Thursday, October 29, 2009

1.20: Halloween week daily update 2 - Death Angel ...and Scary stories!

How on Earth I forgot about this on, I have no idea.  Today's game is easily among my top five horror-themed games, and has a great cinematic feel.  I've played this game dozens of times, and could tell you just as many stories--like the time we were trapped on the bus with the murderer and she marched through the seats, killing everyone...or the time I, nearly dead, hopped on the altar of the Church, crushing the killer with my rusty Civil War sabre...  Best of all, this one is a Print and Play game--for those of you familiar with this term (good for you if it's because you've been following this blog--have a cookie), you're aware this means the game is either cheap or FREE.

Death Angel was designed by Anthony Gil, and released on his website for free in 1998.  It plays 2-6 players (the more players the better), and takes 60-90 minutes to play.  The idea behind Death Angel is that you're on a bus that has a blow out in a farming town.  As the bus driver checks the tire, he is killed by Angel, a girl with blades bolted through her fingers.  This is where the game begins, and your goal is simple--survive.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

1.19: Halloween week daily update - Lord of the Fries

Here we go, attempt-at-a-daily-update #1, what's on the menu?  How about a zombie game?  How about some Lord of the Fries?  Lord of the Fries is a 3-8 player card game which takes 45 minutes (or more, time increases with the number of players)  to complete.  Originally published by Cheapass Games on cardstock in 1998, there have been two subsequent versions of the game; the latest "Third edition" (published in 2008) is in a sturdy box, has high-quality full color cards, and includes multiple menus to represent different fare.  I have played both the first and third editions of this game; since gameplay is the same, we'll talk about the third edition, which includes a few extra goodies.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

1.18: Late...almost two weeks running. Yes!

Yes, I missed last week's post; it also appears I may be late on this week's post.  Arkham Horror is still coming, but it's a bit daunting--I mean, the rulebook is 24 pages long, and it's been about two years since I played it last.  I'm going to need some time to refresh. 

So, here's the deal.  To make up for my tardiness, I'm going to post one Spoooooky themed game each day until Halloween, probably in the evenings, but we'll see.  Perhaps I can even get a couple games of Der Hexer von Salem, a 2-4 player co-op game I picked up in Germany (yes, I went to Germany and brought back boardgames).  It was either just released, or is soon to be released, in the US under the name "The Witch of Salem."  That's right, I'll try to review a game that you may or may not be able to get in the US.  Hopefully it will be awesome, you'll all run out to your local game store, and you won't be able to get it.

Neener, neener.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

1.17: Son of Halloween - Halloween Post 2

More scary games?  Really, how many can there be?

...well, a lot!

Let's start with a 1-player "print-and-play" game.  Wait, one player?  Print and play?

Zombie in my Pocket was designed by Jeremiah Lee and released in 2007; to the gratitude of many, the game was originally released in a Print and Play format, meaning you can download the files (for free!), and you print and assemble the components.  In this game, you are searching for weapons to fend off zombies, and ultimately hope to find the zombie totem; if you are able to bury it before midnight, you end the zombie curse and save the world.  And, yes, you read correctly--this is a one player game, and as the title states, it conveniently fits into your pocket.  (It's recently come to my attention that there is a retail version of this game, running less than $10, that comes in an attractive metal tin--go find your own picture, lazy).

Next, for all you Lovecraft fans out there, Unspeakable Words.  Unspeakable words was published in 2007 by Playroom Entertainment; it is for 2-6 players, takes around 30 minutes to play, and runs $15-20. This is a (the actual term eludes me, perhaps it is, itself, an unspeakable word)--think Scrabble or UpWords (no links provided--really, do you need them?).  Score points for spelling words, but for each word you create you must make a sanity check; longer words score you more points, but put you at greater risk of going insane and being removed from the game.  Kind of a unique self-balancing aspect for those smarty-pants word game aficionados--sure, they can spell a few big words in a row and be eliminated early, but another player's consistent small-word approach may keep them in long enough to outpace Smarty-Arty's score.  Plus it comes with a bunch of small plastic Cthulhu figures to track your sanity!

Lastly...perhaps a game you should steer away from.  The Haunting House has an interesting theme--you and your friends are in a haunted house and are attempting to traverse its maze-like hallways and be the first out.  The problem?  The hallways keep changing, and your friends aren't helping you out either.  In this game you "program" your turn, selecting which cards you are going to play (move 1, move 2, turn the tile you are on 90 degrees, etc), but your opponents also add cards to this stack, messing with your plans.  The game itself is okay, the components look great and the theme is interesting though shallow, but this game can take far too long--45 minutes (or more, as you fight with your opponent's "help"), in a game where you're trying to get across a 6x6 grid of floor tiles seems long, and after the first 20 minutes I felt it was already dragging.  However, if you and your friends like maze-games and screwing with each other's plans, you may enjoy this one.  I should mention, there are a couple expansions for this game...which make the game longer.


That's it for this one, I'll probably be covering an excellent co-op game in the next post.  Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

1.16: Halloween-y Gaming Goodness

I love this time of the year--I'm in SoCal, so our weather is generally "More Hot" or "Less Hot."  Thankfully, this is the less-hot part of the year, and we've had some wonderful, dreary, overcast weather, just how I like it.  We're also approaching the holiday season, where much foody goodness will be had...but before then, we have Halloween.  I'm not some wierdo (well, not any more than anyone else is), but for some reason, the creepy, scary, and strange aspects Halloween engenders interest me.

With Halloween's approach, I figured I'd discuss some Halloween-type games, either legitimately scary games, horror themed games, games for Halloween parties--things of that sort.  I'm going to try to hit a few different areas of complexity and game type.  If anyone has any suggestions, especially for parties, by all means, suggest away.

Friday, October 9, 2009

1.15: Gateway games - the first one's free

Gateway games--I'm sure I've mentioned this term multiple times on this blog.  I've probably given a definition as well, but for the sake of discussion, let's define "gateway game" again.  The term refers to a game that interests a person in gaming, and for our discussion, may introduce a person to modern boardgames.  Many boardgamers can recall their gateway game, and many people cite the same gateway games (often Eurogames) for good reason.  But what makes a good gateway game?  As I see it, a gateway game should have four elements:

A Gateway game:
1.  Has a simple rules set
2.  Is easy to understand
3.  Is easy to play
4.  Is engaging.

The combination of the first three makes the game accessible, the last makes a person want to play.  I'll go through each of these and give examples.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

1.14: For the heck of it - game contest and deals October 3, 2009

Just doing this on a whim here, I may or may not do another of these depending on its reception. 

First, a contest.  Days of Wonder is giving away a game every day until October 13th.  In order to qualify, you have to link your DoW account (free to sign up) to your Facebook account, and then write a story about playing a DoW game (it appears you can also use the auto-update).  For those of you unfamiliar with Days of Wonder, they put out excellent quality games which continuously have top-notch game art.  Their Ticket to Ride series are all wonderful gateway games for those unfamiliar with the Modern boardgame, and Small World the game that's gotten the most replays this year.  If you haven't played a DoW game, by signing up for the free account you can play several of  the games online for free. 

Second, a deal.  Sorry! Sliders is currently $16 at Toys R Us, a savings of around $10, or 40% off the retail price.  In Sorry! Sliders you are attempting to flick a pawn down a short ramp onto the target board, scoring the value of the highest numbered ring the pawn touches.  Easy enough, except that you don't score until everyone has flicked all four of their pawns onto the same target board, in the process knocking their opponent's pawns onto different rings or off the board.  This is an excellent dexterity game, playable by 2-4 players ages 6 and up--but I would argue that a 3 year old should have no problem playing this game.  If you're tired of playing Candy Land, I'd definately recommend picking this one up; this game is also good for adults, who will find a great deal of fun in the positioning, finesse, and competitiveness of this game.


I find deals and contests fairly often; if you're interested in hearing about these, or if you're not, please let me know.  I figure it's pretty easy to enter most of these contests (I'll probably only post them if the entry qualifications are relatively easy), and if someone I know wins a free game or two, all the better.  If you've entered the contest, or if you win a contest I post here, let me know as well.