What’s new in the world of tabletop gaming?
See the original posting on Boing Boing
I’ve been getting a lot of review copies of games sent to me lately, so I thought, periodically, I’d share some of what looks interesting and fun to me with Boing Boing readers.
Plaid Hat Games, $60, 2-4 players, Ages 7+
Stuffed Fables, by Mice and Mystics designer, Jerry Hawthorne, is a cooperative story-telling miniatures game that literally takes place inside of an illustrated storybook. I love the backstory here. The game is played within ten adventures that take place in a little girl’s bedroom (with each adventure triggered by a milestone event in her life, like moving into a big girl bed). As she sleeps at night, her nightmares come to life and crawl out from under her bed.To defend her from these boogeymen, her beloved stuffed animals (“stuffies”) come to life and go to battle against these monsters from her nightmares. The little girl remains none-the-wiser about the epic battles that take place as she slumbers. While the game has a fairy-horror theme, and awesome miniatures to fit that theme, it’s not very dark to play. It’s rated 7+, and that probably holds true in practice, although the rules and game mechanics might prove a little too fussy for younger attention spans. The plastic miniatures (23 of them), the storybook/gameboards, and all of the rest of the components are gorgeous and very much fit the dreamy/fairy-horror theme. I’m planning on doing a Stuffed Fables game night at my house soon and requiring players to come in PJs and bring their own stuffies. Molly, optional.
OGRE Miniatures Set 1
SJ Games, $30.53, 2 players, Ages 14+
OGRE has a soft spot in my geeky little hexagonal heart because it was the first map and counters wargame I ever bought. This was the ancient “pocket edition” from the late 70s which sold for $2.95. OGRE-love is stronger than ever these days, with a multitude of ways of playing the game (look for a feature on current OGRE madness soon). The latest offering from Steve Jackson Games is a wonderful set of plastic OGRE miniatures.The set includes 40 5mm plastic miniatures, including two OGRE cybertanks (1 Mk III, 1 Mk V). This set is sold as a box of miniatures for use with 6th edition OGRE, but the box also includes the OGRE Lite rules, a lovely pearlescent d6 OGRE die, and two erasable record sheets for your OGREs. With all of this, you basically have everything you need to play (minus an irradiated post-apocalyptic battlefield to further irradiate).
Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
Wizards of the Coast, $29
The first major rules supplement to the wildly-popular 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything doesn’t exactly contain everything (that’s the Beholder talking), but it does contain some welcome and exciting additions to the game. This is definitely a book designed to inspire more of the roleplaying and world-building elements of D&D. A lengthy section on subclasses and character class motivations and backstories is designed to add more depth and dimension to your characters. Many of the new spells, such as Ceremony (rituals for marriage, funeral rites, dedications), Mighty Fortress (conjuring a defensive stone fortress from the ground), and Temple of the Gods (conjuring a temple mirage that can trap enemies who attempt to enter it), are all designed to make your characters more true-to-type and gameplay richer and more cinematic. The book also has a section on Tools that character classes use, random encounter tables for different bio-regions, new traps and magic items, a character name generator, and lots more. Throughout, Xanathar, Waterdeep’s most notorious Beholder and crime lord, offers his snarky, menacing thoughts in the marginalia. With recent books like Volo’s Guide to Monsters, and now Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, the D&D manuals themselves are in fine roleplaying character.
Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago: Lost Colossus
Osprey Games, $16, 2-8 players, Ages 12+
Osprey continues to knock it out of the park with their Frostgrave fantasy skirmish game system. Last year saw a new area of the Frostgrave world fleshed out with the release of Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago, a tropical, pirate-y game set within a mysterious, enchanted group of islands that winks in and out of existence every few centuries. With Ghost Archipelago: Lost Colossus, the ethereal islands get a series of interlinked adventures to go on in search of the broken pieces of the Colossus of Argantheon. Finding the pieces of this gigantic ruined statue may provide clues to the Crystal Pool, the lost, magical wellspring of the Archipelago, which grants various powers to those who drink from it.
Blue Orange Games, $33, 2-4 players, Ages 10+
Based on a number of breathless reviews, I bought this game for several people as gifts this past Christmas. Imagine if chess pieces grew as you played and shaded out the pieces of your opponent. That’s kind of what happens in Photosynthesis. You’re growing trees on a game board. A sun marker moves around the board as you play, shining light on some trees, making them grow, and in the process, throwing shade on other trees, slowing down their growth. The game is easy to learn but has impressive tactical depth as you have to think ahead to where the sun will be in moves ahead and how you can use the position of the sun (and the shade cast by your trees) to slow the growth of your opponents’ trees. The artwork for Photosynthesis is gorgeous and the components are top quality. Punching out and assembling all of the trees and counters is a bit of a pain, but the lovely results are worth it.
Gaslands: Post-Apocalyptic Vehicular Combat
Osprey Games, $14.38, Players 2-6, Ages 11+
Nerds of a certain age will likely (and lovingly) remember Car Wars, the Mad Max-y post-apocalyptic car combat game that Steve Jackson released in the 1980s. The game component