Timber Peak Sets the Zombies on Fire

Last Night on Earth’s latest expansion, Timber Peak, is a standalone game that adds new scenarios, characters, and chaos to the endless struggle between the humans and the zombies. You thought you could escape town and head for a remote mountaintop to get away from the walking dead? You were wrong.

Continue reading

Zombies!!! 11: Death Inc. — More Focused, Different Win Condition

Twilight Creations’ Zombies!!! franchise keeps shambling along. The latest standalone expansion, Death Inc., offers an new win condition, adopts some popular house rules for faster play, and has better graphic design than earlier expansions. If you’ve ever thought, “Hey, a zombie apocalypse would be a perfect chance to make a corporate power play,” then get those TPS reports done — we’ve got some zombies to kill!

Continue reading

Lords of Waterdeep — D&D-themed Euro Board Game Hits All the Right Notes

Wizards of the Coast’s board game department has a pretty solid batting average, and Lords of Waterdeep is another home run (but not quite a grand slam). As one of the masked lords, you’ll work through your agents to hire adventurers, complete quests and secure your political power within the City of Splendors.

Continue reading

Legend of Drizzt Brings Salvatore’s Characters to Board Gaming

The Legend of Drizzt is the third entry in Wizards of the Coast’s series of D&D based board games. It uses the same basic mechanics as the first two, but adapts the game to the Forgotten Realms, using all the major characters from R.A. Salvatore’s novels instead of generic heroes and villains.

Continue reading

Playing Alone Together: the Perils (and Joys) of Non-Interactive Games

There are solitaire games that you play by yourself, and then there are solitaire games you play with others. Sure, the box says, “For 3-6 players,” but really everyone at the table is playing her own game, developing resources and working toward some goal without directly influencing the other players in any significant way. You might hear them referred to as “group solitaire,” “non-interactive,” or “fishbowl” games. This is considered a classic sign of bad game design, but it’s actually a very interesting and useful concept. Here are some ideas on how to avoid it, how to fix it, and when it works just fine.

Continue reading

Oil Springs of Catan Explores the Tragedy of the Commons

Settlers of Catan has plenty of expansions that change the dynamics of the game, forcing the players to work together, putting a focus on exploration, or drawing emphasis to a certain section of the map. A new variation from publisher Mayfair Games will add a new wrinkle to the basic game, allowing some players to get a boost from their oil fields at the possible cost of ruining the entire island of Catan.

Continue reading

Kobold Guide to Board Game Design is a Designer’s Bible

If you make your living designing games (or just dream that you do), the Kobold Guide to Board Game Design is money in the bank. It is packed cover to cover with incredibly useful information on every aspect of game design, written by the most creative, insightful and experienced minds in the gaming industry.

Continue reading

Spectral Rails Offers a Ghostly Take on Railroad Building

Spectral Rails by Z-Man Games is a railroad game in which the players send their ghost trains around the old west in search of souls. Instead of building the tracks ahead of you to travel on, your trains leave a spectral wake that other players can ride, but blocks your own train. It’s an interesting twist on the genre, but the game ultimately didn’t capture my interest.

Continue reading

Conquest of Nerath: War Comes to D&D, and It Is Fun

With Conquest of Nerath, Wizards of the Coast conjures another successful board game, this one with an entirely different game engine than their prior dungeon adventure efforts. If you enjoyed conquering the world with plastic armies in endless games of Risk as a kid, imagine that game infused with fantasy flavor, strategic depth, exciting random events and a variety of unit types. So, imagine something way better than Risk.

Continue reading

Wrath of Ashardalon is a Big Box of D&D Board Gaming Fun

Last year, Wizards of the Coast dove into the high-end board game market with the massive Ravenloft box. The second in the series, Wrath of Ashardalon, continues and expands the fun with tight rules and a metric ton of odds and ends that will keep you replaying it for years.

Continue reading