Last month, I posted the first of what I hope will be a series of Boing Boing articles looking at the latest tabletop miniature, board, card, and roleplaying games, and some of what's going on in tabletop gaming culture. Here is some of what's been holding my attention this month.
Mythic Battles: Pantheon
Monolith Games, 1-4 Players, Ages 14+
I was bummed when I thought I wouldn't have an opportunity to plug this game here on Boing Boing. Mythic Battles: Pantheon was a Kickstarter exclusive game in 2016, a campaign in which Monolith/Mythic Games raked in nearly US$2.7 million. I was lucky enough to be one of the backers. The rewards for the base game and stretch goals amounted to two gigantic doorstop boxes filled with some of the most gorgeous, detailed minis, boards, cards, and other components I've ever seen. There are few recent games (see Rising Sun below) that are lovelier than Mythic Battles. A board game/miniatures hybrid, Mythic Battles pits (usually) 2 players and their hosts of Greek gods, titans, monsters, and heroes against each other.
I cannot tell you how much I love this game. Besides the beautiful miniatures and components, which are all highly evocative of the setting, Mythic Battles: Pantheon has some really unique and interesting game mechanics, mostly driven through an activation deck and special "Art of War" cards, which serve as wild cards that allow you to perform a number of special actions. This really is ultimately a deck management game. Read the rest
I've been getting a lot of review copies of games sent to me lately, so I thought, periodically, I'd share some of what looks interesting and fun to me with Boing Boing readers.
Plaid Hat Games, $60, 2-4 players, Ages 7+
Stuffed Fables, by Mice and Mystics designer, Jerry Hawthorne, is a cooperative story-telling miniatures game that literally takes place inside of an illustrated storybook. I love the backstory here. The game is played within ten adventures that take place in a little girl's bedroom (with each adventure triggered by a milestone event in her life, like moving into a big girl bed). As she sleeps at night, her nightmares come to life and crawl out from under her bed.To defend her from these boogeymen, her beloved stuffed animals ("stuffies") come to life and go to battle against these monsters from her nightmares. The little girl remains none-the-wiser about the epic battles that take place as she slumbers. While the game has a fairy-horror theme, and awesome miniatures to fit that theme, it's not very dark to play. It's rated 7+, and that probably holds true in practice, although the rules and game mechanics might prove a little too fussy for younger attention spans. The plastic miniatures (23 of them), the storybook/gameboards, and all of the rest of the components are gorgeous and very much fit the dreamy/fairy-horror theme. I'm planning on doing a Stuffed Fables game night at my house soon and requiring players to come in PJs and bring their own stuffies. Read the rest
Robert Wardhaugh of London Ontario was 14 when he started a game of Dungeons and Dragons. Thirty five years later, he's dungeonmastering the same campaign. His miniature sets are amazing!
From Great Big Story:
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In 1982, when he was only 14 years old, Robert Wardhaugh sat down to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons. Thirty-five years later, that same game is still going strong. Based out of Wardhaugh’s basement in London, Canada, people from all around the country gather each week to join in the decades-long campaign. And with over 20,000 figurines and dozens of terrains, Wardhaugh keeps the game fresh and exciting, adding to the everlasting adventure.
Many of us who play fantasy and sci-fi roleplaying and tabletop miniature games struggle with our ability to paint minis so that they look halfway decent on the table. Getting me to paint my minis is like getting 8-year-old me to eat his broccoli. I'm something of a perfectionist and I look at a lot of pro painted miniatures, in gaming magazines and online. My miniatures never look as good as what I see, so it's an effort for me to even bother. But also being a perfectionist, I wouldn't think of "gaming in the nude" (playing with unpainted miniatures). And so I press ahead, and try to do at least a little painting every night.
My pal, James Floyd Kelly, who I wrote about previously when he launched his new dungeon crafting channel, Game Terrain Engineering, was in a similar boat of not being happy with his painting chops. So, he decided to buy the Reaper Miniatures Learn To Paint Bones Kit and record a series of videos of him painting the three minis that come in the kit. It's really encouraging to watch the series and to see how much his painting improves over the three videos and three miniatures. Bolstered by that improvement, Jim plans on now getting the next kit in the series, the Layer Up Bones Miniatures Learn to Paint Kit and to paint (and hopefully document) those three miniatures.
Also: Here's a list of beginner painting tips that I ran into recently. These are all of the same tips that I share with people. Read the rest
Did you know that there's such a thing as "dungeon crafting?" I didn't, until recently. There are a growing number of YouTube channels dedicated to teaching viewers how to craft all manner of terrain and building components to be used in Dungeons and Dragons and other roleplaying and tabletop games.
My friend, Make: and Geek Dad contributor Jim Kelly, has recently launched a new dungeon crafting channel called Game Terrain Engineering. So far, he has posted videos for such projects as making towers, tombs, crypts, columns and doors, and my favorite, how to make monuments to your fallen D&D characters!
In the latest episode (above), Jim gets to work on creating a set of red herring playing pieces for his (and my) current favorite game, Frostgrave (read my WINK review of Frostgrave here). Osprey Games, makers of Frostgrave, have just released an awesome new expansion for the game, a deck of 40 cards called Ulterior Motives. These cards contain special game objectives that players draw before beginning play. I love this game mechanic of adding individual player objectives to an existing game via a deck of cards. Frostgrave is not an RPG, it's a narrative fantasy skirmish wargame. Adding these individual motives helps to bring more play-depth and narrative flavor to the game.
Some of the objectives in the Ulterior Motives pack are revealed right when the card is drawn. Others remain secret until you make your move as indicated on the card. To get other players off the stink of what you're up to, there are a series of red herring terrain pieces that are called for (a statue, a zombie, a pit, a portal, a sarcophagus, a trap door, an arcane disk, and a runic stone). Read the rest
Last year, I had the pleasure of exploring “the Frozen City” of Felstad, aka Frostgrave, the ridiculously fun, retro-reminiscent fantasy miniatures game from Osprey. Designer Joseph McCullogh and Osprey have followed up the highly-successful Frostgrave book with a series of excellent supplements. The latest of these is Forgotten Pacts.
Frostgrave is a very psycho-geographical game, where the ancient, ruined, and magic-saturated city of Felstad is really a central character in the game. One of the things each follow-up book does is shine a light into some new corner of that dark and ruined world. And with that light is also illuminated new stories of the city’s past, new wizard and warband types, new magic, treasures to unearth, and new monstrous adversaries.
Forgotten Pacts accomplishes two goals in advancing the game and the setting of Frostgrave. It introduces a new region, the northern reaches of Felstad, and the barbarian tribesmen who have come down from the hills to plunder and explore there. The book also introduces a new magical discipline for courageous wizards to attempt: demonic summoning using pacts. Demon summoning was de rigor in this region of the city during its heyday and the barbarians have re-rediscovered the lost art of it among the temple ruins and incorporated the practice into their way of life. Venturing into this region, players’ wizards get the opportunity to find a demon’s True Name (basically an unpronounceable name rendered as a sigil) among the ruins, and with that name, attempt to conjure and forge a pact with a demon. Read the rest
I posted this on Make: yesterday, but thought it was too good not to share here. A gamer named David Henning is in a gaming group and they exchanged gifts this past Christmas. Dave wanted to do something really special for his recipient, their new Dungeon Master, so he made him this amazing castle-themed DM screen. Not only does it act as a screen to hide the DM's dice rolls and campaign info, but it also includes a built-in dice tower, a lit dice display area, a place to mount quick reference material, a place to store non-playing characters (NPCs), and holders for pencils, erasers, and sharpeners.
The screen was made almost entirely of foamboard (three 2' x 2' pieces) with all of the stonework made by drawing on the bricks and then using a foam cutter to burn in the mortar lines. The bricks were distressed with a ball of aluminum foil and a hobby knife. Popsicle sticks were used to create the wooden doors and hatches. The whole thing was primed black and then painted and drybrushed with lighter hues of gray up to white (with some green wash thrown in to add a hint of organic funk).
More pics and information about the build can be found on Make:. I found out about Dave's project on the highly-recommend Facebook group, DM Scotty's Crafts N' Games (closed group, ask to join), a great place to find D&D-related terrain and accessory builds, miniature painting show n' tell, and gaming-related craft projects. Read the rest
Seth Everman distills a certain video game musical score down to 80 seconds of sheer brilliance. Somewhere in the space between Link To the Past and Secret of Mana, the perfect Nintendo role-playing game.
Previously: It is with great regret... Read the rest
Four women tabletop designers have put together a collection of four short pen and paper roleplaying games for $10—with a portion of the proceeds going to support the cancer treatment of a friend in the RPG community. Read the rest