The Mountain–A Solo Board Game Experience

The Mountain-logo

The 2015 Global Game Jam – an annual event where game designers are presented with theme, and challenged to create a game around that theme in 48 hours.  The game can be a video game or a table top game, and there are awards for different categories. 

This year, the theme was, “What Do We Do Now?”   28,837 people registered to participate in GGJ, for 518 different jam sites in 78 countries.  An impressive 5438 games were produced.

The Mountain won Best Board Game, Jury’s Prize and took 2nd Place – People’s Choice Award, with credit going to: David Chircop – Design, Story, Graphic Design. Yannick Massa – Design,  Johnathan Harrington – Story, Design. Matthew Agius Muscat – Story. Fran Bte – Story. Daniela (iella) Attard – Art, Illustration.

BGG game description: “The Mountain is a board game experience for one player. It explores a pensive man’s descent from a mountain from the moment he reaches the peak. You navigate the mountain while exploring the man’s thoughts as he contemplates about the unknown abyss that lies exactly after his life’s biggest accomplishment.

There are five exit points on the board, one for every element that will affect your journey – frost, sun, wind, sky and horizon. As you try and find the path down, you learn more about yourself through the story cards, divided into five different story lines that affect you as a protagonist.

However, the path down is not immediately obvious. Your movement subdues and stimulates the elements. If three or four elements are acting, you start suffering from ennui; a feeling that perhaps getting to the bottom of the mountain is not that important after all. If all five elements are raging, you will succumb to nature and die.

Traverse through the safest path and take care of yourself. This could be either the most important journey of your life, or your last.”


The Mountain certainly adheres to the Global Game Jam theme of, “What do we do now?”  Playing as a character who has just peaked in more than one way, he is now dealing with self-doubt and the lack of a goal in his life.  As he treks down the mountain, he is fighting his own depression as well as the elements, and his life is in danger.  This is a theme many writers could sink their literary teeth into, and I have been fascinated with this premise for years.


The game has an interesting mechanic for movement, using 5 controller cards to determine which spaces can be moved onto in a given turn.  This presents an interesting puzzle, as you must plan ahead to insure you can move on following turns.  If you can not or chose not to move, you must still draw an Ennui card (pronounced än-ˈwē), representing a lack of spirit, enthusiasm or interest.  If you draw too many Ennui cards, the character gives up trying to descend the mountain and dies.  In game terms, that means you lose.


If you can reach one of the 5 exit points around the map, and you have acquired at least 1 each of the 5 different element cards, you can end the game, leaving the mountain.  At this point, if you have more of the element card that matching the space you exit, you can draw the first ending card from that deck.  Otherwise you draw the second, less favorable ending card.

It’s an interesting exercise, and I played three times, which is far from exhaustive.  It did give me a feel for the game, and put my mind to a depressed story theme, but sometimes that is useful.

Note that this game is not available for sale, but the designers have been kind enough to provide a free print and play version, downloadable here:

Be aware that the file has a 4-page game board and 9 pages of cards.  The files are in full color, no B&W option currently available.

There is also a Printerstudio version of the game that can be ordered.  More details in this BGG post:




Review: Dig Down Dwarf by Grey Gnome Games

Dig Down Dwarf by Grey Gnome Games, (2014) is a fast-paced dice game in which each player takes on the role of a dwarf chieftain in line for the throne. In the game, you roll dice to obtain gems from the mine. Gain the most valuable collection of gems, and you’ll be crowned the new dwarf king!


After a very successful Kickstarter campaign, Dig Down Dwarf is finally getting into backer’s hands and soon (hopefully), into your FLGS.  Designed by Jason Glover, Dig Down Dwarf enters a competitive arena with other fast-playing dice games like Dungeon Roll from TMG and Age of War from FFG.  How does it fare?

Gameplay: Each player takes a card representing one of the potential heirs to the Dwarven throne.  4 random gems are drawn from bag, adding two more gems each turn, as players attempt to roll poker hands (2 of a kind, 3 of a kind, straight, 4 of a kind, etc.) on 4d6, each die has a different color.  Rolling a 1 on a die locks it and it can’t be rerolled, but the others can be rolled up to two more times, Yahtzee-style.  Each turn can garner the player gemstones which represent victory points but can also be spent for more powerful actions like re-rolling the dice or gaining a 5th die to roll to help gain more gems on future turns.  If you roll a 6 on your favored die color (depicted on your card), you can use a special power on your card.

Most of the game is simply rolling the dice and making the best decisions you can with what you’ve got, with some options for special actions at times.  The game is over once the last gem is drawn from the bag and all players have had a turn.  Add up the points for gems, plus bonuses and high score wins.

While everything comes down to dice rolls and whatever gems are randomly drawn and available, there are still a number of choices to make in your turn, particularly how/if you spend gems you own to gain more gems, additional powers or just get a chance to reroll.


What do I think of Dig Down Dwarf?

The good:  Straight away, I think this game is a lot of fun and is very easy to teach.  It hits the sweet spot for a filler game very well and the rules are clean and play fast.  The game is light, but I always felt like I had choices to make, and they were not always easy ones.  No one is likely to get analysis paralysis from what this games offers, but it is not mindless either.

The entire game fits in a 5”x5”x1.5” box.  Considering the game includes 45 plastic gems in a cool drawstring bag, 5 large dice and 12 linen finish cards (as well as a large plastic gem to indicate current player – Kickstarter exclusive), this game offers the highest quality components for a minimal price.


The Not So Good:  The game doesn’t offer much player interaction. Yes, there is an opportunity for one player can swap gems with another player, but it doesn’t occur often. Most of the game is players waiting for their turn, doing the best they can on their turn and passing to the next player. That’s not to say it isn’t fun, but there isn’t a lot in the game to engage players during the down-time between turns.

The high quality of the components really contrasted with the art on the cards, which is downright amateur.  I’m not trying to be mean, but I didn’t think the art added anything to the game and, if anything, it detracted.

What is the judgment call on Dig Down Dwarf?


Dig Down Dwarf holds its own within the light-game genre, and bests many. It is a solid filler game and I will play it regularly for a while.  I’m really glad I backed this Kickstarter, and hope to see it in stores soon. For more info, see Grey Gnome Games website.

Viceroy board Game on Kickstarter now until Dec. 27

Viceroy is a bidding and resource management table top game from Russia.  It premiered at Essen Germany at Spiel 2014 and sold out before NOON on the first day.  It hit the HOTNESS on immediately and demand was clearly present to bring Viceroy to the USA, Canada and Europe.


Mayday Games answered that challenge, putting the game on Kickstarter.  It sailed past the $10k funding goal in the first 8 hours and has continued to reach stretch goal after stretch goal (increasing component quality or adding new ones).  In short, it’s already a huge success and it still has 18 days to go on KS (as of this writing).

Viceroy Game


On Kickstarter, a single copy of the game (plus stretch goals) is $22 plus $5 shipping in US.  That is the full game, shipped for $27, when it will hit MSRP for $35 in stores later in 2015.  The Kickstarter campaign closes December 27, 2014, so if you want in on it, back this one now.

Check out the KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN, HERE.  Don’t miss the gameplay videos or the reviews, which are stellar.

Yes, it is the Cult of the New, but this game has promise, stunning artwork and very interesting gameplay I have not seen in another game. 

Game Review: Car Wars, 4th Edition is a Missed Opportunity for SJG

I just got my copy of the 2014 release of Car Wars and can testify that the quality of the components is as weak as shown in the unboxing video by Gamer Goggles, here.

This is for Car Wars, 4th Edition, 2nd printing, 2014 $19.99 from Steve Jackson Games, which released in November.

Originally published in 1981, Car Wars is a game where players build vehicles complete with weapons, armor and so on, and then they duel with each other.  There are many reviews out there of previous versions  that tell you about the game play of Car Wars, so I will focus on what Car Wars, 4th Edition brings to the table.

2014-12-06 17.06.52

Different from the previous version, this version has  thicker cardboard counters than the original, but they came pre-punched in a plastic bag, so I can’t verify if the set is complete, other than count 103 pieces an hope they put all the right pieces in the bag.  I dislike this presentation and much prefer to be given the sheet of counters.

The ‘turning key’ is thin cardstock, like the original, and that is disappointing because it is such a useful tool and would benefit from being printed on chipboard or at least, thicker card stock.

The rule book is 64 pages, black and white on printer paper, and the map is of course, black and white printing on paper stock, folded up.

The game included four, 6-sided dice, but even they are low grade and I won’t be using them.

2014-12-06 17.08.14

With so much opportunity for improvement over previous versions, SJG phoned this one in.  I dig Car Wars, but all my old stuff from the 1980’s is as good as this version, the sole exception being thicker counters and a new box.

Scott Haring (Line Editor for Car Wars) was quoted as saying this is a “Classic” version of the game (YouTube link here), but I am disappointed to see so little work going into this release.

By “Classic,” I guess they mean that the quality is as crumby as it was in the 80’s.  I can understand making a classic version of the game, not doing a rewrite of the rules with new, color artwork, but this is on printer paper.  At least print the rulebook on gloss.  Print the maps on cardstock that pieces together, puzzle style, rather than a big piece of folded-up paper.  And those lousy 12mm dice… nobody wants the dice in this box.

After seeing what was done in OGRE Designer Edition, maybe my expectations were too high.  Still, I only expected some degree of concern over appearance.  I will forever refer to this release of Car Wars as CAR WARS – the Neglected Version, because that is exactly what I thought when I opened the box – this looks like nobody cared.

What a missed opportunity for SJG to introduce new players to this very fun game.  I expect that most new players will open the box, see the lack of effort put into the product, and pass.  The ones that actually play it will likely be die-hard fans of the game like myself, but then, I would play it anyway, and I will, but it won’t be this version.   It’s just too… sad.

ARIF Rating: ABORT unless you are an old school Car Wars player who no longer has a copy and is jonesing to play.

Review of Hipster Dice. Yes, it is a Thing.

Note: I’m doing a straight review of Hipster Dice, though a review of something so silly begs for arrogant hipster ad-libbing. I know I’m being boring, mainstream and commercial, Mr. Obvious. Duh.

Ok, the review is not completely straight.  Whatever.


Hipster Dice by Steve Jackson Games retails for $4.99 and consists of a single, custom, faux vintage 19mm die and faux vintage instruction sheet in a blister package.

The game is agnostically rebelling with the title itself – dice is plural, and there is only one. Calling it “Hipster Die” has an entirely different meaning, so I understand the misnomer, but Hipster Die sounds infinitely more fun to me. This is Hipster Dice (with one die and no hipsters dying). So mote it be.


The package says, “Hipster Dice is a party game, if you are into that sort of thing.”

I like party games and I like Steve Jackson Games. $5 was burning a hole in my pocket so I picked up Hipster Dice. I’m here as a PSA and living warning to save you $5, but I’ll tell you what this thing is all about.

To play Hipster Dice, you will need these things:

  1. Tokens, pen and paper, or some way of keeping score (not included)
  2. A device connected to the internet (not included)
  3. Other people who are willing to participate (not likely)

The 6-sided die has an icon for each of the following categories:

  • Music your friends have not heard
  • Fashion that isn’t too commercial
  • Drinks your friends have not tried
  • Movies your friends have not seen
  • Literature your friends haven’t read
  • Food that is not mainstream and the places you find it.

Each turn, a player rolls the die and says something about the category rolled in the most over-entitled, self-centered way possible.

Example: “Have you seen Terry Gilliam’s latest movie? It’s not in theaters. He only does personal screenings at his winter home in Cannes for his closest friends. The movie is an absolute hoot and stars his kids playing volleyball for four hours. Best. Thing. Ever.”

It doesn’t have to be true, just on topic for the category rolled.

If the others buy it, then you get one hipster cred (point).

If everyone has heard of it, you don’t get any hipster cred.

If any player calls you a Poseur, you are challenged. You have two minutes to search the internet and find proof that what you said is true, getting two hipster cred if you succeed, or if you fail, giving the challenger one of your hipster cred.

The game ends when one person has 5 or more hipster cred.

That’s it.

So, who is Hipster Dice for?

True, arrogant hipsters who will participate as if it were any other banal activity. Whatever.


People who really want to spend 30 minutes or so making fun of arrogant hipsters.

If you are not in one of those categories, you probably won’t care for Hipster Dice.

Yes, I get the joke. It’s smile-worthy at best and numbingly pretentious at worst. I will say that the die is a quality engraved 19mm die, and comes in different color combinations, if colors are your thing. If you want it, get it now, since Hipster Dice has been published, it’s so out of vogue.

ARIF Rating:  Fail.  It may be collectable and cool in 10 or 20 years, but as of now, it is so yesterday.

Review of Knightmare Chess (3rd Edition)



Knightmare Chess (3rd Edition) by Steve Jackson Games, $29.95 is chess played with cards that break the rules in unpredictable ways. Some affect a single move and others change the entire game.

Note that playing Knightmare Chess also requires a working knowledge of chess, a chess set and an open mind to play. You’ll also need miscellaneous markers (small post-it notes work well) to place on chess pieces that have been altered through the effects of a card.

Knightmare Chess includes 158 cards, illustrated by artist, Rogério Vilela. Each turn, a player may play a card (which is optional), following the instructions on the card that supersede the classic rules of chess. All of the cards have clear text as to what can and cannot be done, and when they can be played. They have a number in the top right corner, indicating a cost when using the deck building rules.

For example, the card titled Evangelists allows the payer to, “Swap the positions of one of your bishops and one of the opponent’s bishops. Play this card on your turn, instead of making your regular move.”


You can easily see how a card like this could be helpful and possibly detrimental to the player who uses it. It should be played at a key time, probably one that is planned, if it is played at all.

With this sort of rule-bending going on, there needs to be some jurisdiction, and there are some cardinal guidelines that take precedence over everything else.

The Checkmate Rule states that, “No regular card may directly cause a checkmate situation or capture the king.” You could play a card that changes a pawn into a knight for the rest of the game, and that knight makes a move later in the game that results in a checkmate and that would be allowed, but you can’t checkmate or capture a king directly through the play of a card. Ever.

The other rule is regarding conflicts. “When a card conflict with any other rule or the rules of chess, the card takes precedence. When two cards conflict, Continuing Effect cards take precedence. If both or neither are Continuing Effect cards, the last card played takes precedence.” There, that settles that.

The game includes variants where players build decks rather than draw cards randomly, or handicap one player over another by allowing fewer cards in his deck, and these are for more seasoned players. I look forward to joining those ranks.


So, what do I think about Knightmare Chess (3rd Edition)?

I’m impressed by the game’s history. It came out in 1996 and disappeared from store shelves a few years later. I learned of the game afterwards and wanted it, but copies were going for ridiculous prices on eBay, so I stayed away. November, 2014, Steve Jackson Games re-released it, complete with the expansion, Knightmare Chess 2, included. Not much has changed from the earlier versions, as best I can tell and I’m pleased to finally own the game.

While the cards add some random elements to chess, they are not all powerful. They do, however, destroy any strategist’s plans of what to do three or more moves ahead. Knightmare Chess makes the game one that requires adaptability and creativity that the original game of chess thumbs its nose.


I enjoy a proper game of chess and cherish the times I can bring out my tournament set and play. I’m not a great player but I am a good loser, and I lose often. Knightmare Chess is such an aberration to the pure rules of a classic game, I can understand that some people just can’t make the leap, and that’s ok. As for me, I adore the way it changes the game from intentionally foreseeable to shamelessly diverse– the way it puts players on their toes, trying to react to the unpredictable turns the game may take.

Chess purists may be offended that it perverts of the most hallowed of strategy games, but I recommend Knightmare Chess to anyone who enjoys chess and does not take it too seriously. I could even see this being a regularly played game in my circle, particularly regarding the deck building aspect.

Game components include:

158 tarot-sized cards, linen finish (this is all the cards from Knightmare Chess and Knightmare Chess 2)

4-page instructions sheet

2 blank cards, so you can create your own mayhem on the chessboard.


ARIF Game rating: Retry.

I’ll definitely be playing this one again. If you halfway dig this theme, I encourage you to buy it now, before it goes out of print again.

As a side note, I noticed Gary Gygax is credited as being a play tester for the original game.  Cool.

Card Game Review: Pairs by CheapAss Games

Pairs FruitPhoto

Pairs (created by James Ernest by CheapAss Games, $10) is a simple card game that hit in March of 2014 with a $12k funding goal, and it rapidly escalated to being a Kickstarter phenomenon,  raising an amazing $332k and 7,781 backers before it closed.  Of course I was caught up in the hysteria and backed it.  It was a fun Kickstarter to be a part of as it sailed past stretch goal after stretch goal, unlocking decks with different themes and art to choose from.   I backed at the $16 level, for one copy of the game in the deck theme of my choice. 


Recently, my copy of the game arrived in the mail.  Of the 12 different themes available, I selected the Barmaids Deck, because it had beer and pretty girls on the cards.  It was a decision that made itself, really. 

Advertised as being a new classic pub game, Pairs is a simple press-your-luck game with cards numbered 1 to 10.  Players take turns drawing a card, trying not to get a pair. If you get a pair, you score points (and points are bad). You can also choose to fold, instead of taking a card, and score the lowest card in play. Folding gets you some points, but catching a pair could get you even more. 

Pairs doesn’t have a winner, just a loser. The first player to reach a target score loses, and the target score depends on the number of players.  For example, with 4 players, the loser is the first player to 16 points.

This simple game mechanic lends itself well to a game played between friends to determine who buys the next round of drinks, and being a small deck of cards, the portability makes it easy to transport and play at a bar.

How enjoyable a game is (any game) has everything to do with the people you are playing it with.  With friends, gamers or not, while having drinks after work, you will probably have a good time.  I think this game almost requires alcohol to appreciate it at its full capacity for enjoyment.  If you pull this out with your hardcore Warhammer 40k group, amped up on Mountain Dew or Monster, you deserve all the contempt you will receive. 

I am reminded of the words of the Grail Knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade “Choose wisely, for while the true Grail will bring you life, the false Grail will take it from you.”

Choose wisely, good gamers.  Choose wisely.

Rating: Retry – This is good. We will actively choose to play this game again, put it in our rotation and consider playing any add-ons and expansions for the game.  Retry is a keeper in our book.





The original Kickstarter for Pairs (now closed)

Official website for Pairs

Pairs on


Games Workshop announced that they are taking pre-orders for a re-release of Space Hulk 3rd Edition, shipping on 9/20/2014.  I’ve put my order in, and from the looks of things, this will sell out pretty quick.

Link: Pre-Order Space Hulk


SPACE HULK 2014 Release


Space Hulk is a board game for two players that pits man against alien in a series of desperate battles. Inside the cramped confines of a derelict space-bound wreck known as the Sin of Damnation, players command either a hand-picked force of Blood Angel Space Marines or a lethal swarm of agile Genestealers.

Games of Space Hulk are played on a gaming area made up of high-quality card tiles which fit together to create the cramped confines of the Space Hulk. Each of the 16 missions included in the boxed set uses a different set-up, or alternatively you can assemble the pieces in any way you like and create your own bespoke games.


The rules to play the game and 16 missions are all contained within two full color booklets, the Rulebook and Mission Book. There are also 35 plastic Citadel miniatures, including: 11 Space Marine Terminators, 1 Space Marine Librarian in Terminator armor, 22 Genestealers, and 1 Broodlord. Along with three plastic mission objectives models, including: a dead Space Marine on throne, a Blood Angels artifact and a Cyber-Altered Task Unit.

In addition to the booklets and miniatures, you will receive 110 gaming counters, 77 corridor and room sections, 2 boarding torpedoes and ramps, 20 doors with plastic stands, 1 mission status display, a sand timer and 5 dice.

Upcoming Games I’m Excited About

GENCON is the biggest US gaming convention of the year and it is going on in Indiana, August 14-17. This is the 46th year of the con, and it is here that game designers and producers display their new and soon-to-be-released board/card/dice games to the general public. Over 49,000 people attended the con last year, and even more are expected this year.

I’m not one of them. I’d love to be, but you know – life.

I have, however, been keeping up with the market and there are several games I am very interested in, debuting or at least showing at GENCON. This is my list of new gaming hotness I am looking forward to playing:


1. Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game by Plaid Hat Games (SRP $59.00)

2-5 players in a small, weakened colony of survivors attempt to survive a world where most of humanity is either dead or diseased, flesh-craving monsters. Each player leads a faction of survivors with dozens of different characters in the game.

Dead of Winter is a meta-cooperative psychological survival game. This means players are working together toward one common victory condition — but for each individual player to achieve victory, he must also complete his personal secret objective. This secret objective could relate to a psychological tick that’s fairly harmless to most others in the colony, a dangerous obsession that could put the main objective at risk, a desire for sabotage of the main mission, or (worst of all) vengeance against the colony! Certain games could end with all players winning, some winning and some losing, or all players losing. Work toward the group’s goal, but don’t get walked all over by a loudmouth who’s looking out only for his own interests!

Why I dig it: I like that it is a game with zombies, without zombies being the focus. They are just one of the things the players have to overcome while trying to survive a brutal winter in an apocalyptic world, striving to meet a defined group objective. At the same time, each player has a unique hidden goal that would enable them to win, individually. This is a story-centric game, requiring the players to socialize and communicate to survive, sometimes making difficult moral decisions. It has a subversive element without using the traitor mechanic of other games. This tops my list, and I’ve preordered it at Area-51 Gaming and Collectables. Thanks, Erin.


2. Age of Warby Fantasy Flight Games (SRP $12.99)

Age of War is a quick-playing game of conquest. Fourteen cards are laid out at the start of the game, each showing one castle and the symbols required to conquer this castle, with the symbols separated into battle lines. Each castle belongs to a clan, with some clans having only a single castle and some having up to four castles.

A player starts his turn by rolling seven dice, the six sides of which show archery, cavalry, daimyo, and 1-3 infantry. He then selects a card and uses the symbols rolled to conquer exactly one of the battle lines on this card (by placing the appropriate dice on that line). If he can do this, he then rolls the remaining dice, ideally conquering another line; if he can’t conquer a line, he removes one die from play, then rolls again. His turn ends when either he conquers every line on the card (in which case he claims it) or he no longer has dice available to roll.

Each card is worth a number of victory points. You can conquer cards owned by other players, but you need to conquer an additional daimyo line in the process. If a player owns all the castles of one clan, however, those castles are secure and cannot be stolen. What’s more, these castles are now worth more points because you’ve united the clan under one ruler (you) and strengthened your hold over Japan.

Why I dig it: This is Parker Brother’s Risk Express, re-themed to Feudal Japan. Using dice and cards, it plays in 1/10th the time it takes to play a game of Risk. I’ve been trying to get (the out of print) Risk-Express on E-bay but is expensive and rare. Now, the same game, by the same game designer, is being released with a different, even more cool theme and a seriously affordable price point, it’s a no-brainer. It scratches the Risk-itch without costing 2-4 hours of frustrating dice rolls. Now, it’s only 20 minutes of frustrating dice rolls. Like Dead of Winter, I pre-ordered at Area-51.


3. Knightmare Chess (new edition) by Steve Jackson Games (SRP $29.95)

Knightmare Chess is chess played with cards that break the rules in wild and unpredictable ways. Some affect a single move, and some change the entire game. Knightmare Chess plays quickly out of the box, but it also includes variants, and it’s easy for players to customize. This new edition includes Knightmare Chess 2, for a total of 158 beautiful cards, each painted by Rogério Vilela. Bonus: two blank cards for those who want to create their own fiendish, clever rules. Note: Knightmare Chess requires a working knowledge of chess and a chess set to play.

Why I dig it: Chess is a classic game of strategy. I love Chess, I really do, but it is dry and probably the game most referred to as being serious, and it’s not serious, it is a game. I do appreciate the strategy of the classic game, but it is after all, a game. Knightmare Chess introduces random elements to the game that requires adaptive thinking and seat-of-the-pants response. While I’m sure there are some who would consider it a perversion of a pure game, I think adding random elements to the game is a brilliant idea. Life is full of surprises that you couldn’t see coming and you have to deal with those the best you can, and this elevates Chess to an abstraction of real life, rather than just a battlefield.


4. Mars Attacks – The Dice Game by Steve Jackson Games (SRP $19.95)

In Mars Attacks: The Dice Game, the Martian players compete to see who can subjugate which U.S. cities first.

At the start of the game, four stacks of cards are dealt out randomly, with each stack having as many cards as players. On a turn, the player first declares which city he wants to attack, then rolls all ten dice. Any dice showing the “nuke” symbol are locked and cannot be rerolled. Laser guns are similarly locked, allowing the player to reroll only the alien heads. If he rerolls and ever has as many nuke symbols showing as the number on the face-up cards and the supplementary token, his turn ends; otherwise he can stop at any time, and if he doesn’t have enough guns or alien heads to claim his target, he marks his total with one of his tokens, allowing him to add on to this number on a future turn — assuming that someone else doesn’t claim the card first.

Some city cards have special powers, such as Seattle’s, which allows you to place one die on the symbol of your choice prior to rolling. Las Vegas, true to its nature, wants you to go bust multiple times in order to claim the card. Whoever ends up decimating the largest portion of the earth wins. Ak ak ak ak ak!

Why I dig it: It’s themed for a ridiculous cult movie, has dice and plays in 20 minutes. Questions?


5. Run, Fight or Die!by Grey Fox Games (SRP $49.95)

As in most zombie games, you represent a unique character with your own character traits, except in Run, Fight, or Die! you will also have your own individual board with zombies you alone will encounter. Zombies move closer to you every round. You run from location to location, searching for weapons and survivors in a desperate attempt to stay alive. Survivors may bring new skills to help you in your desperate fight for survival, or in some cases, new challenges to overcome. In either case, every survivor provides you victory points. The game ends either when one player finds five survivors and declares the last round, or when a player reaches the town line (and the total Followers in play meets a minimum), or if a player gets bitten and turns. Be careful, some followers may turn against you, while others can slow you down. When it comes right down to it, the choice is simple: Run, Fight, or Die!

Scoring is based on the total points of survivors and remaining health of the players’ characters.

Run, Fight, or Die! is a frantic first person experience for 1 to 4 players (will play up to 6 with the 5/6 player expansion). The game is loaded with goodies, including 4 Action Boards, 5 Character Boards, a Loot Deck, a Location Deck, an Event Deck, a Follower Deck, Mutant Deck, 7 Custom Dice, tokens and beautifully crafted miniatures.

Why I dig it: A simple, fast-playing zombie game sounds a little tired in light of all of the other zombie games on the market right now, but this one looks like a lot of fun. It has a lot of stereotypical characters that are funny and though it is a push-your-luck, Yahtzee-type game, has a lot of flavor. Simply, it looks like a lot of fun. WANT.


6. Car Wars Classic by Steve Jackson Games (SMR $19.95)

In Car Wars, you can drive the freeways of the future, where the right of way goes to the biggest guns. Players choose their vehicles – complete with weapons, armor, power plants, suspension, and even body style. Then they take them out on the road to come home as “aces,” or to crash and burn. If a driver survives, his abilities improve, and he can earn money to buy bigger and better cars. Advanced rules let players design their own customized cars, trucks, and cycles.

Why I Dig It: I cut my teeth on Car Wars back in the 1980’s. While I haven’t actually played it since 1986, I have logged hundreds of hours with this game. Maybe thousands, measuring vehicle movement half an inch at a time. It is cool that it is coming back into print, but the CLASSIC indicates it has not changed. I’ll wait to see what is different, if anything. Some of the best gaming memories I have are of playing Car Wars.

Now that I think about it, some of my worst gaming memories are of Car Wars, too.


7. Hipster Dice by Steve Jackson Games (SMRP $4.95)

Based on the underground German phenomenon Nichteinechteswürfelspiel and updated with vintage rules, Hipster Dice is poised to be the perfect game to play while you’re waiting in line at the second-hand clothing store. Get it before it is cool.

Why I Dig It: I don’t. It looks like a non-game, but based on my loyalty to SJG and the low price point, I’ll probably buy it. I’m so not a hipster.

Recycling Game Reviews

Just a heads up that I reblogged the reviews and editorials about games from   Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail? was created with the goal of allowing an outlet for game reviews, leaving Life64 to the esoteric pursuits of a writer. 

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