Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Claustrophobia: De Profundis

Here is a musical video (poorly filmed) of De Profundis.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Video Review #11: Dorn

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Reprinting already?

I want to thank all the Blueprint Vocational users out there.

 Liber sent me a letter last week stating that they don't have enough books to last out the year, so they are preparing a reprint. Since the book has only been out for a month and a half, that's a good sign that people like it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Video Review #10—Discworld: Ankh-Morpork

Is it just me or are my video reviews getting worse? I seem to forget everything I wanted to say.

Oh well, Discworld: Ankh-Morpork is a fantastic game! It's currently my favorite game to play.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Written Game Review: The Hobbit

The Hobbit (2010)
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Designer: Reiner Knizia
Price: 280–299 SEK

So you've read everything penned by J.R.R. Tolkien at least three times, watched the Peter Jackson movies over and over, and given each of your children elven names. Naturally you're going to want Reiner's Knizia's The Hobbit published by Fantasy Flight Games, or are you?
In The Hobbit, each player takes on the role of a nameless dwarf who is escorting the adventuring hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. Along the way, you will be bickering over food, magical items, experience and treasure. While the dwarves are bickering amongst themselves, Smaug is slowly heading toward Laketown.
The game is broken into four stages which end in adventure circle: Battle the Goblins, Fight the Wargs, Escape from the Mirkwood Elves and Kill Smaug the Dragon. The players have events that can build up their characters before reaching the area where they will have a series of adventures. Completing adventures rewards the dwarves with gold. Failing adventures leads to injuries, lost provisions or Smaug moving closer to Laketown. After the last adventure card from the fourth stage is resolved, the dwarf with the most treasure wins the game. However, if Smaug has moved to Laketown, everyone loses.
Events generally use a bidding system to see who gets what. Each dwarf has five cards numbered from 1–60 and choose one to bid with. When the event says "The party advances," the players advance the Bilbo figure on the playing board one space for each player (3 space, however, for a 2-player game). Each space holds a reward or curse representing experience, insight, or an accident which affect the dwarves' three stats (initiative, cunning and strength) and their provisions. 
Players bid one card on which reward/curse provided by the spaces Bilbo just moved through. The lowest bid gets the first step, the second lowest the next step and so on. Some events grant all dwarves increased abilities for free (or paid for via provisions) or offer a powerful item that is only given to one character (either the highest or lowest bid, depending on the card).
Eventually the dwarves will reach the adventure circle at the end of the stage. Then the players will take turns drawing adventures cards. Each adventure cards has a challege and a treasure reward. To complete the adventure on the card, the player must roll five special dice with axes (Strength), provisions, and a shield (Initiative) and get the required result (e.g., 1 shield, 4 axes and 3 provisions). High character stats for initiative and strength provide some automatic shields and axes. As your cunning increases you get an increasing number of reroll attempts. Provisions can be spent to help fulfill the provision requirement. In addition the player holding the Ring gets to set one die to any result.
If you succeed, you get the treasure and the adventure card is discarded. If you fail, you have to take a Smaug tile and apply the "bad stuff" (e.g., lose two provisions and move Smaug one space) and the next player can try to get the treasure. Players can pass on an adventure, but if all players fail or pass on an adventure, Smaug moves a step closer to Laketown.
There are some tactics and negotiation during the game, but in general there is little depth or immersion. Every dwarf is the same (although you could agree that players start with differing stats—maybe by giving everyone 2 or 3 points to spend however they wish at the beginning), and to me, the theme doesn't come through unless you read all the fluff text. With the right group; however, the negotiation and minor back-stabbing aspect could be very entertaining.
So what is The Hobbit? It's a fun family game. It's also a great gateway game for Tolkien fans, who think that War of the Rings and Lord of the Rings: the Card Game are too confusing. If you only like deep Euros or tense thematic adventures, you might want to look elsewhere.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Island of Wak-Wak #8: Space Infantry Video Review

A look at the solo squad-level wargame, Space Infantry.

Note: I had a lot of problems with the camera turning off all the time and for some reason on Marco, it didn't film what it showed on the screen (or else I was looking at the tiles and not the screen). Hopefully, things will go better next time for The Hobbit.

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