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 🙂

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 – they 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 😀

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 😀

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

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 – one 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 🙂

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 – they 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 😀

JohnHQLD

Poking The Lion

Lion Johnson KS Banner

Games Workshop is famous for their efforts in protecting their intellectual property. My favourite is still their stance on ‘owning’ the term Space Marine, despite evidence of the name being in common use many years before Warhammer 40K. With this belief, Games Workshop lodged a trademark infringement complaint with Amazon about a series of books by M.C.A. Hogarth about ‘Spots the Space Marine’. Amazon complied with the complaint and pulled the series. Public outcry on the bullying tactics of Games Workshop got Amazon to reinstate the series, but in a lot of ways, Games Workshop won. There was tremendous publicity about Space Marines, and the formal message sent that Space Marines where their property and they have expensive lawyers.

So with this little bit of background, today’s little bit of interest is about a Kickstarter project. This one is for a single miniature (well, if 95mm is still a miniature?) for Leon Johnson, The Patriarch.  It’s a nice sculpt to be sure, not one I will probably back, but one I will probably keep an eye on. I will be keeping an eye on it for the Games Workshop response. I can’t see anywhere on the Kickstarter project ‘approved by Games Workshop’ or the like, and this is important.

Lion Johnson KS Banner

The Patriarch model is an obvious reference to the Warhammer 40K figure and Dark Angels Primarch (genetic founder) Lion El’Jonson.  According to the Games Workshop Intellectual Property Policy and while I am not a lawyer, this project seems to come dangerously close to hitting a few of these rules. The miniature isn’t intended for tabletop combat at the scale of it, but it is intended as a collector’s piece and for commercial gain.

The guidelines do state that your works should be clearly marked as unofficial, but the slight renaming from Lion to Leon (which is still just French for Lion) and obvious backstory parallels seem to be inviting trouble from the Games Workshop legal department.

While I wish Txarli Factory well and the project is already funded, after seeing Games Workshop go hard for less in the past, it will be interesting to see their response if any. Games Workshop has worked hard in recent years to improve their public image, and with a lot of new projects coming to light both in-house and in partnership with WizKids, this could be an interesting gauge to see how much the company has changed.

Shogun and Fresco are getting another Big Box run!

Queen Games Shogun and Fresco

Take over an empire, or complete a painting. The choice is yours.

So there is about a week to go on a different Kickstarter from Queen Games. Two of their most popular titles are getting a new Big Box limited print run – Shogun and Fresco.

Shogun keeps confusing me because it’s a game I used to play years ago but it isn’t the same game everyone keeps talking about. My Shogun was the last of the Hasbro Gamemasters series and is now known more as Ikusa. This Shogun is based on Wallenstein, and while by all accounts a great game, I haven’t had the chance to play it.

Shogun Box
Shogun Board and Clans

The one I have played though is Fresco, an amazing worker placement game where you are all painters trying to restore a Fresco for a church. It doesn’t sound fun, but Fresco is a surprisingly deep game with many choices and paths available to players to complete their goals.

Fresco Box
Fresco Board

The Big Box format is basically what you would call a Game of the Year edition in Video Games. Each Big Box comes with all expansions for the respective game in one box. Fresco comes with ten modules over three expansion releases that can be added to the base game individually or all at once for a crazy time. I cannot speak for Shogun, but the game is so popular that if you have ever been interested in either game, this is a great time to grab a copy.

This print run also includes various art and component upgrades, making the offer even more tempting. Shogun especially turns 452 cubes and tiles into custom wooden components, so we aren’t talking a minor upgrade here.

Shogun Component Upgrades

There is also the chance to grab the Kingdom Builder Second Edition Big Box, so the opportunity to grab a fantastic triple pack is amazing!

Looking at the project, Queen Games seems to be giving fans of the games the last chance to get a copy, and the upgrade in art and components could be a thank you or a test of things to come. If you look at the Queen Games site, neither Shogun or Fresco appear in their catalogue, so I don’t think they are pushing to bring back these titles overall, but this is a nice test of the waters maybe?

But if you ever had any interest in either of these games, this is the perfect opportunity to get everything in its entirety. I know I am getting Fresco just for this reason, and seriously considering Shogun as well.

Check out the Kickstarter page here for more information.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Pacific Rim: Extinction is live on Kickstarter

Pacific Rim Extinction Promo

Will beauty be enough?

Pacific Rim falls squarely in the mindless pleasure category for me.  It’s beautiful to watch, fun to watch along with, and a surprising amount of lore if you’re interested.  Guillermo del Toro seem to have a knack for these kinds of films, and the imminent release of Pacific Rim: Uprising has fans excited.  It’s this excitement that I think the skirmish game Pacific Rim: Extinction is looking to tap into.

Normally I would be giving a little insight into why I am excited or interested in a project.  Instead, Pacific Rim: Extinction is a great example of Kickstarters I am very wary of, turning this into a case study of caution.  Just to be clear I am not trying to warn anyone against backing the project.   I am just pointing out the things that make me hesitant to back the project myself.

First off the good points – THOSE MINIS.  No one can say this isn’t going to be a beautiful experience.  Not only do the miniatures come pre-painted, but they stand more than double the normal height of most skirmish minis.

Pacific Rim Extinction Gipsey Avenger Scale

Visually they all look amazing, and at the end of the article, I have a gallery of all the add-on miniatures for your viewing pleasure as well.

Then we get into the card art.  They do remind me of the screens and outputs of the films, so thematically they seem to fit and again the illustrations are great.

Pacific Rim Extinction Player Board

On the Kickstarter page itself is a section for Videos including an interview with River Horse on Pacific Rim: Extinction.  Everything looks on the up and up.

That’s the hype working overtime, and everything looks great and I want to buy all of the things.  But where is the video on the actual gameplay itself?  The project mentions that the rules and all are complete and playtested for the best turnaround time.  So where are the rules?  What is the actual game I am being asked to invest in?

Without seeing actual gameplay or at least the ruleset, we are being asked to invest a not insignificant amount of money on shiny.  And it is great shiny!  I would be tempted to buy the game simply to set up a diorama of a Jaeger battle in my house.  Without being given any information on the game proper, this is a classic example of a gamble Kickstarter project.

There is also the legalise at the bottom of the project that gives me pause.  The Risks and Challenges sections at the bottom of most Kickstarters are good, but including a Terms and Conditions (especially this wording) seems very heavy handed.  Screen capture of the Terms and Conditions are here:

Pacific Rim Extinction TandC

The first paragraph is the most concerning to me.  Prototypes are prototypes, and Kickstarter regulars are used to rules revisions and refinements after a campaign changes.  But when the only true information being given is a visual representation of the miniatures, this almost says ‘custom painted miniatures displayed, yours will look different and probably worse because you have to agree to it’.

Now I don’t expect the final included play pieces to look like the ones included – you put your best pieces on display to show off your product.  I would expect a lower level of detail on the paint job in the final product, but I have backed a lot of Kickstarters and have experience in manufacturing as well.  This legal speak could be at the insistence of the Legendary Films Legal Department, but it still doesn’t feel right to me.

Without showing even the prototypes and rules in a ‘real game’ environment, this starts to come across as a product that the people involved don’t have full belief or support in.

Now this will probably be confusing, as yesterday I literally posted “I know nothing of this game, but I’m excited!”.  There is a big difference though.   I am not being asked to hand over up to £65 plus shipping on a promise that something good will be created – I just need to wait and see.  Unless something happens at the last minute, Magic: The Gathering: Heroes of Dominaria will be published.  If you don’t think WizKids will pull a game, try to find news on Blade Runner 2049: Nexus Protocol to see what I mean.

Pacific Rim: Extinction has met its funding goal, so really I just need to wait and see.  I understand that no Kickstarter benefits and possible availability issues are the cost of waiting, but at the moment it also puts me approximately AUD$350 better off if it’s a so-so game.

Check out the Pacific Rim: Extinction Kickstarter page, and see what you think of the project overall.  I would love to hear how you look at the project overall.

Pacific Rim Extinction Gipsey Avenger Alternate
Pacific Rim Extinction Obsidian Fury
Pacific Rim Extinction Hakuja
Pacific Rim Extinction Saber Athena
Pacific Rim Extinction Core Set

Now that I have said what I think some crowdfunding projects do wrong, see what Secret Unknown Stuff: Escape from Dulce does right.  The project is still going on Kickstarter and is around 2/3rds of the way to their funding goal.

Rules up from the beginning, actual gameplay videos and prototype kits handed out and on display from the start of the project and community involvement with a great deal of transparency.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

An interesting Sci-Fi Concept for budding storytellers

Sci-Fi Concept Cards Examples

And then you meet this guy named… Bob…

Many years ago when I first got to play in a game based on the famous Dungeons and Dragons Red Box rules, my love of role-playing games well and truly became a part of me.  Even at that age, I wasn’t overly concerned about the general theme.  To me, Fantasy and Science Fiction are essentially the same setting.  One is based in a world of magical powers, and the other in a universe of magic like technology.

That said, this image still holds an awful lot of positive nostalgia and memories for me!

Dungeons and Dragons Players Manual Cover 1983

As I grew older, I then began to hold my own role-playing adventures.  The internet as it is now was a Sci-Fi fantasy in its own right, so they were variants on different stories I had read and what if scenarios.  In my defence I was about 12, even so, I don’t like thinking of what I put other players through at the time compared to what is available today 😀

And that is where today’s Kickstarter project comes in.  Creating an adventure for other players takes a lot of time, not something everyone has.  While basic plots and characters may be obvious, branches of stories or why certain things happen from a story perspective can be elusive.  This is all before your players look at the proverbial ‘Go in here’ sign and completely ignore it to see what else is happening.

To help with this, these Concept decks can be a great tool for beginner or veteran storytellers alike.  While they won’t exactly create a story for you, the inspiration for a character name or motivation is only a card pull away.  These cards can be used in a game to come up with some on the spot filler information, or used as a reference when crafting the adventure as prompts or lookups.

Sci-Fi Concept Cards Prototypes

There is also the added benefit of being actual playing cards if you decide to play something else!

The three card decks – one each for Characters, Planets and Locations – can be a great help to anyone that needs that little bit of a push.  I have never spoken to the creators before, but they previously had a Fantasy set as well I am sure that you would be able to get if you were so inclined as well.

If this sounds great but the idea of the physical cards sounds pricey, they have a data slate level pledge where you get the digital files for you as well.

Check out the Kickstarter page here for more information.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Restoration Games Fireball Island is launching on Kickstarter April

Fireball Island New Box Cover

Can you escape the Curse of Vul-Kar?

Way back in 1986, Fireball Island was a Milton Bradley monstrosity of a game.  Lots of plastic and a marble you would send flying down the various paths to knock over pieces, it was great fun.  For about 10 minutes.  Then you kind of used it like the backdrop of an adventure set, making up your own stories as the playing pieces became more like action toys in your story.

Fireball Island Original Box Cover

Come 2016, and Restoration Games as a company is announced.  Their mission – to reinvigorate these old classics and bring them up to today’s gaming standards.  Stop Thief and Downforce have been great additions to my library, and I am thoroughly enjoying both of these classic games.

When the library was being looked at, a vote went out for the next game for Restoration Games to tackle, and a lot of very valid reasons were given as to why they couldn’t do it.  Well, as far as I remember, I can’t seem to find the original voting page where I remember seeing all this, so it could be an old man’s memory playing up.

But in 2017, Restoration Games announced with a flourish that they would indeed be tackling Fireball Island.

Well, information has been scarce with little pieces being teased out little by little.  But the wait is all but over! Come April 3rd (4th most likely QLD time) the Kickstarter for the new Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar will be live!

What does this mean?  More plastic.  More bits.  Rob Daviau promises more actual game!

Fireball Island Comparison

I will be looking for this project with interest.  My memories and feelings are mixed to say the least on the original game, mainly due to the amazing amount of fun people have poked at it over the years.  But Restoration Games has so far come through, so I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

As I said at the moment information is a bit scarce, but you can check out the active Board Game Geek page here for more information.

Oh and that people making fun of the original?  Check out my favourite Board with Life Halloween video starring Fireball Island below!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Zombicide: Invader is coming to Kickstarter April 10

Zombicide Invasion Box Art

CMON has announced that Zombicide: Invader is launching on Kickstarter April 10th at 3 PM EST (6 am April 11th QLD Time).

Normally a CMON announcement has me excited, but Zombicide as a franchise has me in a strange place.  A little history to explain.

When Zombicide first came out, it wasn’t a perfect game but I had a lot of fun with it.  It was a bit of mindless fun, even if it did drag on a little bit.  There wasn’t really anything like it at the time, and the CMON miniatures were glorious.

Zombicide Season 01 Minis Mixed

When Zombicide Season 2 came announced, the idea of new Zombies and new locations had me excited and I backed it instantly.  When it arrived I started playing as soon as I could.  It was then I realised that the new Zombies just added to the maintenance and dragged out the game even more.

Zombicide Season 02 Minis Mixed

Zombicide Season 3 had me convinced these issues would be fixed.  Spoiler – they were once again made worse.  This was the game that made me all but give up on playing Zombicide, especially as new games that had learned from the games were announced and being developed.

Zombicide Season 01 Game Setup

Then Zombicide: Black Plague was announced.  I cautiously had a look, and I was happy to see it looked like CMON had scrapped the previous games completely and started in a new medieval fantasy setting.  I stopped and waited and watched previews from groups like the Dice Tower to hear what they had to say.  And I liked what I heard!  The rules had been streamlined, feedback from the players had been listened to and addressed, so I backed it with glee!

Then the game arrived.  I played it a couple of times solo, then slipped it away.  Black Plague wasn’t bad at all, it had potential, but by then other games had started to take its place in my games nights.  Games days stopped being “Can we play Zombicide?” and became me trying to convince people to give the new Zombicide a try.

Zombicide Black Plague Came Setup

Largely because of all this, when Green Horde was announced, I looked at it and just kept flicking through the internet.  I just couldn’t see anything new that either interested me or that I could use to convince others to try it with me.

So the announcement of Zombicide: Invader only has me looking at it because it seems to be the latest series reset.  Zombicide: Invader now has the franchise in space, where the zombies seem to be replaced with an alien horde.

Zombicide Black Plague Minis Zombies

There are no rules to look at right now, and I am going to guess that game previews will be coming out over the next few weeks to show off how gorgeous the game will inevitably be.

Zombicide was one of the original Kickstarter Phenomenon back in the day and a CMON mainstay, so I have no doubt it will be a successful campaign.  Personally for me though, while I will be looking at Zombicide: Invader and trying to find out more about it, I doubt there is much CMON can entice me with.

Zombicide Black Plague Minis Survivors

There are just smoother and better implementations right now for the genre as a whole.  Fantasy Flight has made great strides with Mansions of Madness Second Edition and Imperial Assault.  Gloomhaven has a much better story campaign experience and is the number one game ever according to Board Game Geek right now.  Sentient Cow Games even has a Kickstarter right now for Secret Unknown Stuff: Escape from Dulce that has me 100 times more excited than this announcement.

I am not trying to say that you shouldn’t buy Zombicide – if you’re a fan you already know you are.  If you don’t have Zombicide in your collection, by all means, check it out.  The Board Game Geek page is here, and I am sure it will be updated as the campaign gets closer.

I will be posting my thoughts probably in the last week of the Zombicide: Invader Kickstarter if you would like to know my final thoughts.  But in the meantime, check out some of the already available games (including Zombicide: Black Plague) before getting caught up in the hype.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD