All posts tagged 'Unplugged'

Unplugged: Spintronics – Electrical Circuits via Belts and Gears

Spintronics is a mechanical model of electrical circuits using gears and belts to simulate the flow of electricity. As the final hours of the Spintronics kickstarter winds down (act fast), I thought I’d take a moment to comment on the possibilities of the nifty system.  I’m fairly enthusiastic about its possibilities. At a later date I’ll provide my thoughts on its older brother, Turing Tumble, which simulates computer logic circuits using small metal balls falling through see-saws.

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D&D&D: Dungeons & Dragons and DEI (Tasha’s Cauldron)

I feel like a broken record, but the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game continues to gain traction, particularly with the college/young adult set.  Whether it is streamers, or pop culture icons (I suppose some are both) the hobby continues to make inroads to mainstream culture. The pandemic actually helped, as players turned to digital ways to connect and play with friends.  When the current 5th Edition came out in 2014, it had been greatly revamped to make the game simpler and faster for new players while attempting to reclaim much of the early flavor of the game.  Not content to sit on their laurels, for the past couple years, the makers of D&D (Wizards of the Coast) have gone to diversity training and are now putting out resources and other changes to make the game friendly to people of all walks of life.  The creators have realized that it is just a game, and while it is an important one to many people there is no reason to have rigid rules on the “right” way to handle races, classes, and gender types.  Several recent releases and themes continuing into the summer months give players even more ways to make their fantasy worlds their own.  Kicking off this new direction was Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, released last fall (2020.)

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Unplugged: Terrain Tinker & 3D Printed Terrain

As a fan of cool technology and a gamer, I was quick to embrace 3D printing to trick out my gaming habits.  In the past, I’ve dumped a fair bit of money on cool 3D terrain to add splash to my role playing games.  Not long after that, 3D printing really came into its own and it was feasible to print your own 3D terrain tiles. One of the newest 3D terrain-related kickstarters (ending soon) is Terrain Tinker. It’s basically an interface for designing one’s 3D adventure setup on a computer, which can then output all the model STL files one would need to print them out in 3D.  It interfaces with the folks over at Printable Scenery who sell STL files for all sorts of cool terrain and features.  The Kickstarter is ending soon, so I thought I’d send a shout-out about the project before it closes on March 6th.

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Unplugged: Homeworlds (Boardgame)

Homeworlds Cover ArtworkLoony Labs has two solid game lines going for it. One is the chaotic but entertaining line of Fluxx games, and the other is its line of games based around a set of of colored plastic pyramids. Sold in many different ways, the pyramid line is now available in several small box releases. Homeworlds, reviewed here, is probably the deepest and most strategic of the games released. In a sort of space-chess way, the pyramids in the game represent ships and planets, with each color of pyramid granting a player different powers when used. The goal of the game is to mess with the enemy player’s homeworld and trigger a win.

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Unplugged: Ice Duo (Boardgame)

Ice Duo, Looney Labs, 2020 — front cover (image provided by the publisher)Loony Labs has two solid game lines going for it.  One is the chaotic but entertaining line of Fluxx games, and the other is its line of games based around a set of of colored plastic pyramids.  Sold in many different ways, the pyramid line is now available in several small box releases.  Ice Duo, reviewed here, is actually two games in one.  Ice Dice is a push your luck style game of rolling dice to collect pyramids while Twin Win has players moving pyramids around the board in order to arrange them in a specific (secret) configuration for the win.

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Unplugged: Deckscape (The Curse of the Sphinx)

Image result for deckscape curse of the sphinxWhile it may be hard to get out of the house, fans of escape rooms have alternatives that can be played at home. Deckscape, one of several lines of at-home escape room games, is a complete escape room experience in a (large) pocket-sized box of cards. Obviously, it can’t take the place of an in-person, physical escape room, its nonlinear progression through many puzzles may be the next best thing.

 

 

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RPG Miniatures – Boneyard

Rather than focus on a particular storyline, the newest entry in the WizKids line of role playing game miniatures focuses on hordes of undead.  The common figures span the gamut of typical undead hordes, while some of the rare large creatures are just downright disturbing.  (Let the reader decide if that’s good or bad.)  Releasing in March, D&D Icons of the Realms: Boneyard is a mix of standard and more unique pieces with which to build your undead army.

 

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Unplugged: Strike (Boardgame)

Strike – a simple, quick game of dice-chucking goodness. Players take turns rolling (or throwing) their dice into an arena inlay in the box. Remove any matching dice and leave the rest for the next player. The last player with dice is crowned the winner of the game. The idea is simple and the execution is spot on, making Strike a fine game for the start of a gaming evening or quick break with the kids.

 

 

Strike
Publisher: Ravensburger
Ages: 8+
Players: 2-5
Time: 15 mins
(Review copy provided by Ravensburger)

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Unplugged: Machi Koro (Boardgame)

One of my teenage son’s favorite games is Machi Koro. (Very) briefly, it is kind of like Monopoly with no board, but people can collect income for properties even when it is not their turn. The game is fast and fun, and I highly recommend it for family gaming and it is just now returning to store shelves over at Target (it’s continued to be available in game stores for some time.) Someone looking for a lighter-weight game to play during the pandemic should find Machi Koro an excellent choice.

 

 

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Unplugged: Oceans (Boardgame)

Players take on the role of ocean gatherers, hunters, and scavengers in this card game of species evolving and jostling for survival in the ocean blue. A spiritual successor to the Evolution line of games, Oceans takes the game in a slightly more strategic direction, as a slightly faster flow, and favors a slightly less aggressive style of play. Whereas Evolution provided food to players at a regular rate, Oceans leaves the management of available food in the players’ hands. A great compliment to Evolution, gamers who like the former should like the new game but will have to decide if they are different enough to keep both on the shelf. As a special bonus for reading this far, I’ll note that Oceans (Oceans Board Game Lite) is available as a free app you can play on your phone! Give it a download and see whether you need to run out and buy a copy of the game for Christmas.

Oceans

Publisher: NorthStar Games
Ages: 12+
Players: 2-4
Time: 60-90 mins
(Review copy provided by North Star Games)

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