What's new in tabletop gaming (February 2019 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.

Android: Shadow of the Beanstalk Fantasy Flight Games, $60, Players, Ages: 12+ I have been looking forward to this book ever since it was announced by FFG following their retirement of the Netrunner card game, also set in the Android universe. Shadow of the Beanstalk is a 256-page sourcebook for use with the Genesys Roleplaying System. Two years ago, I got to talk to the creators of Genesys at NovaCon before they got scooped up by FFG. Genesys is a GURPS-like universal RPG system that allows you to roleplay any time period, setting, theme. Also like GURPS, it is designed to greatly encourage narrative play and DIY themes and settings. Shadow of the Beanstalk is a campaign setting for the Android universe centered on New Angeles, the city that is home to the beanstalk, the space elevator that has afforded humanity cheap and easy access to space (and has subsequently attracted every megacorp, criminal enterprise, and hacker/"runner" faction). When The Worlds of Android background book came out, many said it was so close to an RPG setting, they ached for the game mechanics to actually play it. These mechanics have arrived with Genesys and Shadow of the Beanstalk.

Cosmic Encounter Fantasy Flight Games, $60, 3-5 Players, Ages: 14+ The classic alien negotiation and conquest game, which many consider one of the greatest board games ever made, is back with a slightly tweaked "42nd anniversary" edition. Read the rest

What's new in tabletop gaming? (April edition)

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

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

Mr Robot has driven a stake through the Hollywood hacker, and not a moment too soon

Mr Robot is the most successful example of a small but fast-growing genre of "techno-realist" media, where the focus is on realistic portrayals of hackers, information security, surveillance and privacy, and it represents a huge reversal on the usual portrayal of hackers and computers as convenient plot elements whose details can be finessed to meet the story's demands, without regard to reality. Read the rest

Animated map shows two centuries of US immigration

It looks like Wargames but with Skittles: colored balls representing immigrants arcing through low orbit to land somewhere within the United States of America—Oklahoma, by the looks of it. Creator Max Galka writes that it covers 1820 to 2013 and that each dot represents 10,000 people. Read the rest

Wargames-style map shows ongoing internet attacks

The Norse Map is a Wargames-style visualization of ongoing attacks on servers around the world. Though it shows honeypots rather than actual private or government targets, the result is a live snapshot of trends in computer mischief.

Dubai seems to be getting quite a pounding today. Read the rest