Mutant Goats herded by Frightening Shepherds? – Gruff

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Welcome board game fans to another edition of A Roll of The Dice with me, your games master, Adam. This week we are diving into one of the more twisted and exciting games we’ve played to date, Gruff.

Gruff is best described as a battle card game, which brings new dynamics to an already booming genre. The creators knew what they were doing when they created this game and decided to try and change the entire battle system of most card games. They flipped the script for lack of a better term, but how did it add or subtract from the game itself? Let’s find out!

DESIGN – 10

The artwork in this game is spot on and super interesting. We loved the really dirty art style, and honestly adored just looking over each Gruff and Shepherd before we even began. The art is dynamic, fun, and gritty, and you can tell right away what they wanted the cards to portray.

The art alone would be enough for me to pick the game up and give it a try, which speaks volumes for the artist. With some of the stretch goals on the kickstarter, I am needing to find out what each card will look like. The fact that I want to buy more from them should say volumes.

REPLAY VALUE – 10

Gruff

Card games, as I have said in the past have a lot of replay value. This one is not like most games though, as you actually draft a deck from many options. Each Gruff starts with 15 cards, and you must choose 8 of them to use in your 24 card deck (3 gruffs each). So you actually have a major mixture, with many different possibilities in this case alone, not to mention the order of your Gruffs and the Gruffs you even choose all play a factor as well.

We played four games, very rarely saw the same card more than twice, and all games had completely different outcomes. This should speak to the fact that this game is one that you can just keep playing without fear of getting bored.

FUN FACTOR – 10

That’s right folks, this game is insanely fun for what it is. The game itself has a lot of fun aspects, and of course, lots of ways to murder your friends, or bring your own Gruffs back to life.

The game changer though is that the attacks you do are not instant hits. You need to declare an attack on your opponent, and then let that opponent take an entire turn before your hit goes through. This adds so much more strategy, depth, and challenge to this game. There is not many people who can perfect one specific strategy, and that is something I love. There is nothing worse than a game that can be mastered quickly, and this is definitely not that. This is one of my favourite features in this game, and I look forward to hundreds more uses with it.

OVERALL

Well, this is it. The very first 10/10 we have ever given, and probably one of the only ones. I have never fallen so hard and so quick for anything other than my wife and son in my life. This game was dynamic, fun, entertaining, and just all-in-all one of the more fun times I have ever had playing a game.

1) Where did the idea for this game come from?

The origin of Gruff is pretty weird. I had been developing a positional tactical card game for several years. At the same time Virginia had been filling sketchbooks full of mutant monster goats as a drawing exercise. One day it dawned on us that we should crush these ideas together and see what happens. The result is this twisted mutant thing we call Gruff.

2) What are your top three favourite games of all time?

I love the Commander and Cube drafting variations of Magic the gathering. Gruff started as an excercise to see if I could solve the un-fun elements within these systems. 3 years later it has evolved from that point. Though those games were a big influence on me.

I have worked on over a dozen console video games during my career. The process of making a video game can, sometimes, suck the enjoyment out of playing it. I still love Darksiders 2. It hits all of the right notes for me, exploration, visceral combat and a really over-the-top art style. It helps that I remember where I placed most of the secret chests.

Sometimes you need to get some space from competitive gaming and just spend an evening having fun. I have a lot of great stories of friends gathering together to play Betrayal at the house on the hill. I have been playing it since the first edition and I still have a blast every time.

3) If you had to describe your game in one sentence, what would it be?

Gruff is a tactical card game about mutated monster goats where you take the role of a shepherd who has weaponized his flock into the meanest, weirdest, and fattest goats that the world has ever seen!

4) Where can people get a copy/learn more information?

You can stay up to speed on Gruff updates by checking out our Kickstarter page during the campaign or by visiting our website http://www.studio woe.com or by friending us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/studiowoe?fref=nf

5) Anything else you feel the readers should know?

Gruff is complete! Gruff has been in development for over 3 years now. The last year has been spent in heavy testing. The game is finally at a polished state. We are very pleased with it, and are excited to get into your hands.

 

Thanks so much guys for giving us one of the best times of our lives. We look forward to seeing where things go from here.

**As of this review being written Gruff is live and ALREADY 200% funded! Congrats guys!**

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Who runs these streets? Who is the “King of Crime?” – Dan Smith

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Welcome to another edition of A Roll of The Dice, I am your reviewer Adam, and this week we are tackling our THIRD Dan Smith game, King of Crime. As usual, he has created a card game to try and win us over into his world. I have to admit, while this one took a little bit of learning, it was actually a wild ride. Why don’t we jump in and find out what we thought. (A small side note, congrats on the kickstarter Dan and we are glad that we helped!)

DESIGN – 9

The game has the same style art we have come to love from Dan, with a great take on Mafia style characters. The men, women, guns, bullets, and cars, all mixed into one giant game of cards. By giant, damn I mean GIANT. This game (with the expansions) is one of the larger card games I have ever played. It is honestly large enough to break it into three small decks to shuffle. This is not a bad thing though, as we get to see so much unique art, and add some of the funniest cards.

This game has given us what we expect from Dan Smith, that is a fun design on a great game.

REPLAY VALUE – 9

This game, again like all card games, has a tonne of replay value. Each expansion you add makes that increase by a lot. The game itself has a lot of replay value, just by the simple fact that a roll of the dice (see what I did there?), a new card, or choosing different characters in the start will all change the game. This can cause all sorts of deviations with the overall game play. In my personal opinion, this makes the replay of any game high. Dan is really good at coming up with games that you will want to play more than once, and that is a truly fun game.

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FUN FACTOR – 8

I want this rating to be higher, because two of us absolutely loved this game. Myself and Alex really thought the game was fun, interesting, and a good twist on a sometimes overused style of game. Adding dice, Cards, and multiple choices before the game even starts? I loved all of it. My wife, however, was so confused by the rules to start that she wouldn’t even pick it up.

This does tell me that it does take a small amount of the possible player pool out of the equation. This does not translate easy for people who are more new to the gaming scene. For those of us who are more seasoned in learning new games, and getting through a rulebook, it was honestly nothing. For a new player though, I could see how the rules and rule cards came off a bit confusing. If you are willing to spend the time learning it though, I can assure you that it is worth the time.

 

Thanks again Dan for just being you. Creating great games for people of all levels of gaming. PLEASE people, if you see any game with Dan Smith’s name on it, jump all over it!

Tune in next week when we review Gruff.

Dragon Punch – Fast Paced Fighting Card Game

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Welcome back review fans, to another edition of A Roll of The Dice. This week I will be reviewing the up and coming card game, Dragon Punch which will be on kickstarter very, very soon. I want to start just by thanking Koen Hendrix for the amazing copy to review, and I hope this review does it justice.

I want to start by asking the readers a question. Have you EVER, even just once in your life wanted to roundhouse kick your best friends? If you answered yes, this is the game for you. If you answered no, then you are lying, and this is still the game for you.

Dragon Punch brings Martial Arts games like Street Fighter to life, all while giving a lot of fun in a short span of time. The game is a strategy game which plays in about 15 minutes, but of course you need to plan for shorter or a bit longer if you are both master strategists. In my case, most games were about 10 minutes, with one ending quicker because I had to try a kamikaze strategy. This will not usually work, so for god sakes don’t follow my ideas. The game itself only consists of 21 cards which may make you shake your head and wonder why you would want it, for me it made me want it so much more. How many card games do you have that can fit in a pocket, go with you anywhere, and still have a lot of fun with? You won’t even notice the ninja butt kicking power that is being held in your pocket, until you unleash the Dragon (Punch).

Alright, let’s review this beast!

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DESIGN – 9

First off, love the design. I know they are going for a cartoon style Street Fighter (They even admit this fact on their kickstarter) but it works perfectly for the style of game it is. The funky characters and moves you get to check out are really well done, and above that you can tell they put a lot of thought into the easiest way to make the game compact, while keeping a lot of skill needed in it. The card art itself is really fun, and I would easily keep my eye out for this artist. I feel he will be making more game art for the next few years at least. All in all for a card game, it is one of the better art styles for my own taste that I have seen.

REPLAY VALUE – 8

The game itself is awesome, and you do get to choose your character and moves from a set amount (remember the 21 cards) which is fun and fast. I know this is meant to be a quick game which is why I am not too upset with the fact that sometimes it can get a little stale. Now wait a tick, I am not saying that it is not fun, I am just saying using the same moves over and over is not always the best. This really only becomes and issue if you are constantly playing with the same person, as it takes away the strategy component when you learn each others tactics. For a game with so few cards, it is still great in the replay department, just not with the same 2-3 people playing every time. If you use this game as a filler between your 1-2 hour long sessions, it fits perfectly.

FUN FACTOR – 10

Any game in which I can kick someone in the face (figuratively or literally) is an amazing game in my book. Any game in which I can toss insults at my friends while doing it is even better. The best part of this game is feeling like you are playing Street Fighter, talking trash to your best friend while he is just getting creamed. There is no button mashing aspect to the game (how would you even do that? No idea myself, get on it Koen) but the planning can still fall through to a new player, as sometimes the randomness of your opponent can land you against the metaphorical ropes. This game makes you answer the question that all games should. Are you man/woman enough to finish the job? In our case, we feel that yes, we all were.

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Let’s see what the creators had for themselves!

1) Where did the idea for this game come from?

I’d been toying with a fighting-game-inspired card game for a while, but was having a hard time making it stand out. Games like Yomi and BattleCON already do a great job of capturing that fighting game feeling.

So when the 18-Card Microgame Contest came along on BoardGameGeek last year, I thought I’d try making a micro fighting game. At the same time I heard about Oddball Aeronauts, a game played entirely in your hand. Everything just started clicking together from there: Fighting game + micro size + playable anywhere = Dragon Punch!

2) What are your top three favourite games of all time?

I love how modern boardgames have stepped out the familiar ‘every man for himself’ territory. Overlord-style games allow beginners to join in, without dumbing things down for the other players. Traitor games bring a great social dynamic; I’m always up for The Resistance, or if we’ve got the time Battlestar Galactica. Nothing like a bit of paranoia and false accusations to spice up game night!

An older game that I still like is Reiner Knizia’s Samurai. Really simple core mechanic, but with a very interesting victory condition. Great 30-minute game for beginners and hardcore gamers alike. And for sheer amount of accessible fun, it’s hard to beat Apples To Apples. We’ve had the big wooden crate edition for about 10 years and it still gets pulled of the shelf at a lot of parties.

Some current games I’m really looking forward to receiving are Star Wars Imperial Assault, Bomb Squad, and Catacombs 2nd edition.

3) If you had to describe your game in one sentence, what would it be?

A quick and tiny 2-player fighting game you can play anywhere!

4) Where can people get a copy/learn more information?

The Kickstarter page will tell you all you need to know: http://tiny.cc/DragonPunch

There are links to my social media pages there too. Feel free to shoot me a message about anything at all.

(The Kickstarter goes live on April 28th, which is now. GO GET SOME! – Adam)

5) Are there any particular challenges in designing a microgame?

From a game design standpoint, I don’t find microgames particularly challenging: the small size actually helps focus my design efforts. It’s by no means easier to design a microgame, but the physical restrictions make the explorable design space much smaller. So you’ll reach a “this works!” or “just can’t make this work” point faster, rather then endlessly patching and re-patching an idea in hopes of making it work.

From a publication standpoint it’s a bit more complicated. Because the total budget is so low, things like marketing become really expensive (relatively). If your game’s budget is $40.000 it’s not that bad to spend $500 on advertising or a professional video production. But if your entire budget is $4000 those things are just not feasible. Additionally, shipping costs are a relatively large part of your total cost, and those don’t scale down when your number of backers goes up.

On the plus side, small games are very easy to ship and store. I can send out a dozen prototypes without much hassle, and keep hundreds of copies at my home without it cluttering up my garage!

 

They advertise this game as a Street Fighter for cards, and you can believe it. It brings me all the way back to my old SNES days. I just want to say thanks again for the bundle of fun, I will be keeping an eye out for your kickstarter, and wish you all the best.

Please take a moment and vote on the following poll, and leave a comment if you feel things need to be changed. Thanks again, and I look forward to reviewing a lot more games in the future.

WITCH – An RPG of Magic, Fun, and Everything in Between

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Welcome to A Roll of the Dice reviews. This week we are going over the long awaited review for WITCH. I had hoped to be able to do a live review, with video, but as I am fairly new with that side, we ran into a lot of complications. I learned quickly though, that even a text based review is easy with this game because the game itself speaks volumes.

If you have always tried to look for a game where you have all the flexibility in the world, this is the best one to find. You can turn your magic into anything you want. Fireball? Instead why not use a lightning covered ball of water? Oh wait, you can do both! Let’s jump in and see what the team felt about the game.

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Design – N/A (10)

Now the only reason for the N/A design is that it is not a hard copy, and the whole design of the game is inside of your mind based on what the DM decides to provide you with. I will say that the design of the world and character classes is 10/10 though, as it was by far one of the better RPG systems I have ever had the chance to play. We had a blast coming up with new ways to use the same powers that others were using.

I will say having so much freedom does make things a bit harder for the DM (me) though, because when I think I have you backed into a difficult predicament, you come up with nine separate ways to overcome it by changing the spells you are using. Curses, foiled over and over again! It keeps a DM on his toes too though, which is amazing to see as most of the time the DM has everything planned to an almost T.

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Replay Value – 8 

As with any RPG there is always a lot of replay value, and this one is no different. We had a fun time, and of course we played the fun quick play they include with the rule book. It was fun, and the journey we took made a lot of choices. Since you can create a whole new world with the thoughts in your head, you can cause the world to do whatever you want it to. That is the entire meaning of a pen and paper RPG, this one just gives you the possibility of creating anything you want. The only downside is that it is very focused on the magic intent that it is a bit harder to create classes that do nothing but focus on close combat damage. I mean, it is the concept of the game though, so I don’t fault that.

Fun Factor – 10

Amazingly fun, all around one of the best times I’ve had playing a pen and paper RPG. It has a fairly basic system, with a good idea for magic usage (getting harder each time you cast) and the lore it builds is just awesome. I have always been a fan of magical style games, so this one is now ranked as one of my favourites to date. Well done!

Let’s see what the creators had to say!

1) Where did the idea for this game come from?

WITCH has been a dream of mine for so long and the idea is really rooted in my childhood. I grew up in love with monster stories and I have always been obsessed with how witches and warlocks have been portrayed in popular media. I love the romance behind their stories. The idea that someone can give themselves to an unknown power in order to gain the ability to use magic fascinates me. Obviously, this has no rooting in reality, aside from some myths that have been passed down in different cultures, but that is why I love it – it is pure fantasy.

2) How long have you had a passion for pen and paper RPGs?

I actually started with form role playing and also role playing over a videogame called Neverwinter Nights (NWN) when I was in high school. NWN was based on D&D 3.5 and so when I heard that you could actually play this game in real life I was over the moon! Since then I have been obsessed with pen and paper rpgs and have never look back.

3) Where can people go to find your games?

The best place is to check out our webstie: angryhamsterpublishing.com. There you can find more information on WITCH and also get updates on the game. I’ve written a few adventures for Wizards of the Coast’s Living Forgotten Realms and you can find them here: http://www.livingforgottenrealms.com/ (just do a search for my last name: Chaipraditkul). I am also currently writing for Changeling the Lost for Onyx path, but that is still to be released.

4) Is there anything you want to make sure the readers/viewers know?

They should not hesitate to contact me if they have any questions or want advice on developing their own game. I love hearing from people so, please get in contact if you have questions :). Also, I just want to thank anyone who has backed our project so far, I am overwhelmed with the response and I can’t believe what a success it has been so far!

 

So my dear reader, you need to buy into this RPG. It is fun, and a must have for any fan of pen and paper RPGs!

Tune in next week board game fans, and may the dice ever roll on your side.

An Emotional, Thought Provoking, Party Game – Tell Me…

Welcome to a new A Roll of The Dice, with me, Adam. Today we will be reviewing one of the more emotional games I have ever played, and one that really causes you to think about life, love, and everything in between. This is a bit outside of my usual reviews, and to be honest, my usual games all together. I wanted to give this one a try because I have never really been able to find a good game for a close group of friends. Something that really makes us all open up to one another, and feel comfortable about it. Let’s see what I am talking about, and jump right in.

As I’ve said in the past, why go through a long explanation of rules if the creator has perfected a way to do that.

Tell me

Very straight forward, and very intriguing. Let’s see what the group thought.

Design : Adam – 8, Alex – 8, Alysia – 8

Adam – Not a bad thing, as the style is very minimalistic, which is by far what this game is going for. I loved the logo and the design of the box/cards. It is meant to be basic, because the game is focusing more on the game play, rather than the flashy pictures. I appreciated this factor.

Alex – Completely agree, by focusing on the game itself instead of the over the top graphics, they really helped build exactly what they wanted to do. They made you think, and they made you understand the concept of the questions. You weren’t worried about seeing the next cute image.

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Replay Value : Adam – 9, Alex – 9, Alysia – 9.5

Adam – This game has a lot of replay, because the same question could have a million different answers. It depends on the person answering, their mood, the cards themselves, and the atmosphere of the game. We had the same question come up twice, and the answers were completely different.

Alex – What he said.

Fun Factor : Adam – 8, Alex – 6, Alysia – 9

Adam – I thought this was a fun game. It honestly had me thinking a lot more than most of the games I play. I was not only using my creative thoughts, but it had me thinking about my own answers, and why I would choose them. By far, one of the most thought provoking games I have played in a long time.

Alex – I did have some fun, and I know the game is fun for most. I didn’t dislike the game, it just is not made for people who are a bit more uncomfortable with answering sometimes personal questions. I know most will enjoy it, but for me it was just too much sometimes.

1) Where did the idea for this game come from?

Really loving the conversations I have in some of my social circles. And feeling frustration in other social circles where conversations stay at the surface level and don’t feel connected or enlivened.

2) What are your top three favourite games of all time?

Taboo, gin rummy, 42 with dominos

3) If you had to describe your game in one sentence, what would it be?

It is a deck of question cards that invites deeper connected conversation with family and friends in a fun and inviting way

4) Where can people get a copy/learn more information?

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/394095029/tell-me-authentic-conversation-game & Tellmethegame.com

5) Anything else you feel the readers should know?

Please pledge to the Kickstarter campaign to receive a deck.

 

Thanks for everything Kelly, and good luck in the campaign. We hope to see great things from the game.

Tune in next week, when we review King of Crime, another Dan Smith spectacular.

Have a Great Holiday Weekend!

This week, there will be no review, as we have taken the holiday to spend some time with our family! Regular reviews will continue next week, and every Saturday. We only take the holidays to keep enjoying some of the excellent games we have played so far.

Stay Tuned!

Body Slammin’, DDPin, Power Bombin’ Action! – Pro Wrasslin’ Battle Royale

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to another edition of A Roll of The Dice with me, Adam. This week, as all weeks, we will be going over an indie game. The name? Pro Wrasslin’ Battle Royale, which is a catchy name for any wrestling fans out there. So why don’t we jump in today and make a splash. (I’m so sorry, so many wrestling puns are coming)

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The rules of the game are fairly simple, but when I first opened the box I almost cried. It was six cards full of rules, double sided, but after going over them I realized that I knew what wrestling was all about, and BOOM it cut the amount of rules I needed to learn in half. Honestly it may seem complicated at first, but as you get into actually starting a game, it really isn’t. You try and hit moves, as your opponent tries to block/reverse. First person to lose their life points, can get pinned. Pretty straight forward, but one of the rules I love is that there is “illegal” moves, which cause more damage. In the deck, there is also one DQ card which if played when an opponent is playing an “illegal” move, causes them to be eliminated. Very powerful card, which is why the creator only put one in the 100 card deck. Honestly that many cards is a stunner but they play well, so we won’t do any moonsaults over it. (I can’t stop, the game is making me)

Design : Adam – 8, Alex – 7

Adam – I thought the design was fun and creative. It honestly gave homage to the wrestling world, while not trying to be perfect. Very over the top, and using the standard playing card size. Honestly, this game felt complete, and with so much work being put into so many different styles of cards, I could tell the creator loved what he was doing. He has a passion for wrestling and it shows.

Alex – I agree that there is a lot of good, creative work that went into the game, it just felt slightly unfinished. Now, I know you may take this as a bad thing, and I do not mean it as one, as this could very well be what it was meant to be. For me, I just prefer card games that look complete and stunning. This one is really well done, just seems a bit rushed I guess.

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Replay Value : Adam – 8.5, Alex – 9

Adam – I love the replay value, as with all the other card games I have reviewed, a simple shuffle of the deck brings a multitude of possibilities. Mix this with the amount of characters there are, and you have a fun time, many times. This is the type of game we were loving to play between our long board game plays. Great time filler game, as it plays nice and short.

Alex – I thought the replay was awesome, because every time I picked a new character, I was changing my whole style of play. I felt like I was the wrestler, which caused me to make completely different decisions. I have to say, I felt like I was very immersed in this one which is odd as I am not a huge wrestling fan. I am a huge Wrasslin’ fan now though.

Fun Factor : Adam – 8, Alex – 9

Adam – Loved it, honestly it was a fun time. We had some laughs, and I had a lot of frustration when on the first turn I tried to hit an illegal move and BAM game over thanks to Alex’s freaking DQ card. That may be my bias on the game, that the players (my) own stupidity can end the game so quickly. Honestly I had a good time, and I think people should really give this one a chance.

Alex – Completely agree with Adam on this one. I feel like this game is a fun time waster, while being relatively easy to pick-up and play, especially with people who are not huge gamers. Plus, who doesn’t like the idea of Pro-Wrasslin’?

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Honestly, we had fun with this one. Starting from now on, we will be finishing our review with our recommendation section. This just tells the reader what type of gamer will most enjoy this.

Recommendation : This game is best for a casual gamer, looking for a quick fix. Also, if you are a wrestling fan, then you will definitely get a kick out of this one.

1) Where did the idea for this game come from?

I’m not sure exactly where the idea came from – it was a long time ago, maybe 2000 but could have been earlier…Anyway the game was conceptualized during a conversation I had with my old mate Bad Dave. We talked about having a multiplayer card game that represented a pro-wrestling match. I think the idea predated the Raw Deal CCG, though I didn’t develop Pro-Wrasslin’ Battle Royale until much later.

2) What are your top three favourite games of all time? 

Tough call, I’m going to say my three favourite games are:
I)Warhammer Fantasy Battle – I’m not going to specify an edition, I’ve played since 3rd edition and enjoyed them all despite the various quirks. I’m a bit concerned about the rumoured changes coming to 9th edition but not overly as I have Warpack in development.
II) Magic: The Gathering – amazing classic design, now sadly undercut by commercial concerns
III) Whatever I’m working on at the moment – if I didn’t love it then what would be the point?

3) If you had to describe your game in one sentence, what would it be?

Pro-Wrasslin’ Battle Royale is an electrifying card game of hand management, talking trash and laying the smack down in the hallowed squared circle!

4) Where can people get a copy/learn more information?

My Kickstarter for Pro-Wrasslin’ Battle Royale is on Kickstarter right now! Hurry, I need your help!

http://kck.st/1wFgMCK

In the future I will hopefully have the game available from DriveThruCards.com too.

5) Anything else you feel the readers should know?

The game plays like a wild mash up of Kill Dr Lucky, Raw Deal and Munchkin. Check out the Kickstarter and Dicingwithdesign.com to watch an actual play and hear a full rundown of the game.

 

Thanks so much for your time, and the fun. Stay Tuned next week for Tell Me… and (hopefully no storm this time) our broadcast of Witches!

Hey There Game Creators!

If you are in need of a good review from a nice Canadian, then you have come to the right place.

 

Please Email arotdreviews@gmail.com for mailing address, or we are also now able to do Print and Plays, the only ask we have is once the product is finalized, we still receive a copy to enjoy! Nothing can compare to seeing a finished product the way it was meant to be played.

This week, I will be reviewing Pro-Wrasslin’ Battle Royale (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/656441542/pro-wrasslin-battle-royale-card-game-of-champions) and the following week will be a special Witches (Hopefully broadcast on Twitch! (arotdreviews on Twitch.tv). Stay Tuned!

 

(Witches has to be pushed two weeks, due to the storm we had. Players were not able to make it, but everything is created, printed, and ready to go. It is an amazing looking/styled game, so give them your love. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1568822309/witch-a-dark-modern-fantasy-role-play-game)

A game of stories and their characters – Hylaria

Welcome to another edition of A Roll of The Dice, I am your reviewer Adam so let’s jump right into our review for this week, Hylaria by Fablesmith. This game was a fun, family style game that can be played with close friends, or even your kids, as there is actually two ways to play!

Hylaria

I will go over the easier way first, just so we can understand that this creator thought of those who maybe didn’t fully understand the rules, or weren’t old enough to quite grasp the concept. They found a way to get people of (almost) all ages involved in the game. The easiest way to play, is essentially a match game. The cards all have either characters or backgrounds that will match another card, so you can play a basic match game. This, to me and our group, was a nifty idea to say the least.

Now on to the real meat and potatoes. This is the part I usually describe the game and rules, but honestly the creators did it in a fun way I never could have. So here, read!

Hylrules

So basically, it is a game of codes, luck, and laughs. Trust me, we had all of them when we played. Here is our breakdown of the game! (Not all of our players want to be quoted, or want to rate any games)

Design : Adam – 9, Alex – 9.5

The card design is absolutely perfect for what the game is meant to be. They are fun, cute, cartoony, colourful, and all around well designed. I can not speak to the card stock itself, as I rocked the PNP (print and play) but this didn’t take any fun away from it. The cards had me wanting to see more of the design style, so I also checked out all of their other games at http://www.fablesmith.com/ which brought me even closer to just buying them all. Quite a few of their games were intriguing, but this is the one game I can picture playing with my son in a couple of years. It would be eye catching enough for him, while not being too difficult for him to grasp. Heck, even the rule books were well designed and basic. I found the work to be stunning.

Hyldragon

Replay Value : Adam – 9, Alex – 9

This game is not your standard replay value, as it does not have a million combinations. The game itself is almost always similar, yet feels so different. You need to think that the style will change with new players, and that the combinations may be completely different each time you play. This gives a lot of good replay to the game, because even by playing the same cards, you may end up with different endings to your “story”.

Another great aspect of the replay value is the fact that they did build a second game into the design. This, to me, is extremely well planned. I haven’t myself played another card game that has done this, and it adds a whole other aspect of game play. This will cause new players to become interested, as opposed to just targeting one market. The broad design of the game will be a contender for one of my best reviewed games of 2015.

Fun Factor : Adam – 9.5, Alex – 9

A clean sweep for us. I have never rated a game a ten, and that is just because I do not believe any game to be perfect. This one is darn close though. The fun of fooling your friends, while secretly conversing with your team is awesome. Some of the codes we came up with made no sense, at all, to anyone, and we couldn’t help but laugh the night away trying to decipher our own code, let alone the other teams. So first off is the adding of creating a secret language. It will have you talking in tongues, and forgetting what you are doing, a lot.

Next we have the added bonus of the luck factor. If you think you do know the code, you may score points very quickly. When you turn out to be wrong, you may end up giving the enemies even more than you intended. I had a blast even when I was messing up and scoring for the other team though, and that to me makes a really good game. A game you do not care is you lose, as long as you have a blast doing it.

Finally what makes this game so good for me, is that it brings together a lot of different styles. You can play an “adult” version, depending on the cards and language you choose. At the same time, you can play another time with your young children, and laugh about the funny decisions and languages you make then. This game is fun for all ages, as long as you don’t mind some childish behaviour. We all need to act like kids sometimes, and this game will help us do it.

Let’s hear what the creators had to say in this weeks interview :

1) Where did the idea for this game come from?

I got the idea for this game while developing a game for the EU. Clickerdi Click is an educational game for children to teach them how to be safer on the internet. This is a coop game where the kids had to describe their cards to the others and then pick a card from someone else at the table. I usually hate the mechanic of, “pick a random card from your opponent”, but I was very interested in turning this from something is find stupid into an asset. That’s a great design challenge Now it’s the main mechanism of the game and it’s exactly what makes Hylaria tick.

The idea of miscommunication is really interesting and I think that human creativity is the best resource to get most out of a gaming experience.

2) What are your top three favourite games of all time?

Hmmm. I have to really think about this one. I won’t put them in order, because they are impossible to compare, but here are 3 games I think are fantastic

Dixit. Which was a big inspiration for creating Hylaria

Quantum. Gorgeous production as always from Fun Forge and the game is simply a perfect design by Eric Zimmerman

King of Tokyo. Masterfully done. It takes a Richard Garfield to recognize the potential of a simple Yatzee mechanism and turn it into something so much fun

As a bonus, I would have to mention Hearthstone. I’m in love with that game. Such a source of inspiration for boardgame design as well

3) If you had to describe your game in one sentence, what would it be? 

A welcoming, silly game that uses human creativity and hilarious communication to its fullest.

4) Where can people get a copy/learn more information?

People can get behind this project on Kickstarter. There is plenty information there. They can also go to my website to learn al about Hylaria and my other designs.

5) Anything else you feel the readers should know?

Regarding Hylaria, I think it’s good to know that its a game for all occasions as long as you are with 4 or more people. I’ve tested it with a lot of non-gamers and that has really worked beautifully.

We’re also working on a digital game in the Hylaria universe. That will come out at the end of this month. I’m also really excited about that!

 

I want to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, and let us play this beautiful game!

Make sure to head over to the kickstarter and pick up your copy now! – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fablesmith/hylaria-silly-codes-miscommunication-and-lots-of-l

Can one robot save the world? – Strength of the SWORD 3

SotS

Welcome back to our fourth edition of A Roll of the Dice with me, Adam. This week we have the amazing ability to be reviewing our first video game, provided by Ivent Games. This game started as a PS3 exclusive, but now is available on Windows, Linux, PS4, Wii U, and PS Vita, so they have really branched the system out to make it more available for people to try.

Now of course, I feel the need to say I started this game feeling like I was being set-up for a massive headache, because I am very biased about my dislike of hack and slash games. I feel that most hack and slash end up being a button mashing of attack buttons, with extremely linear game play. So, when I realized this was a hack and slash, I almost put blinders on, but I have never been more pleasantly surprised in my life. Let’s dive in and see what I thought about the game overall.

Design : 9

The game has a really unique style to it, all of which is most prevalent in the first thirty seconds of turning the game on. It starts with a completely visual story in the opening, which tells the story of the world. I do not want to give much away, but the gods did create Strahil, a robot with the ability to cut demons down with his sword skills. I felt the story was very straight forward, and actually love that they were able to get it across without speaking or subtitles. I enjoyed the opening a lot, and actually restarted to watch it a second time.

The opening was good, but did not prepare me for the graphics once I was in the game. Now for an indie game, you can tell they put a lot of work, and love, into the design of the game. It has such a unique look to it, and they even made Goblins seem bad-ass. The angles they use, mixed with the background art, actually adds a level of visuals that I am not used to seeing in an indie game. Overall, I love the feel of the game, and they nailed it for what they were trying to do.

Picture from gamesfiends.com

Picture from gamesfiends.com

Replay Value : 9

I feel the need to start this one off with saying that I have never felt so much frustration, but also accomplishment from playing a game in my life. The reason the replay value is so high, would be because you are constantly needing to restart the game just to make it past the first level. Now again, I am not a big player of hack and slash games, so it could just be that I am terrible, but it took me four times to complete the first level. The best part is that it didn’t frustrate me as much as I thought it would. It just really made me focus on trying even harder to make it through.

The game itself evolves so much, that I felt the need to play through, then replay with different tactics to see how the AI would react. I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. The AI was evolving, but we will dive more into that in our fun factor. The game evolves at such a rate that you need to keep replaying just to survive, but also to build a proper survival technique.

Fun Factor : 9

This is the part of the review I really wanted to spend the most time talking about, because above everything else, the fun factor was absolutely amazing. This game is exactly what I have always wanted hack and slash games to be, and manages to bring a new style to the genre. You CAN NOT just play this game by constantly attacking and mashing buttons, as the AI will actually learn from you. It learns how to block anything you send at it, but only to get you thinking about how to attack a different way. In the very first level, it gives you a tutorial to help learn the game and controls, and yet I still managed to die four or five times completing it. The AI will grow from your tendencies. If all you do is attack, it will learn to counter, if all you do is block, it will heavy hit to break the block, so the game will show you who the real boss is. This is one of the main reasons I love it.

Another good reason it is amazingly fun, is that it is a steampunk robot with a sword, cutting down the demons trying to take over the kingdom. Now really, what part of that sentence made you NOT want to try the game? It all just sounds like the perfect mixture needed to make an amazing game, and in fact, it is. As the game progresses, the difficulty also increases on its own, as it forces you to keep evolving you style of play. Any game that adds action, with amazing visuals, and dynamic game play is a game I will always recommend.

Overall I had a lot of fun, a lot of frustration, and a lot of restarting all through the game, but shockingly, never wanted to quit. It gave the right amount of challenge, with the best amount of reward. Please head over to their kickstarter to see their art style, and also get details on their new game Strength of the SWORD ULTIMATE. A review for that one will be coming up in the future as it is still in development at this time. I will go out on a limb and say that Ivent is a company to watch out for, they seem to be bringing a new idea to an already swamped market.