14 October 2021

A Scale for Crunchiness in RPGs?

 Have I come back from hiatus?

No. No, I don't think so.

However, after writing the last two articles (review of Modiphius's two new rpgs), I found that I have some things I want to say. So I'm going to write a couple more articles, and then probably go radio silent again for... who knows how long?


To start with, I was thinking about crunchiness in rpgs. I started really thinking about it when I was reading the Fallout rulebook, and wanted to compare its crunchiness level to other games.

What is crunchiness, you may ask? Let me explain.

Or rather, let me describe the quivering morass that is people's differing opinions on what crunchiness is.

18 September 2021

RPG Review - Fallout: The Roleplaying Game

 Last week, I emerged from my hiatus to post a review of a game that was generally sent to me by the publisher. But they were kind enough to send me two games to review, so today, I shall review the second of those games. 

So welcome, fellow gamers, to my review of Fallout: The Roleplaying Game.

The core rulebook, the cover of which resembles a closeup detail of a section of a uniform from the video game with the insignia that represents the number 111 centred on the cover.

I should take a moment here to point out that when you look on RPG Geek, this game is listed as 'Fallout 2d20.' Don't make the mistake of looking at 'The Fallout Roleplaying Game;' that appears to be a homebrew D20 version. This is the official licensed version.

11 September 2021

RPG Review - Dune: Adventures in the Imperium

 It has been over a year since I last posted anything. But I return to you today with a very important post: a review of a new TTRPG.

I was recently contacted by a representative of Modiphius Entertainment asking me if I'd like some advanced review copies of their forthcoming games. Obviously, I jumped at the chance. So they generously sent me a review copy, which I will now review for you.

A photo of the core rulebook, which features art depicting Paul Atreides, a Bene Gesserit, and a Mentat.

An Overview of Dune: Adventures in the Imperium

Modiphius returns to their 2d20 system for this outing into the world of Frank Herbert's sci-fi books. Although the rules can be used to play in any era of the saga, the core rulebook focuses primarily on the end of the Imperium era; that is, the rise of Paul Atreides. The game is clearly published as a tie-in with the Denis Villeneuve film, but can easily work for those who are more familiar with the books. Although there are plenty of rules for combat, the game is intended for a more narrative style of gaming that is in keeping with the epic 'galactic politics and intrigue' style of story that fits in with the books.

07 March 2020

The End (For Now, At Least)

A red meeple is being picked up from a crowd of blue meeples.

The time has come for me to take a break. After this article, I will be going on an indefinite hiatus.

There are a number of reasons for this decision. Not least among those is the fact that I am not gaining any dedicated repeat readership. Despite my best efforts, the number of people who come back to read my posts every week remains a very small number. Barely in the double digits.

Additionally, there's the matter of time. My work as a middle school teacher takes up a vast quantity of time. I had been doing my best to carve what time I could in the evenings or weekends to write articles, take photos for game reviews, research market trends, etc. But I'm finding that I just don't have the time for it all. It's been a long time since I've been able to do any 'how to play' videos, which is frustrating to me, as there are a lot of games out there that need better tutorial videos. I know I'm no cinematic master, but at least (in my opinion) the videos I make are made in a more intuitive format than many of the ones I've seen out there.

29 February 2020

Board Game Review: Underwater Cities

The box cover art: a view of a series of domed underwater habitats, with a couple of people in scuba gear swimming nearby, and a submersible working vehicle in the foreground.

John can be very impulsive sometimes. One day, he showed up to our usual Friday night game night with a new game that he'd seen at the FLGS and bought immediately because he thought it looked interesting.

Well, we played it that night, and again a couple weeks later. The game in question was (of course) Underwater Cities by Vladimir Suchy from Rio Grande Games. It turned out to be an interesting fusion of worker placement, economic development, and resource management. Normally, these are three game mechanics for which I don't care. But oddly enough, this game combined them in a way that made me not hate it.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's do this properly, shall we? Here are the numbers:

22 February 2020

The Appeal of Board Games

Two men sitting at a table playing a game called Indian Summer, in which the players arrange tiles of different shapes on their player boards trying to cover the maximum area with these tiles.

Not too long ago, I published an article in which I referenced an ex-girlfriend who once told me that I think too much. Specifically, it was in the context of a comparison of casinos to board game cafes, and the differences between board games and gambling. I was reminded of this by two events that recently happened: I attended a friend's party, and a different friend sent me a link to an article about how board games can reduce cognitive decline in old age.

The article does not mention the reason why board games are so beneficial to mental fortitude; it quotes the author of a scientific study as saying 'it is not just general intellectual and social activity, it seems; it is something in this group of games that has this small but detectable association with better cognitive ageing.' Which implies that they don't claim to know why board games improve cognitive function in the elderly.

Sure, I'm no scientist, but I have a pretty good idea what it is about board games that make them so beneficial. Two factors: social interaction and mental engagement.

15 February 2020

Board Game Review: Draftosaurus

The cover art, which features a cartoon-style T-Rex roaring at a man on the other side of the fence from his enclosure, as the man uses a selfie stick to take a photo of himself with the dinosaur.

If you're looking for an adorable variant on a card-drafting mechanic, then look no further. Draftosaurus by Antoine Bauza, Corentin Lebrat, Ludovic Maublanc, and Théo Rivière, published by Ankama, is a very simple card drafting game, but instead of drafting cards, you're drafting dinosaurs!

Players take on the role of zookeepers looking to populate their parks with newly cloned dinosaurs. Each player wants to get the best combination of dinosaurs possible to make their dino-zoo more interesting to patrons than the other parks' owners.

Before we get any further, let's take a look at our numbers: