Back in 2008, I met some people who brought me back into the world of gaming, which I believe I’ve talked a lot about since then.  It started with a return to pen and paper RPGs (which, in all honesty, hadn’t really left, I just only played online), and was quickly followed by boardgaming.

I was pretty satisfied with playing my handful of RPG titles and Arkham Horror, until one day, my friend pointed me at the Fantasy Flight Games website, specifically to look at the game, Android.  Android looked like a really cool game, so I started to look at more games.  I quickly found that I had been stuck in a very narrow world of ‘mainstream’ boardgames.

Fast forward to now.  My closet is pretty much full of games now.  I made some trades with various individuals to get things I wanted in exchange for things they wanted.  With all that said and done, I have more unplayed (by me) games than I do played, I think.  The collection can be viewed here: Boardgame Geek

Thankfully, I was able to play two games for the first time last weekend.

First up was Small World.

The object of Small World is to generate more victory tokens than your opponents in the number of turns available (which varies based on the number of players).  The mechanics of the game are pretty simple, to conquer a territory, you need to attack with 2 more attackers than there are defenders.  Your territory must always have one of your units on it in order to collect victory points for it.

There are a few things that I like about this game.  First, it comes with 4 different maps, each designed for a different number of players, which forces interactions between the players.  The second is the way the races and abilities match together.  There are a number of races, with special abilities, plus additional special abilities that grant additional bonuses.  Finally, the in decline mechanic is neat, which adds a layer of strategy to the game – when should you pull the plug on your current race?  Very neat.

The second game that we played was Pandemic with the expansion, On The Brink.

Pandemic is a co-operative game where the players race against the game to cure 4 (or 5) viruses that are plaguing the world.  Again, a very simple game with simple mechanics, but we found it to be a good challenge.  Each player has a different role, which grants them special abilities.  These roles are assigned randomly at the start of each game.  Through our play, there are clearly a few roles that make the game much easier (Medic, Dispatcher).  The game does a good job of raising tensions, as drawing the wrong card can really make things difficult.  The expansion adds new ways to play, which also ramp up the difficulty.  In three plays, we only won once (which, in hindsight, was luck on our part), which gives the game replay value, as we still have to work on the strategy on how to beat the game.

I really enjoyed both games and I look forward to playing them again in the future.

The Moscow Connection

Last night, I had the opportunity to run my first game using the Savage Worlds (Test Drive Rules) ruleset.  For the game, I decided to run one of the “One-Sheets” that are provided Pinnacle entitled “The Moscow Connection”.  The premise of the game is that the head of the American branch of the Petrovich crime family, Alexy Petrovich, has a problem.  He was directed to ensure a particular container would clear customs and have it delivered to its destination by 6am tomorrow.  Alexy was able to get his cousin a job at the docks, ensuring that the deal would go down smoothly.  The ship was due hours ago, but Alexy has not heard from his cousin and he isn’t answering his cell.  Its 11:30pm and Alexy needs to get the cargo to its destination, or his family will face dire consequences.

I don’t want to write out the entire session, but I did want to give a few notes about Savage Worlds.

First, the card based initative is FANTASTIC.  Each round, all involved in combat are delt a card.  The GM then runs through the ranks (A through 2, jokers are wild!) with actions.  So with this mechanic, you might be last in one round but first in the next.  I think it leads to a fantastic way to keep combat fresh and exciting.

Second, the system itself is exactly what it describes itself as.  FAST!  FURIOUS!  FUN!  Conflict resolution is extremely quick.  The possibility for character death is very real.

I’d like to do up a bit of a better review of the system, but I’d like to give it a go through using a different setting, just to give the rest of the rules a try.  The system is designed to handle anything you throw at it.  From what I’ve seen in the rules, it does that with ease.  Pinnacle does a great job supporting the game with free one-sheets and other downloadable content and providing some extremely interesting settings.  The fan community has converted pretty much anything you can think of to work with Savage Worlds.  Third-party products also look very interesting.

In short, Savage Worlds is awesome.

Cold City: Actual Play

Last month, I gave my First Impressions of Cold City. At the EGA’s Horror Night, I had the pleasure of running it for the first time. I have to say, I really enjoyed myself and I think my players had a good time too. I’ll save my comments for the end of the review of my session. To aid in my adventure creation, I also purchased the Cold City Dossier (PDF from IPR) – I was really impressed with what I had received in this supplement, including details for distressing documents myself. A very exciting supplement indeed!

I’m going to follow Lakira’s example and put character information in first, followed by the actual events of the game. In my haste to finish everything, I did not take copies of the character sheets, so I am unable to post those for reference, but as trust did not really come into play, I don’t think seeing those details about the characters as being crucial.

Onto the: Continue reading