Hegemonic—The Unboxing!

6 12 2013

photo (41)Something we’ve never done before is the obligatory unboxing video of a new game. There’s probably no real good reason for this, other than when we get new games we typically tear into them like a 5 year-old on Christmas morning.

However we were provided with some advance copies of Hegemonic, a new 4X game from Minion Games, and we thought it would be a good idea to show you…what’s in the BOX! (Which is more than absolutely nothing!)

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Emperor’s New Clothes—A Double Take Review

26 03 2013

Emperor'sA couple of weeks ago we received prototype copies of the Kickstarter game Emperor’s New Clothes—a game with a new twist on an old tale. We can’t wait to share our thoughts with you.

The game includes:

1 – Game Board

64 – Player cards

8 – Role cards (1 Emperor, 2 Swindlers, 4 Townsfolk, and 1 Child who breaks the illusion)

4 – Six sided dice

A whole pile of resource tokens

4 Meeples (for score keeping)

1- Starting player pawn

and the rule book.

The game begins with players randomly choosing a role and keeping that role secret. And dealing 5 cards to each player—it’s pretty much that easy!

The player turn goes something like this: The starting player rolls all four dice, then decides whether to keep them, or re-roll any number of them, up to two times. The reason for keeping a certain numbers/combinations relies solely on the cards in your hand. Each card has certain abilities that can be triggered by certain dice roll totals or combos (or both in some cases) which will then allow you to score resource tokens.

emperor's 2Resource tokens are used for 1 of 2 things on your turn: either to buy you victory points, or you can cash them in for more cards. It often depends on what your role is. So the players take turns rolling dice, and using them to activate cards out of there hands, which then scores them resource tokens. After players have decided whether to spend or save their resource tokens, the round continues with the next player’s turn. One round consists of each player taking a turn, and then victory conditions are checked. If no one has won, then the next round begins; players select new roles, the starting player pawn is passed to the left, and the whole thing starts over. The tricky part is there are sooo many ways to win and/or lose in this game! It all depends on which role you have (which, by the way, changes after every round!!). There’s an element of “The Resistance” in this game, which basically means that if someone finds out who you are mid-round, there are plenty of “Town Crier” cards in the deck which players can use to block certain actions, take dice away, and stop you from scoring resources.

Emperor full artThe beautiful part of this game is the marriage of old-school table-top gaming, and technology. The cards, game board and even the dice have been printed using some ridiculous ground breaking process – that we would almost call magic! We certainly don’t claim to understand how it works, and Hoke’s gaming (designers) and Game Salute are definitely not spilling the beans (something about patent lawyers and all that). But as far as we can tell it’s like a mix between those “hidden picture” images they used to sell at the mall kiosks, and the technology described in this video from MIT:

It’s said that because of the printing process there are actually a small percentage of gamers (estimated to be around 3%) who will actually not be able to see the artwork—or at least not in great detail.

Jeremiah—Let’s put aside the unreal components for a minute. If this game was printed via a standard process, it would be an amazing game. There’s enough depth in the mechanics to keep the veteran gamers coming back, but it’s light and fun enough to introduce to a new or casual gamer.

Firestone—I’m always looking for a game that’s going to be a hit with my game group, but that I can also bring out with newbies. Emperor’s fills that void.

Jeremiah—Let’s also not forget the humor side of this! Sabotaging your friends with cards like “Skid Mark” and “Holey Sock” add a decent and light-hearted amount of skullduggery to the mix, without giving too much power to the swindlers!

Firestone—I thought the “Bamboozle” card was a little overpowered, but for the most part these were a good mix. I’ll never forget the look on my friend’s face when I played “The Man Who Was Thursday” on him.

Jeremiah—I know Scott is probably going to disagree with me on this, but I love the randomness of changing roles after every round!! It keeps you invested in the game, and keeps you always thinking! Having just ONE strategy will not score you the victory in this game!

Firestone—Oh Jeremiah, you and your crazy love of chaos…

Jeremiah—What can I say about the components… When I opened the box it was breathtaking. To get that kind of depth, movement, and clarity on a completely FLAT surface, without the use of glasses or special lights! Totally science-fiction-type stuff; the future is here, folks!

Firestone—Agreed! The kids were begging to play this as soon as they spotted that board. And it’s not just pretty; all of the information you need in the game is right there on the board. The meeples were great; I’m so sick of companies insisting on giving me crappy plastic pieces. I love the old-school basic-ness of the wooden bits. Basic-ness sounds like bacon; now I’m hungry…

Jeremiah—I fell in love with this game and the idea from the word go! The mechanics are an incredible amalgamation of card and resource management, dice rolling, and backstabby role playing, with a dash of chaos mixed in. All that wrapped in a beautiful package! This is a future Game Of the Year candidate, I score it an 11!

Firestone—This gets a big thumbs-up from me, too. Often games with this many mechanisms don’t do any of them particularly well, but they’ve managed to combine everything into a nearly perfect whole. Emperor’s New Clothes should be seen to be believed.

The Kickstarter project ends in just 6 days, so check it out and see what you’re missing.





Battlestar Galactica – By your command!

18 07 2012

A friend of mine recently referred to Battlestar Galactica as the “big brother” to “The Resistance.” And in a way there is something to that statement. The intrigue and skulduggery of “The Resistance” is a key component of both games. However BSG adds a few twists and turns, and a little more housekeeping to the mix.

Players begin the game by selecting a character, and then they are dealt a loyalty card. This will tell them whether they are a Cylon, a sympathizer or none of the above. (By the way, I’m writing today as if you have already seen and love the Syfy series by the same name; if you haven’t, expect some potential spoilers and please come out from under that rock.) At this point as the game begins everyone is playing as if it were a co-op game, there IS a Cylon among you, but you don’t know if that individual is a “sleeper” and doesn’t know they are yet, or if they are just acting as if they don’t know yet. Yes, you will give your friends many sideways glances.

The game is won by the humans, if the Galactica jumps 8 units of distance, and then performs one last jump. The game is won by the Cylons by several means, most common is depleting any one of the Galactica’s resources (food, fuel, population or morale), but they can also destroy the Galactica or successfully board it with centurions.

The basic turn structure, allows you to make strategic moves to help the Galactica prep for a jump to light speed. While handling crises as they come at you, on every turn. All while trying to figure out if you have a Cylon saboteur among you. A crisis is overcome by players submitting skill cards to the crisis. Each crisis card will require a certain amount of  certain skills to pass it, and there is a positive and negative reaction for passing or failing the crisis. Players secretly submit their skill cards (Which they receive each turn, based on their characters abilities) to a crisis, along with a few random cards from the “Destiny deck”, and add up the skill points. This is where the Cylons have their fun. Each skill card that is from a skill that is NOT required by the crisis counts as negative points towards passing the skill check, and Cylons can always claim that the destiny deck chipped in those random “off suit” cards. Typically the fail reaction results in the loss of a resource point, or the launching of Cylon Raiders.

After a set amount of rounds their is a “Sleeper Round” in which more loyalty cards are dealt out,  insuring at this point any Cylons in the game know who they are! Because of this mechanic, simply choosing a character that is a Cylon in the tv series, does not necessarily mean that you will end up being a Cylon during the game. Once the Cylons are outed they are tossed into the brig, or sent to a Cylon location where they can really wreak some havoc!

I have watched the tv series in its entirety more than once; it is probably one of the best science fiction series to hit television…ever. (I know I just made every Star Trek fan hit the ceiling.) That being said, there are a few elements in the show that rubbed me the wrong way. One being the over sexually charged nature of a number of episodes. The other being the strong use of religion and God as a plot device. They often blurred the lines of right and wrong using religion to do so. I didn’t have too big of an issue with this—after all, it is science fiction, but if you’ve seen the last episodes of the series the lines are blurred once again, this time between fiction and commentary.

The good news in all of this, is that the game is filtered pretty well from these aspects of the series, so rest at ease if you choose Starbuck as your character you won’t be asked to simulate some lewd act with one of her multiple partners from the series. And the only hint of the religion element appears on Laura Roslyn’s character sheet. She has the special ability of “Religious Visions.” It makes sense and is in line with the character and her “abilities”—she also has the character trait of “Terminal Illness,” so there ya go.

My chief complaint about the game—which may seem petty—is that the skill cards are printed on those tiny little cards that are too small for your hands, and really hard to keep organized! We hates them!

The game box tells you that the game will take about 2-3 hours, and they weren’t kidding! This is a game that will be your game night, not just a part of it. I’ve played with folks who don’t know the show, and it is just as enjoyable to them, the twists and turns and pointing fingers and accusations seem to pull players in and it often doesn’t feel like it’s been a 2-hour+ game.

Battlestar Galactica on Amazon








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