Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mascarade, by Bruno Faidutti

Sometimes the fog of war and the din of battle are too much. Sometimes alien invasions are more than a person can handle. A person can only stop a world-wide spread of a disease so many times before needing some rest and relaxation. When world saving games and battling ancient evils gets to be a little too much, there’s always the Mascarade.

Hide behind your mask, bluff your friends, and collect the gold. In Mascarade you take on the role of a guest at a grand party and, using your wit and wiles, try to collect thirteen gold coins before the other guests. There are three potential sources of gold in the game. The courthouse, the bank, and other players. Each character has a unique ability that helps or hinders the flow of gold. The catch is that nobody, even you, can really be sure who you are.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Interview with Jeremiah Culp

Doug Levandowski here with Jeremiah Culp, who is currently running a second Kickstarter for his project, Board Games for Troops Overseas, a project seeking to get games in the hands of active servicemen and servicewomen. Jeremiah, thanks for taking the time to talk with me today - but more importantly thanks for your service to the country.  Can you tell us a little about yourself? When did you join the Marines? What got you into board gaming?

Hi, Doug, thank you for the opportunity to share my project with you.  I am originally from Des Moines, Iowa, and have been in the Marine Corps for 14 years.  I first starting playing hobby board games around 2008 when my wife purchased the Carcassonne Big Box for me for Christmas. I had stumbled into a game shop at one of the malls, saw the game, and immediately told my wife I needed the game!  Since then, I have slowly grew my own library to nearly 80 games.

I had a similar experience with Catan. That’s the gateway game that hooked me, but I’ve kind of fallen out of love with it in the past few years. How about you? What are some of your favorite games now?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Interview with Gil Hova, creator of Bad Medicine

Doug Levandowski here with Gil Hova, the man behind Formal Ferret Games and the creator of games like Battle Merchants and Prolix - and who’s now running a Kickstarter for his hysterical, inventive party game, Bad Medicine. I’ve played it, I love it, and I backed it the day it launched. Gil, can you tell us a little more about esteemed game designer Gil Hova?

Hey look everybody! It's Gil Hova!

Sure, Doug! I’ve been designing board games since about 2000, but it took me a while to figure out how to do it right. My first published game was the word game Prolix (Z-Man, 2010). Then came the economic strategy game Battle Merchants (Minion, 2014).

I’ve led a full life. I was a sound editor in film and television for five years (worked on the first two Pokemon movies!), played in an Indonesian gamelan orchestra for a month, done radio shows, interviewed heavy metal bands, recorded indie punk bands, programmed computers, and now I’m designing games.

About the ferret thing: I didn’t just pick a random animal. I’ve owned various ferrets for 20 years. They’re my favorite animals in the world.

So you’ve done basically everything then, huh? What’s the absolute worst job you’ve ever had? Or the worst part of one of your jobs?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Interview with Heather O'Neill & Heather Wilson, creators of Schrödinger’s Cats

Doug Levandowski here with the creator(s) of Schrödinger’s Cats, a card game for 2 to 6 players that’s on Kickstarter until February 19th. I’m chatting with the Heathers, Heather O’Neill and Heather Wilson, two of the three creators of Schrödinger’s Cats.

Before we talk about the game, tell me a bit about you. Who are ya? What got you into game design?
Heather O'Neill: I’m a creative and social person but love math, science and spreadsheets too! My day job is at AT&T in the construction and engineering department and I’ve worked at other engineering firms in the past. In additional to making games, I also run BestConEver which is a small event company that hosts game days and mini-conventions (50 people or less).

I am a tabletop gamer. I love strategy based games as much as bluffing, social and party games. Over the last 5 years or so I’ve been offering advice or suggestions on other people’s games but didn’t really consider making them myself.  Back in 2012 I created my first game with my husband Chris.  After that, I knew that I could actually do this and started working on a few ideas.  Schrödinger’s Cats is just such a marketable idea that we felt it should be the first one in (hopefully) a series of many.

Heather Wilson: I’ve always loved games but it never occurred to me I could actually make them myself (aside from the board games I created in elementary school) until I met Heather and Chris years and years ago. A couple of summers ago we decided to actually start producing more of the random ideas we had and Schrödinger’s Cats was the one we were the most excited to make. In my professional life I work in video game development. I sort of fell into it, but it’s a lot of fun. I’m currently working for Brace Yourself Games on their Crypt of the NecroDancer title. Before that I worked at Harmonix Music Systems, makers of Rock Band, Dance Central, and lots of other rhythm titles, for 9 years.

I definitely spent WAY too much money on Rock Band instruments and songs. I got the keytar and everything. Did working for Harmonix influence you as a designer at all?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Image result for dungeons and dragons logo
This is a guest post from Andrew Christopher Enriquez, co-host of The Nerd Nighters and life-long gamer.

So after an exactly 20 year hiatus, I finally played D&D again. I was the same ages as my son is now when i played my first session. I ran my wife and two kids (8 and 10) through the first scenario of the starter box. OK so i have played in a few 1st edition campaigns but they were always really shorted lived, and saying i haven't played D&D is not saying i haven't Role played at all. But for all intents and purposes I've been away from the brand for a very long time.

We went to the Reaper store up in Denton one night to pick out minis for our characters, and minis for the bad guys. I figured this would help keep the kids engaged if they had mini's to care about, especially if they took the time to paint them themselves. My son has ZERO patience for playing games, and a pretty bad temper to boot. Board wiping(he has ODD) because he has to wait in turn is not an uncommon occurrence, so we usually keep it to light quick paced games. And D&D definitely is not light or quick paced, ESPECIALLY since i haven't played in so long

So how did we do? Well to be honest i should really preface this by saying my wife wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with this, she didn't want to role play at all. She has a hard time getting into any game where she embodies a character, even Mice and Mystics and Betrayal are too much for her. This is not a complaint, i understand role playing isn't for everyone, shoot no game genre is for everyone. I just knew going in, that she decided to play with us because i pressured her into making this a family event. And she hung in there as best as she could.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Horrible Hex, by Jon Moffat

I had the good fortune to attend Unpub 5 in Baltimore last weekend, a collection of incredibly bright designers and a breeding ground for great game design. I met with Aaron from Stone Circle Games and got a demo of Horrible Hex, which I'd been looking forward to since my Back It! interview with designer Jon Moffat. I was also excited to play because of their hilarious Kickstarter video (link below).

Horrible Hex is a tile placement game for 1-3 players, in which players vie to create patters of red and black hexes by sliding, swapping, pushing, and jumping tiles on the board. It's a delightfully simple game, as the only real barrier to learning is understanding the two steps in the turn (movement, then placement) and the symbols on the hexes themselves.

If you're a fan of abstract strategy and tile placement games (I am), then I think this game could be right up your alley. More after the jump!

Railways of the World, Video from Edo's Guest Reviews

Hey Nerd Nighters, I was asked to give a few guest reviews of games I love for Edo's Game Reviews! Here's the first in what should be a series of them: Railways of the World by Glenn Drover and Martin Wallace.

Give it a watch, and let me know in the comments if you would ever put your head through a game board like I did :)

See more of Edo's Game Reviews here - they're great!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Rise to Power, by Allen Chang and Alistair Kearney

Normally I adorn these first few paragraphs with quippy one-liners and phrases meant to draw the prospective reader closer to the bottom of the article, where surely I'll let loose some long-considered opinion of a game that redefines the way the reader sees games, and this game in particular.

Sadly, there's no time for that today. I'm so busy playing Rise to Power that its difficult to make time to check my my mail, let alone compose a flowery introduction. You'll have to make due with this: Rise to Power was the best game I played at PAX South, and perhaps the best game I've played in 2015.

If that's not enough to convince you to drop everything and go play it, read on!