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Game Nite

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the magazine of tabletop gaming

ee r F

lay d P e! n a sid n int Pr me I Ga

GAME REVIEWS “GOING CARDBOARD” DVD

STEVE JACKSON STEVE JACKSON GAMES

MINIATURES DAN VERSSEN

DAN VERSSEN GAMES

“PLAY HIVE LIKE A CHAMPION” BOOK

GAME DESIGN

AND MORE!


IN THIS ISSUE:

DVD REVIEW 30

REVIEWS 10

Quest for the Grail

20

Small World

28

Stella Nova

32

Shoot-Out

38

Postcard Cthulhu

40

Postcard Empire

Designer boardgame documentary.

GAME DESIGN 07

Solitaire CCG variant.

Theme or Mechanic? Game Designer’s approach.

KICKSTARTER

Conquest on a small world.

Christian themed family game.

04

This Town Aint Big Enough for the 2-4 of Us

A tile laying game.

BOOK REVIEW

Reiner Knizia game.

16

A Cthulhu Co-op game.

Play Hive Like a Champion Authoritative strategy guide.

OPINION

Conquer the empire.

12

MINIATURES 08

Going Cardboard

43

Dan Fokine talks minis.

24

Dan Verssen

34

Paul “Prof” Herbert

44 46

Renowned Designer/Publisher.

Designer/Publisher.

Postcard Cthulhu A Modest Games PnP.

Postcard Empire A Modest Games PnP.

NEXT ISSUE 48

Artist.

2

Game Nite Contributors

PRINT AND PLAY

INTERVIEWS Steve Jackson

New gateway game?

CONTRIBUTORS

One Man’s Thoughts

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Pandemic

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Issue #2 Preview Preliminary cover to issue #2.


FROM THE GAMING TABLE

Game Nite ISSUE # 1

W

elcome to the premiere issue of “Game Nite” magazine!

It is our hope that we will become your “go to” magazine for tabletop gaming. Many of our contributors have held positions within the industry as Playtesters, Writers, Designers, Sculptors, and Brand Managers. They will be sharing their knowledge with you, in both reviews and articles. We are looking to cover all facets of the hobby game industry, whether they are top tier manufacturers or companies just starting out. After all, a good product is a good product, no matter what the size of the company that puts it out! We will be covering many popular games, while also striving to let you know about lesser known games that deserve your attention. Due to the nature of our initial release schedule, we will be reviewing Kickstarter games that have already been released into the market. This issue we will feature “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the 2-4 of Us”, a project that I personally backed on Kickstarter. “Game Nite” will begin as a bi-monthly publication, but we are looking to expand as quickly as possible into a monthly magazine. Writers and photographers who are interested in contributing to the magazine can feel free to contact us, as well as publishers and designers who would like to have their products reviewed. We hope that “Game Nite” will bring further joy to your tabletop gaming! Enjoy!

Serge Pierro

Cover Photograph by Serge Pierro. Pandemic © Z-Man Games

Editor in Chief: Serge Pierro Editor: Eric Devlin Contributing Writer: Dan Fokine Contributing Writer: Serge Pierro Photographer: Serge Pierro

If you enjoy

please “Like” us on Facebook!

www.facebook.com/GameNiteMagazine or visit us at:

www.gamenitemagazine.com

Editor in Chief

editor@gamenitemagazine.com Issue #1

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Kickstarter

This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The 2-4 Of Us!

By Serge Pierro

W

hen I first saw “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For the 2-4 of Us”, I was intrigued by the “Carcassonne” look of the game. Having then read about the interesting scoring method, I was hooked on seeing what this game was all about, so I backed two sets on Kickstarter. Upon opening the large card board envelope, there were three sheets of nicely produced cardboard tiles and tokens, along with a rulebook and a plastic bag. Since the stretch goals were reached, both sets included the expansions sets. The game comes with a scoring track and tokens, however they are susceptible to being knocked around so you might want to use paper and pencil instead. The included rulebook is a long double sided color printed sheet that folds up nicely. The ziploc bag is adequate to transport and store two sets of pieces, though some players may prefer a cardboard deck box. Since I thought that the original game would not be large enough for our gaming group, I bought two sets and mixed them together so that we could have a more substantial gaming experience. The only drawback is that you are strictly limited to a maximum of 4 players since the Brands are printed directly on the tiles and from there, following the rule that each tile placed must connect to a tile already on the table. The object of the there is no way to add a fifth player. game is to complete corrals to score points. To complete The tile laying mechanic is similar to “Carcassonne” - a corral, you have to place a tile that connects all of the tiles have to match on the edges, which is easy to do, fences, thus enclosing the corral. Then you score points since all of the tiles are capable of matching each other based on your ranking within the corral. Example: If (unlike “Carcassonne”, where the addition of roads and Blue has 4 Brands in a corral, and Green has 2, and Yelother relevant structures, limit where you can place low and Pink each have 1, then Blue scores the number tiles). The game starts with a “Claim Office” starter tile of points equal to the player below him in the ranking, in the middle of the table, and players start to build thus he scores 2 points since Green is directly below him

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in the rankings. Then Green scores 1, since Yellow and Pink both have 1. Since there is no one below Yellow and Blue, they don’t score any points. What makes this so interesting, is that you have to have at least someone else in the corral you are trying to enclose, because you are scoring off of their presence. You can have 4 Brands in a corral, and your opponent has 1 - thus you only score 1 point! This makes for some interesting strategic decisions.

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Some tiles contain a Silver Bar. When a player completes a corral that has a silver bar in it, that player may immediately take a tile that is not in a completed corral and connect it to another tile on the table - with any orientation they wish. The “Claim Office” can’t be moved by this effect. As far as gameplay goes, it does take some getting used to the scoring system, as the natural tendency is to try and dominate a corral. Continued on next page>

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Kickstarter (cont.) So players are always trying to “encourage” their opponents to help close a corral or play tiles that bring their opponents into the corral “unwillingly”, while at the same time trying to stay on top of the Brand count. There is a lot of give and take and sometimes it is worth it for you to allow another player to score well… if it allows you to move ahead in the standings or to maintain your lead. Of course there are times where you will want to score zero points - just to close off a corral so that none of your opponents are able to score, so there are some interesting middle and endgame strategies that emerge.

The Expansions:

A green Badge covers a yellow Badge.

As mentioned previously, since the stretch goals were met, the game came with three expansions. Each of the expansions contain four tokens, one for each of the players. Although they are clearly covered in the rules, here is a brief summary as to what they do. Keep in mind that only one expansion token may be used per turn. “We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Badges!” In this expansion, the last thing that a player may do before ending their turn is place their Badge token over any other Badge printed on an unfinished corral, thus negating the presence of the printed Badge when the corral is completed and scored. This makes for some interesting “denial” moves throughout the game.

A green Hired Gun token gives him +1 Badges.

“Hired Guns!” This token is played in the same manner as above. The “Hired Gun” token is placed on an unfinished corral, and it counts as an additional Brand for the player of that color. This proved to be useful for breaking ties and manipulating the score favorably for the placing player. “Miner ‘49er” This token is played in the same manner as above. This token is placed on an unfinished corral and immediately scores one point for the player who played it. When the corral is completed and scores, the player who finished it gets all of the Miner tokens that were present, and becomes the current owner of those tokens.

Final Thoughts: The game is very playable with only one set, though it really starts to shine with two, as the gameplay is extended, and there are more strategic possibilities available. Although it is a light game, it is one that will continue to hit the table when players are in the mood for a fun tile laying game with an interesting scoring system. www.playtmg.com

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The yellow Miner token gives yellow 1 point.

Designers: Sen Foong-Lim & Jay Cormier Publisher: Tasty Minstrel Games Number of players: 2-4 Mechanic: Tile laying Ages: 8+

Recommended


Game Design

Theme or Mechanic By Serge Pierro

Designers are often asked: “What comes first?”

G

ame designers, like musicians, often use a personal approach to compose their creation. Some musicians prefer to first have the lyrics, and then compose the music, while others prefer to have the music first, and then add the lyrics. Additionally, there are those who compose the music and the lyrics at the same time. For game designers, they have a similar workflow, except their terminology is Theme (ex. Pirates) and Mechanics (Deckbuilder).

mechanic to produce their own variation, but it is clear that the mechanic was the initial impetus for the game. Of course there is the third variation, and that is of developing both at the same time. This is a method in which the theme and mechanic come together at the same time, and are developed hand in hand. I think that most designer use all three methods throughout their career, if for no other reason than to explore the intellectual challenge in doing so.

There are some great games that have no theme (Go), while there are others that are theme driven (Dungeons My personal preference is to start with a theme and then and Dragons), and other times we see a theme that’s use a mechanic that enhances the theme. As an example, just slapped on to a mechanic, and adds nothing to the I was recently asked to design a game for a recognizable license. The first thing I did was to go online to research experience. it, and analyze if I wanted to take either a macro or Having played tournament “Legend of the Five micro approach to the game. (Example: a war game Rings”, I was always impressed with the players who that involves either: the whole world, or the far east, or were emotionally attached to the storyline of the game. Japan, or provinces in Japan, or a neighborhood, etc. For many players, the story was as important, if not I narrow it down from macro {the world}, to micro {a more important than the game itself. The strength neighborhood, etc.} until I arrive at the level of design of the theme/storyline separates an L5R player from that I am interested in developing) Once I have decided a Magic player, since the Magic player is usually only on the micro/macro level of design, then I start to focus concerned about game play, and has little or no interest in on what would be the best way to build a suitable in the theme or storyline. So it could be said that having mechanic around it. Of course my first thought is to see a strong theme is an important tool in the designers if I have anything already available that might fit it. This repertoire. is sometimes useful, as the core mechanic has already been worked out for a previous design, and may now Using the Deckbuilder mechanism as an example, what only be needed to be tweaked for the new game design. comes to mind when you think of this mechanic? You However, I prefer to try to come up with something are building a deck. So, anything that is built, such as new, thus building up a repertoire of mechanics. houses or cities, could be a good starting point. A game like “Paperback” combines Letters and a deck building Designers… what is your preferred method of engine to build words. Other designers have used this designing with theme and mechanic?

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Miniatures

One Man’s Thoughts

By Dan Fokine

A manifesto on what makes a good miniature...

...or, why I’m just not into Zbrush.

I

n my mind, when asked to write a regular column on “Miniatures”, I immediately thought of all the hours I’ve sat squinting at some wobbly table, shading the crouch of some little man or sculpting yet another ammo pouch onto a Green sculpt, the whole time mumbling to myself about the art of it all, the zeitgeist of what I am a part of, the survival of craft. I’ve had plenty of time to come up with a few ideas on the enduring craft of, or hobby of, (depending on how you look at it) of miniature painting and sculpting. Now in my thirties, I’ve been a loyal “into minis” person since I was ten, and had found a catalogue for Crazy Igors’ miniature store in upstate New York. Not living anywhere nearby the store, my friend and I spent our formative years ordering random minis from the long lists of suppliers. “Skeleton with scythe sounds good, no?” Meanwhile, other kids were growing up, and moving onto other hobbies, and yet I stuck with it. Through high school, college, girlfriends who didn’t quite know what to think, and now to a wife who begrudgingly gives me my space, I’ve been an “into minis” person. With my foray into sculpting, and the “business” side of the hobby, I was introduced to what I’d dub a gaming renaissance of small miniature companies and games all clamoring to find a niche in an oversaturated market.

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Dark Kiwi sculpt by Dan Fokine

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I never would have thought the hobby would have survived the onslaught of video games and the slacker cadres of the new “low attention” age, but I was wrong, and happy for it. That’s where my enthusiasm for the ‘shock of the new’ ends however. Call me a conservative, call me an old timer, call me the Taliban of the table top -but I like giving my minis red cheeks as the final touch. I like my minis with hands and heads a little too big for their bodies. I like a mini I can paint in one sitting. One that’s made of one nice heavy piece of metal. Just a simple well made happy little red cheeked dude with a gun or a sword.

“I like my minis with hands and heads a little too big for their bodies. I like a mini I can paint in one sitting.” Amamimoto the Ronin sculpt by Dan Fokine

These days, while scanning websites like TGN, my eyes are assaulted by enumerable large breasted bikinied teen heroines, or demon chicks with swords the size of an I-Beam, with revealing and senseless armor plate so extremely complicated no human hand could have created it “in real life” and of course they haven’t. They’ve been pumped out by cool kids on computers, all thriving to outdo the shoulder pad or spiked helmets they did on the last one . Monsters of enormous size and vileness, women of enormous bustiness, barbarian men with busts of comparable size to the ladies, all so perfect, and yet, all so boring.

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The articles in the following issues, will attempt to take “the mini biz” back to its roots, a breather from the gangbusters Kickstarter campaigns that produce the plastic turds of such impressive detail, an opportunity to hear from some of the companies and sculptors who brought us to this place, and who built a foundation of creativity and use value that truly represents the ideal of any craft. I hope you enjoy the journey with me. I have a lot to learn myself, and do not consider myself an expert, by any means. Let’s sit down, turn on the lights, break out the little paints and let our imaginations do the rest.

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CCG Review

Quest For The Grail By Serge Pierro

We will look at a CCG from the past and see why it’s still interesting today.

O

ne of the things that separated Quest for the Grail from other CCG’s was the inclusion of a Solitaire variant, which at the time was an innovative idea and is still relevant today.

from your Domains to pay for your Warriors in play. If you don’t have enough Power to pay the upkeep of all your cards, you choose which unpaid cards are discarded.

Quest for the Grail uses two decks. The Court Deck (40 cards) contains: Domains - used to produce resources; Kings and Knights - used for combat and the Quest for the Grail; and Companions, Events, Spells, etc. The other is the Quest Deck (20 cards), which contains the adversaries that the Knights will face.

“This variant is a boon for players who would like to play a solitaire CCG.”

To start the game, you deal yourself nine cards and turnover the top card of the Quest Deck which will be your adversary this turn. You begin each turn by drawing a card. You may place one Domain into play, this generates resources to pay for the upkeep of your cards. Then you may deploy Warrior cards from your hand. The Assignment phase follows, where you can attach a Companion, Vow, or Reward card to a Warrior. The Upkeep phase in which you use the Power generated

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Then comes the Challenge Phase. This is where your Warrior challenges the current adversary from the Quest deck. The combat is resolved by two d6 and the stats printed on each card. Example: If a Warrior has a Prowess of 6, this number is added to the die roll for a final “attacking number”. The adversary also rolls and does the same. The

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higher roll wins the combat and the Strength printed on the winner’s card is applied to the Endurance of the loser’s card. When a card’s Endurance is lowered to zero, they are defeated. If the Warrior wins, he receives either the Valor printed on the Quest card, gets to draw a card, or play a reward from their hand. At the end of the turn a new Quest card is revealed for the following turn. If


the Court or Quest decks run out of cards, you automatically lose. To win, you have to have a Knight with a Valor of 12 or higher, and declare that you are going to “Quest for the Grail”. You then have to survive three adversaries in a row from the Quest deck, and finish with a Valor of 12 or more. You may spend 1 valor to heal between adversaries.

The solitaire variant of Quest for the Grail is fun. Since there are only 20 Quests, you start to feel the pressure as the deck starts to shrink each turn. On some turns you might avoid attacking in the hope that the next Quest might be easier. However, since you need a Knight with a Valor of 12 or more to invoke the “Quest for the Grail”, you sometimes find yourself having

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to combat difficult Quests in order to amass the necessary amount of Valor. This variant is a boon for players who would like to play a solitaire CCG.

Designer: David F. Nalle and others Publisher: Stone Ring Games ©1995

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Opinion

Pandemic By Serge Pierro

Is this the perfect “Gateway Game”?

“B

oard Game Geek” defines a “Gateway Game” as: n. A game with simple rules that are easy to teach non-gamers in order to attract new players into boardgaming as a hobby. With the influx of new players coming into the boardgame hobby, there is great interest in what games could serve as “Gateway Games”. Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride are often cited as the top three “Gateway Games”. While these are excellent choices, there still remains some problems. Perhaps the two biggest problems are that new players are often intimidated by the level of complexity of these games when compared to Monopoly and other “roll and move” games that they are familiar with, and the other is that they will often lose their first game or two and lack the confidence or desire to continue to explore the hobby. Pandemic is currently a very popular game. What attributes could make it fit the description of a perfect “Gateway Game”?

Attribute #1 Co-op Due to the cooperative nature of the game, other players can offer guidance and strategy to the new player, thus relieving them of the anxiety of having to learn everything at once. People do not like to be put in situations where they will be perceived as “dumb”, thus they are reluctant to sit down and play a game in which they feel they have nothing to gain by playing other than being humiliated.

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With the co-op aspect, more experienced players are able to “hold the hand” of the new player and help ease their way into making confident decisions, while allowing them to engage in the group’s decision making conversation.

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Attribute #2 Win/Lose as a team The anxiety of finishing in last place makes a new player uncomfortable. With traditional “Gateway Games”, there is always a winner, and a player who finishes in last. But, due to the co-op nature of “Pandemic”, no single player is designated as the “loser”. This results in a sense of relief for the new player, because win or lose, that player has a pleasurable gaming experience; that entices him to want to try again.

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I feel that these attributes are more meaningful than those introduced with traditional “Gateway Games”, and provide for a gaming environment that is conducive to the neophyte wanting to continue their journey perhaps, moving onto traditional “Gateway Games”!

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Interview “Award winning game designer Steve Jackson needs no introduction. As a member of the Origins Hall of Fame, his award winning games have secured his place in tabletop gaming history.”

Steve Jackson

Steve Jackson Games By Eric Devlin

Crowdfunding has encouraged a proliferation of designers to produce their own games and go straight to the player. Do you believe that this has led to a change in expectations from the consumer?

How has social media changed the way companies interact with their customers and how have the expectations of customers changed when it comes to communications? Interaction is a great deal faster now. Customers expect a quick response. And sometimes an unhappy customer starts screaming in social media before giving the company a chance to fix the problem. OTOH, everyone is becoming used to trolls and online dingbats, so even a measured and sincere criticism may be discounted by readers when it’s posted online.

You know, that’s a very good question, and I don’t know the answer, but I’d like to find out. Is it survey time? Would we be talking about expectation of design/play quality, or expectation of fancy/glossy components, or expectation that they’ll get something at all?

Has the quality of games dipped without the quality control through every facet of design seen in traditional companies? Related to above question. Well, the average quality has probably dipped, because with Kickstarter, a glib bozo can pre-sell a lot of games, and ship JUNK (which he may fondly believe to be a good game, but isn’t). Or he may ship nothing at all and publish a heart-rending explanation of how his dog got sick and that really upset him and so he spent all the money on banana-flavored chewing gum. Some admirable stuff has come out of KS, but Sturgeon’s Law applies: 90% of everything is crap.

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Do you believe that the hobby game industry will experience another sea change the way it did with the advent of Magic: the Gathering and then Pokemon?

Steve Jackson Designer/Publisher Munchkin Illuminati GURPS Ogre www.sjgames.com

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Well, duh. Of course it will. We just don’t know what it will be. It may turn out that Kickstarter is that change.

What was the most important bit of feedback or advice that you’ve received regarding design? Nothing comes to mind as “MOST important”. Sorry; if you thought I had the Key To It All, well, no, I don’t. Darn it.


Where do you see the tabletop gaming industry in ten years? I have no idea, and anybody who tries to answer a question about ten years in the future is faking it. Ten years is FOREVER. In ten years, we may all be molecular-scaled cyborgs, tabletops may have been outlawed by the People’s Factotum, and gaming may have been replaced by repookinized snartifaction.

What kind of games do you look for when you want something new to play with friends? That doesn’t happen. I play games for playtest, and I play games at conventions. I can’t recall the last time I specifically “looked for something new.” New stuff jumps out at me and grabs me by the throat. When I play a new published game, it’s because a friend suggested it, or because I saw it at a convention and it looked cool.

What are your 3 favorite games?

What effect has small games that have been crowdsourced had on the industry as a whole? Ask me again in a few years. Right now I think those games have had no effect at all on the “industry.” When we hit 2020 and look back, we’ll surely find that crowdsourcing made it possible for more good designs to hit the market, but the proliferation of indie studios won’t affect Hasbro and the other big guys at all. Not one bit. It will affect the HOBBY a lot . . .

What game from SJG do you receive the most feedback about? Munchkin, by a long shot.

You could ask for my 30 favorites and I would still not be able to narrow it down. I like games. You could not ask for my three favorite GENRES and get a useful answer. My favorite COLOR is blue, if that helps. Or maybe yellow.

What fellow designers do you admire? A lot, and sometimes it depends on what I played last. Right now, going outside my own team, I’m going to name Alan Moon, James Ernest, Greg Costikyan, Keith Baker, the Dunnigan/Simonsen teamup (which the spell checker wanted to render as “teacup,”) and Howard Thompson, who arguably created the whole 4X genre and got no credit (let alone money) for it.

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Is there a game, SJG or other, that you feel was overlooked by the public and deserves more attention than it received? Oh, yes. I think X-Bugs is more fun than a barrel of mutant exploding monkeys, but in no incarnation has it ever caught on. I think SPI’s Strategy 1 had a lot of influence on designers in the years after it was released, but most modern gamers have never heard of it. And I think that, while Paranoia got a lot of attention, it deserved even more. I really like Paranoia, specifically for the wonderful awful backstory, the distillation of the essence of munchkinized RPGing into a non-dungeon setting, and the literary voice of The Computer. Which is your friend, and don’t you dare forget it. CITIZEN, HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN SOMETHING?

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Book Review

Play Hive Like itor d a Champion Choice

®

Second Edition

s’

E

Play Hive Like a Champion

By Serge Pierro

The authoritative guide on playing Hive.

Strategy, Tactics and Commentary

It is said that there are more books written about chess than any other sport. Having a notation system in place for the moves and the ability to have players annotate the games for others to learn from, has led to an enormous amount of chess literature. Randy Ingersoll has taken the first step to legitimizing Hive as a game worthy of serious study, as his book is the first to lay down the groundwork on Hive notation, strategy and tactics. “Play Hive Like a Champion” (Second Edition) is written by the Boardspace 2011 Online Hive Champion, Randy Ingersoll (online name: ringersoll) and measures in at large 8 1/2” x 11” and 241 pages. There are copious amounts of black and white diagrams throughout the book to go along with Ingersoll’s expert writing. The first several pages feature a Table of Contents, an Introduction, an about the author, and a two page foreword by Hive designer, John Yianni. The book then moves onto a clear explanation of the basic rules of the game, how to win and basic principles. Chapter 2 starts with a detailed explanation of each of the pieces and their attributes. Each piece is given an accompanying diagram to show its movement. Although this book is geared to an intermediate to advanced player, Ingersoll patiently explains to the beginner all the information necessary to lay a solid foundation for playing the game, making this book just as valuable for the beginner as it is to the more advanced player. Expansion bugs are also covered in this section.

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by Randy Ingersoll BoardSpace 2011 Online Hive® Champion With foreword by John Yianni Designer of Hive®

Chapter 3 introduces the important notation system. This unique system will be used throughout the book and its importance cannot not be underestimated. By having a clear notation system in place, this allows any player throughout the world to be able to analyze and replay past games. Each move is clearly presented along with a diagram and notation so that the reader understands exactly what is happening. Chapter 4 introduces some in-game terminology such as Gate, Door, Ring etc. These are used to explain common formations found in the game. Chess players could think of these as being similar to terms like “fianchetto”. The next 170 pages offers the “meat” of the instruction. Chapter 5 features Strategy, while Chapters 6 and 7 feature elementary and advanced tactics, respectively. This is where the fun really begins as we are treated to examples from top games by noted players, including the author and others. These pages contain the

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ted in a loss for Black.

doing an excellent job of controlling the outside of and has a huge advantage in mobility. All three Black the Black Mosquito (acting like an Ant) are mobile. concepts necessary become Hive place essential that White can bring in atonew buga isstrong adjacent player and repeat readings will reward the reader with Spider #2.

Figure 7.17.8 29 wG2 \wS2 30 bA3 ?? B

the confidence and technique needed to excel at the

opper game. #2 enters the game on turn 29 as shown in 7.17.8. And now Black will pin the Hopper with The obvious questionChapter is, “From space For beginners, 8 is awhich godsend, as it should features ck Antcommon place the pin?” But the more important beginner mistakes. It is here that beginners is, “Which space poses the biggest for White will make their first strides towardsthreat overcoming faulty new bugs?” decision making. Although it is a short chapter, it

C

A

29

E D

30

essential for D the isnovice understand in order to wer is isthat space the to critical space. Why? improve. My only fault with this chapter is its location any new White bugs brought into space D cannot be in the book, as it starts on page 200. I don’t know why it Due to the close proximity of the branch of the hive wasn’t included earlier in the book with the other “basic” ng the White Queen, any attempt to pin a bug brought information. After all, by the time you’ve read through game via space will you result in hardly the formation of aa the first 200Dpages could be considered e formation of this ring would have disastrous beginner anymore. ences for Black!

LM Chapter is far too short a chapter for Opening any chance of 9winning, Blackof must place the pin However, as the author statesinto withinspace the book, ace A Theory. and control bug placement D. Example from book: Explaining “Pinning” options. it is beyond the the scopepin of this book toCgo intothe the depths ately, Black placed in space with move 1.) Quizzes at the end of each chapter for the reader to of opening theory. It is quite common in chess for there wG2/ and soon lost. to be hundreds of books written about one specific solve, thus reinforcing the knowledge gained from the

opening, which is incredible when one considers how many openings there are in chess! It is my hope that one day we are treated to another book that gives this topic the attention it deserves. Basic openings are covered here along with their classifications. Example: The “Elbow” openings contain the “C” and the “Z” openings, and while these openings do tend to make some sense when compared to the relevant diagrams, they lack the “sexiness” of openings like those in chess like: “The Dragon variation of the Sicilian Defense”. Perhaps in the future these openings will also get names that are more dynamic.

Chapter 10 starts with a section on movement atop the Hive. Although interesting and short, I can’t help but feel that this should have been included earlier in the book, as it feels out of place here. The chapter also includes some examples of unofficial “Bugs” that have been suggested by fans of the game. Although interesting, as of now these are only for “amusement” purposes as they have no place in the current game itself. I feel that there are two additions that could have improved the book:

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pertinent chapter.

2.) A complete game annotated move by move, while explaining the concepts behind each move. This would allow the reader to see what it is like to playPage from203 the opening through the middlegame and into the endgame. Perhaps in the future the author will put together a collection of top games with annotations from himself and other players. This is a book that I intend to read at least two or three more times, there is a great deal of excellent information contained throughout, and if you have any interest in playing Hive this is a “must have” book. This book single-handedly legitimizes Hive as an intellectual sport worthy of competition and analysis. Perhaps one day down the road players will look back on this book as the catalyst that started Hive’s recognition as being recognized alongside games such as Chess and Go.

Author: Randy Ingersoll Website: www.playhivelikeachampion.com

Highly Recommended Game Nite

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by Randy Ingersoll

Chapter 7.4 – Counter Attack

Chapter 7.4 – Counter Attack In the course of most games of Hive® one player is typically on the attack with the other player defending. Usually, due to the advantage of first move, White is the attacker with Black defending. If the defender is successful and withstands the initial attack, there comes a critical time in the game where the opportunity for a shift of momentum occurs. Knowing when and how to switch from defense to offense is the sign of a good Hive® player. A successful counter attack typically hinges on one of the three keys to victory mentioned early on in Section 5.1 – Strategy in the Hive – Three Keys to Victory. In order to counter attack and win, the defender must maintain enough Strength in reserve to insure that the counter attack will be strong enough, and/or maintain enough Mobility to bring enough bugs into the attack, and/or have the Tempo to win the race to the end. Each of these will now be considered individually.

Special Bonus: Randy Ingersoll has kindly allowed us to share an excerpt from his book! All rights reserved.

7.4.1 – Counter Attack with Strength When a player on the defense is successful in completely stopping the opponent’s attack, it is only natural that the defender begins an attack of his own. In order to successfully counter attack and win, the defender must maintain enough Strength in reserve to insure that the counter attack will be strong enough to deliver the win. The next two examples will show successful counter attacks brought about by good defense, followed by bugs brought in from the reserve. Example number one is HV-BlackMagic-ringersoll-2010-1030-2103, which was discussed earlier in Chapter 7.3 – Controlling Bug Placement. The game picks up in Figure 7.4.1 with the placement and pin of White’s final bug. Black has defended well and is now in position to begin the counter attack. With four bugs in reserve Black has more force than necessary to bring in the victory. Care must be taken, however, because with just one vacant space next to the Black Queen, one wrong move and White can easily win.

Figure 7.4.1 43 wS2 wG2/ 44 bM1 wS2-

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Chapter 7.4 – Counter Attack

Play Hive® Like a Champion

White’s movement options are limited. None of White’s options offer a chance to free an additional bug for the final attack. Figure 7.4.2 shows the position a few moves later as Black Hopper #2 enters the game.

Figure 7.4.2 51 wM1 wL152 bG2 bA2-

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The newly arrived Black Hopper attacks on turn 54 as depicted in Figure 7.4.3.

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Figure 7.4.3 53 wG3 wA1/ 54 bG2 bG1/

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And then, in Figure 7.4.4, the Black Ladybug enters. With no defense available, White will continue to make meaningless moves while the Black Ladybug occupies space A followed by any of a group of Black bugs winning by moving into space B.

Figure 7.4.4 55 wG3 /bA2 56 bL1 \bG2 56

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Game Review

Small World By Serge Pierro

Small World = Big Fun.

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lthough Philippe Keyaerts has a Master’s Degree in Mathematics, it is the simplicity of his design on Small World that has enthralled players throughout the years. This reworking of his previous work “Vinci”, is both a delight to play for those who are not into war games, and yet interesting enough for those who prefer games with more depth. “Small World” was released ten years after “Vinci”, and in that intervening time Keyaerts was able to both simplify and strengthen the game play, resulting in an excellent gaming experience. Five years after its release, “Small World” remains popular with tabletop gamers who play with both the base set and also with the expansions. Let’s take a look at why this game has remained so popular. For those unfamiliar with “Small World”, players control “Races” that compete for control of regions on a map. To control a region, players place two of their “Race” tokens on an empty region. If there are any other tokens in that region, then for each additional token, it costs the player an additional token to take control. Once a player controls a region they may continue to attempt to take adjacent regions for as long as they can continue to place the tokens as per the aforementioned rules. At the end of their turn, they count up the number of regions controlled and collect that amount of Victory coins. The game lasts as long as the number of turns listed on the side of the board (8-10) depending on what map is used. At the end of the last turn the players total their Victory coins and the player with the highest total wins.

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Perhaps the most interesting part of the design is the inclusion of the Race Banners and Power Badges. These die cut pieces are produced in a way that allows them to “connect” to each other and form the civilization that you will be playing. Each of the Race Banners has the name of the Race, its ability and the number of tokens

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that it produces. The Power Badges have a special ability and a number for the amount of tokens generated. Players add both numbers together and receive that amount of tokens to place on the map. Since each piece is randomly assigned each game, the replayability of the game is greatly enhanced with new combinations presented each game.

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As an example: Merchant Dwarves. Merchant provides two units and Dwarves provide three, so the player receives five Dwarf tokens. Dwarves have the ability to generate an additional Victory coin at the end of their turn for each Mine region they control. This ability continues when the Dwarves go “In Decline� (see below), which is unusual as bonuses Continued on next page>

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Game Review (Cont.) are usually lost when “Races” go “In Decline”. With the “Merchant” Power Badge attached to them, they receive an additional bonus of one Victory coin for each region they control. So this combination would yield one coin for the Dwarves controlling a region, one additional coin if they control a mine, and another coin for having the “Merchant” power - so that’s three coins for a Dwarf in a region with a Mine. This could be a powerful combo if they control multiple Mines. The beauty of the design is that this combination yields only five Dwarf units, but those units have a strong ability. So you have to choose between strength in numbers or strength of ability. In the next game the Dwarves would have a different Power Badge and an entirely different strategy emerges. Another interesting feature of the “Races” is that they can be put “In Decline”. What this means is that after a while your “Race” starts to spread out over the map and loses the ability to making any more advances. The player is then able to declare that his “Race” is “In Decline” and turn the pieces over and leave them on the board where they will continue to generate points for the player. On that players’ next turn, they are able to purchase a new “Race” and start to use that one to conquer territories. At the end of their turn they would then collect Victory coins for both their active “Race” and their “Race” that is “In Decline”. Each player usually goes through a few races each game. The double sided boards are yet another reason for the games popularity. Each side is custom designed to be played with the amount of players stated on the board. One board is for 2 or 3 players, and the other is for 4 or 5. Each board also has the amount of turns for the game, which is different depending on how many players are playing. This is yet another design mechanic that yields a different playing experience depending on the amount of players and the board. When coupled with the various combinations of “Races” you could play hundreds of games without any two of them ever being

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the same in terms of maps and or “Race” combinations. These all add up to a game with great replay value. While the elegance of the design is noted, there has to be a mention of the aesthetics of the game. The artwork of Miguel Coimbra just oozes with whimsical personality. From the cover of the box, the board, and the various tokens used throughout the game, Coimbra paints a fantastic setting in which the players experience the game. Some may complain that the art is a bit “cartoony”, but I feel it adds to the “lightness” of both the gameplay and the theme. This isn’t a heavy euro or hardcore war game, so the artwork is both suitable and complimentary. Days of Wonders is known for their quality components and Small World is no exception. The rulebook explains everything nicely and has a section in the back explaining all of the tokens, while the provided player aids contain all of the same information so that players can have access to that information without having to constantly refer to the rule book. Both the board and the tokens are solid and have a substantial feel to them. It should also be noted that the injection molded interior of the box is excellent for storing the game pieces, though a few will move around if the box is transported. When you take in account all of the above, it is easy to see why players still find a reason to bring Small World to the gaming table.

www.daysofwonder.com

Designer: Philippe Keyaerts Publisher: Days of Wonder Number of players: 2-5 Mechanic: Area Control Ages: 8+

Highly Recommended

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Interview

Dan Verssen

Dan Verssen Games

By Eric Devlin

“Dan Verssen is an award-winning game designer. Besides his line of war games, he has designed for brands such as Star Trek, 7th Sea, Indiana Jones and more. His designs have won Origins Awards and Charles S. Roberts Awards.”

played with the other kids in the neighborhood.

What was the first game that you remember having a passion for?

Growing up, I never dreamed of games involving soldiers, dragons, and space ships. The first game store I ever walked into was the War House in Long Beach California. It was like walking into another world.

I started playing games during my high school years, so around 1980. To give you an idea of the gaming “terrain” at the time, our gaming group played AD&D, Traveller, GURPS, Paranoia, as well as a few light games like Nuclear War Card Game and Illuminati. The only heavy game we played at the time was Star Fleet Battles. My first passion was for Avalon Hill’s Dune game, which I still think is the best board game I’ve ever played for both game play as well as capturing the feel of its subject matter. It takes a game or two to really get the rules down, and then maybe 10 more games to really learn the strategy, but once you do, the game is a work of art. Our gaming group played a couple times a week for years, and never got tired of it.

Did you grow up in an environment where people played table top games together? I did! Like most families at the time, we had a game closet stacked with Monopoly, Sorry!, Scrabble, and all the other games. We’d play as a family a few times a month, but I mostly

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Do you have any hobbies aside from gaming?

Dan Verssen Designer/Publisher Warfighter 7th Sea

Thunderbolt Apache Leader The Cards of Cthulhu

www.dvg.com

This is kind of weird, but I don’t. I really enjoy designing games and co-owning a game company with my wife Holly. We both are fortunate to be able to work at home, so we’ve gotten to see our kids grow up every day of their lives. Our son Kevin is 20 and our daughter Kira is 17. I am lucky to have a lifestyle that is exactly what I like. I wake up, work, check Facebook, email, and gaming sites a million times a day in between designing or doing company stuff. When I get tired, I sleep, and as soon as I wake up I get back to work. “Time off” is measured in hours. I don’t remember the last time I took an entire day off.

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What are your five favorite books? It’s odd that you ask. I’ve read hundreds of books, mostly science fiction, but also some fantasy, and real world technical manuals. Until about 10 years ago I read lots of military reference books. Then along came the Internet. I actually have a Text document that I typed up a while back titled “5 Life Changing Books”. Here’s the list with the reason why each book made the top 5… Atlas Shrugged -Never give up Image courtesy of DVG

1984 -Don’t trust authority The Carlos Castenada series -Take responsibility for your actions Ender’s Game -How to be a heroic leader Dune -How to be a cunning leader

What was the first game that you worked on as a professional?

What was the first game that really inspired you to look That would be the Modern Naval Battles card game for behind the surface of the games rules?

World Wide Wargames (3W) back in the 80’s. I was That would be Star Fleet Battles. We played the game for inspired by Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy and Show years, starting when there with the 3 Expansion books of Force by Charles Taylor. Both books featured modern up until the time of the first Commander 3-ring binder. naval combat, but at the time, the only game available was Harpoon. Harpoon is a great game, but it was very Long hours were spent not only playing the game, but complex, also I couldn’t get anyone to play. So, I started tinkering around with hand drawn 3x5 cards. Once the also debating tactics, and rules. design was solid, my friend Paul Phillabaum helped me Looking back, I think Star Fleet Battles was the first create the cards on his first generation Macintosh using “collectible” game, in that players collected rules in their MacDraw. heads. Whichever player was able to cram the most rules, rule exceptions, rule errata, and rule sub-sections I contacted 3W by phone, and they said they were into their brain before a game had a better chance of interested and to send them a prototype. I then winning. Continued on next page>

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Interview (Cont.) physically mailed them one, and luckily they liked it. Modern Naval Battles debuted at the Los Angeles Origins convention in 1989. Modern Naval Battles sold well, and before too long, I was on to other game designs.

For someone who has never tried a Dan Verssen Game, what game would you recommend that they start with?

Is there a moment in your professional life that is particularly memorable?

Image courtesy of DVG

It would have to be back when my wife Holly and I were designing the Star Trek Collectible Dice Game. It was at the same time the First Contact film was about to be released. We were invited to Paramount Studios to read the script to make sure the dice game reflected the movie. By that time, the game design was done, and we were waiting on artwork, so we really hoped everything lined up. After we both signed NDAs promising life-ending penalties if we divulged any script details before the film came out, they led us to a locked conference room. They handed Holly and I our own copies of the script, and we began reading. Half way down the first page, we both stopped and looked at each other with terror. The script referred to the NCC-1701E. This was the first we had heard of that ship. We assumed the movie would have the 1701D from The Next Generation. The next couple weeks were very busy.

What was the most important bit of feedback or advice that you’ve received regarding design? There are two huge events that stand out. The first was from Dave Williams while I was working at Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG). He said I was very good at filtering out quality feedback from the general mass of feedback people were giving me. I took that to heart, and it has served me very well. The second was from Mike Anderson of One Small Step. During my pre-published design days I used to come up with the most complex, convoluted rules anyone has ever seen. I’d then proudly show them to Mike, and he’d tell me to make it less complex and to get to the point. Whenever I design, I can still hear his voice telling me to do it better.

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I would suggest our new Warfighter card game. It has received amazing reviews and has a great following. You can easily get help with your questions and bounce tactic ideas off people online. It’s a modern tactical Special Forces card game for 1 to 6 players. You play cooperatively with your friends against the system, which controls the bad guys. One of its best features is that it doesn’t need special rules for solo play. It plays solo using the exact same rules.

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DVG produces beautiful, expansive boxed games. Do you consider that your specialty?

What fellow designers do you admire?

I really admire the fellow designers I worked with at I think we specialize in both quality games as well as AEG. Since the late 90’s we’ve all kind of gone our solitaire compatible games. Many people have trouble separate ways, but remain friends. Dave Williams is finding people to game with, so having a selection of now designing video games with Red 5 Studios, Kevin Wilson worked at Fantasy Flight designing great games, solitaire games to play is much appreciated. and is now an independent designer, and John Wick is We also use the best possible materials for our game running his own publishing company for his RPGs. components. For example, we make sure the counters are extra thick. From playing games, we know that thin They taught me a lot, and I remain very grateful to each counters require fumbling and lead to frustration when and every one of them. trying to pick them up. Little things like this make a game less enjoyable. Players may not even realize why, Where do you see the tabletop gaming industry in ten but they do know that after playing a game with thin years? counters, something bugged them, and they don’t feel like playing the game again. I think tabletop gaming has been on the rise for the past few years due to Kickstarter, and it will continue Because of this, we use thick counters, thick cards, thick to grow. Kickstarter has done amazing things for our boxes, and detailed rule books. When we write a rule industry. It has given small companies such as DVG the book, we explain a rule, then give an example, and then chance to put plastic miniatures into their games, and add graphics showing what we just talked about, and print games that might otherwise have never received then give a multipage sample game turn at the end of the funding to get published. We were able to print the rule book. We feel it’s better to over explain, than to Warfighter and 3 Expansions due to Kickstarter. With leave people wondering how a rule works. that funding, it would have taken years, if ever, to get the money together for the printing costs.

Do you have a specific process that you use to get past As proof of this, we’ll be launching a Kickstarter in April design stumbling blocks?

that will be bigger than anything DVG has ever done. It This is one of the advantages of working at home. I lie will have cool plastic miniatures, plastic terrain, a world on the couch or in bed and let my mind wonder and we are currently creating, characters, and much more. It look at the problem from different angles. Sometimes it will be glorious! takes hours. I’ve found that the longer I can stay focused on a problem, the better of a chance I have of solving it, How can our readers stay up to date on your projects? so I try to get as comfortable as possible. This is also why they don’t make reality TV shows about game designers. We are active on Facebook, Boardgamegeek, Showing half asleep people staring at the ceiling for Consimworld, and we also send out a Newsletter every hours at a time doesn’t make for exciting TV. week or two. We also have an Insider Blog that details what we are each working on. Thank you very much for inviting me to participate in your interview. This has been fun!

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Game Review

Stella Nova

By Serge Pierro

A Christian themed boardgame.

they started from. So there is a “push your luck” element and you have to figure out how many resources you want to acquire before starting out on your route. Supplies can be acquired by staying in a city for your turn. We felt that getting 3-4 resources was a good strategy to go with, however, there were times when you felt you could try with less. Players could also obtain special cards when at a city. Each city granted access to a particular card. To obtain a card you have to answer a trivia question.

Christian games have always suffered from the same problem: the predominance of simplistic ”roll & move” games and trivia games. However, now with the rise of quality boardgames, there are now Christian designers who are looking to create games that offer a deeper gaming experience. “Stella Nova” is one such game. “Stella Nova” comes in a square shrink-wrapped box. It would fit nicely on the shelf with other games in a collection. Upon opening the box you are greeted with a board that is a real standout, as it is a heavy 6 section board with a black “leather-like” backing. The board’s surface features a historically accurate map of Middle East at the time of the birth of Christ. Players commented on how nice the board was. The Magi pieces are included on a punch out cardboard sheet and are inserted in their matching stands. The two card decks come individually shrink-wrapped. Our playgroup had some issues with the way the rules were written, but the essentials were there. We were left wondering why the text in the instructions weren’t written on the cards themselves, instead of having to keep referring to the rules. Although the basic move mechanic is a die roll, there is much more to the game than that. Essentially this is a race game with card and resource management, that plays more like a designer game than a typical “roll & move”. Players each choose and place a Maji piece on an eastern city on the large map. Players then receive supplies. Each roll of the die uses a food/water resource, and players have to be sure that they have enough resources to complete a route or they return to the city

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The question cards are broken down into two separate groups, Biblical and History/Geography. This was a nice idea, as not everyone would be a scriptural expert. The range of questions were from very easy to quite difficult. The answers to the questions are provided on a double sided sheet. We felt that this did a disservice to the game, as the answers were all in one place and available to whoever had access to the sheet. Like the other cards in the game, these suffered by having necessary information somewhere else. I was concerned that the questions would be a weak point of the game, however, everyone seemed to enjoy the trivia aspect needed to obtain certain items and made for a fun gaming experience. In order to win the game you need to acquire the three gifts (Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh). Chances of winning increase, by acquiring the Secret Code.

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However, the Secret Code is only available in the northwest area of the map, and the three gifts are in the lower south west corner. One could risk not going for the Secret Code and try to win the game quickly, by going to Jerusalem with the three gifts and rolling the die to encounter assassins. (The Secret Code makes you immune to the assassins). If you roll an odd number… you lose the game! I’m not a fan of this mechanic, but we had players try to win the game that way, and one even succeeded in doing so. I was surprised at the game play. The play was fairly balanced, the decisions that were needed to be made throughout the game were interesting and players had a number of choices to make. Even though the game used a die for movement, this would not be considered a pure roll and move, as the other elements and decisions elevated it beyond that. “Stella Nova” could easily find itself placed amongst the top games within the Christian market. Recommended for Christian families and youth groups, while also worth a look for those who would like to play a simple but not simplistic race across the desert game. www.stellanovagame.com

Designer: Christian Haven Publisher: Christain Haven LLC Number of players: 2-6 Mechanic: Race, Trivia Ages: 8+

Recommended

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DVD Review

Going Cardboard By Serge Pierro

“A Board Game Documentary”

as American papers have writers for movies, books and sports. Boardgames are not considered children’s fare, and are treated in a similar manner as Manga is within Japan. The film starts out with a nice historical overview of how the board game market began to bloom in the US and the influence of games like Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne and Ticket To Ride. These games became gateways into a more serious board game market that the Americans were unaccustomed to. A couple of independent designers are followed about and we are given an opportunity to see them at work gathering supplies for their games and for some, the struggles that they went through in dealing with having their game published or the delays that ensued of having it not published. This allows us to see the less glamorous side of the industry, and the pitfalls that present themselves.

Director Lorien Green’s “Going Cardboard” is the result of a Kickstarter project about the designer board game industry. The documentary takes a look at various aspects of the hobby and its community. Clocking in at There is a segment showing the success of American 76 minutes, this feature length documentary will leave gamers smiling, as will the enjoyable 90+ minutes of designer Donald X. Vaccarino, who created the game bonus footage. The DVD package also includes the ”Dominion”, which introduced and popularized the deckbuilding mechanic. Winner of the 2009 Spiel Des Reiner Knizia game “Shoot-Out”. Jahres, Dominion was given ample screen time to show Many of the top names in the board game industry its various stages of development, including seeing the are highlighted throughout. Designers such as Reiner prototype cards and listening to Vaccarino explain what Knizia, Klaus Teuber, and Alan Moon are featured. happened in his rise to the top. Jay Tummelson is also Some of the publishers are Jay Tummelson (Rio Grande given air time during this segment in his role as the Games), Mark Kaufmann (Days of Wonder), Alexander publisher of the game. Yeager (Mayfair Games), and Zev Shlasinger (Z-Man Alan Moon’s “invite only” Gathering of Friends Games). Even online personalities such as Tom Vassal (The Dice Tower) and Eric Martin (Board Game Geek’s convention was also featured. We are given a small look at something that few people have access to and we get News Editor) are given adequate screentime. a feel for what it is like to be in a room with all of the For those who have never traveled to Essen for its annual talented designers with their various prototypes and the game convention, here is your chance to experience it groups playtesting them. vicariously. There is a great deal of footage shot on site, My favorite segments were the ones with the game and you have the opportunity to see the diverse crowds take in the festivities. As large as Gen Con is in the designers. There was some great musings scattered US, it is nothing compared to the enormous crowds at about by the likes of Reiner Knizia and Alan Moon. Essen. The Germans love their boardgames, even to the In particular, I loved the photograph of the famous point where their newspapers have writers on staff that cabinets in Knizia’s office, each drawer holding a specific cover the board game industry; much in the same way game/prototype. Between his demeanor and fashion

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Screenshot from “Going Cardboard”

sense, it is easy to see how Reiner Knizia’s personality The only “downside” to the DVD was that Tom comes through in his games. He is both methodical and Vassal’s segments were not close miked and thus had the precise. ambient “sound” of the room present (though as usual he had interesting things to say) and I found all of the In my opinion the two stars of the DVD are Alan “Dungeon Twister” segments not to be interesting and Moon and Jay Tummelson. I remember when my they seemed incongruous. first serious gaming group would get German games shipped to them and Jay would provide the English Be sure to watch all 90+ minutes of the bonus clips, translations and provide help for the games, so it was as there are some very interesting segments distributed interesting to see him speak at length throughout the throughout. Of note is the origin of the word “Meeple” documentary and share his wisdom. Clearly he has and who it was that coined the term. Some interesting not received the recognition he deserves for basically and amusing anecdotes throughout. single-handedly exposing and promoting the German games to the American market. Alan Moon shares a All in all this is a very enjoyable DVD, and one that wealth of information and provides interesting insight gamers will enjoy watching and come to the realization throughout the DVD and shares some great stories on that they are not alone in their love for the hobby. A Avalon Hill and his own illustrious career. must see for anyone interested in the board game hobby, as well as for those interested in seeing what the fuss is One of the great graphic features of the documentary all about. was when they showed the box covers to all of the Speil Des Jahres winners throughout the years 1979Director: Lorien Green 2010, though for some reason omitting 1992. It provides a fascinating look at all of the prestigous games Website: www.boardgamemovie.com throughout the award’s history, while displaying them in chronological order. I had fun mentally “checking off” the ones that I have played.

Highly Recommended

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Game Review

Reiner Knizia’s

“Shoot-Out”

By Serge Pierro

The bonus game from “Going Cardboard”.

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hoot-Out is the bonus game included with the “Going Cardboard” DVD. It comes with a folded paper board, two cowboy Meeples, a d20, six cards (numbered 2-7), twelve red “bullets”, and twenty-four black “bullets”. Although the cylinders represent bullets, cubes would have been better, since the cylinders roll all over the place, and will inevitably get lost over time. To start the game, each player places their cowboy on the space numbered “17”. Each player receives six red “bullets” (a fully loaded Winchester Rifle) and twelve black “bullets” (two fully loaded Colt revolvers). The cards are shuffled, and the top card is revealed and represents the prize of the first duel. Roll the die to see who goes first. Each turn a player may either move or shoot. Moving: the player moves their cowboy one space forward (the first player to reach the center wins the revealed Card). Then their opponent plays their turn. Shooting: The player chooses either their Colt or Winchester. To hit with the Colt, roll the d20 and compare the result with the space the cowboy is firing from. If the result is equal to or greater than the space number, the shot is a success, and the hit cowboy is moved three spaces back. The use of the Winchester is similar, except you add +3 to the result of the die roll. After a successful hit, the shooting player has the option to either shoot again or move forward one space.

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A player may also choose to retreat at the start of their turn. If his opponent’s cowboy is on space 6 or higher, the retreating player will receive a re-load of two black “bullets”, otherwise he receives none. This is the only way to replenish your bullets. The winner gets the card, but receives no re-load bullets. When a player reaches the center of the board, they win that round and receive the card. Play then

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proceeds as before. The game ends when a player’s cards have a value of 14 or more. There is a surprising amount of decisions to be made over the course of a game, and it takes several plays to start to get a feel as to what strategy you might want to use. The cards (especially card values 2 and 7) greatly influence your decision making process. It will take a minimum of three won duels, and a maximum of five

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Designer: Reiner Knizia Number of players: 2 Mechanic: Dice Rolling Ages: 10+

Recommended

won duels to win the game. You have to keep this in mind as you allocate your bullets across several duels. All in all, a fun filler game!

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Interview Paul “Prof” Herbert Artist

By Eric Devlin

“Paul ‘Prof’ Herbert is an industry veteran. His work can be found gracing games produced by companies such as Wizards of the Coast, Alderac Entertainment Group and Fantasy Flight Games.”

Do you come from an artistic family?

Matthews. The list just goes on, but no single piece of artwork made me think, “This is what I want to do.” It was more a collective mash of imagery.

Not really. My mom would tell me that my father could sketch pretty good when he wanted to, so I guess I get it from his side of the bloodline.

Is there a particular medium of art that you enjoy creating in the most?

Who was the earliest artistic influence that you can remember? I didn’t have any family members that influenced me. Sure, they supported my drawing habits but I was mainly influenced by different kinds of media that I liked. Anything from monster movies, comic books, book covers, cartoons, and the like were more fuel for the fire than an individuals guiding hand. That came later during high school when my art teacher would spend more time teaching me good foundation info that I still use today.

Was there a specific piece of artwork from your childhood that you remember as being particularly impactful? One specific piece? No. I remember lots of images. Comic book artwork by Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, and John Buscema as well as Frazetta’s early art book collections for starters. Covers to many DC Comics horror comic covers by Michael Kaluta and Bernie Wrightson, album cover artwork of Roger Dean and Rodney

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Paul Herbert Artist Legend of the Five RIngs Warhammer WarCry

Camelot Legends Warlord

randomactsofartwork.tumblr.com

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I like to work in black & white linework a lot. I have a number of various types of sketchbooks going on at any given time. I post pages from them on my blog occasionally. For painting, I like to work in acrylics and have done so for most of my career. When painting digitally I like to work in Photoshop.

As a professional artist, whose work amongst your peers do you admire the most? Too many to list here. I like so many different artists for different reasons that it wouldn’t be fair to just list a few.

If you were able to produce work set in any piece of fiction, what would you choose? I would probably lean towards the worlds and characters of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard. That’s the stuff I would read a lot of when I was younger.


© Alderac Entertainment Group

When you think of the ideal art director, what information others I’ve had fun with. I’d like to play around with does he/she provide you with when commissioning your landscapes or wildlife painting at some point for my own fun. I find that the real world can produce some work? stuff that’s stranger than anything I could come up with out of my head.

Enough info to get me excited about doing the work, but not so much that I feel constrained or restricted to just a couple solutions. Less is more in some cases. Who are the three artists that you find the most

inspirational? Is there a genre that you haven’t worked in that you would Just three? This question is just not fair. They change a like to? I’ve done a wide range of genres while working in the gaming field. There are some I don’t like to do and

lot you know. Each area of art has different inspirations so I can’t just pick three without thinking of three more and so on. Continued on next page>

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Interview (Cont.)

© Alderac Entertainment Group

How does the process differ when you’re working on private commissions versus working for a game company?

What do you most wish the general public knew about their favorite artists and the work they produce?

I really don’t take on many private commissions. I have a lot of personal projects going on at any given time. A lot of my personal projects have crossover to the gaming market. The difference between the two is that I have more time to work on and develop my personal work than I get while working on art for various game companies. I understand game companies have their schedules to keep and my projects have a much looser schedule, which allows me more time to develop them.

Oh there are a few things I can think of. One is that artwork is not always instant. We have bad days like everyone else. We’re human too and some of us don’t want to do artwork 24/7. Another point is that working from home may sound awesome but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. You never get to leave the office, so to speak. Some artists have studios outside the home because of this. Some of us like to have that separation from work and home life.

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© Prof ’s Dragon Gear

What is your favorite piece that you’ve produced? I don’t have one because it changes so often. Usually it’s the latest piece I’ve painted but can’t show for a year because of NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) By the time we get to show it we’re more excited about another piece we just finished. Some artist say “the next one” and that’s because after spending so much time and energy on a piece you kind of get tired of looking at it and are looking forward to starting fresh with the next one. By the time your done with the painting you assess it for your successes and failures in the piece, make note of them, and move on to the next to make an even better piece of art.

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How can fans of yours keep up to date on your latest projects? Mostly on my blog Random Acts of Artwork on Tumblr ( randomactsofartwork.tumblr.com ) and on Facebook under Paul (Prof ) Herbert. I post more on my blog and occasionally on my art page. I also have a website which is in need of an overhaul. Not much new stuff on there but I hope to fix that in the coming year.

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Game Review

Postcard Cthulhu By Serge Pierro

A co-op Cthulhu game.

W

e originally contacted Modest Games to review their game “Urosette”. There were no copies available for review, so they recommended their line of Postcard games. Additionally we were able to get permission to have the Print and Play versions available to our readers so that they would be able to read the reviews, print it out, and try the games themselves. Postcard Cthulhu is a game designed by Joseph Limbaugh and is printed on a large postcard. The glossy color postcard measures a hefty 5 1/2” x 8 1/2” and has the instructions printed on the back along with a section for a stamp and mailing address. Since we were reviewing two of the games, we received them in a large envelope and they arrived in perfect condition. While much has been made of credit card sized games that can fit in a wallet, this is a nice “step up”, as the increased coated playing surface provides ample room for the placement of coins that are to be used throughout the game. Players provide the coins for the game. The players used pennies for the “Researchers” and quarters for “Cthulhu”. From a design viewpoint, I really like the concept of these Postcard sized games as compared to the credit card sized games, the additional real estate enables designers to include more elements onto its surface, and offer it to their fans at a low price. Fortunately “Modest Games” provides access on their website to both a gameplay video and a FAQ/Errata as the printed rules are sparse. The additional sources of information are both welcome and probably needed. It took a couple of minutes to figure out the nuances, but then play flowed smoothly.

needed to use the R’lyeh and The Dreamlands spaces. We suggest playing the first game with the easy rules to get a feel for the mechanics and then immediately go to the difficult setting for a more challenging experience.

This is a co-operative game, as the players are working together to postpone the awakening of Cthulhu. Our playgroup tends to do very well at these types of games, and this one was no exception. However, the hard setting with three coins is indeed difficult, as players have to work to gain access to having the necessary coins

Each turn a player draws a “tail” from the pool of coins and then chooses to flip any amount of coins that they have to try and match certain patterns on the card. If the pattern is matched, the player places a coin on that location and

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resolves the effects. Then the player flips the three “Cthulhu” coins and resolves the effects generated by the combination of coins. The players win the game if they can get three coins on both R’Lyeh and The Dreamlands. The players will lose if there are nine coins total on Yog-Sothoth and Nyarlathotep or if all the spaces on the Carcosa track are filled. This is a quick little filler game that is worth giving a try. Once you have figured out the directions the game play flows smoothly. Feel free to try this issue’s Print and Play

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version and see for yourself if this is a game that you would like to play with your friends when in the mood for a quick co-op game with a Cthulhu theme.

Designer: Joseph Limbaugh Publisher: Modest Games Number of players: 1-6 Mechanic: Co-op, Worker placement Ages: 10+

Worth Trying

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Game Review

Postcard Empire By Serge Pierro

A game of conquest.

P

ostcard Empire is another offering in Modest Games series of Postcard games, and is designed by Joseph Limbaugh. Like Postcard Cthulhu, this is a coated 5 1/2” x 8 1/2” postcard. Although it is printed in color, its brown color scheme of an ancient map is somewhat bland. A map with faded colors would have been more eye-catching and yet still maintain the intended flavor. The back of the card provides sparse instructions and viewing the online video and FAQ/ Errata/Variant PDF helps in learning the game. Unlike Postcard Cthulhu, the surface provided by the large postcard wasn’t utilized efficiently. Many times during the game players had to move the coin(s) on a territory to read the text beneath. While it is true that after playing several games one could become accustomed to knowing what each territory does, it does make it harder for those just starting to learn how to play. This is typical of designers who are too close to the game and forget that others aren’t as familiar. Each of the territories on the map have both a unique name and ability. I felt that the “Republic of Douche” was a distraction. If you need to include a name like that, then you should probably go the route of “Cards Against Humanity” and make all the names “off color”. Here it just stands out like a sore thumb and could suppress interest amongst potential customers.

that players should use small items with a numerical value attached to them or small colored cubes that are assigned specific values so that players have no idea of what they are drawing. Players place a coin on the map and either resolve the effect of the territory or capture coins as per the “game state” that is currently in effect by the other territories on the map. One of the dynamics that we found most interesting was that players had to place their coin in an empty territory if it was available, making for some interesting plays by keeping a person from capturing pieces and instead forcing them to play on an empty territory. The player who captures the most coins wins. Although I liked the game, I felt that it deserved a better presentation. It seemed that all of the nonmechanic elements of the game were not given as much consideration as the core gameplay itself. This is a fun little filler game that is certainly worth giving a try. Feel free to try this isssue’s Print and Play version and see if you would like to add this to your collection of small lite strategy games. www.modestgames.com

Designer: Joseph Limbaugh Publisher: Modest Games Number of players: 2-6 Mechanic: Worker placement Ages: 10+

Our playgroup played the game with Quarters, Pennies and Dimes to get a feel for how it played with three different coins. However, we all felt that this was somewhat clunky, as it was too easy to know what coins you were pulling out of the container. We thought

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Worth Trying

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A feature-length documentary covering the designer board gaming hobby Fans and industry notables take you into the world of designer board gaming, compelling newcomers and delighting existing fans alike. Includes: - Going Cardboard feature documentary - Over 90 minutes of bonus footage - Subtitles in English, Spanish, German, and Esperanto - Anamorphic widescreen (16:9) format - Shoot-Out, a board game by Reiner Knizia

Interviews include: Game Designers: Klaus Teuber, Reiner Knizia, Alan Moon, Matt Leacock, Donald X. Vaccarino, Friedemann Friese Publishers: Days of Wonder, Mayfair Games, Rio Grande Games Community Leaders : Tom Vasel of The DiceTower, Derk Solko of BoardGameGeek, Scott Nicholson of Board Games with Scott ...and many more!

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Contributors Serge Pierro

Serge

has playtested numerous games for several companies, including Wizards of the Coast and AEG. He has also written for Duelist, Inquest and Gamer print magazines. His award winning photography has appeared in both newspapers and magazines. He has self published a game, and has several other designs scheduled for a 2015 release.

Eric Devlin

Eric has been the North East Regional Representative for Wizards of the Coast, the brand manager of Legends of the Five Rings, as well as working with Sabretooth and Third World Games. He has an extensive background in playtesting for top companies. He has also written for Games Quarterly, Duelist, Inquest and others.

Dan Fokine Dan has sculpted miniatures for “Wreck Age”, published by

Hyacinth Games, as well as miniatures for the “Brushfire” and “Endless” product lines, published by “On The Lamb” games.

Contributors Game Nite Magazine is currently seeking contributors. You can contact us at: editor@gamenitemagazine.com

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the magazine of tabletop gaming

ee r F

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GAME REVIEWS KICKSTARTER JAMES EARNEST CHEAPASS GAMES

MINIATURES THE ART OF GAME DESIGN 2ND EDITION

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Game Nite magazine issue # 1  

Game Nite : The magazine of tabletop gaming. Featuring Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures and more!

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