Games by Play Date is currently developing a pitch for the fine folks from Welcome to Night Vale. A year or so back it was remarked that our concept for the tableau building game Gothstown was thematically in tone with the then new to us podcast Welcome to Night Vale. For those who live under a podcast rock, WtNV is a series of radio broadcasts from the desert town of Night Vale which is home to a mind boggling amount of bizarre and unearthly phenomena; which pretty much no one in the town bats an eye at.
GPD has been looking to try our hand at a licensed project for some time and we’re hoping that we are a good fit for this one. The tenor of Night Vale resonates with us; the peculiar blend of absurdity, terror and oddity is sooooooo charming. At this point we are moving forward with the mechanical development of the game (see it’s ongoing incarnation here) and are building the basic templates and doodads for the boards and cards. Currently all the art is placeholder images from the amazingly prolific Night Vale online community; but if we do move forward we would be bringing in a full art team.
But, who knows, this project could be a total cock up. The folks at Commonplace Books might want nothing to do with analog board games or simply aren’t at a place where they want to license their property. If that is the case we’ll be moving forward anyways with out original IP. The game we are designing is informed by the theme and enhanced by it, but it is by no means contingent upon it. What is it? In a nutshell it’s Illuminati + 7 Wonders + a bit of Fluxx. Each player is attempting to build a tableau of weird forces/characters. They draft these cards from their hand and align them with a pentagram base. Some cards have immediate effects when they are acquired, others only trigger when the round ends. Before and between rounds changes in the ruleset can occur which help guide your drafting strategies. In the end the player who has accumulated the most Unease has succeeded in pulling the populace of the town under their sway.
It’s Wednesday, Halloween is looming, there are minutes: Read more…
File Me Under: beard slapping
What It’s All About: Iron & Ale is a party-ish card game where players are dwarven lords. Each turn you delve deep into a mountain (draw cards from the mountain deck) to mine gold & iron and to fight monsters. Losing a fight (rolling under the monsters strength on a d6) incurs a drink penalty, literally. Iron & Ale is a drinking game with a dwarf veneer. Alternately you can fight the very tough Red Dragon instead of drawing cards.
After the mining phase players head to the meadhall and draw random dwarven challenges from the deck. Thumb wrestling, racing across the floor on your knees & lifting tables with your pinkie finger really embody the stupid fun of Iron & Ale. I didn’t think that a game targeted to geeks could boast that full force face slapping was part of the fun, but here we are… Iron & Ale is mechanics light and silly heavy and that is to it’s credit. The theme is such a good fit that in retrospect it’s astonishing that a dwarven drinking game hasn’t been produced already. Kudos Tableforged!
Tweaks: Tableforged is curently fundraising for it’s first expansion King of the Keg
Gripes: It’s kind of pointless to play without drinking alcohol. This is not ideal. The True Dwarven Might challenge is childishly sexist and should be removed. There are a limited number of dwarf lords who can influence monster fighting in any way and that can be a frustration.
Cost: $20 at Tableforged
Time Commitment: 45 Minutes
Best For: Gamer drunks
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File me under: Space, the final FUN-tier
What It’s All About: Quantum is a beautifully minimal 4x game (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate). 2-4 players control space faring races racing to establish themselves across the galaxy. Your forces are represented by 6 sided die, with each face being a different ship type possessing a special ability like teleportation or free upgrades. The value also represents it’s speed and strength in combat. Read more…
File Me Under: Mini Risk!
What It’s All About: Quickly create and then dominate a fantasy world. In Eight-Minute Empire: Legends you are vying for area control against up to three other players. With limited funds and restricted movement you must expand your empire and displace your opponents to claim majority control of each island and the territories with in. Actionas are taken by purchasing cards from a common row. Each card contains an immediate effect, like founding a city or moving up to 6 armies, as well as an ongoing benefit. By purchasing cards that combo well with ongoing abilities you can greatly magnify the impact of each action.
Ryan Laukat has expanded on his original design in Legends by shifting to a modular set of map tiles and stepping back from accumulating goods for points. The ongoing effects from purchased cards are far more satisfying to use than simple accruing points through card purchase. There is also a nice and light set collection mechanic for flavoring your empire with Forest dwelling cards or Cursed cards which adds just enough flavor to the presentation to justify the Legends moniker.
Gripes: It’s a very pretty game, but I kind of feel that the price is slightly too high. Additionally there could be some better delineation of the zones on tiles that contain multiple islands
Tweaks: The game includes a bunch of built in add-ons for the basic game like exploration rewards and ancient citadels. These largely replicate powers from purchased cards, but it does help stress the area control aspect a bit more, without completely unbalancing the game.
Time Commitment: 9 minutes.
Best For: Light strategy fans, players looking to explore area-control games.