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5 Favorite Deck Builders

One game mechanic I seem to be drawn towards is the deck builder.  Deck builder games are card games (generally) where the players all start with the same basic deck of cards.  Through various means, the players buy cards to add to their decks, building them up to try to defeat their opponents.  I tend to like deck builders because even though you start with the same basic starting deck (usually 10 to 12 cards), each game will be different based on which cards are picked up throughout the game.

Naturally, there are a few of these games which I really like.

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Top 5 Games That Should Be On TableTop

As followers of my blog know, I have been into board and card games a lot lately.  This resurgence of interest falls squarely on Wil Wheaton’s YouTube show, TableTop.  The show showed me a number of games that looked interesting.  And seeing them played made me want to play them.  And since I’ve been watching the show, I have played many of the games they have featured, and plan to play many more of them.

Recently, Wheaton approached the masses, choosing to crowdfund the third season of TableTop.  The response has been phenomenal.  The campaign not only met its goals, amassing enough money to fund not only a 20 episode season but a spin off RPG show, they have broken records doing it.

Now, with season three a given, there comes the moment where the games for the next season need to be picked.  Naturally, I have a few suggestions as to what should make it onto the show.

Now, this is a dream list.  I know that some of these games probably would not make it on the show, either because they play too short or too long, or other logistical reasons.  But, these are the games that I would love to see on the show.  And, just for fun, I’m including my dream players for the list as well.



1) Nightfall

Nightfall is a deck building game featuring vampires and werewolves.  Players build their decks from a central pool, though each player also has a reserve of two types of cards that only they can draw from.  Each round pits the players against each other, attacking their opponents while trying to buy better cards.  When all the wounds are exhausted, the winner is the one that has the least wounds.

Having watched TableTop from the first episode, I do not remember an official deck builder (they did a deck builder on the International TableTop Day feed, though that was not an official episode).

Dream Gamers

For this show, Wil would have to gather gamers who should have a connection to either werewolves or vampires.  Returning guests Sam Witmer and Seth Green would be joined by Nina Dobrev.



2) Sentinels of the Multiverse

It surprises me that this one has not been on the show yet?  Sentinels of the Multiverse is a card game where the players assume the roles of super heroes teaming up against a super villain.  To make things more difficult for the heroes, there is an environment deck that can either help or hurt (usually hurt).  Each hero has their own deck with powers and abilities to battle the villain, just as each villain has their own deck to wage battle against the heroes.

Sentinels of the Multiverse has spawned numerous expansions, the latest, Vengeance, having been released just this past year.  Because of the number of characters that the players can use, and the villains and environments, the game has tons of replayability.

Dream Gamers

Returning for this game would be Ed Brubaker, writer for such comics as Fatale and Captain America.  He would be joined by Brandon Routh (from Superman Returns) and Laura Vandervoort (Smallville)



3) Stone Age

Stone Age is a worker placement game where the players try to build up their tribes through acquisition of resources.  With these resources, they can buy huts that bestow victory points, or buy ships that provide resources and other scoring elements.  Remember that you need to feed your people, and you can always grow your tribe and research agriculture and tools.

I have to admit that Stone Age is one of the first worker placement games that I have played, so it is the one that I would like Wil to play on the show the most.

Dream Gamers

I did not really go all thematic with my picks for gamers.  But, it would be fun to see Jim Parsons, Felicia Day, and Ryon Day play this one, mostly to see Felicia and her brother fight one one blocks the other out of resources they needed.



4) Eldritch Horror

In the first season, TableTop tackled Elder Sign, the dice rolling game based on the H.P. Lovecraft Cthulhu mythos.  I think that TableTop should take on one of Elder Sign‘s big brothers during season 3.  In Eldritch Horror, players travel the globe to gather clues to try and defeat the Elder God before it awakes and destroys the world.

Now, I had my choice between this and Arkham Horror, which plays similarly to Eldritch Horror.  However, Eldritch Horror is a bit more streamlines in play while taking the adventure to a global scale, while Arkham Horror is can be a bit sprawly  in set up and a bit more isolated with it’s Arkham locale.

I do know that this is a long game, probably a bit longer than TableTop would want to tackle.  However, the show has run two part episodes in the past, along with an hour long episode that could accommodate a large scale game like this.

Dream Gamers

For a game steeped in the pulp horror of H.P Lovecraft, it would he cool to see players who have some connection to the genre.  Author Jim Butcher, famous for the Dresden Files series, along with Claire Coffee (Adalind Schade on the TV series, Grimm) and Jensen Ackles (Supernatural)



5) Mice and Mystics

Mice and Mystics is an adventure/role playing board game.  Players assume the roles of fantasy characters who have been transformed into mice.  The players must complete missions which will lead them to a resolution to their mousy dilemma.  But beware, they will come up against centipedes, rats, and the dreaded cat of the castle.

Like Eldritch Horror above, Mice and Mystics is a long game, especially if players try to complete all the scenarios the base game provides.  But, Wil and his guests can easily complete the first scenario (with side missions) for one show, which should give viewers a good idea how the game is played, and how fun it is.

Dream Gamers

I would love to see Tara Strong return to play this game, if only to see what voices she gives the characters.  Along for the ride would be Billy West (who provided voices for Ren & Stimpy and Futurama) and Kevin Conroy (the voice of Batman on Batman: The Animated Series)

International TableTop Day – Extended

We informally extended International TableTop Day Sunday with a couple of games of Star Wars X-Wing.  It was very informal, mostly to test out a couple of squads that I had built to see how they played.  Both squads lost, but I was able to get an idea how to possibly tweak one and to play the other.

I also finally got to play a game of Nightfall as well.

I also made an interesting observation as well that’s totally unrelated to games.

As I mentioned before, the Time Machine has a large train layout that they run on certain Sundays of the month.  This happen to be one of those Sundays.  I am not into the model train hobby that much, but checking out their layout is quite impressive.

As I was killing a little time checking it out again, I noticed something.  Well, actually two things.  The first was that someone but a Godzilla figure in one of the areas for some reason.  The other was one of the buildings in the layout.

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Okay, so it looks like any normal factory type building.  It had been there for a while and I had never noticed it.  At least, I had never noticed how familiar it looked.

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It would appear that the Time Machine is located in the same building that is in the train layout.  It makes sense now that I put it all together.  Parts of the layout are based off real locations.  The area that the model is in is Manchester, which happens to he the same town the hobby shop is located in.

5 Games I Want To Play On International TableTop Day

International TableTop Day is April 5th.  It is a day dedicated to playing board and card games.  And I actually asked for the day off from work so that I can attend one of the events locally.

Naturally, as a wannabe gamer, there are a whole slew of games that I want to try on this day to honor gaming.

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Games to Kill Time When You’re Home Sick

Tuesday was going to be a fun day.  After getting called into work Sunday, I got Tuesday off as a trade.  I checked the boards, and checked Meetup, and had some options for how I could spend my day.

Then Monday I got sick.  And Tuesday went from being a day of fun to being a day of being stuck in bed recovering so I would be well enough to work Wednesday.

Some fun.

It left me reliant on my iPod (and whatever I downloaded) for entertainment.

2014-02-11 23.23.48Throughout the day, I checked in on Simpsons: Tapped Out.  This free app only costs money if you buy the extra donuts needed for the special features.  Why Barney is one of those special features, I really don’t know.  I have to admit, the game is starting to wear on me, especially when one off characters like Mindy and Kumiko pop up but you still have to spend 150 donuts to buy the bowling alley that Barney comes with.

Still, the game does not requires that much maintenance (unless you plant crops), and they do manage to keep it fairly fresh with seasonal themes.  They are currently on their Valentine’s theme.

2014-02-11 23.22.39I also played a few games of Nightfall today as well.  Nightfall is based on the deck building game from AEG where players pit vampires and werewolves against each other for dominance.  The app plays like the game it is based on, which I like because it allowed me to learn the rules of the game and how the cards play so that I I actually play the real game the learning curve won’t be as steep.

I like playing the app because it is still a challenge for me.  Matches can go either way depending on what and how you play your cards.  Nightfall also ties into Game Center, so there are also side achievements you can make while you play the game.

The app is $2.99 in the iTunes store, with the Martial Law expansion available for $1.99.

2014-02-11 23.29.01Qwirkle was also in the game list today.  This app, based on the tile placement game (featured on TableTop), is a relatively new addition to the iTunes store.  The app plays just like the actual game, and offers game play against the computer or actual people over the internet.  Different skill levels are also available, though I still play on easy (I’m new to the app).

The app is fun, and challenging.  Qwirkle the app also ties into Game Center with added achievements to be made while trying to improve your own game.

The app is $2.99 in the iTunes app store.

2014-02-11 23.22.53I also played two games of Ascension.  Officially, I played Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer and Ascension: Return of the Fallen.  Like Nightfall, Ascension is based on a deck building game where players try to acquire new cards from a central area while defeating monsters from the same area.  There are multiple versions available once the initial game is purchased (hence the two different versions played today).  The app can be played against the computer (up to four spots, depending on the version), against players over the internet, and against other people by passing the iPod back and forth (“loading screens” keep players from seeing the others cards).  Like Nightfall and Qwirkle, it also ties into Game Center with additional achievements available.

I have to admit I do not play this app as much as I do others.  I like it, but I tend to win nearly every game I play.  But I still play every now and then because the games move fairly fast and provide a decent time killer.

Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer is $4.99 in the app store, with the expansions running between $2.99 and $3.99 for the expansions, and $.99 for promo packs.

2014-02-11 23.23.09Bang! is another new app for me, downloaded because it is currently being offered for free in the iTunes app store.  The app is based on the Western themes card game which I have to admit that I had been curious about.  In this game, players assume the roles of either the sheriff, deputy, renegade or outlaws.  However, only the player who is playing the Sheriff is known.  The identities of the others are not known, and the game pits the outlaws against the sheriff and deputy, the sheriff and deputy against the outlaws, and the renegade against everyone.

The game itself is interesting.  I am not entirely sure if I will play the app a lot, but I am curious to see how the game mechanic works with the actual card game.  But, from what I can tell, the game is best played with at least 4 (the app defaults to 5).

2014-02-11 23.23.29I also played one game of Elder Sign Omens, the app version of the Fantasy Flight Cthulhu based dice game.  This is an app that keeps me coming back, even though I have the actual game, which can be played solo.  I think the reason why I keep coming back is that the game can be quite harrowing.  Out of all the evil ancients available in the app (including in app purchases), only one is listed as easy.  Today, I did not play against that easy villain.  And I lost.  three of my investigators were incapacitated (two by insanity, one by death), and I failed to stop the elder being from rising.

Still, I will play this again, mostly because I want to defeat all the elder beings at least once.  Given the difficulty of defeating one as “normal” level, that will be some time.

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