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After the recent Kickstarter success of Batman: Gotham City Chronicles, Monolith held a "Thank You" party for those of us that helped spread the word, before and during the campaign.
And I was one of those 80 bloggers, painters and demonstrators to go along.
It was held in a quiet farm house, out on the outskirts of Paris. A weekend event of eating, drink, babbling and playing with the team of Monolith. Headed by Frédéric Henry the designer and co-founded of the company. Hand shakes and kisses were the first order of the day, as tradition in France. Yes, I kissed men on the cheek! (No Con-Crud ensued)
Although I was only there a short time on the Saturday, I got a taste of the world behind Kickstarter. Also, this article will probably shorter then what it could have been if I stayed the whole weekend. I will try my best to fill in the spaces with photos and videos. =)
Inside the farm house was a small display of the prototype components. Large prints of the maps, on paper. Box art and comic books. Plus the miniatures...and a BIG Batmobile
A look at the artwork used in the game
The miniature seemed like the final product. Although they weren't. They were stunning in detail and easily recognizable from the graphic novels, even if you hadn't read them. And that was the thing that struck me. In most games, when you get a ton of figures. You hone in on a few that you find appealing to the eye and get to know their names quickly. These become your favorites. The characters you use in every game.
A table full of astonishing minis and a cool looking Batmobile
But it was not all pancakes and pats on the back.
A majority of my time there was spent talking to the other bloggers and playing games. I did forget a lot of names, even though everyone had a badge, so apologies if I don't mention you. You were all a pleasure to listen to. Anecdote and story's of things that had happened in life. All in French too. And "NO!", there was no conversations about boobs and bellybuttons!!! In fact, most of the topics were about normal things. Weather, holidays, where you come from and accents. And a little bit of board games mixed in.
I spent most of the day with my good friend Mr Petitjean and also caught up with Barbi, my fellow demonstrator at the UK Gaming Expo. He came down, all the way from somewhere around Huddersfield for the event. And there was even a couple that came from Scotland. And I had a little chance to speak in my native tongue before enjoying the company of other in my now second tongue.
A table full of astonishing minis and a cool looking Batmobile
In among the eating and talking that was going on around me, there was also some gaming. I sat down and played all three of Monoliths titles. Conan, Mythic Battles: Pantheon as well as Batman. Some of the group had brought their own copies of their games. Blinged out and painted with astonishing detail.
There were of course many other games there being played. Great Western Trail, Lisboa, Secret Hitler and other published titles that hit the tables as well as some prototypes. One in paticular was the next, up and coming game from Monolith...Claustrophobia 1643.
This new version, which is still headed by Croc, will be to the same scale as the original, but will be like a new base game. Monolith haven't official announce that they will be supporting the 2009 version of the game, but knowing that they like fan created content, I'm sure there will be mission for this on their Overlord site in the future.
New feature, that you can see in the video below, include; Creature player has new actions board. Less actions than before, but more profound.Human player can collect cards that can be played as special actions or to change the result of a dice roll.
Prototype version of the new Claustrophobia 1643
This proto was in heavy use all the day, so I never got chance to play and compare how it plays against the original version (which I played once and admired it damage system). So I will have to probably wait until September, like you, to see how it works. Again, this will be another Kickstarter, so if your a fan...start saving your penny's.
All in all, it was a delightful day, not only with a very sunny and hot, April sun. But also because of the company that was there. The charming Monolith team, the friendly fellow bloggers, amazing painters and Batman comic book fans. Thank you all.
Talking of Batman, if you missed out on the Kickstarter, you can still get a chance to grab a copy. As of the 3rd of May, you can go to the late pledge manager...
Batman Late Pledge
This is a simple game of moving your coloured tokens from one tile, on the Tic-Tac-Toe grid to another, to create a stack of three tokens. Hopefully with yours on top and with a bonus of scoring a point marked below on that space...That's all!
But there are many benefits that make this game stand out from the dullness of that previous paragraph. Take the the amazing playing pieces:
Your playing pieces, apart from being big, chunky and cute are thematic Tiki's. These Tiki's are used to create Totem Poles. As a God, you are trying to influence the villagers on the tiles by making them worship you and give you the fruits of their labors in a offering. And when I say fruits, I mean "fruits." Pineapples are your fruit of choice, and the first to collect four of them will win.
Each village/tile has a different number of pineapple that you collect if you manage to influence them. From 0 to 2. There is even a village that has a -1, which means that one pineapple will go sour and rotten. If you manage to make the tribe there go wild for you and you have already collected a fruit, it goes bad and you have to flip the token over to show it. That's one less point in the game for you and your opponent. As if you didn't have any, one pineapple from the reserve spoils.
Like all classic abstract games, the rules are simple and not complex. The complexity of the game comes from what you do with these actions. Tiki, is no different. You can either place one of your coloured Tiki's into an empty village or more a Tiki of your colour one village adjacent. Or if there is another Tiki under your own, you can move to two other villages, dropping off the lower Tiki in the first before resting your own in the second.
This is how you stack the Tiki's into a Totem. Every stack of two, with your Tiki on top is one that you control. So it is possible in a round that you have the only movable pieces on the board. But if after moving, a stack of three is in a village, that tribe is active and makes an offering to the God who has the influence. This meaning, if your Tiki is on top...you win some fruit (or maybe not!)
This Totem is remove and the game continues until a winner is found.
The game is about cold calculating your actions, forcing your opponent into a corner and make them move where you need them to, giving you the win you need. Two expert player will go head to head for a good 10 to 20 minutes, until someone slips up. While people like my self, who play fast and loose can knock out two or three games in the same time. So if your looking for either of those in a, this is for you.
It's colorful nature and sweet tactile feel gives the game a family vibe. And kids will pick up the rules easily while twiddling the Tiki's between their fingers like a professional poker player.
If your thinking that this is just a one shot game, a thing to remember is that these villages are tiles and can be moved around. Creating a slightly different lay out that will give you a slightly different way of playing. On top of that, there is a variant in the box that changes some of the villages into a swamp. Where the Shaman lives.
Getting influence in the swamp mean that you can place the Shaman between two villages, blocking the route. No movement can take place between these villages and you will have to make your way around.
If you are lucky enough to grab a Kickstarter version of the game, you will find four (technically three) more variants in the box. Two sets of different village tiles that let you move villages or swap Tiki's around. Plus a BAD Tiki that acts like your own, if you have control over it. And then the forth variant is to mix the villages as you wish. Quite a bit of reputability if you own this edition.
All in all, a very simple, two player, abstract game. A quick playing, light, fun puzzle with great production values. Although it is in a box that is slightly bigger than you'd like to pack in your holiday bag, so you can play it on that golden beach you are heading too. But well worth it when it is too hot to do anything else.
Technical score 10/10 (although missing the KS variants rule book)
My BGG score 8/10
Combined score 9/10
Check out the video for more
If board games could be made into films, I would want this one...
Not that the game has any deep story, just purely because the character art looks so profound, you can believe that they each have a great backstory.
But I am getting beyond myself. What is Rising 5?
It's a simple co-op game where players control a team of space-fairing heroes in a quest to stop a evil villainous monster, coming into their dimension through a portal. Exciting, eh?
At the beginning of the game starts with a scanning of the "Rune Gate." Yes, in true Start Trek fashion, you will get out your Tricorder and scan four runes placed in the center of the board. And yes, this game requires an a smart device.
Afterwards, the app will tell you if these runes are in the right place or the wrong place, or that they shouldn't be there at all. Sound familiar? Well it should. this game resembles the Parker Brothers game, Mastermind. In which you are trying find the matching colors to the ones set up by the "Mastermind." In this case, the app. But there is a twist...
The app displays the response in the form of astrological star signs. So another puzzle for you to solve is, which star sign represents which rune. The only way to deduce this is to scan a different arrangement of the runes. And that is where the other part of the game comes in. Your characters are going to have to do some foot work to collect some Silk Cubes on the planet. Only when you have obtained four and placed them on their alters, you can re-scan the Rune Gate.
Some of the allies and enemy's you encounter on the planet will give you those Silk Cubes. Going over to meet them or attack them will give you the chance to collect this precious items as well as some relics and artifacts.
A hand of cards is all the players need to preform actions on the planet. Moving, Encounters and Sealing the Gate. You play a set of one type of hero card, for example three Eli cards give Eli three actions. Or one card, one action. Move, encounter and scan up to those limits before ending your turn and redraw more cards. Drawing cards is a timer mechanism of the game. Obliged to draw at least one card at the end of your turn keeps the game tense and flowing. As well as the chance to draw a card that works against you...The Red Moon card.
During set up, you will add a number of these cards to the draw deck depending on the level of difficulty you want in game. Adding more Red Moon cards makes the game challenging. For once one is reveled, at the end of the next turn, all enemy's attack. Or something to that effect. The other thing that is working against the heroes is an eclipse. Marked on the board, each combat lost or big attack forced by a Red Moon cards, pushes the sun behind the Red Moon. If this eclipse happens it is also "game over."
With all these odds stacked against you, you may think that this game is extremely hard. But what are heroes with special powers. Each character has the ability to do something cool when activated. Eli can pull back the sun, preventing the eclipse. Nova can attack monsters anywhere on the planet without the consequence of bring the eclipses closer. And most importantly Orakl, who is the only one that can switch runes in the Rune Gate (a very important responsibility).
The game is aimed at family's and plays very quickly, which is great for kids with short attention spans (and adults). And is quite easy to beat, so everyone is a winner. The game encourages team work, collecting items at the right moment, puzzling out the runes and dealing with combat. As combat is a luck of the dice thing, there are ways to bolster the attack, giving more chances to be successful. Placing another hero in the same area can help as well as players sacrificing cards of the same active hero.
The nature of the co-op game makes it susceptible to "Alpha Gamer Syndrome" but at the same time, is a great gateway game for those new to the hobby. Playing openhanded and also being taught while playing are great advantages. And if you have no friends...you can play solo.
All in all, a fantastic production (10/10) from a Holy Grail Games Kickstarter.
But lacking a little in replay-ability, even with 11-12 mini expansions.
This is a game for almost everyone...and their inner child.
Get more information about the game in this video
Hello Chaps and Chapette,
So many things have passed in the past month. More positive and upbeat. Let's start with the finish of a game that I have been helping promote by demoing, reviewing, blogging, chatting and even providing voices for. That is Batman: Gotham City Chronicles. It's not long finished on Kickstarter with a whopping $4.4 million dollars, making it the sixth highest funded board game. And the 24th overall KS.
On top of that, if you missed out, you'll be able to jump on board with a late pledge later in May.
There was also a few other Kickstarters that I was involved with:
Immortal 8 by Sorry We Are French
Chartered: The Golden Age by Jolly Dutch Productions
Chronicles of Crime by Lucky Duck Games
You can find out more these games by clicking the links above, their publishers name in the Shortcut menu to the left of watch the Blog video below.
What is "the Monthly Video?" 0:20
A Review of Reviews 1:32
Chartered: The Golden Age
Chronicles Of Crime
First and the Last 11:52
Mythic Battles: Pantheon
Clank: Sunken Treasure
Catch The Moon
The Monthly Giveaway 30:45
Have you played any of those games? What did you think of them?
And what do you think of the new look BGES? (better that looking at my ugly mug)
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.