Meg Previews Manaforge by Mystic Tiger Games

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Magic in the Making

The elements swirl freely around the shop, winding through the rows of my displayed wares. I wield the elements to settle on the forge and they seem to dance sprightly, waiting for me to shape them. I stoke the fire, filling the room with a thick heat. I grab my tongs and ready the metal. I melt it down, and watch it become a beautiful, sun-golden liquid. I call down the elements from their post, and as each one dives into the glowing pool, the room fills with brilliant light. The brightness settles, the room is once more lit only by the glowing fire. The once golden liquid now reflects light like a prism. I can feel the power of the arcane radiating through it, and as I stare at the prismatic pool, I think, “This will be my finest weapon yet.”

The Manaforge

manapicThe Basics
  • 2-4 Players
  • 60-90 Minutes
  • Age 13+

In Manaforge players take on the roll of wizards specialized in the creation of magical items and weaponry, and the goal is to have the most prestigious magical forge at the end of the game. The game is played over a series of nine rounds, broken up into three rounds each of Dawn, Noon, and Dusk. As the game progresses through the day, the level of item you can make becomes more challenging. For example, during the Dawn rounds, you will find more mana producing items, whereas there will be none in the Dusk rounds. Each player also has two special talents that are drafted at the beginning of the game. These talents can give special abilities to help you during your turns, or give you a boost in the beginning of the game. Players gain mana using a combination of dice and cards. There are four types of mana available: earth, fire, water and air. Most items are forged from a single type of mana or some combo thereof. There are also items considered Arcane, which generally use at least one of each element for mana. Continue reading

Meg’s Radar #20

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Hey everyone!

It’s time to get back on track with my weekly radar list. Lots of stuff coming out in the next few months, so it is an exciting time with lots of great projects to share. Enjoy the list, and as always, thank you for reading!

Sorghum & Spear: Book One by Green County Creative

f08ed87ad7a02035cc6747afe2081bef_originalSorghum & Spear is a fantasy saga featuring a group of young girls chosen as the last line of defense in the war against the Spora–a group of demons trying to conquer the Eternal Realm. The authors of Sorghum & Spear created the world of the Eternal Realm using inspiration from African, Latin American and Asian culture. In fact, sorghum is an ancient cereal grain generally found in those regions. The use of this grain is also represented in each of the characters, growing and blossoming throughout their journey. The creators hope to provide inclusive expression, social empowerment, growth of creativity, and a community where young people, especially those of colour can feel at home. Their goal starts with this first story, which they hope to eventually bring to life with animation and other mediums. One of the great things about this project, is that it has great pledge options, specifically, along with your physical book, you can pledge a direct donation to Project Have Hope–they provide economic freedom and sustainable support to the women of Uganda, by offering their handmade jewelry on their behalf. This is definitely a project to check out and support. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/greenecountycreative/sorghum-and-spear-book-one

Days left in the campaign: 27

Pledge to get a copy: $25

Bingo Love by Inclusive Press

ad8a4a6935f86ace889cd2ede185d764_originalLove and bingo? Not two things you would think to go together, but for Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray, bingo led to a love that would last a lifetime. In Bingo Love, a chance meeting at a bingo hall in 1963 leads to a forbidden romance between the young Helen and Mari. At the time, being openly gay was not as accepted as it is today, and their blossoming relationship was halted in its tracks by their forbidding families. Decades later the two are married to men they do not love, unhappy, still pained by their forced separation, but fate will intervene–decades later, again at a bingo hall–bringing the two back together once more. This is a great story of how love can persist, even when it seems like the world is doing its best to prevent it from being so. There are tons of great options, including a two copy pledge, that encourages you to donate a copy of the book to a library of your choice. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1984974672/bingo-love

Days left in the campaign: 27

Pledge to get a copy: $22

The Grimm Forest by Druid City Games

  • download (2)2-4 Players
  • 40-60 Minutes 
  • Age 13+

In The Grimm Forest, players take on the role of one the nieces or nephews of the famous Three Little Pigs. You are competing to build three houses–made out of straw, wood, and brick–as fast as you can. The game is divided into rounds, which are made up of a Gather and Build phase. During the Gather phase, players will secretly choose which part of the forest they wish to gather resources from. Players who choose the same place, will have to share resources, while going to a location solo will grant you access to all of that locations resources. In the Build phase, the resources collected will be used to construct your three houses. However, things aren’t always so simple. Fable cards will come into play–before you are able to gather resources–affecting you or the other players. Building your houses will be a challenge. Can you gather the resources you need to build yours first? https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/druidcitygames/the-grimm-forest

Days left in the campaign: 24

Pledge to get the game: $49

XYbrid by Gabe Shultz

  • 17190602_693411467450795_5765416671331770518_n2-4 Players
  • 30-60 Minutes

XYbrid is a simple game where players draft parts to create monsters in the lab, to become the most infamous scientist. A completed monster will include a set of legs, two arms, and a head (you start with a torso). Body parts will have an Infamy score (which is used to gain Infamy Points, or VP), and occasionally special features that happen during different parts of the game. These features can be Draw, Deploy, or Mission effects. There are also Auxiliary body parts that can be added to your monsters for more points, or abilities. Players will draft parts from the lab until their monsters are complete, then they will deploy them to earn points. Each player will also have a set of 3 Breakthrough cards (one for each round). These cards add a little spice to your deploy phase, and they can either benefit the person playing the Breakthrough, or hinder the other players. This game features some super neat art, and utilizes plastic cards to get a really cool overlay effect for your creatures body parts. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/525115303/xybrid-a-monster-building-transparent-card-game

Days left in the campaign: 29

Pledge to get the game: $29

Spotlight– Feudum by Odd Bird Games

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It’s been quite awhile since I have done a spotlight, and what better way to come back to it than by featuring a game, I have been eyeing for months now. Not too long ago the designer, Mark Swanson, posted on the Kickstarter Spotlight Facebook group asking for advice on his Kickstarter preview page. I remember writing a ridiculously long list of fixes for it, but what stood out more was the game that the page featured. Ever since then, I have been looking forward to this game hitting Kickstarter for real, just so I could back it. In fact, this is the last game I will back this year (gotta save money for the holidays). I’m immensely excited to finish up the year with the backing of this game, and I’m sure that whether you are backing something for the first time, or are a “super backer” like me, that this will be a game to remember.

Guilds & Power

Having been banished to this strange land, I have come to learn that the guilds hold all the power. Have them in your corner, and you will be able to do anything. However, their loyalty is ever wavering and without it, you really don’t stand much of a chance. I’ve been lucky so far, managing to maintain some sway with the merchants guild. I’ve even taken control of my own feudum. My success comes with a steep price, so I must be sure to keep the King’s favor. If I don’t– well, you can only imagine.

Perhaps during this epoch, I’ll be able to control the behemoth to do my bidding. I’ve heard of and seen the destruction that it can cause, and I’d much rather have it on my side. Luckily, I don’t deal with ships too often, so I don’t have to worry about my competitors sending that sea creature after me. 

Feudum is a 2-5 player game where players take on the roles of characters who travel to a strange land to reclaim their honor, after having been banished from their homeland. Players begin the game with little more than some apples and a few shillings. They must work towards turning those into a profitable future.

The game will take place over 5 epochs. During that time players will vie to gain status with the six guilds within the kingdom. These guilds include merchants, knights and monks, just to name a few. Having the loyalty of these guilds helps you to gain special resources that you will use to maintain your feudums. The game includes a cyclical economy with a push/ pull mechanic to keep things moving. The interaction with the different guilds is the main focus of the game, as working with them is integral to getting things done. Since the game is so complex, I figured I would include the rules summary provided by Odd Bird Games. If you are looking for something more in-depth, check out the reviews done by Man vs Meeple or Undead Viking. Also, if you’d like to get an early look at the rule book, you can check that out here.

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Meg Previews Nothing to Declare by Apauling Games

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Workin’ Security

AirportSecurity_1.jpgI’ve been working at the airport doing baggage checks for a long time now. Generally, there isn’t a lot of excitement. Most folks just try to get away with bringing their big shampoo bottles– or giant tubs of hair gel, you know the type. After that, it’s mostly nail clippers and tweezers. Sometimes I think to myself, “All these people want to do, is just keep up with their grooming habits.” However, I have had some pretty incredible finds here and there. The type of finds that make you scratch your head and say, “How in the world, did you ever think you were going to get that through security?”

Not too long ago, I stumbled upon a lady who was trying to get a big ol’ bottle of chloroform through the checkpoint without anyone noticing. She tried to play it off like she didn’t know how it got in there. Honestly, even if someone were trying to sabotage you, sticking a giant bottle of chloroform in your bag, would not be how I’d choose to do it. Ya know, we never did get her to admit what it was for. I can only imagine what the marshals were able to get out of her. That was weird for sure, but nothing will beat the guy who thought he could get a suitcase full of live snakes through the x-ray machine. 

*Sigh*

People sure are strange. 

What’s In the Bag?

14813132_10154027920759646_1759755180_oThe Basics
  • 2-6 Players
  • 20 Minutes
  • Age 8+

In Nothing to Declare, by Apauling Games, players will try to sneak crazy items through airport security. Each player will start with their own baggage and passenger cards. Passenger cards are used to affect your baggage, or the baggage of your opponents. Your opponents are not the only thing you have to worry about. Be prepared for random inspections! Only concealed baggage will be worth points. At the end of five rounds, the player with the most points in their concealed baggage, will be declared the winner.  Continue reading

Spotlight– 7 & 7 By Cory Goff

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Prototyping Community: A Brief Interview With Cory Goff

One of my favorite things about being part of the gaming community, is getting to playtest games in their early stages. There is nothing more exciting than watching as the idea for a game unfolds, and then getting to provide feedback to make the game the best it can be. As a playtester, this has often been an incredibly fun and enriching experience, but I have always wondered what it was like to be on the other side of the table, as the designer. It can’t be easy sharing your ideas, and opening yourself and your game to criticism, but it can also be an incredibly insightful and productive learning experience.

supguild-logoFor this week’s Tuesday spotlight, I wanted to do a little something extra and give a peek at the designer’s side of the prototyping experience. As luck would have it, the designer of 7 & 7, Cory Goff, and I are both members of theSUPguild. For those who aren’t familiar, theSUPguild is a free prototyping/playtesting group, based out of FL, that anyone can join. It’s a great community to share your game, go to playtesting events, and get help from playtesters and other designers. Thanks to our connections through SUP, I was able to get a hold of Cory, and he was awesome enough to answer a few of my questions.

What made you join Sup Guild?

Cory: As a game designer, it was a no-brainer.  Why not join theSUPguild? There are no negatives in doing so.
– It’s a great way to get improvement ideas
– Meet new and interesting people who share a common interest in gaming
– A great way to get constructive feedback
– Test your game in different ways
– Get an early peek at up-and-coming games
– Networking
– It’s free

How was your overall prototyping experience? Specifically, what was it like with SUP?

Cory: My overall prototyping experience was wonderful. Each and every one of the staff members were super friendly.  They treated me like a guest in their own home.  None of the testers sugar-coated feedback and that’s what I wanted.  I’m looking forward to doing it again in the future!

Do you think having a strong prototyping community is important, and why? Does it only benefit designers, or do you think it is just as important for players?

Cory: A strong prototyping community is very important.  The individuals you have in your life may not be the best choice for testing.  You want those who are going to take your game seriously early on.  Having a group to test your prototype will also speed up your chances of getting to that polished game sooner.  Of course the prototype community benefits designers, but it’s just as important for players.  We all want to be a part of something.  When that something is a hobby, it’s an even greater experience. To be tester is like watching a niece/nephew grow up.  A prototype player’s involvement can help nourish that growth.

What was your favorite part of the prototyping process?

Cory: As silly as it may sound, my favorite part of the prototyping experience was watching testers play a game made of pieces of paper with writing on it. It had no artwork, the wording may have been incorrect, and not everything about the game was finalized, but there were people who were still willing to play it.

What was your favorite part of the design process? 

Cory: My favorite part of the design process was coming up with ideas for the art. I love using my imagination.  It’s a great feeling seeing it come to life. An even better feeling when people love the art.

What inspired you to create 7 & 7?

Cory: My inspiration for 7 & 7 actually came from the film Se7en, starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman.  I figured most things have an opposite, so I researched the opposite of the 7 deadly sins.  After learning of the virtues, I thought that it would make a great theme for a game.

And that was my brief interview! Special thanks to Cory, for answering all of my questions. Now let’s dig into 7 & 7! 

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