Friday, October 20, 2017

Boardgame of the Week Saboteur

For those of you who like the "screw with the other players" type of game, I call your attention to Saboteur, an early version of the genre for only $15.  Saboteur has gone through several publishers and comes through Mayfair Games now.

In the game, players lay cards down from the start, trying to reach the gold nuggets. Broken axes, cave-ins and busted lanterns can impede progress but all players are working more ore (see what I did there) less together, except for the secret saboteur dwarves who play block cards without appearing to play block cards and only win if the other players fail. This is a great game for anywhere from 3 to 10 players while the standalone Sabotuer 2 can handle up to 12 players.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

RPG of the Week Rifts

Rifts has been around since the 1980s, starting out as the Palladium Fantasy RPG, then, as Palladium Games slowly put up more RPGs using the same basic system, gradually developed into the first, and longest lives, multi-genre RPG. Both GURPS and Torg attempted to do something similar but GURPS never managed to make a system that allowed you to take the same character, without modification, from one genre or universe to another, while Torg was an interesting experiment that failed to find an audience.

If you look closely at the underpinnings of Rifts, you can see its roots in the original D&D system, with its character classes and alignment systems, as the creator, Kevin Siembieda, had a hand in many of the early Judges Guild products. However, Rifts has transcended its roots and now stands as its own system, which has developed into a fantasy/high-tech cross over that still has a strong following all these years later.

Monday, October 16, 2017


This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the growing problem of counterfeit products in the game industry

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Boardgame of the Week Talisman

To complement the RPG of the Week, we will start focusing one post a week on a boardgame. This week's game is Talisman, which first came out in the 1980s and has gone in and out of print ever since. I can best describe Talisman as "D&D on a board", although games like Descent and HeroQest do a better job of replicating the D&D experience. Players start off as a character with certain abilities and traverse the board increasing their strength until they can do battle with the dragon lurking at the center of the board.

Much like the classic dungeon crawls of the era, the outer rim (upper levels) are relatively easy to combat and the adversaries get more dangerous the closer you get to the center of the board. The game can take hours to finish  but players generally stay engrossed until the end (or decide to quit).

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

RPG of the Week OG

This week's RPG is one that does not lend itself to campaign play but rather to one-off sessions, so one off that Scott could be induced to run a game of it if someone approached him properly. Og has been around since the late 1990s in one form or another. The Unearthed Edition dates from 2007 and in the game, everyone plays a stereotypical caveman, or at least as stereotypical a caveman as they can given how much we know about cavemen. Incidentally, these cavemen can, if the GM wishes, co-exist with dinosaurs. Roll with it.

The key thing to remember about Og is the words. Remember how your parents told you to "Use your words" when you were young? Here, you have a maximum of 18 of them and must communicate your actions and wishes to other players using only your known words, such as "You", "Me", "Hairy" and "Bang" and gestures. You may describe what you are doing to the GM using your regular vocabulary but will get penalized should you use that same vocabulary with your fellow players.

Monday, October 9, 2017


This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the concepts of heruistics and how they affect purchasing in the game and comic industry.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

RPG of the Week: Dungeon Crawl Classics

Much like Pathfinder and Castles and Crusades, Dungeon Crawl Classics started life as a series of adventures created under D&D 3.0's Open Gaming License. Like the other two, the adventures proved popular enough that Goodman Games is one of the few companies remaining from the 3.0/3.5 Edition era, still publishing modules for the D&D 5th edition game as well as material for what became its house system Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Similar to Troll Lord Games C&C, Dungeon Crawl Classics opts to use its modified 3.0 edition rules and create adventures that have the feel of 1st edition AD and D adventures, with names reminiscent of the early TSR adventures such as "Beyond the Black Gate" and "The Sea Queen Escapes".