Such a great quick game in a fantastic package. Gives you a taste of Arkham Horror in a quick tour guide package.
The game involves resolving a set of tasks to complete various adventures. This is achieved using a set of customised dice to roll and match symbols. Some tactics are involved around how you want to ration out the results of the roll. Completing an adventure can get you additional items to help your quest or take you a step closer to defeating the Ancient One. The strategy comes in choosing to complete easier adventures to help provide you with tokens/bonuses to complete the more difficult ones. The difficult adventures are more likely to result in the acquisition of an Elder Sign. Each Ancient One can be defeated after attaining a set number of Elder Signs. The clock time keeps the game pace up and each new day can result in bad effects or a move closer to the end of the world!
Owning all the Arkham Horror miniatures means that I can reuse them in this game to give it more of an immersive view compared to the included cardboard counters!
I really like this game. It’s quick, fun and gives you a nice aperitif to Arkham Horror when you are too full to handle the main course. It makes you appreciate the depth of the full game that much more.
Increasingly computer games have had a bigger influence on ‘offline’ gaming. 2011 saw big releases like ‘Gears of War’ for instance making the transition to baord games and HeroClix. What other big IPs can we see making the leap? Well, I’d really like to see much more done in the worlds of Elder Scroll series. Skyrim is a massive gaming hit (Previous versions have done equally well) and in my opinion needs to see much more coverage in card games, board games and traditional role playing.
Sci-fi mega hit: Mass Effect most definitely needs the offline treatment. Someone? Anyone? Makers Bioware were gracious enough to give Dragon Age brand to Role playing game publisher Green Ronin: which they called: Dragon Age: Dark Fantasy Role Playing (greenronin.com/dragon_age/). So why not Mass Effect? The mystery continues but I reckon there would be something in 2012 for Mass Effect fans.
Dust Warfare a Hit
The strategy board game, Dust Tactics has been going strength to strength. However, 2012 sees the release of Dust Warfare. This is a new take on the game which frees it from the grided board of Tactics and allows its whole raft of its cool miniatures to be played freely on the table top!
One of the biggest attractions of the game is commanding large attack walkers in your armies. It is unclear how the rules of the game will evolve but expect flowing game play to say the least. Rumours suggest that each player has commend points to spend during each turn. These points must be spent wisely to gain the upper hand on your opponent. Further pints can be spent on each unit and obviously for attack.
One final comment, with Veteran games designer, Andy Chambers involved we expect great things.
Star Wars Gaming to go from strength to strength
With Lucas releasing the film saga in 3D, the merchandise tie-ins are soon to follow. Episode 1 3D gets its cinematic airing in February but it’s the classic trilogy that the SDG staff are waiting for.
The classic Star Wars franchise comes back to the card game format with Fantasy Flight’s 2012 offering: Star Wars: The Card Game. This living card game features a whole wealth of card options for this co-operative game where the Rebellion must defeat the dark forces of the Empire.
Also on the horizon is a space combat strategy game which promises to capture the fast paced action of Star Wars space dog fights. Personally, I want to play the Tie Fighter squadrons in this set myself but this game is bound to be a sure fire hit. Expansion could be plentiful for this game and we expect a series this year to include Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon and dreaded Star Destroyers.
The Hobbit will rock
You’ve most likely seen the Trailer for the new Hobbit film to be released in December 2012. Expect a plethora of new stuff to come out from CCGs, Board games and other merchandise. Games Workshop are looking to re-energise its Lord of the Rings offering and it should release a table-top strategy game before the film’s release. The Lord of the Rings films released from 2001 to 2003 will most likely have new life breathed through them so new products should be launched including Lego sets and more from WizKids Heroclix range which is already out there.
Another big release for Games Workshop the cards? Rumblings of the next edition of 40k have been gathering throughout 2011 and it is cited that GW will indeed release the next iteration of 40k doing the Summer.
The supposed 6th Edition box set have had intenet buzz talking of a match up between the Chaos Space Marines and the noble Eldar forces. The rumour mill has been churning for potential rule changes including turn phase changes to make the action more ‘real-time’ for instance. I’m not going to speculate too much but it’s bound to be a high point for 40k fans!
No official announcement yet but with all the buzz I’d expect it to happen sooner rather than later.
A Game of Thrones was an acclaimed Fantasy saga before it was made into a popular TV series aired earlier this year. Written by American author, George RR Martin which begun in 1991, it already achieved awards and is a best seller. The first season aired in April 2011, and were much anticipated by fans of fantasy books.
The first episodes are based on the first novel in Martin’s A Song Of Fire and Ice series, A Game Of Thrones. The series and books have since spun into several games, including a trading card game, a board game and a role playing game. More about those later!
The plot of the television series stays close that of the novels and essentially breaks into three main storylines. The first storyline revolves around the struggles for the Iron Throne following the death of King Robert, ruler of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Five families fight to claim the throne, whilst two wish to declare independence. Robb Stark, son of Eddard Stark, takes the throne in the north, and Balon Greyjoy reclaims the throne of the Iron Islands, his family’s ancestral home.
The second storyline takes place along the far northern border of Westeros. A 700 foot high and 300 mile long wall was constructed to keep out a race of mythical creatures simply called The Others. The wall’s maintenance and protection are done by the Nights Watch, a brotherhood of soldiers. At the start of the story no-one has seen The Others for more than 8,000 years, and the Nights Watch has become little more than a penal colony. The plot revolves around Jon Snow, a son of Eddard Stark, as rises through the rank and file of the guard post. Here he learns what really lurks on the other side of the wall!
The final story takes place on the continent of Essos, which lies across a narrow sea to the east of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The story follows the rise of Daenerys Targaryen, another claimant to the Iron Throne and the last member of the house of Taragaryen, from pauper to her marriage to a barbarian warlord. Whilst on her journey, she carries around some pretty unique eggs from creatures long lost to myth and legend. This is a plotline that will become clearer by the end of the first book.
Throw in some egomaniacal members of the Lannister Family and you end up with a twisted plot of intrigue, murder and politics. It’s a land where there is no place for honourable people. Those who have seen the TV series or read the books know of the controversies that the story springs. I won’t spoil them here but Martin’s isn’t precious about his characters that’s for sure.
The main difference between Martin’s saga and other fantasy novels that he utilises early medieval history, rather than a central mythology to drive his stories. Martin said he was taking a more adult approach to the fantasy genre. Martin also uses more adult themes, with sex, prostitution, incest and rape all discussed and several illegitimate children being themes in his stories.
The Games of A Game of Thrones
George RR Martin talks regularly about his love for miniatures and Dark Sword Miniatures have been producing some exquisite figures based on characters from the saga. Unfortunately, Spinning Dice Games doesn’t stock them as yet but figures can be purchased directly from Dark Sword Miniatures. Check them out as they are really fantastic bits of art.
Fantasy Flight Games make a number of games both board games and living card games. All beautifully illustrated and reflect the battles and political power struggle across Westros.
The Battle of Westeros: Core Set is a 2 player game which allows players to battle one another through strategic manoeuvres positioning each houses units across a map. The game can be played out in decks of cards which allow special tactical choices to be made by each player. Your armies may react differently to commands according to which particular card can be drawn. Keeping your troops topped up with morale is another element that a player must keep in check. Custom 8 Sided dice will determine the hits and misses inflicted on each armies. It’s quite a comprehensive set of rules and this is most definitely for serious gamers to get to grips with. The game is packed with miniatures (which could be painted), maps, tokens and dice and is excellent at capturing those dramatic moments on the battlefield as described in the books. The boxset comes with plenty of scenarios which can be played and are nicely set out in a booklet included.
A Game of Thrones : The Living Card Game is an excellent strategic card game. Don’t let the lack of miniatures put you off as this is an equally demanding game that doesn’t require pushing model armies across a map but still fun. Although the goal is similar to that of wrestling control of the Iron Throne and makes use of the intrigue and political wrangles to distract your opponent. Your decks ultimately consists of different types of cards varying from House, Alliance or Characters from the novels in a Draw and Plot deck. Cards can be played to change the course of the game such as Events, Attachments and locations. The aim at the end is to gather 15 power points at end. Here’s a helpful video giving an overview of the rules: