Board Gaming · Kickstarter · Two-Player Only

BattleCON Unleashed on Kickstarter + Fanfic Preview

This post is long overdue. Really long overdue. The campaign for BattleCON Unleashed is literally in its final hours, and it is one that I 100% recommend. Whole-heartedly. I believe in Level 99 Games and the work they are doing, and the BattleCON system is arguably the best 2-player only game out there for your money. Yes, better than my hyped Hanamikoji because of all the variability, depth, and replay value contained in even one box of this game (yet you’ll want them all).

So go check out the campaign. Pledge if you want to – it’ll be great. You can get everything ever released from BattleCON, or just the newest stuff. You can’t go wrong either way, as BattleCON isn’t just fan service to the fighting genre of video games. What is in the box is a tight, fast, fun dueling game with a ton of strategy and tactics, complete with open information. It rewards new players, as well as mastery of the characters.

Curious about my full thoughts on BattleCON? Check out the review I wrote for Trials of the Indines back in June.

This month has been the hardest month in terms of time for me. I wanted a nice, long, complete fanfic to post up as part of their campaign. In my mind, I was still going to reach the end of it in time, but life is just too insane right now for me to dedicate the proper time and attention to make a polished product. So I’ll end this with a teaser – a very small sampling of what will eventually become a long, finished product. Something that I, and Level 99 Games, can be proud of. Even this scene has changed and expanded – but it will be enough for now. The lore in the World of Indines is incredible, and so much is unexplored that a writer could be content creating content for years and still have things to cover.

***

“Whoa, the Rubara Keep is massive,” said Magdelina. She brushed a lock of hair aside and shook her head, her long pigtails swinging from the motion.

“Focus,” replied Kallistar. “We’re here for a reason, remember?”

“Right,” Magdelina said, “to stop Rexan from being resurrected and casting a shadow upon Indines once more. Which means we need to find Hepzibah before she can use her resurrection spell. I was the one with the dreams showing the event happening, remember?.”

“And it is very important that we succeed.” Kallistar marched forward, forcing her two companions to catch back up.

“Success is important,” Vanaah replied in between breaths, “but we also can’t walk blindly into a trap or ambush.”

“A trap?” Magdelina echoed, stopping in her tracks. Her gaze darted around the massive chamber, scrutinizing the shadows being cast by torches hanging from the walls and pillars. Vanaah looked up toward the ceiling where a pair of balconies stretched out over the chamber, but neither contained any signs of movement. Kallistar continued her determined stride forward, eyes fixated on the double doors ahead.

Twang!

“Kallistar, look out!” Magdelina shouted. Her companion continued her march onward. Two arrows converged upon the pyromancer in the lead. Magdelina clenched her fists and two luminescent shields formed in the air, traveling alongside Kallistar. The arrows bounced harmlessly off the shields and Magdelina banished the shields.

“Finally,” Kallistar said as the double doors opened and waves of guards burst into the chamber. Spouts of flame burst from Kallistar’s fists, scorching the nearest guards.

“We must remain vigilant,” Vanaah said as she readied her scythe. She swept the weapon in a wide arc, the crescent blade slicing the shins of a nearby guard.

“This is a distraction,” Magdelina said, dodging an arrow. “We need to find Hepzibah before it is too late.”

The stream of guards continued to flood into the chamber. Vanaah danced through their attacks, striking back mercilessly with her scythe. Kallistar burned with fury, her flames growing hotter with every blow the guards land upon her as she battles back the swarm. She laughs as a heavy crossbow bolt pierces her shoulder and sends a bolt of fire racing across the room to strike back at the assailant.

Swords slashed through the air around Magedelina. She ducked under one strike and hopped aside to avoid a thrust. Thick blue tendrils of smoke rose into the air from a golden ball in her hands, growing thicker with every successful dodge. A blast of flame tore through the guards to Magdelina’s right and she rolled under another swing from the remaining guard.

As she got to her feet, she spotted a flash of red hair beneath a black pointy hat. It disappeared beyond the open doors. “Hepzibah,” Magdelina whispered. Her companions were busy fighting off the guards. Kallistar looked like she was finally enjoying this quest for the first time since they embarked, and Vanaah was surrounded by a circle of troops. Magdelina knew Vanaah needed her help, but the mission had to come first. The fate of the entire world was in their hands, and the revival of Rexan would cast a shadow over the world. Hepzibah needed to be stopped at all costs.

She walked across the room, the turmoil of battle remaining on either side of her. The double doors began to close and she dashed forward. The opening grew smaller and smaller as she approached and she dove forward, rolling to her feet on the other side as the doors slammed shut. She looked around but could see no one who might have shut the doors. Goosepimples spread up her arms and she turned to examine the dark hallways.

To be continued…

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Board Gaming · Kickstarter

My First Kickstarter and First P500 Games: 878 Vikings & Pendragon

**Originally posted on my BGG blog on 3/24/2017, and being shifted over here while the 878 Vikings campaign is still underway.

 

I’ve been playing board games for a few years now and I had always known about the existence of Kickstarter and the draws of getting cool extras with games by essentially “preordering” them. I knew there were quite a few games that I was interested in which got their start on Kickstarter, but I always managed to turn it down.

With increased activity on BGG comes the inevitable: I learn about more games, and I find out about them sooner.

Champions of Midgard’s expansions called to me this year and nearly broke my resolve to avoid Kickstarter. Ultimately, I was able to pass for two reasons:

1) After adding in shipping, I wasn’t saving much on the expansions through Kickstarter versus MSRP.

2) Most of the Kickstarter Stretch Goals were items being added into every release of those expansions, and I simply didn’t need a new box, Viking meeples & scoring tokens, and a special ship. Those exclusives weren’t exclusive enough.

So ultimately I passed on it.

And then came 878 Vikings – Invasions of England. Setting aside theme for a moment, there are some key reasons why this one broke the pattern of avoiding Kickstarters:

d10-1 Academy Games has successfully completed several Kickstarters and, from what I understand, has been okay with delaying a delivery in order to supply the best quality product to the customers.

d10-2 They have 100% operation of the production/distribution of the game, unlike their previous Kickstarters. Which means they have greater control over hitting said ship date this time around.

d10-3 They are super-responsive on Kickstarter, providing a multitude of feedback to the questions and concerns being raised. They have also made some changes based on the feedback, albeit minor ones, which is a good thing because…

d10-4 They have mentioned this game has been playtested hundreds of times. As have the added items that appear in the various stretch goals. Many times the Stretch Goal items are broken, so to speak, in terms of gameplay. I am very encouraged that they already have tested the stretch goal items, whether cards or scenarios or alternative gameplay items.

d10-5 Going with the above, they also have said no to some of the suggestions made because they would add unnecessary time and production to the delivery of the game, and some would require more playtesting or else guessing at how something new would affect and interact with the core game.

d10-6 There is crazy value in backing it now on Kickstarter. For less than the price of the base game when it releases, I am getting a full expansion for free, as well as some Kickstarter exclusives. Talk about incentive. My $60 pledge is essentially getting me roughly $150 worth of product. Even with the Early Bird being done, the $65 pledge is an insane value.

d10-7 The game is using a tested and true system, being the fourth game to implement this system (although the first with a theme that interests me). So even though there isn’t a gameplay video up quite yet, I have other videos I can watch to see essentially how it will function.

d10-8 Asymmetrical objectives and a game that will be outstanding with 2 players. One side wants to conquer England. The other needs to defend and retake parts of England. It is a territory struggle, but each side will feel a little different in terms of how to approach their strategy.

d10-9 Multiple ways to end the game. It isn’t necessarily the first to accomplish Objective X. You can put the pressure on early with some Treaty Cards, ensuring the game will end in Round 5. You can ignore them and push through Round 7. You can conquer the key areas and win outright through conquest. I love it!

I know I wasn’t going to mention the theme, but that theme! Not only is it Vikings, but it takes place in a period of history that is very fascinating. And this game is dripping with the history of that period. This game was going to enter my collection this year regardless of Kickstarting!

About Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain

This is my first year really getting interested in Wargames, and so it fascinates me that these are both Wargames. A good number of the items mentioned above on 878 Vikings could be reiterated here, as I will demonstrate:

d10-1 GMT Games is a very established and respected company for board games. They’ve created many, many high-quality and highly-rated games and there is no doubt they will deliver and it will be a fantastic product.

d10-2 This game has been playtested many times, and there are links to articles about the game and links to where you can see some of those playtests in action.

d10-3 There is good value in preordering it now on P500. This is saving me $30, which is essentially a small board game I could add to my collection.

d10-4 The game is using a tested and true system, being the eighth game to implement this system (although the first with a theme that interests me). So even though there isn’t a gameplay video up quite yet, I have other videos I can watch to see essentially how it will function.

d10-5 Asymmetrical objectives and a game that will be outstanding with 2 players. And it has solo play. Seriously, all of those things are very desirable in the games I buy.

I know I wasn’t going to mention the theme, but that theme! Itakes place in a period of history that is very fascinating. And this game is dripping with the history of that period. This game was going to enter my collection eventually whether I preordered it or not!

bag Seriously, this excerpt from the website has me drooling over the chance to play this game!

Pendragon leverages the tremendous flexibility of the COIN system, from dual events to dissimilar approaches and victory conditions, to capture the complexity of the period and let the players explore alternative narratives. Unlike earlier volumes, Pendragon is not about counterinsurgency per se, but focuses on the asymmetrical clashes between and among Romano-British authorities and Barbarian powers gnashing over the carcass of the Roman Empire, including:

*Barbarian Raiders plundering the land and trying to surprise unwary towns and hillforts, then melting into hills or fens.
*Expansion or decline of the Saxon Shore naval defense system to counter sea-borne raiders.
*Authentic Late-Roman military doctrine—mighty but hard-to-replace cavalry tracking down raiding parties before they can return their booty home.
*Accessible, powerful but fickle Foederati: barbarian warbands in Briton employ.
*Nuanced battle system representing troop qualities and tactics.
*Fortified strongholds that must be assaulted, besieged, or rebuilt to gain regional political control.
*Civil wars, coups, religious shifts, and cultural assimilation.
*Population movements over the generations, due to good administration, barbarian ravages, or climatic changes.
*Epochal Events ranging from Roman usurpations on the continent to massive reprisals against barbarian homelands.
*Evolution of rules and victory conditions throughout the game, as the still vivacious Roman Empire may or may not end with Britain fragmented among competing semi-barbarian proto-kingdoms.
*A deck of 83 cards with gorgeous commissioned original art.
*Short, medium, and full-length scenarios
*Support for solitaire, 2-player, 3-player and 4-player experiences.

How about you…what were the first games you Kickstarted and/or Preordered and what about them pushed you into making that plunge?