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June 10, 2015
Comments Off on Board game boards

Board game boards

I play a few (and own more than a few) board games, and one thing that always bugs me is that the boards are generally orientated for one player.

 

Discworld Ankh-Morpork board

Discworld Ankh-Morpork board

I understand when a map is the play area; maps generally show north at the top and everything is written for someone holding the map. When a map is turned into a board the simple solution is to reproduce that. Lazy, but I can see why it happens.

 

Dark Moon board

Dark Moon board

But BGG: Dark Moon (formerly BSG Express before finding a publisher and being reworked to lose the IP) is set on a mining world in an alternate 80’s-like future, and could have easily had a board that uses the current elements but in a way that made it seem as though the players were sat around a console.

 

This prop photo from Battlestar Galactica shows a shared console table. A top down view for the board would have been great.

 

Battlestar Galactica command and control console table

Battlestar Galactica command and control console table

If a game as old as Monopoly can go round, it be nice to think newer games could too. And this fan made Munchkin board shows there’s a demand.

 

Vaguely related: The Ultimate Guide to Analogue Control Panels in Sci-Fi Movies

 

May 26, 2014
Comments Off on Play Money

Play Money

Looking for alternatives to the hideous plastic money that comes with Martin Wallace’s board game London.

 

 

Metal Lira Coins for Viticulture and Tuscany

 

Metal Lira Coins for Viticulture and Tuscany

Custom Metal Lira Coins – £16.99 (Amazon)

 

Schools Direct Supplies Ltd

Play Money – Two Pound Coins (£5.99 Inc VAT x 50)

Play Money – One Pound Coins (£4.79 Inc VAT x 100)

 

Learning Resources

Play Money – Two Pound Coins (£15.54 inc VAT x 100)

Play Money – One Pound Coins (£4.20 inc VAT x 100)

 

Eagle Games

Age of Empires III Coins

47+ silver Pieces of Eight and 35+ gold Spanish Dollars ($15.00)

 

Amazon
200 chips Poker Set casino fiches

200 chips Poker Set casino fiches by New Lupex (£7.50)

 

MeepleSource

240 Piece 2 Sided Wooden Money Disc Set

Numbered Wooden Money Discs 240 Piece Set (£41.83)

200 Plastic Money Disc Set

200 Plastic Money Disc Set (£35.86)

 

Pokerstore.nl

poker chips euro design

Poker chips Euro design €1 (€0.25) | Euro design €5 (€0.25)

 

Cutomeeple

Pax Porfiriana deluxe Tokens

Pax Porfiriana Tokens 20x silver, 10x gold, 5x “Special Silver” (€15.00)

 

May 1, 2014
Comments Off on Lords of Waterdeep: Strategy

Lords of Waterdeep: Strategy

A visual summary of the resources most valuable to you based on your Lord in LoW, inspired and based in part on Jo Lefebure’s strategy post on BGG.

Arcana Commerce

Arcana

Wizards Rogues Money

Commerce

Money Rogues Fighters

 

Arcana Piety

Arcana

Wizards Rogues Money

Piety

Clerics Fighters Money

 

Arcana Skullduggery

Arcana

Wizards Rogues Money

Skullduggery

Rogues Wizards Fighters

 

Arcana Warfare

Arcana

Wizards Rogues Money

Warfare

Fighters

 

Commerce Piety

Commerce

Money Rogues Fighters

Piety

Clerics Fighters Money

 

Commerce Skullduggery

Commerce

Money Rogues Fighters

Skullduggery

Rogues Wizards Fighters

 

Commerce Warfare

Commerce

Money Rogues Fighters

Warfare

Fighters

 

Piety Skullduggery

Piety

Clerics Fighters Money

Skullduggery

Rogues Wizards Fighters

 

Piety Warfare

Piety

Clerics Fighters Money

Warfare

Fighters

 

Skullduggery Warfare

Skullduggery

Rogues Wizards Fighters

Warfare

Fighters

 

Buildings

Buildings

Money

Quests

Commerce quest Infiltrate Builder’s Hall and
Arcana quest Recover the Magister’s Orb and
Skullduggery quest Establish Harpers Safe House – score for each building

See also: The Time-to-Point Ratio in Lords of Waterdeep – “The real question is how long does it take to achieve the necessary condition to score points?”

March 9, 2014
Comments Off on A Study in Emerald

A Study in Emerald

The reviews of A Study in Emerald, an Sherlock Holmes / H.P. Lovecraft board game based on a Neil Gaimen story, are mixed. It sounds like a confusing combination of mechanics and elements, but given the subject matter that that sounds perfect: An Old Ones inspired game should be mad, and I love the look – especially Dr Geof’s design and his non-digital approach to designing the board:

 

A Study in Emerald - Board design

A Study in Emerald – Board design

 

September 17, 2013
Comments Off on Board Game Geek – random game list

Board Game Geek – random game list

Outdoor Survival

Clever idea for a list over on Board Game Geek: “The random.org game a.k.a. The Best Geek List Ever“. Generate a random number from the number of games in your collection and write an entry on the game that falls under that number. I wrote a quick entry on Avalon Hill’s Outdoor Survival, number 96 in my collection of 151 games.

 

Did make me realize that I couldn’t do this for the digital games I have owned over the years. Some were solitary experiences that once completed I didn’t need to play again, and in the case of Soldier of Fortune wouldn’t really want to play again; I play games for a number of reasons, seeing body parts blown off people isn’t one of them.

 

Also the platforms have changed. I can drag out an old board game from ten, twenty, thirty years ago or more, and after skimming the rules and gathering a group of friends and play it. I still have Populous, the first Sega Megadrive game I bought, but my Megadrive has long since gone the way of all my old consoles, so the Megadrive cartidge is as good as useless. Shame.

 

Same thing applies to a lot of the PC games. Transport Tycoon was brilliant, but it requires DOSBox to play a less than legit downloaded version while the bought game cd sites on a shelf. Used to have a version on floppy disks before that, now I don’t even have a floppy drive on my PC.

 

So digital games come and go, they’re not something you collect and keep however fun they were. But enough of that, back to playing GTA V before a board game evening later this week…

 

August 2, 2013
Comments Off on Kickstarter boardgames

Kickstarter boardgames

“The project is over, the game is canceled. Every possible mistake was made, some due to my inexperience in board game publishing, others due to ego conflicts, legal issues and technical complications. No matter the cause though these could all have been avoided by someone more experienced and I apparently was not that person.” – Erik Chevalier, from GamePolitics

 

The Doom That Came To Atlantic City!

The Doom That Came To Atlantic City!

The Doom That Came To Atlantic City! board game failed on Kickstarter, despite having raised $122,874 of its $35,000 goal. The backers lost their money funding a failed attempt at publishing a board game.

 

The Wire Monopoly Tron Legacy Monopoly

 

Why Monopoly?

 

A Lovecraftian themed Monopoly seemed a strange game to back as there are so many official and unofficial versions of Monopoly already.

 

That’s not to say the game’s designers Lee Moyer and Keith Baker might not have put an interesting spin on it, and certainly have my sympathy for seeing their project fail, but Monopoly already suffers enough abuse with players adding house rules that prolong and break the game; probably better if they had begun again with a stronger foundation?

 

The Walking Dead Monopoly

The Walking Dead Monopoly

 

What now?

 

Keith Baker, one of the original designers, said he’ll try and release the game as a print and play release, and this seems to suggest a further lack of awareness of the board gaming community. The rules could have been posted on Board Game Geek (BGG) for peer review or printing and testing long ago. A lot of publishers release rules for a game before it hits the shops.

 

Or a print and play version could have been posted already. That would have given them free feedback on the game, and maybe gained interest from a publisher (apparently Z-Man games had already expressed interest before a change of ownership meant that fell through). This is how D-Day Dice began before a successful Kickstarter campaign.

 

Update: Publisher Cryptozoic will publish The Doom That Came To Atlantic City!:

 

Cryptozoic Entertainment™, a premier developer of original and licensed games, announced today that it will be publishing the board game The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, created by Lee Moyer and Keith Baker.This news comes just a week after the previous publisher announced that the Kickstarter project had been cancelled.

 

To back or not to back?

 

There are so many games that can be bought far cheaper than a Kickstarter entry points.

 

But if you really wanted to risk backing a Lovecraftian themed game there are less risky games to back, such as Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Wars. Risking your money on a Kickstarter unknown game seems an odd choice.

 

Why chance so much on people with so little experience?

 

Any project runs a risk of failure. Shipped copies Duel in the Dark from designer Friedemann de Pedro turned out to have been water damaged in China, and Friedemann de Pedro had to ship replacement copies to upset gamers. Valley Games, set up in part to reprint old favourites such as Avalon Hill’s Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage and The Republic of Rome ran into customer complaints over long delays and their over promising/under delivering, and are currently the subject of controversy over their reprint of Up Front on Kickstarter.

 

These guys have far more experience than Joe N00b at bringing games to the table and still ran into problems. If I were to back a game on Kickstarter, someone with experience, such as Sandy Petersen would be a more sensible. There is a better chance of the game being delivered, and, if it is, less chance of it being a turkey.

 

There is also the lack of awareness of games by a large number of Kickstarter board game backers. These games rarely come from nowhere. They are developed by gamers who have an understanding of the hobby, have a presence in the industry, play test their games amongst other gamers and aren’t afraid to post the rules for people to read.

 

Compare Freedom: The Underground Railroad, a Kickstarter game, which has the rules posted on Board Game Geek with images and videos and feedback, all from an established user on the site to “The Oleg Story: Survival” with only a Kickstarter video from a NewUser and a “Hello” post with requests for Rules. Which would you feel more confident about backing?

 

An established designer and publisher doesn’t guarantee success, but it does lessen the risk.

 

I guess part of the appeal of Kickstarter board games is the allure of the cult of the new. And if you have a serious board game addiction and have played nearly every published game then you might be forgiven for taking a chance on a risky Kickstarter venture. But most of the backers haven’t. They seem to have little knowledge of what’s available, and there are some great games that can be had cheap from far safer sources than Kickstarter.

 

Consider Cosmic Encounter that has been in print since the 70’s and Netrunner from Magic the Gathering designer Richard Garfield which has been republished and regularly has new expansions added; most gamers new to the hobby probably haven’t heard of either, still buzzing from playing Settlers of Catan or Carcassonne. But Android: Netrunner and Cosmic Encounter can be had a lot more cheaply on Amazon than The Doom That Came To Atlantic City! at its cheapest entry point.

 

Take a look at the game rankings on Board Game Geek. The top ten alone cover a range of subjects and themes, from the cold war – Twilight Struggle, to farming – Agricola, to cyberpunk hacking – Netrunner, to space wars – Eclipse, to electrical power grids – Power Grid, to battling wizards – Mage Knight.

 

Do you really need to buy an untested game to scratch that gaming itch?

 

Update 2014-03-02:

Cryptozoic! did good, and have published the game and apparently sent copies to all the Kickstarter backers that lost out. As expected, the game is only so so despite lavish production values. Possibly worth picking up for the miniatures if you can find it for a reasonable price, although I’d still go for Cthulhu Wars but not at these prices….

 

June 27, 2013
Comments Off on Wil Wheaton – Table Top

Wil Wheaton – Table Top

Table Top - Smash-Up

Table Top – Smash-Up

Board games were the default nerd pastime before video games became knocked them for six, but are enjoying a third or fourth or even fifth golden age and resurgence.

 

The video reviews for them, from the likes of The Dice Tower, Undead Viking and Joel Eddy are as much a part of YouTube as video game reviews, and the biggest difference between them and their digital counterparts is the social aspect. Wil Wheaton’s Table Top perfectly captures that – five or six people playing a game after a brief introduction from Wil.

 

And the videos are immensely geeky, crying out to have animated gifs created from scenes, plus gag reels and extended interviews with the guests.

 

For a while computers seemed to kill the need for getting out and setting up a board game; on a PC you could play without that hassle, with always willing AI opponents and the CPU to do the grunt work that was once the bane of wargames* class=”small”>* with their CRT’s and DRM’s, but fast connections and the internet means videos are a easily created and even easier to surf, and if you are even vaguely interested in board gaming you can quickly discover a range of games that might interest you.

 

And Wil Wheaton is creating some of the best. The latest episode, with Mad Men’s Rich Sommer, Cara Santa Maria, and Jen Timms is a great place to start if you haven’t seen any.

 

 

*See alos: REINVENTING TACTICAL WARGAMES: Game Design Blog for War Stories

 

April 24, 2013
Comments Off on delicious April 24, 2013

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