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All Forums>> Other Games >> Everything else >> Board and Table Top Games
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Scrogdog
Joined: 5/3/2002
2611 Posts


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  Posted on 10/6/2011
I actually started playing board games in 1976, well before PCs were common in homes.  Back then I was hugely in to war games.  That is to say, strategy games that recreated famous battles.  Generally speaking, there wasnít much along the lines of what we see today in terms of action games or shooters with a military theme.

One of the things that was bothersome about board gaming back then was trying to play a neat title that took more than one sitting to play.  Your game would get destroyed by everything from cats to careless friends.  Because of that, I believed that PC gaming was the future of the hobby.

After a decade in that realm, now Iím not so sure.  There is something to be said about the social factor and camaraderie present when playing a board game.  Also, what may have been viewed as a pain before (things like book keeping phases or set-up time) are now things that I miss.  Thereís something about manipulating physical components that is very satisfying, particularly if they are of high quality.

Board games are perhaps slightly more expensive than a PC game, usually going for somewhere between $40 and $100.  That said, such a game, properly protected and cared for, will last a lifetime.  In addition, you donít have to worry about how your machine will play a new game (my video card sucks!  I donít have enough RAM!), or the release of new technology making your game obsolete.

I have been stunned by the advance in gaming systems in the years that I have been absent.  There are some fantastic games out there!

Unfortunately, my budget does not match desire.  So, the key thing for me will be to find a game that will actually be played and not sit on the shelf for whatever reason, and that I will not become bored with after only a few plays.

There is also another option called Print and Play that is available to us now on the Internet.  I will show you guys some of these. Basically you buy a game for short money online, download a PDF file, and then using your printer and other components, assemble a physical copy of the game.  I have done this with two games so far, one that had a base cost of $15 and the other $4.  Iíve done extensive mod work on one of these and posted a strategy and tactics article for the other game on a site called Board Game Geek which contains reviews, play-throughs, mods and player commentary among other things.  I will also talk about those things here.

In my case, even with what Iíve said above, I like to have at least a couple of solitaire games in my collection that are fairly easy to set up and play. Also, I want to have as many different types of games as possible rather than the same systems being rehashed in new scenarios.  There are traditional wargames, area wargames (like Axis and Allies, many more complex than that), card gamesÖ all kinds of games!

In addition, thereís a new trend in the hobby for cooperative games.  So, rather than players competing against each other, instead they play together and win or lose together as they attempt to defeat the game systemís AI.  The usual way to do this is by using decks of cards to control the AI side.

Finally, if you want to play family-oriented games with your kids, board games have it all over PC games in terms of family gaming night.  Itís not even close!

In my next posts to this topic, I will talk about some of the games that have interested me and why, and also about the print and play aspect where I will link you to where to get them and give a few tips on construction.  Itís not as hard as you might think, but of course how much you spend on raw materials to create certain components is up to you.

I have yet to make a big purchase in the modern era, but I am narrowing it down. If you are wondering what Iím doing on the nights that I donít appear in UWO, now you know. :)
  Edited on 10/6/2011
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Scrogdog
Joined: 5/3/2002
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LIB
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  Posted on 10/6/2011
The first thing Iíll talk about is card games for a number of reasons.  The first is, they generally donít take up a lot of room.  So if you donít have a large playing area, this sort of thing might be for you.  Secondly, thereís a lot of imagination involved in these games!  Finally, these tend to be cheaper than other types of games, especially with the tendency in the modern era to publish games that have plastic (and paintable) miniature figurines rather than cardboard tokens to represent the heroes and monsters.  And, of course, there is no actual game board.

There are many different types of card games, including deck building games, collectable games and what is called ďlivingĒ card games.

For me, the least attractive of these would be a deck building game.  In such a game, players use resources to not only purchase other cards, but to play those cards against other players.  The reason I donít like it is it is too straightforward and doesnít have enough things going on that stimulate the imagination.

Next would be collectable games.  These are interesting, but can become a way of life which is both why some people like them and why others donít.  These are very similar to living card games and Iíll get to the difference in a moment.  Iím sure youíve all heard of the most famous of these ďMagic The GatheringĒ.

Next is what I would consider the most attractive game type for my style, living card games.  The game play is very close to MTG style games but hereís the difference between the two; when you buy a MTG core set or expansion, you have no idea the cards you are getting.  You may have to purchase several expansion packs before you get that elusive rare.  In a living card game, when you buy a core set or expansion, you get the exact same cards as everyone else, leaving you to focus on game play rather than collecting cards.

In such a game, itís all about the cards.  You have cards that represent terrain, enemies, heroes, allies, equipment, events and special abilities. These make the games hugely thematic and also gives them a very strong narrative (they tell a story).  No matter the type of game, if players are talking about the adventures they just had when the play session is complete, thatís a good indication that youíve struck gold.

Let me give you an idea of how a game like this works.  In this example, Iíll be using a game called Lord of the Rings Ė The Card Game published by Fantasy Flight Games.  FFG is a very prolific and respected publisher in the hobby today known for their innovative systems and quality components.

In the core set, youíll receive hero cards that are split in to different decks.  The decks are considered specializations such as the tactics deck (fighters) or the spirit deck (healers), and contains not only the heroes, but the specific abilities that specialization can use.

Ideally in the two-player game, which is cooperative (there are competitive living card games if you prefer), each player will select a specialization that will best compliment the other player.  Players will be able to help each other out if the going gets a little rough.  The challenge in a solitaire game would be to build a deck that has multiple capabilities without gimping yourself in some way.

Game play goes something like this; three heroes are chosen, Say, Gimli, Legolas and Frodo.  Then each player is dealt a number of cards which becomes their hand.  Note these cards are not in play, they are simply in your hand.  Each hero gains a number of resources each turn that they will spend to bring cards from your hand in to play.

Next, a scenario and its appropriate cards (events, monsters and locations, etc) is chosen.  In addition, there are other decks which control certain events.  What's cool is the quests will always be thematic in terms of what the quest is supposed to be.  If, for example, you are traveling through Mirkwood, you will be mostly be fighting Orcs and Spiders and the scenario card will direct you to assemble certain encounter decks to reflect this.  Orcs, for example, would all be grouped together on cards with the same symbol for Orcs, and that symbol will also be found on the scenario card.

A scenario will contain multiple cards (typically 3) and you resolve them in order.  Complete one step of the quest and move on to the next.

On a typical turn, a certain number of your heroes will be selected by the player to go on the quest.  Other heroes protect the questing heroes since anyone on the quest canít do anything else, including defend themselves. Now a new card or cards are drawn and placed in the staging area.  These cards are considered ďdistant threatsĒ and may or may not immediately affect you.

What you want to do is try to control, if possible,  how you encounter things in the staging area.  For example, you may or may not decide to attack an enemy card.  Depends; it may not consider your group a threat yet and thus may not attack so it might be better to wait.  If itís a location, you may travel to it.

Locations are almost like mini-quest steps.  Each must have progress tokens placed on them to resolve them.

So, the game goes on in this way, you quest and travel to locations, fight monsters, use special abilities and do things that will allow progress to be made.  Along the way you might discover even more helpful allies or items.  Play goes on until the party is either dead or has accomplished the mission.

As you can probably tell, this is one of the games I am giving large consideration in to purchasing.  Not only does it seem like a very fun, thematic and story-driven game, but it can also be played solitaire.  Further, expansions are released on a monthly basis which contain new cards of all kinds and a new mission to play.  My nieces love both LOTR and SW and Iíd love to get them interested in a game like this!

The only reason that I have not yet pulled the trigger yet is that in early 2012 they will release the Star Wars version of pretty much the same game, and I enjoy that IP more.  Also, the SW one can accommodate 1-4 players while the LOTR one only 1-2.

If you would like to see this game actually played on youtube; check out this linkÖ

http://www.youtube.com/watchitplayed

The core set for LOTR The Card Game costs $40.  A monthly expansion (some new cards and one new mission) costs $15.  A "big box" expansion (many more cards and three new missions) costs $30.  

At this time, along with the core set, there are two monthly expansions already released. There is a big box expansion that is pending release quite soon as well.
  Edited on 10/6/2011
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Scrogdog
Joined: 5/3/2002
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  Posted on 10/6/2011
The next set of games I am also excited about.  The Dungeon and Dragons adventure set.  Yes, these are board games!  You could consider them D&D lite, more or less.

The basic idea is that you have a simple to set up and play game that gives a lot of the D&D feel without being bogged down in the record keeping aspect required to play the regular version of D&D.  Thatís mostly because each game is pretty much a stand alone event.  You do not have groups of characters that you level up over a long period of time and have to track where they are and stuff like that.  You also donít need a GM, meaning that this is another cooperative game system in which players work together against the AI.

The really neat thing about these games is that you construct random dungeons along the way.  To do this, you will use something called ďtilesĒ which represent a corridor or a part of the room.  Tiles connect up with each other in various ways so that no two dungeons are alike even when you play the same scenario!

Each of the modules is both a stand-alone set and part of a larger system.  For example, the first game in the series called Castle Ravenloft has a horror theme; zombies and skeletons and vampires all in a spooky castle.  The second called The Wrath of Ashardalon is more standard D&D fare; orcs, kobolds and yesÖ even dragons.  This time in more of a dungeon/cave sort of setting.

Components from the two can be combined to create your own new scenarios.  Or you could even do neat things like chain two scenarios together.  For example, perhaps the only way in to the castle is through the dragon lair, and to kill the boss vampire you must also find the wooden stake item in the dragon cave.  Once youíve found the item and ďwonĒ in the caves, you can proceed on to the next scenario which occurs in the castle.

There are also many pre-made scenarios in each game, and all contain different missions and monsters and treasure.  You can also try different combinations of heroes against them.  They are easy to learn, but depending on the scenario, can be rather challenging to win!  There are also additional components, like the wooden stake, which do not appear in the scenarios.  These extras are for your own use in constructing your own scenarios with the system. This is not at all difficult!  Mostly you just want a certain set of tiles and monsters and items and events that tell your story.  You can also level, but only once.

Some might be put off by the fact that you do not improve your character and take on tougher challenges going forward.  However, to do that would require a far more complex game system.  Instead, you take pre-built characters from fantasy lore (fighters, thieves, mages, clerics) and the party goes on a dungeon delve where you fight monsters, gather treasure and attempt to achieve the objective before someone dies.  If even one player dies, everyone instantly loses the game!

This not only leads to cooperative play, but much around the table banter on what should be done next and how.  Fun!

If I were to buy only one of these, it would be Wrath of Ashardalon.  Both games are very similar, however, the treasure that you find in Castle Ravenloft tend to be one off powers of some kind rather than an item.  So, no +1 sword and the like.  Wrath of Ashardalon does have treasure items and I find this to be more true to the D&D style.

So, players discover new tiles, fight the monsters (which will also be random so no two games are the same), gather treasure and try to accomplish the mission.  There are a lot of variety in the missions.  One might be a raid to gather a certain amount of treasure before the vampire awakes at sundown.  Or, you might try to actually defeat the Ashardalon dragon himself!

This is one of those games where the heroes and monsters are represented by plastic figurines and they seem very well done.  In addition. most cooperative games also do quite well with solitaire play.

D&D Adventure Set board games are published by Wizards of the Coast who currently own both the Dungeons and Dragons franchise  and also Magic the Gathering and a few others.  The Adventure Set has gotten some good to great reviews and you can find some of these by searching on youtube.

Both games go for about $65 each. About mid-October the next game in the series will be released called ďThe Legend of DrizztĒ based on the fantasy books of the same name.

And what do you know, that youtube channel Watch it Played also has videos on this game if you are interested.
  Edited on 10/6/2011
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Wanderer
Joined: 3/31/2002
1294 Posts


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  Posted on 10/8/2011
Don't want to break in on your topic here Scrog, but your writings have brought back a few notable mentions I thought might be worth recommending.

I'm not even sure what the original series was called, but verious versions of it are out if you look around hard enough. When I was a teenager one of the best games I used to play was one that involved two books designed for two players as pilots of WWI planes. each book was a series of about 200 illustrations, drawn from the cockpit view of each plane. ON each page was a series of about 10-12 different moves that you could choose from for your next move and a corresponding page to turn to to see where your next maneuver would take you. The object, obviously was to fly around through the pages until you were able to gun down your opponent. I think the set cost about $12 but we'd spend hours with it.

Another, more extensive version of the same game was by TSR (the same company of the Dungeons and Dragons game) called Dawn Patrol. IN that game you role played your pilots and you had an actual game map to fly around on, complete with dice rolls to determine your hits and misses and maneuvers. we actually extended the map and included clouds and anti aircraft guns, along with actual airfields (the old time version of modding a game).

A similar one these days is one that I played with my son called Wings of War. This is another WWI flying game played with the card deck that Scrog refers to and the "core" starter set and the add-on sets of more planes with more abilities, more extensive maneuvers, etc, etc. This one I know is out there in the game stores and runs about $20-30 with the additional expansion sets coming in at about $10 each.
  Edited on 10/8/2011
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cabbett
Joined: 12/6/2002
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  Posted on 10/8/2011
Just one thing to say guys..  GEEKS!!!!!!!!!!


K.. all better now thanks :) <3
  Edited on 10/8/2011
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