Saturday, August 18, 2018

PinkFae Archive #17: Board Game Review: Tsuro

This week, we have another PinkFae Archive (remember, the articles in this series are repostings of entries that I wrote during my time with PinkFae, which are being published here so as not to be lost). This time around, we have the review of the wonderful game Tsuro.

This article was originally posted on 16 May 2016. Enjoy!

A game of Tsuro in progress. The photo shows the board, with several tiles laid out upon it, and the players' pieces on the tiles ready for the next player's turn.

Another week, another board game review. This week, I'm going to talk about a simple but enjoyable game called Tsuro. It's a fun little spatial-awareness game with a bit of a zen theme. I first saw it played on Wil Wheaton's Tabletop, and got to play it myself a few months ago. I really enjoyed it, so I picked up a copy for myself. So let's take a look at this game now, shall we?

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Inclusive NPCS Volume 5: Pilar

We've come again to the time for an inclusive NPC. Here, I provide you with another NPC that you may use to ensure that your games are welcoming, by including non-stereotyped minority characters. As always, I describe these characters from the viewpoint of a basic modern setting, but you are free to adapt them to whatever setting you need for your games. Are you playing in a fantasy game where modern countries don't exist? Adapt the character's origin story to fit your world (just remember with ethnicity to maintain the minority status as much as possible; that is, after all, the point of these characters). Is your game set in a distant galaxy? Add some ultra-tech gear to the character. Are you playing pirates on the high seas? Adjust the skills accordingly.

I provide stats for the D20 system, GURPS, the original World of Darkness, and Fate Core. But you are always welcome to adjust these stats for whatever system you are using.

This time around, we will be meeting Pilar Montes Rodriguez. She is courteous and honest, but with a tendency to be outrageously playful. She has big dreams, but is really too timid to try to achieve them. She's generally shy, but loyal to those she calls friends. Although she's not looking for romance, she can be flirty as a way to play and have fun. She's sensitive to the suffering of others, but not really brave enough to get involved in politics or other ways of trying to help.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Six Characteristics of a Good Game

As I was writing last week's review of Rampage / Terror in Meeple City, I started thinking about how I had only just recently introduced into my board game reviews the Six Characteristics of a Good Game. More to the point, I was thinking about how those six characteristics don't always map exactly to how well I like a game.

So, I thought that today, I would take a quick look back at all of the games I've reviewed on this blog in the past. I want to do this for two reasons:
  1. I want to go back and add these characteristics to those games that don't yet have them, on account of I wrote their reviews before I started including the characteristics.
  2. I want to compare the characteristics to my personal ratings of those games.
Note that in that last one, I'm comparing the ratings to my personal tastes. I'm only doing this for demonstrative purposes. I want to show that just because a game has all six characteristics, it won't necessarily be a game that you like. Contrariwise, if a game lacks most (or all) of these characteristics, it may still be a game that you enjoy. So whatever ranking you give to these games, similar to mine or different, the point remains the same.

Let's go!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Board Game Review: Rampage / Terror in Meeple City

In 2013, Repos productions released a game called Rampage. It was inspired by, and in part, based on the 1986 video game of the same name. Alas, Repos had not secured the rights to use this name, and so in June of 2014, the game was rereleased as Terror in Meeple City.

I recently got to play a game with a friend of mine. He had managed to acquire one of the original Rampage versions right as the new edition was being released. So the photos I have will look slightly different from what you can expect to find if you go out and buy the current Terror in Meeple City.

With that said, let's get on to the review, staring (as always) with some numbers!

Strategy and Randomness are rated from 0 to 6. A 0 means the rated aspect plays no part in determining the game's outcome; and a 6 means that it is the only factor that determines the game's outcome. Complexity is also rated from 0 to 6; a 0 means that it's so simple a six-year-old can play it, a 3 means any adult should have no trouble playing, and a 6 means that you'll need to refer to the rulebook frequently. Humour can be rated as 'None,' meaning the game is not meant to be funny, or it may have one or more of the following: Derivative (meaning the humour is based on an outside source, such as a game based on a comedy film), Implicit (meaning that the game's components are funny, such as humourous card text), or Inherent (meaning that the actions the players take are funny). Attractiveness has nine possible ratings. Ideal: the game is beautiful and makes game play easier. Pretty: The design is beautiful and neither eases nor impedes game play. Nice: The design is beautiful but makes game play harder than necessary. Useful: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but eases gameplay. Average: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Useless: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but makes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Utilitarian: The design is ugly, but eases gameplay. Ugly: The design is ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Worthless: The design is ugly, and makes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Average Length of Game Play describes how long an average game will probably last, give or take. Gamer Profile Ratings measures how strongly a game will appeal to players based on their interest in one of four areas. These areas are measured as High, Medium, or Low. Strategy describes how much a game involves cognitive challenges, thinking and planning, and making sound decisions. Conflict describes how much direct hostile action there is between players, from destroying units to stealing resources. Social Manipulation describes how much bluffing, deceiving, and persuading there is between players. Fantasy describes how much a game immerses players in another world, another time.

Strategy: 1
Randomness: 2
Complexity: 0
Humour: Inherent
Attractiveness: Pretty
Average Length of Game Play: 30 minutes
Gamer Profile Ratings:
  Strategy: Low
  Conflict: Low
  Social Manipulation: Low
  Fantasy: High

Saturday, July 21, 2018

PinkFae Archive #16: Object of the Game vs The Reason for Playing

Here we have another reprint of an article that I originally wrote for PinkFae. I'm excited to bring you this one, in which I discuss a topic of which I think a lot of people lose sight: what really is the object of a game? Enjoy!

A photo of the rules for Parcheesi printed on the inside of the box top. The object of the game is highlighted: it reads 'The object of the game is to be the first player to move his four pawns from his START to his HOME.'

Often, when reading the rules to a board game, you will find an entry listed as 'Object of the Game.' This tells you the conditions which a player must fulfil in order to be declared the winner. However, it is misleading to call this the 'object' of the game. The object of the game is to have fun! Obviously, I've talked about this some before. But I want to talk about a specific phenomenon that I see frequently in games, and that's confusing the object of the game with the victory conditions.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Clans Vs Fae - Comparing an Original and a Reimplementation

The boxes for Clans (artwork showing some prehistoric people on a hill looking down into a valley with several huts in various colours) and Fae (artwork showing a cloaked figure with a primitive staff holding his arm up towards a faerie creature).

Many years ago, I saw a game called Clans being sold in a game store. I read some reviews online, and thought it looked like a good investment, so I bought it. I played it, and I loved it. You can see what I thought of it in my review.

A couple of months ago, I noticed that there was a listing on Board Game Geek for a reimplementation of this game called Fae. I was apprehensive, yet excited. Clans had been out of print for some time, so I was pleased to see that it would be available again, although I was concerned that they had complety changed the theme.

I finally got my hands on a copy of it. So today, I'm going to compare the original game, Clans, to its reimplementation, Fae.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Board Game Review: Azul

It seems as though everyone who loves board games loves Azul. So when I had a chance to play it, I absolutely had to give it a try! And I must say, I can see why so many people enjoy it. It's very thinky-thinky, with a pleasant theme and some really nice components.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. So let's go ahead and get started, with my review of Azul.

Strategy and Randomness are rated from 0 to 6. A 0 means the rated aspect plays no part in determining the game's outcome; and a 6 means that it is the only factor that determines the game's outcome. Complexity is also rated from 0 to 6; a 0 means that it's so simple a six-year-old can play it, a 3 means any adult should have no trouble playing, and a 6 means that you'll need to refer to the rulebook frequently. Humour can be rated as 'None,' meaning the game is not meant to be funny, or it may have one or more of the following: Derivative (meaning the humour is based on an outside source, such as a game based on a comedy film), Implicit (meaning that the game's components are funny, such as humourous card text), or Inherent (meaning that the actions the players take are funny). Attractiveness has nine possible ratings. Ideal: the game is beautiful and makes game play easier. Pretty: The design is beautiful and neither eases nor impedes game play. Nice: The design is beautiful but makes game play harder than necessary. Useful: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but eases gameplay. Average: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Useless: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but makes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Utilitarian: The design is ugly, but eases gameplay. Ugly: The design is ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Worthless: The design is ugly, and makes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Average Length of Game Play describes how long an average game will probably last, give or take. Gamer Profile Ratings measures how strongly a game will appeal to players based on their interest in one of four areas. These areas are measured as High, Medium, or Low. Strategy describes how much a game involves cognitive challenges, thinking and planning, and making sound decisions. Conflict describes how much direct hostile action there is between players, from destroying units to stealing resources. Social Manipulation describes how much bluffing, deceiving, and persuading there is between players. Fantasy describes how much a game immerses players in another world, another time.
Strategy: 5
Randomness: 2
Complexity: 2
Humour: None
Attractiveness: Pretty
Average Length of Game Play: 40 minutes
Gamer Profile Ratings:
  Strategy: High
  Conflict: Low
  Social Manipulation: Low 
  Fantasy: Medium