Saturday, February 16, 2019

PinkFae Archive #30: Interview with Emily Whitehouse of On the Lamb Games

This week's installment of the PinkFae Archives is the second of the articles I wrote about Gen Con 49 in August of 2016. This article is an interview with Emily Whitehouse, one of the founders of On the Lamb Games, which sadly closed their doors in November of 2017. Hopefully, this interview (which was originally published on 20 August, 2016) will serve as a bit of a reminder of who and what they once were.

Emily Whitehouse (nee Fontana) poses for a photo in the On the Lamb Games booth at Gen Con 2016.

One of the things I was most looking forward to at Gen Con was getting to meet Emily Whitehouse. She's one of the co-founders of On the Lamb Games, a small company which is probably best known for their miniatures game Endless: Fantasy Tactics. I went by the On the Lamb Games booth and was delighted to meet Emily, whom I had until that point known as Emily Fontana. I would later learn that she had been married in June, so it's Emily Whitehouse now!

But we were able to find some time to conduct an interview. Now I will share with you, my faithful readers, the wisdom that she has imparted unto me.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Board Game Review: Dinosaur Tea Party

The box cover: an orange dinosaur holding a teacup and a pale blue stegosaurus with green spots, both wearing fancy tea party clothing such as hats, brooches, and bow ties, at a table adorned with tea and small cakes. Under the title is the byline, 'A game of civilized deduction.' At the bottom it reads, 'Every game deserves another turn.'

I recently got to play an adorable little game. It's designed primarily as a family game, but it's got some depth to it. It's called Dinosaur Tea Party by Restoration Games, and it's a game in which players try to figure out which dapper dinosaurs the other players have in their hands. It's a little like the game Guess Who?, but with some extra mechanics to make it better in all the ways it needs to be better.

Sure, it's not going to satisfy your need for a heavy head-scratcher, but as a light game between bigger ones, or if you want to play a game with some young people that won't leave you completely bored, it's a great option.

Before we get any further into it, let's take a look at the numbers.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

PinkFae Archive #29: Gen Con: An Overview of an Awesome Convention

As a result of my association with PinkFae, I was able to attend the 2016 Gen Con on a press pass. I wrote a series of articles based on my time there. This is the first of them. It was originally published on 13 August 2016.

A view of the exhibit hall at Gen Con, with people walking amongst the booths, which have a variety of signs both on the booth itself and hanging from the ceiling, including a giant inflatable Pikachu visible in the background.

As most of you know, I was able to attend Gen Con last week. It was my first time ever to attend a convention (apart from the small local one that doesn't really count). I had no idea what to expect from conventions in general, nor from Gen Con in particular. Needless to say, I had ridiculous amounts of fun. I got to play lots of games, see lots of panels, learn lots of things, and of course, buy lots of games. I have a lot of ideas for articles about my time at Gen Con, so look for those in upcoming weeks. Just a small sample of some of the entries I'll be writing include:
  • An interview with Emily Whitehouse of On the Lamb Games
  • An article about crossplay and genderbending
  • Reviews of some new release games that debuted at the con
  • A discussion of Zombie Orpheus Entertainment
And more! So this space is going to be pretty busy over the next couple of months. Be sure to check back weekly to see if I've managed to get something new up.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Board Game Review: Swordcrafters

I don't back many projects on Kickstarter. There has to be something extra appealing about it before I will throw money at it. But there has been just such an example fairly recently, and I finally got my copy of it not too long ago. And today, I will review that game for you. So here is my review of: Swordcrafters.

Most of the components of the game, next to the box. There is a score tracker with pieces for each player, a set of tiles representing a section of a sword blade, most with a single jewel in the centre, cardboard tiles shaped like sword hilts, plastic pommels into which those hilts can be inserted, allowing the sword to stand up, and some crossguard tiles.

I was intrigued by the game's primary premise: you are constructing a three-dimensional sword out of two-dimensional tiles. It sounded like an interesting mechanic, so I had to give it a chance. I became a backer, and I have not been disappointed.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Here come the numbers:

Saturday, January 19, 2019

PinkFae Archive #28: How to GM Part 3: Designing Your Campaign (2nd of 2)

Last week's article was the first part of a two-part entry from the PinkFae Archives. So this week we will post the second half of that article. This finishes up Part 3 of the 'How to GM' series. It was originally posted on 5 August 2016.

A hand preparing to write the design for a game on a page in a notebook that has the words 'My Plan' written across the top.

Last week, we began looking at the essentials of designing your campaign. It was a big topic, so I had to split it into two sections. Today's entry will finish what we started, as we look at the remaining three basic campaign arrangements. In case you've forgotten, last week we discussed the 'Episodic' and 'Set-Piece' design systems. Today, we will cover 'Branching,' 'Puzzle Piece,' and 'Enemy Timeline.'

Saturday, January 12, 2019

PinkFae Archive #27: How to GM Part 3: Designing Your Campaign (1st of 2)

The first post of 2019; a new year, full of hope and promise, and we start off with a doozy. Today is another PinkFae Archive, but this one is a two-parter. So today, we'll have part one, and next week, we'll see part 2. This entry was first posted on 24 July 2016.

A hand holding a marker appears to be drawing a flow chart, as if designing a gaming campaign, in midair, against a background of blue cogs.

Things are looking up for you; now you've chosen a game and have a group of players willing to play it. What do you do next? The first step, obviously, is to design the overall campaign. This sounds like a daunting task, so let's look at some advice and tips on how to do that in the most effective manner possible.

Please note that this section is going to cover a lot of material. I don't want to overwhelm you, though, so I'm going to break it up into two parts. We'll do part A today, and I'll finish with part B next week.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

PinkFae Archive #26: Board Game Review: Kingsburg

This week we have another board game review, this one being an entry from the PinkFae Archives. This article is a review of the game Kingsburg, and it was originally published on 17 July 2016.

A closeup view of the game board, showing the spaces on which dice may be placed, with several dice placed on some of those spaces.

There's a game called Kingsburg that I've played a few times with the local tabletop gaming club. It's been a while since I've been able to play, which is a shame, because I really enjoy this game. So I think the time has come to review it for all my fine readers out there! We start, as always, with our ratings.

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.

Strategy: 4
Randomness: 3
Complexity: 3
Humour: None.
Attractiveness: Pretty
Average Length of Game Play: 90 minutes