Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Game Night All-Stars (for Kids)

Each month, my wife and I host a game night at the Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth. We play games with kids and parents, eat dinner, and try to provide a few hours entertainment for families going through tough times. We've been doing this since August 2012, and enjoy it every bit as much now as we did when we started.

We've developed a short list of games that we bring each month. To make that list, games have to be simple to teach and play, quick enough to finish in the time it takes to eat a meal, and thematically appropriate for kids. 

For those of you used to my reviews of deep hobby games, you might be surprised by some of the games we get to the table. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to create a great experience for the people playing the game, and sometimes the simplest games make the best memories. Here's six games that have been hits during our game nights, for kids and adults alike.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cosmic Encounter, by Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge, Bill Norton, and Peter Olotka

Play It Again, Sam
In this golden age of gaming we're enjoying, new releases hit our local game stores like a heavy rain pounding on so many windshields. With each blockbuster, those classics we grew up with are pushed back farther into the recesses of our shelves, left to gather dust and retain fond memories as we buy new Star Wars minis and wield our new-found authority as Sheriffs.

I've been told that Cosmic Encounter is "a game that should have meant even more than it did." I'm not sure exactly how to interpret that, but I assume it means that if CE were released today, in our surge of attention for games, that it would be an instant classic.

But wait... it's already an instant classic! From all the way back in 1977, Cosmic Encounter continues to be a fantastic game. Read on, intrepid gamer!

Monday, December 1, 2014

DC Comics Deck-Building Game, by Matt Hyra

Who's your favorite? 
This is a guest post by Raoul Mowatt, proud Chicagoan and owner of many, many games! Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap other games in a single bound! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s the DC Comics Deck-Building Game! I’d heartily recommend "DC Deckbuilder" to just about anyone. 

I’ve probably played it over a hundred times, and it still remains one of my favorites, which should tell you something about its replayability (or my easy-to-please nature, or both). It is a quick game that’s easy to pick up and play.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Review of Dead of Winter

"It's so cold..."  "Shut up, they'll hear you."  Rod is kind of a jerk.  He joined our small band a few  weeks ago.  Gabriel was searching for supplies in the gas station when he found a barricaded cellar.  Rod was curled up inside, near dead from the cold.  We brought him back, warmed him up, made him a part of the group.  Except he treats us like he's doing us a favor by sticking around.  Sheriff Smith says not to worry about it.  That Rod will "come to appreciate his new family".  I'm not so sure.  Nevertheless, here I am, knee deep in snow, with more pouring out of the sky, walking with Rod to gather some of his stuff from the gas station.  He claims to have some food stored up as well as a couple weapons but supposedly he was all out of fuel.  I find that hard to believe given his hiding location.  We're moving as quietly as possible so "the others" don't hear us.  I haven't seen one of "them" in a few days but their tracks are always there after the snow stops.  

We make our way into the gas station and Rod closes the doors behind us so we can search in relative safety.  He heads down to the basement and I follow him.  It's musty and dark.  I can't see Rod but I can hear him bustling around.  He seems to know this basement even without any light.  "Is there  a light we can switch on?  So I can help...?"  Rod grunts then mumbles to himself.  A flashlight flicks on to my left and I see him continue digging through some shelves.  The light brightens the basement near him I notice it's a very well supplied storeroom.  He's got boxes with labels identifying them as being from the grocery store on the other side of town.  He's got a lot of them.  On the floor, between the shelves I can red jugs with yellow necks.  It takes me a moment to place them, but I realize they are plastic gas jugs.  I remember seeing my Daddy fill up the lawn mower with one.  I wonder why he has so many, and tucked away near the food.  I hear him give a grunt that I've come to understand means he's happy about something.  Well, as happy as Rod can get.  Then the flashlight clicks off.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Review of BattleCon: Devastation of Indines

I remember the first video game I ever bought with my own money. It was 1994 and I had saved my allowance for weeks. I could not wait to go to the local Target (this is pre-Super Target, mind you) and pick up... KILLER INSTINCT! It was glorious. My Super Nintendo never got as much use as it did playing Killer Instinct. I memorized all the moves and combos. It was insane. The game itself wasn't very good, but I thought it was amazing.

To this day, I'm not very good at the classic 2D fighting game, but darn it if I don't love mashing buttons. Lately, though, I've found a replacement. A brilliant replacement that scratches that boardgamer itch and doesn't require any button mashing. What could I ever be talking about?  Why - BattleCON: Devastation of Indines, of course!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review -- Acquire

Acquire is a classic board game that first hit the scene in 1962. It's fast paced and easy to learn but still has its share of twists!  In the original game you're an investor in hotel chains. Newer releases shift to tech start-ups instead but the game play is still the same.  So get ready to build your portfolio and head for the stock market!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Coup, by Rikki Tahta

There's a theory about board games that says you should only own those games are the best of their genre, type, or purpose. For instance, if you're a fan of worker placement games, you may have Puerto Rico, Lords of Waterdeep, Leonardo Di Vinci, and Agricola in your library. Jones Theory states that you should pick your favorite and divest yourself of the others to keep your board game library small and ensure you play only the best games.

Coup fits perfectly in my collection as a short game for a maximum of 6 players that's incredibly fun (the most important thing!). It's also among the best hidden-role games that exist, regardless of length. As Coup is also among the very best "light" games I've ever played, I theorize that it will be in my library for years to come.

Tabletop Gift List

The holidays are coming, and that means frantic shopping for gifts for all your gamer friends. I created this form to help us all figure out what's hot and what fits various niches in games. Fill out and submit the form, then click to see other responses!

I, for one, can't wait to pick up Sheriff of Nottingham from my Friendly Local Game Store!

Please share with others so we can get more ideas! If you want to review responses first, you can do that here.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Duels For the Iron Staff, by DeQuan Watson and Galen Ihlenfeldt

Duels For the Iron Staff is a 2-4 player card game that pits wizards against each other in a magic-fueled fight. Each player uses spells, actions, and magical components to do damage to opponents, heal themselves, and gain every inch of advantage possible. If you're a fan of light strategic play and light screw-your-neighbor elements, then I've got a hunch Iron Staff will fit in your collection.

Full disclosure: I wasn't compensated for this review, nor have I received a copy of Iron Staff. That said, DeQuan and Galen are dear friends of mine, and I've done my best not to let that influence my opinion of this game.

For a more detailed consideration, read on!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ten Games

Surprisingly not included. 
Nerd Nighter Nate Owens posted an interesting question on his blog this morning: "Could I reduce my collection to just 10 games?" I think it's a fascinating exercise, and it's tangentially related to Jones Theory, which states that we should keep only the best game in each genre/style in our library, so as to play only the best games.

I'm occasionally asked what my favorite games are, and the answer is quick for me: "Betrayal at House on the Hill and Battlestar Galactica". These are numbers 1A and 1B, but I don't play them often because they require a specific type of play group (great friends!) and a specific atmosphere (relatively quiet, a place where folks can pay attention for 2-3 hours). When I started to answer the "ten games" question, I assumed I'd list both of these, but I surprised myself by omitting one.

The "rules" are that each game can have as many expansions as necessary included, and they all count as one item on the list. For my sanity, I'm not including my Magic: The Gathering cube as a game, as it occupies a different place in my gaming life and frankly, I'm writing the article so I get to cheat a little bit.

Without further adieu, my list of ten games that I'd keep in my library:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Warfighter: The Tactical Special Forces Card Game

There was a period of time in the early 00s that a group of friends had regular LAN parties.  I was fortunate to be included in these on a regular basis, and one of their most played games was a game called Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon.  We played the multiplayer as a cooperative team, entering maps to clear them of hostiles.  It was a refreshing change from many long matches of Unreal Tournament or Quake III.  Speed was not the objective, skill and planning were.  And even though you could play the match with friends being spawned back in on the chance they were killed, I considered it a point of pride if I made it through without being shot at all.

Dan Verssen Games' new title, Warfighter is bringing back all those memories of working together as a team to accomplish an objective while under fire.  With a varied cast of soldiers, locations, guns, and options, lets take a look and see what the game brings to the table.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Descent Cooperative Adventures - Forgotten Souls

First released in the Spring 2014 Descent Game Night Kit, this adventure introduces something that a portion of the Descent fanbase has been calling for since the release of the game, a scenario in which there is no Overlord player.

Sending your party of adventurers into a dungeon after a dragon named Tharn that is ravaging a town, you encounter passageways that try to kill you, demons trying to take the souls of villagers, and the dragon himself in a final encounter.

Lets take a look at the set and see how it adds to the Descent experience!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Machi Koro impressions

This game arrived at my FLGS last Thursday, and I had seen screenshots of the game at various sites.  I had turned to my cohorts for our normal game night and said 'Sell me on this game.  It looks too simple to be any fun.'

Well, I was right.  It is very simple.  Yet I can't wait to get a copy to take home to the family and teach my wife and daughters.  One friend has likened this to Settlers of Catan without the board.  I think that is a very apt description.  And it is all wrapped up in a very neat visual design that I find appealing.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Get a Promo card with the launch of Sentinels of the Multiverse for mobile devices!

Ladies and gentlemen, mark your calendars for October 16th!  Handleabra Games is launching Sentinels of the Multiverse for iOS and Android on that day.  The first 5000 people to download the app, launch it, and redeem the pop up box will receive 'The Super Scientific Tachyon' card in the mail.  This was the card given out at GenCon 2014 to people who visited the booth and tried out the tablet versions of the game.

The game is going to launch at 9.99 price point and will include content from the Sentinels of the Multiverse Extended Edition.  Ten heroes, four villians, four environments.  At a later date, currently unspecified, more content from Rook City, Infernal Relics, Vengence, Shattered Timelines, and the myriad promo decks will be released.

Can't wait.  I watched a video posted by David Neumann (Board Game Geek, Pocket Tactics) and it showed me some interactions that I had never realized before.   (Video linked below.)

Update:  The release date has changed to Oct 15th at 12:00 noon UTC. Please be sure to double check the local time for you (7:00am CDT for me as an example) so that you have an opportunity to get the promo card!

Second Update:  The display in game for the promo card has changed to an ad about the Sentinels Sidekick app.  They indicated when all the free promos were gone that they would remove the link page in game.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Help Us Help Children Fighting Cancer

The Nerds' Table has been selected as one of nine content creators to participate in Jamey Stegmaier's Charity Auction on Board Game Geek.

From Jamey's post:

Welcome to our 2014 charity auction! Just like last year, when we raised over $2,200 for 13 different charities, we're celebrating the upcoming second printing of Euphoria (in English, German, French, and Czech) by featuring 9 new bloggers and podcasters to participate in this year's auction.

Here's how it works:

This Geeklist is comprised of 9 separate auctions, each for a copy of Euphoria Ultra Supreme. Each auction is attributed to one of our favorite podcasters or bloggers. The auctions will start on October 1 and end on Wednesday, October 8 at noon (CST). Payments will be submitted to us via PayPal (stonemaiergames@gmail.com) after the auctions close, and the games will be shipped within a few days.

We're supporting www.jessie.org, a charity whose mission is "To help every kid fighting cancer to Never Give Up". I was made aware of www.jessie.org after writing my goodbye to Mathias, a friend I made through our gaming nights at the Ronald McDonald House in Fort Worth. Mathias recently lost his battle with leukemia. The Nerds' Table's participation in this auction is in honor of him.

More details below!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dead Drop, by Jason Kotarski

Spies, intrigue, secret knowledge, and the pursuit of limitless power - these are the themes assigned to Dead Drop, a micro card game that tasks players with deducing a very important piece of hidden information before an opponent can do the same.

Each player is an agent is racing to "discover the unknown" by sharing and selling secrets, gathering information, and ultimately confronting the hidden information for a single shot at glory.

13 cards, 2-4 players, 5 minutes per game. Do you have the courage to peek into the unknown?

Full disclosure: I received a copy of Dead Drop from Patrick Nickell, founder of Crash Games and publisher of Dead Drop. I was asked to review this game honestly and wasn't compensated for doing so.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Virus the Card Game, by Mark Basker

Game Designer: Mark Basker
Artwork: Mark Basker
Players: 2-4 players
Ages: 12 and up
Playing Time: 10-15 minutes
Game Mechanics: Set Collection
Contents: 72 cards, 70 virus cards and 2 rules cards
Suggested Retail Price: $17.00

Virus is a great example of the beauty of Kickstarter, the popular project funding site that allows anyone with an idea to pose it to the masses and ask for help to see their dream come to fruition. That’s exactly what local game developer Mark Basker did last summer, when he launched and successfully funded his first project with his Euless-based company, Around the Clock Games.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Amberden Affair LIVE, by Mike & Kelsey Domeny and Drake Philyaw

Pop Quiz: What's the "Edwardian Era"? 

a) NSA slang for the second half of 2013

b) the 1900's - 1910's in England

c) something something Twilight 

Look after the jump for the answer! Before you do, let me warn you - it involves Barons, butlers... and murder!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Under Two Reviews #20 The Phantom Society by Frédéric Colombier & Hervé Marly

"Under Two Reviews" is a weekly video series in which we take a look at tabletop games and present them to our readers in under two minutes.

Thirty years ago, there was a song that extolled the virtues of ghost busting. It's quite the pleasurable experience, and when in the company of a ghost, you should know who to call.
A documentary also released that year established that busting ghosts can cause a fair amount of property damage. In our video, you'll learn all about busting ghosts and causing property damage.

It'll be quick, I promise.
Enjoy the video after the jump!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Review: Student Bodies by Smirk & Dagger Games

I can hear you out there.

"Another zombie game?"

"ANOTHER zombie game?"


I don't blame you for reacting that way.  I really don't.  But give me just a chance, and I'll tell you exactly why Student Bodies is not just another zombie game.

Under Two Reviews #19 Niya by Bruno Cathala

"Under Two Reviews" is a weekly video series in which we take a look at tabletop games and present them to our readers in under two minutes.

Niya is a strategy game with two clans vying for control of a garden. It's not entirely clear if that is the conspiracy, or if the garden simply has an inauspicious name. Area control of inauspiciously named gardens is important. Come watch the video and learn how to take control of one. It'll be quick, I promise.

Enjoy the video after the jump!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Under Two Reviews #18 Sheriff of Nottingham by Sergio Halaban & Andre Zatz

"Under Two Reviews" is a weekly video series in which we take a look at tabletop games and present them to our readers in under two minutes.

Prince John gets all of the best stuff. Gouda cheese, pumpernickel bread, green apples. All of these things are banned for sale to the common folk. But the problem is, common folk are your best customers. They're also your only customers, since Prince John isn't about to shop at some lowly market stall. Watch the video and learn just how you can sell tasty pumpernickel bread and make a few coins in the proccess.
It'll be quick, I promise.

Enjoy the video after the jump!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Escape From the Aliens in Outer Space, by Mario Porpora

Spoiler alert: You probably won't. 
Darkness. Echoing, terrifying, darkness. Ten minutes ago your bridge was alive with activity, bustling with the ordered chaos that marks a ship in space. Now, only the chaos remains.

Step through the door quickly, close it silently.  

The pod you beamed in wasn't empty, despite assurances to the contrary. For a brief moment there was struggle, and you saw just enough to understand. Now, all you can do is run. 

Eight steps down the hall, step to starboard, then duck into the maintenance shaft.  

You can navigate this ship by memory easily enough, but the darkness cripples you. They seem to prefer it. 

Pass the first three doors, open the fourth, step into the escape pod. 

You could kill one with a weapon, but the rest will overwhelm you. The escape pods are your only hope. 

Slam the hatch. Strap in. Fire up the pod. 

The pods have failed. For you, there is no Escape From the Aliens in Outer Space.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Under Two Reviews #17 Sellswords by Cliff Kamarga

"Under Two Reviews" is a weekly video series in which we take a look at tabletop games and present them to our readers in under two minutes.

Can you ever really trust a mercenary? If you hire a band of heroes, you'd better be sure that the person on the other end of the sword doesn't have a better offer. Thankfully, this game isn't about that.
Drafted heroes printed on square tiles are much more loyal. Or at least until the next game. Watch the video and learn all about the loyalty only a cardboard tile can provide.

It'll be quick, I promise.
Enjoy the video after the jump!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Gen Con 2014 Designer/Publisher Speed Dating Coverage

Gen Con, aptly nicknamed "The Best Four Days In Gaming", is an event of such size and scale that it can't be experienced fully in one visit. It's the only place I know where you can find anything you'd want from the gaming world.

Of the many events scheduled during Gen Con, "Designer/Publisher Speed Dating" is among the most interesting. James Mathe and his team have created an event designed to provide game designers the chance to demo their games for publishers large and small, and to do so in a structured, rapid-fire environment that promotes professionalism and efficiency. 

I got permission from James to cover the Saturday evening edition of the event, and arranged a series of interviews with game designers Drake Philyaw and Kelsey Domeny (Two Penny Games) and with publishers Jeff and Nathan Cornelius (Cosmic Wombat Games) and Daniel Hadlock and Seth Jaffe (Tasty Minstrel Games).

Monday, September 1, 2014

Goodbye, New Friend

This morning a young boy died. I met him last November at the Ronald McDonald House in Fort Worth, playing games as we’re wont to do on third Fridays each month. I only met him once. I remember speaking with his mother, talking about the games they play with his older brothers, talking about his treatment, and why everyone loved him so much.

This kid - he was hands-down the best gamer I’ve ever met at the RMH.

We played Set, and he got it right away. He just ate up anything I put in front of him, so we naturally got into a discussion about the finer games in life, which ended up being a conversation about my favorite games, which ended up with me making a late-night dash to Evolution Games to pick up a copy of Ticket to Ride to give to my new friend.

I can’t remember everything about that night, no matter how hard I try. I’ve been teaching games with my wife for more than two years now, and we meet a lot of people. Some stick with us because we see them every month, and we try really hard not to think about how messed up it is to see somebody more than once at the RMH.

This kid – I met him once. I talked to him for an hour. He’s stayed in my head for a year.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Shadowrun Crossfire - Deckbuilding in the Streets of the Sixth World

The career of a shadowrunner is very much like that of many summer insects. Short, flashy, and a moment of bad luck will get you swatted. Shadowrun Crossfire is the latest release from Catalyst Games. It brings many of the ideas from the pencil and paper roleplaying game and distills them down into a cooperative deckbuilding game.

But does two hundred and four cards do enough to put you in the Sixth World?

Friday, August 29, 2014

First Thoughts: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Skulls and Shackles Base Set

(So, the title is a mouthful.  I'm going to use either PACG or Skulls and Shackles to refer to the set as I go. Rise of the Runelords will be abbreviated as RotR.)
A sample of the locations in the new set.

I have been an unabashed fan of this game since the original PACG base set, Rise of the Runelords, was released last August.  It provides me that thing I don't have time for nowadays, that feel of an RPG without having the multiple weeks of sitting down with a character sheet and an eight or ten hour gaming session.

While there are people who don't like the simplicity of PACG, I find that every turn I take with a character is a short story ready to be told.  The time I, as my cleric, fought a bunyip at the Abandoned Farmstead and lost.  The last minute closing of the Desecrated Temple before my companion (aka my wife) defeated Blackfang.  Its all there, albeit in compressed form.

The newest base set, Skulls and Shackles, begins a whole new campaign set in a set of islands known simply as The Shackles with the players as the crew of a simple merchantman.  The base set has five scenarios that form the introductory adventure, and then has the first Adventure Deck, The Wormwood Mutiny, in the box ready for you to play.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Review: King's Forge, by Nick Sibicky

Lately I have been growing more and more detached from Euro games. Games where two or more sets of solitary actions that occasionally brush up against each other rapidly lose the appeal when you have no way to interact with an enemy's board. King's Forge, by Clever Mojo Games, has rekindled my love of games based on resource management that have a solitaire feel by introducing just enough competition and sabotage to really give you the option to effect your fellow players. If you like rolling dice, fierce competition, and careful planning then this game is definitely worth your time.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Under Two Reviews #16 King of New York by Richard Garfield

"Under Two Reviews" is a weekly video series in which we take a look at tabletop games and present them to our readers in under two minutes.

When Iello Games revealed their adaption of New York, I was a bit suprised to see Chistopher Walken's part recast as a giant robot Mantis. And Lawrence Fishburne as a T-Rex lawman was brilliant. But it turns out, I was mistaken, and this game is not based on the 1990 Crime Drama at all. Come watch the video and learn what the game is actually about. It'll be quick, I promise.

Enjoy the video after the jump!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Gen Con Interview - Jeremiah Lee from Indie Boards and Cards

Jeremiah Lee stepped just behind a giant crowd of Indie Boards and Cards fans to do a quick interview about Coup Reformation, The Resistance, and other great IBaC games. There's a nice bit about Coup tournaments at Gen Con, and just before the video ended I came up with the best idea ever for a "new" game. Bonus HIGH FIVE in the video!

For a full playlist of Gen Con interviews, click here!

Gen Con Interview - Colby Dauch from Plaid Hat Games

Colby Dauch, founder of Plaid Hat Games, took a few moments on Sunday before the dealer hall closed to talk about Dead of Winter, Mice and Mystics, Summoner Wars: Alliances, and other Plaid Hat things. Colby's a great friend of Nerd Night, and was gracious enough to step away for a nice chat. There are a couple teasers for upcoming games too!

Bonus: Colby related a beautiful story about how games helped the life of a sick child.

For a full playlist of Gen Con interviews, click here!

Gen Con Interview - Madison Sites from Days of Wonder

Madison Sites, one of our dear friends from Days of Wonder, took a few minutes out of her insane Gen Con schedule to talk about hot games at Gen Con and future conventions that Days of Wonder will be involved in. Five Tribes was a big hit at Gen Con, as was Memoir '44 and Ticket to Ride!

For a full playlist of interviews from Gen Con, click here!

Gen Con Interview - Brad Talton from Level 99 Games

D. Brad Talton, Jr., Esquire is one of the biggest supports of Nerd Night in the industry, so we always take the time to chat with him when we can. He stepped away from his insanely-packed Level 99 Games booth to chat with us about his new releases and upcoming plans, including Argent: The Consortium, Sellswords, and Pixel Tactics 3.

For a full playlist of interviews from Gen Con, click here!

Gen Con Interview - Curt Covert of Smirk and Dagger Games

Curt Covert joined us to talk about Smirk and Dagger Games and their booth at Gen Con. He air-mailed 100 copies of Student Bodies just to have them available for sale, and The Nerds' Table's very own Andrew Christopher Enriquez bought the first copy! Enjoy a quick review of the game and what's coming up from Curt and his team!

For a full playlist of interviews from Gen Con, click here!

Gen Con Interview - Zev from Z-Man Games

We were especially honored to interview Zev from Z-Man Games, one of the leaders in the publishing community. Zev talked with us briefly about Gen Con, the hot games at their booth, and the upcoming Pandemic Legacy release. This was a fun interview!

For the full playlist of interviews from Gen Con, click here!

Gen Con Interview - Erica Gifford and Krosmaster Arena

We stopped by the Japanime Games booth and talked about Krosmaster Arena with Erica Gifford, Marketing and Operations Manager for Japanime in all places that speak English. Erica talked about upcoming Krosmaster releases, the game's success at Gen Con, and her favorite characters to use in the game!

For a full playlist of interviews from Gen Con, click here

Gen Con Interview - The Duke from Catalyst Game Labs

We stopped in for a quick peek at The Duke - a giant version with huge wooden pieces - and asked what the heck was going on. This one's quick because the crowd around us was swarming to get a closer look. Catalyst Game Labs had an amazing booth this year!

For the full playlist of Gen Con interviews, click here!

Gen Con Interview - Rob Dougherty of Star Realms

We caught Rob Dougherty of Star Realms fame in between mobs of customers, so we asked him to give us a quick 5-minute chat about the game, future plans, and his role in development. There's some nice info about the recently released apps for iOS and Android also!

For a full playlist of interviews from Gen Con, click here

Gen Con Interview - Ben Harkins of Floodgate Games

Ben Harkins from Floodgate Games joined us to talk about Legacy: Gears of Time! The Floodgate booth was huge, and packed with people. I picked up a copy of L:GoT afterwards as promised in the video, so if you'd like to play it with me at game night, just leave a comment!

For a full playlist of Gen Con 2014 interviews, click here!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Under Two Reviews #15 Sushi Go! by Phil Walker-Harding

"Under Two Reviews" is a weekly video series in which we take a look at tabletop games and present them to our readers in under two minutes.

This is actually a new printing of Sushi Go! The Pick and Pass Card Game.
The first edition had adorable art. This new version as art that turns that cute factor up to 11. It's the cutest drafting game you'll ever play, so watch the video and learn the finer points of choosing an adorable meal. It'll be quick, I promise.

Enjoy the video after the jump!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Nerd Night Manifesto


Before anything else is written, it should first be acknowledged that no community is built by one person. DFW Nerd Night is the product of hundreds of people agreeing to care about a community. My first and most important advice is to treat each person as you would yourself, so that they feel permission to add their energy, ideas, and love to the community you want to create. To do so is to transfer ownership of the community to all of its members, and thus ensure that each member of the community is committed to its success.

This community could not exist without the contributions of many, many people, and each of them deserves thanks and consideration. DFW Nerd Night would not exist in any recognizable form without the loving contributions of my wife, Amy, and her suggestions for connecting with charities across DFW. Additionally, were it not for Andrew Christopher Enriquez’s steadfast dedication to the creation of an ideal community based on love and respect, I would have lost the drive to build this group long ago.

To both of them, and to Nate, Heather, Emmanuel, Bryan, Jeremy, my brother JJ, Brian, Shawn, Mark, Jody, Donny, Phillip, Cody, and each you I’m forgetting, thank you for at least temporarily believing what I asked you to believe – that if you treat people as the best versions of themselves, you’ll be rewarded by their being exactly that. The power of our community is in our inclusivity, and in our willingness to see past our differences and appreciate the commonalities that bind us.

Above all else, put people first.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Review of Ascension: Realms Unraveled

I've played a lot of Ascension in my day.  It may be one of my most played games, mostly because it was one of my first.  Ascension came out right around the time I first got into boardgaming with the likes of Small World and Munchkin.  It was definitely my first deckbuilder.  I really like playing Ascension.  And then, as time wore on, I discovered more games.  I found Thunderstone and Euros and small scale wargames and I forgot all about Ascension.  It released expansions and I bought them, more out of loyalty than interest.  Ultimately, I shelved it, thinking I had perhaps moved past Ascension as a gamer.

Until I played Ascension: Realms Unraveled...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Under Two Reviews #14 Shipyard by Vladimír Suchý

"Under Two Reviews" is a weekly video series in which we take a look at tabletop games and present them to our readers in under two minutes.

This game is about building ships. And rondels. Mostly rondels. If the thought of building ships via nested rondels appeals to you, please take a moment to order this game. Everyone else? Please watch the video and see how building ships via rondels is super-fun. It'll be quick, I promise.

Enjoy the video after the jump!

Monday, August 4, 2014

No Thanks, by Thorston Gimmler

hulsebus-no-thanks-IMG_9243b.jpgNormally you’d see a fancy introduction here, rife with theme and some compelling story about the time I did something or that one thing I think is cool. Not today, friends. No Thanks isn’t a game about theme or stories – it’s a game about numbers, pure and simple, and one of my favorites.

No Thanks is always in my backpack. If I got the heads up that I would be soon be marooned on an island, I’d make sure it was in my jacket pocket. It’s the first game I think of when I’ve got 10 minutes to kill and a group of gamers and non-gamers that need something easy to understand but interesting enough to pull everyone into the “magic circle.”

You can save yourself a few minutes and just go pick this up at your Friendly Local Game Store if you’d like, but if you want to see my strategy guide, read on!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Under Two Reviews #13 Seventh Hero by Kuro

"Under Two Reviews" is a weekly video series in which we take a look at tabletop games and present them to our readers in under two minutes.

The first step to fulfilling your destiny and saving the world, kingdom, or bacon is to recruit the right heroes. Watch this video and learn how to recruit heroes. It's your destiny, after all. It'll be quick, I promise.

Enjoy the video after the jump!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Quick Review: The Builders: Middle Ages by Frédéric Henry and Sabrina Miramon

TLDR: If you want a quick, fun little game (literally little, the game box is smaller than a store-bought package of hummus) that incorporates card drafting, worker placement and resource management while still being kid friendly, The Builders is probably for you!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Splendor, by Marc André

Do you like shiny things? Is your gem collection missing that one beautiful stone to pull it all together? In Splendor, you lead a Merchant Guild competing to produce gems and win the attention of Nobles in your town. Show them you’ve got the most beautiful – and valuable – collection of gems in the province, and you’ll win their hearts – and purses!

This recent release from Space Cowboys combines resource-management and set-collection in a Renaissance-themed game for 2-4 players. Splendor provides a pleasant number of tough choices, particularly for a game purposely designed to be easy to learn and with only a few available actions each turn. If the Merchant in you is already counting coins, read on! 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Gloom, by Keith Baker

“And while the tiny opera singer strolled through the swamp lands in an attempt to shake the sorrow of her recent divorce, she strayed too close to the water, and got Mauled by Manatees!”

While a sentence like that may not seem out of the ordinary to a player of games like Munchkin, Gloom diverges in that you are inflicting such cards upon your own characters!

Perchance, good sir, what is Gloom?

Gloom is a tabletop 2-4 player card game published by Atlas games in which players try to inflict the most woe upon their chosen gothic Victorian family before ending their misery with the sweet release of death.   It lasts between 45 and 75 minutes depending on your group, and can weave elements of storytelling into the competitive card game components.  It is immediately recognizable due to it’s transparent plastic cards, allowing modifiers to interact in a novel way by ‘blocking’ what can be seen from cards played earlier.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Perfect Game #1: Intro and Interesting Choices for Failure.

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In celebration of the upcoming 46th annual "Best-Four-Days-of-Gaming" Gencon, I wanted to do something a little special. It's been awhile since I've gotten to flex my RPG chops, and I intend on spending at least 24 solid hours doing just that at the event that has become tabletop gaming's Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Mōdraniht, and Saturnalia all rolled into one.

With that in mind, I'd like to do a couple of articles for the fine patrons of The Nerd's Table, getting into some gritty design concepts that make good games. As a forewarning, I will be naming some games that may or may not be the best at some of these design philosophies, That doesn't mean that they aren't excellent games, it just means that they are lacking in some areas that would make them My Perfect Game.

Most importantly, though, I want you, dear reader, to get in on the conversation. If this series gets talked about enough in the comments, I'll continue to talk your ear off about the hobby I love the most.

With that out of the way, let's get started!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Under Two Reviews #12 Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game By Jason C Hill

"Under Two Reviews" is a weekly video series in which we take a look at tabletop games and present them to our readers in under two minutes.

Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game comes in a huge box. But what is the game about? It's about being a respectable adventurer. Watch and learn how to be a respectable adventurer. (And steal artifacts.) It'll be quick, I promise.

Enjoy the video after the jump!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Under Two Reviews #11 Pandemic: In the Lab by Matt Leacock and Tom Lehmann

"Under Two Reviews" is a weekly video series in which we take a look at tabletop games and present them to our readers in under two minutes.

Pandemic: In the Lab from Z-Man games is an expansion. It doesn't include the H1N1 virus, but you can go ahead and say those are the purple cubes. What it does include is an imaginary centrifuge. Watch the video and learn all about curing disease with an imaginary centrifuge.
It'll be quick, I promise.
Enjoy the video after the jump!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Under Two Reviews #10 Ginkopolis by Xavier Georges

"Under Two Reviews" is a weekly video series in which we take a look at tabletop games and present them to our readers in under two minutes.

Ginkopolis from Z-Man games is all about building the best city. The best cities don't have to worry about zoning, crime, or taxes. The best cities just are concerned about height, width, area control, and pretty colors.
Watch the video and learn how to draft cards and build a lovely city. It'll be quick, I promise.

Enjoy the video after the jump!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Under Two Reviews #9: Mystery of The Abbey by Bruno Faidutti and Serge Laget

"Under Two Reviews" is a weekly video series in which we take a look at tabletop games and present them to our readers in under two minutes.

Mystery of The Abbey is a reminder that honesty is the best policy. Well, at least when it comes to murder, and you're the one asking all of the questions. So find out the answers to your questions in our little video. It'll be quick. I promise.

Enjoy the video after the jump!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Set Course for Ludicrous Speed: A Review of Race for the Galaxy

I've been watching Cosmos lately.  Have you seen this show?  It's hosted by the poster boy for modern day science, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and takes a big-budget look at our world and the universe as a whole.  One specific episode was about black holes and things in the universe well beyond our reach.  Dr. Tyson talked about pulsars, event horizons, "dark stars", and just how far a light year actually is.  This show piques my interest in an amazing ways and I find myself waiting anxiously for the next episode in the series.  

I'll bet you're wondering how I'm going to tie this into a board game review.  Well, the common themes here are space ("The Final Frontier"™) and things I can't wait to see again.  That's right, I love space and I cannot wait to play Race for the Galaxy again.

Under Two Reviews #8: Krosmaster Arena by Nicolas Degouy & Édouard Guiton

"Under Two Reviews" is a weekly video series in which we take a look at tabletop games and present them to our readers in under two minutes.

War. War never changes... Two adorable factions enter the arena for battle in this tactical skirmish game. Watch our video and learn how you too can take part in the war.
It'll be quick. I promise.

Enjoy the video after the jump!

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Shadow Over Westminster, by Robert Huss

On a shadowy evening in London, three cloaked figured gathered in a hidden Agency to discuss their plans. The Outsider, The Watcher, and The Illuminati Shadow joined forces to discover, and ultimately defeat, an unknown Cataclysm sure to poison the world with Evil.

Given no warning, the heroes immediately found Darkness creeping into the University nearby, unbeknownst to the population of Westminster, but a sure threat all the same. Unsure how to push back the roiling wickedness, the trio sought out Cult Activity in the Underground, seeking clues as to the origins of their plight. After a few horrid hours sneaking silently through the back alleys of London, the Agents returned to the University to pour over their findings. As clear as day, the danger facing the city was the result of a Hive Mind coming to dominate the people of Westminster, then all of the Continent – then the world.

Though endowed with powers unnatural to normal humans, the Agents were ultimately incapable of holding back the darkness spreading through our great city, thanks to the media unwittingly spreading the Hive Mind’s influence. I’m only allowed to tell you this tale because I gave into the Hive Mind early – the rest of you weak, struggling humans will be consumed by its darkness!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ghost Stories by Antoine Bauza


"If your cooperative board game isn't hard enough, then players won't come back and play it."

This is what Antoine Bauza told The Nerd Nighters in an interview. In his Cooperative game Ghost Stories, he's definitely taken the first part of his advice to heart, as Ghost Stories is arguably one of the hardest co-op board games out there. Don't let the difficulty drive you away because, all things considered, it is one of the only pure co-op games that always seems to find its way to the table at my game nights. The challenge adds to the mystique of the game, as the game comes with a score sheet so you can record how close you've come to victory until you finally achieve it.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Dominate 19th Century Commerce with Iron Horses

Iron Horses by Chris Rossetti takes you back into the 19th century when Railroads dominated commerce. Climb aboard any one of Lydon Rail Company’s four railways and race to be the first train to successfully deliver $1,000,000 in resources! Be wary of what lies ahead, as setbacks are bound to happen! Tariffs will slow our delivery, maintenance will stop you in your tracks and hijackers are eager to steal your payload! Fix what you can, deliver the goods and chug along to victory! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Under Two Reviews #7: Eldritch Horror By Corey Konieczka and Nikki Valens

"Under Two Reviews" is a weekly video series in which we take a look at tabletop games and present them to our readers in under two minutes.

Eldritch Horror from Fantasy Flight Games proves that it's hard to keep a good monster down. Like, really hard. New gates keep spawning. Watch our video and learn a bit about Mythos cards and Encounter decks. It'll be quick. I promise.

Enjoy the video after the jump!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Ticket to Ride, by Alan R. Moon

It’s no secret that Days of Wonder is one of my favorite game publishers. They put out quality games like clockwork, typically elegant, re-playable, and beautiful to look at. Ticket to Ride is the epitome of what DoW creates – a game so simple a six year old could play it, but compelling enough that it’s the second-best selling hobby board game in the US, and one of a very small number of games that I see in every single game library I come across.

Ticket to Ride is for everyone. I love maps and numbers, and TTR has both – but if you love quick turns, little down time, and plenty of tension, well, it’s got those things too. It’s also beautiful – the board, the pieces, the cards, all become something wonderful when laid out on a table. This game feels important. Every time I pick up the box I’m surprised by how heavy it is, and every time I play it, I’m surprised again by how much I enjoy it, despite having played 500+ times before.

If you’re a board game enthusiast, odds are you already own TTR, or at least have played it enough times to have an opinion. If you don’t own it, or haven’t played it, put this on the top of your list. It’s among the three games I ALWAYS recommend to a person starting a new game collection, and I think it should be federally mandated that the app has to be on every iPad. If you’re not already convinced, read on!