VPG Press Release – Boom & Zoom released!

VPG Press Release – Boom & Zoom released!

Wars of the laser towers

http://victorypointgames.com/details.php?prodId=213

“Opening,” said the technician before Tommy could respond, and the great iron door into the Tower Wars Arena opened.

Raising his hands above his head, a smile on his face, Tommy Taggert stepped out into a wall of noise as thousands of fans began chanting his name. Ahead of him was the row of laser towers that were his weapons and on the other side were those of his opponent, gleaming in the spotlights…

Boom & Zoom
by designer Ty Bomba is a two-player strategy game about the “wars of the future” where Laser Tower vehicles conduct fire and movement across the battlefield. This game abstracts warfare in much the same way as Checkers or Chess, with similarly deep gameplay. Quick to learn, but difficult to master, can you outmaneuver your opponent and claim the victory for your side?

Click here for all the details and to order Boom & Zoom.

– Victory Point Games

Review – Quest: A Time of Heroes from Pegasus Spiele and Z-Man Games and

Review – Quest: A Time of Heroes from Pegasus Spiele and Z-Man Games and Pegasus Spiele

Designers – Alexander Dotor and Andre Wiesler

Art – Satya Hody, Sascha Rost, Hans-Georg Schneider

Thanks to Pegasus Spiele for providing a copy of this game for review purposes

When it comes to role playing games, I’ve always been interested but never had friends who played them. I dabbled a bit but never got into them, at least until I discovered Flying Buffalo’s Tunnels & Trolls system which  had solitaire modules which were good fun. Kind of like the “choose your own adventure” and “Fighting Fantasy”books, I could play them whenever I wanted to and enjoy a reasonable experience. It would never be the same as the RPG experience with friends and a game master but it was ok for me. The great advantage for me was I didn’t have to invest the same amount of time and effort to play but I could still have a strong storyline which I enjoyed and felt challenged by.

On the other side, I have enjoyed a number of fantasy boardgames from Dungeon bashes to fantasy war games, to fantasy adventure games but to be honest, none of them had the strength of narrative that came in the RPGs.

So along comes Quest: A Time for Heroes, a game for for 2-5 players, age 10+ that you can also play solitaire very easily and that’s how I approached it because it is essentially an RPG, a very simple entry level RPG, that plays like a Fighting Fantasy book, but with a number of items which gives it a bit of a tabletop miniatures game feel.

Unboxing

This is a pretty nice production for what it is. It is not as dramatic as many table-top miniatures games, nor as deeply filled with source material. Yet, for an entry into RPGs, it is attractive and creates an instant interest for gamers.

The components include:

1 rules booklet – well laid out, logical and set up to learn as you play which is very helpful

1 adventure booklet containing 5 adventures – each session is progressively more challenging and detailed

1 map – nicely drawn, with a parchment style look

18 cardboard miniatures with plastic bases – It would have been nicer to have actual miniatures but the artwork is very nice

120 cards (Equipment, Gifts, Heros, Innate Hero Gifts, Events, Adventures, Dark Gifts, Bad Guys, Quest Items, Rulers)

4 Hero sheets – thick card with a glossy surface for easy wiping of the non-permanent pen

3 Quest Master sheets – same

25 cardboard coins

2 10-sided dice

1 non-permanent pen

Cardboard terrain

Overall, the artwork is very nice and everything looks good which brings out the fantasy theme. The rules are well written and clearly lay everything out which is particularly helpful for those new to RPGs and I suspect that this is very deliberate to attract beginning players. The Adventure booklet gives you 5 adventures of gradual complexity although they are very manageable. My one issue is that it would have been nice to have been really cool to have a more in depth story and background.

Gameplay

Quest: A Time of Heroes is normally played with one player as Quest Master and up to 4 players, each taking the role of one of the characters. The object of the game is for the team of adventurers to survive and defeat the baddies that the Quest Master sends their way, either across one adventure, or perhaps across the 5 adventures. Each adventure ends when the Quest Master reads the paragraph that ends the adventure. Then you check whether the adventurers have been successful or not.

The adventure booklet gives the game master everything that needs to be read out and lays out the choices faced by the adventurers. Its really a case of reading the right things at the right time.

As a solitaire player, you just need to read the Quest Master bits and then make adventurer choices. Simples.

The initial set up has the characters set out with their basic attributes (Charisma, Talent, Deftness and Strength) which are used to roll against for different type tests, as the adventure progresses.You also start with a bit of cash to buy useful stuff, an innate Gift that goes with your character.

The adventure begins with the starting paragraph, then the adventurers take actions, after which the Quest Master checks the effects. These effects determine the next action and so on until the adventure concludes.

Actions are: Change attributes, Draw Gift, Refresh/Exhaust Gift, Buy Items, Find Items, Choose an option, Roll checks against attributes, Enter combat. You can also Use Gifts, Sell items, Swap items and Use items.

The combat is relatively straightforward. You take one move and take one combat action (melee, ranged attack, Use Gift or Swap items). Combat uses a basic and fast system of measuring distance for ranged combat and comparing die rolls with the deftness attribute for the adventurer and the bad guy. Its very easy to work out and this is very good as this is not meant to be a combat game and allows you to get the combat done and move on with the adventure which is the heart of the game.

There are advanced rules to change things up and rules for creating your own adventures which I think is very useful for those who are budding writers and Game Masters.

The adventure choices have a nice variety of choices of types of activities and experiences along the path of your adventure and keeps things interesting.

The functionality is easy, works well and moves you through each adventure nicely. Essentially, this game is played by doing what is read in the relevant text, and then using the basic action, tests and combat to fulfill the choices you are faced with.

 

Did it work for me?

You know, there is nothing new or original at all here. Everything you come across is pretty familiar, bogg standard fantasy genre stuff. But the thing is, it works for me as a lovely re-introduction into playing RPGs solitaire. I would also say that if you want to introduce friends to RPGs, Quest: A Time of Heroes is a very useful game as it’s concise, manageable, and has everything ready for you right out of the box. I like the occasional dip into RPG’s and I know I can set it up and get into adventuring in a reasonably short time.

Replayability will be a problem as there are only 5 adventures but switching hats and being the Quest Master, and creating new adventures would add to the life of the game. This is a very good game for introducing young players with short attention spans as it gives just enough theme and story to keep them interested with them asking when they get to do stuff. That’s what we all want to do anyway, “do stuff,” right?

Quest: A Time of Heroes is not meant to set the RPG world alight. It fits somewhere between heavier RPG’s and Miniature table-top games so its a bit unusual in that way. If you are looking for a light touch, fast playing RPG , particularly as a solitaire experience or to introduce friends or youngsters, I would recommend it as a good choice.

Boardgames in Blighty rating – 6.5 out of 10

Family friendly?

Well not for families but good to teach youngsters the rudiments of playing RPGs.

 

For more information go to – http://www.pegasus.de/ or http://www.zmangames.com/

 

Victory Point Games Press Release – A.D. 30 has arisen!

Victory Point Games Press Release – A.D. 30 has arisen!

Great Journey #1

http://victorypointgames.com/details.php?prodId=212

A.D. 30: Walk With Jesus to Jerusalem by Tom Decker is a very reverent solitaire game that takes you, as the player, along the travels of Jesus, from His baptism in the River Jordan to His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Along the way, you will make decisions which will affect the outcome of His journeys and teachings.
Thirteen possible alternate outcomes are included not to imply that other outcomes were in fact possible, but to build a strategy game that includes challenges with possibility of success and failure as the player of the game.

Assemble all twelve apostles, maintain a high level of piety, and enter into Jerusalem. Do you think you can work some miracles? Find out with A.D. 30: Walk With Jesus to Jerusalem!

Click here for all the details and to order A.D. 30.

– Victory Point Games

Review – Space Mission – a reimplementation of Jump Gate from Schmidt Spiele Games

Review – Space Mission – a reimplementation of Jump Gate from Schmidt Spiele Games

Designer – Matt Worden

Art – Anne Patzke

A copy of this game was provided by Coiled Spring Games for review purposes

 

In March of 2011, I wrote a review of Matt Worden’s Jump Gate which he published through Gamecrafter and here is the link –  https://rivcoach.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/review-jump-gate-from-matt-worden-games/

I won’t re-hash my previous review again but draw attention to the differences in the two versions.

I liked Jump Gate and with the publication of Space Mission by Schmidt Spiele, I was keen to compare the two as I had high hopes that the German Publisher would upgrade the art and components to a higher standard than Matt was able to achieve through self-publishing and also get this fun game to a wider audience.

The first thing that I noticed and was very pleased with was the quality of art work and components. Schmidt Spiele have done the business and added nice looking Mini- Space Ships and upgraded the art work, now beautifully illustrated by Anne Patzke.  All of the components cardboard components are now heavy, professional and simply top class.

 

It all feels great, looks great and is a pleasure to play with. One important omission by Schmidt Spiele is that the player aid cards aren’t in English as well as the German, French and Italian player aid cards. This strikes me as a sloppy oversight.

The rules and gameplay is relatively the same, however Schmidt Spiele has made a few changes in the rules and it all plays well and is easy to learn, as I would expect at a game now aimed pimarily at the German family market. However, one change in particular makes the end game rather annoying and a somewhat poorer experience as a result.

Jump Gate‘s end game rule basically called for all of the planets to be colonized (discovered in Space Mission) which triggers the end game round where all the player then take a last turn before totting up their scores. This made for a reasonable length to the game and gave everyone a shot trying different planets, and collecting a number points in different ways. What Schmidt Spiele has done has completely changed this to a now scaled system depending upon how many players. So for 2 players for example, when a total of any 6 resource tiles are taken by the players, the end game is triggered. The amount of tiles needed to trigger this is increased with more players.

The trouble is, that with a 2 player game, you could end the game in 15 minutes which leaves the players with any empty feeling. I can understand that with young children this might be ok but with adults, this is a silly change to the rules which downgrades the experience which is much more satisfying with Jump Gates’s original rule.

So, I say, pick up a copy of Space Mission for sure, but use the end game rule from Jump Gate which means the last round is triggered when all of the planets have been Discovered for a much more fun and satisfying experience.

 

For more information go to – http://www.schmidtspiele.de/

 

 

 

 

Review – Gubs from Gamewright Games

Games Review – ‘GUBS’ from GameWright Games

Designer: Cole and Alex Medeiros

Art: Israel Woolfolk

Thanks to Coiled Spring Games who provided a review copy of this game.

Guest review by Tony Bellringer

UK Games Expo 2012 had some nice new releases and UK distributor Coiled Spring Games had a nice selection on show.  We picked up a copy of the card game (2-6 players age 10+) Gubs for Tony to play with his children and review.

Unboxing

This is, quite simply, a deck of 70 bespoke cards and a small rules pamphlet. The artwork on the cards is great: a whimsical cartoonish fairytale style, which probably won’t be to everyone’s general taste, but fits very well with the theme and feel of the game, and feels to me to be done to a high level of quality for this style of artwork.

The cards are split into seven basic categories: Gubs, Barricades, Events, Hazards, Traps, Tools, and Interrupts, plus a combined Tool/Hazard card type and one Wild Card – more on these later. Each category is very clearly distinguished from the others on the face of the cards by different background colour and the category name clearly displayed in large text (the backs of all cards are identical).

The rules pamphlet is short and to the point, the bulk of it being taken up with an explanation of the effect of each of the cards in the game, though actually the instructional text on the cards is pretty self-explanatory.

Gameplay

A fundamentally very simple game, the idea is to have the most ‘Free’ or ‘Protected’ Gubs on the table in front of you at the end of the game. Having been dealt a hand of three cards and starting with one Gub card on the table in front of you, a turn is simply: a) draw a card from the face-down draw deck (optional, but not two turns in a row); b) do as much as you want with the cards in your hand; and c) discard down to maximum 8 cards remaining in your hand. So the game is all in how the cards work…

‘Gubs’ cards are ultimately how you win the game, and you simply play them face-up in front of you. On its own, it is a ‘Free’ Gub.

 

You can make a Free Gub ‘Protected’ by playing a card from the ‘Barricade’ category onto it, which will prevent certain potentially nasty things being done to it by other players (the extent of the protection depending on the particular Barricade card used), but Barricades can be removed… ‘Tool’ cards can be played to do various useful things for you.

 

 

The nasty things that can happen to the Gubs are contained in the ‘Hazard’ and ‘Trap’ cards. Playing these will allow you to do all sorts of things, again depending on the specific card played, e.g. stealing or discarding from play someone else’s Gub, removing one or more Barricades from other players’ Gubs, or forcing another player to discard their whole hand. ‘Trap’ cards are placed onto Free Gubs to make them not count for scoring at the end of the game.

 

‘Interrupt’ cards are the only cards that can be played out of turn and are generally a one-off protection to stop something nasty that would otherwise be about to happen to you or your Gubs. The one ‘Wild Card’ in the game can be played as any Hazard, Tool or Interrupt card, but not a Gub, Event or Trap, i.e. it can only be played as a card that has an instant effect.

Finally, the Event cards all contain unique events with particular effects – usually nasty – which take effect immediately they are drawn. Event cards are clearly denoted with a red lightning flash icon on the face. Event cards are also the way the game will end, as three of them are marked with a single letter ‘G’, ‘U’, or ‘B’, and when all three have been revealed the game ends immediately.

 

Did it work for me?

Generally yes. As you might imagine from the theme and imagery, it’s a very light game – the stated playing time on the box of ‘about 20 minutes’ is pretty accurate, especially once players are familiar with the rules. With that in mind, the game fits quite well into the quick filler category. The stated minimum age of 10 is probably about right too: I played with my children (8, 10, and 11), and they found it a pleasant diversion.

 

That said, I think there might be a fairly small window to really get children engaged with this game: too young and they would have difficulty getting to grips with how the different cards interact, but much older, and I think many would start to consider the game too ‘childish’ to be playing – some older gamers might indeed find the theme and artwork (good as it is) a little too ‘cute’ for their taste, and I am assuming the game is mainly aimed at the children or ‘adults playing with children’ market.

 

It has to be said, there are a lot of good, quick, games out there aimed primarily at the younger market (particularly coming from the well-developed German scene), so this wouldn’t necessarily be a top choice for me or my kids to play, but neither is it a bad game at all: it’s a neat game, plays very quick, and is also very portable (a factor not to be underestimated).

 

Boardgames in Blighty rating: 7 out of 10

 

Family friendly?

Definitely – a good one to play with a mixed group of younger and older players, with simple rules, quick play time and lots of player interaction. As noted above, possibly not too good for younger children – not just dealing with how the cards work with each other, but also risk of getting too attached to the cute Gubs and taking things personally (there is a fair amount of nasty stuff that can be done to you or your Gubs by other players, e.g. Gubs getting killed by Spear or Disease, or getting stolen from you). A purely adult group might find the theming a bit too ‘cute’ for their liking.

 

More information: Gamewright webpage for the game

 

Reviewed by Tony Bellringer (Tulfa on BGG)

Review – “That Scorpion in the Sea” Malta Besieged: 1940-42 from Victory Point Games

Review – Malta Besieged: 1940-42 from Victory Point Games

Designer – Steve Carey

Art – Tim Allen

Victory Point Games provided a copy of this game for review

The latest in the States of Siege Series of games brings Steve Carey’s design skills to an interesting aspect of the 2nd World War in the Mediterranean. Having set such a high standard with We Must Tell The Emperor, my expectations were high for Malta Beseiged: 1940-1942.

In this solitaire game, you are in charge of the Commonwealth forces and are tasked with maintaining the beleaguered island of Malta while supporting Allied efforts to interdict the Axis war efforts in the Med which will have an impact upon the war in North Africa.The games system plays the Axis forces against you.

Unpackaging

Another typical Victory Points release with their standard production. Within their parameters, they surely make the most of space and resources. You do get a lot in a small package. The map is on cardstock, and shows the operational area for the game. There is a lot there but it makes good use of the space and it is relatively easy to negotiate. And it looks very good.

The counters and markers are die-cut cardboard and look really good and thematic.

The cards, which are the heart of the game system, are small but give you the information you need in a nicely laid out format which is easy to follow.

The rules are 8 pages, which is really something special considering the depth of the game content.

Gameplay

A card driven game, Malta Beseiged: 1940-1942, as other games in the series,  relies on the Event cards to drive the game. These cards are divided by color into 3 different Epochs or stages of the conflict, each of which provides an increasingly difficult set of circumstances to deal with. The cards, which are nicely laid out, provide the following information –

The Headline – which is the main event for the turn

Advancing Unit – Which Axis forces are advancing and thereby creating a greater threat

Resource gains and losses

Die roll modifiers

Actions – these are the number of actions available to you to take

Historical flavor text

The sequence of play is as follows:

Headline phase – pull the next current event card

Military phase – Move Axis armies, and naval and Air units

– ULTRA Escort attempt – the Allied ULTRA intelligence can really be helpful

– Battle Stations – Flip Active Axis Fronts

– Conduct each battle

Resources phase – Adjust resource markers, and add new fortifications to the Holding Box

Orders phase – You may attempt to expend the ULTRA marker to gain intelligence, then perform the allowed number of Attack,  Support, Fortify, Resource, Raid, and/or ULTRA Actions. You can also expend Supply points for extra Actions. You will certainly need to do this.

Housekeeping phase

A – Check for Convoy arrival

B – Determine if the game is over

C – Refresh map

D – Turn Ends

As with other games in this series, its a case of following the steps and although it sounds like a lot to do, after the first couple of turns it all moves pretty smoothly and quickly. The Axis AI which is revealed with each new card puts you under considerable pressure and puts you in a situation of having to choose, sometimes between the lesser of too evils, hoping for the best.

The information you need is ready to hand and very accessible, and the feel of the game is Operational with an interesting mix of land, sea and air threats and the ever present Rommel moving across North Africa.

Did it work for me?

Boy this is a tough game to win but its terrific. Steve Carey’s previous effort, We Must Tell The Emperor remains a Victory Point Games best seller and Malta Beseiged: 1940-1942 is at the same standard of tension, playability, frustration (this is a good thing…) and clever design. Some nice wrinkles such as the ULTRA intelligence and the convoys mark this game as a unique theater of warfare. The history revealed through the flavor text is interesting and the feel of impending doom is never very far away. But you always feel that you just might crack it and when you get beat up, you just want to have another go.

I do marvel at VPG‘s ability to squeeze so much into a small package. The map is very busy, and may look overwhelming but it works well. The counter artwork is excellent. Yes, the scope is quite as grand as the War in the Pacific but this game really brings out the challenges and importance of the War in the Med and the desperate scrape the Allies found themselves in. It clearly illustrates the problem that Malta created for the Axis and why the Allies needed to hang onto it to disrupt their operations. There are very few games covering this theater of operations and particularly covering the varied operational issues and Malta Beseiged: 1940-1942 brings it all to life in a playable way. Fans of the States of Siege system will not be disappointed and if you haven’t tried out any of these games, this is an excellent entry point.

Another absolute winner for Victory Point Games!

Boardgames in Blighty rating – 9 out of 10

Family friendly? No, its a war game and solitaire

For more information – www.victorypointgames.com