Archive for the ‘Board games’ Category

Return of the Reactor! After long last, I’m back. Mostly because their is just TOO MUCH GOOD STUFF to not tell you about it. So, here, in order of end date, are the Kickstarters that caught my eye.

Wayfarer Tactics ends September 28th. A toolbox miniature war game. Supports just about anything you want to throw at it.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 ends September 30th. Sequel to the award winning Divinity: Original Sin. Single player and multi player options. Heavy on the RP!

Mech Deck ends October 1st. Customizeable tabletop mech combat using dice, cards, and a hex based terrain system.

Burrows & Badgers Freelances ends October 5th. More anthropomorphic animal miniatures for a fantasy setting. An under served niche to be sure! This time, with a skirmish game.

Dark Age Outpost ends October 6th. A VERY reasonable price for some nice looking fortifications as well as historical minis.

Battle Chasers: Nightwar ends October 10th. I have to be perfectly honest. I have NO idea what this is based on. A lot of my friends are excited about it, though, and it certainly LOOKS cool. JRPG with action elements.

Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan ends October 20th. Sidescrolling action RPG inspired by African folklore. The unique setting is a great change of pace.

Warpath ends October 11th. Mantic. Sci-fi. You know what you are getting. Don’t know? Go download the free alpha at their website.

Battle Systems Urban Apocalypse Terrain ends October 18th. Modern/post-apocalyptic terrain for tabletop gaming. Easy to use cardboard punch outs. Excellent graphic quality!

INFINITY Role Playing Game ends October 18th. Tabletop sci-fi RPG in the same setting as INFINITY by Corvus Belli.

El Alemein ends October 20th. The latest deck building game from Arclight, makers of Tanto Cuore and Barbarosa. Published by Kamikaze. Arclight has a great history with these, so should be well worth it.

Pixel Noir ends October 21st. Retro inspired video game with JRPG elements. Reminiscent of Shadowrun SNES.

EXCEED-Card Fighting Evolution ends November 1st. From the makers of BattleCON and Pixel Tactics, a non-collectible, card fighting game for two players.

The Book of Starry Wisdom. This one has not actually started yet, but come October 1st, you should definitely check it out!

Almost two and a half years ago, a little project named Kingdom Death: Monster hit Kickstarter. Now, nearly two years late, it has finally arrived at my doorstep. Is it late? Yes, very. Am I mad? Not in the least. The campaign went far beyond the wildest dreams of the people running it. How big? Well, it was originally scheduled to be a standard enthusiast board game box, 12″ by 12″ of plastic and cardboard. It ended up being twice that size because SO MUCH EXTRA GOODNESS got added thanks to the overwhelming support. Not only that, they spent the extra time adding more art and content as well. Suffice it to say, it is more than anyone expected when they chose to back the project.

Now, I have not dived into the rules just yet. It just showed up on September 21st. But, here are my unboxing pictures. Enjoy!


The Box!


First thing inside. Thank you…bakcers? Oops!


The back of the Survivor box. I ❤ Poots indeed.


And inside the Survivor box? Many models.


The game in the box in the box in the plastic wrap. The flash reveals the glossy logo against the matte box.


The box without plastic wrap. Can really see that beautiful cover art.


The beautiful back art.


First thing inside the box.


The flat bits and chits.


Tiles and counters.


The board. Its a tri fold as long as the box! Its BIG.


Under the board. So many cards and pads.


Character and village sheets with dice.


The instructions. Note that it is matte black. That yellow on the left is the spine. Its about 1/2″ thick!


Showing off the glossy logo without flash.


And the logo/text with a flash to see the glossy details.

Its an impressive box! Well worth the investment and the wait. Looking forward to digging into this MONSTER!

Tonight was special. There were people all over Seattle that have flown, driven, bused, caravaned, and taken the train for PAX 2014. This is the first time I’ve seen so many people come together before the convention to celebrate. They had a pre-PAX boardgame night at the Sheraton next to the convetion center. We were told they approximate 600 people came through to the event. This was just one event.

I know of at least four other parties being held near by for PAX 2014.

Everyone was having fun playing board and card games. We even sat down with people we didn’t know and played Tanto Cuore.


Kane took time to show a friend from New Mexico and his friend how to play AGAINST THE HORDE. That’s the game Kane’s developing.


It was wonderful to see everyone getting together already. Keep building the community.

Also, there were a lot of geek girls dressed up to play board games, including myself. There was about a 50/50 ratio of women to men, too!


Good night and see you tomorrow.

Going over the PAX Prime schedule. Looks like a good show this year. Honestly see more of interest to me than last year. Here is a rundown of what I’m looking forward to



10:30 Storytime With Mikey Neumann-The PAX keynote brought to you by one of the guys behind Borderlands. Should be fun. Studio heads are always entertaining in their own neurotic way.

11:30 Building Inclusive Communities in Analog Gaming Spaces-Whats better than gaming with a few people? Gaming with a LOT of people. Panel discussing how to make sure everyone is welcome at the table.

12 Molding and Casting for Beginners-I’ve done a tiny amount of molding. I get the basics, but a better understanding is never a bad thing. Does overlap the previous panel, so may have to rely on Noccie for notes on that one.

4:30 Queer Visibility in Tabletop RPGs-All about that inclusivity thing again. How much should you notice and how much should it matter? Should be an enlightening panel.

5:30 Developing the Thornwatch-Been looking forward to this game since Mike announced it. The mechanics sound very intriguing. I’m a big fan of new gaming ideas.

8:30 Concerts-The Doubleclicks should be more reason than anyone needs to get in the door. The rest is just gravy!



1:30 Orcs Must Die!-One of my favorite game series is getting a sequel. Can’t wait to see where its going.

3:30 Art of the DM-Seems like a semi-yearly panel. Always good to have more tricks in the DMing arsenal.

9 Retrogame Roadshow-I love old games. Seeing some of them go for absurd amounts of money should be fun!



10 Game Industry Rumble-A bunch of game industry folks beat the heck out of each other in the classic N64 Wrestlemania 2000. Whats not to love?

12 Digitizing the Tabletop-All about playing tabletop games online. Been wanting to try my hand so this should be a welcome leg up.

3 Tetris-The creator of Tetris, Alexey Pajitnov, talks about the game that defined a generation of handhelds.

6 A New Tabletop Gaming Canon-Tabletop gaming has been through drastic changes over the last decade. This panel looks at what games everyone should know going forward.

9 Collecting Games-Look at collecting games without getting ripped off. Definitely something on my radar.



10:30 The Art of the Table-More about GMing. Since that is my primary role most of the time, can’t have too many tricks up my sleeve.

1:30 Guilty Pleasures-Some games are terrible but you can’t help liking them. Should be fun hearing about what terrible games others play in the dark. I know I’ve got my own!


No guarantees I’ll make it to all of these, but I’ll be sure and write about the ones I do see. Hope to see you there!


Golem Arcana Unboxing

Posted: August 22, 2014 by Kane Blaireau in Board games, Kane, Role Playing Games

Last year at PAX, Noccie and I demo-ed a game called Golem Arcana. It is a game that marries traditional tabletop gaming with an app that keeps track of the minutia of the battlefield and character effects. It also has a very unique look and feel that is carried to the tabletop via their pre-painted miniatures. This all coming from the fine folks at HareBrained Schemes who you may recognize as the makers of the new Shadowrun Returns video game that they launched via Kickstarter. Having participated in that Kickstarter and thoroughly enjoying the final product, I was already on-board. They promised another Kickstarter to get Golem Arcana going and they delivered! TONS of content all at once instead of the slow release that plagues most games of its type. Last week, we received our pledge reward. Here is my unboxing adventure of this mighty box-o-stuff.

IMAG0232The box itself. Name and address blacked out to protect the guilty.


And inside the voluminous brown beast? The Kickstarter edition of the starter box surrounded by the add-ons.


The back of the starter box.


The starter box surrounded by its friends.


The inside of the starter box.


What lies below the tray of miniatures? Why the rules and accessories, of course! The rulebook itself is VERY sparse, but since this is run primarily via a downloadable app, that is not really surprising.


The control card and some counters on top of a battlefield tile.


Another beautifully rendered tile.


Character cards on top of yet another tile.


The Bone Golems.


The Wood Golems.


Booster box of Sand Golems.


The cards for the Sand Golems.


Sand Golems free of their containment field.


Black Widow expansion cards.


And the models.


This wee beauty was  bonus for having also Kickstarted Shadowrun by the same company!


Another add-on that I just thought was cool!


The pendant and item cards. Not entirely sure how these interact with the game.

We are planning on getting some play time in soon and will be sure and take pictures and write up a full blow-by-blow of the action!

Hey folks! Now that the holidays are over, more cool Kickstarters are starting to pop up again. Here are a few to keep an eye on.

Customizable 3D Printed Tabletop Miniatures! Made-to-order miniatures. This one has already blown by its funding goal and through a couple of stretch goals adding sci-fi  and mounts to the core of fantasy minis. They are a bit pricey, but for something that is basically print on demand, its hard to beat. Their really are no other options short of hiring a sculptor!

Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians! A tactical strategy game directed by the man behind Final Fantasy Tactics. Sounds promising, but not showing us much just yet. Definitely worth keeping an eye on if you like that sort of game, though.

Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen! Fantasy MMO brought to you by a bunch of guys who broke away from SOE and were behind EQ, EQ2, SWG and on and on. Worth keeping an eye on if you liked any of those.

Project Nimbus! Open world mech shooter. Looks to have elements of the greats such as Zone of Enders and Virtual On. Only a few days left so go take a look!

Red Box Games Norse Warrior Miniatures! Tre Manor is one of the best miniature sculptors in the business today. Get some of his amazing work early by backing this one!

Earthdawn 4th Edition! I am a fan of Earthdawn and am VERY glad to see it coming back again. I’m not sure who is behind the new FASA, but looks like they have plenty of people convinced that they know what they are doing. Epic heroic fantasy with its own take on the genre.

The Mini Box – Simple Storage Solution! Affordable miniature storage. Glad to see an American company doing that as we don’t have many choices this side of the pond.

Last, but not least KUNG FURY! Just go watch the trailer on the Kickstarter. If that doesn’t convince you…I don’t have anything to say to you.

As always, if YOU know of a Kickstarter that everyone needs to hear about, let me know in the comments!

Kickstarter Reactor

Posted: December 30, 2013 by Kane Blaireau in Board games, Kane, Minatures

Hey folks! Not a whole lot to report on in the way of Kickstarter, but managed to dig up a couple that are worth a mention!

Mega Man the Board Game! A board game inspired by the Mega Man video game franchise. Since Capcom doesn’t seem to keen on giving us any more of those, this may just be the next best thing. This one is Going QUITE well already, so seems it will have some life for awhile.

3DForge Zombie Miniatures! What, more zombie miniatures? Yes. But, this time you can get zombies, survivors and TERRAIN! That last one is something that you don’t often see. Affordable “modern” style terrain is still pretty rare so for that reason alone I’m recommending this one. The minis themselves aren’t particularly covering any new ground, but look to be decent 3D sculpts. The higher tiers seem a good value.

Duel Fighters! Less than a week left on this one. Large scale miniature skirmish game and when I say skirmish, I mean one-on-one fighting. Looks to have some unique mechanics as well as offering terrain in a matching scale (often overlooked on odd-scale sets). Definitely on my short list! Highly recommend you go check them out.

As always, if you know of a project that is worth some extra attention, leave me a note below and I’ll be happy to take a look!

Krosmaster : Arena Review

Posted: November 25, 2013 by Kane Blaireau in Board games, Kane
Tags: ,


Krosmaster: Arena is a tabletop board/miniature game based in the Dofus/Wakfu universe. It supports 2 to 4 players (3 is doable but might be odd).  The game comes with 8 miniatures and a board as well as piles of counters and chits for damage counting, money counting as well as special items and spell effects.

Any combination of 4 of the characters in the boxed game composes a team. Expansion packs of 4 extra miniatures can also be combined into the mix, though they have different point values (called levels). The only rule of team composition is that you must have 12 levels of characters and no more.

Krosmaster Characters

Once each player/team of two has chosen their fill of 12 levels, the miniatures are deployed onto the spaces marked on the board as the starting zone. The player/team with the highest total Initiative (marked on each character card) moves their models and makes attacks in Initiative order from highest to lowest. Play then goes to the next highest Initiative team. However, before they active their models, they roll (called a Tension roll) two of the special dice included in the game and if two matching symbols are shown, both players lose a “Gallon of Glory” (I think its a miss-translation of Galleon, but we’ll go with it). More on Gallons shortly. If the dice do not match, they may assign the dice to their miniatures, giving them the special ability that the symbol corresponds to. Alternately, they may trade one or both dice in for money (Kama). These Kama may be used to buy Gallons from your opponent OR to buy special items on certain spaces of the board. These can be single use or ongoing buffs depending on how much is spent.

Krosmaster Dice


Image from

The core mechanics are also quite easy. Each attack has symbols and numbers showing range, where they may target, how much damage they do, etc. A basic attack is rolled on a single die and defended by a single die. Any Explosions rolled add damage. Any Shields that are rolled are subtracted. This makes things very swift as most characters have only 10 life or less. Special abilities may change the number of dice rolled. If you are in close combat and want to escape, once again, both players roll a die. Magnet holds, Foot runs. Special abilities add or subtract dice. The rest is up to the player.

Back to the Gallons of Glory, both players start with 6 of these and whoever loses all of theirs first loses. You both lose one when you roll doubles on a Tension roll. If a model is killed, the player responsible takes the targets level in Gallons from the target player. This can lead to a back and forth seesaw match…or a blowout if your key character is taken out early. It all comes down to team building and tactics.

All in all, I find it to be a deceptively deep tactical game. Well worth it even for a more experienced tactical/strategy gamer. Even if you just want some amazingly well produced chibi style miniatures, you will have a hard time finding nicer pre-painted models! Absolutely worth all the attention it has been getting lately.

If you want to take the plunge, they also have a Kickstarter going for the first English expansion that has tiers going all the way up to including the original game. Has some great tutorial videos as well, so if you are curious, check it out here:

Krosmaster Frigost

Game Writing

Posted: November 4, 2013 by Kane Blaireau in Board games, Kane, Life in a Box, Minatures, Role Playing Games

I am a bit of an amateur game-writer. I have a series of unfinished tabletop games ranging from board games, skirmishes, wargames to RPGs. I say amateur because none of them have ever been fully finished or published yet. I am hoping to change this soon, but let me just tell you about my process.

First, inspiration hits me from somewhere. This can be a song, movie, video game or another tabletop game. I usually make some mental notes of mechanics I would like to emulate from that source. When I feel like I have a complete idea, I will start writing down the core mechanics. After this point things start to fall apart.

My next step is trying to get friends and family to test it. This generally involves weeks of pestering to get a single play session done. Take notes and hope for feedback here and don’t get discouraged when their isn’t any. Update the rules as needed. After so many attempts and no further feedback, the game usually stagnates here.

How I have gotten around the stagnation recently is by seeking out another game writer locally who can help focus test the game. This is not always an option and only one that has happened with me recently. The other option is to test by yourself in between those few and far between sessions with your friends and family. Always ask questions of anyone who is playing or even ask yourself.

So then, is everything working as intended? If not, how do I fix that? Then fix it and test again. If something else breaks, tweak it and push it until something else breaks. Once everything is either working as intended and/or breaking where intended, it is ready! That is easier said than done, but game design is a series of iterations (or irritations) rather than one big inspirational leap. Sometimes that does happen, but not to me or anyone I know! I am at the last part on my current board game project, Gate Siege. If you would like more information, find me at Crushed Earth Productions on Facebook. I’d be more than happy to have more play testers since we are in the final stages of design of the core game and have begun discussing what to save for the expansion.

Krosmaster Arena

Posted: November 4, 2013 by Noccie in Board games, Noccie
Tags: , , , , ,

This game will make you want to learn French. A few years ago Kane and I ran into Wakfu and Dofus at PAX 2011 and 2012. These video games are a ton fun. For some reason the line at their booth wasn’t long at all, so both of us stepped right up and tried the game. I loved it. The characters were cute and creative. The art style was creative. The game play was easy to pick up and fun.

They turned their creation into a fantastic board game. We bought Krosmaster Arena at PAX 2013. The characters are adorable, chibi figures based on characters from the cartoon and video games. There are different factions in the game. I enjoy playing the Tofus. The Queen of the Tofus can summon little birds that look like Chocobos. They help her fight and she can summon up to three. There are the Gobballs and they are like little sheep. Fern Sock’em can summon a little doll that blocks a path. There are characters that can shoot guns, throw bombs, shoot arrows, use magic and everything you can imagine. They have vampires and healers. Some of the characters are fairies with different magically powers.

The game play is really easy once you play through the built in tutorials. They come in the big book they provide with the box. There are several different tutorials that start with very basic explanations of moving and basic combat. They take you through bigger and bigger scenarios till they have explained all the rules. So far I have beat Kane every time we’ve played but he just bought some new characters. Who knows what will happen next. Mwahahaha…

The game play is just like the video games though. So if you’ve played Wakfu or Dofus, you can pick up the rules for the board game really quick.

I have two criticisms. The first is the wings on the fairy models are cheap and fall off easily. We’ve had two models come out of the box without the wings attached. The second complaint is there is only one real objective in the game. Their are no variations at this time. I am sure after playing for a while you can create your own but the main objective is always to get rid of your opponents gallons of glory. They are these star cards. You start with six. You can either collect coins to buy your opponents gallons of glory or you can win them through killing their team members.

There is also a cartoon. It’s French and I don’t know if it’s been translated officially.  We found it online with fan subtitles. Subtitles sometimes don’t make sense. That is why you must learn French. You will love this game so much, you will play the video game and still want more! Just like Penny Arcade explained in their strip this week.

The cartoon is really well made. It has a feel similar to the original Full Metal Alchemist. The characters feel really well rounded and fully conceptualized. It’s also just great to watch your favorite figures walking and talking and interacting. They give you a real feel for how you should be playing the characters and help visualize what’s really going on in the battle arena.

If you want a well made game to play with friends or enemies… pick up Krosmaster Arena.