World War II is a rich environment for gaming. You have the fun of submarine warfare, the big naval battles in the Pacific, the fast tank wars in Africa, the clash of mighty armies in Eastern Europe, and, of course, the bloodbath of the D-Day invasion. One arena that gaming basically ignored is Italy; there was a full Allied invasion there, but games detailing the battles in Italy are few and far between. Piercing Fortress Europa seeks to change all that, with a compact system focused on various aspects of the conquest of Italy.
Scoundrels of Skullport (Scoundrels) is billed as a double-expansion for the Lords of Waterdeep board game from Wizards of the Coast (WotC). Lords of Waterdeep is a great game, one worthy of most any gaming group. While a solid design, it has a few quirks, quirks that aren’t really addressed in the expansion, which nonetheless might be worth it for fans of the main game.
Wizkids Games, makers of games like Mage Knight and Star Trek Attack Wing have just announced a new line of official Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) miniatures. And there was much rejoicing.
Otontin is a dice game with cards and strategy on the side, loosely modeled on the pre-Columbian empires of the new world. The Mesoamerican tribes were fascinating cultures. Their mathematics could match anything in Europe until the 15th century. Their warriors were incredibly fierce, believing the key to combat prowess was to wear as brightly colored feathers as possible (comparable to going into combat with a bulls eye on your chest), and gold was not of great value (they called it “the excrement of the gods”). No, it was all about cocoa beans, the true sign of wealth. Otontin models the fights between the cities for cocoa, but not so well
In the olden days of gaming, and I mean the really olden days of medieval times, playing games was serious business. The Church felt that such idle pastimes were the tools of the devil, especial “devil games” that involved cards–playing these games endangered your very soul! Players of this religion-dominated era just went with the flow and made cards games with religious themes. Battle for Souls is a modern game based on the rules of a (presumably similar) medieval card game of dragging souls down to Hell or lifting them up to Heaven.
Base Raiders is a Kickstarter funded role playing game (RPG) with the best premise I’ve ever seen for a superheroes game: all the superheroes and supervillains have vanished, leaving their secret bases and the secrets to their superpowers behind. The players of the game are, , lwell, base raiders, looking to find these hidden troves of loot and knowledge.
Star Trek Attack Wing is yet another game set in the Star Trek universe. Unlike Star Trek Catan, Attack Wing is set in the Next Generation universe, and is focused around a more exciting topic: space battles. As a miniatures game, a player is expected to buy more than just what’s in the box, which is merely just a “starter kit” containing the minimum necessary for a playable game.
Battletech. Shadowrun. Mage Knight. These games have left their mark on the face of gaming, with imagery and concepts (like “big fighting robots”) that even my non-gaming friends have no trouble identifying. They also have a common name behind them: Jordan Weisman, and if he has his way with Golem Arcana, he’ll put a boot stamp into gaming’s face that will change miniatures play forever.
Golem Arcana is a miniatures game with a new solution to the problem of “miniatures are cool, huge rulebooks telling you how to play with them are not cool.” As you can see from the picture, the cool look is definitely there. In the background you can how the rulebook problem is to be solved: the game will be fully integrated for your tablet or even phone, so players won’t have to spend time record keeping or looking up rules.
As part of Wizard of the Coasts’ (WotC) program of reprinting the older Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) books while they retool the rules for the next edition of D&D, D&D Next, they’ve re-released the Slave Lords series of modules, in hard back form. These old modules may not have the flash of Dungeons of Dread, but they’ve aged surprisingly well, and give great insights into how D&D has changed over the years.
hile “the boy” Wesley Crusher was far from the most popular Star Trek character, actor Wil Wheaton has successfully won over many gamers as fans. Continuing in that vein, he’ll play as part of Mayfair Game’s Star Trek: Catan Warp Speed charity event. The first 48 gamers who sign up for Gen Con (and donate $100 to the event) will get the chance to play Star Trek: Catan with Wil “the man” Wheaton. In addition to playing a cool game with a cool guy, the benefactors will know that their money goes to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana, a most worthy cause.
Dungeons of Dread is a collection of dungeons, but not just any dungeons. Old school dungeons, dungeons from the earliest era of Dungeons and Dragons, when life was cheap, and your game master would laugh at you if you thought your character would respawn ten seconds after he died. See that demon face on the cover of the book? That face was the last thing that probably hundreds of character saw before they were destroyed. Not just killed, but rip-up-your-character sheet destroyed…and that’s just the first room in the first of the four dungeons here.