For what it's worth, the two times I got to run this game with friends, both scenarios were enough to fill up a 2-3 hour session without things feeling too rushed, though I'd also need to run additional session to make sure this is consistent.
It's not really meant for long sessions in either case.
Funny thing is, I was considering making this a board game during the initial planning stages, but I decided to go with an RPG just because of how games like MAID RPG operate, a very simple game with an easy to understand premise that works well for one shots or an entire campaign if the group decides thanks to how episodic everything is.
Anyways, thank you for the comment, I really appreciate feedback and I'm happy that you enjoyed the game just as much as I did making it.
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For what it's worth, the two times I got to run this game with friends, both scenarios were enough to fill up a 2-3 hour session without things feeling too rushed, though I'd also need to run additional session to make sure this is consistent.
Brand Name Bloodshed is a gambling board game where players take on the role of faceless corporations, whose job is to make bets and reap advertisement revenue from various teams who are participating in a violent blood sport for the entertainment of billions.
Potential: I would be lying if I said that this particular genre of game actually appealed to me personally, but for those who enjoy the thrill of gambling and weighing your options before each and every decision you make to gain more money for less risk, this is the game for you!
Mechanics: While an initial read-through might leave you scratching your head the first time you read it, the actual rules for the game are relatively straight-forward once you've sat down and looked at how the cards interact with the actual state of the board. The long and short of how the game works is as such; you will randomly distribute 16 teams between 8 round one matches, reveal an arena card for each match, and then move on the gambling phase for each individual match as each time fights one another in a bid for glory and survival. The goal of the game is to bet advertising points on winning teams, gain additional market share, and ultimately profit from the violence taking place in the death matches below by betting on as many winning teams as possible.
Presentation: The presentation for this game is fairly top notch. Each team within the game is given a unique card, icons used for highlight/arena cards are crisp, clear, and easy to follow, and the presentation used for the actual text is of similar quality. If there really was a sore spot that I could bring up, it's that the tracking sheet and tournament brackets are comparably flat, but it isn't enough to hamper the overall quality that was put into the presentation as a whole.
Theme: The concept of playing businessmen as they try to profit from the bloody demise of others is a concept that I honestly don't see done too often. Usually, the focus is on the individuals actually participating in the ring or a 3rd party operating outside of it with the goal being to either save a competitor or shut down the games for good. In this game, your only pursuit is in the name of cold, hard cash, which is actually a fairly unique setup for a gambling game overall.
Overall: Brand Name Bloodshed is a game that takes the usual setup for gladiatorial blood sports and turns it on its head. If you enjoy games where you get to weigh the odds and experience that gambler's high from winning big from a risky bet then this game is for you!
Graboid Hunter has you take on a role that's exactly what it says on the tin. You and your friends are tasked with hunting Graboids, pre-cambrian monstrosities that are known for causing mayhem and destruction within the "Tremors" series who are infamous for evolving into deadlier forms with each subsequent sequel.
Potential: The potential is fairly high for this game since it has six movies and a series to draw inspiration from. The concept of using coins to resolve conflicts as a player, while the GM uses dice for the enemy whose value can be hidden or rolled openly depending on whether the titular graboid is underground or not.
Mechanics: The overall mechanics for the game were honestly a tad confusing the first time I read it, due in part to spelling and grammatical issues that made it difficult to understand how certain rules worked until I sat down and reread the passage until something clicked. Once you get over the initial hurdle however, it's a pretty simple and straight-forward resolution mechanic. The GM rolls a die for the Graboids while the players put down coins (dimes, nickels, quarters, etc.) in order to exceed the value of the roll. Whichever side has the lower value gets a defeat, which can lead to death if one side earns too many of them (typically 1-3), though any change that you put down is lost between rounds due to Graboids finding ways to work around your tactics. Graboids have different variants that each roll their own dice pool and also offers their own rewards in the form of pennies (used to buy equipment and weapons later on) in order to hunt more Graboids and reap more rewards for doing so.
Presentation: While it's certainly not the most exciting presentation I've seen, it also serves its purposes well enough as far as making sure that all the information presented is organized in a way that makes it easy to find information. With that being said, the game still has a lot of dead space throughout its presentation, there's instances where gaps will appear randomly between paragraphs, not to mention the aforementioned spelling/grammar mistakes that makes it difficult to understand the organization of the rules at times. It's certainly nothing that cannot be fixed later on, but as far as what I've seen, it could really use some work in this aspect specifically.
Theme: As far as the theme goes, it does succeed in evoking the overall tone of the "Tremors" films both in its narration and the way that it presents and explains its mechanics. Some passages really reflects the feeling present throughout the film, juxtaposing the horrifying brutality in how people can routinely be dispatched by Graboids alongside humor that made the films so memorable in the first place.
Overall: While Graboid Hunters is indeed rough around the edges in terms of its mechanics and how it chooses to present it, it should not dissuade those who have even a casual understanding of the "Tremors" films from at least giving it a chance.
Somnian Stalkers has you take on the role of an operative, whose job is to enter the dreams of others in order to perform actions that help or harm others by inserting, extracting, or destroying information within the dream in order to affect the dreamer in subtle, but profound, ways.
Potential: The game offers a lot of potential both in the concepts being presented and the way that players can affect the dreams of others. The nature of missions can vary from interrogating figures within the dream, assassinating characters found within the dream to alter aspect of the dreamer, or locating an object within the dream to discover its hidden meaning, just to name a few. The concept of entering someone's dream and being either a defender or invader of the subconscious of others is a concept that, while not entirely unique on its own, offers a wealth of possibilities that deserve to be explored fully at a later date.
Mechanics: The mechanics for affecting the dreams of others is simple, straightforward, and about as profound and interesting to utilize in play as they are in concept. Character creation involves you having to answer a brief questionnaire, where the answer to each question not only grants you a +1 to an action/humor, but also helps give insight into who your character is before they delve into the dreams of others. Rolling involves rolling 3d6 and adding one action and one humor of your choice, where the combination thereof can have many different effects depending on the action that you're using and the aspect that you're altering based on the humor being used. The way that damage affects how many dice you roll/keep is a nice touch that cuts down on the amount of math required to play, while also selling the idea that while your physical form isn't being harmed, the dream is still affecting you in ways that can affect your overall performance. The way that one can theoretically cause distortions within the dream world that can do anything from generating the operator's deepest fears to seeing the visage of someone your character killed appearing throughout the dream. While the groundwork for many possible interactions are here, it still feels as though the book is missing some aspects of how its rules are supposed to work, specifically in how one who wishes to run the game would generate a dream or hostile entities for players to interact with, destroy, or alter during the course of a session.
Presentation: The Presentation on display here is pretty top notch. The white text is easy to read and contrasts sharply against the purple background and also helps to evoke a quiet night. The font used for this project also evokes a feeling of mystery, with how some of the text used in the headers are wavy like thin trails of smoke, while still being clear enough to read at a casual glance.
Theme: The game's theme is an ever-present concept that shapes everything about the game, similarly to how a character's actions and humors help shape the ways that an operative can interact with a dream. The concept of using the four humors as a means of resolving actions within the dream world is something that I haven't seen done very often, and the actions that you can use to alter a dream also grants a wealth of possibilities in play, especially with how open-ended the game presents itself.
Overall: Somnian Stalkers is an excellent game that really does evoke the profound, distinct, mysterious, and sometimes terrifying aspects of dreams and how one would attempt to alter one to either help or hinder a target.
So, I gotta admit, I don't think I've ever heard of a concept like this before, and that is far from a bad thing. You're playing a game where an army of lumberjacks are trying to take out an army of druids, what's not to love with this scenario?
As far as the mechanics go, it was all very well organized and easy to understand. You have a list of units to control, you roll a d6 while adding a modifier from one of your stats, and you compare the final result to a threshold determined by the enemy's stats. Bing, bang, boom, it's wonderful. The only real gripe I had with this game was that ranged attacks focused on trying to roll under the threshold while melee attacks focused on trying to roll over the threshold. While there's nothing necessarily wrong with this combat structure, I could see it being confusing the first few times you play, especially since the criteria for crits changes depending on whether you're rolling a ranged attack or a melee attack.
As far as the artwork is concerned, the author really was on point when it came to the artwork for both the cover and the sample card text. Everything in the book is organized and easy to read, the font choices really helps sell the concept well as you read through the entries for each unit, especially the one font that made it looked like it was covered in snow. If there was honestly one gripe I had with the visuals, it was that there was unfortunately a lot of dead space, as in, some pages just kinda end partway through while leaving the bottom half of the page completely blank, which is kind of a shame but not necessarily anything too major that ruins the overall great visuals on display here.
Overall, with a unique premise, a simple yet complex ruleset, and the opportunity to draw your own cards (assuming you don't take advantage of the fact that the artist is offering his artistic skills to anyone who is interested), this game comes highly recommended.
So before I get into this, I would like to preface by stating that I have little to no experience on wargames and how they play overall.
With that being said, I couldn't really find much about the game that really stood out to me as being incredibly flawed or broken. The mechanics are relatively straight-forward and the sheer amount of tokens that you can use is impressive, even if the graphics on some the tokens are tad minimalist. The cards used to show off what each individual unit can do was a nice touch though, very organized and told you everything that you needed to do. Finally, the four factions seemed very interesting to look into at a later date, what with it being a war between necromancers, freemen, aliens, and monstrosities that are basically "John Carpenter's: The Thing"
If there was honestly any flaw that I could comment on, it was that some pages had a lot of dead space in them, but other than that, the overall package was organized and the aethetics used for the pages on the book were a nice touch, really evoking the idea of looking at an old document that somehow managed to survive a war.
Anyways, if you're someone who appeciates wargames and is looking for something new to try, give this game a try.
So going into this blind, I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't intimidated by its size in comparison to some of the other entries on this list. However, once I dove into it (while realizing that it was a prototype with at least half its pages missing) the game was relatively straight forward in both its explanations and its mechanics. In short, I was impressed.
The mechanics of the game are straightforward, each action you do gives you the opportunity to earn EXP for those skills, skills in and of themselves can have special abilities inside them that offer additional options to your character, you earn 1 stat point in each category (physical, mental, and social) which can used on any stat that falls under that category, while spells cost energy and mana to produce but you can also advance them the same way that you would a weapon or skill, which allows even a simple spell like heal to gain additional perks further down the line.
The visuals are on point, even taking into account that some pages are blank as a result of being "backer rewards." The artwork for the game is simple, colorful, yet surprisingly detailed, especially in the section that offers setting info on the deities and races beyond that seen in the character creation section. Everything is neatly organized into clearly understood charts, abilities have a simple flowchart that shows how each step of advancement works without cluttering up the page the way that most other games unfortunately do when it comes to using flowcharts, and the game has minimal amounts of dead space, meaning that every time a page is used, practically all of it is used to give the players details on either the rules or the setting. There are some instances where I thought that game could've been slightly better organized however (like I feel as though character creation should go before the basic rules for example) but none of this necessarily takes away from how good the visuals are right out the gate.
Overall, there's not much else to say. If this is what the half-finished version looks like, I'm looking forward to seeing what the finished product will look like further on down the line.
So overall, you really can't go wrong with a concept like this and the artwork on display here only becomes the cherry atop the sundae.
The mechanics are simple and easy to understand, with the basic premise being that you're attempting to stage a prison escape while dodging catgirls, robots, and robotic catgirls who are trying to recapture you while you make your way towards freedom. You try to fight off the guards by having the highest number, with some items and abilities giving you an edge depending on the type of enemy you're fighting. Overall, nothing you can't really get after a quick once-over on the rules.
The visuals in this game are honestly pretty great, even if it's just a prototype atm. Characters are distinct, adorable, and memorable, items run the gamut from expected (shotguns, cattle prods) to amusing (laser pointers that prevent an enemy from attacking), and all the text listed therein is clear, organized, with minimal dead space and an art style that I would love to see more of if the game ever gets an expansion at some point in the future.
Overall, you generally can't go wrong with monstergirls in general, but the mechanics, artwork, and comedy displayed therein really makes it a hard game to pass up if you're in the mood for a card game to play during a game night or two.
So coming into from the perspective of one who doesn't play wargames myself, I really can't think of any inherent flaws with either the concept or the mechanics. Lighter frames move faster but heavier units can carry more equipment to attack with. certain abilities generate heat which gives you more abilities depending on your equipment at the cost of reducing your character's dice pool for the turn, different weapons hit on different values that you roll on the dice, it's all pretty straight-forward, even for those who aren't very familiar with wargames as a concept.
The visuals of the game were a bit choppy admittedly, with some entries on the equipment page missing spaces or having a handful of typos and some sentences really needed to be turned into a new line since it caused some entries to read like a literal block of text that make it hard to read at times, especially when all the text is centered on top of everything else.
Overall though, it's a pretty good game. While I cannot recommend to any one particular group due to my own inexperience with wargames, I can at least recommend that those of you who are looking for something to introduce themselves to the hobby with, this game is a good place to start, even if it is a tad rough around the edges in some regards.
So as far as the concept is concerned, it's a pretty interesting premise. Taking the role of a faction trying to defend itself from both a war on three fronts; a war between other factions, a war against creatures of the Wyrd, and a war between the machines that rival factions will send out to destroy you.
The gameplay kinda reminds me of Magic the Gathering with a twist, being that you can use discard cards from the hand in order to activate cards that you put from the hand to the field. I really enjoyed this mechanic because it allowed players to focus on a resource without necessarily having to worry about said resource taking up valuable space in the deck, which actually kinda reminds me of Duel Masters in a way now that I think about it. I also enjoyed how combat was designed so that a card could only affect a creature that was to the left or right of it and how the position of cards also determined whether or not you could even attack a specific monster at all. Also, the emphasis of decking an opponent out really tied into the concept of you literally running out of time, especially since to my personal recollection, milling was more-or-less an alternative way to win, rather than the focus of a core mechanic, so point for originality on that front.
Unfortunately, I had to really say that visuals hurt the product. If the flaws in visuals was limited to the cards themselves then I wouldn't have been so harsh on it, but unfortunately my problem has more to do with the layout of the game than any quality (or lack thereof) in the prototype cards.
The picture used on the "anatomy of the game" is really cluttered. It took me a while to understand how the game board was actually supposed to work and it mostly had to do with the fact that everything was too close together and a lot of shapes overlapped with one another. If the author spaced everything out and used the dark blue square in the center to represent the tabletop (while keeping the shapes representing the player's hand outside of it) then I think it would've translated better.
Some of the shapes used on the card mockups are off-center and inconsistent in size and line thickness, sometimes text blocks will overlap with some of the text written in the document (though thankfully not to a point where it makes the overall text hard/impossible to read), and there is unfortunately a lot of dead space present all throughout the document.
With that being said however, the anatomy of the actual cards is clear and easy to follow, with the cost being in the top left, the power of the creature is clearly visible in the space next to the creature's type, and the space reserved for rules text appears large and spacious enough to cover the rules that will come into play once the game gets out of the conceptualized stage. If there was one thing that I would suggest, maybe make the burn cost appear in the lower right corner of the card, outside of the space for rules text (maybe even reduce the size of the rules text to accommodate this change as well) and the reason I say this is because having the cost in the lower right of the card would make it easier to parse the burn cost more easily during play (since generally, people will read something in a "Z" like pattern by default) and it would help to eat up some of the dead space going on in the lower right hand corner of the card.
Overall, it's a fine prototype and I would love to see what you come up with in the future once you have more time to really finalize what the cards themselves will actually be. With enough time and effort spent and a few tweaks to the technical aspects of the visuals, I could see it becoming a highly recognizable game in its own right. Keep it up.
This card game evokes the idea of being a group of hooligans, rebels without a cause, sticking it to the man and getting away with murder for the sake of sticking it to an omnipresent eye in the sky who keeps watch over the denizens of the city.
The mechanics on display here are fairly simple, you take a group of thugs, occupy territories, maybe take out a cop or two along the way (as you do) and ultimately influence the state of city into either one of pure anarchy where the strongest gang reigns supreme, or a dystopia where the eyes in the sky have gained all the power.
The visuals on display are admittedly basic, but do their job in presenting the text and mechanics in a clear and easy to understand way, with any flaws or typos in the game not doing enough to influence the overall the work one way or another.
Overall, would recommend to those who enjoy deckbuilder games.
Blackjack with a twist, this game has you taking on the role of a secret agent, assailing a train car full traps, mooks, and twists that exist to complicate the nature of your mission.
If you've ever played blackjack, you already understand the bulk of how this game will work. However, the twists that you find along the way are what really makes this game a must, even if you only play it once. The type of situations you can get into change depending on the cards you add to your hand, which can be anything from a hermetically sealed train car that floods with water, mobsters, seductive sirens, and more.
The visuals really help to sell both the game's roots and I especially liked the cover. All the text is organized and clear to read and all the information you need to know is properly conveyed to the reader, with proper emphasis given to the terms that required it. The only flaw that I could honestly note was that some of text within the tables could've been centered, but it isn't enough to really affect the visuals in a substantial way.
Overall, pretty good game. Would highly recommend to those who enjoy playing blackjack or those who would like to have another singleplayer option for their playing cards that isn't just solitaire.
So right off the bat, pretty interesting premise. I'm not really one who is all that familiar with dominoes but the concept of using dominoes to fill out an expansive dungeon full of monsters, traps, and special locations brings back a lot of fond memories of playing "Betrayel on the House on the Hill" for the first time, only this time everyone knows who is dead before anything spooky happens.
The mechanics are very simple to get a grasp on and every crypt feature listed gives a brief description that properly conveys what the feature actually does. Every crypt feature adds a new dynamic to the dungeon and how players are expected to progress and the nature of the game allows every playthrough to be unique, adding to its replay value.
The visuals are cute, distinctive, and well drawn. The text is neatly organized. I love the thick black outlines used all throughout for the characters and images for the crypt features, and each image offers a lot more detail than you'd expect for the art style, such as the images used for the [thief] and [scavenger] symbol. The only gripe I have with the art is that some of the art is off-center a bit and sometimes the text wrapping effect causes the image to clip a little bit into the text, but these flaws don't hurt the overall quality of the visuals, which is well above average.
Overall, an excellent entry that I would highly recommend to others to try, if only for the mechanics and the aesthetics alone.
The game starts off strong with an interesting concept and a name that tells you all you need to know about the game. It doesn't waste any time in drawing you in and the game knows exactly what it's trying to be.
The dice mechanic took a little while to click for me but aside from that, the combat mechanics and the mechanics for downtime were simple, but very effective. I liked how players had the ability to predict what the orc was doing and plan their turns out around that prediction. I'm a sucker for mechanics that encourage teamwork and having six actions that each contributes something to the overall effectiveness of the group was a very nice touch. I liked how the hope mechanic encouraged a satisfying risk vs. reward system where fighting stronger orcs made it that much easier to trigger a revolt and how each rest action gave players not only a mechanical benefit, but also some flavor to really get players into the mindset of someone who is fighting against their will for the amusement of malevolent creatures.
The visuals are on point. A simple use of black, white, magenta, cyan, and yellow really gives the book a distinctive flair. Everything is clear and easy to read, the use of boxes vs. frames helps to distinguish the core rules from the side notes, and the character sheet does its job in reminding you all that you'd need to remember to play the game. If there's any flaw to the visuals, it'd be that there's a lot of dead space, especially on the character sheet, but that in and of itself doesn't do enough to drag down its overall quality.
Overall, this game comes highly recommended. The snappy visuals, excellent flavor, simple but rewarding mechanics, and in-your-face concept really helps to make it a standout game for anyone who wants to play through an underdog story where you overcome the odds in spite of mounting adversity.
It took a bit for everything to click for me but once it did, I found that the game had a very interesting premise that took the foundations of chess, while adding just enough variables to the mix to have it really stand out on its own merits.
The mechanics are simple, but the strategy involved makes for a very interesting game of back-and-forth, with the control points offering an additional win-condition in order to allow a player to determine which targets get the highest priority, as well as each piece receiving a unique ability to really make players stop and consider how they want to synergize their abilities together.
On the other hand, the game's visuals leave a lot to be desired, though I also understand that it was less an issue with the author and moreso technical difficulties that came up during the conversion process. With that being said, the text is still clearly arranged and all the mechanical information is properly conveyed to the reader.
Overall, this game is a fine variant to the chess formula. Would recommend to chess and board game enthusiasts alike.
This is a pretty good game and I really enjoyed it.
I loved the card game setup mixed with roguelike combat, I loved how some cards could chain into one another (like the one that allows you to teleport yourself or another unit to another tile within range and the spell that allowed to turn enemies into allies), I like how some cards allowed you to reposition yourself while also allowing you to attack within the same turn, and I liked how the card setup worked out, where you could cast multiple spells in one turn if you had the action points to spend for it.
The only problems I noticed was one glitch where the caster enemy tried to make an ally slime for me and the purple ball thing just jittered across the screen (and sometimes offscreen as well) until I decided to close the game and I felt as though the enemy A.I. was a bit too passive (but also recognize that it could just be the fact that they're starting level enemies rather than enemies that are designed to be aggressive from the oneset).
Overall, pretty good game, I love the concept, and I can't wait to see what more you add to it later on.