All posts tagged 'Unplugged'

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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Codenames: Marvel and Disney Family Edition (Boardgame)

The party deduction game, Codenames, continues to be wildly popular: spinning off a Pictures version, a two-player Duet version, and now USAopoly has licensed to to create a Marvel and a Disney Family edition. Rather than giving clues and guessing words, the new editions come with cards containing full color art of the two different themes. While Marvel serves as a fun version for fans of the comics and movies, the Disney Family Edition makes the game even more accessible to the younger set and is worth a look for families of even younger grade school children.

 

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Hero Realms (Boardgame)

In the Hero Realms card game players alternate between playing cards to fight each other and collecting more cards to be more powerful in the future. This deckbuilder follows in the footsteps of the hugely popular Star Realms but is more than just the same game with a different theme. There are very strong similarities, but in Hero Realms players can begin with a themed starting deck (based around typical RPG character classes) and have the option of playing in a campaign game and/or fighting a specially designed communal boss monster. While Hero Realms feels very similar to Star Realms, the opportunity to play against specific boss monster decks or try out the co-op campaign game makes Hero Realms a unique experience.

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Kung-Fu Zoo (Boardgame)

Kung-Fu Zoo has players flicking animal-themed dice into an arena to score points and/or eliminate other players by knocking them into a corner pocket.  A fast moving game of skill, with a healthy dose of luck, makes for a great game for younger kids even if it won’t have much staying power for older gamers.  

 

 

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Button Men: Beat People Up (Boardgame)

Button men has players rolling to capture their opponent’s dice in a sort of alternate reality competitive Yahtzee. Players choose a Button Man that dictates their dice and any special powers and then alternate rolling dice to capture their opponents’ dice. Points are scored for captured dice and half points for one’s own dice that are kept through the end of the game. High score wins and another round is played in a best of three competition. Button Men is a fast playing, fun little game that is extremely portable.

 

 

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Dungeon Dice (Boardgame)

A rollicking series of dice rolls determine your fate as you fight monsters to level up and gain loot in Dungeon Dice. Despite the dice, the players have meaningful decisions such as when to push their luck, when to commit their nonrenewable resources, and when to burn resources just to punish (and/or annoy) the other players.

 

 

 

Dungeon Dice
Publisher: Potluck Games
Ages: 8+
Players: 2-4 (5 w/expansion)
Time: 20-30 minutes
(Review copy provided by Potluck Games)

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Super Mario: Level Up! Boardgame

Combining bluffing and voting, Super Mario: Level Up! has players vie to advance their secret Mario characters to the top of a spiffy 3D board and elect one of them the champion. A successful vote ends the round and players score based on the positioning of the characters shown on their secret character card. Repeat for a total of three rounds and the player with the most points is the winner. A fairly quick game, it rewards planning but players can take some risks to boost their score.

 

 

Super Mario: Level Up! Boardgame
Publisher: USAopoly
Ages: 8+
Players: 3-6
Time: 10-30 minutes
(Review copy provided by USAopoly)

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