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February 28
2014

Board Game Review: 7 Wonders

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Strategy games that span millennia and have you building up civilizations from nothing—like, say, Civilization—often can be multi-hour affairs. Sometimes they can last days if you want to play an epic multiplayer game. So one can imagine that board games that emulate this genre take an equally long amount of time with just as much concentration and strategy. And, well, you’d be right! Games like Clash of Cultures and Civilization (the board game) can be very long and intensive. However, what if I told you that there was a board game where you could build a civilization in half an hour? Even if you had the maximum of seven players? It’s true! 7 Wonders aims to provide difficult choices and requires flexible planning, all in a sleek, 30-minute package. The question is: does it deliver?

…the answer is yes. This game rocks. Sorry, I’m bad at suspense.

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January 28
2014

Tabletopping: Fiasco

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Fiasco is not your usual tabletop RPG. In fact, it’s difficult to describe it as an RPG at all. It’s more like a board game, RPG, and acting exercise all met and threw a really screwed up party. Or had a really screwed up kid.

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November 20
2013

Tabletopping: Ashen Stars

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So far, our group has played classic fantasy in Dungeon World, modern-day supernatural in Don’t Rest Your Head, and, er, 1920s Russian ninjas in Fate Core. So where else do we turn to now…but the stars? Science fiction RPGs definitely have a history, so it was inevitable that we played one eventually. The question was which one?

I had a vague plan of what games I wanted to try, and for this session I wanted to play a game that used the GUMSHOE system. The GUMSHOE system is based on investigation and mysteries rather than dungeon-crawling and explosions (though there are plenty of those too). The choices I presented to my group were to play either Nights’ Black Agents, where you play as ex-special forces fighting vampires in a superspy setting, Mutant City Blues, where X-Men meets CSI, or the game that we ended up playing, which is Ashen Stars.

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November 13
2013

Tabletopping: Fate Core

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I sit around the table with the other players. I begin, “In this game, we can basically make up what kind of genre we want to play and what kind of world we want to play in. So, what elements do you want to be in our game?”

“Ninjas,” Rick says immediately.

“Supernatural!” says Ben.

“Russians!” says Rick.

I stare for a moment. “So…Magical Russian ninjas.”

“In the 1920s,” Noah says.

“…in the 1920s,” I confirm. “This is going to be weird as hell game.”

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November 6
2013

Upcoming Tabletop: “Three Days until Retirement” and Interview with Creator Stuart Keating!

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So let’s say one crazy day you decide that you’re a bit tired of slaying dragons. Swiss Army Vorpal Swords +Whatever make you yawn. Wizards throwing fireballs? Laaaame. You have some friends over and you’ve been watching a marathon of Lethal Weapon (like we are all prone to do at some point, I’m sure). Suddenly you have the idea: what about a tabletop RPG where you play as loose cannon cops who are too old for this shit and are just three days away from retirement?!

Well, sorry to say, but you’ve been beat to the punch.

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October 31
2013

Tabletopping, Nightmare Edition: Don’t Rest Your Head

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So, I know I promised a look at Fate Core for this edition of Tabletopping, but it’s Halloween! You need something scary. So instead we’re going to take a look at a game called Don’t Rest Your Head. DRYH is a game about madness and finding yourself. It’s also about personal horrors and the things you least want to happen to you coming to be. Additionally, it’s about having the power to summon a knife that can cut anything, including emotional ties and promises.

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October 10
2013

Tabletopping: Dungeon World

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“You hear a howl, followed shortly by two others. Within moments, you see them: a trio of worg, horrific canine beasts, with two goblins riding on each. The front goblins are wielding wicked swords. The ones in back brandish bows. They are charging towards you, malice in their eyes. What do you do?” That’s the dreaded moment. “What do you do?” is the most important question in Dungeon World, a tabletop RPG that mixes dungeon crawling and storytelling. It’s a pointed question, one that spurs the players into action. It demands an answer, and it demands one immediately. “The ogre swings the huge, gnarled trunk at you. What do you do?” There isn’t a simple answer. Dodge out of the way? Try to brute force your way past the attack, exposing the creature? Perhaps you have a spell prepared for this situation. Though maybe you’re just going to get smacked. Or you dodge away only to put yourself into an even worse situation. That’s life in Dungeon World, and sometimes life can be brutally short.

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