Tag Archives: Philip duBarry

Keep The Faith – Fidelitas review

Fidelitas Box

Collaborations can be great. Two incredible minds coming together, working alongside each other to create something truly wonderful… it’s a thing of beauty to behold. Of course, some team-ups can be utterly wretched (Paula Abdul and MC Scat Kat, take a bow) but generally two heads are better than one. Oddly, multiple designers on a single game isn’t something that happens that often, but some great titles have been borne of teamwork; Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling have been an award winning pair several times with games like Tikal and Asara, for example.

A fresh new collaboration now seeks your support, with two great current designers now coming together to create something that is both small and special. Jason Kotarski (creator of The Great Heartland Hauling Company and FrogFlip) and Philip duBarry (the man behind Revolution and some of AEG’s Tempest series) have joined forces to make the card game Fidelitas, and a lovely little thing it is too.

In a town, far, far away, the citizens live an unhappy life of being downtrodden by the local elite. There is only one thing to do – rise against them! However, it would seem that all of those capable of doing so got too drunk and can’t remember quite what they’re supposed to do… and this is where you and your fellow players step in. Ladies and gents, it’s time to incite some good old-fashioned revolution. Grab your pitchforks and flaming torch!

Actually, that’s not a good idea – the nobility’s guards would have you chopped into pieces in moments. What you need to be is sneaky. Whisper a few words into the ears of the right people. Get your most powerful allies into the right places and, once the word is given, a concerted attack can begin! Unfortunately, there can only be one leader (a bit like in Highlander) so everyone is trying to manipulate the same people in this terrified town; you’ve just got to make sure that it’s you.

On the table at the start of play sits a line of cards representing the town itself, four of which have two locations that are particularly prized by a certain guild. The Tavern, sat in the middle of the line, is a special place that’s beloved by all (surprise!) and  has its own ability which we’ll cover shortly. Meanwhile, the two end cards also point to other locations, the harbour and the castle. It’s these places where we’ll make our stand!

Cards are divided into two types: Missio and Virtus. Missio are your secret missions, the cards that tell you what type of people you need to be moving and where they need to end up. Meet the necessary requirements and you’ll score the points shown at the bottom of the card. Score a set amount of points (6 with four players, though you can aim for more for a longer game) and you are seen as the voice of the rebellion and win the game! Truly, you are the Mockingjay.

Or you will be if the people actually listen to you. The Virtus cards are where they are all to be found, and each person will have their own ability that needs to be taken into consideration. Each turn, you can play someone to one of the two locations of their own guild, then follow the instructions written on their card to start moving other people around the town. The previously mentioned Tavern has no guild affiliation, so instead a player must discard a Missio card when someone is sent there. Also, instead of having two differently named locations, the Tavern is just one big place – however, you must consider which side of the bar to sit, as it were. Where you are in this wicked little town is VERY important.

When you’ve played your Virtus card and done the ability upon it, you may turn in a Missio card for points (assuming that the requirements have been met. This may be gathering a certain amount of characters at a named location, or get guild pairs (ie: two people from the game guild) into a number of places. If the target has been met, you flip the card up and declare your total score, draw back up to two Missios and pass play to the person on your left. And the game is as simple as that – play a card, follow the instructions, score points (hopefully) and move on!

If there’s one word I can use to describe Fidelitas, it’s clean. Having played a fair few rounds of it now, I’ve noticed just how well put together the game is and also seen the influence of both Jason and Philip in there too. Fidelitas is a beautifully balanced game where any mistake that’s made is down to you – the position of certain characters may open up the opportunity for other players to complete their own missions, but through multiple games you’ll learn how to not get yourself into that kind of tangle. I’ve had several incredibly satisfying moments playing a Baker card allowing me to move any two cards to new locations, doing so, then swiftly scoring a Missio while simultaneously ruining the best laid plans of the other players. You’ll hear a lot of muttering under breath when a copy of Fidelitas hits your table.

I mentioned the influence that the designers had on the game and honestly see their fingerprints all over it. The compact game set-up and lean card count says Jason to me – his love of smaller, shorter games shines through in Fidelitas – while I feel that the theme and relative complexity come from Philip’s side. I think that his sterling work on his Tempest games have rubbed off a little on him (seriously, go play Canalis, it’s incredibly underrated) and I’m honestly surprised that this effort wasn’t made part of the series – it certainly would’ve fit incredibly well. Regardless, the two have come together and made a very enjoyable game indeed.

Of course, the game is only in prototype stage at the moment and – at the time of writing – seeking funds on Kickstarter. However, the copy provided to me showed off the beautiful comic art very well indeed and the game cards are well laid out, so a hat-tip goes to both artist Jaqui Davis and graphics chap Darrell Louder for their sterling work. It can be hard getting the message across on a relatively simple card game, but they’ve done admirably.

Also of note is that this is the first release from Jason Kotarski’s brand new publishing company, Green Couch Games. We at The Little Metal Dog Show wish him the very best for Green Couch and hope that all future releases match up to the splendidness of Fidelitas! This is truly a great filler, the ideal candidate for your table when you’ve got twenty minutes or so to spare and feel like playing something that will tax your brain a little. Not too heavy, but not feather light either, Fidelitas will be making it into the Best of the Year lists of a fair few gamers when the time comes around.

You can back Fidelitas today on Kickstarter, with the campaign running until September 1, 2014. $19 will get you a copy of it delivered in the US, with international pledges running a little higher (UK gamers, you’re looking at $28 which isn’t bad at all). Designed by Jason Kotarski and Philip duBarry, it will be released in early 2015. Between two and four can play (though I’ve found it better with four) and games will take you around 15-20 minutes. 


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Episode 52 – Get Your Phil(s)

The Little Metal Dog Show covers all bases this time around, looking at both mainstream and hobby games with the help of two gentlemen called Phil (well, Phil and Philip).

First up, to celebrate the new edition of Monopoly which will see the removal of an old school token to be replaced by a brand new one – something that’s not been done since the introduction of the Dog in the fifties – Phil Orbanes, the world’s leading Monopoly expert, comes on to talk about the bestselling game of all time. We discuss what’s happening with the game at the moment, talk about some curious happenings in World Championship matches and delve even deeper into Monopoly’s storied history.

Following that, Philip duBarry returns to the show to reveal what it’s like to design a game set in a world that’s not your own (his new game Courtier is the first to be set in AEG’s Tempest line) and he also unveils his latest venture: Family Vacation. Those long car journeys will never be the same again…

And now – this episode’s links! 

Direct Download for Episode 52: http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/2fj8js/LMD_Episode52.mp3

Sponsors for this episode are Team Hull Breach – check out their game on Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hullbreach/hull-breach-corporate-wars

Hull Breach home: http://www.hullbreachgame.com/

Phil Orbanes runs Winning Moves: http://www.winning-moves.com/

Phil’s last book, The World’s Most Famous Game, can be found on Amazon here.

Philip duBarry’s new games company, Phantasio Games: http://www.phantasiogames.com/

Family Vacation on BGG: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/92976/family-vacation

Family Vacation on Kickstarter: Coming soon!

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Episode 38 – Question Time

Back again! This time I’m joined by designer Philip duBarry, the mind behind Revolution (available from Steve Jackson Games) and the brand new Minion Games release, Kingdom of Solomon. Philip is comparatively new to the world of gaming and has managed to produce a couple of excellent titles already, so it’s exciting to think about what he’ll produce in future. He also mentions in the interview a piece written by Ender over on BGG – the link to it is below and it makes for a very interesting read.

Chris and Daisy return for this episode as well, helping me out with answering a few questions from the lovely listeners to the show, as well as discussion about what we’ve been playing recently. Oh, and cats.

As always, thanks for listening! If you want to get in touch, drop us an email on show@littlemetaldog.com or catch me on Twitter; I’m @idlemichael over there. I’d suggest you follow because there’s going to be some big news in the next couple of weeks. Perhaps there’s even a little clue in this episode about what’s happening…

Oh! And you may notice that one of this episode’s sponsors is Continue Magazine. I don’t often plug stuff I do, but it’s a brand new magazine that looks at gaming of all kinds and for some inexplicable reason they let me do some writing in the first issue. It’s full of interesting features and is available now from their site in various digital formats for a dirt cheap US$4.99 – well worth it, and if you’d prefer a print copy you can register your interest there too. If you just fancy checking it out, there’s even a sample version available right here for free! And now… on with the links!

Direct Download link: http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/pb6qbp/LMD_Episode38.mp3

Nevermore Games’ Chicken Caesar Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nevermoregames/chicken-caesar-a-game-of-plots-politics-and-poultr

Continue Magazine – go and read it! http://www.continuemag.com/

Philip du Barry’s site: http://www.dubarrygames.com/

Ender’s BGG post on religion in games: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/8090/tacky-christian-games-where-the-theme-gets-in-the

Minion Games: http://www.miniongames.com/

Steve Jackson Games: http://www.sjgames.com/

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