Tag Archives: sentinels of the multiverse

Episode 56 – Into the Galactic Arena

Back again! This time around I get to chat with Eric from Japanime Games about their new release on Kickstarter, Krosmaster Arena, as well as the fun and games they’ve had with Anglicising previous releases such as Tanto Cuore and Kanzume Goddess. Also, will the potentially court controversy when they release Barbarossa later this year? Listen and discover for yourself.

Following that, I have an in-depth discussion with Christopher Badell from Greater Than Games. They’ve enjoyed immense success with their co-operative superhero cardfest Sentinels of the Multiverse but are now moving into a whole new world – or whole new galaxy, if you prefer – with a brand new title called Galactic Strike Force. What lessons has he learned from previous KS experiences? What on earth is an Electro-Celestial War Spectre? And will I owe him a beer at Essen 2013?

This episode’s links:

Direct download – http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/4fsm2i/LMD_Episode56.mp3

This episode shamelessly brought to you by Fox & Chicken from Sprocket Games – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/108292040/fox-and-chicken-werewolf-hits-the-henhouse

Japanime Games – http://www.japanimegames.com/

Krosmaster Arena on Kickstarter – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/370924922/krosmaster-arena-anime-miniatures-board-game

Greater Than Games – https://greaterthangames.com/

Galactic Strike Force on Kickstarter – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gtgames/galactic-strike-force-the-cooperative-deck-buildin

GSF’s dedicated site – http://galacticstrikeforce.com/

Sentinels of the Multiverse’s dedicated site – http://sentinelsofthemultiverse.com/

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More, More, More – Sentinels of the Multiverse Enhanced Edition review

SentinelsEECover

Since releasing the original print run of Sentinels of the Multiverse back in the summer of 2011, the team at Greater Than Games have been very busy indeed. Their fantastic co-operative game of superheroes fighting the good fight has returned to Kickstarter a couple of times to expand the Multiverse further – the Rook City and Infernal Relics card sets have added gritty new environments and magical elements as well as a bunch more heroes and villains; noted designer Richard Launius has even officially added a few things into the mix. The stories in the Multiverse have grown and grown; divisions have become greater, things have become darker and the game has improved exponentially.

Looking back at my original write-up about the game, you’ll see that I had a couple of problems with that first print run. The problems that arose from tracking damage could often become a massive pain, especially if you had a fair few enemies to deal with; keeping an eye on things using pen and paper became cumbersome and players often complained about a feeling of being removed from the game while housekeeping was happening.

The second issue was one of storage. Hundreds of cards in a small box with no real way of keeping them organised meant that initial set-up whenever you wanted to play was always pre-empted by having a massive sort out. The fact that the expansion boxes were bigger than the original meant that you could stash them in there, but really folks were just crying out for an all-encompassing storage solution. And now, in the Sentinels of the Multiverse Enhanced Edition, both of these problems have been dealt with in style.

No longer do you have to worry about separating decks from different expansions when you’re done with playing. The Enhanced Edition offers enough storage space for not only the base game but also at least a couple of expansions and a bunch of promo decks too. My own box has both Rook City and Infernal Relics in there and still has space for more. While I don’t think I’d be able to put the whole of the upcoming Shattered Timelines set in there, a couple of extra heroes and villains fit comfortably alongside a whole bunch of very useful tokens.

The Most Useful Bits Of Cardboard In The Multiverse (TM)

The Most Useful Bits Of Cardboard In The Multiverse (TM)

Tokens? Why yes, for that’s how the team have dealt with the Hit Points issue. No longer will you scrabble about with pen and paper or use the printouts available from the Sentinels site! You now get to use a selection of numbered tokens that show how much life you and your compatriots have (as well as the hordes of enemies you will face). Status markers have also been included which make remembering who is dealing bonus damage or protected from certain effects an awful lot easier. The fact that everything provided comes styled in a comic book fashion keeps the theme solid; no more complaints about being drawn out of the game world.

Should you own a copy of the first run of Sentinels, I would still recommend trying to get your hands on the Enhanced Edition if only because you get all that extra capacity in that lovely big box (with fantastic new artwork from Adam Rebottaro!) and the extra tokens that make life so much simpler. It’s still the same old game, sure, but now it really feels like this is how the Multiverse should be experienced. Now, bring on the Shattered Timelines…

Sentinels of the Multiverse was designed by Christopher Badell, Adam Rebottaro and Paul Bender. The Enhanced Edition was released by Greater Than Games in late 2012, and if you want a copy for yourself the folks at Gameslore will sort one out for you for under £25 (the Recommended Retail Price is £30). Between two and five heroes can try to save the Multiverse in around an hour – a perfect co-op experience.

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It’s the (second) most wonderful time of the year…

Oh yes indeed – GenCon is nearly here! The USA’s best board games show is approaching once again, kicking off this Thursday for four days of gaming in Indianapolis, Indiana. Once again it’ll be stacked with the usual pile of new releases and exclusive previews as pretty much every major American publisher will be present along with plenty of the larger European names – but what are the big titles people are looking forward to?

Libertalia from Marabunta / Asmodee is one that I think will probably be under many people’s radars but I have a feeling it’s going to end up being one of the year’s best releases. A role selection game at heart with up to six players acting as pirate captains on their way to retirement and looking for a final hurrah, it’s a sneaky extravaganza of treasure hunting and back stabbing with a great level of player interaction. I’ve already managed to get my hands on a copy so expect a review in the very near future. Also, if you get a copy early enough, you’ll get metal doubloons! Who wouldn’t want it?!

Tzolkin: The Mayan Calendar by CGE was available to play in early prototype form at the UK Games Expo, but it looks like a near finished version should be at GenCon. It’s a worker placement extravaganza with a really interesting mechanism where cogs turn and interact with each other on the board. Stay on the board too long and your guys could well end up a wasted placing as they move past the resources that you’re aiming for. CGE’s games are always beautifully produced so you know this will be incredible to behold – there’s no other company out there who I’d trust to make such an involved and creative board concept.

Fantasy Flight will be there with wheelbarrows filled with stuff, of course, but the new versions of Merchant of Venus and Netrunner are both due for release at the show. Early reports say that these two remakes are amazing, managing to capture the brilliance of the original games while giving them a shiny makeover, though MoV will include the rules to play both the old and new versions. Netrunner’s asymmetric gameplay has long been a favourite of mine and I can’t wait to get my hands on this modernised version to see how it compares to Richard Garfield’s classic. Also, there’s the small matter of a little game called X-Wing finally seeing the light of day…

Village, the Kennerspiel des Jahres winner for 2012, has been picked up by Tasty Minstrel Games and looks like it’ll be this year’s go to game for those who want to scratch their Euro itch. Players need to find fame and fortune for their family members in order to keep their name immortalised in the village’s chronicles – make the right moves and your legacy will live on. Screw it up and your future generations will fade into obscurity. It’s a very clever worker placement game and probably the only one I know where death is used to limit a character’s time. This will only be available in very limited amounts – apparently there’ll only be fifty at the show – so if you want a copy, head to TMG’s booth early.

AEG’s Tempest line is also due for its first public viewing at the show with the initial three games in the series getting a release. Courtier, Dominare and Mercante all promise very different playing experiences but the interesting element will be seeing how the public react to the storybuilding aspects of the world. As characters change, further games in the series will reflect these developments – for example, should the story necessitate that a major role needs to be wiped out, later games will reference back to whatever happened. We’re not looking at a Risk Legacy effort here where every person’s game will be different as time goes on; AEG will run the story along the lines of their Legend of the Five Rings property, controlling it from their end with input from players and designers. This could prove a very interesting experiment…

AEG also have the light-as-a-feather but very entertaining Smash Up ready for release at GenCon. The world’s first shufflebuilding game sees players combine two twenty card decks (ninjas with robots, pirates with aliens, that kind of thing) and utilise their joint powers to take over bases in order to score points. It’s a very quick little game but has a surprising level of depth to it as you try and work out which sets work particularly well against your opponents’ selections. I think this one will do pretty well at the show, especially as it clocks in well under that magical 45 minute mark for playtime.

Of course, one of the best things about any gaming convention is the discovery of those releases from smaller companies. 5th Street Games will be showing off their rather splendid Farmageddon while Asmadi should have copies of their very limited Origins hit FlowerFall available too. The new Enhanced Edition of Sentinels of the Multiverse will be selling at the Greater Than Games booth, while Leviathans, the steampunky miniatures air-combat game that I’ve been waiting since the beginning of time for, is finally due – albeit in very limited numbers. Last of all, Morels from Two Lanterns Games will definitely be available and it looks utterly lovely.

Oh yeah. One final thing.

I’m very excited about is the fact that my new game, Pocket Universe, will be on show at the Game Salute booth. I’m finding it very nerve-wracking that it’s being shown at all but it’s even worse when you consider that I’m not actually going to be there. You may well have tried it out yourself by downloading the files from the site (there’s been a few, honest!) but that version is light years away from the one you’ll be able to check out at GenCon. While it’s still in prototype format, the gameplay is 99.99% finished – I’m considering tweaking maybe one or two very tiny elements – so why not have a look at it yourself? Just ask one of the GS team at the Sneak Peeks booth (#2035) and tell them I sent you.

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State of the Union 2011: Part Two – The Analogue Stuff

So, this second bit is all about the actual stuff that we get to sit around a table and play with. Much as it’s lovely having something like Ticket to Ride or Ascension to pass the time with when you’re on the bus, it’s an entirely different experience when you’re pushing bits of plastic and cardboard around with mates. This is by no means a comprehensive “Best Of 2011” kind of post – for all those things you’ll have to wait for my opinions on The Dice Tower Awards Show in early January – but like with the post I made about iPhone games, I feel that these ones deserve a look.

Airlines Europe by Alan R. Moon is one of my favourite new releases for the year.  When I first got my hands on it I was impressed at how much was in there – despite it being a very simple game to explain and play, there’s a level of depth that you won’t find in many more complicated releases. Sure, it helps that Airlines Europe has kind of been a Work In Progress for about twenty years, what with its roots in Airlines and Union Pacific, but this feels like a brilliant refinement of those two earlier games. Accessible enough for new players while still having enough challenge for those who are more experienced? Perfect. And I still reckon this should join the ranks of Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan as the latest gateway game.

Anyone who listens to the show will know that my favourite game is Power Grid. Again, it’s one of those “simple to explain but a bugger to play well” releases that I find so appealing, but there’s always been that issue of only being playable with three or more. 2011 saw Friedemann Friese come up with The Robots expansion which put paid to this problem by proving artificial intelligences to play against. It’s a brilliant idea that – while sounding bloody odd – actually works very well in practice. Building a robot at the start of the game from random pieces provides players with an opponent that will do well up until about two thirds of the way into play, then should in theory tail off leaving the human players to fight it out. I’ve heard tales of people actually coming in behind a Robot player, but thankfully I’ve not had that happen to me… yet. Power Grid: The Robots is a brilliant idea that has extended the life of an already excellent game even further.

A bit of a surprise to me was Vlaada Chvatil’s Dungeon Petz from CGE. I’ve only played his earlier game Dungeon Lords a few times and – to be honest – wasn’t totally enamoured with it. There was so much to keep track of most of the time, it boiled my tiny little mind. I’ve handled trickier games with no problem but for some reason I’ve never got on with Dungeon Lords. Thankfully, the spiritual follow-up is brilliant. Again, there’s a fair bit to follow, but something just clicked with this one – knowing what you have to plan for combined with trying to scupper your opponents, managing your very limited resources… it’s excellent. The game is also filled with humour and (of course) looks fantastic. If you’re looking for something that’s a bit heavier to play, Dungeon Petz is a winner.

Sentinels of the Multiverse‘s fantastic co-op gameplay really won me over this year too. The amount of work that the guys at Greater Than Games have put into their own comic book universe is incredible – not just with a great little game that is fun to play but also the almost ridiculous levels of backstory that have been created for those who want to go a little deeper. Yes, the box sucks – we all know that! – but it really is what’s inside that counts. With a bunch of mates who are willing to throw themselves into the game, Sentinels is an absolute gem, encouraging players to work together and support each other. Woe betide you if you fail to co-operate though… split the party and you’ll fail for sure!

For those times when I want to play something a little different, I’m thankful that I picked up a copy of Cranio Creations’ Dungeon Fighter at Essen. This odd little mix of dungeon crawl and dexterity game is great, especially when you’ve got a larger group. Working your way through the maps as a group, taking down monsters by chucking dice at an oversized target… it’s a lot of fun. It’s also not very easy – unlike most party games, it actually offers quite a challenge. It’s rare that you’ll actually reach the boss at the end of the level, but Dungeon Fighter is one of those games where winning really isn’t the be all and end all. It’s the journey that’s all important, those high-risk dice rolls that will either claim victory for everyone or condemn the group to defeat.

Urban Sprawl has been one of the most divisive games released in 2011, either leaving those who have played it delighted or enraged. The cause of this schism? The chaos provided by the cards that add an admittedly swingy element to the game. While many people dislike it, I was a big fan of this part of the game that can either be a great equaliser or stretch out a player’s lead even further – but hey, that’s life. I’ve never been one to complain about such a thing, but many gamers saw this as too big a deal to ignore. I like a bit of randomness in my games, but for people who insist that everything must be able to be anticipated and mitigated, Urban Sprawl will send them cracked. If you’re looking for a relatively heavy game that shouldn’t be taken too seriously though, I’d heartily recommend picking up a copy.

There’s been plenty of other great games too. Quarriors took deckbuilding in a whole new direction, Space Maze was a charming little puzzler and Eruption made lava flows fun. For those seeking heavier gaming experiences Pret-a-Porter was brilliant, as was the wonderful Belfort (which I’ve only played once but can’t wait to try again – it’s that good). Now, who’s ready for 2012? Stay tuned for Part Three…

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Episode 35 – Lava, Heroes and 3d6

It’s the last episode of 2011! Blimey! And it’s exactly what you wanted for Christmas. If you’re a bit odd.

For this last blast we run the spectrum from full-on geeky awesomeness to casual gaming brilliance. I’m joined by Chris James, the head of Stratus Games, to talk about how their plans to bring gaming to the masses are going as well as the release of their latest title, the quite wonderful Eruption (expect a review soon, but heads up: it’s great). Christopher Badell from Greater Than Games also comes along to discuss their hit game Sentinels of the Multiverse and its follow up expansion: Rook City. Finally, with a bit of a musical interlude, the really rather excellent nerdcore punk band 3d6 talk games and gigs – all in all, it’s a pretty fantastic show!

Thanks for all your support throughout the year – it’s been fantastic to see the show go from strength to strength and that’s all down to the fabulous people who come on and talk with me. Cheers to every single guest, listener, supporter and company who’ve taken the time to get involved – you’re all grand and here’s to 2012!

And for the last time in 2011: Behold the links!

Direct download for the episode: http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/v6hdjx/LMD_Episode35.mp3

Eagle and Gryphon Games’ Caveman Curling: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/167427101/caveman-curling-a-game-of-stones

Plaid Hat Games, makers of Dungeon Run and Summoner Wars: http://www.plaidhatgames.com/

Stratus Games site: http://www.stratusgames.com/

Greater Than Games site: http://greaterthangames.info/

3d6 Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/3d6bandLasVegas?sk=app_2405167945

3d6’s “Damage” video: http://youtu.be/39vSWoXnf0c

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