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

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Meg Previews 5ive: King’s Court by GameStax

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…All the King’s Men?

“Where are all of my men?” The King’s voice boomed like thunder, rolling across the great hall. The emptiness of the room became overwhelmingly apparent. Just then a small, anxious man approached the throne and knelt. He bowed his head, averting his gaze from the King’s disapproving eyes.

“We are all here your Majesty,” he squeaked. 

“That’s impossible! There only be but four of you in this room, and one of them is the Queen!” The King’s displeasure hung thick in the air. “Where in God’s name is everyone?” He began to pace back and forth in front of his throne. 

The man who still knelt, head bowed before the King, spoke once more. “Your Majesty, we are your court. Our knights are off training. You were only meant to meet with us today. Everyone is here as promised. I’m the Bishop, and with me I have your highest commanding knight, and the Rookie… *Hrumph*… I mean Rook.” 

The King let out a long sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I suppose this will have to do… Now, should we have camel or pony rides for my birthday–I can’t decide.”

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The King’s Court

characters-03The Basics
  • 2-4 Players
  • 15 Minutes
  • Age 6+

In 5ive: King’s Court by GameStax, players will try to assemble the members of the King’s court. The members of the court are: The King, the Queen, the Knight, the Bishop, and the Rook. Each member of the court, including the King, has a special ability that will either help the active player or hurt opposing players. However, players always have the opportunity to block cards, but that can get expensive.  Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

Meg Takes A Bite- A Mini Review of Unreal Estate by Grand Gamers Guild

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Print & Play Madness

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PnP for Ahead in the Clouds

Recently I have found myself making lots and lots of print-and-plays for all kinds of games. For the past month I have been playtesting a game for Artana, so I’ve had to make several copies for it. A designer friend of mine sent me a PnP copy of one of his games months ago, so I am finally getting around to that. Plus there are two Kickstarter projects that I wanted to try as well. Let me tell you, it’s a lot of cutting and sleeving, but if you have the time, making PnPs can be a relaxing and rewarding thing. For Kickstarter backers, I absolutely suggest it. If you are on the fence about a game to back, give the PnP a try, and it might solidify your decision to back.

I’ve gotten extremely luckily with the the two Kickstarter PnPs that I have made. The first was Ahead in the Clouds, a great little two player by Button Shy Games. The second is the game I wanted to talk about today, Unreal Estate by Grand Gamers Guild.

City Building 101

14657657_10153969298594646_1162209222_nIn Unreal Estate, city building is all about timing and hand management. The town council has contacted you and your fellow players to build the best cityscape that you can. To do this, you must pick the buildings that will make the city the most beautiful. Choosing what buildings you’d like to use, is done in a drafting style, and any building designs not drafted will be sent to the Scrap Pile. However, demand can build up for these scrapped designs, so you will have a chance to cash in on them later, and be the one to bring back to the city what the people want to see. Wait too long, however, and one of your competitors may snatch up the payout before you can.  Continue reading

Meg Previews Stitches by Norwester Games

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There’s Something In The Dark Woods

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Photo Credit: www.clipartkid.com

Beyond the grounds of Franken State University, there is a place that no one dares enter. Past the scattered trees, to where the woods become dense and dark, you can find things that are truly terrifying. Everyone knows what’s out there. Everyone knows what the woods are really inhabited by…

The abandoned thesis projects of the university’s science department are alive out there– sad creatures, crawling in the dark. When the sun falls below the horizon, you can hear them, growling and grunting, fighting each other to survive.  And if you listen really closely, you can sometimes hear them speak… 

“Shiny… Tummy… Kitty…” 

However, these creatures are not the true danger. There is something far more sinister lurking in those woods. Long ago, it was left to fend for itself– the first failed experiment. It has been said, that the other creatures have tried to destroy it, to fight against the beast, but none have been successful. Perhaps, if the creatures could stop fighting amongst themselves, they could defeat the Abomination once and for all…

Monster’s Brawl 

stitches_promo_image_1024x576-768x432The Basics
  • 3-7 Players
  • 20-30 Minutes
  • Age 7+

Stitches, by Norwester Games, is a semi-cooperative game, where players take on the role of abandoned thesis projects, trying to survive in the woods. The goal of the game, is to upgrade your body parts, enough to be able to team up with the other creatures, to take down the Abomination. Players can gain new parts by scavenging the forest floor, or by attacking the others and stealing their targeted body parts. In the game, attacking uses a simple Rock, Paper, Scissors mechanic for combat. Whenever a player attacks another player, both the attacker, and the player being attacked, will learn a new word. These words will be the only form of communication that you have, besides grunting and growling. This adds to the challenge of trying to coordinate a strategy with other players. If a player chooses to attack the Abomination on their turn, anyone who shares a word with that player must also attack (there are ways to get out of attacking, but it is costly). The Abomination is not easy to kill, and will require players to have strong upgraded parts and plenty of allies to defeat it. However, there is a limited amount of time for you and your fellow creatures to defeat the Abomination. If there are no more cards left in the Parts Deck, the Abomination has won.  Continue reading

Meg Previews Unmasked: Dracula’s Feast by Jellybean Games

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A Feast For The Ages

draculaTonight will be a feast for the ages! Every candle is lit, every streamer is hung. The banquet table is set with a smorgasbord of delectable delights. The townsfolk should be arriving shortly and the band is ready to play.

Everything is perfect. I’ve really outdone myself this time…

*A low growl echoes through the foyer, followed by the stomping of several (possibly large) feet*

What was that? No, No, No! This is not happening. I specifically avoided sending them invitations! I can’t believe they’ve decided to crash my party! *sigh*  Now that the guests have started to arrive and everyone is wearing their masquerade masks, I can’t tell anyone apart! What a nightmare! 

Perhaps I can dance my way to figuring out who everyone is… Might as well enjoy myself while trying to get rid of these monstrous party crashers.

Making Plans

accusation-card-backsThe Basics
  • 4-8 Players
  • 5-15 Minutes
  • Age 10+

Dracula’s Feast, by Jellybean Games, is a social deduction game where players try to figure out the identities of the other guests who have crashed Dracula’s big event. The game has no night phases and isn’t a free for all guessing fest. Players must take an action on their turn to gain information about their fellow guests. Players may dance with, question, or accuse the other guests on their turn. Once they are certain they have discovered the identity of all of the other players, they may attempt a Grand Reveal on their turn instead. However, a correct Grand Reveal isn’t your only chance at winning. Every role in the game has a special ability or restriction to how they must play. This could change the way you gather information in the game, or how you present information to others. Players must be careful to not be tricked by the special role abilities, because a wrong accusation or Grand Reveal could mean your banishment from the party.  Continue reading