Yesterday I watched the Monaco Grand Prix F1 race from start to finish. I had never really paid much attention to F1 racing before, and this was quite the dramatic race. Check out the highlights if you missed it.
Monaco is the track that comes with the board game Formula D. I’m such a big fan of the game I own all the expansions which include F1 tracks from around the world. The game is a lot of fun in its own right, but some games can turn to run away victories with a few fortunate rolls of the gear dice. This got me thinking about other racing games I love, like Super MarioKart.
If you are looking to add another layer of excitement, and to add some randomness and equalizers to the race, just add Mario Kart items! For the uninitiated, in MarioKart when your Kart runs over a question mark box, you get an item that can help you in the race. At this point there have been a lot of MarioKart games, and with them a lot of different items with different effects. Some would be more difficult to simulate in a board game than others. Here are my suggestions.
Use the red debris markers to simulate the the boxes, adding one per player. For a one lap game, I would suggest adding them half-way through the lap, for a two lap game, I would add them just before the finish line, or in both places if you want a lot of items! Once a car runs over the box, that player rolls the standard d20 “danger die” to determine what item is received. I’ve mixed and matched items from several different versions of MarioKart to make the mechanics easier to handle.
I’ve borrowed a few mechanics from 5th Edition D&D for the shells. While the game comes with one standard d20, I would recommend adding a few more to the box if you’ve got a few lying around (and if you’re nerdy enough to be reading this, you probably do!). For green shells its just a simple contested roll: both attacker and defender roll a d20, if the attacker has the higher result, the shell hits and the defender spins out. If the defender has the higher result, the shell misses! Red shells work the same, except the attacker rolls 2d20 (advantage in 5th ed. terms) while the defender still only rolls 1d20. Highest result wins, if its the defender, the red shell misses!
Download the full table here. I hope you guys enjoy this expansion to the rules. Watch out for blue shells!
I made my regular trip to our outstanding Friendly Local Gaming Store the Wyvern’s Tale on Friday, when a little display caught my eye. There was a small box of games the size of a pack of gum, eight in total, with various themes and play mechanics. The marketing is clever as each game has a 3-letter title, and the dimensions really are about the size of a 5-stick pack of Juicy Fruit, Big Red, or Spearmint gum. I snapped them all up immediately, as they all looked pretty appealing and it was hard to tell exactly what they were about, given the limited amount of space on the box. They make good use of it though as each box tells you how many players can play, the skill level (1 casual, 2 intermediate, or 3 challenging), and how much time is required for an average game (usually 10-30 minutes). Originally a kickstarter, this was one gaming project that flew under my radar. I’m glad they made their goal!
Each game includes a number of cards about the size of a stick of gum, and some compact instructions. The mechanics they use vary widely, and show some serious creative design. Wisely, the instructions point you to instructional videos to show you how to play each game fairly quickly. We haven’t had a chance to play them all yet, but I would encourage you to check out SHH, which challenges players to cooperatively spell out words using all the letters in the alphabet only once! A perfect score is 26! The cards are really quite attractive and illustrate each letter with a picture of something that starts with the word (D for Dog, U for Umbrella etc.).
HUE uses multi-colored cards to create fields of color that players try and connect to form continuous areas of that color. The last card in your hand is your score card, and you only count up the fields of color that are on that last card. Play may include covering one third of a card previously played, allowing for a good deal of strategy for this one. Not to mention you have to save a card that has the colors you want in order to score at the end!
FLY is a dexterity game that is pretty unique. the cards are arranged next to each other to form a gingham table cloth like a classic picnic. On the “table” are several flies that have symbols and colors on their back. Players take turns dropping the swatter card from a height determined by putting the sky card in the end of the game box. If you completely cover the fly with your swatter, you keep that card and try to form sets of three of the same color or symbol.
LIE is basically liars dice, but the unique twist is there is a die on either end of the card. When you are dealt your hand, you can choose which end to use at the beginning of the betting phase. This allows you to either stack your hand with a lot of a certain number, or pick various numbers to have a variety.
We haven’t tried the more challenging games of TAJ and GEM, which involve bidding and quite a bit of strategy. TKO is a really cool 2 player boxing game, and BUS uses the unique card dimensions as roads to form a city in which you pick up passengers on your bus. All of these games are fantastically creative and demonstrate a wide variety of skills and mechanics. I would recommend checking out the videos to see which ones appeal to you.
These games pack a whole lot of fun into a small package. If you are looking for compact games you can pack for your con bag and play in line while waiting for a panel or game to open up, these would be excellent candidates. Similarly, you can throw them in a purse or pocket and break them out at a bar or restaurant while waiting for other friends to show up, or as a quick game before everyone arrives for a weekly game night. Each game sells for $6, and the website will sell the whole collection as well as a carrying case for $50. Highly recommended.
Recently I’ve picked up a few games for the iPhone that started out as more traditional board or card games. A lot of them are great versions of the originals, with the added bonus of always being in your pocket, and allowing online games with friends who may not be able to make game night. They also tend to be a fraction of the cost of the physical board game.
One of my favorites is Hive. I bought this first as a physical board game at the recommendation of the Wyvern’s Tale. Essentially it is like a game of chess, in which different bugs move in different ways, and the object is to completely surround the opposing player’s bee. This is one of those easy-to-learn, difficult-to-master games, and has won a ton of awards. It quickly became one of my favorite games, and the quality of the physical tiles is fantastic. They have a nice weight and are clearly built to last. Not sure if you’re crazy about the concept? At a list price of $32, that can be a lot for something you may or may not like. Why not try it out first? The $2 iOS version will teach you all the rules through a tutorial, has two player local or online play, as well as play against various difficulties of AI. If it becomes one of your favorites, you can always pick up a copy at your friendly local gaming store!
Another one I tried out at a recent board game night was Fluxx. This is another seemingly simple game, that can great pretty crazy pretty quickly. The main goal is to collect “keepers” that match whatever the current goal card has on it. Keepers can be physical things, or concepts such as cookies, pizza, love, dreams, music, the brain, the rocket. The goals combine these like “Hearts and Minds” which requires both the brain and love, or “Dreamland” which requires both dreams and sleep. It’s kind of weird starting out, but you quickly get the hang of it. Other cards allow you to draw or discard more cards, or affect other player’s hands to try and get the keepers you need to win! There are a ton of expansions for Fluxx, The physical deck lists for $16, but if you’re not sure, the iOS version will only set you back $3.
Quarriors is a dice and card game that requires a little more screen real estate than most, so is iPad only. I’ve had my eye on this at the game store for some weeks, but never pulled the trigger. I *do* love dice games, but I didn’t know if I would like this one or, (more importantly) if my wife would like it as she is often my co-player. At a list price of $70, I really wanted to be sure. In Quarriors you start out by rolling dice to give you Quddity, a type of currency you use during your turn to summon your minions or capture other dice that are available on the cards dealt for the game. The cards are either other minion or spells which boost or augment minions, quiddity, or how many dice you draw from your bag. Overall I think it is enjoyable, but not something everyone would be in to. Is it worth $70? I don’t know. Is it worth $4? Absolutely!
I’ve heard some very good things about the iOS adaptation of Lords of Waterdeep, but haven’t picked that one up as of yet. Next time you are on the fence about a board game, try before you buy! There may be an excellent mobile version out there already!
Thought it was about time for another pre-weekend Kickstarter update!
Deep Magic: A Tome of New Spells – This is a great project. The stretch goals are awesome and at certain pledge levels you are eligible to send in spells that could be included in the final book.
Deluxe W20 Changing Breeds – A very interesting project involving were-people.
Castles & Crusades Return to the Haunted Highlands – This looks very, very good!
Shaintar: Legends Unleashed – Nice looking project for a campaign setting for Savage Worlds.
Maelstrom Domesday RPG – A new edition!
1d100 A Book of Lists – The ultimate book of random encounters!
Cthulhu Wars – A horror-based board game.
Psionic Miniatures – This is the follow up to the successful Ultimate Psionics compilation.
WarGods of Olympus – A mythology-based miniature battle game.
PLAYING CARD DECKS
DELUXE KICKSTARTER PROJECT!
Dark Sword Miniatures Special Edition Elmore Dragons Diorama – This project is expensive but it is awesome. The dragon might be the largest ever!
Excitement is building for the upcoming Asheville Comic Expo at the civic center. It’s a short two weeks away! Also there may be a zombie problem that may require some assistance from our local super heroes. Other than superheroes and zombies, there are sure to be a ton of comics, collectable toys, and games of all stripes!
Interested in rolling some dice and getting in on some roleplaying games? Sign up at the warhorn to reserve your spot at the table. This just in: Asheville Comic Expo will feature an RPG kids table! Unlike the little table in the kitchen at Thanksgiving, this kids table features Paizo’s Pathfinder Beginner Box, game mastered by local Venture Captain Paul Trani! We’ve reviewed the box here at this site, and it is one of the best introductions to roleplaying games available, led by one of the best GMs in the region! It’s a win-win and a great way to inspire the next generation of role-players.
The Asheville Pathfinder Lodge will be out in force for the event, but there will also be a few other RPGs to try if you are looking for something other than Pathfinder. I myself will be GMing a DCCRPG adventure, Sailors on the Starless Sea. If you’ve read anything on this blog, you probably know I’m a big fan of Dungeon Crawl Classics. This is your opportunity to give the game a try. Looking for something a little less traditional? Maybe a little wacky? How about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!?! This is an old system from Palladium games, and was one of the Skyland Games guys first RPG book. It is crazy fun! The RPGs are all being run from 12pm-4pm. Each table will take about that long to run, so the hardest decision will be choosing which one to play!
The Wyvern’s Tale will be there with tons of board games, running demos throughout the day. For those who can’t get enough RPGs, some more Pathfinder tables will be hosted back at the Wyvern’s Tale from 6pm-10pm.
The guys from the Deck Box are going to be running some Collectible Card Game events:
Booster Draft: Triple Return to Ravnica Booster Drafts. $13.00 Entry, Single Elimination 8-person pods. Payout will be Return to Ravnica Booster Packs with prizes given out as 4 packs to First, 3 to Second, and 2 each to Third and Fourth (4-3-2-2). This is great because out of 8 players, 4 will get prizes, making the experience a considerable amount more enjoyable for players, (particularly new ones) as the focus is not so much to get First place. It always feels good to win something, and this prize structure maximizes that.
Standard Constructed: $5.00 Entry, Single Elimination 8-person pods. Payout will also be Return to Ravnica Booster Packs with a bit more going to First, but in the same spirit (regarding prizes) as the Booster Drafts above (6-3-2-2).
All the Magic Events will be DCI Sanctioned.
They will also run one Scheduled Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament. This event will be Advanced Format at 4pm, and will be $5.00 to enter.
In addition to that the Deck Box will run Kaijudo demos to give people a chance to try out Wizards of the Coast’s revamp of the Duel Masters card game.
If that wasn’t enough, there is going to be an awesome after party at the Emerald Lounge with Minibosses, Metroid Metal, and Danimal Cannon! It is going to be an incredible show, and an awesome expo! See you there!