Munchkin Christmas in July on Kickstarter is a Loot Box?

Munchkin Christmas in July

Well here is a confusing conundrum

Munchkin is a game I only just mentioned the other day, and now it’s caught my attention again.  The game appeals to a certain mindset of player, and has a loyal fanbase.  The world of Munchkin and puns I enjoy more than the base card game it is all based on.

In a neck breaking change of topic, Loot Crates.  Video Gamers widely hate them, or so the internet screams.  And yet microtransaction and Loot Crate income for publishers increases year after year.

The idea of a Loot Box is simple – pay a set amount of money, and get a box with you have no idea what is inside.  Oh, you know a certain theme or an idea of the contents, but you don’t know for sure.

I personally enjoy Loot Crates and have for a couple of years.  They have even branched out over the last few years with themed boxes, such as Marvel.  I am even thinking of getting a new one, the Loot Gaming crate.  It’s Video Game based, but I enjoy games.

If you would like to check out Loot Crate, you can get USD$5 off your first month here with my referral code.  **If you do sign up with this code, I also get $5 off one box, just to be clear 🙂

Loot Crate Loot Gaming Crate
A past Loot Gaming crate. The items are Video Game themed, but I have been thinking of this one for a while.

A loot box for Board Gamers, especially new gamers looking to increase their library, is Board Game Bento.  The exact same idea, but instead of some geeky memorabilia and the like, you get Board Games!  Full copy, sealed, just for you Board Games!

Now I don’t subscribe to Board Game Bento, but not because I think it’s a bad idea.  I already have a lot of games, so paying for mystery games each month is possibly a good way to double up.

With my Kickstarter habits starting to have to come under more reasonable spending, I am reconsidering this stance.  It’s a fixed cost so easy to budget for, and is a guaranteed three or so new games a month.

The thing that is really swaying me is that what I have seen of the last couple of boxes includes things that haven’t reached Australia at all.

It’s an older box, but YouTuber Claire Din has an unboxing video from 2017 to give you an idea of what comes in a box.

OK, So we know what a Loot Box is, what’s this got to do with Munchkin and Kickstarter?

Yep, it’s a long journey, but bottom line Steve Jackson is doing a Munchkin Loot Box, and it’s on Kickstarter for a short time.

It’s not being called a Loot Box, but rather ‘Christmas in July’.

For USD$60, that is going to have to be a lot of Munchkin.  Base Munchkin retails for about USD$25, so there should be a lot of swag involved!

And it looks like there is.

Munchkin Christmas in July Whats Inside
From the Kickstarter Project, everything you will and might get in the loot box

There is also a USD$11 tier (Well, $8+Shipping) just for the bookmark and some promo cards, which isn’t a bad deal at all.

However, if you aren’t in the US and would like this box, be prepared to use a service like ShopMate or MyUS.  Delivery is to the United States only, so there will be some shipping costs on top.

I am surprised that Steve Jackson Games has gone Kickstarter for what is essentially a Loot Box run, and that the campaign is so short (5 days!).  There is definitely going to be demand for it – Munchkin, as I said, has a loyal and large fanbase.  The 150 pledges with the signed bookmark by Steve Jackson himself went immediately.  But it’s not a bad thing, and shows that Kickstarter can be used for many things.

If you want to get into Munchkin, this may not be a bad idea, especially if you live outside of the US.  Getting base games are rarely difficult, but the extras are hit and miss in Australia and I am guessing other countries as well.

But remember it’s a loot box – you can’t guarantee the version you are going to get.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Quick update to the Space Goat Productions Kickstarters

Space Goat Productions Logo

And I used to like The Sound of Silence

As I posted a few weeks ago, Space Goat Productions was offering equity via a WeFunder campaign.

My response was public – it was the linked article.  The short version was that Space Goat had been following a pattern of silence, and questioned the validity of the ‘Key Facts’ listed on the WeFunder page.

Today, Shon C Bury finally posted on Kickstarter after weeks of silence.  No avenue of questioning seemed to be worthy of a response – Kickstarter, Social Media, or even the Better Business Bureau.

The update:

Terminator Quick Update
Quick Update from Shon C Bury on the Terminator page. The same update was posted to the Evil Dead 2 campaign page.

I would like to know what the new paths on offer are, but in business or indeed any long-term planning revealing information too early can be detrimental.  Space Goat isn’t my company, I don’t own shares (real shares, not the SAFE on offer), I can’t expect any more information.

Considering the almost deafening silence on all other outlets, this small update is the closest to transparency offered to date.  And like so many backers, I wish it was more.

I do hope Shon and Space Goat do find a way forward.  I really do.  Not just for my selfish wish of a game (that, to be honest, I will probably never play at this point even if it is delivered) but for all the people working at Space Goat.

If anything else happens, I will continue to update.

Until later,

JohnHQLD

Solo: A Remastered Yakuza 5 Minute Dungeon.

Solo A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story opens tomorrow!

I have grown up on the Star Wars movies.  I was only 2 when Episode IV came out, but I remember being taken to see Return of the Jedi at the drive in.

The latest ‘episode’ Star Wars movies haven’t been bad, but I haven’t enjoyed them as much as I probably could.  There is the chance for new stories to be told, but they keep sticking to the ‘original’ themes as an over homage.  Well, that’s my one line opinion anyway.  Like an onion or Shrek, there are many layers to all this, and I won’t skip any new ones.

But it is having a bit of an effect on me this week.  Solo: A Star Wars story opens tomorrow here in Australia (well midnight tonight if you really can’t wait) but I can’t get excited about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am going to watch this movie.  Rouge One was the best ‘new’ Star Wars film yet, and Han Solo and Chewbacca are my favourite partnered characters in the universe.  Well, in the old extended universe anyway.  Solo will let me know how much of that old backstory has changed, so I don’t know if the same elements I love (loved?) are still there.

I can’t even say it’s the prospect of the story changing that is stopping me from being excited.  When Disney announced the extended universe was null and void, yes I was initially upset because all the lore I had learned and enjoyed over the years just got snapped out of existence.  (Foreboding puns anyone?)  But just as I was initially upset, I was also excited.  I understood this was a move Disney simply had to take, or their creative options amounted to none at all.

So I will try and make sometime this weekend, maybe the next, to sit and watch Solo and try to avoid as many spoilers as possible.

Until then, I leave you with possibly my favourite Solo trailer and new craze that seems to be hitting YouTube lately – Solo: The Lego Version.

Well Yakuza is getting the remastered treatment now!

Yakuza (or Ryū ga Gotoku in Japan) is a series I know of but chose to let slip me by in the gaming world.  A lot of people I know we’re thinking the same thing and was probably a big reason why I didn’t jump in wholeheartedly.

With storytelling similar to the Yakuza films popular in Japan (think of Yakuza films as a genre, they are crazy popular in Japan) all the ingredients for things I like about video games are there.  Character development, straightforward story progression with the ability to just stop and explore many sub-branches, strange quirky jokes – Yakuza had it all on the PlayStation 2.  Except my full attention.

With the release of Yakuza 0 on PlayStation 4 last year, and Yakuza 6 this year, the series has gotten a lot of attention again over here.  Yakuza 0 was a great move for new audiences, as it is a prequel so no prior knowledge was required.  This allowed Yakuza 0 to act as an introduction to the world of Yakuza, and what an intro it is.

Well, that all proved so popular, Famitsu is reporting remasters of entries 3, 4 and 5 are coming and in pretty quick succession in Japan, with the Yakuza 3 remaster releasing August 8th, 2018!

Yakuza 3 Remaster
Yakuza 3 - out in Japan August 8th. No word on International yet though.

Yakuza 4 is set to release about three months later, and Yakuza 5 in 2019.  Well, released in Japan anyway – no word on international releases, but fingers crossed!

Some gameplay from Yakuza 6 can be seen below to give you idea on what to expect if you haven’t seen the games before.

A second chance at a Kickstarter I missed

Way back in 2016, I was having a break from Kickstarter for a few different reasons.  One of those “Awww that looked fun” gems was 5-Minute Dungeon.  If I was to try and describe 5-Minute Dungeon, it would be ‘cooperative chaos.  Think of a mix between Galaxy Trucker and Magic Maze?  It’s not quite right but gives you an idea if you know those games.

I say those games aren’t quite right, because you are dealing with mostly randomised dungeon decks and matching cards to play rather than coordinating on a set known board.  What does hold true is the game is won or lost in five real-time minutes.  There is no sitting and debating for ages in this game – card comes out, react now or lose.  The how to play video from the creator may give you more of an idea.

Fair warning though – this game appeals to my sense of humour, so plenty of terrible dad type jokes await all that play 😀

Over on Kickstarter, there is a short (14 day) campaign for the sequel – Curses: Foiled Again!

I am loving this because a) it was popular enough for an expansion and b) I can buy the base game again!  Finding it at retail has been a bit of a joke over here.

Check out the campaign here.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

JohnHQLD

Posthuman Saga is live on Kickstarter

Posthuman Saga Box Art

An interesting idea just took off in leaps and bounds in my mind

Posthuman is a game I want to love.  I don’t mean that in a bad way – it is an amazing survival game with a lot of twists and great narrative potential.  It’s just if I describe it to my games group, I can see the enthusiasm for playing dropping with every attempt at a description.

So I have played it 2-3 times solo, and it’s up the top of the “come back to it” pile.  Right after 7th Continent and Gloomhaven.  It’s always bugged me that this is unfair to Posthuman – daying I will come back and play after about 300 hours of other games, with new ones coming in that will probably bump it again.

Working against Posthuman is that it’s a teaching mess and a statistician’s wet dream.  It’s not a game that you can teach while playing, and a lot of investment is required for people to learn how to play it.  But Posthuman is a game I think needs the extra players, and the satisfaction of finishing a game is completely worth it.  So until I can convince people to give it a fair go that just seems to be how it is.

In Posthuman, you play as part of a group of some of the last ‘human’ survivors trying to make it to safety.  This isn’t quite the standard post-apocalypse scenario we all expect.  In the Posthuman universe, instead of nuclear war, no fuel or artificial intelligence rising to save humanity from itself.  This time, it’s the mutants that are the problem.

No cataclysmic even though caused mutations – no, ‘we’ did.  Artificially improving people meant that ‘normal’ people became the minority, and it just got worse from there.

Posthuman Components
Posthuman. So much potential, but hard to sell as a fun experience.

So your group is trying to survive and reach ‘The Fortress’ intact.  Not just intact as a group, intact also as in fully human.  Mutation has essentially become communicable, so attacks on the way can cause you to become a mutant yourself.

This keeps not only a timer and end game as you can’t enter the fortress if you’re a mutant, but also essentially a character change mechanic.  If you become a mutant, you now actively work against the group and try to turn them as well.

Simplified, but this is Posthuman, and the possibilities are great!  But convincing people to invest 3-5 hours in a rules discussion and then a game (more likely 2) for everything to click is the hard ask.  Especially when all you are doing is getting to ‘The Fortress’ – story wise for some, this isn’t a satisfactory ending.

But now on Kickstarter, the story is continuing.  Posthuman Saga is live and takes place a year after Posthuman.  The story is you made it safely, and now you are essential members of the Fortress community.

Life has been relatively good for the last year, but now resources are stretching too thin, and people have to go over the wall and explore.  Can you guess which people that will be?

You don’t need Posthuman to play Posthuman Saga, it’s a completely stand-alone experience.  A lot of love is going into this world, and I am excited by the possibilities that it holds.

Posthuman Saga Contents
Posthuman Saga - it may look bleak and harsh, but that is the world it is set in

As an option, you can also back the Resistance Expansion, turning the base survival game into one of not only surviving but fighting back against mutant slavers.

Many, many stories can be told in this universe, and that is this worlds biggest draw for me.  On the Kickstarter page, there is supposed to be a sample of the stories, but as of writing, this link was down.  The rules were working, and while the rules seem slightly more streamlined, I do think this still be a lot of player investment to learn to play.

But with a continuing story unfolding, with any luck, I can convince some of my group that the investment is worth it for more than a single game.

Plus, I can’t wait to paint these guys!

Posthuman Saga Model Sample
I can also hear thebackstories just by looking at them

Check out Posthuman Saga on Kickstarter and Board Game Geek.

Until tomorrow!

JohnHQLD

Cock Block has made one hell of a journey, but it’s complete!

This is one time you won’t mind being Cock Blocked

Kickstarter is a platform that helps makes dreams into reality. Sometimes, those dreams are runaway successes. Other times, not so much. But it is a platform that allows the chance, and that is something great.

Designer Thierry Demers had an idea for a game. Granted, it’s not a game for everyone, but no game is. Cards Against Humanity is a niche game not for everybody, and yet it is one of the most famous (infamous?) games from the last few years. Now, after a strange and challenging journey, Cock Block is set to follow in its heels.

What sort of people? Well, if you like games like Cards Against Humanity, that’s a good start. A dark sense of humour is required – if the title of the game turns you off, this isn’t a game for you. This is also a game specifically about scoring ‘chicks’ before the other ‘cocks’ do. This kind of objectification shouldn’t be encouraged. However, this isn’t a game for children. If you are mature enough to realise that objectification is wrong, you’re mature enough to realise the game is tongue in cheek dark humour.

Cock Block Basic
Cock Block is now available to buy!

So what is Cock Block?

So at its heart, Cock Block is a filler type game that focuses on Pick-up and Delivers. Literally 🙂 You try to get your Cock to the end of the Barn and pick up a Chick from the Friend Zone, then back out of the barn. During the game, you can use different powers to ‘Cock Block’ your opponents and try and gain the upper hand.

On your turn, you can play two actions, with choices dictated by the cards in your hand.

Your choices include:

Movement

Fairly self-explanatory, movement lets you move orthogonally around the board. Generally, you need a pair of cards to move one square. If your Cock features on the card though, you can move with only one card. There are some cards with +2 movement, that will allow you to jump opponents but not Cock Blocks.

Moving onto another players Cock starts a Cock Fight, which I will explain later.

Cock Block Movement
Some of the Movement Cards

Attacks and Counters

There are a few different forms of Attack cards.

The Rumor card allows you to move an opponent two squares, usually backwards. This also allows you to force opponents into Cock Fights. You can also play the Drack 2 Much card on another player, stopping them from playing a Movement +2 card until they can recover.

A Cock Block card puts an unpassable obstacle in front of another player. These are the most common forms of attack.  Blocks include Jealous BFF, the Drink Spiller, and the Loud Friend.

These can also be countered with Counter Blocks. These counters allow you to move a matching Cock Block token one square in any direction.

Cock Block Attack
Ahh the jealous BFF. Always an obstacle.
Cock Block Counter
Luckily you can get a Wingman to help out with the BFF.

Legendary Cards

There is one Legendary card for each type of Cock Block. These allow you to move the matching Cock Block tokens on the board to anywhere you want on the board. This includes to placing tokens on the Chicks, making them unobtainable until the tokens are moved.

The ultimate counter is the All Ace$$ Legendary card. You play this on your character, and you become immune from Cock Fights and the Drank 2 Much card.

Cock Block Legendary
How to get rid of all the BFFs? Wile E. Coyote may have been on to something

Ultimates

These are special cards. Moment of Glory allows you to play 3 actions in your turn, and Tomahawk God allows you to move ALL Cock Block tokens on the board.

Playing these cards at the right time will definitely change the game in your favour.  Of course, at the wrong time, your opponents will love you for it.

Cock Block Ultimates
You need to play these at the right time. But yelling out the titles can be so much fun

Cock Fights

Cock Fights are the most direct player interaction in the game. When you start a cock fight, the players face off against each other, and the loser is ‘knocked out’ and loses a turn.

So how do you face off against your opponent? Well, you get to choose!

You can perform the ‘Cool People’ Cock Fight, which is a dice off. The first player to reach two hits wins. If you are not a dice person, you van do the ‘Geek’ cock fights, which turns it into a card affair. Each player chooses up to three cards from their hand, and simultaneously reveal their choices. Each coloured card has a points value, and it’s simply highest score wins.

General Thoughts

As you can see, it’s a very simple and quick game. I can see quite a few of my game group enjoying a few rounds of this game for quite some time to come. If all this has appealed to you, grab yourself a copy from the Kevin’s Got A Gun website here.

I am buying Cock Block. This is the game I believed in on Kickstarter. Full disclosure – I am getting a 20{dfca638b9dbdbc1caf156b9b6679a983a965572ca56a786c9cf360ad3783820c} discount for being one of the original backers, so I am getting it a little cheaper than advertised. I am disappointed that the version that made it isn’t the Deluxe version that was on Kickstarter, but that is a purely aesthetic thing. This looks like a really fun game, and the gameplay is intact, which is what makes a game. It also helps that by dialling back on the game components to simplified versions, the cost has been halved!

I do however wish the Kickstarter Chick-Spansion was available to buy as well.  The idea behind the expansion is simple – it turns the gender table around.  So while you will still need a sense certain sense of humour to play, women can turn the tables and go pick up the guys.

Now, looking at Board Game Geek and the Kickstarter pages, you will see a few angry comments. The tone will differ wildly from the impression of a quick, fun and dark humoured game I am trying to give. There is always a difference of opinion, and I am not trying to discount them. To see where some of these negative comments come from, you should know a little about the journey Cock Block has had.

How to get around a Cock Block

Late last year, A little game called Cock Block came up on one of my new Kickstarter leads. Unfortunately, it was the feed that lists cancellations of Kickstarter. I have a warped sense of humour, and my first thought was “No. Surely not?”. Well – yep. Yep, they did. There was a game specifically about picking up chicks and blocking your opponents. The cancellation was for one of my favourite reasons on Kickstarter – to come back with a better version!

Only a few days later, Cock Block Deluxe was launched. So many people had gravitated to the Deluxe version, that the project was relaunched concentrating only on releasing it. Same game, same schedule, just the best version possible.

Cock Block Deluxe
The version I still kinda wish I was getting. Those minis are great!

It was here I got the chance to back the game, but this site hadn’t started yet so not much word was spread. Unfortunately, this lack of spreading the news seemed to be a common issue. Not many people were talking about the game overall. While the Kickstarter was technically successful, the people at Kevin’s Got A Gun knew that it could do better.

Now, I’m not going to mince words here – some backers were not happy with the second cancellation. There are a few comments of people accusing the creators of using Kickstarter of drumming up awareness of the game to get a distributor deal. I was a little confused at the cancellation, but I waited to see what would happen.

Just before the weekend, myself and all KS backers got an email answering most of these questions. Short version – they made it themselves! By taking the advertising money, they couldn’t spend on mainstream advertising, and with the help of a local manufacturer, they have made the game themselves.

The dialling back from the Deluxe version and the abrupt cancellation of the project has upset a few people, and I can understand why to a degree. By working with a smaller manufacturer for a limited run, the Kickstarter pledges would likely have been a deterrent to getting this deal at all. From the distributors’ position, it would have been hundreds of copies with higher manufacturing costs, but not a guaranteed continued sales stream going forward. By making a cheaper game and offering the original backers a discount, I believe that Kevin Got A Gun has tried to give the best deal to everyone. And as we all know, this sort of solution never works out as intended.

The things I would like to say in how Thierry Demers and Kevin’s Got A Gun have treated there backers are simple.

  1. As a backer, I have received a 20{dfca638b9dbdbc1caf156b9b6679a983a965572ca56a786c9cf360ad3783820c} discount on the game. While not the components I was hoping for, this discount didn’t have to be offered at all.
  2. The Kickstarter campaign showed a delivery date of May 2018, and that has been met. True, not in the traditional Kickstarter sense, but on time nonetheless.

So when you are checking out the game, don’t disregard the negative feedback. That’s always a good rule though. But now you know a little bit of where some of this negativity may be coming from, and it’s not because of the theme of the game.

Check out the game on the Kevin’s Got A Gun website here, which includes links to Video Rules and the PDF Rulebook.  And as always, check out the Board Game Geek page for more information.

I will give a formal review once I get a hold of the game 🙂

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Hellboy is back! Well, in Board Game form.

Hellboy Box Art

The chance to play out a comic is awesome!

One of the more underappreciated comics I read growing up, Hellboy has been a guilty pleasure of mine for a while now. Between the back then ‘adult that reads comics’ issues to the different ideologies incorporated into the stories, many people just didn’t give it a chance.  Mike Mignola created a character and world that was somehow mindless fun and deeply satisfying at the same time.

Then Guillermo del Toro bought Hellboy to the screen, and all of a sudden Hellboy hit mainstream acceptance.  It’s funny how things like that work 🙂

So with that in mind, Mantic Games has a big challenge in front of them.  Both a dedicated comic fan base AND mainstream movie audience to keep satisfied.

Luckily with their record, I think they may be up to the task.  Just the box art has me reaching for the pledge button.

So up front one of my usual Kickstarter ‘warnings’ are games that don’t make the rules available as a part of the campaign.  This is one of those campaigns, but they handle it what I think is the ‘right’ way.

Hellboy Box Art
So many memories

Yes, there are no rules on the page.  But there are plenty of gameplay videos with the disclosure ‘rules are in playtesting’, so everyone can see what the intent of the game is.  This is really what I need when deciding on if I think the game could be fun to play, and by seeing gameplay in action and the designer talking through some of the interactions, it’s a great chance to both understand their thinking and provide feedback on possible alternatives.

At the end of the day, Hellboy is a miniatures game, and they have nailed it.  And this is similar to a CMON outing – the game started with 99 minis, and is now over 110!

Checking out the miniatures on the page, even unpainted, pulled at the nostalgia strings hard.  You can see the influence of the original art, and I can really see some of the comic stories taking place on the board.

Honestly, even if you wanted to just paint the miniatures and use them as a diorama, they would fit in perfectly.

Hellboy Painted Miniatures
Seeing these professionally painted miniatures reminds me how much I miss painting

But the gameplay itself, now that really looks interesting.  It looks like a mixture of Mansions of Madness and Elder Sign.  This may sound contradictory but bear with me.

So there are tiles to build the area with that you must build and explore, which is the Mansions of Madness similarity.  But the timer is a Doom tracker, very similar to the Doom tracker in Elder Sign.  And instead of collecting Elder Signs to win, you collect clues and items that help with the final confrontation.  Collect them all, and the final battle is easier.

This is a gorgeous game, and I am very, VERY tempted to back it.  There is one thing that is holding me back, and it’s a pretty common issue.

You see, Mantic is in the UK, so the pledge is in British pounds.  That is the worst conversion rate for us here in Australia.  This will be about AUD$220 including shipping. Ouch.

I can’t deny the value for money with what comes with the game, but I have backed a lot recently and just ouch.  I have it saved, and if I can think of a way to justify it, I will probably back it in the next few days.

Check it out yourself on the Kickstarter page for more information!

Nothing Personal Revised Edition currently on Kickstarter

Nothing Personal Revised Box Art

Time to get the gang back together

In 2013, I was given my first PAXmas present in the form of Nothing Personal. I wasn’t able to go for a few reasons, but some of my friends managed to nab a copy while they were down there.

We played it pretty much straight away, and it was definitely a game for this particular group. We get together when we can, and we all enjoy games that push us. It also helps that we are also players that enjoy messing with each other. A lot. Like to our detriment a lot.

So a game like Nothing Personal was all but designed for us. It’s not in your interest to specifically mess with another player, but we pretty much always do. Game wise, it would be better if we put one of our guys higher up the mafia ladder, but messing with Tim is always a priority.

Nothing Personal Box Art
Nothing Personal

This is actually the best sumamry of Nothing Personal I have ever seen:

Nothing Personal Revised Warning
Take this warning to heart

Because we don’t get together often as a group, and Nothing Personal is a longer game for what it is, I don’t get to play it as much as I would like to. But I have grabbed some of the expansion packs over time, and always perk up when I hear a couple of people talking about it.

Nothing Personal also had another big draw at the time. It was codesigned by the Dice Towers founder Tom Vasel. Tom admittedly enjoys push your luck and take that games, and that is exactly what was created.

As much as I enjoy Nothing Personal though, it does have some faults. As mentioned, chief amongst them is the time to play. This is a game that can easily stretch to three hours when messing with other players and fine-tuning negotiations.

So I was happy to see Nothing Personal Revised Edition on Kickstarter!

Nothing Personal Revised Box Art
It's all about to start again

The first thing to note with the revised edition is the designer credits.  Only Stephen Avery is adorning the box art.  Now that isn’t meant as a warning or implying behind the scenes issues, it’s just that for the revised edition Stephen Avery did the design work himself.  And it does look like he made some changes.

The most welcome change upfront is streamlining some of the rules, so a game now takes one hour rather than two according to the box.

The other very obvious change is the new locations.  On the surface, these look like bonus cards that players can bid on to give another way to change the state of play.

The last item is the rules have been included for how to fold the original gangsters into the revised edition, handy if like me you will end up with both copies of the game!

Nothing Personal Locations
The new Location cards - a different way of influencing game play

In a lot of ways, Nothing Personal isn’t a game for a lot of players.  If you are the type of player that enjoys or even thrives in games of hidden motives, negotiation, and winning at all costs, this is probably a game for you.

If you aren’t sure, maybe check out some of the reviews and discussions on the original game before purchasing a copy.

Either way, check out the Kickstarter page for more information.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Battletech is almost here!

Battletech Feature

Can’t get through?  Build bigger mechs

My first experience with the Battletech universe was Mechwarrior when I was much younger than I am now.  Mechwarrior came out in 1989, I remember playing it in 1990 when my family got a PC powerful enough to play it.  Instead of being a soldier running around a battlefield, you piloted building-sized robots and blew up other robots.  Back then it’s all I needed to know.

This screenshot will give you an idea of what cutting-edge 3D graphics looked like in 1989.

Mechwarrior 1989
14 year old me couldn't get over the level of detail in this game

I had seen the name Battletech on things, but I didn’t care about it.  I wanted Mechwarrior.  I wanted to blow up bigger and bigger things – that was my only requirement.

Then came Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries.  I got exactly what I wanted.  There was some Inner Sphere story stuff that was getting in the way of me building my Mechs and shooting things though.

Later on the second playthrough, I started paying attention to the story, but that got cut short by life and a few other things.

Mechwarrior 2 Box Art
Bigger and Meaner in so much 3D glory

One of the things that got in the way was a game called Mechcommander.  I still had heaps of Mechs at my disposal, but now I was in the command chair rather than the cockpit.  I now knew about the Battletech universe, and Mechwarrior being one small aspect to it.  But I had what I loved, and I was hooked!

Mechcommander Strategy Screen
Planning squads and tactics was vital to keep your team alive
Mechcommander Battle
Amazingly detailed graphics let you watch your team ambush other Mechs like this

But all that changed over the years.  There were some other Mechwarrior and Mechcommander games, but I just kind of moved on for some reason.  I don’t think there was anything specific, I just kind of wandered away.

Then in 2015, a Kickstarter caught my eye.  Somehow.  I never do anything with Kickstarter as you know.

The first thing I saw was the title – Battletech.  Something triggered in my mind like I kind of knew it but couldn’t remember?

Then I opened the project, and saw this:

Kickstarter Banner
The Kickstarter Banner as is stands today

Then the memories all came flooding back.  Looking through the project, there were just so many positives for me to see.

First – it was being run by Harebrained Schemes.  Apart from having one of my favourite company names ever, they did the amazing Golem Arcana board game.

Secondly – and the clincher – they have Jordan Weisman on board.  The creator of the Battletech universe was bringing it back!

Now, at long last, the wait is over.  I have my Steam key and waiting for the preload.

April 25th, I will be able to once again command squads of Mechs and stamp the universe with my will.

Check it out on Steam or Gog.com!

Until next time!

JohnHQLD

God of War, Reiner Knizia, and Avengers excitement grows

Miskatonic University The Restricted Collection Box

The new God of War is out now, and you can listen to the soundtrack for free!

So God of War comes out today.  I will admit, I have been interested in the new setting and story, but not enough to preorder the game.  The last God of War Game, Ascension, I looked at and literally shrugged.  Definitely a case of franchise burnout.

If you don’t know about the God of War series, you play a Spartan warrior named Kratos with a dark history.  He has two basics modes – killing everything on the screen, and not killing everything on the screen.  There are usually some light puzzle aspects to the game, but overall the series has been an excuse for serious levels of violence to be displayed in as much detail as possible.  God of War has serious roots in Greek mythology, and ultimately sees you taking on all of the Greek Gods.

If you don’t know about the God of War series, you play a Spartan warrior named Kratos with a dark history.  He has two basics modes – killing everything on the screen, and not killing everything on the screen.  There are usually some light puzzle aspects to the game, but overall the series has been an excuse for serious levels of violence to be displayed in as much detail as possible.  God of War has serious roots in Greek mythology, and ultimately sees you taking on all of the Greek Gods.

The new game sees Kratos years later a lot calmer and with family no less.  The trailer gives you a good idea of the story, but essentially you travel with your son and try to teach him not to make all the mistakes Kratos did with his life.

The more I see of the new game, the more I am coming around, so maybe I will give the new God of War a go in the near future.

But visuals aren’t the only positive of the God of War series.  The musical score has been amazing through the series, matching some truly epic battles on the screen.  And now, you can listen to the entire God of War soundtrack thanks to Spotify!

The playlist SHOULD work, but the Spotify web app seems to be having some problems at the moment.  If you can’t play anything, you can open the album directly on the link here.

So looking at ‘another’ Cthulhu based game – Miskatonic University: The Restricted Collection.  It comes in a book, which I thought I was cute.  A push your luck card game?  So it should be quick.  Then I was floored to see who had designed it.  A certain Dr Reiner Knizia.

Dr Reiner Knizia is a legendary board game designer.  Even people that don’t enjoy his games generally acknowledge the contributions he has made to the hobby.  The first game that comes to mind is Tigris & Euphrates – a 20+ year old board game that has withstood the test of time to date.

To be honest I started looking for the rules after pledging.  It’s AUD$50ish with shipping and a Lovecraft Reiner Knizia Game.  Sold.

Now, this does seem to go against a lot of advice I have given about looking at what you are buying, ensuring it’s what you expect and so on.  Rest assured, I have had a good look and I am happy I have pledged.

And it really is a pretty simple game.  Miskatonic University: The Restricted Collection has players trying to collect a set of sigils to banish an accidentally summoned monster back to where it came.

The rules are simple, and the campaign is presented in a very dry manner, but it’s worth checking out the Kickstarter campaign page and deciding for yourself.

Miskatonic University The Restricted Collection Box
Not only does this book contain unspeakable secrets, but a game as well
Miskatonic University The Restricted Collection Components
Can you find all the pieces in the library?

Avengers: Infinity War is less than a week away!

Yeah, this is just pure excitement on my part.  If you aren’t already excited, there is nothing I can say here to sway you.  I have my tickets already, but they aren’t exciting to watch.  So I am just going to watch the trailer.  Again.

Only five more sleeps before I see it!

Zombicide Invader now on Kickstarter

Zombicide Invasion Box Art

Is the third time the charm?

So early March I wrote about how CMON announced Zombicide Invader, the new addition to the franchise.  Well, the Kickstarter has been out for about a week, giving me a chance to properly look at the new game.

Short version – for better or worse, it’s everything I expected.  If you have played Zombicide before or have a previous version, you’re not really getting a new game.  If you don’t own Zombicide, this is the version for you.

But as usual, it looks beautiful and there are some rule changes to go with the new look.  There are small nods and callouts to many well-known characters, and Invader is no different.  It starts with the location this time – the PK-L7 outpost.  I think that they already knew the Aliens comparisons where here to stay, so they just went with it.

And it is indeed a new look.  No longer are you taking on the zombie hordes, you now face swarms of infected aliens, called Xenos.  This does allow a bit of creative flair, and the new swarms look great.

The aliens can all be basically translated from the previous Zombie types.  In Zombicide Invader, the main foe is the Worker class.  These are essentially the Walkers, not too bad by themselves but dangerous in numbers.

Zombicide Invader Xenos art
The new Zombies in town

Hunters are similar to Runners, fast and dangerous on the board.  Blink and they will be on you.  Next are Tanks, which do sound better than Fatties.  These are the mid-boss bullet sponges of the game.

And finally, the Spoiler Abomination.  These are the big bad guys you need to clear off the board ASAP.

Another change is how closed doors work.  As a player, you can open them up without a weapon, and close them as a free action now.  But the Xenos no longer try to work around a closed door – they use all their actions to destroy it.

In Black Plague, there were a lot of quests where all players had to survive.  This is now baked into the rules – if one player dies, it’s an instant loss condition.

A big change is when you run out of a type of mini.  If you can’t place a hunter for example, instead of giving all hunters another activation, you give all abominations another activation or place a new one.

Zombicide Invader Kickstarter Parts
It wouldn't be a CMON Kickstarter without a mountain of plastic

There are a couple of different types of survivors, but ultimately they are just different groups of character abilities.  You get military types with armour to better withstand attacks, but can only find certain equipment in certain rooms.  ‘Normal’ civilians are able to salvage items more but are cut off from some specific items.  It all seems to make sense as the game flows.

Change wise speaking of rule changes, the ranged targeting order has been flipped – you now target from the Abomination down.  Now, this is a board game and I don’t look for true realism in my rules, but it does make more sense to me.  If you were trying to survive in a horde, wouldn’t you target the bigger threat?  You can also now concentrate fire to help take down the bigger targets.

Zombicide Invader Survivors
Can you spot the inspiration for the survivors?

For new rules, the one I am liking the look of is a mechanic where Abominations spread ‘mould’ (or mold if your American :p ).

Like Starcrafts Creep, as abominations move around the board they spread this mould, changing the layout of the board as they go.  This leads to two possible new loss conditions:

  1. The mould covers a required objective location, effectively removing the location from the board
  2. Two spawn zones become connected by Active Mold tokens

Without playing the game I am not sure how much more difficult this would make winning or the extra maintenance involved in playing.  Mould does add a sense of tension as a visible timer starts spreading across the board though.

Zombicide Invader Painted
I wish I could paint this well!

For me personally, I am not going to back this one.  While there are some new rule tweaks and the new miniatures would be a lot of fun to paint, it’s just the same Zombicide.

Now that’s not a bad thing in itself – when Zombicide first came out, I had a lot of fun painting and playing it.  Taking over a friends pool table to play a 6-7 person game was an absolute blast.

But the mechanics are starting to feel old with newer dungeon crawlers coming out.  While the number of mini’s you get is amazing, storage and setup/teardown is a real factor in playing, as is between turn bookkeeping.

I still have Black Plague to keep me amused.  If you haven’t got a Zombicide game, this is definitely the one to get if you specifically want one.  But there are other options available these days as well.

Check out the Zombicide Invader Kickstarter page here, and let me know what you think.