A Kickstarter Feature: Two Rooms and a Boom!

1 11 2013

Two RoomsIt’s not a secret that we here at TOG we are HUGE fans of The Resistance, and every once in a while there is a game that comes along claiming to be able to topple The Resistance from its pedestal. In recent months Two Rooms and a Boom has been getting a ton of social media, podcast, and bloggy love, and while it has many similarities to games like Mafia, Werewolf, and The Resistance, there are some very intriguing differences that could make this one stand out from the crowd!

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Kickstarter Weekly—Sept. 20, 2013

20 09 2013

Well here we are again, wrapping up another busy week at TOG. You’ll be seeing our 2nd podcast episode pop up in iTunes really soon, (seriously it’s uploaded, just waiting on the Apple folks to do their thing) and we thought, “Hey! Let’s do that Kickstarter Weekly thing that we do. So here it is.

Featured Campaign

photo-Ninja DiceNinja Dice – Greenbrier Games

This looks like a fun little dice-driven fast-paced game. Players are rolling dice, trying to grab loot, and beating up the other players in dicey-ninja action! The components in the video look slick, too!

A pledge of $25 gets you the game, The campaign ends Oct. 29 and you can check it out: right here!

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Fox and Chicken—Kickstarter Weekly

3 04 2013

Kickstarter seems to have no shortage of fun and interesting new games these days, and some that are innovative spins on classic favorites. Today’s Kickstarter Weekly is in the latter category.

Michael Fox, who is the host and writer of The Little Metal Dog Show, is also the brains behind this campaign.

chickenfoxFox and Chicken is a new “slightly more family friendly” version of the old standard, Werewolf—or as some know it Mafia.

Fox and Chicken pits players against each other in the form of a team of Foxes who are out to eat all the chickens at night fall, and in some twisted role of animal kingdom law, the chickens have the power to execute players who they believe may be a fox.

foxchicken

The unique, and fun twist to this is there are a handful of special role cards that give certain chickens and foxes special abilities. These special cards also have a bearing on the entire game, depending on the player’s fate.

The project is only a few days in and is already at nearly 40% funded. For US backers the total is roughly $18 to get your own copy.

If you’re a fan of the Werewolf/Mafia originals, this looks like a great way to spiff up the old standby and create a new experience with casual gamers, without diving into a completely new set of rules!

Thanks for reading and as always we appreciate your interactions in the comments, and on Facebook and Twitter!





A Double-Take Review—The Resistance: Avalon

27 11 2012

It’s no surprise that we love The Resistance here at TOG. So a new version with some special powers sounds great. Is The Resistance: Avalon as good as it sounds? Well let’s find out.

We’re not going to explain the mechanisms of the game. You can read our review of The Resistance here, where we explain the game in detail. The new game is identical in basic gameplay; the difference is that there are roles in this game.

The whole thing has an Arthurian legend theme, so the roles are characters from the mythology. The game seems to assume you’ll play with at least the Merlin and Assassin cards. Merlin gets to know exactly who the Minions of Mordred are. When everyone’s eyes are closed, the evil players raise their thumbs, and Merlin opens his or her eyes. So they have perfect knowledge in the game…but, they can’t be too obvious about letting their teammates know who the baddies are, because at the end of the game, if the Servants of Arthur have won, the Assassin gets one last chance. He can talk things over with the other baddies, and then he assassinates the person he thinks is Merlin. If he’s right, the bad guys win.

Ever since I heard about that, I was troubled. It seemed awful that the baddies could win based on a complete blind guess. After playing, I’m less concerned. Usually the Assassin seems to be basing the decision on the way people acted, but there have been a few times when it’s a blind guess that happens to be correct. It’s really frustrating. Yes, the Loyal Knights who aren’t Merlin need to be doing more to make themselves seem like Merlin, but that doesn’t take the sting away.

There are some other roles, too.

Percival is a Servant of Arthur, and he gets to know who Merlin is.

Mordred is a Minion of Mordred (duh). He doesn’t reveal himself to Merlin at the beginning of the game.

Oberon is a Minion of Mordred, but he doesn’t show himself to the other Minions—nor does he get to know who the other Minions are.

Morgana is a Minion of Mordred, and she gets to show herself as Merlin when Percival is in the game. So both Merlin and Morgana will have their thumbs extended, but Percival won’t know which of them is Merlin and which is Morgana.

The Kickstarter copy also came with Lancelot, who might change allegiances halfway through the game.

Firestone—The first thing I have to comment on are the components. First, a couple of the cards have a misprint on them: the word unknown is spelled unkown. This is a small mistake that doesn’t affect the game at all. It’s just shocking that it wasn’t caught. The other problem is this: Instead of voting cards, as you have in the original Resistance, you have tiles you vote with. After just one game, these were showing considerable wear—and after many games they’re in awful shape. I’m not sure why they went with tiles over cards, but it seems like a terrible idea in retrospect.

Jeremiah—I couldn’t agree less! The first thing that I loved about the new version of the game was the tactile feel of the new voting tiles; it seems to  streamline the hands-on feel and it’s easier (along with the Leader tile) to keep track of each different component and stage of a round. With the first version, cards always seem to get shuffled into the wrong pile or mixed up, etc. The durability of the tiles is questionable, but even my sleeved cards from the first set are showing signs of wear (and they don’t fit in the box as well). I also really enjoyed the new set of tableaus that are included. There is now a separate tableau for your game dependent on the amount of players, and each quest is labeled with how many knights are to go on that particular quest. It again streamlines the gameplay and requires less squinting from across the table to see how many folks you are selecting for the next quest.

Firestone—Madness! 🙂 But I do agree about the tableaus. Those are super helpful and convey just the sort of info they need to.

The roles are interesting. I like the uncertainty Morgana creates. Percival seems hard to play well; there are times when he really should reveal himself—or help in some way—and new people still seem hesitant for some reason.

Oberon creates some fun situations: In one game I was Merlin, so knew the baddies, but didn’t know who was who. At one point a baddie put two Minions on a mission and I realized he had no idea he’d done that because one was Oberon. Of course, I voted that mission to go because I was more than happy to see them both on it; even if it failed they would almost certainly both vote to fail it, and now the group had a lot of information. The problem was that everyone noted that I’d voted for the failed mission to go forward, so now I was suspect! At any rate, I liked the mayhem that character caused.

The Lancelot promo comes with a few variants, and we’ve only played one so far, but I didn’t like it. Two people are dealt Lancelot cards—one of which is a Minion and one of which is Loyal. You play as your card, just like normal, but starting on the third mission you draw cards from a deck and there’s a chance the loyalties will switch. Sounds cool, but if you’re on the last mission, and your side is about to win, and you suddenly have to switch to the losing side because of a card flip? Blech. What should have been interesting was just frustrating for whomever was winning (and now suddenly wasn’t), and a cheap victory for the person who was losing, and suddenly wins.

Jeremiah—We haven’t delved too deeply into the different roles; it is stressed very clearly in the rules that you shouldn’t start adding more roles to the game if there are too many new/inexperienced players in the game, and as of yet, every time I have played there have been several folks new to the game. And grasping the roles, along with Merlin and the Assassin and how to play off of those roles, is quite the task, without muddying the waters too much.

Firestone—Overall, this is a mixed bag for me. I like this version better than regular Resistance. But I don’t think I like this better than regular Resistance with the plot cards. You can play Avalon with the plot cards from the original game (we haven’t done that yet), but it makes no thematic or aesthetic sense to mix the two. I’m not sure why they didn’t create plot cards for Avalon that fit that theme. They could be the same exact ones, just with new names and art.

I’m glad I have both, and we’ve certainly been playing Avalon exclusively since we got it, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see us return to the original over time.

Jeremiah—With this I agree; I thought I would be more excited about this game than I actually am. I enjoy the level of strategy that Merlin brings to being a good guy; in the original it becomes a chore to hide your disappointment when you’ve been dealt an operative role. Trying to figure out who Merlin is, and then act as if you are Merlin definitely makes it fun for everyone at the table. The absence of the plot cards is palpable, even more so is the stark contrast in the theme when you try to add them in. The way the plot cards are played is a HUGE part of my strategy when playing a baddie, so I would LOVE to see them re-themed and offered as an add-on sometime soon.

At its core Avalon is The Resistance, with more options and different aesthetics; I have yet to introduce the game to someone who didn’t want to play again as soon as the first one was over. And Avalon is no different.

Thanks for reading!

Firestone Update—Well, we’ve played this a bunch more, and have had no desire to return to the original yet. Still lots to be explored with just the roles, and we’re having a great time. I recommend this completely.
You can find Resistance Avalon on Amazon here.

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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!





Spies Like Us: Reviewing The Resistance

3 07 2012

I have a regular gaming group, and we’ve been getting together every week for eight years or so. Every once in a while a game comes along that completely captivates us, and it’s all we want to play. Loopin’ Louie did that. Crokinole did that. Dominion did that.

And our latest obsession is a game called The Resistance.

This terrific little card game takes everything that’s good about games like Battlestar Galactica, Werewolf, and Mafia and boils them down to a 20-minute gem.

Your team is part of the Resistance—a force that opposes the ruling government. If it’s easier, you can think of it as the Rebel Alliance fighting against the Empire. The problem is that the Empire has planted spies among your rebel forces. The spies know who each other are, but the Rebels have no idea who the spies are—just that they’re among the group.

The game is very abstracted. You’re going on five missions—they might be sabotaging facilities or infiltrating a base. It doesn’t matter and the game doesn’t specify. The point is that the Rebels want the missions to succeed, and the spies want the missions to fail. The first side to have three missions go their way wins.

At the start of the game you randomly choose someone to be Leader. That person will suggest a team to go on the first mission. People will convince and cajole, trying to get the Leader to put people they trust on the mission. But you don’t know if the Leader is a spy and seeding the team with a fellow spy!

Eventually the Leader proposes a team and everyone gets to vote on whether that team goes on the mission. If a majority of the players vote yes, the mission goes on. If a majority vote no—or the vote is tied—that’s a vote of No Confidence in the Leader. The leadership passes to the next player and he or she proposes a new team for the mission. It can happen that it takes a few times to finally land on a team that gets voted through. But the Rebels have to beware; if the vote fails five times on any one mission, the Spies automatically win because the Rebels aren’t organized enough to be effective.

So if the team passes, they go on the mission. This consists of handing out a set of cards to each person going on the mission. One card is a Pass, and the other is a Fail. Players secretly choose one and put it in the middle. Then the Leader shuffles all of the cards so no one knows who played what card, and they’re revealed.

As long as they’re all Passes, the mission succeeds, but if there’s even one Fail, the mission fails. (During the fourth of the five missions it takes two Fails for the mission to fail, but that’s the lone exception.)

Whether the mission fails or succeeds, you now have a bit more information. Those three people went on a mission that failed, so at least one of them must be a Spy. But who? That’s the vanilla game, and in the vanilla game the Spies win A LOT. SO the fine people at Indie Boards and Cards included some Plot Cards, which are meant to even things out a bit. Some of the plot cards force people to show another player their Role card (which reveals whether they’re a Spy or not). This creates great tension. Is the person a Spy? Did they show their card to another Spy so they wouldn’t be revealed?

The Spies are trying to sew seeds of confusion, throw people off the scent, or even (and this one of my favorite tricks), throw your fellow Spies under the bus after they’re served their purpose, which makes you seem trustworthy. Then you stab the Rebels in the back later. In my opinion, it’s much more fun to play as the Spies.

It’s definitely worth noting that the game involves lying. Keep an eye out for a short article where I discuss the role of lying, and the internal struggle I have with it. This is a fantastic game to play with a youth group, just be aware that you’re kind of encouraging deception.

This is easily my most-played game of all time. I can’t see it ever growing old.

We’re going to be giving away a copy of this great game, so stay tuned to see how you can get your own copy! And thanks for reading!








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