Games

Reviews of both new release and older board games, card games, RPG’s, and miniature games.

Acquisitions Incorporated Brings Fresh New Fun to Dungeons & Dragons

If I could level one criticism at the developers of Dungeons & Dragons, it would be that their worldbuilding is sometimes very same-y. Don’t mistake me—it’s very good! But it’s also very safe, in a way that is both a major reason for the game’s enduring success and occasionally underwhelming. They sometimes reuse themes, characters, and ideas written decades ago, simply redressing them for each new edition of the game. My favorite adventures are my favorites because they do...

Ghosts of Saltmarsh Brings a Thrilling, Flexible Setting to the Dungeons & Dragons Family

In my experience, Dungeons & Dragons campaign books generally come in one of two forms: either a fairly linear progression of adventures that move along an overarching plot or a broader collection of individual adventures loosely related to a central theme or location. Both types have their merits and their drawbacks. Linear campaign books provide a structure for new or time-lacking dungeon masters, but they also can present a challenge to both groups when players make decisions in-game that...

Top Ten Games You Can Play in Your Head by Yourself Is a Welcome Surprise for All Gamers

I’ve been playing games and sharing my opinions on them for many years. I’m almost always moving on to the next game system, the next adventure setting, the next optional rule book. I love to get my fingers on a new product, in part because I have the attention span of a young dalmatian in a shopping mall, but mostly because I just really love it when a game surprises me. That feeling of first-time wonder is outdone only...

A Minnesota Game Creator Brings Card-Based Space Battle Dreams to Life

Creating a new game can be as easy as grabbing some index cards and a pen. It’s how some of the most popular card-based games got their start, including Magic: The Gathering. Through numerous playtest sessions, a game can go from being just an idea to a finished, enjoyable product. It’s a long and arduous process, and not every game creator has the fortitude and determination to see it through. At a playtest session in the beginning of March,...

Blood, Guts, and Jazz Set the Mood in Ape Out

Content warning: This review contains descriptions of in-game violence. You’re an ape, you want out, and you’re gonna kill anyone who gets in the way. Quite the straightforward premise, no? Made by Gabe Cuzzillo, Matt Boch, and Bennett Foddy, and published by Devolver Digital, Ape Out is an indie game about a gorilla’s violent journey to freedom. Hominids they may be, an ape only has so many options: shoving someone, or grabbing and then throwing them. Either way, it’s...

The Midgard Worldbook Offers a Unique, Detailed World for Pathfinder and D&D Players

The best tabletop games come packaged with a great setting. Dungeons & Dragons’ original setting, Greyhawk, is a timeless world that any seasoned player would find familiar. The more modern Forgotten Realms is also comforting to anyone who has read fantasy books since the ’80s. Paizo’s Pathfinder borrowed familiar themes and ideas from both but created its own multiplanetary realm in the Pathfinder campaign setting that I still enjoy to this day. With all that being said, sometimes it’s...

Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Is a Satisfying Mystery-Solving Challenge

Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective is a story lover’s dream. It presents like a fairly standard game. A thick, plastic-wrapped box of the usual size and shape greeted me within my Amazon package. But the moment I lifted it out, I found my first surprise: it was heavy, weighing as much as or more than a thick textbook. Peeling back the plastic, I slid the box open for another surprise: inside were no meeples, no dice, no markers or pens....

Shadow of the Demon Lord Is Innovative, Twisted Tabletop Fun

I distinctly recall the moment that Shadow of the Demon Lord hooked me. My players had penetrated a thick magical mist, venturing out to the island lair of an evil hag. After defeating her minions, they reached her inner sanctum, intent on defeating her and taking a powerful artifact for themselves. They faced off with the evil faerie in a tense battle, and for the first few turns, things seemed to be going their way. But she had a...

A Look Back at Magic: The Gathering’s Quarter-Century Anniversary

The year 2018 was notable for many 25th anniversaries in the geek world. In the world of visual media, it was 25 years since the debut of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine TV series and the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day. Video gamers also first solved the puzzles in Myst and performed barrel rolls with Star Fox 25 years ago. And in July 1993, players at the Origins Game Fair in Dallas, Texas, tapped lands for mana for...

Role-Players Can Wander the Streets of Ravnica with the “Krenko’s Way” D&D Adventure

With 2018 being Magic: The Gathering’s 25th anniversary, fans of the long-running game have been treated to a lot of new formats, products, and events. Some have been well received, such as the Dominaria expansion. Others have been more limited in their reach, like the Battlebond draft set. One of the major changes that Wizards of the Coast made to their product release and Wizards Play Network in 2018 was to eliminate support for local game store championship tournaments,...
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