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 ūüôā 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 Рit 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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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 Рthe 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 Рit 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 Рand the clincher Рthey 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 Рthe 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 Рthey 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.

25 years on, I’m finally getting a linking book! Myst 25th Anniversary Edition now on Kickstarter

Myst Cover

This seems to be the week for nostalgia and retro!  Yesterday had me reminiscing about one of my formative tabletop games.  Today, a true landmark video game collection is being put together for Kickstarter.  The original developers Cyan has worked for years to bring the entire Myst collection together for a 25th-anniversary edition.

It’s hard to explain to people of today just how technically amazing Myst was.¬† At the time, I just wondered at its beauty and enjoyed its complexity.¬† Today I can look back with older eyes and see just what a journey Myst made.

Heads up – if you don’t want a history lesson, check out the Kickstarter here!

Today in this web-connected world, having a hotspot or clickable area on an image is just how things work.¬† But back in the late 80’s, this kind of tech was still in its infancy and worked on local computers only.¬† One of the pioneering applications for getting images and text to work together like this was Hypercard on the Macintosh.

Information was held in card stacks, with each card holding dedicated information.  On these cards, users could enter data, images and clickable prompts.  Developers could then trigger scripts or actions depending on what the user clicked on or entered.

HyperCard in a lot of ways became the template for how the modern internet should work – just switch cards for HTML pages.¬† It also became one of the first non-developer graphical languages thanks to it’s ease of use and massive support base.

HyperCard Welcome Screen
Yes folks, this little welcome screen started the template for the modern web

Two brothers, Rand and Robyn Miller, used the easy to learn (well, for the time) system and started Cyan Inc, developing kids adventure games.¬† Their first game, The Manhole, would probably be laughed at by modern gamers.¬† Many people today look at ‘basic’ flash games on the web, and The Manhole is very comparable to this style of game.

There is one huge difference though.¬† The Manhole, and indeed almost all games based on HyperCard style languages, was written and done more than a decade before Flash was around.¬† A lot of HyperCard concepts can actually be seen in Flash, including the scripting languages and trigger events.¬† It’s this ‘done before it was done’ aspect that makes games like this great to look back on.

Jump forward a couple of years, and advancements in HyperCard allowed Cyan to make improvements in their game.  One of the biggest improvements was the addition to add animations to be run over static backgrounds, giving the games a massive bump in appearance.  The worlds began to move, and you could see where something scuttled off to or a door opening slightly.

While still black and white graphics, the popularity of these games began to grow exponentially.¬† Being able to ‘move’ in a virtual world and interact with it, compared to text-based adventures such as Zork, were catching on with a wider audience.¬† There were mixes such as the Kings Quest games from Sierra, but while you could move a character on the screen, commands were still entered via keyboard.

Then in the early 90’s, Full Motion Video (FMV) games started to gain popularity.¬† The Command and Conquer series used FMV to progress story elements.¬† The 7th Guest took this one step further and allowed you to solve an adventure with FMV actors.

Then this came on TV.

Yes, the creators of The Manhole had upgraded their style – just a little bit.

This was a game fully in a virtual world, that you could explore freely from the first person perspective.¬† Non-linear routes and out of the box thinking puzzles made Myst a major talking point for years.¬† It’s popularity along with The 7th Guest fuelled CR-ROM adoption on modern PCs.

Yes, that’s right – CR-ROM was at one point like VR today, with people trying to push the tech and justify the investment.¬† Myst helped a lot with that decision.

Myst’s sequel, Riven, was bigger in every respect.¬† Better images, more involved puzzles, and an even greater talking point among fans.

The world of Riven was huge, and it was one of the first games I really lost myself in.

There were three more sequels, but due to a variety of reasons, I never played any more of the Myst series.

Well, until a few months from now.  Cyan has managed to pull back all of the licensing and are now running a Kickstarter to enable everyone to experience the entire Myst series.

And not just the original games – the revamped graphically improved versions at that ūüôā

There is another catch for me though.

If you back at the physical media tier (The Bookmaker, about AU$130 + shipping), you can get the DVDs in a specially made book that holds all of the disks.¬† While a nice touch, I do agree this tier isn’t for everyone, and it is much cheaper to go the digital-only versions of all the games, but it is great for collectors and fans.

Except they went one better.

Myst Book Box
Secreted in it's pages, the entire Myst series

A major part of the game is the Myst Linking Books.  These books show information, views, act as portals Рthey are almost the game in some ways.

And at the Maintainer tier, the Myst Book Box is upgraded to include an LCD screen showing various video from the game, with possible other goodies as well as teased by the project.

Now, I know the book is essentially the same with a window on it, but hey I am a fan and this is something that will make me smile for a long, long time ūüėÄ

Myst Collectors Linking Book
Yes, it holds the DVDs. But it also shows you the world of Myst, just like in the game

This project is both a great example of a labour of love and fan service, and I am loving that it exists.

If you love games like The Witness and The Room series, see where they all started.  You will thank me later.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Oh, just as a final note – this game isn’t in the Myst series proper, but shows just how popular Myst was.

A total parody, the game Pyst came out in 1996 and shows the effect on the island of Myst after millions of people had walked around messing with everything.

It was totally tongue in cheek, and was also a lot of fun to play ūüôā

Call of Cthulhu Leather Campaign Journals on Kickstarter

Call of Cthulu Leather Journals Interior

Because even insane players need a place for their thoughts

I quite enjoy my RPG adventures.¬† I am also partial to the workings of Lovecraft.¬† Call of Cthulu does indeed merge these two interests, but I am yet to play it.¬† However, for a new game accessory from Melbourne based TYPE40, I don’t see this being a problem.

One thing all adventures have in common is a chronicle of the journey. Sometimes, this is done by memory (for better or worse), and other times in such minute detail that no inflection is missing.  But you always need somewhere to put your notes, and that is where some new leather campaign journals come in.

Now you can quite rightly say that any piece of paper or notebook will suffice.  I am not suggesting this is something every gamer would need by any means.  One gaming regret I do have is losing the adventures leading to my immortal thief.

It wasn’t losing the book or normal damage, it was just time and many movements with scraps of paper put into an A4 folder.¬† I am sure that if I did try and read a lot of it now, I wouldn’t be able to remember what the little jots of notes circled or in a margin meant.

But that kind of rediscovery is part of the fun of looking back onto such things, isn’t it?

Call of Cthulhu Leather Journals
Where else would you put your thoughts?

TYPE40 have managed to create a journal that feels like it was lifted directly from the pages of some of H.P. Lovecraft’s works. This has been done partly by the cover designs, but also whats inside.¬† Some of the pages contain images from the¬†H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society, adding both immersion and interest before pen hits paper.

Now if you were playing a Call of Cthulhu campaign, some of this can be distracting, but also really cool ūüôā

Call of Cthulu Leather Journals Interior
Some gorgeous additions lend to the journals feel

Backers of the campaign even get a challenge coin, something that I feel the player investigators would also appreciate.

There is also the fact that these are just gorgeous notebooks, so any Lovecraftian fan can enjoy using them for day to day notes, or whatever else they wish to jot down.¬† Speaking of jotting down, two days in they are over halfway to the inclusion of a fountain pen as a stretch goal.¬† Now, how’s that for immersive?

There are four journals being made available initially, but if things go well more may be coming according to the project.  You can back one of your choice, all four, or the big one.  This includes all four notebooks in a signed slipcase for your journals, signed by Mike Mason of Chaosium.

Personally, I think the¬†Flora and Fauna journal will be my favourite, showing one poor soul’s descent into madness.

But enough of me describing journals to you, check out the Kickstarter project for yourself and see what you think!

JohnHQLD

A new month, and the April Kickstarter queue is already forming

Lifeform Badge

Well, my credit card is starting to tap me on the shoulder. “Weren’t you going to take it easy?” A little voice asks. “CHECK THIS OUT!” another voice shouts excitedly.

And here we are – another month, and already a queue of things I want to buy or are on the horizon.

Lifeform by Hall or Nothing Productions

Straight up – Lifeform is Alien: The Board Game but without the license. It’s a survival horror game for up to four players, and you can play solo with the Dragon’s Domain expansion.

Lifeform is a dungeon crawler type gameplay with one player taking the role of the hostile alien lifeform, with other players frantically trying to gather resources and escape.

Just trying to sum up the game, this looks on the surface like a harsher cooperative game than one of my most anticipated games for 2018, Who Goes There?.  This is only on the surface though. Looking deeper into Lifeform there are some unique mechanics that I think will make it stand out on its own. Plus I could play this by myself with the expansion.

Lifeform The Crew
Lifeform The Ship

Check out the playthrough video with co-designer Mark Chaplin below, or jump straight to the Kickstarter page here.

Graphic Novel Adventures by Van Ryder Games

Choose your own adventure, Pick a Path, and Fighting Fantasy. As I was growing up, these series were my solo adventuring fun.

The order is important because while I could follow a story with the first two series, Fighting Fantasy books allowed me to roll dice and participate in the adventure. The pinnacle of these books to me is still the Sorcery! series, four books where you could carry your character and decisions from book to book.

Well, Van Ryder Games seems to remember these experiences and is bringing them back in the form of graphic novels. This is interesting to me because these books start to feel like a mix of old school pick your route adventures and games like Unlock! where details can be hidden in the image.

Graphic Adventure Novels Book 1
Graphic Adventure Novels Choices

There are five very different story types on offer, so you can pick the ones you want or grab the entire series.

Check out the Kickstarter page for more information.

Fireball Island by Restoration Games

This Kickstarter doesn’t officially start for another 24 hours, but if you are on Restoration Games email list the preview is up, and what I am seeing looks like a lot of fun.

I’m not going to go into it here, I will leave that for maybe Thursday’s post. I will say the following bits though:

  1. There is a spot for the full rules, so I will be reading those straight away
  2. The amazing Rodney Smith of Watch it Played will be doing a rules video. Check out Watch it Played here.
  3. You will need to put aside USD$130 + shipping for an all in pledge. What does that include? That would be telling ūüėÄ

I will put down some thoughts later in the week, but check out the Kickstarter page tomorrow ūüôā

Fireball Island New Box Cover

Another one? Terminator Genisys: Rise of the Resistance announced

Terminator Genisys Rise of the Resistance Box Art

I know he said he’ll be back, but still…

So depending on your taste in movies, the Terminator movie franchise has been slowly declining the last few times out.  I personally enjoy the idea behind the Terminator, but no new announcements or rumours really caught my interest.  This changed last year when Space Goat Productions with Lynnvader Studios announced the official Terminator Board Game on Kickstarter.

Terminator Board Game Kickstarter

Again, I like the idea behind the Terminator.  Time travel shenanigans is always a great potential area.  The Terminator Board Game had my interest because of gameplay across two different boards Рone representing 1984, the other 2029.  There were rough edges, and the add-ons started piling up the cost, but there was potential.  Eventually, I will tell you if the base game holds its own.  I say eventually, as there is still work happening on the game development so like all the other backers I am waiting to see.

There hasn’t been much information for the last month, which makes backers nervous.¬† Personally, I wait for a few more signs before I start stressing.¬† Some more signs may have just appeared, but I will talk about that in a little while.

An example of why I tend to try and filter a lot of this feedback out is the initial flaming of Space Goat that they were demonstrating the game with print and play components.¬† A new company still admittedly designing the game were getting grief because they weren’t demonstrating a finished product.¬† Yes, other companies do have very polished prototypes and artwork on display, but these are almost always much larger companies with the money and ability to create these.¬† But big companies using Kickstarter is another article.

A few months later, Rule and Make games announced T2029: The official Terminator 2 board game.¬† This made me VERY excited, because not only have I met the guys from Rule and Make, but I love so many of their games.¬† Rise to Power and Entropy: Worlds Collide are¬†both games I would recommend to many players, even players that may not normally like such games.¬† It also doesn’t hurt they are Brisbane based ūüôā

This is a game I will probably back when it comes back.¬† Yep, that’s right – when it comes back.¬† Based on feedback from the Kickstarter campaign (and probably a bit of flaming from the first Terminator campaign) Rule and Make cancelled the project to polish the game some more.¬† After meeting¬†Allen Chang and Alistair Kearney for a preview of Entropy when it was in playtesting, I can say these are people passionate about the games they make and I believe this is exactly why the project was cancelled.

T2029 Game Layout

This morning via an article on Screenrant, River Horse Games (the people behind the Terminator Genisys: Miniatures Game) announced a new Kickstarter Terminator game coming April 9th.  The interesting twist?  Terminator Genisys: Rise of the Resistance is being created in partnership with Lynnvander Studios.

Now¬†Lynnvander Studio’s involvement with the original Terminator: The Official Board Game did seem to all but stop once the project was funded.¬† This by itself didn’t (and still doesn’t) ring any alarm bells for me.¬† Studios are contracted for assistance all of the time, and Lynnvader has a decent reputation on Kickstarter.¬† The Legacy games (such as¬†Albion’s Legacy) are quite good, and this background is most likely the reason for the partnership with River Horse Games.

Terminator Genisys Rise of the Resistance Box Art

Comments are already pointing out that Space Goat has gone very quiet over the last month, and now there is another Terminator game coming to Kickstarter.  The last update at the end of February did cite health issues, and not only did the Kickstarter updates end but so did Instagram and Facebook posts.  Space Goat also has the much delayed Evil Dead 2 game to try and get out Рthey could be pouring everything into appeasing a different group of backers.

Honestly, at this point, I think the timing for the game announcement is just how things worked out.  This ends the conspiracy theory discussions.  I will be watching the original project for signs of quietly passing, but I truly think this is just a new company with two big projects feeling the pressure.

Terminator Genisys Rise of the Resistance Components

So what is this article about then?¬† Well, there are a few things out of this morning’s musings.¬† To start with, this is the first time I have ever thought I had franchise fatigue for a board game without playing any of them!

Franchise fatigue is usually reserved more for describing lacking financial performance in movie sequels, but in my opinion it’s hitting board games too.¬† While many people complain about the number of Zombie or Cthulu themed games overall, Zombicide is a great example of a series that overall has run its course for me.¬† As previously stated, the games themselves are fine, but after buying everything up to Green Horde I can honestly say I am all but over the franchise.¬† There needs to be a major change to bring me back to the games, and unfortunately, this would probably no longer make it a Zombiecide game.¬† Video game franchises have been made or broken trying to reinvent themselves in the past, so CMON will have to weigh the pros and cons carefully if they decide a change is required.

I don’t get why I am simultaneously excited and over the Terminator Genisys: Rise of the Resistance announcement.¬† Each of the three board games has been based on a different film, and definitely for the first two games were aimed at very different experiences.¬† It’s akin to complaining that Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective and Holmes: Sherlock and Mycroft are the same games so I don’t have to play the other.¬† These are definitely not the same game:

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective The Munitions Magnate
Holmes Sherlock and Mycroft
Holmes Sherlock and Mycroft

Prejudging anything like this just isn’t something I think I do, but this morning I gave serious thought about simply passing over the news because of the previous Kickstarter experiences.¬† While it’s wise to be wary or cautious based on prior experiences, not giving the project a chance to stand on its own merits on its own merits just isn’t fair.

And that is really the thing.¬† If you can casually prejudge something like a board game announcement, what does that mean you can justify prejudging in other areas of your life?¬† It’s a true cliche – it’s all in the small things.

One of the reasons I prefer to play board games socially rather than video games over the internet is people tend not to be awful to your face.   14 years later, I still remember the Penny Arcade strip Green Blackboards (And Other Anomalies) as my issue with online gaming, and then feel bad because not everyone on the internet is like that.  While there is enough evidence that the Greater Internet Theory is still in full effect, there are also plenty of examples of great communities coming together and just enjoying themselves.

So in a weird announcement and holiday message post, some points for you to consider:

  1. Terminator Genisys: Rise of the Resistance is coming to Kickstarter April 9th.
  2. An overtired JohnHQLD will take surprisingly convoluted prompts as a basis for self-introspection.
  3. In the words of Bill and Ted:
Be Excellent To Each Other

I hope you have a safe and great Easter break, enjoy some great company and games.

I know I will be ūüėÄ

JohnHQLD