What's new in the world of tabletop gaming? (Early August Edition)

Here are some recent game releases of note and some of what I've been up to in hobby gaming over the past month or so.

Earlier this year, I wrote a piece about my favorite gaming magazine, UK's Tabletop Gaming. Another gaming mag I subscribe to and enjoy is Casual Game Insider. Where Tabletop Gaming covers all manner of tabletop, miniature, roleplaying, card, and board games, Casual Game Insider focuses on family games, party games, and palate cleansers, games to be played between longer games during a gaming night. In a word, casual games. CSI has something of a fanzine flavor (in a good way). It's obviously a passion and labor of love for those who produce it. They crowdfund the effort and just successfully finished their 7th round of funding. CSI covers every aspect of gaming, from creating, funding, and producing them, to the psychology and sociology of gaming, to gaming history, gaming types, you name it. And they have plenty of reviews and features on currently popular games. A free digital edition of the current issue is available for download (PDF).

The Ricks Must Be Crazy Cryptozoic Entertainment, $17, 2-4 Players, Ages: 17+ Cryptozoic has been killing it with their series of quick, fun, and suitably strange Rick and Morty games. They've released five games so far. Each game is based on an episode of the popular Adult Swim animated series. And each is done in a different style, mechanic, and look and feel, attempting to capture the flavor of the episode it's based upon. Read the rest

Muttnchop Piper explains Netrunner, the cyberpunk card game

It's always a treat to see someone unexpected embrace tabletop gaming. I just got the Netrunner: Revised Core Set, the latest edition of the popular and surprisingly immersive cyberpunk card game originally designed by Richard Garfield (who also designed of Magic: The Gathering). I decided to watch some videos on playing the game using the new set, as I haven't played in a while. I happened upon a series of videos by Muttnchop Piper, a YouTuber who runs a channel on pipe smoking and tobacco.

I was surprised by how good, and charming, these videos are. He talks about how the game brought him and his grown son closer together. His son is an artist, and growing up, wasn't into the typical things, like "hunting and fishing." His son introduced him to the game, and as you can clearly tell from the videos, Muttnchop Piper has really taken to it. He and his son play the game every Thursday.

In the videos, he describes the world of Netrunner, how to play one of the Corporations, how to play a Runner, and he runs through a sample game. There are a lot of how-to-play Netrunner videos out there, but I don't think there's a better intro series than the one from this unlikely of sources.

I also like this brief video explaining why you should play Netrunner. I love this game and think it evokes a cyberpunk world better than just about anything short of reading a novel in the genre. Read the rest

Gamer makes edible polyhedral dice, scores a crit hit

German pastry chef, gamer, cosplayer, and Twittizen, Sonja decided to make a batch of edible candy RPG/polyhedral dice. She posted pictures on Twitter and all the nerds came running to her yard. Realizing she might have a hungry market on her hands, Sonja has quickly opened up an Etsy store, the cleverly-named, Sugar and Dice.

Batches of the dice are Isomalt sugar and are edible. They can either be "eaten as a hard candy bonbon or dissolved into a hot cup of tea or coffee." Sonja points out that they are not balanced and not perfect on all sides, so they can't really be reliably used in gaming.

A set of 7 dice (1 each of d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d100, and d20) will run you £18, shipped to the US (and take 1-2 weeks). Not exactly penny candy, but a cool novelty and a unique, fun gift for a gamer friend. I will definitely be getting some. A set of these will make a nice gaming night prize. Read the rest

Historical Dungeons and Dragons artifacts and an unreleased pilot for an 80s D and D radio show

I am a huge fan of Jon Peterson's beautiful doorstop of a tome, Playing at the World, an exhaustive history of D&D, RPGs, and wargames. So, I was delighted to discover his YouTube channel. Even though he only has a few videos on it, I found them all very interesting.

In "A History of D&D in 12 Treasures," Jon looks at 12 artifacts (I assume from his personal collection) that help in understanding the early development and history of D&D. It it so cool to see early correspondence between Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, early newsletters, rules for pre-D&D games that influenced D&D, and of course, the first printed, 3-booklet edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

Before there was Critical Role, HarmonQuest, D&D With Pornstars, and Wizards of the Coast's own Dice, Camera, Action, there was The D&D Radio Show. Or, there would have been if it had ever been broadcast. Back in the 1980s, TSR created a pilot for a D&D radio show that never saw air. Jon got a hold of the pilot episode. It's fascinating to ponder what RPG entertainment, now in its infancy, might be like today if it had taken hold over 30 years ago.

In this video, Jon sits down with fellow D&D history nerd, Bill Meinhardt, to go through the early boxed set editions of D&D to discuss how you can tell which printing is which. Read the rest

What's new in the world of tabletop gaming?

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.

Stuffed Fables 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

In search of an awesome general interest gaming magazine

Last year, I went on a bit of a quest. For years, as a tabletop gamer who played Warhammer 40K almost exclusively, I subscribed to White Dwarf (or "White Dork" as my late wife used to call it). This is the slick and expensive Games Workshop publication that exclusively covers WH40K and other GW games. But as my ravenous game appetite expanded to wanting to pig out on all manner of miniature, board, RPG, and card games, I began to look for magazines that covered all of these. To my surprise, I discovered that there weren't any. Or, at least, I couldn't find one.

There are a number of excellent and beautifully-produced tabletop wargame magazines, such as Wargames Illustrated and Wargames, Soldiers, and Strategy. And there are mags that cover board and family games, such as Casual Game Insider. And then there is GTM, Game Trade Magazine, a magazine targeted at your FLGS ("friendly local game store). But where was the magazine that covers all forms of analog gaming? There's a tabletop gaming revolution going on. So where is the house organ?

Here it is. Tabletop Gaming magazine. This very handsome UK-based monthly covers all manner of board games, RPGs, card games, historical wargames, miniature games, dice games, party games, you name it. I didn't even have high expectations for the contents of such a magazine, but Tabletop Gaming delivers a very well-designed and well-written publication that examines every aspect of the gaming hobby. Feature articles cover new games being developed, aspects of game history, culture, art, design, the gaming industry, even the psychology and science of gaming. Read the rest

Fun, affordable post-apocalyptic car combat in Gaslands

Osprey Games has found itself a sweet little niche in the current tabletop gaming craze. Games like their extremely popular (and highly-recommend) Frostgrave: Fantasy Wargames in the Frozen City (and now Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago) and the many titles that have followed, like Dracula's America: Shadows of the West and Scrappers: Post-Apocalyptic Skirmish Wargames, adhere to a similar format of relatively quick, low miniature-count skirmish games with simple but tight, effective rulesets. All of the games feature inexpensive rulebooks loaded with gorgeous fantasy artwork that really helps flesh out the worlds and begs for more narrative wargaming, with a little RPG-like character development and ongoing storylines (all of these games have built-in campaign systems). The games are also all miniature-agnostic, meaning that you can pull minis from any of your favorite ranges. And because the gameworlds are so evocative and interesting--but what you're provided with, so basic--you are heavily encouraged to flesh out the world and the tabletop on your own. In other words, not only are these awesome and fun tabletop skirmish games, they are also games designed to seriously seduce makers and modelers.

Osprey's latest, Gaslands: Post-Apocalyptic Vehicular Combat, is a perfect case in point of all of the above, but especially that last point. In Gaslands (think: a breezier, less crunchy, more modern Car Wars) there are no ranges of miniatures to draw from. Instead, the game encourages you to Mad Max-ify Matchbox and Hotwheels cars to use in your games. How much fun is this? Read the rest

Gift Guide for Tabletop Gamers 2017

It was another exciting year for tabletop games and the nerds who love them. This was a year (plus) for re-releases of classic titles (Necromunda, Blood Bowl, Escape from Colditz, Axis & Allies) and one that saw a growing trend in pirate, tropical, jungle games and settings. Crowdfunding, 3D printing, and CNC small-scale manufacturing all continued to have a significant and growing impact on the gaming industry, as did the expanding number of YouTube game- and dungeon crafting-related shows. Game component and miniature quality continued to rise and astound, and game design and play mechanics seem slicker and better than ever.

With all of that in mind, here is my 2017 guide to tabletop wargames, RPGs, card games, board games, and more. This is not necessarily a tops list or an exhaustive one. These are mainly games that I played or acquired this year and that I personally recommend. If you have others, add them in Comments. (Where available, Amazon Affiliate links are used to help support Boing Boing.)

Board Games

Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate

D&D's Forgotten Realms setting, Baldur's Gate (immortalized in the late 90s video game of the same name), gets a chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter mash-up with the hugely successful horror game, Betrayal at House on the Hill, in Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate. In this cooperative tile-building game, you and your party try to remain alive while making your way through the dark passageways of this iconic D&D city. Collect too many bad Omens along the way and a Haunt happens, turning one party member against the others. Read the rest

A pound of multi-sided dice

I'm pretty sure no game in our home has its original dice. I replace what the dice fairy doth steal, I bought this useful pound bag of dice.

I do not know where the dice go. The only thing I'm sure of is that my dogs aren't eating the missing dice, as I'm pretty sure I'd see them when cleaning up the yard. Regardless, somehow every game that needs dice loses those dice. If this happens to you, I suggest a pound bag of dice.

There are 6, 8, 10, 12, 20 and 30 sided die in the bag. Sparkly, opaque, marbled, solid colors, speckled... dice.

Chessex "Pound-O-Dice" via Amazon Read the rest