This year, Dungeons and Dragons is all about the giants. The various types of giants (fire, hill, cloud, etc…) have gone to war with each other to determine the best kind of giant. Since the release of of 5th edition, Wizards of the Coast has picked an overarching storyline and theme for the year’s releases. This year focuses on a disruption of the natural order of giant seniority, and the infighting between the giant types to get higher in the pecking order. Player characters get caught up in the political intrigue and can even steer the outcome in one way or another before the tale’s final denouement.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise, “Trek-ifiying” things is rampant and the world of boardgaming is no exception. While there are probably Star Trek versions of Monopoly, Risk, and Trivial Pursuit, I intend to take a look at Star Trek versions of games popular with boardgame hobbyists. These games, sometimes called Eurogames (since they are popular in Europe) or designer boardgames (as the game designers are recognized for their efforts just like authors or directors) are popular as they emphasize player interaction and minimize luck and player elimination. Episode 2 deals with a couple games best for more serious strategy gamers.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise, “Trek-ifiying” things is rampant and the world of boardgaming is no exception. While there are probably Star Trek versions of Monopoly, Risk, and Trivial Pursuit, I intend to take a look at Star Trek versions of games popular with boardgame hobbyists. These games, sometimes called Eurogames (since they are popular in Europe) or designer boardgames (as the game designers are recognized for their efforts just like authors or directors) are popular as they emphasize player interaction and minimize luck and player elimination.
Unplugged: Pokémon: The Trading Card Game Mythical Pokémon Collections and Steam Siege Booster Packs
When I was in college I used to write game reviews for The Dallas Morning News. This was in the late 90’s and when Pokémon first got popular, I was writing tons of articles about the franchise. I even like to say that Pokémon helped pay my way through college! I even covered Pokémon card game tournaments back then, and purposely learned how to play just so I could write about them better. I have to say that because of having to use energy cards to perform moves, I didn’t really like the card game as well because I felt that slowed the game down. Me personally, I prefer SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash on the Neo Geo Pocket Color. Anyway, Pokémon has always been big since then, but with the recent release of Pokémon GO on mobile devices, I imagine the franchise will get a boost of popularity this holiday season, including the card game. So parents, here are some new things you may want to look out for this Christmas if you have a Pokémon card game fan in the family.
I’m not sure how you pronounce it, but Shephy plays like one of those indie card games you buy at those fancy gaming and comic book stores. In fact, while looking up pictures for this review, turns out that Shephy IS a real card game. You can even buy it on Amazon. It’s a Solitaire style game where you try to build your flock of sheep up to 1,000 by strategically playing cards that add and take away from your flock. It’s a free-to-play downloadable title on iOS and Android, but reviewed on iPad here.
TANKS: Panther vs Sherman Starter Box
Designers: Andrew Haught, Chris Townley, Phil Yates
Publisher: Gale Force Nine, LLC
Time: 30 minutes
TANKS is a new, lightweight system of miniatures from Gale Force Nine, focusing on (surprise) the tank battles of World War II. The idea is to have a fast-playing miniatures wargame to serve as an introduction to the hobby. This is the first wargame by Gale Force Nine, who produce a prodigious amount of pre-painted battle terrain, presumably usable in TANKS games as well as the more complex Flames of War game owned by GF9’s parent company, Battlefront Miniatures.
In the past decade, the idea of cooperative boardgames, where everyone wins or loses as a team, has blossomed. As dad of young boys, I enjoy playing games together where we can all be on the same side. In Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters!, players move through a haunted mansion to collect all the Treasure Jewels and escape the house before it is overtaken with ghosts. It is that rarely-seen gem of a game that can be enjoyed by kids or adults.
Gaming isn’t always about serious strategy, staring at a board until your opponent makes their next thoughtful move. There are many games on the market perfect for players looking to add a bit of dexterity and/or silliness to their next game. This can be great for younger gamers who might otherwise have a hard time sitting still. Here are a few games I’ve played over the past few months that seem to fit the bill.
Become a real estate magnate by constructing the best and the most skyscrapers in New York. Players take turns claiming lots and placing buildings almost-Tetris style onto the game board. Larger buildings are harder to squeeze onto open spaces and are worth more points. At game end, bonus points are awarded for having the most buildings along specific streets as well as a special scoring that is different each game. New York 1901 is a solid entry in the family gaming category. Fun for the older folks, but still playable by the younger (early grade school) set.
New York 1901
Publisher: Blue Orange Games
Time: 45 mins
(Review copy provided by Blue Orange Games)
Take Slapjack, add in some silliness and a dart pistol and you have the kid-friendly boardgame Pingo Pingo. Accompanied by a changing soundtrack, players take turns playing cards and watching for the right conditions to slap the pile and claim a treasure. Meanwhile, events come up forcing a player to perform one of several actions, which include shooting at targets with the supplied gun. Mistakes cost a life point, and the player with the most treasures (and not dead) wins the game. Loads of silliness packed into a cool 15 minutes, Pingo Pingo is great for a family game night.
Time: 15 mins
(Review copy provided by IELLO)