So Dice Masters AvX released today and here’s a quick look at the starter, 20 boosters and my rambling thoughts on the game and components.
So Dice Masters AvX released today and here’s a quick look at the starter, 20 boosters and my rambling thoughts on the game and components.
Host – A card game for the rest of humanity. Or what’s left of it.
So there’s no deep fluff to this game but the theme is kinda sci-fi with aliens and outbreaks.
This is a very simple game for 2-6 players with time up to 15 minutes.
The goal of this game is to complete the mission you draw from the mission deck. These will be things like collecting 10 inoculates or 5 investigations and invasions.
You work toward this by drawing cards from the Host deck. These cards will be red Infect cards, blue Inoculate cards, green Invasion cards and black Investigation cards. These cards will have values between 1 and 3, both positive and negative. For instance a black card might have +2 Investigation and -2 Invasion while a green card might have +2 Invasion and -2 Investigate. If your mission needs 10 Investigation you’ll need to balance both the positives and the negatives to reach that 10 point goal.
Play is clockwise with each player drawing a card, checking for victory, passing a card, checking for victory and play proceeding if there is no victory. The active player checks for victory after each action. If the card you draw gives you the win, you win immediately. If the card you pass gets you to your win condition, you win. If the player receiving a passed card meets their mission requirements, they win immediately.
Also in the Host deck are cards that direct you to draw an Events can be things like getting a new mission, getting more cards, mission modifiers and redistributing current cards between players. A new mission immediately replaces your current mission. So if you’d been working toward 15 Investigation you might suddenly need to get 10 inoculates.
Finally there are optional Character cards. These are people like The Spy or The Cult Leader that give you an ongoing bonus to a card type. For instance, the UFO Fanatic gives you +2 to Invasion. A cool aspect to the Character cards is that they have QR codes on the back. If you scan the codes, you end up at the Broken Prism website and get a small bio and some info about the character. This does not impact the game at all but is an interesting convergence of cards and QR tech.
The artwork on the cards is basic but it doesn’t need to be fancy. The Host cards look very much like images at a shopping mall or hospital bathroom. It’s simple, colour coded and to the point. The character cards look like charcoal drawings.
Overall, this is a fun filler game. If you’re doing a Pandemic or X-Com night then this is a great starter. It’s fast, simple and with enough randomness to make it more than just a race to 10. I think this is definitely a game to play at 4-6 players. It’s light and social so benefits from being at max players.
Glorious TableTop Day!
So last Saturday I have the distinct privilege of setting up shop at my local gaming store, Mad Hatter’s House of Games, for International TableTop Day. I showed up shortly after the store opened, opened up my giant tub of games, dumped some candies into a massive bowl, and started prowling around for a target to unleash my gaming glory upon! Twelve hours later I drunkenly stumbled back out to my car, wife firmly holding my arm to make sure I didn’t stumble, reloaded everything back into the trunk and trudged home again to pass out upon my bed. There is NOTHING like a gaming day, and boy do I have some tales to tell!
First off I had to start the day with a new game. It’s International TableTop Day! How can you not pick up something new? So I grabbed a game I had been eyeing for a while, Dungeon Roll, and conned one of the other local gamers to teach me the game. A lovely lady by the name of Ruby, whom I’m well acquainted with (she having thrashed me solidly the last time I tried to play Settlers of Catan with her!), sat down and went over the rules with me and did a quick run through of the game. Happy to say it has become a welcomed addition to my pile of games! Very fun little dice came and I suggest anyone interested in it go out and find it right now! I picked up the first expansion for it and put my name on the list for the second expansion when it comes out.
By this time a few others had began to show up so I let Ruby go back to her own activities and went in search of other victims, passing out candy and flash drives full of digital fun along the way. I happened to come across two fairly recent additions to Hatter’s fan club and after a short introduction we sat down and proceeded to my second new game of the night. I had never even heard of Rise of Augustus, but I have to admit, it turned out to be a fun little game that plays a bit like Bingo with decent trick taking elements. We played one game in which I ended up dominating by stealing several cards with high point values and was quickly accused of beginners luck, which I easily admitted to being guilty of. I added Rise of Augustus to the list of games that I think my wife and son would be interested in, neither of which enjoy playing high strategy games but much prefer the more relaxing style of games that Augustus belongs to.
By this time another large group was in full swing playing around us. I never did learn the name of the game but man were they having a BLAST playing it! It consisted of a large number of players split into two parties. Lots of backstabbing and exchanging of hostages was involved, with new presidents being elected! If I hadn’t already promised to play another game I probably would have joined them quickly enough. I believe we were already well past our side room being full of players at this point and our growing party was spilling out into the main room of the store! I was fully enjoying myself at this point and didn’t realize until later that… uh… I kinda forgot to eat. Like, at all. Maybe a couple pieces of the yummy yummy candy I was handing out, but that was it. That’s a good day when a fat man like myself is having too much fun to eat the bag of gummy bears he brought with him!
At some point during all this revelry one of my favorite people to play games with shows up, the co-owner of Hatter’s, Matt. In he comes with one of his latest acquisitions in his hands, The Doom That Came To Atlantic City. Alright, if you haven’t seen this game it looks EXACTLY like Monopoly! No, really, look it up (or someone can put an image of the board up next to this text… huh… huh… no? Okay). I’m not a huge hater of Monopoly, but come on! I’m at TableTop Day and you’re going to break out a variation of one of the most reviled games in the world? Yeah, it isn’t Monopoly. It looks like it, it rolls like it, but you play one of the elder gods bent on the destruction of the world and you accomplish this by rampaging through Atlantic City, destroying buildings, created gateways to the Outer Realms and beating the living crap out of your other players! So much kinder and civilized than the average Monopoly game at my house, awesome! There ended up being five of us playing (I took up the role of Shub-Niggurath) and I spent most of the first half of the game stuck in the Outer Realm trying to get back into the real world and reek some havoc. Suffice it to say I lost… horribly… like I usually do at Monopoly.
It was then that we picked up a sixth player and after some debate decided on a building game that always plays better with more people, Lords of Vegas! (Base game is only for 2-4 players, but the expansions adds two more) That’s right, straight from destroying Atlantic City to building Las Vegas baby! Lords of Vegas is all about building your own casino empire, gaining points based on how many casinos you have when cards are drawn, and making money wherever you can. Where all of the previous games I had played this day were those based on luck of the dice and cards, Vegas allows for plenty of haggling and making deals so it was a good change of pace! I made some good money, put a few pawns on the board and built up one hell of a respectable casino! Hell, near the end I even had a plan to take over the two largest casinos on the board (so long as the dice rolls were decent) and taken a major lead in the game! Of course it is usually at the point where I think I can win that the game ends and I come in dead last place. Man what a rush, though! Lords of Vegas can make and break friendships in a hurry if you’re doing it right!
For the last game of the night we decided to pull out my latest love, the game that I will play at a moment’s notice as soon as anyone shows any sort of interest! Smash Up! Ooohhhh how I love this game! I even got the latest expansion that just recently came out and was just ITCHING for a chance to unload some Cyber Apes or Time Travelers on a fresh crop of victims! I mean players… new players and friends! Having lost one player after Vegas we were down to five, a good strong number for Smash Up to make it so no one player could run away with the points. Everyone got to choose their first pick for the shuffle-deck-building game while the second was completely random, so no one could end up with any of the super-strong combinations, not that there’s much chance of that happening with all the new expansions! I ended up with a hell of a combination of Pirates and Shapeshifters! Hooooboy! If you don’t get any other expansion, get the Science Fiction Double Feature expansion! The Shapeshifters, Cyber Apes, Time Travelers and Spies are a hoot! Just beware the guy who ends up with Dinosaurs combined with Cyber Apes… that was a killer combination and was only just beat out by a crafty little man using Tricksters and Steampunk (From Awesome Level 9000 expansion) at the last minute! It was a glorious game of last minute points and removal of points that just put a great exclamation point on an amazing day of gaming. I wasn’t even upset when I woke up the next morning with mouth dry and my voice in ruins. I can’t remember the last time I had a Gaming Headache, but oh was it worth it!
I made a lot of new friends that day, one of which is already signed up to play the next time I get a Dungeons and Dragons game together! And a few others that are attempting to bribe me out to another game night before I have even recovered from this one! I am looking forward to doing it all again next year though, and hopefully with even great giveaways and prizes! Maybe even some fans of the show will come out and say hello? Hope you do!
Rat Queens 1 – 5 (mostly spoiler free)
Story – Kurtis J. Wiebe
Art -Roc Upchurch
This night shall forever be known as the night of regrets! – Sawyer Silver
‘Rat Queens’ is a fantasy adventure following the exploits of Hannah, Betty, Dee and Violet. This has the look of the standard frpg book but quickly differentiates itself.
First, it’s an all woman team.
Second, it’s not just the same old character classes. Violet is the Dwarf fighter but in this book’s lore, even Dwarf women have beards but she shaves. Dee is the Cleric but she’s an atheist. Betty is the Hobbit (non Tolkien estate infringing version of one) Thief with a penchant for candy and hallucinogenics. Hannah is the coarse leader of the group, trying to distance herself from her Necromancer parents.
This arc begins with the Rat Queens as well as some other adventuring groups being given punishment quests. These groups have been far too rowdy and dangerous to the locals of Palisade and so the local law, in the person of Sawyer Silver, is handing out work details. The other groups are Peaches, The Four Daves, Brother Ponies and Obsidian Darkness.
Obsidian Darkness reach their destination only to be cut down by a ninja. The Rat Queens encounter the same thing at their destination but survive the ninja only to be surprised by an even bigger problem.
The remnants of all the adventuring parties make it back to town and compare stories. They decide they’ve been setup. The rest of this arc is the Rat Queens trying to discover who is trying to kill the adventurers, eliminating suspects and at the same time protecting Palisades from a horde of monsters and a stupid guard named Gary. Along the way characters histories are shown, relationships are built and end and finally, in the last issue all is revealed and an even greater evil is made known.
This is a truly entertaining comic. The characters are familiar but not melodramatic. The dialog is at times crude but always funny and to the point. Not a lot of wasted panels in these books. Wiebe does a great job spinning a fantasy tale reminiscent of any D&D adventure while at the same time keeping it fresh with humor and good use of cause and effect. The Upchurch art really makes the books. All the characters, mains and secondary, are well defined and unique. Each have their own style and there’s no skimping with generic body suit type costumes or anything like that. All the characters are their own selves.
Pathfinder comics are what you think is happening when you sit around the gaming table. Rat Queens is what is really being said when you sit around the gaming table.
So, do you want to know who wants to kill adventures? Do you want to know what could be a greater threat than a ninja? Do you want to know the fate of the Four Daves and the Brother Ponies? Do you want to know what the greater evil ends up being? Then go get these books! This is an excellent series and I hope the Wiebe/Upchurch duo give me many more arcs as entertaining as this!
Ms. Marvel #1 – spoilers
Marvel Comics, February 2014
Writer – G. Willow Wilson
Art – Adrian Alphona
When Marvel announced this last year I was intrigued. ‘Muslim’ in the U.S. these days is more of a buzzword than a description of somebody who is an adherent of Islam. I didn’t think Marvel would let this be overtly political, and I’m not familiar with Wilson’s other work, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Turns out, this book presents a solid origin story along the lines of Jamie Reyes or Peter Parker. A teen, overwhelmed by her situation and wanting something, but not sure what, and finally being granted super powers.
The story opens with the main, Kamala Khan and a friend, Nakia, at the local convenience store, venting about not being able to eat a BLT due to the bacon. Enter Zoe, the vapid character used to lay some of the groundwork about life as Muslim in the modern-day United States, asking questions about Nakia’s headscarf and offering a party invite that is declined, since there will be alcohol.
Cut to after school, and we find Kamala writing Avengers fan fic and discover Ms. Marvel is her favorite. There’s a dinner scene where we meet her parents and more-devout-than-thou older brother and see some of the tensions present in any family. Kamala asks to go to the party, but when she tells her father there will be boys, he says no. This leads to a quick argument and dismissal to her room.
In her room she has an inner monolog decrying everything in her life that she feels makes her conspicuous among her peers. Not being required to attend Health class, special food at lunch, the ‘weird’ holiday. Everybody else gets to be normal. Why can’t she?
On that note, she sneaks out of her room to go to the party.
At the party she’s tricked into drinking vodka, which she spits out, and is told she smells of curry. The boy who is obviously smitten tries to help her, but just drives her away from the party.
As she storms away there is a loud thumping noise and a fog rolls in. Everybody at the party, including Kamala, passes out. Kamala then has a vision of the Avengers Ms. Marvel, Captain America and Iron Man. Ms. Marvel asks her about her actions and the consequences incurred and what Kamala really wants. Kamala admits she wants to ‘beautiful and awesome and butt-kicking and less complicated’. She says she wants to be Ms. Marvel.
After this, the Avengers start to depart and Kamala realizes she’s in a cocoon. At this point, you should realize the timeline of this book fits in at the end of the Infinity story, this is the Terrigen Mists, and Kamala is an Inhuman. As she breaks out of the cocoon, we see she now looks like a young Ms. Marvel (in the old costume). Long blonde hair, thigh-high boots, long sleeves, bodysuit and red sash. And a very surprised look.
So, Kamala is an Inhuman but what exactly are her powers? Shapeshifter? Mimic? Something else? I want to know. This is the first of a five-part arc, and I’m certainly going to stick around for the conclusion.
On the whole, I enjoyed this issue. It was a solid, but not spectacular, origin issue. Wilson did a good job of mixing the usual teen issues and adding an Islamic layer to them. No parties with boys and alcohol. This is not a problem unique to the Muslim world, but it is used well here in Kamala’s argument with her father. Can’t eat the BLT. ‘Weird’ holidays. Wilson converted to Islam in her 20′s, and I hope she’s able to have a long run on this to keep Kamala’s perspective and problems, from an Islamic point of view, going beyond an origin and first arc. Marvel has always done diversity better than DC, and this is off to a good start. I hope Marvel will give this character a chance to succeed for the long term and not can the series if it’s not getting Avengers numbers each month.
The art is excellent. I loved Alphona on Runaways, and his work is excellent here.
If you’re a fan of Ms. Marvel and want to see a different take on the character now that Carol Danvers is Captain Marvel, I’d recommend checking this out.
So Wild West Exodus is the new mini hotness on the block right now.
It’s a weird western setting featuring both generic hired hands and historical figures like Abe Lincoln, Jesse James and Sitting Bull but they’re all changed a bit by the weird setting. Characters can have atomic guns, magical knives or even ride iron horses, sled bikes with atomic engines.
This is our group’s first game so the editing is pretty rough as I had to work around many a rules consultation and quite a few tangents as we compare and contrast other games. I got most of that out. This is just our first game.
It’s just under two hours cut into two parts. I try not to throw up stuff this large all that often but there’s good rules discussion as well as game play so set it running in the background and enjoy.