TableTop Day

Holidays, in the modern sense, are days we stop to remember and/or celebrate an event, a people, or a place. There’s the ones we are all familiar with, e.g., St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Halloween, Christmas, etc, but there is also countless lesser known holidays celebrated all over. Manitou Springs in Colorado celebrates “Fruitcake Toss Day” on January 3rd, Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan celebrates “Snowman Burning Day” on March 20th, Austin, Texas celebrates “No Pants Day” on May 1st, and the United Federation of Planets celebrates “Federation Day” on October 9th. A few years ago Boyan Radakovich, a game designer and web show producer, created “International Tabletop Day” as a way to celebrate the tabletop gaming community and industry. Usually we go to a local gaming shop, but since we were new to the area, and options were very limited, we decided to stay home and spend all day Saturday playing.

The kids created individual lists of what games they wanted to play, and we stacked them in the screen room. Of the 11 selected, we managed to play 7 in a day. In all of the games the wife, myself, Pippi, Jem, and Bubbles played, and occasionally Duke joined in when not playing outside with his brothers Pooh and Baby Kermit.

To start things off we played a little card game called Tempurra, where anthropomorphic cats have an eating contest in a Taiwanese Snackbar. The short explanation of gameplay is players stacking matching dishes (cards) face-up and when a player can’t place a card they eat the dishes (draw that many from the deck). If they get indigestion (draw a “No More!” card) they get a negative point. The game ends when someone gets three negative points. I got fairly unlucky as I drew the most indigestion cards, followed by the wife. None of the girls drew indigestion cards, so Pippi won having the most cards in hand (15).
Overall: A short card game with a funny theme. Like most card games, luck of the draw largely determines play although with strategic early “eating” and careful hand management players can last longer in this game of attrition.

After having warmed up with a card game we moved onto Dixit, a story telling party game revolving around cards but with some “board” aspects. Each player draws a hand of six cards, and each takes a turn playing the “Storyteller”. The storyteller selects a card from their hand, places it facedown, and says a word, phrase, or sentence represented by the picture. The other players select a card from their hand they think represents what has been said. The storyteller then shuffles the cards and repeats what they said earlier each time they reveal one of the played cards. All players then vote, using cardboard chits, which card they think best represents what was said. The pictures on the cards have a Salvador Dali-esque feel to them.  The challenge comes from the storyteller needing at least one person to select their card, but if nobody or everybody selects their card they get no points. Other players get points if somebody gives their card the number one chit. A fun aspect I found to the game is often other players played cards that better represented the spoken word. Points are tallied using meeple-esque wooden bunnies racing around a track trying to get to 30. Bubbles and Pippi tied in our game.
Overall: A great party game that keeps children involved using their imagination. Best played periodically due to the limited number of cards (although there are seven expansions that provide an additional 84 cards each!)

We moved into formal board game territory with Pirate’s Cove, a European take on pirates racing to acquire the most fame in a year.  There’s a large square board with various islands, and each player has a map representing their ships various strengths, e.g., sailing speed, cannons, crew size, and hull capacity. Each island has a stack of treasure cards, and during a turn players use a ships wheel to select in private which island they’re sailing for. If more than one ship arrives at the same island, a sea battle ensures, which involves dice rolling based on the pirate’s crew and cannon ratio. Some, like Gem, were able to sail most of the game uncontested and were able to continually upgrade their ship. The wife, Pippi, and I were continually unlucky, often battling it out, and more often than not, being forced to retreat to Pirate’s Cove to recoup. You could retreat early before your ship was crippled but it always risked a disastrous mutiny. Midway through the game Bubbles managed to gain a significant lead, after making critically successful power plays. Final scoring:

  1. Bubbles – 46 fame
  2. Jem – 39
  3. Mom – 34
  4. Dad – 32
  5. Pippi – 30

Overall: A chaotic game of risk and reward. Ironically, it’s often better to avoid battle and focus on middle of the road rewards, as even winners have to repair battle damage, which cuts into their supposedly better rewards.

We moved onto a lighter game, Enchanted Forest, a children’s roll & move game with memory aspects. Each player plays a wizard (who has no magical powers) searching the forest for lost items from famous fairy tales. The board, artwork, and playing pieces are good quality. A stack of cards is placed on the castle and a card is revealed. Players search the forest, looking under plastic trees for the item. When they find the right tree, their supposed to get back the castle, without raising suspicion, and reveal the items location. As the game progresses the guessing speeds up as players recall which items were under which trees. Jem won the initially revealed card, and we called it quits from there.
Overall: Urgh, shoot me. We thought this game would be more fun, but the rolling and moving was tedious, as you often missed landing on the trees exact location. Then there was the whole aspect of getting back to the castle. Rinse and repeat for each card. Blah. Good for kids with a lot of time on their hands, and who don’t know better games.

After taking a break we came back to Oh Gnome You Don’t!, a roll & move game involving gnomes brawling each other as they attempt to collect the most gems. For an American game this game has a strong, albeit silly, theme. The artwork is well done and gameplay is relatively balanced so most gnomes stay within a few spaces of each other. Most gems are gained from selling plants and other items to local merchants along the way, although gems can also be gained from fighting and trickery. Bubbles actually reached the finish line first long before anybody else, however this hurt her as she essentially skipped the last fourth of the board. This allowed others to collect more items, sell them, and generally collect additional gems. Some of the girls got upset when cards were played against them, taking the slights very personally. Final gem count:

  1. Mom – 51
  2. Duke – 47
  3. Jem – 47
  4. Bubbles – 45
  5. Pippi – 44
  6. Dad – 43

Overall: This game can be fun at times, but pacing is uneven. It starts at a slow pace, the mid-game is quite rowdy and fun, but then the end game gets monotonous. The back and forth between players can be fun for some, and upsetting for others. Certainly a “once-in-a-while” game.

We didn’t plan it this way, but we played two cutthroat games back to back. Survive: Escape from Atlantis, is a modular board game where players attempt to fleeing the sinking island and make it safely to the neighboring islands. The board is mostly water spaces, and the island is made up from six sided cardboard pieces of three different thicknesses, representing sandy beach, island jungle, and mountains. We took turns placing our plastic guys on tiles, followed by each of us placing two empty boats. Gameplay has each player taking three actions, which involves moving their pieces, then removing one tile from the game, and finally rolling the dice to see which sea creature (dolphin, shark, whale, and sea serpents) moves and how far. The game ends when one of the mountain tiles (after all the sand and jungle tiles are removed first) containing the volcano is revealed. Players count points on the bottom of guys that made it to the islands. Things get cutthroat quickly as boats are moved away from the island early, tiles player’s pieces sit on are removed, and sea creatures are used to attack other player’s pieces. Jem and Pippi managed to get their high value guys to the islands, relatively unmolested. On Bubbles and I’s side of the island it was pure chaos as whales destroyed boats and sharks ate swimmers. Bubbles encouraged other players to attack my guys for some minor slight, lost in the end when she didn’t get any guys to the islands, despite having three boats full.

  1. Jem – 18 points
  2. Pippi – 16
  3. Mom – 14
  4. Dad – 8
  5. Bubbles – 0

Overall: This game is actually a reprint of the one I played three decades ago, which produces strong nostalgic feelings for me. The game has great tension and stark realization dawns that not everyone can be saved. The modular island and the variety of sea creatures allows different scenarios offering great replayability. Again, like the “Oh Gnome You Don’t!” game, this one isn’t recommend if children are sensitive to negative actions being played against them.

As it grew late in the day we finished with a card game. Exploding Kittens is a press your luck card game with outrageous artwork from Matthew Inman, author of “The Oatmeal” comic website. In this game you don’t want to draw cards. Matches are played, or cards are played to reverse turn order or force another player to play two turns. Each draw from the deck increases the chance of drawing a bomb. If a player has a defuse card they can place a bomb card back into the deck where ever they want. However, other players knowing your holding a previous defuse card will play cards to draw a random card from your hand, hoping to gain the defuse card. Despite having played it before the girls goofed on one of the rules, saying defuse cards go back into the desk, when they shouldn’t. Through strategic card playing the wife and I outlasted the girls but went into a never-ending loop since the defuse cards were being recycle along with the bombs. Ultimately we decide the wife won since she held more cards.
Overall: In my opinion this game is overhyped. Sure it’s got wacky artwork and a silly premise, but it lacks substance and relies too heavily on luck. Kids will enjoy it for the wackiness but adults will grow tired of it quickly.

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Fort Toulouse, AL

“Guest” Blog post by George
 
History has always been considered important to my family; it gives context to who we are, and insight to our future. If I had a time machine I would travel back to see each family generation as they were. Since that (currently) isn’t possible, living history is the next best thing. Fort Toulouse recently had their “French and Indian War” re-enactment day. This time period is the middle of the 18th century, where the first global conflict is raging, the Seven Years’ War, as France’s and Britain’s long-term rivalry erupts into a fight for supremacy. Earlier in the century, from a family perspective, our ancestors arrived in New France and were stationed at a Fort near Montreal. Fort Toulouse was built like many forts at the time, at a strategic position overlooking a bend in the regions significant waterway. Despite being built in an area claimed by three major powers, no battle was ever fought at the fort. My guess is because European settlement was low in the area. The area didn’t see any real importance until General Jackson arrived in the area during the Creek War, and ordered Fort Jackson built on the site.
The Fort is certainly worth visiting for anyone in the Montgomery, Alabama area. The area remains undeveloped, aiding the step back into the past. A replica fort sits on the site, and was alive with activity as French soldiers and civilians went about their daily life. We arrived in time to see the local garrison form up, march, and raise the Kingdom of France flag used during the time of King Louis XV. The children spoke with locals as they spun wool, churned butter, baked bread, and went about their day. They met a Coureur des bois, a French-Canadian woodsmen who lived between the worlds of the French and the local natives. He was replacing the flint on his .69 caliber Charleville musket, a heavy weapon of ten pounds, in preparation for the upcoming skirmish with British forces. Outside the Fort we ventured into the nearby Indian outpost, and met the Muskogee (Creek) Indians. The children greeted using the Muskogee words the Coureur des bois had taught them. There they found children their age using rocks to crack open acorns, prime ingredient for the unique experience that is acorn bread. We visited the local merchants circled outside the fort, and spent some time with the Blacksmith as he quickly and expertly forged nails in rapid fashion. Next we journeyed westward to a field where a British unit was encamped. Guards patrolled the perimeter, and most of the unit was “enjoying” a lunch of dried meat and fruit, and slightly moldy bread. We spoke with a Royal Artilleryman about the unit’s one pound breech-loading swivel gun. He admitted it was cast with river boat defense in mind, and thus the limited bore, but felt it provided physiological advantage fighting land forces. We met a British Lieutenant that was dismayed at our small French flags, and expressed contempt for our ancestry. He extorted the virtues of the English way and was confident of victory in the upcoming battle.
We walked onward to the site of Fort Jackson, a sizeable frontier fort common to the Napoleonic era. Not much remains, raised dirt shows one bastion, and a small stone building. The rest of the fort site is defined by gentle earthen ditches and ridges. Further towards the river we saw a small, forested hill. Not much to look at now, but it was a ceremonial mound built by the Mississippian Indians over a thousand years ago. We made our way back to the field by the British encampment, where we watched the French and British forces engage in linear fashion. Unlike the skirmish earlier in the day, the Muskogee and Coureur des bois stayed in the relative safety of the trees since they didn’t have the advantage of surprise. The two lines of the regulars and militia approached and raked each other with musket volleys. Men dropped on both sides, but the British line eventually pushed the French off the field.
We left mid-afternoon, as the heat index was in the high eighties; Alabama has a humid subtropical climate. Despite the heat, I heartily recommend visiting the Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson State Historic Site, particularly during re-enactments which bring the Fort to life and offer a glimpse into the past.

Throw Back Thursday: October 2013 

Adventure in DC : So yesterday morning our neighbors brought over some tickets to The Washington International Horse Show. After a night of crying baby, Baby Kermit, we decided to sleep a few more hours before getting up and seeing what it was all about. So get the info and we decide it’s worth a trip to downtown DC. We rush to get all the kids ready and head to BK for lunch. We quick eat our lunch and head to the Anacostia Metro station. (so in the back of my head I am thinking this is going to be near my fears of zombie clowns. I am going cry, hide my children, and never leave base again.)

There was actually a very nice man working the booth at the Metro station who offered up lots of help and a friendly smile to boot. At the platform we come across a very interesting character which the kids can’t help but talk to since he insisted on sitting near us after making the comment “oh look there’s white people.” (This is seriously the comment that was made) The train ride was alot of jerking back and forth from the constant stopping and going. We got to our stop only to find out we should have gotten off at the stop before. I am nauseous at that point and need a bathroom. As we walked along 7th street there weren’t many places that looked like they would offer a public restroom. I spotted a McDonald’s and thought we would be safe. To my surprise the door to the restroom required a token. Thankfully I found some kind ladies at a near by bar that took pity on me and poor Bubbles.

We make our way to the box office to find out we have completely missed the kids day stuff but hey why not see what this whole horse show thing is about. It’s hard to turn down something free and an opportunity to experience something new. The kids were instantly drawn in. Even the 2 boys, Duke and Pooh, enjoyed themselves. Baby Kermit was just happy to eat and been out of the stroller for a bit. Not sure how long we stayed but long enough for the kids to get their fill of Show Jumping Horses. So we headed back to the near by Metro station. And again things go pretty smoothly getting on and off of the train. The kids loved the ride and behaved the entire day. We even made it back in time for Mass and George’s KOC meeting. The kids were happy to enjoy there dinner of French toast and bacon before being sent to bed. It was a much needed day out for all of us and very enjoyable, WE CAN SURVIVE THE METRO 🙂

 

Gloom 

In most games you’re trying to come out on top, i.e., building an empire, defeating an evil ogre, escaping a sinking island, surviving a long, zombie-infested winter, but in Gloom you want your family miserable. Not just miserable, but the most wretched, cursed family that ever lived and DIED. Gloom is a card game for 2 to 5 players, and the intended audience is teenagers and adults due to the mature-ish content, and the unusual language used. Players win by having the family with the lowest self-worth points after one of the families have all their members die. The cards are unique given they’re transparent, enabling cards to played on top of family member cards, adding or removing additional points, and occasionally obscuring previous points.

Players have the option to use cards to kill off family members with a negative self-worth, lower a family member’s self-worth, or raise another player’s family member’s self-worth. Examples of mishaps are the following: was distressed by dysentery, was taunted by tigers, was pestered by poltergeist, and was terrified by topiary. Examples of positive events are the following: found fame at a feast, was the toast of the town, was delighted by ducklings, and was wondrously well wed. When a player feels a family member has sufficiently low self-worth, and before a player can place positive event cards, the family member can have an untimely death, e.g., was baked into a pie, was devoured by weasels, and fell from on high.

A theme enhanced way to play the game is to generate an ongoing story as cards are played. For instance, Darius Dark was out for his usual evening walk on the moor when out of the mist came fearsome beasts. Darius [was pursued by poodles], and to escape their bites he jumped and waded into the marsh. Unable to return to land because of poodles he waded further out into the water until it became deep enough to swim. With his strength sapped he swam towards what he thought was a rock. Too late he noticed his error and [was mauled by a manatee]. Desperately he swam away and before he lost consciousness he managed to pull himself up onto a floating log. Awoken by singing and a gentle brush on his cheek, he saw his future bride for the first time, and that’s how he [found love on the lake]. Months later Darius was wedded, and as the ceremony came to an end, a sudden earthquake caused the pipe organ to shift off its platform, and fall onto the bride, and that’s how Darius [was windowed at the wedding]. Overcome by grief, Darius turned to the bottle and met his end a time later after he [drank too much rye].

As you can see, it’s a macabre game, like something out of Addams Family, Lemony Snicket, Tim Burton, etc. with its stories and the Victorian-esque artwork. As each player only has two actions each turn, it’s a challenge to spread misfortune on each of your family members and sending them to untimely deaths before positive events can happen to them, played by other players. Not a game I would want to play often, but certainly one to pull out on a dark and stormy night.

 -George

Post Human

Theme: Extremely strong. The game oozes with atmosphere. In the future generic tampering with the human genome gives rise to a post-human species known as “the evolved”. Seeing humans as a threat to the planet’s future, an apocalyptic event known as “The Fall” decimates humanity.  Based on the backstory of one of the premade characters, “The Runner”, the game starts roughly two decades after The Fall. The human players are journeying across unknown lands to reach the fortress, a safe haven for humans. Players maintain an inventory of weapons, items, skills, supplies utilizing cards, chits, and cubes on a character sheet. Encounters are either atmospheric narration, a mini story with a skill check or decision point, or vibrant enemies: humans (doomsayer zealot, slavers, gang members, etc.), mutants (netboy, siren, whisperer, etc.), and animals (wilds dogs). As, events are happening in the form of season changes (winter depression, hurricane, etc.), and occurrences (trader caravan, finding a guide, being watched, etc.).

Players: 1-4. Posthuman is aimed at a multi-player experience, with the threat of players mutating and turning on their human players. The solo game removes a few cards, adds a fortress card to the event deck to create a timer aspect, and the winning conditions are slightly modified.

Price: $59.99. Given the quality of the components, the complexity, replayability, and session play times, I consider this a reasonable price.

Genre: Post-apocalyptic. A hybrid experience of a Eurogame and a Thematic (Ameritrash) game.

Eurogame elements:

  • Player conflict is non-existent (until/if player(s) become mutant)
  • Non-elimination. Players who are Knocked Out (loss of all HP, loss of all morale, or starvation) are penalized by taking two scars, loss any followers, and move their character back to the starting position; however, they retain their place on the journey track and still have a chance to complete the game.
  • High quality artwork and components
  • Featured Designer, Gordon Calleja

Thematic elements:

  • Intense theme
  • Randomness from card & tile draws, and dice rolls
  • Lots of components (8 custom meeples, 72 terrain tiles, 50 wooden cubes, 236 chits, 4 character sheets)
  • Slew of cards (363 split across 17 categories)
  • 16 custom d6 dice (9 Melee, 5 Shooting, 2 Defense), and 2 regular d6 dice.

Quality: Superb, beyond expectation. All of the cards have a nice smooth finish making shuffling and handling easy; the majority of the cards are the mini size (1.75W x 2.5L),  and the event, character, and mutant turn cards are the standard size (2.5W x 3.5L). All the cardboard components easily and cleanly popped out of the shipping mats, and the connectors on the cardboard components were minimal. The terrain tiles are made from 1/16 inch cardboard, which gives them the minimum sturdiness; the character sheets are slightly thinner than the terrain tiles and care must be taken not to bend them. The wooden marker cubes are the 1/4 inch style and are uniformly painted. The custom, wooden meeples are fun; they give the appearance of a person backpacking, or a hunched mutant depending on your perspective. The custom dice are unique, using symbols from the game; the shooting dice are colored blue with gun sight symbols with numbers for range, X, and question marks; the melee dice are colored red with axe, shield, X, and question mark symbols; the Defense dice are colored green with similar symbols of the melee dice but with an extra shield. The board is 1/16 inch cardboard, and its primary design is tracking journey progress, and specifying locations for the various card decks. The rules booklet is large and colored, is 12 pages long, and with the last pages being a rules summary and symbol reference.

Storage: Cardboard insert. The internal storage of the game is a cardboard insert with two slots. The narrower slot fits all the terrain tiles and mini cards tightly enough to prevent them from sliding around. The large slot fits the character sheets, standard cards, the dice, meeples, and cardboard components. The rules booklet and board fit on top, leaving 3/4 inch of space left. Ultimately, the insert is functional, however if you expect to play this game a lot it demands a custom insert due to the sheer number of components. Currently, there is no commercial custom insert for Posthuman; a generic laser cut or plastic injection molded insert would accommodate the cards. To make your own insert, I recommend researching foamcore insert tutorials; the materials are cheap, as the primary cost is the time to design and implement the custom insert.

Artwork: Great, minor issues. The game team had a lead artist and five artists. The art is consistent and unified across components. The cover art captures the essence of the game, a ragged human leaving a destroyed town and golden field behind, venturing up a mountain path with a gun drawn and the other hand ready to unsheathe the knife. An ominous shadow is cast across the rocks; it can be interpreted to be the human’s. However, the shadow has a sinister, monstrous look to it, alluding to the external threats, but also the internal threat of becoming a mutant. The game board has the journey tracker, which is displayed as an aerial view of a path through the wilderness, across a bridge, up the mountain to the safety of the fortress. The depictions of the mutants, humans, items, etc add to the flavor. A downside was the mini cards are already small, and then the mutant and human artwork only takes a third or fourth of that card which restricts the amount of detail. For the character sheet the cube colors match their respectively slots, e.g., the health cube is green since that attribute it tied to strength. The six inventory slots are inside a duffel bag. The game makes extensive use of symbols; I counted over 60, which can be found on nearly every component. Related, there is a consistent color scheme, e.g., the ranged weapon cards utilize the color blue to match the blue shooting dice.

Learning: Moderate to Hard. I definitely recommend reading the rules booklet through once, watching how to play videos, and playing the game solo first. You’ll have to refer back to the rules many times during play. On page 11 there is the rules summary which you’ll want to have open. There’s a symbol summary on the back of the rules booklet, although it’s not as helpful as it could be. For instance, Do not, under any circumstances, introduce people new to boardgaming to this game. There’s a lot of moving parts with the stats, weapons, skills, equipment, dice, etc. It’ll overwhelm them and leave a bad taste. Combat in particular can be initially unintuitive. For instance if you have a shooting skill of 2, you roll 1 die, a shooting skill of 3, roll 2 dice. Not sure why they didn’t simply equate number of dice directly to your skill level. Dice results have to be interpreted. Shooting is a single round and hits equate to wounds, but then in melee you have three rounds and in each round you have to win or tie the round to do wounds. Huh? Then you have to remember you can reroll dice if your mind skill is high enough, or utilize defense dice if your speed is high enough. Each the shooting and melee dice have six different symbols and the defense dice has four symbols. Then weapons and stats can modify results, and enemy combatants, e.g., if the Rhino mutant gets a melee question mark, it does one hit, one wound, and one knockdown, or against the expert human hunter you have to reroll shooting hits. It all adds flavor but it also adds complexity.

Complexity: Moderate. Lots of moving parts to remember and reference. The event cards are straightforward to resolve. Paying the food cost is a simple check if you’re in a safe zone. Decision making can be straightforward when it comes to actions. Generally, you’ll want to scout ahead, forage when tiles are completed, move to have encounters, and camp to recover health and/or morale when they get low. As described in the learning section, combat is where things slow down, and there’s a lot to take in. Although it’s in front of you, keeping track of what your stats, skills, weapons, and equipment do taxes your memory.

Luck: Moderate. The terrain is generated each game from blindly drawing tiles. If the player is drawing more than one tile, they get to pick where to connect them to the current tile. Although the player can modify the number of dice and possible outcomes using weapons, equipment, and stats, combat revolves around dice rolling. Encounters are drawn from three decks based on the player’s journey progression.  Those encounters are combat dice rolls against humans and mutants, or skill checks using normal d6 dice based on a scenario. The narration encounters utilizing a moral choice are limited. Nearly everything that isn’t based on dice rolls, is drawing a card from sizeable decks. The event cards can allow some choices, but these cards are often discarded during the early game because players are tied in some area, i.e., same level of journey points, no followers.

Interaction: Limited Between Humans, Moderate for Mutant Players vs Human Players. Players may trade items when they share the same terrain. Players may also take the place of enemies during encounters but they have no decisions to make, just rolling dice and helping interpret results. That is about it when it comes to interaction. Players develop their terrain separately so there is no interaction when choosing routes, foraging, etc. It’s only when a player becomes a mutant that interaction gets more direct as their new goal is to stop the human players. The mutant player then has access to a mutant actions deck with cards that attack players: mind attacks affecting morale, melee and ranged attacks to affect health, rerolling unsuccessful mutant rolls during encounters, and raiding the player’s food & ammo.

Waiting: Short, with the exception of combat. Most of the turn order is quick. The event is resolved for everybody at the same time. Everybody pays food costs at the same time. The main four actions, camp, forage, scout, and move, are resolved quickly. The only thing bogging things down is other players resolving combat. Potentially, a player may have two encounters, with each having potentially a ranged combat round, and three melee rounds. Each round of combat takes time to read the enemy powers and stats, figure out number of dice for the player and enemy, check initiative, roll dice, check modifiers, compare hits, calculate wounds, etc.

Length: 1-3 hours. The game says 30 minutes per player. Given the number of components, and depending on how they’re stored, setup can takes some time. Creating your own custom characters can take more time as well. The learning curve of the game slows things down as symbols have to be deciphered, understanding the human and mutant encounters the first time, and getting used to the combat system.

Replayability: High. Posthuman comes with six pre-made characters. Then, within the rules they have the option to create your own character. I’m sure people will be posting with character builds online, giving you more options. The terrain is generated from blindly drawing tiles. The decks have a number of cards. There’s nearly one hundred possible encounters, and several dozen weapons, equipment, and skills to choose from. Within the game players can utilize experience to increase stats or draw new skills.

Overall: A strong game with minor flaws. A unique game with a compelling theme that allows you to tell a story. You can tell the designer and the team put a lot of work in creating this game. The sheer number of components tells the scale. This scale also makes the game difficult to learn, as in the beginning you find yourself struggling to remember dice reroll options, symbol meanings, understand the combat system (ranged and melee), and searching the rules booklet for a keyword. I wish the combat system was explained better. The depth of the game, the variety of cards, the generation of the map, and the characters means each play through is a different experience.

-George