Mars Needs Mechanics Hits Kickstarter!

31 08 2012

Well if you joined us earlier this week for our interview with game designer Ben Rosset. You know that today is the day that the newest title from Nevermore Games – Mars Needs Mechanics – hits Kickstarter. You can check out and back the campaign RIGHT HERE!

While you’re there you can see a few different videos about the game including some gameplay demos.

You can see the full interview with Ben Rosset here.

They’re up and running and off to a good start, best of luck guys!

Thanks for reading and have a great holiday weekend everyone!

When We Last Left Our Heroes…

31 08 2012

It’s been a bit of a slow week for us here at ToG. Life has intruded in interesting ways…

But that doesn’t mean we didn’t post some cool stuff!

We started off the week with a review of the GenCon hit Smash Up!

We were one of the first to report that Rob Daviau is leaving Hasbro and striking out on his own.

We interviewed Ben Rosset about his upcoming game, Mars Needs Mechanics.

We showed you the new trailer for Mars Needs Mechanics.

We reported on Looney Labs’ expensive new Kickstarter version of Are You a Werewolf?

And finally, we reviewed that behemoth of a fantasy game, Mage Knight!
Thanks so much for reading! We’re taking a much-needed break for the Labor Day weekend, so we’ll see you on Tuesday. Next week we’ll have a review of the brand-new Tooth & Nail: Factions, and much more. Stay tuned!

Mage Knight – These Aren’t Your Big Brother’s Clix!

30 08 2012

by Jeremiah

In the year 2000, Wizkids hit the market with their debut to the “Clix” system with a miniatures game called Mage Knight; it was a hit. Spawning Mech Warrior and the still-popular Heroclix titles for the company. Several years and multiple expansions later, Wizkids decided to release Mage Knight 2.0 and deem every figure previously created null and void in tournament play. Exit Mage Knight as we know it, and the eventual demise of Wizkids.

Wizkids is back up and running, and really hitting some home runs as they slowly but surely reboot titles that were gaming staples for much of the first decade of the 21st century. Which brings me to this week’s review: Mage Knight the board game.

The overview—Think 40K, D&D, MTG, and any LCG all mixed up together. It sounds schizophrenic, but it works. The base set comes with 4 characters that players choose from; you then embark on a scenario (1 of 11 included, or if you’re daring you can create your own or scale up or down your own) and into a land that is revealed as you explore. Along the way you encounter baddies, keeps, monasteries, dungeons…well, you get the idea. Killing a monster, conquering a keep, exploring (adding a new tile to the board) etc, will earn you “fame’ (Experience Points, the ultimate goal in most scenarios is to have the most fame) which allows you to level up, which gives you stronger stats, allows you to gain new skills, control more allies…sound familiar?

Here’s where the game takes on a different spin, and becomes very intriguing. You control all of your actions through your “Deed” deck. You have 5 cards in your hand (you get a higher hand limit as you level up), and these cards dictate what you can do on your turn. There is no intricate time-based system to keep track of; there is no Dungeon Master telling you what you can or cannot do. There is a board that consists of tiles that are revealed as you explore, and your own deck of cards. You also cannot die—taking wounds doesn’t take away hit points, it only fills your deck with wound cards that clutter up your hand and inhibit you from taking more actions on your turn. Play continues in turns and rounds. A day round followed by a night round and so on. Day and night rounds have different effects on traveling across certain terrain and your ability to see what a certain baddy is before you jump into battle with it.

The Mechanisms—They’re actually fairly clean and easy to learn—on the other hand, the multitude of combat rules and special abilities for your foes can be a little much to swallow when you first jump in. Playing cards to do anything and everything is a unique twist on a game like this, and you can really come up with some great combos to accomplish a lot on your turn, but it takes some good base knowledge of the gaming system and the cards in your deck.

I really enjoyed this game, but be warned: If games such as Battlestar Galactica are a marathon to you, Mage Knight is an Iron Man race! The longest scenario included is estimated to be about 8+ hours! It’s definitely geared for a multiple-sitting experience.

Beware—As with most games of this nature that take place in some sort of “fantasy realm” the use of darker magic and spell casting is highly prevalent. But there’s no flavor text on the cards, so as the game is played it feels pretty innocuous. About two rounds into the game I was informed that my character was a “Blood Cultist.” It didn’t really have any effect on the game play or the cards in my hand; all the players have the same cards—only different amounts of certain ones. I happened to have a few more cards that were more aggressive in nature, but as I leveled up I could easily select skills and cards that were geared more for healing and being a nice guy. But if casting spells and fighting wizards in towers and such gives you pause, it’s best to steer clear of this one.

All in all, it’s a deep gaming experience, with nicely tuned mechanisms to help take out some of the randomness of most card-based systems. I’m hoping for expansions to come soon that will offer more characters that are of a less evil persuasion.

Thanks for reading!

Mage Knight on Amazon

Looney Labs Launches a Kickstarter!

29 08 2012

A few days ago the folks over at Looney Labs, headed up by Andy Looney, launched a Kickstarter campaign for the deluxe edition of “Are You a Werewolf?” If you haven’t played the original game, it’s essentially a werewolf version of the classic party game “Mafia,” but uses cards to assign roles instead of an Moderator-type person.

The deluxe edition, is actually pretty clever. It uses those little picture viewers they try to sell you at every theme park in the world. So instead of being handed a card, that could be marked/nicked up, you grab a picture viewer, take a peek and see who you are. I imagine these picture viewers could get nicked up too, but I would think they would be more durable, and it’s pretty much impossible for someone to “accidentally” look at another players role.

Personally, I’m a fan of the old school Mafia game, but this could be a cool way to facilitate a Mafia game, instead of the old “if I tap you on the head you’re the Mafia…” routine.

You can check out the Kickstarter page RIGHT HERE.

And as always, thanks so much for reading our little blog, we truly appreciate your support!

Bring Your Goggles – Mars Needs Mechanics Trailer

28 08 2012

In the sentiment of the day, we thought we’d post the Mars Needs Mechanics teaser trailer here for you to check out.

It’s chock full of really cool imagery and makes us pretty excited for the game!

If you haven’t read it already you can check out our interview with MNM designer Ben Rosset right HERE!

And backers…the title hits Kickstarter Aug. 31!

Mars Needs Mechanics–An Interview with Ben Rosset

28 08 2012

Last week, game designer Ben Rosset took a few minutes to answer all the burning questions we had about himself, his new game Mars Needs Mechanics, and the meaning of life.

How did you become interested in designing board games?

I always loved playing board games from a young age. In junior high school, I asked my teacher if I could design a board game about a book instead of doing a book report. She said yes, and the game was a big hit! More recently, though, I need to credit my good friend Mike Swiryn, an amazing designer. We had been hanging out and playing games quite a bit (this was about 4 years ago). Then one day, he said, “Dude, check this out. I designed a game!” And that was it. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to get into board game design. I went home that night and wrote down some rules for an idea I had, and I was on my way. I haven’t stopped since.

What sparked the vision for Mars Needs Mechanics?

My goal was to make an easy to learn Economics game where players could only indirectly control the market price of goods, and where players would have to predict the behavior of everyone else in order to be successful. That led to the “Sales Order Line,” the driving force behind Mars Needs Mechanics. It’s a unique timing mechanism for controlling the price of the game’s components (Boilers, Wire, Lenses, Piping, etc), and it’s what makes the game hum. People really love it. Its something new, and it’s a very simple system.

So, the Berkeley Breathed book and subsequent Disney film Mars Needs Moms didn’t come into play? Or are you tired of being asked that?

No, Mars Needs Moms didn’t come into play. To be honest, I didn’t even know about that film (which I hear was a flop) before I named the game Mars Needs Mechanics. However, I did know about the 1967 film Mars Needs Women. It was more a play on that than the Disney film. And yes, people ask me this question a lot, but its ok…we invited the question when we decided on the name. If anything, its helped to spark a bit of interest in the game.

How did you land at Nevermore Games?

I was a slow-comer to social media, but I must credit Twitter here! Twitter recommended that I follow Nevermore Games. That’s how I first connected with them, about 3 weeks before PrezCon in February 2012. I met Bryan and John at PrezCon, they played the game, they loved it, and a week later they called me to say they wanted to publish it.

Mars Curiosity, legit, or TV studio production?

Legit all the way. I have faith that Curiosity is really on Mars. It would be too big of a production to fake it. They’d never keep everybody quiet. I’m now following the Curiosity Rover on Twitter, but I’m also following the Sarcastic Rover, a spoof of the real thing. They’re both great.

What are the top 5 games you’re playing right now, and why?

With all the time we’ve been spending with Mars Needs Mechanics, I haven’t had much time to play other games. So I’ll give you three. First, I’m playing States: After the Fall. It’s an unpublished game by Mike Swiryn, Aaron Winkler, and David Golanty. I won’t give too much away about the game, but I know it’s received tremendous feedback from publishers at conventions, and I suspect it will get picked up by a publisher very soon. After that, I’ll say For Sale, by Stefan Dorra. This is a game that has been on my list to try for quite a while, and I finally did a couple weeks ago. Short, simple, and addictive, I loved it right away. Third, Agricola is always on my list. Its still my favorite Euro game, and it’s hard to imagine it ever getting knocked out of my top 5!

Is Mars Needs Mechanics your first game design, or are there others we should be checking out?

Its my first design that’s being published, but stay tuned. I’m working on others, and hope to be lucky enough to have more games published soon!

Other than “42,” what is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?

Wow, this is a great interview! I’m quite confident that I will get closer to the answer to this as I get older, though I’m humble enough not to believe I’ll ever know it all. But for me, the meaning of life is to contribute as much as we can toward the increasing of peace and happiness, and as much as we can toward the cessation of suffering in the world.

Ok, the next 5 questions only require a one word response. The answer will explain it all!

Star Wars, or Trek?


Favorite color?


Marvel or DC?

DC (because I live there)

Aslan or Gandalf?


Favorite pizza topping?



Mars Needs Mechanics launches a Kickstarter campaign on midnight Aug. 31! As soon as we have a link, we’ll post it here for you! But for now, click here if you want to check out Mars Needs Mechanics!

Our thanks goes out to Nevermore Games and Ben Rosset, you can follow them both on Twitter, @BenjaminRosset and @NevermoreGames. And of course we thank you, our readers, for your support!

Rob Daviau is Leaving Hasbro

27 08 2012

According to a report on Game Salute News, Rob Daviau, the design genius behind some of Hasbro’s best games—including Heroscape and Risk:Legacy—is leaving Hasbro next month. He’ll be starting his own board game design and consultation company called IronWall Games.

This is terrible news for Hasbro, but excellent news for the rest of the board game community, as Rob’s free to design, unfettered from the constraints surely put on him by a large, for-profit company. (The downside is that he won’t have that large company’s money to help make some ideas a reality. Something like Heroscape from scratch would be almost impossible, I’d imagine.)

We look forward to seeing what Rob has in store for us.
Thanks for reading!

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