Well, after all of the readers and support I have gotten from the forums, I have decided the time has come to write my review. I hope you approve.
As a veteran CCG player, I found The Spoils very easy to pick up. By my second game I was playing with at least some skill. One thing everyone should remember, just because a game is easy to pick up, does not mean it lacks strategy. In fact, there are so many things in The Spoils that are done differently that I was on the edge of my seat.
One of my favorite things about The Spoils was the humor. With cards like “Hidden Sandwich” and “Jaque’s Trap”, I had to literally lol. In fact, I had to lol so hard that I had to hold on to the table so I would not rofl (if you are wondering why I am using the abbreviations, check out the “31f” cards). Internet colloquialisms aside, it amused me, but not so much as to distract me from the game itself.
Another element of The Spoils was the “Faction” controlled by the player. Though I have seen similar things in other games, the faction stood out. One interesting thing that the faction brings to the table is the fact that there is not health, instead the faction has “Influence” that is depleted when the faction takes damage. It changes the game play most of us are used to.
When it comes to combat, “Speed” is a major factor. The quicker the “Character”, the sooner they deal their damage. I had a character in play that only had one “Life”, but because it had 3 “Strength” and only one more speed than any of my opponent’s characters, he was safe. Though this does add a level of strategy, I still love the fact that you can attack as many times as you have creatures that are not “Depleted” (tapped for those who have played another major CCG).
”Items” and “Locations” definitely add a nice level to game play. With the abilities produced ranging from keeping a character from being destroyed to manipulating your opponents deck (minds out of the gutter please), the tactics you can use are endless (or will be when this games gets the recognition it deserves).
Finally came the “Tactics” cards. Tactics are like the “Spells” in other CCGs, but they lack the limitation of being played at a certain time. If you can respond you can play a tactic. I still like the title of “Ritual of the Screaming Cheese”. I love cheesy things.
So, let’s make a list of things I liked:
1) The humor
2) The artwork (it is beautiful)
3) The game play
4) The community
Alright now it is time to get to the list of things I did not like:
1) I wish this was a video blog so I could insert the sound of crickets chirping…
If you are interested in a newer game that has a lot of potential, The Spoils is definitely worth a look. Check out their site: http://www.thespoils.com/ . As usual, if you are having a hard time finding product, check out eBay. But this is a game you can find at your favorite online game store.
Oh, before I forget, The Spoils is a tournament oriented game, so be sure to take the time to get in on them. You will meet a lot of great people, and the payoff isn’t that shabby either. :)
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Well, after all of the readers and support I have gotten from the forums, I have decided the time has come to write my review. I hope you approve.
Before you continue reading, I would like to warn all of you that this article may be a little lengthy. Also, I would like to you a little background on why I am writing it. Aside from the “because I can” factor, I feel sad letting all of this knowledge go to waste. I was going to do a speech about POG for a class, but decided against it at the last minute.
Now, for all of my devoted readers, sit back, relax, and enjoy a nice cold glass of milk (or some passion fruit, orange, guava juice cocktail) and read on.
The game POG, for most of us who are in our twenties, was an introduction to the world of gaming. I will admit, it was not the most complex game, but it was fun.
The game of POG has its origins in the traditional Japanese game of Menko. Menko originated in the Edo period of Japan (around 1700) when they were made of nothing more than dried clay. Over time, new materials were used to make menkos such as wood, tile, and lead (which was eventually discontinued because kids would lick them for luck), finally menkos were made from paper.
Menkos were used as a rite of passage for young boys, allowing them to make friends and do battle with other children in a friendly setting.
Eventually, this game made its way to the US in an odd fashion.
Some of the Japanese immigrants working in a Hawaiian bottling plant in the 1920’s decided to relive the good ol’ days and play their favorite childhood game (or at least a variation thereof) with the milk caps they found lying around (I guess that is where that name came from…). When the game got attention, it was named after an acronym for the passion fruit, orange, and guava juice drink that was bottled at the plant.
Eventually a Hawaiian schoolteacher showed this game to the class around 70 years later, and the fad followed. I still wonder if the fact that the fad sensation that it experienced was the reason for its downfall soon after. Either way, I still have most of my slammers and a few POGs. I wish I could find the rest. Funrise Toys tried to release POGs again in 2005, and they even have a flash game at http://www.funrise.com/pog/ .
Another use for the little discs came around in 2001. Because of the weight of metal coins, the US military will not ship them to the soldiers overseas. After that was decided, paper POGs have been used in 5, 10, and 25 cent denominations.
If you do not know the rules, you stack ‘em and slam ‘em. Place a stack of eleven POGs per player and throw a thicker POG (called a slammer, kini, or the “big ‘un” if you so choose) at the stack with the goal of flipping some of the POGs over as they fall. You keep those. Woot!
I think I should work on a homebrew game similar to the “Poison” POGs that were so popular. Maybe some that have an effect on the players when flipped… Who wants to help?
I still find lots of these beauties floating around on eBay, so give it a look.
Since this was a research heavy article, I will let you know that my sources were:
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
In life, as well as gaming, community is one of the most important thing there is. From the simple small group of friends to the massive online boards that bring together people from other nations, community brings together people of common interest so that things can be done.
Without community, many games would have failed within the first few months. This would be very sad indeed. Even if there is a community, if the members are not helpful or active, a game will flounder and possibly fail. It has happened before, and will undoubtedly happen again.
With that being said, I would like to inform you of my travels through the net and what I have witnessed.
I have only advertised this blog on three forums. The first was the Mystical Empire forum. The community there has gone into hiding, with only a few key members active online though they have their local gaming groups into the game hardcore.
The second forum I went to was that of the Call of Cthulhu CCG. I must say, this game intrigues me so. Like I said before, anything that is true to Lovecraft makes me drool. This community is large and helpful, and many of my readers come from there. I just hope activity picks up again soon, for they are nice and were very excited when I mentioned that I wanted to do an article for this blog about their game.
The third was the forum for The Spoils. Within just minutes of my first inquiry about the game I had a response. Ever since I have been an active member replying to posts, and getting so much support for both the game, and even my blog (thanks LucienofShadow). The thread has already reached three pages and is climbing.
I wish all of these games well, and want to let my readers know that community means a lot to the growth of a game. Get out there and show people why you are fanatical about the games you love!
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Hecatomb: the game that allows every child to live their dream of destroying the world. Or at least that is what the premise was.
Even though Hecatomb is no longer with us, there is still a cult following hiding in the shadows. If you look at the game, you will see that it is very fitting indeed.
Hecatomb is a game that brings you into the darker side of the human psyche, and just does not allow you to see any of the cuter or sweeter things that exist in other games. There is even the foul creature known as Feculus The Sewer Lord (and I bet you can guess what he is), though my favorite was Mister Bananas.
Like I said before, the goal of this game is to destroy the world. To do this, each player must collect a certain number of souls. This can be done either through just sitting around and waiting (you gain one soul every round) or stealing them from your opponent. One of the things I like is that the game is not over for you when you run out of souls, and your opponent cannot take more souls from you than you already have. The game is not over until one player reaches the 20 soul requirement.
In order to keep things interesting, a player was required to combine their creatures before they could perform even the simplest of tasks. This both increased the strength of the creatures, and determined how many souls they “Reaped” (stole) from the opponent if they got through unblocked. If there were two “Minions” (individual creature cards) in the “Abomination” (the combined creature stack) for example, if they made it through unblocked they reaped two souls. Things would react differently depending on which god card each player had in play (my friend Hades made an appearance too), but each player could only have on in play at a time.
Because the game was designed to move quickly, many things are done differently in Hecatomb. You draw two cards instead of one, you have no maximum hand size, and there is no penalty for running out of cards to draw. You just keep going because even if both players run out of creatures and cards, one player will gain the rest of the souls they need in just a few rounds of sitting there.
This is one of those games that brings out the kid in me. The kid that wants to keep the monster under his bed as a pet. Sadly Hecatomb was cancelled right as it was getting good. Any game that includes elements from the writings of H.P. Lovecraft is awesome in my book.
One of the reasons Hecatomb did not do well was poor marketing. I saw a few ads here and there, which is how I found it, but other than that there was nothing. I also heard through the grapevine that tournament support was not high on the list of priorities with the company that brought us this fine game. That, and the game was so morbid and grotesque that most shops refused to carry it. Forget about the major chain stores that won’t even carry parental advisory CDs. That’s why I like it though.
If you are interested in learning more about this game, I have the complete rules here. If you would like to buy some cards you can check http://www.wholesalegaming.com/ or eBay. Whichever you prefer. You can get one box from each set in a package deal for $36 from http://www.wholesalegaming.com/ though.
Oh Mystical Empire, how I love thee...
Mystical Empire is a CCG created by Northeast Games that debuted in 2005, and has been doing fairly well since then. Because it is not part of what I would consider the mainstream, I think it deserves a write up. That and because I love the game.
When it comes to the main system, one thing that people I know complain about is the lack of a resource maintenance system. Mana, resources, or whatever other games have decided to call it are just absent. I actually love that part, for a reason.
Instead of using resources, ME (that is what the cool people, or "Mysties" call it) uses "actions" to control just about everything. The player takes on the role of one of the many Characters ME has to offer (hmmm... it seems the "Hero" system of a CCG based off of a popular PC game isn't so original) and the average character has two actions. These are used to "Hire" creatures and bring items and structures (don't worry, I'll explain these later) into play. There are also spell and effect cards (yay, something familiar).
When it comes to the more unique cards like structures, and the spell casting ('cuz I know you were all freaking out because there are no resources) these are handled in a rather unique way. Structures come into play using the action of a character, but unlike everything else, they do not "Disengage" (untap) like everything else. Instead, you need to use creatures that have the ability to add "Hammer" and/or "Trowel" tokens to the structure cards. Once the proper amount of these tokens are placed on the structure, it is considered built and works from then on. Spells and effects are cast using the magic your character and creatures can provide, so I guess those can be considered resources in a manner of speaking.
And before I forget, there are a few other thing that I absolutely love about the system in ME. Some people think that not having to do anything but use and action to bring creatures into play is, well, broken. Not so. A character has a stat on its cards called "Leadership". This stat tells how many creatures that character can control, if that number of creatures is exceeded, well that is not pretty. Creatures also have a stat called "Loyalty". If this number is greater than the leadership of a character, they will try to "Abandon" that character. Creatures also do this when a player has too many creatures. In the case of loyalty, the player rolls a die and on an even roll nothing happens. But if the player rolls an odd number, the creature is shuffled back into the deck and damages the player equal to its power. If a player has too many creatures, those with the lowest loyalty automatically abandon. My other favorite is the fact that there is not a set time to attack, if your creatures have open actions just swing for the fences.
Also, the rarity of a card determines how many copies of that card can be in any one deck. Commons are four, uncommons are three, rares are two and ultrarares are one. This way, Richie Rich can’t build a deck with four copies of each ultrarare like he does in other games that I will not mention here.
To say that I enjoy this game would be an understatement. I have six good decks, and another one in the making. My friends won’t even let me use my Rogue deck anymore (but then again, when every creature I control is invisible, who can blame them). If anyone can find me and wants to play, just ask. The hard part is finding me ;) .
If you would like more information on this game, check out their main site at http://www.mysticalempire.com/ . If you would like to buy into this game, you can check one of my favorite game distributors: http://www.wholesalegaming.com/ or eBay. It is still in production and distribution so expect to pay around $50 a box at wholesale, or some guy who found them in the trunk of a car at his salvage yard could sell them on the cheap (it happened recently).
Dragon Dice was the first successful collectible dice game. There was one before it, but it fell on its posterior soon after release (once I remember what it is and play it a bit, expect a review of it). Anywho, let’s continue on shall we.
Dragon Dice was launched by the now defunct TSR (curse you company I shall not name in fear that you will sue me!) around 1995, and has a decent following. Not a large one, but a dedicated one. Before the release of a long awaited expansion, as well as the other two novels, it was cancelled.
Only a few years ago did an ambitious young group of gamers (the group was young, I have no idea how old the members are…) rally support to form SFR inc. and buy the rights to Dragon Dice. Their actions brought me to the side of the little guy, and that is one of the reasons I created this blog.
Now on to the part where I tell you how the game works:
Dragon Dice plays a lot like a table top strategy game, except without all of the expensive painted metal figurines and expansive playing fields. Instead, each unit of an army is represented by an individual die, and their rarity determines the health of each unit (common is one, uncommon is two, etc.). The battlefield is represented by a large d8 called a “Terrain Die”. Each side has a number and a symbol that tells how far away the armies are from one another (melee range, arrow range, etc). The goal is to capture two of these terrains, or kill you opponents in the process. To do that, you must make “Maneuver” rolls and get the terrain die onto the side with the number one on it. You have just captured the terrain, YAY!
Of course, it is not that easy since your opponent can cast spells on you, and even summon dragons (I guess that is where the name came from…)
I like the game because of the army building and strategy, especially since I do not have to buy and paint them all (yes I know many of you like that aspect of table top gaming, and I am not dissing it, trust me I like to make things too). The best part is that everything I went over is just the tip of the iceberg. If you look hard enough, you can find full fledged campaigns designed to make your game much more interesting, and when you throw in more players, the chaos that ensues is on of the most fun gaming experiences you can have.
Though this game is still alive, it is no longer in distribution in order to keep costs down, but it is still sold on their main site, as well as single sold on www.chuckpint.com/frame.html . If you would like to find out more about the game or buy into it, please check out their site http://www.sfr-inc.com/ or go to eBay. I love eBay… (I don’t have a problem, I swear).
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I plan on having a few tidbits to get this place rolling by next Saturday, the 27th. I know of two, maybe even three games I want to review. I want a few others, but we'll see.
Edit: It seems that I am just a little impatient and anxious. I plan on having the articles up a few days sooner.
Well, I have noticed that there are a lot of good games out there. Sadly, they don't live that long since they go unnoticed by a large portion of the gaming world. I want that to change.
What I plan on doing on this site is compiling as much information as possible about games that have not yet made it to the gaming mainstream. New or old, living or dead, I honestly don't care. If they have a cult status, or if the player pool only consists of two guys living in their mother's basement, I want to give them some time in the sun.
Free system games (I have seen RPGs and "CCG"s for free online), are also fair game.
I also want to give love to the small companies that provide great accessories for lower prices that the big guys. Don't knock 'em if you haven't heard of 'em. Trust me.