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Kauboi

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Go to the Sentinels of the Multiverse page
Go to the Sentinels of the Multiverse: Infernal Relics page
Go to the Munchkin page
Go to the Gloom page
Go to the Sentinels of the Multiverse: Rook City page
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game: Starter Set page
Go to the Dragon Dice page
Go to the Sentinels of the Multiverse: Shattered Timelines page
9
Go to the Last Night on Earth, The Zombie Game page
76 out of 83 gamers thought this was helpful

Zombies are big now. I mean, I think zombies have held a special place in the horror genre, but now the shambling (or sprinting) undead have washed into modern culture in the way Vampires stepped in thanks to Anne Rice two decades ago. Needless to say, the gaming culture has released several games in response and, according to my local gaming store, this is one of the betters. I bought it, played it and now, here’s my take.

Setup:
Welcome to Woodinvale, a sleepy little town that would be a zombie paradise except for the handful of nearly unbeatable human incursion. We begin with a central 12” X 12” board (a centerpiece) whose further borders are expanded by a series of L-shaped corners, broadening the square-shaped play area and adding, for the most part, building for your humans to populate. Depending on the number of players (per the rules) you will have 1-2 zombie players (controlling the undead hordes) and 2-6 humans (each controlling 1-2 humans apiece depending on your total player count). You will receive a deck of zombie cards, a deck of hero cards, a boatload of 6-sided dice, plastic figures or all creatures in play and more “pop out” tokens than you can shake a stick at.

Gameplay:
The entire game is scenario-based. As each hero gets a placard describing his/her health, abilities and starting spot; scenarios have placards stating the “plot” of the game, to include the paradigms of goals (for the humans) and the time limit (usually based on the Sun marker which counts down per round to either the sun setting or the sun rising).

The game plays in turns with the zombies usually first and the heroes responding in kind. Each group, through their turn, gets to move, play cards, and interact (usually fighting) with each other with the zombies getting the chance to re-spawn at specific points on their turn, representing what must be a growing horde.

It is an oddly balanced game during play (granted, I have not played all of the scenarios yet). The zombies are allowed to draw (and play if appropriate) 4 zombie cards per turn with results equating to extra damage in combat, forcing a hero to re-roll movement or combat dice, etc. But the zombies, in classic movie fashion, are limited by two factors: they can only move one space per turn (on a 12 X 12 space board, and no diagonal movement) and have an appalling combat rate. Heroes move d6 on their move?!? In combat, heroes (assuming they have taken 1-2 turns to search a building and acquire a weapon or event to use) have a distinct advantage. Zombies roll a single d6 vs. the hero’s 2d6, and the humans’ weapons invariably add more dice to the hero’s attack. 3d6 vs 1d6 per combat does not give the undead a “fighting” chance. In addition, half of the hero characters can heal themselves or others as well. In the end it is 4+ heroes against 14 zombies (at any one time).

Opinion:
Benefits of playing the zombies – Renewing numbers (they almost always spawn back just after they are killed), card play (zombies get 4 cards to play per turn, some are pretty good). Oh, and zombies can walk through walls (???).
Drawback of playing the zombies – Wounds (each has only 1), Move (one space per turn), Attacks (1d6 beating 2d6+weapon is RARE), total on board (you will only ever have 14 zombies on at a time).
Benefits for the Heroes – Heroes have 2-3 wounds each before dying, move a d6 vs the zombies’ one space per turn, can wield weapons (including ranged weapons, some which come back from the discard pile) and often can heal themselves.
Drawbacks to Heroes – Not much. Heroes have to walk through doors rather than go through walls (as the zombies can). Otherwise, they pretty well rock.

My fear is that Flying Frog Productions has added the Sun Marker timing part as a means of resolving this CLEAR imbalance between the two factions. Given unlimited time, the heroes would have very little to fear from the recently deceased.

10
Go to the Gloom page

Gloom

72 out of 84 gamers thought this was helpful

An Atlas Games Card Game
If Edward Gorey, Charles Addams and Tim Burton decided to design a game, it might have just been Atlas’ Gloom! A world where the only escape from a world of damp skies, musty dark hallways and perpetual pessimism is, quite possibly, the warm and swaddling embrace of the eternal hereafter.
Welcome to Gloom. A unique card game where your goal is twofold: kill of your entire family and be ready to come up with a story of their lives worthy of a Morgan Freeman narration. Granted, the tone of the game starts out as sad, but it’s up to you to make it hilariously unbearable. Your goal is to lump upon your chosen 5-member family great tragedies with the intent to make their lives so unbearable that when death DOES come calling (again, by your own hand) it is a respite to the torrid insanity that is their lives. You do this by lowering your kinsman’s self-esteem by playing such cards as “was Cursed by the Queen” and “was beaten by beggars”, events that would depress anyone. But you are not so heartless a player as that, because at the same time you can visit encouraging cards such as “was wonderously well-fed” and “had a picnic in the park” on your opponents’ family, taking them further and further from everyone’s goal…kill of your whole family. The real trick is the storytelling. As each event occurs to a family card, you must string the story of happenstance, both good and ill, together so that in the end there is a tale of woe (or elation) worthy of passing down the family tree. It is a narrative game that requires incredible imagination.
Keith Baker did a brilliant job in designing the game. The cards, themselves, are transparent so that as each modifier is played on a member card you don’t lose background information that would lend itself to the stories.
If you are looking for a game to be played between 3-4 fairly accomplished storytellers (I have found this true with a gaggle of Dungeon Masters), Gloom is brilliant, fun and affordable.
There are four expansions:
Gloom: Unfortunate Expeditions (adds a family, adds worldly events)
Gloom: Unhappy Homes (adds a family, adds homes as extra characters to destroy/kill off)
Gloom: Unwelcome Guests (adds a family, additional characters to add to the storyline)
Cthulhu Gloom (adds Cthulhu mythos…talk about ultimate depression)

In the end, with all of the expansions, eight families are available (so up to eight players with them all).

Final Opinion:
If you have an intelligent, imaginative group, purchase the base set, it is unbelievable fun. Each additional set can enhance but inevitably complicate the game.

5
Go to the Zombie Dice page

Zombie Dice

24 out of 40 gamers thought this was helpful

In Zombie Dice from Steve Jackson Games, you are the zombie and you’re hungry.It is a dice game, and there are zombies. There are thirteen dice in the can, representing the survivors of the zombie apocalypse, and you roll three at a time to see if you eat a brain or the humans fight back. The dice are color coded and have different ratios of brains to shotguns, so you can easily see the odds of getting your dome blown away. You can keep rolling dice until you decide to stop or if three shotgun blasts appear. Humans can also run away, symbolized by footprints, and this result forces you to reroll that die if you choose to continue your turn.
It only takes ten minutes to play, and Zombie Dice is open to any number of players. But here’s the thing, it’s just not that engaging (unless surplus beer is involved). It is an inexpensive means of playing SOMEthing! And the quick turnaround of Dino Hunt Dice, Cthulhu Dice and the seasonal Halloween Dice just gives more options, not better gameplay.

One big bonus, it can be used in Munchkin Zombie as a promotional!

6
Go to the Warhammer 40,000: Assault on Black Reach page
21 out of 27 gamers thought this was helpful

40k is to tabletop gaming as Magic: The Gathering is to CCG’s.

It is too large to fail.

It is the grandfather to the genre and holds in its sway myriad gamers as intensely as any narcotic. It is complex, full of history and detail and will always have more for you to consume, even when you THINK you are done collecting.

Let me clarify: there is a strong community to this. If you don’t mind figures and rules changing occasionally as the parent company’s answer to stagnant sales, this can really be the place for you. Lots of choices, lots of stories, evolving and escalating books and figures…and none of them really wrong or bad.

But be prepared to commit. You do not play this game halfway. This is not a “I’ll play with the 12-unit team I have completed”. Unlike many other similarly themed miniatures games, you will learn quickly that hundreds of dollars and man-hours will be invested before you are ready to play with the big boys…and that’s BEFORE you’ve fully figured your strategy.

In the end, GW’s 40k is like owning Apple Products (IMHO). Either get in wholly and enjoy the ups and downs of a tested and revered juggernaut of a system (at an expected greater cost), or go find something else and take your chances whether it will be supported next year.

6
Go to the Magic: The Gathering page
60 out of 78 gamers thought this was helpful

I started playing this waaaaayyy back in 1994, when it was just heating up and no fewer than 3 monthly trade rags were vying to be this games representative. Gamers really had never seen anything like it before…a game that had established its own economy, to be translated and speculated as if we were trading gold, silver or concentrated orange juice.

It was fun. It was challenging. Bragging rights were not just who won but who owned what. Dice rolls were no longer the only random effects in games, now combos came into play…etc.

But the game changed, many times. Developers and playtesters could not possible see all of the combinations or demand. So to any newbies out there, beware…here are things to consider before diving into this very complete, grandfather of all CCGs:

1. The cards you buy are called ‘cardboard crack’ for a reason. You will/can never have enough.

2. What you buy may not be legal (for long). These are commodities and WotC needs you to keep buying.

3. There are 40-year-old virgins out there that OWN EVERYTHING. They have seen every combo and this goes back nearly 20 years.

If you are ok with that, dive in. If you can find folks playing at your level, it is very, very fun. But do expect that group to escalate quickly.

10
Go to the Munchkin page

Munchkin

42 out of 49 gamers thought this was helpful

Imagine my surprise to see ANY poor reviews on this game. If you are the gaming/rpg equivalent of the Korean 15-year-old online gamers who play Diablo III to sell gold on ebay, this is not the game for you. SJGames Munchkin is a crowning glory for those of you who game for fun and expect very little bragging rights.

Munchkin is the most approachable game system out there. You don’t have to collect it, you don’t even have to play any other kind of game system out there to enjoy it (although you’ll get many more inside jokes of the game if you do).

Play is for 3-6 players. The rules are quick and simple and the injection of house rules is not only tolerated, it’s almost expected. Play can be fast, it can be chaotic, and to my experience it has always been fun.

You say you are more of a sci-fi fan? Munchkin has cards for that. And for horror. And for Superheroes, pirates, westerns, spies, Lovecraft fans, and more.

Best part…you can shuffle any combination of these expansions together for a wild and weird ride (I like to mix the Old West and gadget-intensive Spy expansions and call it Steampunk Munchkin).

In the end, if you have 2-5 people who you feel comfortable joking with, gaming with and (possibly) having a beer with all at the same time, you will want this game system in your house.

And those who didn’t like it…played it wrong (which is hard to do).

10
Go to the Sentinels of the Multiverse page

Sentinels of the Multiverse

99 out of 109 gamers thought this was helpful

There are a lot of Superhero RPGs out there and, let’s face it…most of them fall pretty flat. I believe because more classic-themed role players have a growth level that runs counter-intuitive to the hero themes of comic lore. Examples: Superheroes don’t change. They don’t gain more levels and gain more powers…the comics keep them fairly static for decades. So what are you shooting for in playing? Further, unless you have a wickedly good narrative system in place, heroes are all there for the good of mankind. They don’t loot corpses, they don’t fight do the death amongst themselves. But, the fighting is the high point of most comic book themed rags…and SotM does this very…VERY well.

The villains are alluring. Further, they are borderline unstoppable. The game mechanics built in to the function of the villains make them unique from one another and DEMAND communication and dynamicism from the hero players. Nowhere in the gaming universe are you going to find as comprehensive a strategic superhero experience as this game (and its expansions…don’t pass those up).

My only complaint is the game’s dependence on status checks, specifically regarding hit points. Obviously how close a hero is to defeat is integral to the team’s ultimate goal. Somehow this system needs to consolidate how to quickly change and display a hero’s health as many of the villains (Hello, Matriarch) can hit several heroes with multiple damage, and what their HP is from attack to attack can determine if they are the next target (example: at 26, HP Bunker has the most health. He is hit for 4 points, because he is the highest, by one of the villains weapons, knocking him to 22 hp. Now, a villain’s minion hits him for 2 ice damage because he is now the lowest health of the group, and so on).

I am certain experienced gamers can create their own workaround process for this using dice, cards, whatever they can fabricate.

But don’t let that slow you down. If you want the best superhero bang for your buck…this is it!

10
Go to the Sentinels of the Multiverse: Infernal Relics page
56 out of 78 gamers thought this was helpful

While a different in many ways from the SotM Rook City expansion, it is an intriguing and well-thought out addition to the game line. The heroes grow in complication, but this only adds to the need for dynamic, communicative, interactive gameplay. And, as with any Batman film, the villains are the crowning centerpiece. Diverse and complicated, each provides a new challenge for the heroes to strategize and overcome. Act quickly on ordering these expansions because, while worth it, they are in demand!

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