Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Player Characters (PCs); Building a Campaign to Last

Hullo!

MK here with this weeks MK Tabletop Talk! As this is the third week in a row, and only days left to enter, if you haven't heard about the MKTabletop.com International Tabletop Day Giveaway click here! All you need to read is the first paragraph with all the details.
 Now on to the business at hand...

This week we add to our "Tackling Tough Topics" library with: Player Characters (PCs); Building a Campaign to Last.

A lot of players, when looking at their next Role Playing Game (RPG) Campaign, go straight to what character they are going to play and how powerful a character they can build. I get it.
Everyone wants to be able to show off their ability to make a character build that stands out. Some people go for the "Tank" delivering huge amounts of damage while taking hits that would out-right kill lesser people. Others aim to be the most powerful magic wielder; slinging spells that always happen to be just right for the situation. This might be an important part of the game for you, but it certainly is not the first thing you should think about. You see, if you want to build a character in a campaign that will stand the test of time, there are much more important things to consider. When building a campaign you have to ask yourself: How long will we be playing? What is the world/Story I will be playing in? Who else is going to be playing? What is my story/how can I add to the experience? With all of this considered, what would be most fun for me to play?

How long will we be playing?
If you do not have a solid base for the game to start on, much like the Jenga tower in the picture here, it will topple and fall. Maybe it isn't fun because you built a character who can disappear at will in any outdoor area, but your campaign takes place inside a dungeon. Perhaps your character excels at talking their way into places and out of problems, but another character always rushes into everything with their Axe raised never giving you the opportunity to show your stuff. Regardless of what you think, the true reason the game has gone stale is that you didn't create a solid base, as a group, to build upon.
Had you talked to Axe wielding barbarian PC prior to the start of the game, one of you might have been persuaded to play a more complimentary class. If you had spoken with your GM about the campaign, you would know that playing a character more fit for underworld activities would be a better choice. Communication is key in the creation process. The GM is the most critical role in this. One of my favorite sessions of any game is the very first one. We hold what is called the "Creation Session". We get together and do much of the building of the foundation of the game together.

What is the World/Story I will be playing in?
Many pre-fab Campaigns come with a situational set-up that was written for the PCs. It gives them a feel for the world they live in and a basic idea of what adventure they are about to embark upon. Think of it like reading the back of the first book in series. It tells you nothing big about the series or the long-term plot lines, just enough to get you hooked into the story. Allowing players access to this before this session is always a good idea in my opinion! It lets them start to get a feel for the story and think about their place in it. Not everyone is capable of writing their backstory off the top of their head in one session. In fact, most people are not capable of this until they have had a LOT of practice at it. So allowing them a chance to think about the material before expecting a full detailed version of their previous life goes a long way. As a player, it is your job to take this information and truly think about it! This is the foundation of your story. This is the world you live in and the information you have. What is your favorite part of it? How can you use this to weave your PC into the world? But don't bust out your character sheet just yet...

Who else is going to be playing?
While this should never matter, we all know it does. As much as we would like to say that there is always party balance like the old Classic Party you see here, we also know that some players play certain types of characters. There is that guy who always plays the strength based character and picks fights, even with the good guys. There is the girl who always plays a rogue with secrets that she never tells. Sometimes the character has been white-washed over the player themselves. There are quite a few folks I have gamed with that always have a different set of skills, feats and powers, but they somehow always end up playing the same person. They are picking fights even though they are playing a character that excels at diplomacy. Knowing the people playing will go a long way to assuring your enjoyment of the game. If you know that they are going to play character X, than you also know how you would get the most enjoyment out of playing off of their character. Do you put a spell on the barbarian lulling them to sleep shortly after entering the bar to make sure you actually get to talk to your contact before it turns into a brawl? Or do you make a character that excels at hand to hand combat and grappling so you can subdue your contact in the chaos of the brawl? Knowing who is playing, how they play, and what they are likely to want to play in this particular story can really help you hone in on what is going to be the most fun over time.

What is my story/how can I add to the experience?
Do keep in mind that while there are more people at the table, you write your story. No puzzle is complete without every piece intact. Your role may be obvious. You might have an angle that is more of an X-factor than a traditional party role. What ever the case, these are your pieces of the story to define. What part of the epic tale are you? Are you playing the dirty beggar that turns out to be the King of a fallen tribe? Are you a small-time cleric who suddenly finds himself thrust into a life of service in the field? The GM always has a say, so if you do plan to be the bastard son of the main villain looking to extract your revenge on your father for the death of your mother, you should run that by them. You don't always have to be driven by some twisted back story either. Some of the best role playing I have seen were characters that really had no business being on a quest, but somehow fell into it kinda like Bilbo Baggins. The big part comes more with the second half of the question. If you want to play this game long-term, you need to only be adding to the story and making sure that you do not take away from the story of anyone else. Don't be the charging barbarian when your diplomatic cleric is trying to sway the enemy.

What would be most fun for me to play?
If everyone else is really into the game but you feel like you got stuck into a role you didn't want to play you are not going to have much fun. Don't let yourself end up like this guy on the right. Everyone immersed into the world of the game while you stand back reading your book. Only there in the room, not a part of the story. If you are joining a game already in process and it is strongly hinted that the party could use a healer, it is your role. You get to write it. Sure you may not be picking the exact class you wanted, but you do get to create the character. One of our players is an Oracle with the "Haunted" aspect. He is literally followed by spirits that grant him powers. Sure, he mechanically functions as our main source of healing, but he also made a deal with a Giant Fireworm and has become the Harbinger of Cindermaw wielding powerful spells. He had a drug problem that lead to his connection with the other side and pretty much created the powers he wields. So, "party needs a healer" does not always have to mean put on the white robes and wave your holy symbol around. You have to assure, no matter what role you fall into that you write a character that you will have the most fun playing. Story has no rule book. If it does not change the mechanics, nor alter the story too drastically, story it up! Don't limit yourself to the stereotype.

The Creation Session
The GM has provided you the basics of the world, and the premise of the story. You know who is going to be at the table with you, and their play-style. You have your story basics and have thought about your addition to the game. You know what you would have the most fun playing. It is time to have your creation session! Everyone will be bringing their input as well, so be ready to be flexible.
In most cases the GM will have had time to communicate with everyone individually to help guide the process and offer suggestions, and in some cases tell a player that they can NOT in fact play a God in disguise, just to have fun with the mortals. So this should be an easy and fun session.
Pick your role
It is time to discuss party balance and what roles people want to fill. Keep in mind that if you have the basics of your story you should be able to write any role into it. If you went right into the detail of defining class and feats and skills and everything, be sure that this has been communicated. It helps others decide another path if they know that one is already being walked. Why have two damage focused sorcerers? It might give you magic superiority, but if you get surrounded by well trained swords you are not going to last long. What am I saying? Have an idea, not an image and you will be able to mold anything into your role. If you have your image, show the role specific parts of it to the group to help them narrow down theirs. After the roles have been decided you can apply everything to your character sheet officially building your character. This part can feel like it takes forever to someone who came to the session with a pre-built character. If this is you, help others! Look up rules for them or help keep track of the process so they don't miss anything. The GM needs to be available to everyone to answer questions that are story or world specific to help everyone tailor their character to this one single campaign. Now that you have your corner stones. It's time to lay that foundation!
Building the Foundation of the Game
They say the foolish man built his house upon the sand. Sand is just tiny pebbles all in the same place. There is nothing binding them together. Some gaming groups I have played with have this exact feel. Every PC trying to one-up each other. All of them trying to play the stand-off-ish mysterious one. Too tough to tell anyone anything about themselves. Not willing to trust anyone. If the foundation has nothing binding it, just like this sand under the Leaning House of Beachfront here, it will erode. It will begin to fall apart. The entire campaign you have been building will crumble into a sandpit. I know these are all individuals. They might even have some great reason why they act the way they do, but they never tell us. We never get to know them beyond the sword they swing, or the spells they sling. Why would your character travel with these guys? Nothing is holding you there. Don't force the GM to create a reason you have to work together. Find these reasons yourselves. Let the GM work on taking four or more back stories and weaving them into the story they already have planned. This will be best for everyone!
My suggestion on getting the PC pot to meld? Group backstory. There are many different ways you can achieve this. It will not alter anyone's preexisting story, it will just give the group itself some story. My preferred way of doing this is by using Story Dice, Action Dice and/or Voyage Dice depending on the story you are about to tell. Basic Story Dice is fine for any situation. Action Dice are great if you have an action based group like a military patrol, or a group of competitive martial arts students. The Voyages set is great if they have had to do any traveling together before the campaign starts, like if they are all from a northern Viking-style tribe but the Campaign lies in the southern portion of the continent.
Each player around the table takes a turn rolling the dice and telling a tale of something the group has done together. It can be the entire party, or only two members, but it can not be a solo story. Just look at the pictures on the dice and string them together to tell the tale. The GM roles too! They can add story hooks into the campaign tying together two or more players that might not normally like each-other. If you are having as much fun with it as we do, you might even go around the table more than once! This adds depth to the relationships in the party and to the game as a whole. This is a foundation built upon the rocks. You have taken all of the tiny pebbles everyone has thrown into the bucket and added a binding agent to create concrete rather than sand. There are some fun story telling card games that can also accomplish this. If your group is good at story telling in general you could have everyone write a single word on a slip of paper and string them together to create the group backstory.
The part I like most about this? You get to skip the old tired "You walk into the local tavern and see..." scene. Most of the time that scene only exists to get the characters together in a group. You just did that with more depth, history and creativity than you would have been able to do by seeing the "Slender shape in the corner with a hood drawn up so you never actually see their face", or the "Biggest wall of a man you have ever seen pounding pints like water". Those are two-dimensional first impressions that only tell us how the PC wants to be seen. That can be easily accomplished before you role your first set of dice by everyone describing their characters.
Next time you and your group are ready to start a new campaign, do your best to create the perfect foundation for all involved. Take the time to contemplate the long-term game. Write a character that not only fits the role it mechanically needs to, but tells the story you want them to tell. I can never say it enough, you are a character in the story, you are not the story. Everyone has their piece to add. It might be the job of the GM to guide the story, but you help create and mold it along the way. Do yourselves a favor and assure you are building a campaign to last!

What do you think about this method? Have you tried something that worked really well for you or your group? Feel free to share with us in the comments!

Until next time ...Game On! -MK

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

MK Game Review; Firefly: Out in the Black

Hullo!

Yup, it's time for another addition to the MK Tabletop Talk Blog series! MK here. Again we will start this off with the "word from our sponsor" bit. If you read it last week kindly disregard and scan down past the contest info. If you missed it, read on! There are two great chances to win the Board Game of your choice.

MKTabletop.com is celebrating International Board Game Day on April 30th. They are doing two separate Board Game Giveaways, both are focused on their Social Media Fans/Followers.

1) Log-onto the MKTabletop.com Facebook Page and "Like" the page. Got that? Now pop on over to the MKTabletop.com web site and take a look at the Board Game selection. Find one you really like and post it on the MK Tabletop Facebook Page Timeline. Make sure to let everyone know why you picked the game!
  
2) Log on and find @MKTabletopTalk on Twitter. Become a follower. Again, find a game from MKTabletop.com you want and give it a tweet with the #MKTabletop! 
These are two separate chances to win! If you haven't done both, feel free to get your two chances to win in no later than the end of day April 29th. On the Afternoon of April 30th (International Board Game Day), in a traditional Tabletop fashion (AKA: rolling some dice) a winner will be chosen and announced!
OK. Back to our MK Tabletop Talk! Game Review; Firefly: Out in the Black from Toy Vault

This week I had a chance to replay another Firefly game! I know I did a review of the Firefly: Tall Card Game just a few short weeks ago, but this game holds only one thing in common with the Tall Card Game; it is based on the TV series Firefly. Aside from that this game is different in just about every way. Yes, I know, it too is a Card Game. That is why I said "just about" every way. ;)
In Firefly: Out in the Black, you get to take on the role of one of the crew members of the ship Serenity. There are aspects of this game that truly lend to the feel of the show! First and foremost, it makes use of a quickly growing (and my personal favorite) niche in the Tabletop Games Realm, the co-operative play style. Each player using their chosen character will be working together to complete jobs. The cards in the Job Deck are fashioned from jobs done on the show, so if you happen to be a fan as big as I am it will re-spark the desire to sit down and watch the show from start to unfortunate finish ...again. 
We start with the "Prospect Phase". Only the Leader acts in this phase. There is a common pool of "Credits" and "Honor" that all crew members will be sharing. Any player is free to use the pool at their own discretion. These spendable resources give you the chance to use your character specific abilities that will be needed to complete the job. Don't get too ahead of yourself! If you run out of Credits or Honor before you have completed EVERY job in the pile, you all lose. We found out pretty fast just how quickly those resources can be spent. Cards that read Prospect Phase can now be played from your hand, credits and/or honor may be spent to activate phase appropriate abilities, or you can choose to use your one-shot character game ability, again only if it reads the correct phase. I should re-iterate one-shot as in one use only during the entirety of the game.
Now the "Job Phase". There are three aspects to every job. You will be looking to hit your target goal in Fightin', Flyin' and Thinkin'. The role of Job Leader rotates around the table. Only the person in the leader role flips over the job card. The job will need a number of players ranging from one (solo) - five. Some cards get removed from the deck depending on how many players you have. No sense in pulling a job that requires five crew members if you only have four around the table! The Leader now chooses who will join them on the job. The leader must always go on the job, but may choose from any of the remaining players up to the amount of people required, to join them. Add up the crews Fightin', Flyin' and Thinkin' skills to see how close you are to meeting your goal.
This next mechanic of the game is the most common complaint from the internet community. Each character has their strong points, or specialties if you will. Players may only play cards face-up that correspond with their characters specialty skill. These cards will add a bonus to one of the three possible goals, and some create "wild" bonuses that can be added to any skill. Now the part that gets the chat forums activated ...you may not tell anyone else what card/s you are playing. Just like in the show, everyone has their secrets. You know their strengths, so it is easier to see when they are doing that for the job represented by the face up cards. However, how did you know that Jayne was going to be the one to add that big bonus to Thinkin'? Seems a bit unpredictable and unexpected, no? This one little rule has plenty of people all in a tiff. "How can you call it a co-op game and then tell me we can't plan together with open knowledge?" Simple folks. If you all win or lose, with no winner above another, it's called cooperative. It's that simple, Gorramit! I tried playing the game in an "open hand" fashion. It becomes much easier to win the game, so unless you plan on adding the alternate rules for making the game harder, just play it the way it was designed! It really does add a fun, unpredictable element to the game. If your characters special ability reads Job Phase, you can use it during this phase!
Next up is the "Aftermath Phase". Looking at the face-up cards, and folks skills might make you think you are doing well. So let's change that! Now the Leader must draw one "Gorramit" card. This card is that one thing that goes wrong no matter how much planning you have put into a job. This could raise the target goals, remove bonus cards from the table, or even make the appearance of the Alliance eminent. Whatever the card brings, you now have to deal with it. Lucky for you, there are three random boosts about to be drawn from the Serenity deck! The Serenity Cards have brown numbers in the lower corner and these are what you will be looking at right now. Three cards drawn, one for each skill. Add the brown number in the corner to your total, reveal all hidden cards, add whatever wild bonuses you have in play where ever you see fit and if your ability reads Aftermath Phase, you can use it now should you choose. This is when you really find out if you actually complete the job, and if so, how well you did. 
Each job has four possible completion levels from "Stunk that Job Up" to "Lookin' Shiny!". If you didn't meet any of the goals, you will suffer some serious repercussions. You might even come face to face with the alliance... On the Job Card, there is a chart that covers the bottom half of the card. This will tell you how well you truly do, as well as give you the results of the job, from what you get payed to how much you owe. Now don't get too excited. This is also where you could possibly meet the Alliance.
If you stunk the job up too bad, the Alliance will come in and make your life even more miserable than if all you had to worry about was going back to tell your contact you failed.
I only encountered a couple of these in our play-through session and every single one of them was serious game changing results in a big, negative way. 
The very first one took half of our Credits and Honor pool. The second added some major penalties to the next job we had to do making it that much harder to succeed. There is not a card in this deck I would like to flip during any given situation in this game. So it makes even more sense that if you get to the bottom of your Alliance Card pile, you lose. As if you needed another way to fail. But hey, life isn't all sunshine and daisies. Especially if you are out floating in the black. Again, a good way to give the game the same feel as the show!
 The Final step is called the "Cool-down Phase". Once you finish figuring out how that last job went you step back and take stock of the Tabletop. If you still have Credits, Honor and Alliance Cards on the table, you can keep flyin'. If all of this is true, and you have no jobs left to do on the table ...you all win! There is a scale that will tell you if you scrape by, do alright, or pull it off all Shiny-like, but let's be honest: a win is a win!

I actually really like this one. One of the biggest draws for me is how the game seems to be designed to mimic the flow and overall feel of the show. From pairing up for a job making what you are sure are the best decisions, through the chaos of trying to get the job done with everything going wrong all the time right to the end where your fear of the looming Alliance is a real and present danger to your cause. If you are not a fan (like that could happen) or are not familiar with the show (how dare you!) have no worries! The overall game play, while odd, has its own unique way of guiding you through an experience like no other. Without knowing the specific references on the cards, there is enough present in the game to keep you in the loop, if not incite some further investigation into this, what was it called? Verse? Prepare to find a new addiction. ;)

So even if you remove the Firefly theme from Out in the Black, I would still call it a very fun addition to the any Tabletop collection. Admittedly, I am a sucker for just about any co-op Tabletop Game, but if you have not had the chance to play Firefly: Out in the Black, check it out! This game receives my highest rating yet, Four Stars!
What games would you like us to review? Let us know! We are happy to review (almost) any game you want to know more about. Like what you read here? We would appreciate the share. ;)

Until next time ...Game On! -MK

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Shaping the Tabletop Industry ...as a Consumer?

Hullo!

MK here with another installment of MK Tabletop Talk. Today we "Tackle a Tough Topic"!

But first a hint of news from MKTabletop.com! April 30th is National Board Game Day. In celebration MK Tabletop  is doing two separate Board Game Giveaways. Both are focused on their Social Media Fans/Followers. First, on the MKTabletop.com Facebook Page, pop on over there and "Like" the page. Next surf on over to the MKTabletop.com web site, look at the Board Game selection for one you like and post it on the Facebook Page Timeline with a note about why you want that game. A second and alternate chance to win, @MKTabletopTalk on Twitter, become a follower head to the site find the Board Game you want to win and give it a tweet with the #MKTabletop.com! All entries must be made no later than the end of day April 29th. On the Afternoon of April 30th, in a traditional Tabletop fashion (The rolling of the dice) a winner will be chosen and announced!

Now that the required advertisement for our sponsor is out of the way...

Tackling the Tough Topics = Shaping the industry as a consumer! I have had a lot of people tell me that they don't buy games. Sometimes it is "I can't find a game I want at a price I am willing to pay". Occasionally it is "Why buy a game when you have plenty for me to play" ...admittedly I do have quite the collection. However, regardless of your reason for not buying Tabletop Games, if you are not buying, than you have absolutely zero say in modern Tabletop Gaming or the future of it.

How can this be true? Allow me to explain. Just like every single other area of the retail world, if it does not sell, it will no longer be made or sold. If there is a game that you absolutely adore, but you do not own it, you are doing the game (as well as yourself) a huge dis-service. One day you may want to play that game again. The friend you knew who owned it either has moved away, or perhaps you two just grew apart. So you start to look for the game in stores. Guess what? It didn't sell well, so they stopped making it. You can't find it anywhere!
Allow me to tell you a short story of woe that I personally experienced. I found a game that I Loved. It was amazing! It was all the awesomeness of D&D in a much more simple Board Game form. It was called HeroQuest.
It was released in 1989. A game style that I have not seen done the same nor as well since. There are good ones out there, but they just lack that ...certain something. It has been suggested that Nostalgia is what makes the difference. I have played it with my bother since and loved it just as much. It stands the test of time. The hardest test to pass! The problem? I looked at it ...and looked at it ...and decided; "My brother owns it, I don't need to spend money on it". Many years later I was reintroduced to it. My brother is now a four hour drive away. I spent hours combing gaming stores in three cities. Nowhere to be found. Finally when I decided to do a little bit of research on the internet I found it. They no longer make the game, you can only buy it from people who are down sizing their collections, or folks who happen to have some copies they have been hoarding for years knowing what was coming. Yes, I did find it. The problem? In order to buy it in "like new" condition it will cost you near $200. I have seen prices as high as $450. I found pieces of the game (only pieces, no board, no rules) for $60-$100. Had I bought the game (we will not say how many years prior) when I first had the chance; $50, brand new & shrink-wrapped. That is like buying a $100 game today. Not to be looked at lightly. The price tag killed the game because it was unheard of to spend that much on a game back then!

Just one example of how we as consumers shape the industry. If we buy something, they will either keep making it, or as we all know imitation is the biggest form of flattery, we will see many others like it start to pop up. I do understand not wanting to pay the price, but in the Board Game world you need to consider the value of entertainment. I will not go over this in depth right now as I have already talked about price vs value in a previous blog (see #5 in How to Pick the Right Game). All I will say is: you will pay $100 for a TV/Anthology collectors set to watch while sitting alone (or possibly with your S.O.), but you will not pay $100 for a game that will entertain you for years to come? So how do we shape the industry as a consumer? The answer could be summed up in one simple phrase; Vote with your Dollars. I want to change the industry we are talking about (just for a moment) in order to show you what I mean.

Do you remember when Organic was really expensive? Look at the industry that did exist and if you compare it to the industry today, you will find a few important differences.
1) Price. In most cases the price has either drastically dropped (by dollar/s per pound/unit) or in an ever inflating retail market, the price has stayed the same.
2) Availability. It used to be that you had to hunt down the local Co-Op, or be close enough to a store like Whole Foods Market in order to find accessible organic foods. Today you will find at least a small, or more commonly vast selection of organic produce and packaged foods in almost every grocery store across the United States. Why?

Because the consumers cast their vote with the almighty dollar. People were willing to go out of their way to find and purchase organic products. The told the retail market: THIS. This is what we want. You too can do the exact same thing in the Tabletop Games market. How? First and foremost, buy what you like! If you love the game and you see it all the time, just buy it! Second, go out of your way to find games you like and buy them. There are plenty of ways to do this. The one I am most familiar with is Kickstarter. There are many great projects going on all the time. The best part of Kickstarter? It is small guys trying to make it in a big guys world. People just like you and me getting people to buy a product before it even exists; just to get it out there. A project that they are so passionate about that they have actually constructed the details and contacted the producer/manufacturer in order to see what it would cost for them to make the game and deliver it to you while not going broke. This is the material we build the foundation of tomorrows Tabletop Games upon. You only fund a project you like. You only fund it for as much, or as little (minimum a dollar in most cases) as you choose. If the project is not funded/does not meet its goal, you are not charged a single penny. So if you love the idea & "buy in" but it does not become a reality, you lose nothing. If you spend some cash for a game that gets funded and delivered that you know you are going to love, you won big on two fronts. You just got an awesome new game, and you told the market: THIS. I want this.

So the only question is, are you going to complain about the options and their price? Or are you going to help shape the Tabletop Games market of tomorrow? ;)

Until next time ...Game On! -MK

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Princess Bride: Storming the Castle Game Review

Hullo!

MK here with another game review. Today we will be dissecting another game based upon a cult classic: The Princess Bride! 

The Princess Bride is on my list of all-time favorite movies! Released in 1987 with what would become an all-star cast (including Pro-wrestling Legend Andre the Giant!) the movie is packed with fantastic displays of sword play, battles of wit, vengeance, romance, humor ...well everything! At one point there is a great storming of the castle and it is this moment applied to a game originally designed by Aaron Watson that creates the Card Game The Princess Bride: Storming the Castle.

Toy Vault first released this game back in 2008 (for those of you who have not seen the film, this game was created 21 years after the movie, that's how good it is!).   It is technically a card game, but many people consider it to be a board game because of the way it plays. Two - Four players can play with about an hour to finish the game. The basic goal of the is to be the first player to get to Prince Humperdinks' castle. Choose between Buttercup, Inigo, Fezzik or Wesley and get ready to see if you can make it down your path to the castle!

 The number of cards on the path is dependent upon the number of players, the more players, the shorter the path. Each path is revealed before you pick your character so you can try to plan ahead (although there is no mechanical difference, only visual, between them). Each player gets five "Tactic Cards" that are either equipment or actions. The equipment cards are needed to get past certain hurdles in your path, like how can you pass over "The Florin Sea" if you have no boat? Actions cards help you alter the path before you or harm other players. A lot of what is in the rule book happens to be clarifications on these cards. If you can't figure out how a card works, check the book!

That being said, one of the major complaints people have about this game are the rules themselves. There is a lot of negative chatter about an inability to understand the rules of play. While some say they could not enjoy the game because they couldn't figure out how to play it, others say that the rules may be simple and not all inclusive, but their simplicity (matched with the beauty of internet clarification rules, seriously guys, it's 2016, log on already) makes this game fun, quick to learn, and easy to play.

Each player gets three actions that they may take in various ways on their turn. Draw a new Tactic Card, play an Action Card or move one tile space. Luckily you can choose what to do with your actions! If you don't have what you need to get past the tile you are on and you do not get the Tactic Card you need on the first draw, you can always draw again! Only three actions, but spend them however you like (that is where strategy comes in). If you are not too worried about moving forward, use your actions to play Action Cards to hinder your competitors!

The layout of the game makes it versatile as far as space requirements go, and while the game is based on a concept of strategy, the random element of luck can cause the most concrete of plans to be reduced to dust. Keep in mind that if you are not the kind of player who likes the constant stab in your side from other players, or prefers not to make deviously unnecessary attacks at others, this game is not for you! There is a high volume of "hurt you because I can" elements to this one.

Again I may be letting my adoration of the base film alter my judgment (see Firefly: Tall Card review), but when you get to shout "INCONCEIVABLE" and "Hello! My name in Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!", or dress up as the Dread Pirate Roberts at the gates to scatter the minions, how bad can a game really be? If you have not seen the film (I try not to judge, but...) the references are lost on you and may take away from the overall experience. Drop everything you are doing right now, and GO SEE IT! 

I will drop a solid Three Stars on this game; as I drink from my glass, and you drink from yours. ;)

 Grab your copy at MKTabletop.com



I leave you with these final words...


Until next time ...Game on! -MK