All posts tagged 'Unplugged'

Unplugged: Pandemic – The Boardgame

The world-wide Covid-19 pandemic has been ever present over the past year, forcing many families to stay home together for extended periods of time, perhaps putting a strain on relationships for all those cooped up together.  While a cutthroat game of Monopoly might just make things worse, perhaps a cooperative game (where everyone wins or loses together) might be in order.  Pandemic burst onto the boardgame scene in 2008, with its success spawning an entire line of Pandemic-themed cooperative games where players must work together to protect the world from an encroaching disaster. While the theme of a Pandemic may be too close to home for some, the games respectively deal with the issues at hand and may serve as a surrogate way for gamers to put themselves into an active role in the game’s fictional pandemic.

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Unplugged: Tales from the Loop (RPG)

Imagine a game set in the 80s where kids on bikes explore their local town. While dealing with every-day problems of parents, bullying, and homework they simultaneously need to sort out strange, otherworldly happenings that somehow just don’t seem to grasp the attention of the adults. One’s first thought may be to think of the Netflix series, Stranger Things but I’m actually referring to the role playing game, Tales from the Loop. The Tales from the Loop role playing game (tagline: Roleplaying in the ‘80s That Never Was) was actually conceived as a stretch goal of a Kickstarter project over a year before the Netflix series ever aired. The Kickstarter project actually set out to compile the hauntingly nostalgic art of Simon Stålenhag of Sweden. His images contrast the everyday life of living in a small town in the 80s, juxtapositioned with what-if images of robots and alien technology. The two art books were easily funded, and a stretch goal was set out (and met) to create a role-playing game based on the art. In a serendipitous moment, the role playing book was released just a few short months after the Stranger Things series and the hype from the Netflix series helped to push the role playing game into the limelight. Jump forward a few years, and publishers have now released a Starter Edition of the game, containing premade characters, the basic rules, dice, and a short playable scenario. Combined with Simon Stålenhag’s surreal art, the box serves as an excellent introduction to the core mechanics and standard backstory for the game.  (One final aside, we’ve now come full circle for both Tales from the Loop and Stranger Things.  You can watch Tales from the Loop on Amazon Prime and there’s a version of the D&D RPG based on the Stranger Things series on Netflix.)

Tales from the Loop (Roleplaying in the ‘80s That Never Was)
Publisher: Free League Publishing
(Review copy provided by Free League Publishing)

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Unplugged: A Trio of Cat Boardgames

In the past few decades we’ve seen the power of cats. Take a popular item and stick a cat on it, and its popularity grows. Examples include Garfield (whose creator took a look and decided a cat-comic would sell well) and an extremely popular cat-based card game. (A cat game who must not be named – I fail to see the attraction of its randomness.) Today I want to take a look at a few cat-themed games that I’ve encountered in the past year or so. Cat Lady has players drafting cards off of a 3×3 grid to score points at the end of the game. Kibble Scuffle has players playing cats around feeding bowls in order to trigger a feeding phase. The Lady and the Tiger is a slight outlier, as only half of its richly illustrated cards show a tiger. It is also more than one game in a box as it contains five different games that can be played using the cards and glass tokens in the box. The three games span a wide variety of play styles, so there is sure to be one (or more) fit for your gaming needs.

 

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Unplugged: The Castles of Burgundy (Boardgame)

As with all entertainment, some things just seem to settle into the role of a classic. The Castles of Burgundy, a boardgame released in 2011, is one such game. Released in 2011, it remains high on many boardgame favorite lists and is currently ranked 14th overall at the popular web site, Boardgamegeek.com. The game centers around a set of dice and each player’s personal game board, displaying a hexagonal grid. Players roll dice and then use them to place tiles on their board. Each type of tile grants special abilities and players must make the best use of these special abilities to score points over the course of the game. Turns are quick and, once grasped, the rules are straightforward making this a richly rewarding game to play. The game has also spawned other versions, such as a simpler, fully dice based roll & write style game called The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game.

The Castles of Burgundy (& The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game)
Publisher: Alea
Ages: 12+ (10+)
Players: 2-4 (1-5)
Time: 30-90 mins (15-30 min)
(Review copy provided by Alea)

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Unplugged: Shovel Knight Exceed Card Game

Shovel Knight is one of the most beloved and prolific indie games in the past few years.  It’s gotten several spin-off games and cameo appearances, and now you can play a card game featuring the characters.  Exceed is an existing card game with fighting game mechanics.  In fact, they did a version of it with Street Fighter characters that I reviewed last year.  So how does it fare with Shovel Knight themes?  Read on and find out!

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Unplugged: Holiday Guide 2019

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. As we at GamerDad have done for the past 15+ years, it’s time for an annual rundown of recent boardgames well worth your time. Nothing beats the social aspect of in-person gaming with friends. Unlike many digital games, boardgames are timeless, just as good today as they will be years in the future. In that vein, feel free to delve into some past year’s guides like those for 2018, 2017, or 2016. 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 $50+ boardgames are expensive, but compare that to videogaming (and where multiple copies are required for multiplayer play) or heading out to the movies ($30+ for four people) and the economics of boardgaming shows their true value. For each game I’ve provided the number of players, an approximate MSRP (you might find it lower), and expected time for one game.

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Heist: One Team, One Mission (Boardgame)

Pass items back and forth as the central safe shouts out instructions in this cooperative real time game of bank robbery. Take on the role of one of four characters and follow the instructions on the battery-powered central cube. Pass items back and forth and then “use” them correctly to advance the timer. Success leads to the big payoff, while mistakes cost you money and perhaps the entire game. Heist: One Team, One Mission is a fast-paced game looks neat, is very family friendly, and plays in just a few minutes.

 

 

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New Frontiers (Boardgame)

New Frontiers has players taking turns to select an action card, which then dictates the action that is performed by all players. Through the course of the game, players settle planets, build developments, and exchange goods for points or profit. Develop the best economy (be it building, exchanging, settling, or a combination of them) to be crowned the winner of the game.  This 2-5 player game is a great, family-friendlier version of the popular Race for the Galaxy card game.

 

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Welcome To… (Boardgame)

Fill in your suburb wisely (in numerical order) to score points in this (sort of) Roll and Write style game of designing neighborhoods.  Cards are flipped up from a deck and players must choose which cards to use and for what purpose as they fill in the blanks on their personal score sheet.  

 

 

 

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Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Switch)

The simplicity of track and field events made them an excellent candidate for early videogames. I remember hammering away at our family computer in 1982 as my brother and I spammed keys in an effort to defeat each other in Olympic Decathlon. One year later, Track and FIeld appeared in the arcades and was an instant hit, allowing up to four players to spam buttons in a head to head competition. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (yes, that’s the full name) blends modern gaming with some retro-inspired gameplay through dozens of Olympic-themed mini-games. When played multiplayer (as it should be) iIt manages to capture much of that early videogame magic.

 

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