The Daily Flight

Well we have some cool Fantasy Flight Games news for you.

1. Fantasy Flight have opened their own gaming center in Roseville, Minnesota. Is that not freaking awesome. It’s a location that can squeeze 250+ players for board, card and RPG gaming goodness. I fully support these types of locations and hope that we see something similar in Montreal on such a grand scale.You will also be able to get a sneek peek at Runewars

2. And in not so load game news an expansion for Tribune is now available.

3. Fans of Dark Heresy rejoyce! Part 2 of the Haarlocks Trilogy of adventures enetitled Damned Cities is available.

A Week of Flight

Well here is some things from Fantasy Flight that I missed out on with being sick and all. Very busy week over there and looks like their PR is in top notch form.

1. Well this first bit is a bit on the older then a week side but totally slipped past the radar. It seems like there is a new Warhammer 40k boardgame called Horus Heresy. Seem’s like it will be pretty epic. Only time will tell so better start saving those pennies for that eventual high price tag.

2. The Call of Cthulhu dice for Arham Horror are now in stores. Will definitely have to pick this up.

3. Cory Konieczka has a chat about the combat system behind Runewars. I hope that the card system that he is aiming for works out as well as advertised. Hopefully they will have some combat examples down the road.

4. Dark Heresy gets an expansion in the form of Ascension. Now you can become an inquisitor, a sage or an assassin. It’s supposed to have advanced character creation rules as well. And this all tells me that our group still hasn’t even played this yet. Must try it sometime.

5. A new chapter pack for A Game of Thrones: LCG is announced. It’s entitled A Sword in the Darkness.

6. If you want to know what’s on the road ahead for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay then check out the Sifting Through Shadows download.

7. You can now download the core books for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay for $25 on DrivethruRPG and RPGNow. However the PDF’s are missing the cards and the fancy dice that are essential to gameplay. It’s being advertised as more of an extra aid. You know being a computer technician I can buy a $100 book and get the PDF on the disc with examples programs etc. Why could they not do the same. $25 for the books is not a bad price and I would be more forgiving if the cards were included. Come on they are cards. All you would need to do is have people buy the dice as an add on. They still save, Fantasy Flight still makes lots of cash. It’s the type of situation where you think they do a lot of good thing but sometimes you want to smack them. Kind of like Wizards of the Coast taking their PDF’s offline.

The Daily Flight

Well you know we posted already about the Fantasy Flight Games holiday sale. But here are some updates of things that have been going on over there.

1. Runewars has a fourth preview exploring another faction called the Uthuk Y’llan. It’s looking to be a solid boardgame which is no real surprise mind you but time will tell and of course will definitely have to play.

2. Custom Arkham Horror dice are on the way to distributors. I must say they look pretty damn cool.  I love me some neon green.

So not bad stuff at all really. I love anything for Arkham Horror. Even those insanely priced miniatures they have. It’s just one of those games that has a lot of replay value and is great for parties.

RPGHub Reviews: Runebound

Design

Runebound is a boardgame of 2 – 6 players where you take on the persona of one of many heroes who are out to find the evil Margath and bring him to justice. The game itself comes in rather compact sized box much like Arkham Asylum and contains the board, tokens for stamina and health, cards for adventures and items plus hero miniatures.

The quality cannot be disputed as much like anything Fantasy Flight seems to put out it has a high production value to it. The tokens are nice thick cardboard stock and the cards are quite durable. The board itself is well sized when unfolded. For those like myself who have played Descent you can see the influences which lead to it. It’s like visiting an ancestor and finding out what worked and what didn’t work. The art is also top notch from the hero cards right down to the token and the board itself.

Gameplay

Unlike Descent there is no overlord who manages the game so everyone is involved. The introduction quest which is the only one you have included with this game is to destroy the High Lord Margath or to collect three dragon runes.

The heroes are quite numerous and definitely no lack of options. Each have their advantages and disadvantages. Some have higher health, some stamina, some are quite durable across the board yet do not do much damage to their opponents. Your hero card contains all these statistics for your character so it’s a nice little reference cards which is straight to the point. For some very odd reason though a shield icon is used to represent Range. We dare not ask why…

So once all your players have selected their characters they all start in the same city. From there players go clockwise and take their appropriate actions. Each players round is split up into refreshing, moving, adventuring, market and experience. So with that being said you refresh your cards which are those properly indicated with an hourglass.

I saved this one to set apart because this bothered me the most. Once you hit movement phase you roll five movement dice which on each side contain various land symbols. Each symbol represents a land type. Based on these symbols you can use one icon per dice and select your trajectory. However sometimes your wanting to go somewhere specific and the rolls are just not right. At that point you can sacrifice your movement turn to move one space in the direction you want. This breaks the game at a certain point as it leads to people missing out turns where they want to be more productive. Also the dice unlike Descent were not very fantastic quality. By that I mean very plain, no icon indents.

Finally we adventure by landing on a jewel token. On the board there are various encounter locations that are colored and of course match a corresponding token that goes over it. When you land on the token you trigger a card which you draw from one of the colored decks. Some of these can be events which can last till another is drawn or some other random quest. Some are encounters which need to be resolved.

Events are another element we found rather game breaking. When you pull an event it has a number on the bottom right hand corner ranging from 1 to 3. It stays into effect until another event card comes along that is equal or greater. So in our game John decided to take on a red quest to see how tough they are. We ended up getting an event instead. So with a number 3 event we were pretty much limited to only have the game develop by taking on the hardest quests.

To make things worse, quest can spawn when events are pulled so it keeps the game going so you could imagine that no new events means no new quest markers. This meant that we not only had no new events but once we completed the minor quest areas that the game was on stand still.

The encounters themselves ranged from extremely easy to ridiculously hard. When it came to the red encounters we knew they were to be challenging as they are the main bad creatures of the game. But still we found that at times they were too hard. Essentially when you die, you gain health and stamina back but lose an item of greater value. So all that gold you spent on items to kill these monsters you will lose and in the case of our encounters being limited because of the higher event number, no new quests were being refreshed. It was pretty much a no win situation unless we got the luck of the dice.

Combat

Combat was resolved by rolling two D10 dice and adding the results with the appropriate skill. If you equal or exceed the target value you add a wound counter to the opponent or you take damage. When either accumulate enough wounds the enemy is vanquished or you die. You also have certain innate abilities that may aid you on your journey. Generally most creatures had that ability to reduce your stamina if you did not pass a certain roll. It only became really frustrating as before the fight itself you had to make this roll which was very difficult and if you missed sometimes it would eat right into your wound points nearing you that much closer to death if the combat was not hard enough at times.

Overall the game runs smooth. We did seem to run into the exception to the rule by trying to jump through the natural flow of progression however that’s when you discover the kinks. I can’t say I was disappointed at all. Runebound holds it’s own as being a very good board game. You can see why Descent took the transformation it did. It became what it should have been. This doesn’t devalue Runebound though so don’t mistake that. With it’s price point around the $45 – $50 range and abundance of expansion via $10 card packs you cannot go wrong on something that has a lot of replayability.

Liked

Replay Value: Runebound offers a lot of options if you pay into the expansions. You can either go the card route or by one of the mid priced range board game expansions to add a little more. We would have preferred having another overall goal to spice things up but for what was there we liked.

Fast Paced: Despite our issues with movement the game itself is fast. Combat is resolved quite easily, the quests are spaced evenly so your always bumping into something.

Quality: Like all of Fantasy Flight Games that I have played to date the quality is top notch. Tokens are thick cardboard, cards are resistant to abuse and the miniatures are well detailed.

Disliked

Movement: Figuring out all the symbols for first timers can be annoying and take away from the action of the game. While the rest of the game is fast flowing, movement always seems to bog things down. A simple move score for each person and a deduction value for various land types probably would have made things a big less annoying and keep the pass just as fast.

Movement Dice: The dice could have been indented with the respective land emblems rather then on sticker sides. I have a feeling that it could wear itself out or become dirty thus ruining the sticker.

Events: For our first play through we found a hole in the system. We attribute that to the event numbering. A bit more variety would have been great. For instance a few lower leveled red events. Perhaps have 3 levels per each colored difficulty.

I highly recommend this game to those interested in a nicely paced game that has a bit of a twist to it. It’s not perfect mind you but it’s worth looking past the faults as you will find a game that not only has a solid base but has amazing growth potential.

RPGHub Reviews: Zombies!!!

I like Zombies. I like Zombie movies. I like raising the dead. Obviously I would play a game called Zombies!!! right? I mean just the exclamation marks compel me to play. So Zombies!!! is a board game by Twilight Creations. It comes in a rather small unimposing box. It’s obvious from the cover that it’s an homage to the horror zombie genre such as Evil Dead.

Upon opening the box you have heart tokens, brain tokens, bullet tokens, a stack of tiles, cards, player miniatures and of course…ZOMBIES!!! It’s actually kind of surprising upon first inspection to see all they crammed into the box. The game board itself consists of various tiles which will get placed down on the table. The overall goal of the game is of course to survive the zombie invasion and make it to the helicopter taking you to safety or another place which is also most likely filled with zombies. But let’s stay positive here.

So with that being said, you start the game in the center tile which is the town square and from there each players takes his turn. Every player has 3 event cards. These cards can be beneficial to you or can play tricks on your opponent. The idea is that your all in it for yourself though I have played house ruled games where we do co-op. You roll a simple six sided dice to move and you place a new tile to fit the street path to however you want. Eventually when you run out of tiles the helipad will be available.

Combat within the Zombies!!! universe is also resolved via a six sided dice. A roll of 4, 5 or 6 will kill your foe while lower will result in a loss of a heart token or alternatively you can spend a bullet o increase your result. Often enough the is not enough bullets to help you and that’s great. If you get eaten alive you start back in town square, you lose your weapons and you lose half you zombie trophy’s. The goal of the game is two fold. You either as mentioned make it to the helipad or you can also collect 25 zombie trophy so it’s very difficult to achieve either.

Event cards can consist of handy weapons to give you a dice bonus or it can be to spawn other zombies. There are other type of cards and some will be sure to have you rolling on the floor. I finished the last game by spawning 15 zombies which totally shut the game down due to lack of time.

The game is that simple really. It’s incredibly accessible to anyone including the non zombie fan as it’s ridiculously fun . We recently at our Halloween part had a random person jump in the game with us and he was trying to put the kibosh on all of us within an hour.

Liked

Accessibility: Anyone can play this game and get enjoyment from it. It’s just plain fun.

Flexibility: Zombies!!! is a game that can easily be house ruled if you find the pace too slow or too fast. You can also come up with your own wacky tiles, invest in expansions and be as imaginative as you want to be.

Packaging: It’s small and compact. I can easily transport it to a friends place without it being cumbersome. Heck if someone complains it’s cumbersome then give them the hand. It also have the look of a b-movie horror flick which just add’s to the theme.

Disliked

Lack of larger interiors: In the Zombies game you will be able to enter building however the building are small in size so a more spacey interior would have been better. This get’s resolved by further expansions so this is a rather small negligible issue.

I highly recommend everyone to buy Zombies!!! the board game. It\s fast paced, not too expensive at $29.99 CDN and will have you all laughing throughout the game and that’s what’s truly a test of a good game.

RPGHub Reviews: Descent – Game of a Thousand Deaths

“You enter the dark, dank dungeon. A heavy scent of must and mildew bombards your senses. Off in the darkness you hear the scurrying footfalls of vermin retreating from the glow of your torch. Also in this darkness you hear something else, something much larger than a rat. As you step forward, braving this dark world of unknown dangers, a loud battle cry sounds forth. From the darkness now emerges three beastmen. Their jowls drip froth and their knuckles drag as they beat down upon you. Behind them swoop down giant bats while skeletal archers unleash a volley of arrows towards you… and if that was not enough spiders crawl out from the walls, poison dripping from their fangs… oh, and of course a giant now lumbers into sight… what will your small band of puny adventurers do in light of this danger? You will decide! This is the world of Descent!”

Hi everybody! “Hi Dr. Nick!”

Anyways.

I hope that little intro to my review was bone chilling and has gotten everyone reading this in the mood for a good ol’ dungeon crawl. Now, before I begin let me just get this out of the way first. Veterans of the board gaming field may have looked upon this game and exclaimed with a bewildered cry of dismay “WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO HERO QUEST!?” Now, don’t get me wrong, Hero Quest is a fantastic game in it’s own right but this is a whole other beast. Yes they share a lot of similarities, but in the end I believe that players will walk away from both games with different experiences.

Now for the fun!

Design

From the moment I set eyes on this board game laid out before me I was hooked. From the smooth glossy modular tiles that make up the dungeon floor to the enormous pile of fairly well detailed molded plastic figures, I was in love.

The dungeon tiles come in a few different sizes and are broken up into squares that will determine player and monster movement. These tiles themselves are cut up into jigsaw-puzzle-like pieces and fit together to form one fluid dungeon map. The artwork detailing these tiles is nothing mind blowing. It seems to be a generic stamping of the one design on each. Although it is possible slight differences from tile to tile could be found, but on the whole it all blurs into the same pattern. It does succeed in setting the atmosphere and mood however, while providing boundaries to your game world. The fact that the tiles are modular is a huge bonus in that when you finish the nine pre-made adventures provided you can simply create your own. No need to replay the same dungeons if you do not desire to.

The character design of the game is well conceived and detailed. Twenty hero characters are provided each with a decently defined plastic model and a character card that bears a matching artistic image to the model with hero statistics. The artwork itself I found to be well done and compelling. You can almost instantly get a sense of what each character is by simply looking over the image of the hero character. The heroes themselves each have strengths and weaknesses. Some are magic-users, others are warriors, then you have a few thief-like and ranger-like characters. The only thing I feel was really missing from them was an actual backstory for each hero, like they had done for Arkham Horror.

The monster figures are, in my opinion, well done. Even the smallest monster seems to tower over even the largest hero. They all strike an imposing figure and it can safely be said that nobody would want to run into any of them alone in the dark. My only complaint is the lack of variety of monster at the disposal of the Overlord. But maybe my expectations were a little high in that regard. To be fair, the eight or so creature types available is a nice assortment. However, you really seem to only encounter Beastmen and Giant Spiders on a regular basis. Again though, this is only from one play through of the first dungeon. I can only imagine it will be drastically different the further you progress. Even then I am sure expansions will contain new monsters to either devour or be slain by the heroes. In a nice twist though, each monster has two types. The regular monsters and master monsters. The masters are coloured red instead of the usual beige. This makes them slightly more dangerous then the average beast.

To spice up the game board counters are provided. These counters make up doors, fallen pillars, and other debris. Chests can also be found, these will contain treasures and items. The REAL reasons to be a Hero. We all say we are in it to save the world or a beautiful princess, yet in the end if we don’t gold and toys, then the world be damned! Sorry toots! 😉 The art work for these counters is also nothing completely amazing, but it is good enough to maintain the mood of the game and interpret the counter as whatever role it is playing.

Also included is a variety of cards. These cards are mostly used by the Overlord player to thwart, maim, or even kill the players. Although some  cards will be gained by the heroes as treasure, skills, and spells.

Gameplay

I took my first steps into this dungeon expecting a nice slow adventure game filled with exploration and adventure. What I got was a vastly different result. Within moments we were swarmed by Beastmen and Skeleton Archers. The action was fast. While monsters are dangerous, for the most part they can’t take much damage. Exceptions are the master monsters and “named” monsters — the bosses of a given dungeon — they can take slightly more damage. (They also hit harder too, much harder). What also makes this game slightly more unique, and by that I obviously mean more deadly, is that the Overlord is not simply using the monsters he is given to defeat the heroes. The Overlord himself can directly influence what is going on by the use of his personal card deck and threat.

Even when the Overlord has no monsters in play he is capable of laying traps or summoning in new beasts. He acquires threat every turn, the threat he gains is equal to how many heroes enter his dungeon. He then has cards that will have a threat cost, which he must spend in order to activate the card and unleash it’s abilities. So as I had begun, the Beastmen and Skeleton Archers had jumped forth to do battle. As the tide of battle turned in our favour, suddenly as if from nowhere Giant bats swooped down from the darkness to join the fray (Having been summoned by our dastardly Overlord of the evening, Carl). Dealing with them was no problem, but it set the tone for further battles within that would not unfold so easily.

After this first battle we were rewarded with a few treasures and we continued merrily on our way. Proceeding through the next door led us into another brawl. This brawl was more dangerous as we were subsequently bombarded with fire while having venomous spiders inject us with their… well… venom. Also (once again thank you to Carl) we had to avoid weakened floors and pit traps. Even opening the next door was not safe as the Overlord had fixed a trap to it causing it to explode and shower us with splinters. A huge bonus for the heroes is that during the adventure a return to town is possible when finding certain runes and activating them. Here you can spend found gold for new items and healing. Although the more time you spend in town, the more time the evil Overlord has to plot and summon new beasts… be warned.

Eventually we encountered the final named creature of the dungeon. He was a giant. His sheer size alone would ensure no adventurer leaves with unsoiled breeches. We knew it would be no easy feat to topple the behemoth before us (especially since Overlord Carl kept summoning new beasts during the battle…) but we gave it our all, and so we died. thankfully we had acquired plenty of conquest points and made a swift return to the dungeon where we finally slaughtered the savage creatures and won the day! Hooray!

The goals of these encounters is outlined before the first die is rolled. A brief “mission” outline is read by the Overlord to the players. Another goal, which in turn doubles as a point keeping system, are conquest points. These are counters gained by meeting certain objectives within the dungeon (ie: activating a rune back to town). The heroes start with a couple of these already and it is the Overlords goal to acquire these from the heroes by killing them. When a hero dies she has a conquest point value which the Overlord gains. As long as the heroes can pay this value, they will then resurrect back in town and be able to continue the adventure.

Final Thoughts

The game has what I can only describe as a flow, or even a slowly building momentum. This momentum will go from the players to the Overlord, everyone will have their moment to shine and do some good. Even though it is simply a board game it can at times play like a fast paced arcade game where you must survive wave after wave of nasty beasts, only to face the nastiest of them all at the end. I entered the dark halls of this dungeon with high hopes, and I was not disappointed by what I found within.

I highly encourage anyone that has even the slightest interest in this game to give it a try. If you’re lucky maybe your local hobby store will have a demo version to try. I know the cost can seem steep, approximately $90 – $100 for the basic game and then another $50 – $60 per expansion, it will bust the bank of many a gamer. Especially those with a tight budget. However, the fun that will be had while triumphing over monsters and heroes alike with friends and family is, in this gamers mind, well worth the investment.