All posts tagged 'Unplugged'

Ticket to Ride: New York (Boardgame)

Arguably the best-selling modern boardgame is Ticket to Ride and its sequels.  Players collect sets of train cards (like sets in Rummy), and use them to occupy routes on a game board map of the United States. Players earn points for placing large sets of trains as well as bonus points for managing to connect cities shown on their personal “ticket” cards.  Many versions have been released which change the map (Europe, Asia, the UK, etc…) and each add in some small twist to make the version unique. Ticket to Ride: New York is the newest release and it takes most of what is best about the game and distills it down to a small box game, playable in less than 20 minutes (closer to 30-45 minutes if playing with new players.)  While the “large box” games tend to allow more long-term grand strategy, New York serves as both a great introduction to the game and a fully playable version when you have less than an hour to spare.

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Legacy of Dragonholt (Boardgame)

The Legacy of Dragonholt boardgame is essentially a tricked out choose your own adventure. Allowing freeform character generation and spanning multiple volumes, it is more than a simple book. However, despite its boardgame sized box, but it is not a traditional boardgame. If that sounds interesting to you, Legacy of Dragonholt is a great choose-your-own adventure experience with strong role-playing game flavor.

 

 

 

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Thunderstone Quest (Boardgame)

The fantasy-themed deckbuilder, Thunderstone, has reappeared with some minor improvements and the option of (mildly) story-based campaign play in the form of Thunderstone Quest. Initially launched as a Kickstarter, a second Kickstarter has just begun with previous and new offerings. As with other deckbuilders, Thunderstone has players purchase cards from a central tableau to improve their starting deck of cards, but it also introduces an area for players to use their cards to defeat monsters for additional points. Thunderstone Quest is the third version of the game, polishing up a few rough edges and introducing a story-based campaign mode to link a series of games together.

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Star Trek Ascendancy – Borg Assimilation (Boardgame)

Star Trek Ascendancy is a civilization building wargame. Previously only a competitive affair, the Borg Assimilation expansion adds in a Borg race that runs rampant through the galaxy. Players can cooperate to defeat it, or risk being assimilated (and taking over the Borg race themselves.) The expansion now allows a solo play version of the game (win before the Borg takes over) but if more than one player is present the game remains a competitive one (although with a common enemy.)

 

 

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Memoarr! (Boardgame)

Memory based games are a great equalizer between young and old. Memoarr! starts out like most, with a grid of upside down cards. However, rather than matching pairs of cards, players attempt to create a chain of cards, with each card matching the landscape or animal of the previous one. The result is a memory matching game with just enough spin to mark it different from the others. It becomes more unique when using the advanced rules which has the cards triggering special actions based on the animal on the revealed card.

 

 

 

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RPG Minis Update – Spring 2018

WizKids recent Wardlings release is a great line of kid-themed pre-painted miniatures. Each kid-model mini comes with an associated “pet” to add a bit of playfulness to any RPG session. WizKids other mini lines (D&D Icons of the Realms and Pathfinder Battles) keep on truckin’ with a couple jungle themed releases and one that fits in with D&D’s most recent adventure book. While minis aren’t cheap, they can add a bit of flash and excitement to any game night.

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D&D RPG Update: Summer 2018

The popularity of the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game continues to gain traction, particularly with the college/young adult set. With the advent of streamers (gamers who put their D&D sessions online, many of the most popular ones made by voice actors and other entertainment professionals) more and more people are being turned onto the hobby. The current edition of D&D (now in its 5th Edition) has gone back to its “roots” making the game play faster and allowing more “theater of the mind” style play. Gamers can still bust out miniatures and terrain (such as those published by WizKids’ Icons of the Realms line) and have their tactical battles, but it is no longer a necessary component of every game night. In tandem with the new edition, Wizards of the Coast has stepped back from releasing supplement after supplement with enough frequency to cause a glut of books for gamers to buy. Instead, they’ve focused on just two or three big releases each year, allowing gamers to stay “current” with all the books without breaking the bank. This past year, they’ve released two big supplements and one big adventure path. The Tomb of Annihilation takes players through a dinosaur-infested jungle adventure, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything greatly expands player options, and Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes provides GMs with new background information and more of the higher-level monsters to include in their games.

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Dragonfire (Boardgame)

The popularity of role playing games has inspired many a designer to capture the multi part story and character progression of a RPG within a boardgame. Dragonfire picks up the theme and story of the current edition of Dungeons and Dragons, a places it into a cooperative, legacy-style deckbuilding card game. Does it work? Unsurprisingly, the game has a bit of a learning curve, but is my favorite game in the genre (legacy co-op card game) so far.

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Spirit Island (Boardgame)

Sometimes the whole metaphorical peanut butter and chocolate combination sneaks up on you and surprises you with you didn’t even know you were missing. Spirit Island, the cooperative settler-destruction strategy game is not for the faint of heart, but it distills nearly all my favorite boardgame elements into a single game. Cooperative game? Check. Asymmetric (each player has different powers) Gameplay ? Check. Deckbuilding? Check. Player Development (increase in power during the game?) Check. Simultaneous player decisions? Check. Multiple scenarios or options for play? Double, Triple, & Quadruple Check. Quick to play, easy to learn, a great fit for any crowd?….. well, you can’t have everything. For gamers willing to put up with a bit of a learning curve (really only a game or two), Spirit Island offers a deeply strategic, cooperative game with plenty of variations to explore.

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NMBR 9 (Boardgame)

With the blocky-ness of Minecraft and Roblox, why not a boardgame with blocky numbers from 0 to 9? NMBR 9 has players stacking up number tiles on top of each other to reach a high score. Tiles are worth more the higher they are in the stack, but numbers can only be stacked if they are completely supported by tiles underneath. NMBR 9 is a great little relaxing game with simple rules and since players are always building on their own number stack there is no antagonistic play.

 

 

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