Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Well, apparently I have been noticed. My blog has been mentioned on another site, and I feel like it is only proper to check them out.

The site is called Yehuda: Gaming and Blogging in the Holy Land. It seems like a really neat site, I say you should all check it out. You will find a permanent link in the appropriate section.

The True Gaming Underground

Well, this week it seems my content may be a little short of my usual amount. But with some of the discoveries that I have made recently, that will soon end. I have come in contact with the true gaming underground.

What I mean is, I have found people who gladly spend their time creating CCGs, RPGs, you name it for nothing other than their own enjoyment. I truly admire these people. Without them, there would not be any gaming industry.

I hope to review at least one of these games every week, and I hope you will all find it worthwhile to check them out.

Draim Arena

Well, this little gem is going to be the first in my international games series. It hails from Sweden, and in all honesty this review is going to be different from all of my others. The others were meant to be unbiased, but it is not possible here.

Now for the reason I cannot make this review unbiased. I like this game. I mean I really like this game. I got a few of my friends together to play this game, and it has been a long time since we have had that much fun. The reason for that is because of the mechanics that are unique to the game. You will out more about those in the boring section.

Now for the boring section. But before that, I must tell you that the card design is not the standard card, though it can be used in standard sleeves. It is quite beautiful.

In Draim Arena you have two variations. There is the 30 card and the 9 card set up. Both of set you up for a quick game, though we have seen a game last so much longer through player error and evil strategy created by it (the card Lethargy played on your opponent can be smart, but be careful).

In the 30 card variation, the veteran CCG player has access to one resource that will be very familiar. The deck. Though getting cards out of it is a very different process. To do that you have to “Tip” a character. Yes, I said tip, not “Tap”. Tapping goes clockwise, while tipping goes counterclockwise.

One thing that is very unique about Draim Arena is that you start the game with all of your characters, plus the top two cards of you deck in hand. This take a little bit of the chance away. On the other hand, even more is chance is thrown in when it come to the combat. That info will come later.

Now, there is actually a structure to the game, and it is so easy to pick up, but I think I will leave the bulk of for you to find out in the future. I will tell you of the most unique part of the game though, the dice that are needed to play Draim Arena.

In Draim Arena you have two dice. One is called the “Tactical Die” while the other is called the “Battle Die”. These are rolled not only to determine how combat resolves, but which character(s) actually engage in combat. The tactical die is rolled first, this tells you which of your characters (1-4 from left to right) engages in combat. If the number rolled has a pentagon around it, you send forward that many characters of your choice into battle (the character on the left is the one that actually fights unless something very special happens). Of course, if you roll a number that is higher than the number of characters you control, combat does not happen. The battle die tells you what bonuses your character gets, or if they miss or cannot be stopped. My favorite thing to roll is the “Troop” face that lets all of the characters you sent forward to attack at the same time.

Now, there are card that allow you to modify game play, and you can play one of these depending on what phase you are in. Only one of these cards can be played per phase unless the card says otherwise, as is the golden rule.

As I mentioned before, there is a 9 card variation. This is played the same way, but instead you just use a hand of 9 cards, instead of a deck. You can balance it anyway you like, so have fun with it. You can only have one copy of each card though.

If you would like to find out more info on Draim Arena, check out their main page at http://www.draim.com/ . Look out for an English release this fall. If you are wondering how I tried out this game if the English version is not out, let’s just say I know a guy who knows a guy that could get me some proxies. I have not learned svenska, but I would not mind trying in the future.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Well, when I went to post earlier, blogger was having problems. But everything is fine now.

Also, we have our first reader submission! Yay!

Cosmic Wimpout

Cosmic Wimpout is a game that has been around for a long time. Some ofyou may have heard of it, or seen a memorable Cosmic Wimpout sticker,in it's dayglow colors, back in the day. Dating back to the 1970's,Cosmic Wimpout was very popular among followers of the band The Grateful Dead. There is a legend that The Grateful Dead asked Wimpout fans to stop stickering their tour bus. That being said, Wimpout is agame that anybody, in any walk of life, can get addicted to.

All that is required is a set of 5 special dice, which can bepurchased online in several places, and even some hobby and toystores. The dice have stars, lightning bolts, planets (or moons),pyramids, numbers, and the elusive 'flaming sun', to represent yourroll. The goal is simply to make scoring rolls, and be the first toreach a set goal. Now, that may seem a bit bland, but the game is anything but contrived. The unending fun of this game comes from it'scrazy rules, which can be changed at any time, because of the Guiding Light Rule (which states that any rule can be added or taken away atany time, so long as all players agree to the change).

For example, if you are lucky enough to roll 5 stars (or 6's), youautomatically win the game. However if you roll 5 10's, you've rolled a Supernova and automatically lose, because you've accumulated too many points. While these examples don't show up very often, You will always remember the first time you go Supernova right before you would have otherwise won. Or the time you automatically won on your first roll.

Cosmic Wimpout is one of those games that you can get everything youneed for $10, and will last you forever. I have yet to find a friendwho doesn't like the game, and my friends have a wide array of personalities. If you are interested in cheap, addicting games, check them out at cosmicwimpout.com .
Originally written by Topicallo.

Gatling Engine

Well, this entry is not exactly a game, but instead a tool that is very useful to the gaming community. It is something that I support, and I think you all should too.

The Gatling Engine is software that allows people to play CCGs over the net. I know, that already exists. The thing that makes GE great is that it lets you play many classic and defunct CCGs. This keeps them alive. Not only that, but many people hold tourneys and even create their own expansion sets.

The first time I used the Gatling Engine a few years ago, there was a token system that allowed you to play a few free games a month, but then you had to pay for more games. Now all play is free.

I think we should all get out there and support the project. Their homepage is http://www.ccgworkshop.com/ Give it a download, and I hope to see you all online. If you see an account under the name “adninja”, that is me. Don’t ask about the name, it is a ghost from my past, and the name is locked in on this pc.

Ophidian 2350

For this week, I have a little treat for all of you. Okay, so it was more a treat for me since I got to play it.

Ophidian 2350 is another one of the dead games that are floating around. Unlike most of the others though, this game went through a period of great fan support after cancellation. This alone shows the caliber of the game.

Now it is time for the boring part that I know you all skim over, the game play rundown.

From the start there is an evident deviation from the standard CCG formula. There are no turns! (duh duh duh…) Instead, the game takes place in a series of “Waves”. Each wave is controlled by a system known as the “Flow”. You will read more about this later on.

The cards are broken down into two main types. There are “Gladiators” and there are “Support” cards. The gladiator cards are kept in your “Gladiator Pile”, and your support cards are kept in you “Arsenal”.

Gladiator cards are broken down into two more categories. There are “Standard Gladiators” and there are “Reinforcement Gladiators”. The standard gladiators are double sided and start off in play, while the reinforcement gladiators start off in the gladiator pile with the higher level gladiator cards. Some gladiators have a second card that represents their higher levels, these are stored outside of play in the gladiator pile.

Gladiator cards are lucky enough to start off in play. Support cards, however, need to be brought into play in another fashion. To bring support cards into play, one must first meet a couple of criteria. Each support card has one to several symbols in the upper left corner. You must have at least one gladiator card that matched one of those symbols. The gladiator that matches the larger symbol must then have the same level as the card (the number next to the symbol). If those criteria are met, you can then pay the “Play Cost” using your “CP”s .

Support cards also have a couple of different types. These are: “Quick-Hit”, “Minion”, “Pump”, and “Zone”. Quick-hits are “Scrapped” once they resolve, but the other types stay in play. If a card is meant to stay in play, it has a “Maintain Cost” next to the play cost. Be sure you want to pay it. If you do not/ cannot pay that cost, then that card is scrapped before the next wave.

When you use a card or an ability on a card in play, you will notice a symbol in red. This tells you how using the card or ability affects the flow. They work as follows:
“+”= You must have the flow, and you keep the flow.
“-“= You must have the flow, and you lose the flow.
“?”= You must have the flow, and depending on certain factors you may keep or lose it.
“R”= You can play in response to anything. Does not affect the flow.
“OR”= You must have the flow. You can play in response. Does not affect the flow.
“DR”= You must NOT have the play. You can play in response. Does not affect the flow.

The flow is what determines who can do what when during a wave. It goes back and forth based on the symbols on the cards that are played during that wave. Once you learn how to use the flow, it becomes second nature.

When both players pass their turn, the wave ends. Then starts the “Breather”. This is when you can level up one of you gladiators, replace a fallen gladiator with a reinforcement gladiator, draw back up to seven cards, reset your CP amount (10+the wave number), determine who has flow, and pay you maintain costs.

At the end of the fourth wave you count up how many points worth of opponent gladiators you have killed. The player who has killed the most wins. If there is a tie, you keep going until there is a winner. A player who kills 12 points worth automatically wins. Also if you wipe out all of your opponent’s gladiators you win. And if you get 15 “Crowd Favor” points, the audience rushes the stage and rips your opponents limb from limb (see more on that in the rules).

I hope all of this info got you interested, because Ophidian is a good game. Unfortunately it is no longer with us. The good news is that booster boxes are $10 on eBay! The main site is still up: http://www.ophidiangames.com/ Check it out.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Update for this week

Expect those at around 10 am EST. So sleepy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Game Piece of the Week

Okay, so I have not been active in some time. Well, I am back and I would like to say that the game piece of the week will be returning when I get some more reviews ready. I still need to get my victims in order though.


Alright. It's that time of the week again. This week I actually have more than one game to review. I know some of you must have been dissappointed when I put up a filler article about the mystery box. In my own defense, I had a busy week.

This week I will start off with a little ghost from gaming's past. This gem was released by Wizard of the Coast in 1998 (it seems they are responsible for a lot of the dead games floating around), and was actually one of three games that used the exact same system, the Arc System (the others being xena and Hercules). So this is going to be more of a review of the system with some bits from C23 scattered throughout.

Lets start off with me noting the purpopse of the game. Your goal is to destroy the opposing army. This is represented by your opponent's deck. Whenever one or your "Characters" attacks your opponent and remains unblocked, the amount of damage done is how many cards your opponent discards from the top of their deck.

Now that I have gotten that little mechanic out of the way, let's continue. The cards in C23 are broken down into four basic types. These are: "Resources", "Characters", "Actions", and "Combat". The cards are also broken down into three colors: red, blue, and green each representing a diferent faction fighting for control of the C23 world.

The way resources are used is similar to any other game. You place one per turn and when it comes to paying for a card, only one of the resources used has to match the color of the card. It is just that simple.

Actions and combat cards are pretty similar. You can play actions at anytime on your turn and you can play comat cards on any players turn when you attack or are attacked. This can add a level of strategy to the game that is needed to keep things interesting.

Finally there are the character cards. These make or break any game. Though some have effects that happen when they come into play, many of the characters in C23 have only one stat (excluding the cost to play that is). That stat is strength. In combat, the character with the lowest strength is discarded. If they are tied both are discarded. If a character remains unblocked, then the player that was attacked discards cards from the top of their deck equal to the total strength of all of the characters that were unblocked. Once again, very simple.

If there is one thing that C23 and the Arc system had going for them is ease of use and game speed. You can sit down and olay a game in a matter of minutes. Isn't that what CCGs are all about? Sadly most of us who play CCGs no longer think so. I personally love putting mind boggling strategy into my decks, and I have not seen much of this in the C23 cards that I have seen, though I was impressed with the card that made your opponent discard their top 10 cards. I also like the fact that the three games can be played together, and I would like to build a deck using all three games in it. For that reason I am not going to flame the game just yet.

Also, any game that makes damage reduce your deck size makes me a little wary. I have however heard that there is a game that got it right. Sadly it is not in english. That will not stop me though.

If you would like to try C23 or any of the Arc system games for yourself, try eBay.


Alright, let me just start this one by saying one thing. I am very wary when it comes to licensed games. I think this comes from the sheer amount of anime based games that are crowding the dead games pool. I will not say that all licensed games are bad, in fact there are many that have gotten the right idea. You need to be able to guarantee longevity. If the original product has a cult following, that is one thing. Most don't last when the series they are based on goes south.

UFS is one of the games that has the right idea. Instead of being based on one fighting game (remember the Mortal Kombat KKG), it is instead based on the entire genre. Each set is licensed from a different game. This ensures new ideas will continue to appear. The system is not that bad either.

The cards in UFS are broken down into five categories. There is your "Character", "Foundations", "Actions", “Assets” and the moves that they perform, known as "Attacks". The mechanics are many, but the most important ones are also the most interesting.

Though the character stars off in play, everything else has to enter somehow. This is done using the "Card Pool" and "Control Checks". I find that this adds a nice amount of strategy, since each successive card you play a turn adds to the "Difficulty" of the other cards.

When a player decides that they will play a card, they place it in the card pool and perform a control check. To do this, the player flips over the top card of their deck and compares the number on the bottom right of that card (the "Control" value) with the top left number of the played card (the difficulty). If the control value is greater than or equal to the difficulty, then the card resolves. If the control value is lower, you may choose to use your foundations and even your character just like you would any resource card in most other CCGs. If you fail to control a card, you turn ends. Do not forget to add one to the difficulty score of a card for each card in your card pool.

If a player uses an attack card, the other player may choose to block. Many cards can be used to block, not just attack cards. There are high, middle and low blocks. They are paid for just like any other card, but the difficulty is the speed of the attacking card plus the modifier in the block circle. If the block is the same as the attack, no damage is dealt. If it is different, half damage. Low cannot block high and vice versa.

Actions are played just like anything else, but when they resolve, they are discarded.

Another thing about UFS that I like is that when you run out of cards, you just reshuffle your deck and remove the top ten cards from the game. When you can no longer do that, then you lose.

The last things are foundations and assets. Assets and foundations stay in play after they resolve. Assets stay around cannot be used in control checks. Foundations stay around and can be used to help in control checks.

That is a "simple" rundown of the game. Trust me, if you try to figure it out based solely on the rules you get with a deck, you are going to be boned. This might just help you.

I personally like UFS, and if you think that this game would be right for you check out their home page: http://www.sabertoothgames.com/ufs/ufs.asp And once again, check eBay.

Readers Rule!

Well people, I have noticed a drastic drop in the number of people actually reading this blog. Fortunately this has been made up for by the number of regular readers I have gotten. It is the regular readers that make a difference.

I have been talking to a few of you via email, and it is the feedback you give me that keeps me posting. I look forward to every comment you leave me, not to mention that some of you have volunteered to write some articles about games that you have played. That is going to help me out a lot. Not only will it mean more content for the site, but it also means that I have to do less work. ;)

The last thing I wanted to say in this post is that college is starting for me soon, and you all know what that means. I will be in touch with my friends that are art majors. That's right, I am hopeing to give this site a new look. It kinda looks like crap now. maybe a better look will keep some readers around. It can't hurt to try.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Even More Delays

Well, due to prior obligations, I am going to be a little late writing the reviews for this week. But don't worry, they will be up by Wednesday. Just keep checking.

I would also like to announce that after this week, I will no longer be posting about my updates on the many forums that I have drawn most of you here from. The only time you will see me there is when I have something constructive to say. I will be there though.

I am proud to announce that although the number of spontaneous readers is down, the number of regular readers is up. This is really motivating me to continue this project.

I am still looking forward to hearing from you all. Please feel free to comment on anything. If you have a game that you have played that you feel would be appropriate for this blog, let me know and we'll see what we can do.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Delays Suck

It is nothing big, I swear. I will have my usual slew of stuff up this coming week. Just not what I wanted to have up. My printer ran out of ink, so I cannot print out the free demo deck I found. That, and I received an email telling me that a package I ordered a week ago will not be shipped until Tuesday. I was hoping for it to be here by now.

I have memorized so many new rules today that my brain feels all melty. I just need to memorize one more set... Now if I could only remember how to eat...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

About Updates

As all of you know, my big one is always going to be on Wednesday. Sometimes I do have a small update that I will just throw on here at a random point in time, and I really can't tell how common that will be.

I just wanted to say that though I will still be announcing my biggy on the boards, I feel like I am getting annoying. I will not be announcing the little updates. If you are not constantly checkin, don't be surprised if Wednesday hold a lot of reading for you.

I am also trying really hard to improve my reviewing methog. I still like giving a neutral game play rundown, since I have yet to find another site that does that. I just want to make it more interesting. Any suggestions?

Button Men

Well boys and girls, this is a deviation for me. This game is not collectible. Kinda. You can collect it if you want, but it is not necessary since they are sold in set packs.

Button Men is produced by the aptly named Cheapass Games. It is a game where you take on the role of one of the characters and do battle with a friend. Each character has set stats, and well… let me get into a little more detail…

This is a game deigned for two players, and can take 10 minutes and up depending on your luck. Luck is one of the primary factors in this game, though skill and cunning is not a bad thing to bring to the table. All you really need is one button each, some dice, and a way to keep score. The dice needed are denoted on the character you are using.

At the beginning of the game, each player will roll all of their dice and arrange the in a neat little row so that they can be read easily. These dice are what are used in combat. The player that rolls the lowest number goes first. That is when the fun begins…

The player that goes first decides if they want to use a “Power” attack or a “Skill” attack. These are not very different from each other, but they do affect game play. A power attack involves the acting player capturing an opponent’s die using one of their own that has a value that is equal to or greater than one of their opponent’s dice. A skill attack is similar, but instead it uses multiple dice to capture one. The only problem is that the dice have to add up exactly to the value of the intended target. After the attack, the attacking player must roll all of the dice used.

Both players continue on until they can no longer make an attack on their opponent. When this happens, that player passes. When both players pass, the round is over. Once the round is over, both players total up their points to determine who actually wins. The dice you capture have a point value equal to their number of faces. On the other hand, the dice you keep are only worth half as much.

Of course, there are many modified dice that change game play. But then again, that is expected from all games.

If I were to make a character, I think the dice it would use would be a d5, d7, d24, d30, and a dX (X meaning you can use any die you would like). The best part is, each of the lsted dice actually exists as its own unique polyhedron.

If you would like to read the complete rules, try here: http://www.cheapass.com/bpu/butnrulz.html . And of course you can pick up Button Men at your local game shop or the Cheapass Games main site: http://www.cheapass.com/ .

Ode To The Mystery Box

I don’t know why, but as long back as I can remember I have loved grab bags. Even before I opened my first booster pack I have loved the concept of getting something at random. I hope this does not mean I have a gambling addiction ;)

Well, a few months back I was browsing my local Super Wal-Mart looking in their gaming section when something caught my eye. There was a box that held over 500 randomly packaged trading cards. And when I say randomly packaged, I mean that they came from every game and trading card series imaginable. It was kinda sweet.

The box o’ loose cards contained complete decks for a couple of games, and even a complete collection of “The Making of Star Trek: The Next Generation” cards. Here is a list of card games/ collecting series:

Star Trek (multiple decks)
VS System (2 Decks)
Young Jedi (4 Decks)
Lord of the Rings (1 Deck)
Dragon Ball GT (1 Deck)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1 Deck)
Neopets (1Deck)

Making of Star Trek: The Next Generation (Compete Collection)

The other day I saw another one of these boxes, except instead of loose cards, it held 50 packs. Now the part of me that loves opening packs was drooling at this sight. Not only were the cards in the packs random, but the packs themselves came from random places as well. I guess it was a booster booster. Here is a rundown of the contents:

2x Zatch Bell! The Card Battle
9x Yu Yu Hakusho
1x Yu Yu Hakusho (Gateway Expansion)
1x Dragon Ball Z Senzu Blast 3 card
1x Dragon Ball Z Saiyan Saga Series
1x Dragon Ball GT Super 17 Saga
1x Kids Next Door TCG
3x Gundam M.S.War TCG
1x Bionicle Quest for the Masks
1x Dragon Booster TCG

2x Digimon Trading Cards
7x Dragon Ball Z Trading Cards
1x Robots Stickers
10x Anastasia Trading Cards
3x Boy Crazy Trading Cards
3x Wacky Packages
2x Garbage Pail Kids

Now, if you count the packs up, there are 49. That is because I did not include the most amazing thing I have found in a box of random things in a long time. An unopened pack of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trading cards circa 1990. It even came with 17 year old gum.

These boxes were only $9.99 each, and I am probably going to be buying more in the future. This gives me a lot of ammo for future articles, so I can start firing them out. If I have listed anything in the non-collectible items that you would like to buy, just shoot me an offer. I accept PayPal.


This little project was brought to my attention by LucienofShadow at the forum for The Spoils. All I can say is that it is very interesting.

What 4GXG means is that it is a game made for gamers by gamers. It is a collaboration project that wants to design a new CCG based on what the players want. The best part is, the more people that put in their two cents, the more unique the game can become.

As an amateur game designer, I love putting my ideas down and seeing them come to life. My big problem right now is that I have so many ideas that I like, but so few actually get used in the game that I have come up with. I want them to find a home. This could be that home. I would like to see them scampering around with a few of your ideas.

I am putting out an APB for all aspiring game designers, and even those that would just like to observe the process. Put in some input, get some feedback, that is what it is all about. The project is still in phase one, and that ends on Aug. 13th. So get out there and give it a shot! Did I mention there are cash prizes for the best submissions…

http://www.4gxg.com/ I hope to see many of you on the forums. Support your fellow gamers.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Collectible Conundrum

If you have not already noticed, a vast majority of the games I have reviewed are collectible. That is because I am doing this solo and with little time on my hands.

Though I would like to review RPGs, it takes too long to play through them for now. Collectible games are fast and easy to find.

There is an RPG that is coming out later this month that I plan on trying out with a few of my friends, so that might mark the beginning of the RPG reviews here at UTTG. If I get tto impatient, I could always try out a few wuick play ones that I have found online.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Reader Appreciation

Well, if you have not already noticed, I have removed the "Call for Support" entry. That is because it has been answered, and loudly. My reader base has QUINTUPLED (that is, increased 5x) since my debut.

I love how the site is growing, and don't worry, I have been going to my usual online money making spots to get more seed money. That is what sponsored the last two weeks here. And I have a little from this site too (thanks guys!).

I already have next weeks articles (or at least two of them) figured out. I would like to get something here that is along the lines of an RPG. If any of you can suggest one (freesystem or little known preferred) that would be appreciated. On the other hand, I have one in mind that might just work... but I would like to hear what you have to say.