Sidekick Saga and UnPub!

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Charlie, Alison, and Sean play 3-Player Sidekick Saga

This weekend, there was an UNPUB event here in Tucson!  Thanks to Mozu productions for helping put this together.

Thanks to Charlie, Alison, Andrew and Sean for coming out!  (Andrew came late but offered his support!)  Everyone had fun and we had some great feedback by everyone.  My favorite part was when Sean started showing Andrew how to play!  Sean (who I had never met before that day) was emotionally invested enough to show Andrew how to play!  That was great.

Sidekick Saga

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Blackbird: one of the Sidekicks from Sidekick Saga! Art by Phil Cho!

Sidekick Saga is the newest game from Return from Subroutine Studios.  It’s been in development for about a year.   The hope is to kickstart in January 2019, but I won’t kickstart it until it’s ready.

Sidekick Saga is a cooperative SuperHero gaame for 1-4 Players.  It’s an adventure, exploration, and combat game where the Sidekick explore the city, fight Bad Guys, and try to find out what happened to all the Big, Powerful, Superheroes!

Watch this space for more information about Sidekick Saga!

Art by Phil Cho

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Venom Assault: A Kickstarter from late  2016

I kickstarted a game called Venom Assault a number of years ago.  Good game!  It even made the Honorable Mention from my Top 10 Cooperative Games of 2017.  One of the things I liked best about the game was the art—it was done by an artist named Phil Cho.  I am working with Phil Cho right now to draw Villains, Heroes, and all sorts of art!  So far, I have been blown away by how great his art is.  It really adds to the VIBE of the game: His clean, colorful heroes kind of reminds me of John Byrne meets George Perez.

I can’t wait to see what he does for the Cover.  His Deviant Art site has some great pictures!

Conclusion

I am super happy (no pun intended) with the direction.  People seem to be enjoying the game, the art is coming along great, and I am happy with how this is turning out.  Watch here for further developments!

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Review of Robit Riddle — Part II. Final Thoughts

A few weeks ago, I posted my initial impressions of Robit Riddle: a cooperative, story-telling game for 1-6 players.   I was able to get it played at RichieCon 2018, and I got some great feedback.

Number of Players

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A 3-Player game of Robit Riddle

From my first thoughts, I mentioned that, although I was happy there was a solo mode (yay, Saunders’ Law), it wasn’t very fun alone.  It felt kinda … sad … playing and telling a story to myself.   Two player was better, but my group said “I can’t really see playing this with less than 3 people”.   We didn’t get a chance to play with more than that, but the overwhelming opinion was that this game needs 3-6 players.  It’s great to learn the game with 1 player (my preferred way to learn and teach), but the game shines at 3 or more people.

Why more people?  Because this is a game of shared story-telling. Taking the narrative and expanding on it.  It was fun and cute.

Audience

One of my friends who played the game is a teacher at mid-school, and another has a couple of younger kids.  They both echoed my thoughts: “This is a fun game, and I’d play it again, but it feels like it would go over best as a family game with kids 8-12.”  Yes, I think older players can play this, as it’s a fun light game (not a filler per se), but it would do best with kids.

Educational Content

My friend who is a teacher pointed out something quite interesting.  He uses board games in his classroom (for kids who are having trouble with reading and vocabulary) to help them

He has used both Mythos Tales and Tales Of Arabian Nights to help kids read—I’m the one who introduced Junkerman to Mythos Tales at RichieCon 2017!  He has great success in the classroom.  With Tales of Arabian Nights, he is getting kids to read, expanding their vocabulary (the vocabulary of Arabian Nights is quite sophisticated).  Kids who were lack-luster and uninterested in the classroom lit-up/engaged when playing Mythos Tales–it teaches problem solving, cooperation, reading, and literacy.  Both of those games were just so successful!

What did Junkerman think of Robit Riddle?

Continuing Narrative

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Junkerman told a very interesting story about his kids and the kinds of things they are tested on.  In a recent test, the kids had to take a paragraph and “expand” upon it, using the same tense, voice, and narrative style, to continue a previous paragraph.    He thinks Robit Riddle would be perfect for this kind of exercise.  It has terrific educational content.

Continuing the narrative, like Robit Riddle does, engages the imagination, while the same forcing constraints on the narrative.    I personally believes this shows that imagination can be used in all contexts, not just free-form and untethered.

From this perspective, Robit Riddle really succeeded.  You know what, and the game was fun.

Conclusion

I still stand by some of the negative things I said earlier: The entire game (cards and rulebook) could still use another pass by an editor.  The cards were pretty low quality.  But, overall, this was a good game.  We had fun, and I would give it a 7/10 on the BoardGameGeek scale.   It’s probably best as a family game, but it would work wonders in an educational scenario.

RichieCon 2018!

So, this year’s RichieCon 2018 was a success!  Recall last year’s RichieCon 2017 was also a success. Thanks to everyone from Long Beach, Las Cruces, and Phoenix who came down to Tucson! In the summer!! To play Games!!!

Why RichieCon?

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RichieCon was started … because I don’t like big conventions.  I have real trouble in rooms with lots of ambient noise.  I was thinking very hard about going to Dice Tower Con in Florida in 2017, and my friend pointed out “You hate big groups!”.   So, I decided to make my own Con!  The name RICHIE CON was a joke:  Really, I Can’t Haul myself to dIcE tower CON.  I also only invite people I know will be respectful and nice: friends of Richie.  (Reminder: Don’t be a jerk!)

Cool Stuff that Happened!

Joe made a board game table than can be played in the pool.  We had Martian Dice and Plastic Uno for that.  Go Joe!

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Jeremy made barbeque with his new smoker!  Wow, was it good!

Many games were played!

Games games games!

Here were some games that worked real well:

  •  The Unlock games!  I have all the Unlock games, and I think these were the most popular games at the Con. I myself played the new “Wizard of OZ” unlock game, and it was fun fun fun!  I think everytime I turned around, I saw an Unlock game being played!
  •  Star Trek: RPG: A group of about 8 people played this for a significant amount of time in the afternoon, then took it back to their AirBnB for another 3 hours of playing!  People seemed to really enjoy this.
  • D&D 5th Ed.  A small group had a a grand old time playing this for about 2 hours!
  • Castles of Mad King Ludwig:  Played a lot, seemed well received.

There were some “not so great” moments:

  • Okey Dokey works great at 1,2,3 and 4 players.  We hated it at 5: the last player always has to play the last card.  We think maybe a rule that rotates the last player would have fixed this.
  • Tiny  Epic Quest:  The game box says 1 hour, right?  Nah, especially if you’ve never played.  A few too many rules for a group that wanted a game of about an hour.  They set-up, played a few rounds, and said “no thank you” and put it all away.

Some surprising “Favorites”:

  • Burgle Brothers: This is an older game I picked up from the original Kickstarter.  I just happened to put it in the group of games.  A surprising number of people played and really liked this game!  This was many people’s favorite!
  • Azul:  Not my thing, but it was a hit!
  • Century Spice Road: original and Golem edition.  Great game(s), but everyone said the same thing: the Golem edition is SO MUCH PRETTIER!  That seemed to be the hit!

 

Top 10 Games That Need Fixing … and Here’s the Fix!

Stealing, I mean borrowing from the Dice Tower, Kurt Joe and myself did a “Top 10 games that need fixing .. and here’s the Fix!”

Richie:  My list was ordered from the Easiest Fix to the Hardest Fix.

  • (10) Legendary: Why are there victory points? Just play cooperative and ignore the Victory Points at the end.  It’s what we always do anyways.
  • (9) Witch Of Salem: Why can’t you talk and show people where the gates are?  The game is plenty hard as it is, so we just ignore this rule and we just talk!
  • (8) Thunderstone Quest: No cooperative mode.  Add a Cooperative mode, please.  Like you promised when I backed the game.  (They will add it soon, but it’s gonna cost me $50!)
  • (7) Professor Evil and The Citadel of Time: Too hard, too random.  Fix: Make it so Professor Evil DOES NOT LOCK THINGS BACK UP after you save an item.
  • (6) The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game.  It’s too hard and the ending is too random.  Fix: Each player gets another card and you play open hand. See this blog posting for more details.
  • (5) GloomHaven:  Get rid of the stupid Loot rule.  Have the players decide (as a group) when it makes sense to get the Treasure. More discussion here.
  • (4) Bethel Woods: Add a few more actions you can do … the game feels rather samey after a while.  Add a Golem you can control, or a bunch of drones who have a different kind of movement. See the review and more dicussion here.
  • (3) DungeonLords.  In DungeonLords, gameplay suffers immensely if the players go after the same resources.  The fix is to add a “Minor Improvements”-like deck (like Agricola) for when you try to get a resource and are thwarted by the other player—you instead can play one of your cards so you at least get todo something! See the deck here.
  • (2) Zephyr: Winds of Change. Problem: too much combat … that’s pretty much all you do!  Great components, great combat, but I wanted more Adventure!  An Adventure deck maybe where the characters can get off the ship and have adventures?  Or some deck that makes the Zephyrs do MORE that just fight!  This is number two because I am not quite sure how to fix.  See my review here.
  • (1) Deadline.  I hate it when I can’t investigate a crime correctly because I can’t go to Locations because I can’t do the proper symbols—it’s not thematic and it really brings me out of the game.  This is my number 1 because I am not sure how to fix it.  Maybe make the symbol matching easier?  Or allow me to discard cards to match symbols?  Or discard a card and force-go a to Location a few times per game?

(I am working on getting the Top 10 lists from Kurt and Joe …. watch this space for updates …)

Conclusion

 

As RichieCON floats away from another year, I declare it a success! Fun was had by all!  The Top 10 lists were a hoot!

Many people (including myself) commented, “Who decided to hold a Con in Tucson in the summer?”  Oh, that was me!  It was just timing more than anything.  Maybe in the future, we’ll try to run it when it’s actually NICE in Tucson …