Being the host of a party can be a lot of work, especially if your interests don’t jive well with everyone elses. For example, let’s say that you’re a respectable and hardworking dad who happens to love board games. It’s a stretch, I know…just bear with me. Imagine that you are having a huge family gathering at your place and need a few ways to keep everyone entertained. Most of them happen to be nongamers, so pulling “Agricola” or “Power Grid” out of your closet will probably be met by blank stares. At best, you’ll only succeed in entertaining the toddlers who have no qualms about throwing the pieces of your treasured games all over the place. “Knee Jerk”, a game that will be launching on Kickstarter on September 16, 2014, may very well be the solution. Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, I’d like to thank Game Creator Andrew Federspiel for reaching out and providing me with a prototype copy. It’s important to stress that prototypes are not often representative of the final product, making everything featured here subject to change.
“The Agents“, a card game I previewed for game designer Saar Shai about a year ago, boasted one of the most successful Kickstarter campaign I had ever seen. That campaign raised over a quarter of a million dollars, if you can believe it. This kind of success is certainly a strong testament to what a great game and a strong fan base can accomplish. “King Down”, the latest creation by Saar, is now alive and kicking on Kickstarter. It’s a bit like “Chess”, making it easy to jump into if you know what you’re doing. With that said, it introduces some new rules and mechanics that make it a completely different game. You can read my full preview here: King Down Preview.
I think you all know the drill by now, so I’ll save you the clever lead-in. The following is a quick list of the Early Access games I’ve played as of late and my initial impressions. It’s important to stress that these games are still under development, meaning that the content and opinions featured below are subject to change.
For those of you who may not be aware, I am a former member of the United States Chess Federation. I’ve won many tournaments and was once rated second best in Western Pennsylvania for my age group. I’m not the best player out there mind you, but I know my “Chess”. “King Down”, a game currently seeking your help on Kickstarter, takes “Chess” to a completely new level. Some of the ideas in “King Down” are borrowed from “Chess”, but new mechanics serve to keep things fresh and interesting. Before we delve too deeply into this, I’d like to thank game designer Saar Shai for reaching out and providing me with a prototype copy. It’s important to stress that prototypes are not often representative of the final product, making the rules, pictures, and content featured below subject to change. If the name “Saar Shai” sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the same guy who successfully Kickstarted “The Agents” about a year ago.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wanted to lead armies of livestock against people that I didn’t like. Some might argue that there are more effective & non-violent methods for dealing with such people, but nothing says “in your face” more than letting a herd of cows run rampant on someone’s property. The smell from the droppings alone would almost certainly guarantee that the victim in question would have a rather crappy day (ba dump ch!). Thank you, thank you…no autographs please! At any rate, we’re here today to take a look at “Livestock Uprising”, a strategy/war game that involves…you guessed it, livestock. Don’t worry, there’s no manure involved. Rather, you’ll be collecting resources and recruiting livestock in an attempt to create a “super army” and wipe out all who oppose you. Before we get started, I’d like to thank Game Designer Mike Cameron from Dog Might Games for reaching out and providing me with a free press copy.
“Roller Coaster Tycoon” meets “Zooloretto“…at least, that’s the impression I got a few minutes into playing “Steam Park”. It’s like “RCT” in the sense that you’re attempting to build a successful theme park, but like “Zooloretto” in the sense that you’re placing structures down inside a small grid and maximizing spatial efficiency in the process. Theme park simulators and management games have always been up my alley, so dropping thirty bucks to try it out seemed like a good investment. The question remains, “is it any good?”
If you’re concerned that this game is a horse racing betting simulator, you needn’t worry. “Trifecta” comes off as a more complex version of “Blackjack” (at least to me) in that you’ll be endeavoring to form rows with cards that total between twenty-one and twenty-six points. Each player will have their own grid with which to work and must obey specific rules that govern each row. Before I delve too deeply into that, I’d like to thank Karen Wolterman from Victory Point Games for reaching out and sending me a press copy.
I can count on my hand the number of games that have literally brought me to tears, but this series as a whole is one of them. Ten minutes ago I watched the credits roll, signaling the end to yet another tear-jerking episode of “The Walking Dead”. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m still in shock and trying to process the events that took place. Episode Five, “No Going Back”, doesn’t play around. People get bit, people get shot, people die…few make it out. If you’re curious as to the who’s…no worries, you won’t find that information here…you’ll have to buy the series and play it for yourself to find out. If you plan to do so, stop reading here as there ARE some spoilers that relate to the previous episodes ahead.
The life of a pirate can be an appealing one at times…no responsibility, no one to answer to, and all the gold & adventure you can handle! “Dead Men Tell No Tales”, a cooperative board game seeking your help on Kickstarter, promises the latter in spades. Like the ever popular “Pandemic”, “Flash Point: Fire Rescue” and “Forbidden Island”, players will be racing to complete particular objectives while up against a ticking clock. In this case, you and your friends have already done the hard work of catching up to and shredding a ship full of the undead. It’s up to you to board it, take the treasure, and get out lest ye share a locker with Davy Jones.
I generally shy away from tactical card games nowadays…not because I don’t find them appealing, but because I’m usually too busy to devote many hours to a single game. “Ruckus” breaks with that tradition, offering a tactical card game experience in under forty minutes, max. To sum this bad boy up, you and your opponents will be preparing a goblin army in an attempt to win skirmishes and earn victory points. Before we get started, I’d like to thank Michael Lubbers from Goblin Army Games for providing me with a free press copy. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because they are the same folks who developed “Monolith“.
My fourteen-year-old stepdaughter Carolyn introduced me to this game via an app for her mobile device. Don’t ask me if it was an iPhone, iPad, iTablet, iNook, or iCarly, because I couldn’t tell you. I’m getting too old for all that crap. All I know is that one night, my family was taking turns holding an electronic device up to their heads while everyone else shouted at them in strange accents. Being a gamer who enjoys a wide variety of genres helped me to determine that they weren’t all in need of a straight jacket. Rather, they were playing “Heads Up!”, a game featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. As I’m wont to do, I got curious and reached out to the developer for a press copy of the board game. Along those lines, I’d like to quickly thank Maria Aguilar from Spin Master Ltd. for providing me with one.
I’m taking a timeout here to blog about something I’ve seen on social media everywhere…the mass dumping of ice water on people’s heads in the name of ALS. This meme/fad originally started with Pro Golfer Chris Kennedy and his trainer, James Whatmore, when the latter was assigned to complete an ice bucket challenge and pass it on. The idea here was that you had to donate to charity should you fail to complete the challenge within twenty-four hours. This started a revolution that swept the nation, to the point where celebrities and other famous persons became involved. I’ll be honest, this idea is both ingenious and incredibly stupid. Just as a side note, I had originally titled this article as “Freezing your ass off for ALS”, but opted not to for SEO reasons.
Holy Early Access Batman…they just seem to keep coming! This time on “DGA’s Early Access Corner”, we’ll be featuring a few more promising up-and-comers that I’ve been gifted via their respective developers. It’s important to note that these are NOT reviews…rather, an overview as to what they currently offer.
It’s been about a year since I bought my Nikon D3100 and unfortunately, about that same length of time since I’ve last blogged. The title, as it suggests, is meant to address both issues. I’ve learned a LOT over the past year, though I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself an expert…at least, not yet. A year ago, it would have taken me a minute to play with the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings to get an ideal picture of whatever was before me. Now, adjusting these settings based on the current situation is almost second nature. If it’s really bright outside and I’m trying to take landscape photos, for example, I know to start with a shutter speed of 1/500-1/1000, maintain a low ISO, and go from there. Of course, a good photographer will be able to adjust these on the fly as the need arises…I think I’m at the point now where I can safely say that I’m there.
Greetings, fellow gamers! As you may have probably guessed, it’s time for another edition of “DGA’s Early Access Corner”. Like the previous article in this series, I’ll be taking a brief look at some of the Early Access games that I’ve been gifted by their respective developers. It’s important to stress that these are NOT reviews…rather, an overview as to what they currently offer.
The last episode left us in a rather dicey spot, though this seems to be the running theme with Telltale. My experiences with “Back to the Future: The Game” and “The Walking Dead: Season One” ended up much the same way…that is, I was chewing on my fingernails vigorously in between episodes because I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. It’s worth noting that this article will contain spoilers, so do NOT read further if you plan to play the game in the near future. If you haven’t played Season One by now, then may whatever gods you believe in have mercy on your soul…you don’t know what you’re missing!