All posts tagged 'Unplugged'

Unplugged: Blueprints of Mad King Ludwig (Boardgame)

The boardgames of Mad King Ludwig continue to shrink. First we had Castles of Mad King Ludwig where players auctioned tiles, placing them to build their own personal castle. Next came the Palace of Mad King Ludwig (reviewed here) where all players work together to finish only a single castle. Now, there isn’t any building at all, only the blueprints. In Blueprints of Mad King Ludwig, players simply draw out their dreams on a piece of paper, in the hopes of catching the king’s eye and his favor. Players are still placing funny shaped rooms into a castle area, but gone are the auctions and money shenanigans of the original Castles of Mad King Ludwig. This slims the game down and keeps it moving at a quick pace. Your opinion of this “flip and write” game will depend on whether you are willing to give up the greater strategic depth of money auctions and associated shenanigans for a faster-paced and shorter over-all game.

Blueprints of Mad King Ludwig
Designer: Ted Alspach
Publisher: Bézier Games
Players: 1-5
Ages: 15+ (although easily played by a 10 yr old)
Time: 60 min
(review copy provided by publisher)


Unplugged: Around the World in 10-15 Minutes (Boardgame)

The Roll and Write genre, where gamers roll dice and use the results to fill in a scorepad, continues to gain momentum. I suspect this is due in part to the low cost of entry. This is particularly true for print and play games. If standard dice are used, all that players need is a printed copy of the scorepad. Variations have appeared over the years, including using a deck of cards to make a Flip and Write game. Around the World in 10-15 Minutes eschews both dice and cards to allow the active player to choose the result for the turn, effectively creating a Choose and Write game. The game sheet consists of a map of the world connected by lines with two icons located on each continent and two on each city. The active player chooses whether everyone moves, marks off a continent icon, or marks off a city icon, with the active player gaining the selected benefit twice. All three choices lead to scoring opportunities and the game runs until one player has visited each continent and returned to their starting city. Points are added and a winner is determined. Since there are no dice or cards involved, the game only requires one maker and one scorecard per player – making it even more travel-friendly. Around the World in 10-15 Minutes is a print-and-play title currently up on Kickstarter until May 30th


Unplugged: One Page Monster Hunt (Boardgame)

Roll and write games continue to permeate the boardgame market. We’ve come a long way from the days of Yahtzee, where a player would make repeated die rolls and then mark up their scorepad. Current trends still have players marking up their private sheets, but now die rolls are shared by all players, keeping everyone involved in each roll. In a somewhat recent trend, designers have reasoned that if a single sheet of paper has now taken the place of a game board, can’t we also get rid of the game box? The result is a minor explosion of designers publishing their own games in a print and play format. I am happy to stand behind this trend as this style of game is almost always beginner-friendly and, better yet, the game doesn’t take up space on my gaming shelves! One of the recent projects I’ve stumbled across is One Page Monster Hunt, currently finishing up a Kickstarter run, ending May 27th. It has players filling up a dungeon using Tetris-like shapes while trying to manage the attacks of the dungeon’s villainous monster.


Unplugged: Euthia: Torment of Resurrection (Boardgame)

If there are any Holy Grails in the boardgaming world, it is to find the perfect civilization-building boardgame and the perfect dungeon-crawl/RPG boardgame. Euthia has nothing to do with civilization-building but is a worthy attempt at an RPG style adventure boardgame. Players take on the role of one of several possible heroes and explore a world created by revealing modular map tiles. Over the course of the game heroes will search (or mine) for treasure, go on minor quests, enlist the help of elementals, and (of course) fight monsters. Unlike many games in the genre, each game of Euthia is a one-and-done experience with no need to pack away bits and bobs in order to preserve a specific character for the next exploration. It is nice to have a nice, epic arc of character progression in a single sitting but that does mean a single game can take a good amount of time. There are several scenarios included with the game varying in length from 30 to 100+ minutes PER PLAYER. Thankfully, a 2 player game is quite do-able. For those willing to put in the time, Euthia provides a great, complete RPG/exploration experience in a single sitting, unlike the modern trend of stringing out a good bit of hero/character development over the course of a half-dozen (or more) individual, but linked, plays of a game. An expansion/continuation of the game is currently on Kickstarter until May 16th.

Euthia: Torment of Resurrection
Publisher: Steamforged Games
Players: 1-4
Ages: 14+
Time: 60-480 min
(review copy provided by publisher)


Unplugged: Monkey Business (Boardgame)

Monkey Business is a bit of a mash-up of the classic games of charades (where you pantomime something) and werewolf (where you’re trying to discover the odd person out in the mix. All but one player (or all but two, if there’s more than 6 players) are given the same activity to perform while the odd ones out, the “scammers” have to just play it by ear to cover up the fact that they don’t know what they should be doing. After a few moments of acting, players then all must accuse a player to be the “scammer” – the one who was just copying everyone else. Players who are correct keep their card, scammers win half of the remaining cards. After six rounds of play the game ends and the player with the most cards is the winner. Monkey Business is a fun little party game that gets people moving. It won’t carry an entire evening of gaming but is good for a short distraction, perhaps to loosen up a group of people who may be taking themselves too seriously.


Monkey Business
Publisher: Add-A-Game
Players: 4-12
Ages: 8+
Time: 15 min
(review copy provided by publisher)


{Star || Hero} Realms Digital Sale!

One of the earliest deckbuilding card games, Star Realms has players attacking with space ships in a head to head battle to defeat their opponent. Designed by professional Magic:the Gathering player, Robert Dougherty, the game maintains a large following and has also made the jump into digital space. Not only can one play against the AI or an online opponent, there is an excellent series of solo challenges linked together to form a bit of a story-based campaign. By now, there are oodles of expansions available and each expansion has additional campaigns to play. Expansion cards are usable in regular games too, of course. The app has been out for a long time but I wanted to mention it today as, for the next few days, almost all the content is at a 50% discount. They have also managed to set things up so that any expansion purchase on one platform (iOS, Android, Steam) unlocks the same expansion everywhere else. Something I’d love to see happen in other digital games. Wise Wizard Games also has a spin-off game called Hero Realms that uses very similar mechanics but spins it into a full on RPG-style campaign game where one’s deck and abilities change and improve from game to game. It can be played head to head or cooperatively against set encounter challenges. Most of the Hero Realms expansions are also on sale. Be sure to check them out. More details on both games below (along with a note on the deckbuilder boardgame – Robot Quest Arena…)


Unplugged: Legacy of Yu (Boardgame)

While fans of wargaming have been playing both sides of a battle for decades, the idea of playing a boardgame solo has recently seen a large uptick in broader gaming circles. Many boardgames advertise a “solo mode”, allowing gamers to play even if, for whatever reason, they are unable to arrange for a meet-up to play a game. A few games, like Legacy of Yu, take things a step further and are designed solely for one player. Designed from the ground up as a solo game it has an advantage over other single-player options since it isn’t just an add-on option (perhaps an afterthought) to a multiplayer game. Legacy of Yu does a stellar job of providing an interesting solo experience that manages not to outstay its welcome through the use of an ongoing story arc that slightly adjusts the difficulty between games.


Unplugged: D&D Toys and Tabs

Kid Robot has once again paired up with Dungeons and Dragons licensed Wizkids to create some stuffed toy creatures with a D&D theme. This time around they’re even smaller. You can find a 3” tall plush charm featuring a Mind Flayer, Tarrasque, Intellect Devourer, or a Flumph suitable for latching onto your backpack (or briefcase if you’re daring?) This is apparently the third wave of 3” creatures but the first set I’ve encountered (provided by the nice folks over at Wizkids.)

In terms of Tabs, Wizkids is producing a set of non-permanent sticker tabs for use with one’s main D&D books. The first set has been released with sticker tabs for the Player Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual. Upcoming sticker tab sets will be available for
Rulebooks Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants, as well as the beginner-adventure Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk.


Unplugged: GamerDad Holiday Guide 2023

Happy Holidays! Boardgaming continues to make inroads to wider audiences, and there’s no better time to get (or get your friends and family) into the hobby than an extended holiday break. There are boardgames out there to meet up with almost any taste.Boardgames are timeless, just as good today as they will be years in the future, so a purchase today will still be serving you well after the lockdowns go away. As we at GamerDad have done for the past 20-odd years, it’s time for an annual rundown of recent boardgames well worth your time. Feel free to delve into some past year’s guides for 2022, 2020, or older as they’re still great candidates for your consideration. You might not find all these titles at your local mega-mart but many can be found online or in a friendly local game store. Some may argue $60+ boardgames (or more) are expensive, but compare that to video gaming (and where multiple copies are required for multiplayer play) and the economics of boardgaming shows their true value. For each game, I’ve provided the publisher (to help you find it), an approximate MSRP (you can probably find it lower), the number of players, the expected time for one game, and the manufacturer’s recommended ages. These age listings are often set for legal reasons and I would say most could easily be skewed lower for experienced younger gamers.

On with the show!


D&D Plushies – The Return of Plush

Last winter, I was sent some Dungeons and Dragons figurines from Wizkids with one key component: they weren’t plastic miniatures, they were stuffed “animals.” A year later and the stuffed line of toys/collectibles (Phunny Plush by Kid Robot) continues, expanding into the Pathfinder and Critical Role brands.