January 14, 2011

In Which I Talk About Games I Play

I talk about games quite a bit but I realized that I don’t talk about the games I like much. So this is going to be my day to ramble on about the games I’ve played lately and in the past that have had an effect on how I think about game design.

Board Games
I love board games, and love trying new ones. I grew up playing Risk and Monopoly like everyone else I know. I loved Risk as a kid, it was long, and our house rules made it longer. Obviously, eventually I experienced other board games

My latest board game fixation is Small World. I got to try it for the first time a few weeks ago and love it. Most of the tactics are pure skill and decision-making, the race and power combinations are fun and provide a cool depth to the game. Even the reinforcement die is a neat piece that allows some luck to exist in the game for those willing to gamble a bit.

I tried Sid Meier’s Civilization last weekend, and have to say, for a Fantasy Flight Games work, I was highly impressed. Still way more tokens than I normally like, but very nice quality, and an interesting set of mechanics. Definitely one I suggest trying out.

My favorite board game, though, is Go. I love strategy games, and Go is pretty much exactly the perfect game to scratch that itch. I don’t even have much more to say about it except for those who haven’t played, you need to at least try it out.

Card Games
In the card game department I have mixed feelings. I’m not really into collectible games anymore, their unknown potential costs really get to me. I do like a few boxed card games, and I still have one CCG I love.

The latest boxed card game I’ve picked up is Rowboat. It’s a Spades variant that is actually quite fun to play. There isn’t much more to say about it except the art is pretty good and if you like traditional card games you’ll find this one quite easy to pick up.

My CCG of choice is The Spoils put out by Arcane Tinmen. I could go on for hours about this one, but to make it brief: this game is everything I love in CCGs. Very tight mechanics, a beautifully concise rulebook, plenty of player interaction, and better in draft and sealed than constructed.

Miniatures Games
I like miniature war games, and typically buy on quality of models, but my choice for play is definitely Monsterpocalypse. Great flavor, great game play, and an excellent community.

Other than that, I own some Warhammer 40,000, some Warmachine, and I am currently looking into Infinity.

Role Playing Games
Considering this is a role  playing blog, this is definitely the key category of today’s post, since my views on RPGs definitely matter in the long run for the blog itself.

D&D is of course the hot button in the market right now, and my particular flavor is 4th edition. Unlike some developers, I absolutely believe in game balance and niche protection, and while 4th isn’t perfect in those senses, it’s far ahead of OGL games. I’m also big on suggesting the Dungeon Master’s Guide 2 since it has some excellent lessons on running games, some of which have been around a long while and I include similar suggestions in my Monday posts.

I’m a fan of World of Darkness on some levels. I love the flavor, and big fan of the baseline mechanics even if they need plenty of work. I don’t agree with the way most groups play the game, so I don’t get in many groups locally. If I’m going to be an asshole GM, this is the game I’d do it in, being a stickler for the personal horror elements of the game.

One of my loose and fast rules I really like is Dread. Those who haven’t gotten a copy should absolutely consider it if you can find it. When it comes to top down mechanics, Dread does it absolutely right. Using the tower produces a wonderful ramp into that titular emotion. The questionnaire character sheet makes it much easier to get into a character and generally I wish I would have thought of it.

This post is running long, so I’m going to end with those and touch on other influences to my games later. Well, readers, any games of any type I absolutely should try, let me know in the comments below!


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