Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Butterflies. Every time.

I will be playtesting an upcoming module for Stephen Newton this Friday.

There are a handle of aspects that have me nervous about this:

-It's a funnel (not my forte)
-It's a small table (5 players max, odd for me)
-It's my first time running anything at this particular store
-The FLGS owner(s) may also be playing (their first time with DCC RPG)
-It's been nearly two months since I've picked up The Tome
-It'll be my very first time judging whilst being recorded (by the author's request*)

Okay, so the rest of the above items all add up to, "No pressure, really!" and I'm sure I'll get over them. It's really just this last tidbit that sets my teeth on edge. I think it would be less harrowing to have him sitting there, taking notes -- or even just watching via a Hangout or some such. The concept of such material being available indefinitely - especially with no visuals to put things into context - makes me wince.

But, hey - it'll prime me up for some of the more publicly-viewed venues such as ConTessa and Gary Con, right?


*Not sure why? Check out the latest Spellburn episode, wherein Mr. Newton himself talks about his multiple methods of playtesting adventures!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

External Game Review...

...in which I veer - not stray - from the DCC RPG path to gush about the glorious new offering from Repos Production. 7 Wonders: Babel caught my eye while on the shelf at Gateway Games & More in Cincinnati, to where we'd made our second pilgrimage of the year just to meet up with the Mutant Murder Hobos for the night.

Could I have waited & ordered it from Amazon? Hell no. Had to support our favorite FNSLGS (friendly not-so-local game shop)... and, well, truth be known, I'm a bit of a fiend when it comes to 7W. It's eerily similar to my fascination with DCC.

I was initially concerned about the size - I mean, 7 Wonders is already a great game, with or without the existing expansions. But this box contains TWO additional "modules" to add to your play. After reviewing all the pieces and parts, it was a smart move to package them together, rather than issue each separately with a $20+ tag on each.

The packaging needs to be this size primarily for the first expansion, Tower of Babel. Granted, the base board could be thinner/smaller and still impart the same feel, but after repeated use it - and the tower segments - would probably disintegrate quickly. This first expansion allows you to affect costs, penalties, and bonuses for the entire table, throughout the Ages (they do not reset at the end of each Age). All of the visuals fit in perfectly with the preexisting art, but I do wish the main the board had a little more to do with the regular gameplay. I am chomping at the bit to play this with 6 others, as it does lose something in a 2-player game (the "blind" Free city has no impact). Combining the two seems preferable in this case.

The second expansion, Great Projects, places one card in the middle of the table (just a little larger than the normal Wonder boards) and all players have the option to cooperatively help build the project within one Age for a considerable bonus, provided they can produce a building of the corresponding color. There are a lot of strategic opportunities here -- if you discard or bury the card(s) your opponent(s) are looking for, you could stick them with the hefty penalty for not completing the project after starting it. It is possible to participate with each hand, and for each participation token, you gain that many instances of the reward upon completion.

The first thing the insert tells you is that these expansions should be played separately before combining them together or with the other expansions (Cities, Leaders, or the Wonder Pack). They're not blowing smoke. If you try to jump into one (or both) without easing your way in, it could be very frustrating. Do yourself a favor and allow 5-10 minutes before play to go over the rules, and you'll realize the strategic value!

(Incidentally, it's the first actual review I've had been "published" on Amazon.)

Hope this helps nudge anyone who's on the fence about getting this one -- but please, suck up the retail price and support your FLGS!