not priced to appeal to mainstream gamers, focusing on the GW fanbase instead. With their latest miniatures board game, Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire, however, GW is taking a direct aim at competing with the mainstream products from their main competitors, Fantasy Flight and Cool Mini or Not.
Tabletop • While board gaming is still a fairly small niche of the hobby world, it’s made up of many smaller niches. Many of those I’ve dabbled in: war games, miniatures, 18xx, smelling like you haven’t showered in three weeks. One group I’ve never participated deals with something called Print-and-Play. These are the crazy people [I only say this because a good friend is one of these people and he’s only slightly not crazy -ed.] who spend a lot of time to handcraft beautiful copies of games released for free and posted on sites like BGG. I haven’t even been one of the lazy ones who just print everything on regular paper and tape it together with Scotch tape. Nothing in this process interested me in until I helped design a Print-and-Play game of my own, and now I think they’re the greatest thing ever. Well, this game is, at least.
Tabletop • You may not of heard of Restoration Games–they’re relatively new–but I don’t think that will last for long. For one, you’re reading this, and I’m about to talk about them as if they’re my first middle school crush. Secondly, they’re taking older games from the 80s and 90s and updating them for modern gamers which is a really cool thing to be doing. What games, I hear you ask? Well, let’s take a look at their racing/gambling hybrid, Downforce.
Tabletop • I’ve never played a solo game quite like Nemo’s War from Victory Point Games. I went into it prepared for the usual solo/cooperative game tropes–turns divided by a “bad” phase, more fires to put out than you have hoses, a general sense of being completely screwed–but found none of those. Instead, Nemo’s War felt more like one of those open-world video games like the Elder Scrolls series. Do whatever the hell you want, when you want, and have fun doing it. There’s never that moment, as in other cooperatives, where you “beat the game”. It’s strange, yet mesmerizing.
Tabletop • I assume that board game publishers commission board game cover art to be evocative of the game’s theme while also creating some excitement for what lies inside that cardboard box. All publishers except PD Verlag, that is. Instead of promising a thrilling adventure, their box covers depict old white guys looking like they need to use the toilet. They broke new ground with Concordia, not only by having the cover focus on a woman instead of a man, but simply by depicting someone smiling and not looking like they’re waiting for the reaper to mercifully end it all. Today we’re looking back at one of Mac Gerdts’ better designs, Navegador, complete with a box cover depicting a sullen Henry the Navigator staring a map. Prepare thyselves for adventure!
Tabletop • Arkham Horror: The Card Game gets a lot of love around these parts. It’s as flexible as a tentacle–it can be deeply thematic if you’re into that, or offer moderately involved deck-building and agonizing decisions during play for the more mechanically minded. It can be enjoyed solo (though I recommend playing two characters) or in groups of up to four, as a campaign or a one-shot. I’ve been extremely pleased with it as a solo experience playing both the original campaign and the full Dunwich Legacy cycle, and will here offer brief mini-reviews of each expansion in that cycle. While I’ll avoid spoiling anything beyond the initial setup in each, even the basic premise of some of the expansions gives information about the plot, so beware.
Tabletop • I’ve been on a quest of late to find the best two-player tabletop games the world has to offer. Card games, board games, dice games…it doesn’t matter, I just want fun games to play with my wife around home or with a friend now and then. I may have stumbled onto something with my latest conquest, The Fox in the Forest.
Every year around this time, gamers try to predict which games will be nominated for the prestigious Spiel des Jahres award, signifying the best tabletop games of the previous year. From the early aughts, I’ve been one of those gamers, always wrong with my guesses and then trying to nab each nominated title as soon as possible because, they have to be good, right? This year is a bit different. This morning it dawned on me that I don’t give a shit anymore.
iOS, Android • When I first saw the news about Mordheim: Warband Skirmish this morning over at Pocket Gamer, I was excited. Other than Talisman, has Games Workshop done a mobile title not set in the Warhammer universe? Then I read the article and saw words like Skaven and realized my Warhammer ignorance was showing. Mordheim is set firmly within the Warhammer universe, just not the 40K one.
Tabletop • As a sad and lonely man, it’s only natural that I would gravitate toward games I can play by myself. This used to mean playing a game meant for 2+ players alone by taking control of all sides. Over the past year or two, however, I’ve discovered that there are great solo games out there, you just have to look. GMT is one company that regularly puts out games that play great when you’re all by your lonesome, and Victory Point Games is another. To be honest, before HexWar brought Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp to digital, I wasn’t familiar with VPG’s offerings. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with several of their designs, and have Kickstarted several others (including their latest Kickstarter for Chariots of Rome). The latest to draw my attention is one with a unique board game theme, Healthy Heart Hospital.