In Security, or A Case of the Mondays

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By Timothy Mattes

In the dawn of my Kickstarter funding career I would look at a game and if I felt even the most remote interest in playing it, or subjecting my friends to playing it, I would back it.  I was deeply rooted into the LCG Netrunner so anything cyberpunk immediately raises an eyebrow from me.  When I saw Koen Hendrix’s In Security, a dice game of hacking into your corporate network to collect secrets to blackmail your way to a better position, I thought “Netrunner: the Dice Game”.  I wasn’t spot on with the assumption but I was not far off.  In Security could easily be dropped into the Android universe as a spotlight game into the lives of the people living day to day similar to Infiltration.   Instead of focusing on Major corporations and Superstar Hackers you are just a normal peon in the corporate landscape.  That Youtube How To video you about hacking basic servers is going to pay off in dividends after the appalling quarterly review you just received.  On your lunch breaks you gain access to the mainframe with a couple other salty coworkers.  You are all trying to gain enough information to put that fat cat boss of yours on his back foot. You are going to force a promotion.  On your turn you can hack deeper into the server to gain new information, or you can just dig through the information that the previous person dug up.  The first player to gain the proper amount of dirt gets the promotion and the rest of you return to your awful lives.

The first time we put In Security on the table I was excited.  While we were playing I became disappointed as I realized the game was not what I was expecting.  However, by the time we finished our first play through I found a game that plays like the antithesis of Antoine Bauza.  There are many ways to get to your victory, many ways to trick your fellow players into forgetting about you just long enough for you to rocket past them, but there is only one win condition.  The first over the finish line wins.  The most interesting dynamic of this game is the play difference from three to six players.  The Game itself scales well between players, but the magic happens when you play a six player game followed immediately by a three player game.  Everything changes, the way you talk, your body language, the plays you make and when you make them.  A six player game is a knock down drag out war for power, a three player game is a nuclear holocaust.  Everybody plays nice in the three player game until the first person gets “caught”. Once a strategy is shown then all hell breaks loose and it is a beautiful mayhem.  All in all for the ten dollars I paid for this one off Kickstarter exclusive I am very pleased.  Koen has created a stylized cool micro game that rivals Love Letter and Coup.  You know that we live in a Golden Age of Tabletop gaming when an absolutely brilliant game can be designed and created on a dare.

Final Score: 7.5/10 While it is fun to play it doesn’t have a tone of replay-ability with the same group of players.

For more information or to reach out to Koen to see if he will reprint In Security please check out the Kickstarter page, just search In Security under tabletop games.

 

And with that, this has been a review from your humble moderator.

Episode One Hundred and Thirty-Six: Scarlet Witch is Watching

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Tim and Matt sit down to talk about the Marvel universe and why Matt doesn’t care for it. They also play a round of Tim’s new jam Dicemasters from WizKids. Find out if Matt likes the Uncanny Xmen set or if Tim is doomed to be alone with his bag o dice.

Episode One Hundred and Thirty-Five: The Kunk

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Cross-Over spectacularness as the boys from Things you probably don’t care about join us at the table along with Amanda to play Superfight! Laughs were had. Special thanks to My brother Stephen and Amanda for our theme song!

Adventure Time Card Wars: Twelve Minutes to Make a Game

By: Timothy Mattes

The premise of the show is simple, the last human boy and his brother a magic shape-shifting dog are heroes in a kingdom made out of candy that is threatened daily by a demented King that controls Ice and another King that is Anarchy incarnate.  Simple stuff.  So when an episode came out that features Finn the human playing Jake the dog at Jake’s favorite card game, Card Wars, everyone took it for what it was.  That being a twelve minute filler episode that shows you that you don’t always have to win to have a good time.  Nobody expected an entire collectible card set to be produced from it.  But that is exactly what Cryptozoic has done.

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Adventure Time: Card Wars is a two player card combat game that uses prebuilt decks based on the characters controlling them.  It is played over a series of rounds where the player builds up their characters or attaches buildings to specific combat lanes.  The first player to lose 25 life loses the game and is crowned the Dweeb.  The game uses mechanics present in almost every well-established magic based Collectible Card Game.  Using spells and creatures to clear a path to be able to damage your opponent while flooping(turning a card ninety degrees) cards to gain a special effect for the turn.

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The game is not the easiest to learn or even understand.  Complicated turn structure and confusing rules make interpreting the game a bit of a bear.  That said, I love the game.  I love the fact that none of the cards are from the show other than creatures played during the one twelve minute card wars episode.  I love that the show has not revisited the game and that the game is still successful on its own.  Card Wars is not a great game, however it manages to be an ok game and does that incredibly well.  The strategy and depth are not intense and the overall experience can be miserable yet I still find myself buying the next set and playing it all over again.  I cannot explain why I feel this way but I know that I enjoy playing Card Wars even when I’m not having fun playing Card Wars.  It is a bizarre phenomenon.

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There are currently four Two player collectors sets released for Card wars as well as a booster pack set called For The Glory and a Heroes pack that comes with oversized hero cards that give your deck a boost (similar but not quite to commander in the collectible game from Wizards).  Deck construction is fun but can become broken if you try too hard.

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Overall the game is a pass, if I’m doing my job as a proper reviewer and not injecting too much of my own personal emotions into the suggestion.  But I must say if you are even a little bit intrigued by the Idea of playing this game just get one of the two player sets and try it.  You might very well feel the same way that I do.

Final Score: 6.5/10

Episode One Hundred and Thirty-Four: TablePunk

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Resource management and a weird worker placement mechanic? Empire Engine from AEG is right in Tim’s wheel house, and Jeff hates it. Will this mini game be as engoyable as Tim will inevitably hype it to be?

 

Live Store Episode Thirty-Eight: The Squire of Gothos

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Jeff and Tim plow on with the demos at the Portal with Castle Panic.  Jeff’s first go at this co-operative tower defense game was good and there is a rule variant that allows for the game to be played like Swarm!

Boss Monster: or how I learned to hide princesses in another castle

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By Timothy Mattes

When one thinks of side scrolling castle/dungeon crawlers Mario and Castlevania stand out as the staples of quality gaming.  The boys at Brotherwise Games have quite literally stumbled onto the quintessential side scrolling tabletop game.  Boss monster has you take on the role of an epic boss from an 8-bit world.  You slowly build your dungeon to lure in heroes from the local town. Some are after loot, others magical spells, some practice the dark arts, and some just want a fight worthy enough to make them leave their local tavern.  Each turn you build a room in your dungeon and carefully kill the heroes that come through it. If you fail to kill them before they reach you then you get a punch in the face.  Get too many punches and your boss gets killed and you see the Game Over sign flash before your eyes.  If you get ten heroes to meet their untimely demise within the walls of your dungeon you have harvested enough souls to earn bragging rights amongst your boss brethren.

Boss Monster proves what Munchkin could not, a game can be funny and satirical of a genre without being so complicated that it misses a wider audience.  Boss monster boils down to a draw one play one tableau building game.  At its core it is a simple numbers and probability game, but nobody cares about the core of a game.  Where Boss Monster shines is in the theme, something that was applied in the thirteenth hour of design.  A stylized 8bit world full of Movie, Tv, Comic and video game references that will make even the most fringe fan of nerd culture squee with delight.

My first play through of Boss Monster left me with a feeling of contentment in a non-cooperative game that I hadn’t felt since Alhambra.  The game itself has funny screw your neighbor plays and an uncanny ability to allow you to set yourself up for failure.  Overall the game offers a large variety of choices and combinations that will make each game different.  It also has something that many games strive for and fall short on delivering, the people you play with become a mechanic of the game.  If you are playing with aggressive players you are more inclined to play defensively, if everyone at the table is a pacifist then you can go for big combos that won’t hurt anyone.  If it is a blend of the two then you have an intense struggle for dominance.  All said and done I enjoy Boss Monster. It is not in my top ten games of all time due to the fact that the game play can become stale for my tastes. But the merit of a game created by two brothers that filled a niche that appeared to be dominated by Steve Jackson is not something to take for granted.  Boss Monster is a fun light game that can be the beginning or the end of an epic night of gaming.  If you play Boss Monster and you feel it is too simple of a game I recommend adding the Tools of a Hero Kind expansion.  It makes the heroes harder and adds a few extra tricks to your dungeon.

If you are a fan of old school video games, or if you are a fan of the bad guy, then Boss Monster is probably right up your alley.  If you are tired of Munchkin and want something that is a little easier on your gaming group then go for it.   This game truly transcends the tabletop gaming genre and is the first true cross-platform game.  We have been given a real gift from Brotherwise Games, Put down the controller, take off the headset, and play face to face.

Final Score: 9.5/10  I cannot get enough of this game.

For more information on Brotherwise Games and the future of Boss Monster please listen to Episode 42 of Sorry Man, I Farted or visit their website at www.Brotherwise games.com

 

And with that, this has been a review from your humble moderator.