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Tsuro iOS photo
Tsuro iOS

Casual dragon board game Tsuro out on iOS now


I'm tsure of it
Feb 04
// Darren Nakamura
Tsuro is the type of game that hits the table during parties at the ol' Casa de Nakamura. It caters to people who aren't especially experienced with modern board games, it doesn't take up a lot of table space, and it seats up...
Dungeons & Dragons photo
Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeon Masters Guild lets you self-publish your D&D material


Get to writing, folks
Jan 13
// Zack Furniss
Wizards of the Coast has just implemented the new Dungeon Master's Guild website, where you can self-publish adventures, character classes, monsters, and whatever else you can dream up. When placing your content on the websit...

Review: Tharsis

Jan 11 // Patrick Hancock
Tharsis (PC [reviewed], PS4)Developer: Choice ProvisionsPublisher: Choice ProvisionsMSRP: 14.99Release Date: January 12, 2016 Tharsis puts players in command of a crew en route to Mars where everything possible is going wrong. It sets the tone early in the tutorial by having a crew member straight up die. In fact, every new adventure begins with that crew member dying, which I find morbidly hysterical, especially considering how often I've started new games. In between each "turn" is a small, still-image cutscene that explains a little bit of how the plot is progressing. They play every playthrough, and while they are easy to skip, it's a minor annoyance to constantly be skipping them after every single turn. The plot unfolds as quick as the player is good; the further a player gets, the more story they reveal. Generally, this will be a very slow drip of new information, since it's very fucking difficult. Tharsis is essentially a virtual board game. The objective is to make it to Mars, which is ten weeks away, where each turn is a single week. The thing is, shit goes wrong on the ship every single turn. With the four surviving crew members, players must roll dice to fix the many issues plaguing the ship. I'm talking literal dice rolls here, as in you see the dice roll and bounce off the edges of the screen until they stop. [embed]331702:61810:0[/embed] There are seven sections of the ship, and each of them have a specific purpose. The Med Bay can heal crew members, the greenhouse grows food, and so on. In order to perform these actions, a crew member must be in that area and roll their dice. If that dice roll fits a predetermined requirement, the player can use those dice to complete the action. To grow food, for example, a player needs two or three identical dice. To heal in the Med Bay, a single die of a five or six will do. Eating food will restore dice, which is crucial to survival. Growing food, however, is hard to fit in. The alternative is cannibalism. Dead crew members will soon be available as food, if the player wishes to indulge. Human meat isn't as beneficial as grown food, since it reduces the max health of the crew member by one, but it's more available. Players can even elect to kill crew members in order to get more human meat. A decision like this should carry a lot of emotional baggage with it, but the fact is that it really doesn't. It's terrible to think about, but never quite hits home in an impactful way. Dice can also be put towards research, which will grant players extra actions and saving graces. The research bar can accept six dice - one for each possible result. Each die placed on the bar grants a research point. If at any point the player chooses to use their research for an extra action, like instantly restoring ship health, those points are removed. If the bar is completely filled, the points are kept but the dice are removed. Mechanically, this is a great way to not waste many extra dice that would otherwise be lost. Each crew member also has a specific action they can perform. Performing these actions is similar to the module actions: rolling a die that fits a predetermined requirement allows players to use it for a crew action. All these actions fall in line with the crew member's title: the Doctor heals other members, the Engineer repairs the ship, and so on. Extra crew members can be unlocked by hitting certain goals through every playthrough. These are lofty goals, like eating 300 pieces of human remains, but it is nice to have something to always be working towards, even if it is often unintentionally. These characters aren't necessarily better, as the "better" crew actions really just come down to personal preference. The ship itself is constantly under distress. New events of varying severity show up at the start of each turn, ranging from near-catastrophic to "eh, I'll get to it eventually." Events have "health," and when an event's health is completely repaired, the event is prevented. If an event is present at the end of the turn, its effect will occur until it is taken care of. A player repairs an event by rolling enough dice to reduce its health to zero. If an event has 12 health and a crew member rolls two sixes, great! The event can be taken care of. It doesn't matter how many dice rolls it takes to get rid of the event, just so long as it is gone before the end of the turn.  While rolling to clear an event, certain numbers of the die will have negative status effects associated with them: Stasis, Void, and Injury. If a rolled die matches the Stasis number, that die is frozen and cannot be re-rolled. If the Void number is rolled, that die disappears completely. Rolling the Injury number reduces the crew member's health. To prevent this, a resource called Assist can be gained. If the player has any Assists available, they will be used and nullify any of these status effects.  The problem is that Assists are used automatically, even when it isn't necessary. Let's say that an event only has two health remaining. A crew member might roll two dice: a two and a six. If the two has Stasis attached to it and the player has an Assist, then that Assist will be wasted on that die, since it was going to be used as a two anyway.  This issue comes up quite often, and is nothing but frustrating. Sometimes, two status effects will happen at once, one of which is clearly non-consequential, and the Assist will be wasted on the status effect the player doesn't care about. Knowing that Assists are automatic forces players to think about which astronaut they send to which module, but having the game completely take over an important resource eliminates too much player agency. While changing this would remove one element of strategy, it would add another that would alleviate a lot of frustration. It often feels that Tharsis relies too much on dice rolls. Overcoming intense obstacles often doesn't result in a feeling of accomplishment and pride, but one of happenstance and luck. It's likely intentional, to give the player the feeling that the situation is never really under control, but it's frustrating enough to destroy one's interest in trying again. That's not to say that the player has no impact on the results. There are very important decisions the player must make in order to help the crew survive. The order in which crew members go to tackle an event can change the impact of the turn. Sending in a Specialist first, who gets an extra re-roll, has a better chance of bringing down an events health than anyone else. Doing so can allow other members to have free dice available, which can in turn let them use their special ability to heal other members, repair the ship, or grow food. Dice are Tharsis' biggest resource, and mismanaging them will end the game very quickly. As I continued to play, I noticed just how important dice placement can be. Ideally, the player never wastes a die. Between crew abilities, module actions, event repair, and research, the player should be able to find a place for every single die, luck providing.  There's also the matter of using research abilities wisely. These can be used at almost any time, and they have saved my butt more than once. Evaluating the situation as a whole is crucial; it can be better to use research and crew abilities to repair a ship's health instead of getting rid of events. It's a short-term solution, but sometimes that's all you need. In between turns the player is forced to choose between different crew members' ideas. These often have positive and negative effects to them. One might add a piece of food but take away one health from every crew member, for example. There are little blurbs to go along with these decisions, but the written words make little to no sense in conjunction with the effects. This widens the disconnect between any attachment to the crew members and serves to remind the players that this is just a game. Not taking a crew member's idea can result in a loss of sanity for that crew member. As the sanity bar increases (which means they are losing sanity), their ideas will become worse and worse. Other events, like cannibalism and receiving injuries, also serve to increase the sanity bar. A playthrough ends when either no crew members are left or the ship's health is depleted. Early on, runs will likely last under ten minutes. As the player understands more and begins to utilize their resources a little better, runs will get slightly longer. A completed run will take approximately 30 minutes, depending on how much time was spent thinking. There's also a hard mode. But fuck that. Visually, it all looks pretty wonderful. Information is displayed clearly to the player and everything on the user interface is easy to understand while not being cluttered. Stasis and Void are displayed as two very similar colors, however, which makes it hard for colorblind players to notice the difference. The cutscenes are drawn while the game itself uses 3D models. The faces of crew members are a bit bleh, but while looking at the ship itself, all else is forgiven. There's a lot of small touches that both hurt and help. The cutscenes are always the same, and it becomes annoying to have to skip the cutscenes in between every turn. On the other hand, the narrator will be male or female, depending on which commander the player has. The popup that explains what crew idea choices are also pops up every single playthrough, which is another slight annoyance. Looking around the interiors, however, shows a strong attention to detail that really helps the ship come alive. Tharsis is a good way to spend 10-30 minutes to see what happens on the next journey. It's a very harsh battle against the unknown, and can be utterly soul-crushing. Perhaps too soul-crushing, actually. Players will, at times, feel so defeated and useless that playing again seems pointless. And maybe that's the point, considering the circumstances. I wouldn't recommend to marathon Tharsis in an attempt to complete its journey, but instead to boot it up every once in a while and hope for the best. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Tharsis Review photo
God damn, Mark Watney had it easy
Space is dangerous, everyone. If you weren't aware of this, just play Tharsis. If you wanna feel sad and hopeless, just play Tharsis. If you're known for always getting great dice rolls at tabletop night, definitely play Thar...

Mega Man photo
Mega Man

The Mega Man Board Game is finally coming soon


Set to ship this week
Dec 29
// Chris Carter
I backed the Mega Man Board Game Kickstarter at its lowest level nearly two years ago, and now, it's finally ready to ship. Jasco games has announced that the final editions of the game will arrive in their warehouses today, ...

Tharsis photo
Tharsis

I ate a crew member in Tharsis, it wasn't a big deal or anything


Dice rolls and human rolls (on bread)
Dec 11
// Zack Furniss
I hadn't been keeping up with Choice Provisions' Tharsis, so I had no idea what to expect when Steven assigned me to preview it at PlayStation Experience. As soon as the developer who was leading me through said it was a...

Review: Animal Crossing amiibo Festival

Dec 03 // CJ Andriessen
Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival (Wii U)Developer: NintendoPublisher: NintendoMSRP: $59.99Released: November 13, 2015 (US), November 20, 2015 (EU), November 21, 2015 (JP, AU) Right off the bat you should know that you do not need to buy any additional amiibo figures to enjoy this Festival, but you will need at least one pack of Animal Crossing amiibo cards to experience everything the game has to offer. Players can use one of the two amiibo figures included with the game or one of several generic Villager characters. Sorry, your Villager amiibo doesn't work here, because that would make too much sense now wouldn't it. If you've read about this game already then you probably know about Desert Island Escape and how fun it is. It is fun, but it's also unplayable until you unlock it. To do that, you'll need to play through the board game portion of Festival several times, collecting Happy Points. The board game itself is easy for anyone to understand: players take turns moving around a game board collecting Bells and/or Happy Points. Landing on a pink square will reward you with these while purple squares will take them away. At the end of the game, Bells are converted to Happy Points and the player with the most points wins. The board game itself isn't that exciting and many will find it flat-out boring. This isn't Mario Party or Wii Party U where you compete against other players in mini-games. Instead, it's just you and up to three other people rolling dice, moving a few spaces and then watching a scene play out that either helps or hurts you. You can also play the game by yourself with three AI controlled characters, though the thought of someone doing that makes my soul cry. To its credit, I will say the amiibo Festival thoroughly adapts the Animal Crossing experience into a board game. Trademarks of the franchise, such as visitors coming to town and new residents moving in, add variety to the simple game play. When Redd visits, for instance, he'll sell you cards that you can use in place of rolling the dice. Phineas breaks out a roulette wheel to reward a player, Joan sells her turnips and Dr. Shrunk gives players a card while telling some truly horrendous "jokes." Holidays, bug catching contests, fishing contests and other Animal Crossing staples are present as well. [embed]323535:61348:0[/embed] There isn't really any strategy to be found in this game, outside of getting some choice cards from Redd, Shrunk, and others. The roll of the dice controls all, from deciding who wins fishing/bug catching contests to how much you can sell your turnips for. If you're worried amiibo Festival might contain some of the "unfair" star granting moments from the Mario Party series, fret not; this game forgoes those type of friendship-ruining shenanigans for something that is more about players enjoying themselves rather than competing against one another. At the end of each game, Happy Points are converted into Happy Tickets (where 100 points equals one ticket). Those tickets can be spent augmenting the game board or unlocking the mini-games. You are forced to choose between making the board game more interesting or accessing what could be fun mini-games, but allow me to make that choice for you: unlock Desert Island Escape and spend the rest of your points upgrading that game board. In my experience, it took five playthroughs of the board game to unlock all of the mini-games, and that was with the decision to forgo updating the game board and getting lady luck on my side to end one playthrough with 10 Happy Tickets. If you're wondering how long five playthroughs is, it's about six hours. You are given the option to set a time limit for the game, but less time equals fewer Happy Points. While one playthrough of the board game was of light enjoyment, several days of playing the game again and again proved to be tedious. amiibo Festival's existence as video game isn't as fully realized as it could be. As a digital product, the game can easily implement rules and conditions that could be too burdensome for a physical board game. Animal Crossing amiibo figures level up to unlock new costumes and expressions; also you can scan amiibo cards to move new characters into the game board town. Unfortunately, it doesn't take full advantage of being a video game. The scenes you watch when you land on a pink or purple square tend to repeat as early as your second playthrough and a lack of variety in the game board will become apparent all too quickly. The game also fails to include a suspend game feature outside of hitting the Home button. As I said above, you will need to purchase a pack of Animal Crossing amiibo Cards to experience the entirety of the game. The mini-games Mystery Campers and amiibo Card Battle require six amiibo cards to play while the other six games can be played with the three exclusive cards that come with it. The less said about most of these mini-games the better as I doubt many people will return to them after a single playthrough. In all honesty I can't tell you which one is worse: Quiz Show for its baffling execution, Acorn Chase for its reliance on a not-always-reliable NFC reader or Fruit Path for being... scratch that, Fruit Path is easily the worst. Instead of focusing entirely on the bad, let's talk about Desert Island Escape, as its obviously the one mini-game that had more than an hour of thought put into it. This single-player game has you controlling three characters that have been scanned in from their amiibo cards. The object of the game is to find the pieces you need to build a raft to escape the island before you run out of days. You also need to gather food and collect supplies to build tools that will help you on your journey. What I love about Desert Island Escape is how varied your experience will be depending on which amiibo cards you're using. Different characters have different skills. Cats are better at fishing, bears are great at gathering honey, bunnies like to sleep for a day and then move more than double the amount of spaces the next day. There is so much strategy found in such a simple premise that it almost feels like more development time went into this than the rest of the game. If you already own a lot of amiibo cards you will have a blast with this game because you can attack each of the 30 stages in new and interesting ways depending on who you're playing with. This game is so enjoyable, I'm hoping Desert Island Escape could somehow pulls a Captain Toad and end up as its own, separate franchise. As fun as that mini-game is, Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival is probably not a game you should buy. Had the board game been an extra feature or weekly activity in the next mainline Animal Crossing game (hint, hint Nintendo), it would easily serve as yet another feature that enhances an already rewarding experience. As its own thing, it fall short. Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival isn't a bad game, save for most of the mini-games, it's just not interesting enough to warrant the long term investment needed to see everything it has to offer. [This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer.]
amiibo Festival photo
More like 'bored' game, amirite?
Earlier this year, Animal Crossing series director Aya Kyogoku was asked why she decided to make Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival. She said it was because the team thought amiibo were cute and really wanted an Animal Crossing...

This War of Mine photo
This War of Mine

This War of Mine is getting a board game


Cool, I'd give it a shot
Nov 27
// Chris Carter
This War of Mine can be a pretty heavy game, but 11 bit studios has a lighter sight in mind -- a board game adaptation. It will sport a companion app, and the creator notes that it will support up to six players with eas...
Ghostbusters photo
Ghostbusters

The Ghostbusters board game is like a mini Arkham Horror


With multi-mission campaigns
Nov 27
// Chris Carter
Every so often we cover board games here at Destructoid, mostly from our tabletop expert Darren Nakamura. But when the opportunity presented itself to check out the brand new Ghostbusters game, I sprang at the chance. Ha...
Tabletopia Kickstarter photo
Tabletopia Kickstarter

Tabletopia wants to be the premier digital board game platform


A magical world made of tables
Aug 24
// Darren Nakamura
So we already have Tabletop Simulator, but a new challenger approaches. Tabletopia aims to bring board games into the digital space in a similar manner, and it has taken to Kickstarter for its last push in funding. It works b...
The Banner Saga: Warbands photo
The Banner Saga: Warbands

The Banner Saga getting a cooperative tabletop miniature game


Warbands
Jul 30
// Darren Nakamura
Stoic released The Banner Saga last year, and it was a great strategy role-playing game. It had characters on a square grid, drama, and lots of death. Basically, it was ripe for conversion to a board game. Today at GenCon, St...
Legacy board game photo
Legacy board game

Risk Legacy designer working on new civilization-themed legacy game


Chronicles: Origins
Jul 28
// Darren Nakamura
It sure has been a long time since Risk Legacy originally released, and yet, I can't help but perk up at the news that Rob Daviau is working on something in that vein. Heck, I named the previously announced SeaFall as my mos...
lol photo
lol

Mega Man board game team doing a Street Fighter one


The next big EVO event
Jul 20
// Steven Hansen
After an exciting EVO weekend of fighting game intensity, I guess it's a good time to announce a much more boring version of that? Jasco Games, the company behind the official Mega Man board game, has partnered with Capcom ag...
Halo: Fleet Battles photo
Halo: Fleet Battles

Tabletop wargame Halo: Fleet Battles available now


The Fall of Reach
Jul 20
// Darren Nakamura
Man, look at those dice. There's some explosions, there's a "no" symbol, and there's the iconic Halo skull. I don't know exactly how Halo: Fleet Battles plays, but I do love me some custom dice. Halo: Fleet Battles is based o...
Capcom photo
Capcom

Wild speculation commence: Capcom hires new Mega Man producer


Likely just for merchandise
Jun 04
// Chris Carter
According to the folks over at the Mega Man Board Game Kickstarter, Capcom now has a new producer for the Mega Man franchise. This bit of information came to light casually when talking about approved designs, a process that ...
Crysis: Analogue Edition photo
Crysis: Analogue Edition

Haha sure: Crysis board game on Kickstarter


Tactical battles and chest-high walls
May 14
// Darren Nakamura
Crysis Analogue Edition - The Board Game. Huh. Okay. I have been pleasantly surprised in the past with video game shooters turned into tactical board games, but I'm still a bit skeptical about this one. I mean, Crysis's bigg...
Orcs Must Die! board game photo
Orcs Must Die! board game

Orcs Must Die! takes tower defense to the tabletop arena


Even plastic figurines of Orcs Must Die!
Apr 13
// Darren Nakamura
Orcs Must Die! has truly made it. After a few entries in the main series, the scrappy little tower defense from Robot Entertainment now has a board game in the works, designed by Petersen Games. Orc Must Die! The Boardgame c...
Humble Weekly Bundle photo
Humble Weekly Bundle

This Humble Weekly Bundle is all about board games


Trade some money for some sheep
Apr 09
// Darren Nakamura
We don't often highlight the Humble Weekly Bundle these days (more like Humble Weekly Burnedout, right?), but I couldn't let this one go unnoticed. Just in time for International Tabletop Day, this week it's all about videoga...
Mega Man Board game photo
Mega Man Board game

It looks like the Mega Man board game is nearly done


Final approvals from Capcom
Feb 23
// Chris Carter
It sure looks like a lot of work to create a licensed board game. After its announcement and Kickstarter campaign in July of 2013, the creators of the Mega Man Board Game are nearly finished, barring some final approvals from...

Review: Risk

Feb 18 // Robert Summa
Risk (PlayStation 4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: Zoë ModePublisher: UbisoftReleased: February 4, 2015MSRP: $14.99 But let's get to the meat of what we're working with here. What you're getting with Risk is the board game translated directly for a modern audience using the classic 2010 rules. The mechanics and gameplay are generally the same with the main difference being the interface with which you're playing. There are some non-traditional touches, like a helpful AI companion called Iris. And the game offers animations for battle sequences, but nothing that is AAA worthy or will set it apart from its cardboard counterpart. Actually, you'll find yourself skipping these battle scenes just to get to the end result. Thankfully, there is an auto-attack button to advance all that stuff. [embed]287846:57393:0[/embed] I found myself watching these animations at first, but because the matches are so long, they quickly lose their novelty. It's the same when it's the AI's turn. You'll watch at first, but soon find yourself hitting the fast AI option and skipping as much as possible. It's still not fast enough in a lot of cases, but it's better than nothing. If you really want to speed things up, then you'll want to choose the "capture capitals" option when setting up your game. Otherwise, expect to play for at least an hour against two other opponents in the default setting; of course, it could be more or less depending on the amount of enemies you face. As far as difficulty, I never touched the actual play style of the AI, choosing to keep them balanced. However, you do have the options to make them more aggressive or defensive. Risk is really meant to be played amongst friends and enemies -- whether that be online or locally with up to four players. This is why the game exists. If you're only playing the AI, then you're literally only playing half of the game. At its core, Risk is about just that, risk. And the charm of the game comes when you reach those moments of domination, only to be out-lucked at the worst possible times. Risk is cruel. Even downright heartless at times. If you go in expecting to always win, you'll come to realize how foolish an idea that actually was. There were times when I was completely dominating. I had more troops, more territory, the momentum was on my side. Then, all of a sudden, the AI would decide to hand in cards, receive massive amounts of troops, and sweep through my lands like a cool spring breeze. At one moment you are king of the world, master of your domain and the next, nothing. You are worthless. Alone and about to be obliterated. For better or worse, this is what Risk is. In its simplicity is its utter cruelty. If you're looking for a deep strategy game in an effort to plan your takeover of the world, this isn't it. But if you're looking for something to play with friends or something to scratch that old-school itch, it's a nice little pickup. For the most part, Risk is a rather generic but serviceable title that does what it needs to do. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Risk review photo
Lady Luck is a cruel mistress
Typically, board games involving just dice aren't my thing. I don't like playing a game in which I feel I have no control in whether I win or lose. Yahtzee is a prime example of this, while Risk is somewhere in between. Much ...

Coup photo
Coup

Popular bluffing card game Coup will be a videogame soon


First on iOS, later for Android and PC
Feb 09
// Darren Nakamura
When people talk about good games to ease newbies into board games, The Resistance is one that gets brought up often. Heck, we have even played a few games of it on our forums. It took the hidden team aspect of Werewolf, tra...
Pandemic Legacy photo
Pandemic Legacy

Cooperative board game Pandemic Legacy set to release October 8


Coinciding with Essen Spiel 2015
Jan 15
// Darren Nakamura
Pandemic has served as a primer to cooperative board games for many who have recently taken up the hobby. Last year Z-Man Games announced that Pandemic designer Matt Leacock and Risk Legacy designer Rob Daviau would be teamin...
Evolution review photo
Evolution review

Board Game Review: Evolution


A natural selection
Jan 01
// Darren Nakamura
[Note: We've been known to do board game reviews from time to time, and although this one isn't exactly based on E.V.O.: Search for Eden on the SNES, it's close enough. Happy New Year! --Chris Carter] Two things that def...
Deck building photo
Deck building

So what exactly is a deck-building game anyway?


Possibly not quite what you think
Oct 29
// Darren Nakamura
A number of videogames have shown up lately with the gameplay adjective "deck-building" in their descriptions. Steve Swink took a break from developing Scale in order to release Dad's Building a Deck. Coin...
Mega Man photo
Mega Man

Mega Man: The Board Game's final sculpts revealed


Approved by Capcom and ready to go
Oct 07
// Chris Carter
Mega Man: The Board Game is coming along rather nicely, and is entering the final stages of development. Jasco is handling the game itself, and although they had to get the Capcom seal of approval on just about every facet of...

Fibbage is a fun digital party game, even if you only have two people

Aug 26 // Chris Carter
The concept is very simple -- at the start of each round, all players will come up with a convincing "lie" to add to the multiple choice pool. So for a question like "this strange fishing rod sold at Hank's Goods in Camden, Maine is comprised of 70% [blank]" -- you might come up with "fish bones" or "endangered redwood." The real answer is usually something odd (but not always), and in this case, it's carrots. It's not all niche trivia, and I found myself knowing roughly one answer every three rounds or so. Setting up a game is also easy. All you have to do is go to fibbage.com on basically any device, then enter your name and the "room code" that each round displays on the screen -- that's it. I was able to get the game up and running on multiple tablets, smartphones, and PCs, and it's a good game to spring on people since they will likely always have their phones on them. Like any lie-based board game it's a blast to play with friends, as Fibbage shows you what everyone's fib was at the end of a round, and the satisfaction you'll get from successfully passing off a lie is amazing. It gets better the more players you add to the mix, but it's completely playable with two people, because it adds an extra "lie," on its own to keep you on your toes. Jackbox Games promises that there are "hundreds" of questions, and in roughly 40 games comprised of multiple rounds I haven't seen a repeat yet. Fibbage originally launched on the Amazon Fire TV, but you can find it on the Xbox One now and the PS3/PS4 in "early September."
Fibbage photo
It works for up to eight
I was randomly flipping through my email last week and saw a peculiar Xbox One release -- a little party game called Fibbage. Billed as a "fibbing" party game (the likes of which I'm sure you've seen before), this one has a ...

XCOM: The Board Game photo
XCOM: The Board Game

Fantasy Flight announces XCOM: The Board Game


Four player cooperative strategy
Aug 05
// Darren Nakamura
Fantasy Flight Games has a pretty good reputation for taking hit videogame franchises and translating them to the tabletop space. Previously, the publisher has released board games based on DOOM, StarCraft, Sid Meier's Civili...
Zelda Monopoly photo
Zelda Monopoly

Zelda Monopoly coming next month, with a GameStop exclusive version


The Ocarina piece is exclusive
Aug 04
// Chris Carter
Remember that Legend of Zelda Monopoly that was confirmed earlier this year? Well it's still a thing, and it's going to arrive on September 15 for $39.99. If you get it anywhere other than GameStop you're missing out on ...
 photo

League of Geeks' Armello reaches Kickstarter goal


Funded!
May 05
// Dale North
We recently told you about Armello, a game that creators League of Geeks calls a blend of Magic the Gathering, Final Fantasy Tactics, and board games. When we first mentioned it they were just getting going with a Kickstarter...
Guild of Dungeoneering photo
Guild of Dungeoneering

Guild of Dungeoneering takes us back to pen and paper days


For those with a soft spot for graph paper
May 01
// Darren Nakamura
Guild of Dungeoneering might as well be a board game. It has the look of a hastily doodled tabletop role-playing game, and it features tile-laying and hand management mechanics. Each turn, the player draws up to five cards, ...

Prodigy ventures to places most hybrid board/videogames shy away from

Apr 21 // Darren Nakamura
Prodigy (PC)Developer: Hanakai Studio The technology behind Prodigy is impressive. At the heart is the board, which connects to the computer and can detect certain objects placed on it via near field communication (NFC). The board is made up of a three-by-four square grid, and it not only recognizes the identity of NFC tags, but also their location on the grid. The opponent's board is represented on screen, where the physical moves are translated into action. These tags are built into the bases of figurines, allowing the player to move figures around the while the game tracks their locations. Additionally, NFC tags are embedded in the set of cards used to designate actions. For instance, on a player's turn during combat, he can move a figure from one part of the grid to another, then place the attack card on the board anywhere to cause that figure to perform a regular attack. There is a slight delay between placing a card and having the corresponding action executed on screen, but it seems fairly negligible. [embed]273502:53521:0[/embed] Combat during the PAX demo was easy to grasp. Each of the three rows on the board correspond to a different combat stance: figures in the front row gain an attack bonus but suffer a defense penalty, figures in the middle row have greater defense but only normal attack power, and figures in the back row have the sturdiest defense but cannot attack at all. Oddly, there are both melee and ranged attackers, but those attributes do not have an effect on placement. For normal attacks, a figure may only target enemy figures in the same column as itself, and only the nearest unit if there are multiple in one column. As a result, the larger, tank-like Guardian characters tend to take the front row, with weaker units in the middle row behind the Guardians. Of course, special attacks become available with areas of effect that can counter those tactics. Additionally, the Guardians provide the means for a player to gain mana and use special attacks, so keeping them alive is important for maintaining good damage output, so it is not necessarily best to let them soak up all the damage. One aspect of combat that was absent from the PAX demo (but promised for the final release) is that the Guardians are meant to drop mana around the board, giving players incentive to move. As it was, there was not much reason to do anything but stand in a line and throw down the most powerful attack available. What is probably most exciting unique about Prodigy was everything not being shown at PAX East. There will not only be tactical combat, but also node-based world map exploration and traditional dialogue trees. These will also be controlled by selecting a particular card and placing it on the board in order to confirm choice. Further, figures will be on the board in order to determine how they intend to tackle non-combat problems. For instance, figures in the front row may reach a destination more quickly, while figures in the back may have a better chance of finding items along the way. In the case of an ambush during one of these sections, the figure placement on the board determines the starting setup for the battle, cleverly blending the two sections together. Thus far, Prodigy is looking very cool. It is currently up on Kickstarter with eleven days left in the campaign, but has already surpassed its initial funding goal of $100,000. At about a hundred dollars (including shipping costs), it is about in line with higher end board games, but those approaching it from a videogame perspective may see the cost of entry as being too high. Regardless, the technology and the ideas behind it look very promising for role-playing enthusiasts from either side of gaming.
Prodigy photo
Exploration, dialogue, and character development, all controlled with cards on a board
With board games continuing to increase in popularity, it is no surprise that there has been a lot of crossover between that space and videogames. Not only are a lot of board games being adapted or reimagined digitally, but s...


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