Monday, October 31, 2016

Four Frightening Games to Play on Halloween

Happy Halloween, boys and ghouls! It's that terror-rific time of the year when the air gets colder, the leaves start to change colors, and people embrace the horrific and macabre.

In honor of this spooky season, I thought I would share four games I personally feel are ideal to play in celebration of this die-lightful holiday. I'm sure you'll find all of these to be absolute monsterpieces.

I also apologize for the awful puns.

1. Betrayal at House on the Hill
Designed by Bruce Glassco and published by Wizards of the Coast under its subsidiary Avalon Hill, Betrayal at House on the Hill is a semi-cooperative adventure game where players investigate a creepy mansion, experiencing one of fifty randomly determined scenarios. Players can end up being transported to an alien world to be experimented on by extraterrestrials, chased through the halls by a hungry werewolf, or fighting a race of evil plants. Betrayal at House on the Hill can be a little bit unbalanced at time and some scenarios are a little lackluster, but the game does a wonderful job at capturing the magic of the more campy horror films of yesteryear.

2. Dead of Winter
Published by Plaid Hat Games, Dead of Winter is a semi-cooperative game where each player leads a small faction of survivors living within a colony during the zombe apocalypse. The players will have to strengthen the fortifications, venture forth into the nearby town to gather supplies, and fight off the living dead if they wish to survive through the harsh winter. However, players will also have to remain vigilant because there might be a traitor lurking among them. Dead of Winter masterfully replicates the tension found within a zombie film, where both the danger of the walking dead and stressed relationships between the living create a suspenseful experience. The added element of the Crossroads Cards, which force the players to make difficult situations throughout the game, is just icing on top of the cake. 

3. One Night Ultimate Werewolf
Based on the party game designed by Dmitry Davidoff, One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a quick bluffing game where player are inhabitants of a small town menaced by a pack of hungry werewolves. Each player receives a secret role, some of which are the lycanthropes. The game is divided into two phases, with the townsfolk attempting to figure out who are the werewolves and execute at least one of them. One Night Ultimate Werewolf is great when you need a game that can handle a large group of people, but won't last several hours. I also highly recommend downloading and using the free app. It will take on the role of moderator and make things run a lot more smoothly. 

4. Fury of Dracula
Fury of Dracula is a deduction game originally designed by Stephen Hand set eight years after the events of Bram Stoker's Dracula. The game has one player take on the role of the titular vampire as he travels across Europe, massing an army of the undead, while the others play hunters attempting to find and destroy him before he succeeds. The current edition published last year by Fantasy Flight Games does a solid job at cleaning up the rules, streamlining combat, and adding a few new mechanics that make the game even better. I suggest picking up the 3rd Edition before it gets too expensive due to FFG losing the publishing rights when they split ways with Games Workshop. You won't regret adding this one to your collection. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tiny Epic Quest - Kickstart it Now!

Tiny Epic Quest is the latest entry in Gamelyn Game's Tiny Epic line of board games. This sandbox adventure game is obviously inspired by the video games of yesteryear, specifically the Legend of Zelda. Players will control a group of elven heroes who will explore a fantasy land, complete challenging quests, and fight vicious goblins in order to earn victory points. The one with the most points at the end both wins the game and saves the world. 

I really liked the previous two entries in the Tiny Epic line, especially Tiny Epic Galaxies. Gamelyn Games manages to take these really entertaining games and fit them into pocket-sized boxes. Tiny Epic Quest seems to take that to the next level, and I can't wait to get it into my hands.

Those looking for a cool looking adventure game that can easily fit inside the pocket of your bag should give this Kickstarter a look.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Jack Chick Returns to the Dark Dungeon

*Blows dust off the blog*

It's been a very long time folks. Nearly three months by my count. Life's just been kicking my ass this year and I've been trying my hardest getting it back in working order.

I didn't expect to write a post today, but when I heard this piece of news I knew I had to say something.

Jack T. Chick, the fundamentalist christian cartoonist that wrote numerous comics called "Chick tracts", died this past Sunday at the age of 92.

This is the man who wrote Dark Dungeons, the unintentionally hilarious comic that depicted Dungeons & Dragons as something evil. That it was a tool for satanists to corrupt the innocent youth of the world, teach them magical spells, and drive them to commit suicide if their characters died within the game.

I wish I was making this up.

Dark Dungeons is a relic of a strange time in the hobby's history, a moment when some people actually believed to be dangerous. This little comic was made to fan those hate-fueled fires, along with stuff like John Coyne's novel Hobgoblin or the made-for-television film Mazes & Monsters based on the Rona Jaffe book of the same name.

Today, I find it hard to muster any amount of hatred for this piece of exploitative propaganda. I might not like the person who created it and find the majority of his beliefs to be utterly deplorable, but I can't help but find some strange merit with this particular piece of work. It's like this weird, cultural landmark for the hobby, giving us something to laugh about and make snarky references towards.

However, I might also just be reaching for something positive in all this so I won't default to negativity in this incredibly awkward situation. You'll never know.