Recently, I was talking to a colleague who agreed that it would be a fun concept to have a board game similar to Pokémon. In other words, a game where you have to collect a large number of objects, or creatures, or something. It could be that you had to collect a large variety of gems, or as mentioned, creatures. Whatever it is, we couldn’t find many board games out there that filled this strange niche. As such, I thought I’d look into it and this is the best I could find.
You may remember I chatted about this one, and about a year or two before that it was all over the board game social groups. In short it’s a leviathan board game in a box the size of a couple of breeze blocks, it has a foot firmly in the RPG camp in the same way that Diablo and Grim Dawn are RPGs, all the stabbing, easy on the character moments, incidental decision making with pretty direct fallout, but damn it does the hacking and slashing well.
Characters are diverse in appearance and collection of powers building to tactical combinations with the rest of your party, clever but frustrating action economy, and so many possibilities, status conditions, and moving parts that the whole thing is far easier to manage with an app or three on the side. And actually with that electronic assistance Gloomhaven becomes an incredibly fun game, without it you’ve really got to enjoy your bookkeeping.
Borne on its popularity, Gloomhaven now has a video game version, all of the heroes fully animated, the modular board pieces turned into deep, rich scenery, and all of the numbers handled for you from behind the proverbial curtain.
The video game version is still in early access stages so that players can help test the hell out of the many features to make sure that every character is ready and waiting to go. Currently the only playable characters are the Brute, Scoundrel, Spellweaver, and Cragheart, and after a recent update, the Tinkerer, which means that of course, my character has to wait until last. It’s almost like the Mindthief’s deck is filled with complex strategies, different mechanics, and like huge swarms of rats are hard to animate! Vermlings will not be sidelined!! Although apparently he gets released some time before the end of the year.
The board game has a mass of other characters who are unlocked over time, and given the pace of updates we might not be waiting all that long for the full release as it’s the characters and their management who are the most intricate part of the game. If their actions can be managed properly then so can all of the creature actions.
Oh, and on the subject of the creatures, the creatures in Gloomhaven always looked pretty in the artwork, but seeing them brought to life is something truly incredible. Demons, elemental undead take on a far more haunting aspect when they float and shamble their way towards you to kill you. “Elite” creatures also take on a better visual aspect, rather than being the same cardstock token inserted into a different colour stand, cultists change robes, bandits gain subtle armour decorations, and while the differences are not dramatic, they do add a little depth to the design that sets it apart from the tabletop version.
The gameplay is practically identical, you have your deck of cards, each of which with two options, in combat you choose two cards per turn, and you execute the top of one card and the bottom of the other, typically the top half will be more offensive, the bottom will be more tactical. For a turn based strategy you can easily take your time mulling over your options, and because you can play alone you’re not rushing to ensure you’re not holding everyone else up. When using those abilities, there is always the extra step of “confirming” your moves, which can be skipped by double-clicking, and there’s also a lot of confirming the end of turn, confirming how you take damage, and while it’s all necessary, it does jar the flow of the gameplay a little. Better I think to have played the board game to appreciate the reason for each feature, or maybe in-game tutorials will help advise new players after the proper release.
Early reports are naturally mixed because this game is early access, but fixes have been swift, broadly successful, and expected features are being released at a respectable pace. Whether you decide to jump on in the early days or wait for the full title, I think it’s safe to say that this will be a worthwhile investment for fans of the original board game. Whether or not it will translate to a broader audience… I’m going to suspend judgement for now.
Space: the final frontier that we’re aware of, but among hypothetical frontiers, barely breaks the top 10. Oh and while we’re on the subject of top 10s…
Games, be they video or board, are so often inspired by the big black void that engulfs us and the possibilities that may await beyond, opportunities, horrors, exploration and adventure. While we had options beyond counting, we somehow managed to drill down to a mere ten games themed in and around space.
Ghouls, ghosts, monsters and foes, no matter what type of horrific creation you are, this month’s meetup is for you. For the night of All Hallows’ Eve is fast approaching, so let’s get together for a night of board gaming and of course, fancy dress.
We shouldn’t cancel GeekOut during heatwaves, no matter how tempting it might be. Who’d go outside in that? No one should have to endure those kind of temperatures but… y’know if I start down this path, the discussion gets dark. There were cold drinks and board games, ultimately that’s what’s important here.
The Pour House
I recently found out that The Pour House is about the change hands. Here’s wishing the previous owners the very best of luck in their future endeavours, and hoping the new owners uphold the legacy. We like the Pour House, I mean, I don’t drink so a place that does interesting things without alcohol is always high on my priorities list.
Thanks Tom for bringing in an old rendition of Jumanji as a real-life board game… not as immersive as the original. I managed to settle a score in Magic… that is a blatant lie, I had my ass handed to me by Kim again! Time to raise a deck with a higher pace to it, or maybe raise the Super Soldier deck from the archives.
It should no longer be a surprise for me that our events these days get busy early and stay that way pretty much throughout, especially at this time of year, no doubt things will change come October or something, but in either case Monty’s Tower started out being pleased to see us, then asked us nicely to start using the other bar for a while after everything got a bit hectic. Fair ask, cheers guys.
Highlights of this month’s Shrewsbury Meet, Julia fetching out a 3D camera to play with, we did, shamelessly, an improvised chessboard, and the time it rained for about two minutes and it was… just so great.
Half an hour to design a poster for the best convention you can imagine! A theme, an event, and a special guest star are the minimum requirements, and design talent not… strictly necessary, although apparently an unfair advantage was granted to those who understood – or at least shared – my personal sense of humour, which is almost certainly how Murray won. Milencon would be a bleak affair of staring blankly into our respective hands as we despair over the world we live in and the unhealthy coping mechanisms we use to handle it.
Second place Cluedo Fest appealed to my bloodlust, love of the noir, and I liked the ambiguity of… literally every component. Vanitycon takes third place for it’s cynical approach to internet based narcissism. Other events were beautiful in their own regard, except Joelcon, which had the hubris to assume any relation between me and colours outside of grey.
Next Month, August 29th, Netflix and GeekOut, a celebration of Netflix and internet streaming original content. Attendees are not required to chill… if it’s anything like this month, it may prove impossible.
Being introduced to this game purely as ‘Quacks’, I was expecting a game about ducks. Turns out this is actually all about quack doctors; quackery, as per the Wikipedia term, is in regards to “fraudulent or ignorant pretender to medical skill“. Now that your duck-based expectations are out of the way, The Quacks of Quedlinburg is an entertaining, simple, easy to play little romp through potion creation. If you’ve ever wanted to make some of the strangest potions imaginable in board game form, then this may be the game for you. Are you interested in how making potions translates to a board game? Read on to find out more!
A 60-90 minute long game, made by an experienced gamer for experienced gamers? Nice! However I really do love a board game that comes with nicely crafted pieces and thankfully, that’s exactly what we’ve got today. The Isle of Cats by Frank West looks like a wonderful, simple experience with a lot of complexities added in. With a standard game mode and even a solo game mode, these cats are sure to keep you company. With a beautifully presented box, what do we make of The Isle of Cats Kickstarter Campaign?
“Good evening sir and welcome to the Inn. What’s that stain on the wall you ask? Oh nothing to worry about, it’s just an old building. Enjoy your stay, sleep well and we may see you in the morning.”
Assign the stranger a room and plot who would be best to kill this evening to aid your profit, in a bid to defeat the other owners.
The Bloody Inn is a push-your-luck style game where you and your fellow players have joint control of an Inn. Think of it as AirBnB but with more death. Your goal is to gain money by killing off the guests that stay in the rooms without being caught by the constabulary.
Do you remember board games of old, ones which are hard to come by now? Do you have a lot of friends or family that you like to play board games with, but you’re not often in the same place at the same time? Do you really just like to flip tables and laugh at how everyone is now playing 1,000 piece pick-up? Well, all of these ‘problems’ are no more, as today we’re going to introduce you to Tabletop Simulator; a video game that lets you play board games. Seems like a strange and somewhat novel idea, but trust us, it’s excellent.
Somehow we’ve mentioned Tabletop Simulator many times in the past, but we’ve never actually reviewed the game itself…