Betrayal Legacy

Wizards of the Coast today announced Betrayal Legacy, an upcoming game based on its Betrayal at House on the Hill title. The new game will maintain the spooky haunted house theme but will feature customization over multiple plays, as previously seen in Risk Legacy, Pandemic Legacy, and Seafall.

Betrayal Legacy is being designed by Rob Daviau and should hit retail in fall 2018.

MtG from WizKids

WizKids has announced an expansion of its licensing agreement with Wizards of the Coast to include Magic: The Gathering. As a result, the company is planning a Magic board game, as well as a series of MtG pre-painted plastic miniatures representing token creatures. In the board game, players will take on the role of Planeswalkers exploring Dominaria for mana sources.

Both the board game and minis are scheduled for release in the fall of 2018.

GURPS on DriveThruRPG

Steve Jackson Games has made GURPS ebook products available through DriveThruRPG. Previously, the company sold exclusively through its own online storefront, Warehouse 23.

GURPS is a multi-genre game (hence the name, Generic Universal Role Playing System) that’s been around since 1986 but still sees good support and regular releases. While the game itself has many fans, its supplements are also highly regarded as source material for people playing other games.

 

Second Look—Doctor Who Fluxx

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.The folks at Looney Labs sent us a copy of Doctor Who Fluxx recently for review…and let’s get this out of the way first: I neither like nor dislike Fluxx. It’s fine.

Fluxx itself is a short game that’s fun with people you know and who get into the theme, so that’s what’s going to be the big deciding factor if you like this version of Fluxx or that one. This is why I really don’t care for Stoner Fluxx (by Fully Baked Games, the “more adult” imprint of Looney Labs) but I do like Zombie Fluxx.

The big thing with choosing a Fluxx game is the theme.

The basics of Fluxx are this: you draw one card and play one card. You’ll be playing new rules, which let you change the number of cards you draw or play as well as adding new things like hand limits; keepers, special cards that stay in play in front of you; goals, which give you a win condition that are usually based on the keeper cards; actions, which let you do one-time actions like trading your hand with someone else’s or stealing a keeper card; and creepers, which are like keepers but if you have them in play in front of you, you cannot win.

Doctor Who Fluxx‘s cards are all themed from the show. The keeper cards are all 12 Doctors, plus a “future Doctor” — the announcement of Jodie Whittaker was made after this game went to print, so no 13. Also are companions from the new run of the show, so Rose, The Ponds (one card), and even Sarah Jane Smith. Plus K-9. Rounding out the Keepers are the TARDIS, “that scarf”, and the sonic screwdriver.

Goals are combinations of these cards. If “Grand Theft TARDIS” is the goal, if you have The 1st Doctor and the TARDIS in play, you win! “Regeneration” is the goal? Win if you have two sequentially-numbered Doctors. Some goals require any Doctor or any Companion.

The Creepers include The Master, who moves to any player that has a Doctor in play. Weeping Angels, who move to the play area with the TARDIS. Daleks, who can be removed by sacrificing any Doctor in play (not just your own). And Cybermen, who just sit there. Some goals require Creepers: “The Master’s TARDIS” needs The Master and the TARDIS cards.

Doctor Who Fluxx also includes a small number of Surprise cards, which you can play out of turn to cancel out a card someone just played or their own special ability.

So, how well does this capture the Doctor Who IP? Not a bad job, really. It feels more of a themed set-collecting game than really evocative of the types of adventures the Doctor goes on. The best thing in the box are the creeper cards and how they interact with the other players, which is really cool. Looney Labs is primarily pulling from the revived series here with a nod at Tom Baker’s run, which was the Doctor from the original run that most people in the United States seemed to grow up with. The artwork on the cards is all vector-based and while some cards were really good representations of the characters and items from the show, there were a few that looked…off.

We played with one person who hadn’t seen the show and two that had. The one that hadn’t seen the show really enjoyed it, but she loves Fluxx in all forms. Being a fan of the show would have had her really dig into it. One player who had seen the show hadn’t ever played Fluxx before. She loved it, too.

So: Are you a fan of Doctor Who and want a simple, quick game to play? Here you go. If the theme doesn’t grab you, go for Zombie, Batman, Math, Chemistry, Monty Python…. There are many Fluxx variations to choose from.

 

A copy of Doctor Who Fluxx was provided free for review purposes by Looney Labs.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesAnswer one question about holiday game playing to be entered in the North Pole Sweepstakes by The Genius of Play, a program of The Toy Association. The prize is a $250 toy store gift card.

Fantasy Flight Games’ annual holiday sale is now the Asmodee North America Holiday Sale and includes discounted products Days of Wonder, Z-Man, Plaid Hat, and more. It also looks like they finally offloaded the excess Diskwars.

Through Monday, Victory Point Games will discount everything 20% at checkout.

Renegade Game Studios is giving away a copy of Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Card Game.

Every one of Rogue Genius Games’ Pathfinder RPG products, 381 PDFs, are on-sale for the bundled price of just $35.

Eagle-Gryphon Games is giving away four copies of Isaribi Deluxe, one each to a randomly selected follower on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and one to a newsletter subscriber.

Highway Mail is giving away a copy of Monopoly Durban Edition from Winning Moves (South Africa).

Two Castles & Crusades bundles are available at Bundle of Holding. One, C&C Essentials, includes the core rulebooks and major supplements, with everything included at the threshold price, currently $27.53. The second, Castles & Crusades +2, features eight additional supplements at the threshold price of $23.15.

Avalanche Press has discounted 29 books and games for the season.

Manhattan Toy is holding an Instagram photo contest in which three winners will receive $100 gift cards at local specialty toy stores.

Get 13 issues for the price of 12 with a combined subscription (print and digital) to White Dwarf from Games Workshop.

Strat-O-Matic Baseball 365 credits are on-sale, as well shipping is free for orders of physical products over $60.

In honor of Veteran’s Day, Historical Conquest will give 10% of all orders using the code “VETERAN” but only until tonight at midnight.

Blog giveaways:

Until tomorrow morning, Mayday Games is holding a Pre-Black Friday Sale, including among other discounts 25% off on in-stock sleeves with discount code “preblackfriday2017”.

Everything from Pavillion Games is buy-one, get-one 40% off from Toys “R” Us.

Second Look—Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything from Wizards of the Coast is the first dedicated book of expansion rules for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition. As a rule book it presents many game-enhancing options for players—character subclasses, spells, magic items—and tools for dungeon masters—trap design, encounter building, area-of-affect adjudication. Among the new subclasses (those path-of-specialization choices made by everyone somewhere between 1st and 3rd level) it’s the Bard College of Whispers, Samurai (Fighter), and Scout (Rogue) that most attract me. However, every one provides a unique path for players to explore, some magical, some martial, some mystical.

The rules section, though, that I see most enhancing my game has to be the one on tool proficiencies. It provides some great ideas on how to use a piece of the game that in my experience is not well understood, and therefore mostly ignored. For example, it describes what use to make of a disguise kit, gaming set, and thieves’ tools. It also explains how to view a task that might benefit from both a skill proficiency and a tool proficiency, and what specific additional insights a character with both might realize.

But with all that, what really distinguishes Xanathar’s Guide is its focus on providing options to enhance the game’s story. That is, it’s more than just a book of mechanical rule options. Yes, you’ll find in it cool powers for your characters but more importantly, you’ll find in it ideas for cool backstories. The book has tables of suggestions for family history, rivals, mentors, personal keepsakes, life tragedies, and even a “weird stuff” list. Xanathar’s Guide also provides new feats specific to the various races and tables of character names by race and human-historical culture. As well, there’s a whole section on things that characters might do during their between-dungeon downtime, such as gambling, training, carousing, research, crafting, and more—and how a dungeon master might evaluate their success.

Now, I’m not going to say it does these things perfectly. The little sidebar notes from Xanathar, a well-known beholder out of the Forgotten Realms, I found just silly, though they’re small and easy to ignore. And the tables of random encounters, I thought were a wasted opportunity, pretty much listing groups of monsters, where there could have been more ideas for interesting locations, traveling groups, or even monsters with specific goals.

Nevertheless, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything is definitely one of the better and more inspiring RPG books I’ve encountered.

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything hit the shelves of local game stores today and can be found in general retail November 21st. The suggested retail price in $49.95.

A complimentary copy of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything was provided by Wizards of the Coast for review. Actually two, but we gave one away earlier this week.

Earlier today, in a ceremony held at The Strong’s National Museum of Play, Clue, the Wiffle Ball, and paper airplanes were inducted in to the National Toy Hall of Fame. Selection for the Hall of Fame recognizes toys that have “inspired creative play and enjoyed popularity over a sustained period.”

Clue, modeled after murder-mystery dinner parties, was invented by a British couple during the war years but did not see publication by Waddingtons, under the name “Cluedo”, until 1949. The game was soon thereafter purchased by Parker Brothers and released in the United States as “Clue”.

The Wiffle Ball, a hollow, plastic baseball replacement, was invented in the 1950s. Holes cut in the plastic ball slow its movement, allowing play in more cramped spaces and with fewer broken windows, as well as some mean curves even by amateur pitchers [all still important features when we played on 180th Terrace back in the late 70s and early 80s].

The origin of paper airplanes is said to date back to 1909, just a few years after the Wright brothers’ first flight.

These three toys were chosen by a panel of industry judges from a field of 12 finalists. Among the 62 previous inductees are marbles, Dungeons & Dragons, the Slinky, Barbie, puppets, and alphabet blocks.

The Five Nights at Freddy’s board game ($20) is made by Moose Toys. They call it a jump-scare game, meaning it’s one of those that’ll suddenly pop at a random point while players are picking pizza pieces.

 

 

Challenge Games

Last year we got mouth guard and bottle flipping games. So what new games inspired by social media do we have for this year?

Based on the whisper or lip-reading challenge, Hasbro has for us Hearing Things ($15). In the box is a set of headphones that plays garbled sounds of people speaking, thus masking the sounds of actual people speaking when they read phrases off the included cards. Otherwise, game play is the same.

From Hasbro and Mattel both we have no-thumbs challenge games. Hasbro’s is called Get a Grip ($20) and comes with four cloth wraps to immobilize players’ thumbs, 60 challenge cards, two cans of sculpting clay, and two drawing pads. Mattel’s is called simply No Thumbs Challenge ($20) and comes with 56 cards (112 challenges) and eight plastic thumb straps, each with a silly plastic thumb unhelpfully sticking out to the side (but for safety, a player’s actual thumb is held securely to the palm). In either case, the goal is to complete the task as best one can without the benefit of an important evolutionary trait, opposable thumbs.

BattleClaw

BattleClaw is Mattel’s latest entry in to the cartoon/collectible-toy-battle-game genre. The property originates in China, where it launched late last year, and is now arriving in North America with videos on YouTube and products at Toys “R” Us.

The BattleClaw story is one of a teenage boy (natch) who, following a prophesy, takes up a combat sport involving trapping elemental creatures and sending larger beasts in to battle, as a way to fight off a supernatural evil.

BattleClaw, the game, has players using claw-like grabbers to snag little plastic animal figures (the elemental-aligned Jinlin) needed to power beast cards. The beast cards, sometimes with the help of action cards, are then used to attack one’s opponent. A beast requires two Jinlin matching the elements on the card to power an attack and two more to revive from being tapped after it has attacked. Players can also use captured Jinlin to power-up an attack or draw extra cards. The first person to defeat four of an opponent’s beasts is the winner.

From the collectible perspective, there are several styles of grabbers, Jinlin that vary in shape and color, and already 115 different beast and action cards. Players build their own deck of cards for each game, and also contribute their own selection of Jinlin to the central play space.

BattleClaw is available in $10 Starter Packs, $15 Tournament Packs, and $20 2-Player Battle Packs.

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