Tag Archives: tabletop

Episode 54 – Tasty TableTops

Hey everyone – we’re back again with a brand new episode! This time around we talk TableTop with Geek & Sundry Associate Producer Boyan Radakovich, as well as see what’s the deal with International TableTop Day. Happening on March 30th 2013, folks will gather together all around the world to play the games that we all love… are you going to be part of it? Following that, Michael Mindes from Tasty Minstrel Games joins me to discuss his latest adventure into the world of Kickstarter: Dungeon Roll. Having funded within 24 hours it’s gone on to become one of the most successful KS campaigns in boardgaming – and it hasn’t even finished yet. Find out what plans he’s got for the game and TMG in general!

Also, as mentioned on the show, massive thanks go out to Paul at Board Game Guru and the guys at Esdevium for supporting the recent game themed Mobopoly charity roller derby bout that was recently held near me in Milton Keynes. The target of raising £500 for The Moldova Project charity was destroyed as over £1000 was donated, so cheers to Board Game Guru and Esdevium for donating piles of great games for us to give away – you’re all very lovely.

Links? Why not:

Direct Download to Episode 54 – http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/ru25a/LMD_Episode54.mp3

TableTop on Geek & Sundry – http://tabletop.geekandsundry.com/

International TableTop Day site – http://tabletopday.com/

Tasty Minstrel Games – http://playtmg.com/

Dungeon Roll on Kickstarter – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/michaelmindes/dungeon-roll-a-dicey-dungeon-delve?ref=card

The Moldova Project’s site – http://www.themoldovaproject.com/

Board Game Guru – http://www.boardgameguru.co.uk/

Esdevium – http://www.esdeviumgames.com/

And don’t forget the TableTop Day vs Little Metal Dog event – Just click on the image below!

TableTopDay_520x260

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Battle of the Heroes – Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game review

Confession time. I never actually watched any of the Star Wars movies until I went to University. On discovering this horrific fact, one day in late 1993, a guy I was sharing a flat with called Ian locked me in a room with Episodes IV, V and VI (you know, the good ones) and refused to let me out until I had watched all three back to back. Which I did. And I was converted, realising the error of my ways.

Now I understand the importance of the (in)actions of one simple stormtrooper who could have changed the course of history in a galaxy far, far away. I know that Han shot first (of course he would, he’s a badass). And most important of all, I have learned to hate that stupid Gungan with a fiery passion.

however, the thing that really grabbed me during that first proper viewing of the Original Trilogy were the battles in space. The howl of a Tie Fighter as it shot across the screen, the mosquito-like X-Wings coming to an end as they attempted to take down the might of the Death Star… it was incredible to see how well realised they were in a bunch of movies that I’d previously completely disregarded. And now we get to live out the experience ourselves in the rather glorious form of the brand new Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game.

Oh my. Never has so much joy come from such a small amount of plastic.

There’s little wonder why this eagerly awaited package has been snapped up quickly by gamers from all around the world. Just looking at the front of the box makes your average nerd salivate like a dog – there are two splendidly realised miniature TIE Fighters and a X-Wing right there! Look at their inherent beauty! Who wouldn’t want them? Then you open up the box, punch out a pile of tokens, grab the quickstart rules and away you go…

Fantasy Flight Games, the creators of X-Wing, have realised that the folks who play it want to get down to business in minutes. They want to be flying around the table making pew-pew noises from the moment they open the box, so you’ll be pleased to know that playing the game is gloriously straightforward. Each player chooses a vessel and a character card, each of which are marked with various stats that will affect how you play. You also grab a movement dial (FFG seem to be loving dials lately, don’t they?), a handful of tokens and then it’s time to fight.

See? Dials! Also, those things with the numbers on them are what you use to do your movements.

The objective is simple – wipe out the opponent. Select how far you’ll travel first by secretly choosing a move on the dial; some may cause stress on your ship meaning you’ll be limited in future actions, so always be aware of what you’re doing! Once you’ve moved, you get to attack as long as you’re in range of an enemy; you can fire off a few shots by rolling the custom dice that come with the starter set and they’ll do the same in a hopeful bid to cancel out your results. Do enough damage and you’ll blow them into the vacuum of space, then go on to rule the galaxy… all in around twenty minutes.

Each vessel’s card also has some special abilities that you may be able to use as well, from using the Force (of course) in order to change a dice roll, pull evasive manoeuvres such and lock on targets. Better pilots will have more abilities but the game strives to retain balance no matter who is facing off against who. Sure, pitching Luke Skywalker against a rookie TIE Fighter straight out of Empire School will generally result in a win for the Rebel Alliance, but you’ll always feel like you’re at least in with a chance.

Have a look through the forums on BGG that focus on X-Wing and you’ll see a lot of people complaining about the price. Now, I know that it’s relatively expensive for what you get and the fact that you only get three vessels does seem a little mean, but consider this; you’re not just buying a self-contained game (despite the fact that it’s perfectly playable just with this starter set). What you’re picking up is a whole new game system, and anyway IT’S STAR WARS. Of course it’s going to cost more than your standard game – is there anything out there that has George Lucas’ paws on that hasn’t gouged the fans? FFG will have paid through the nose for this license so they’ll need to make their cash back somehow.

TAKE ‘IM OUT VADER!

Thankfully, they haven’t just rushed out something to make a quick bit of turnover. The rules in X-Wing, though simple, give the game a real arcade kind of feel. Games are speedy, fun, raucous… everything you want from a battle in the depths of space. If you want something a little deeper, rules are included for larger scale battles because – you’ve guessed it – there are more and more ships due for release over the next few months. Already out there in Wave 1 are Y-Wings and TIE Advanced as well as extra standard TIE Fighters and X-Wings. Wave two promises more iconic vessels including Boba Fett’s Slave 1 and the mighty Millenium Falcon.

I’ve ordered mine already. I am *such* a child.

The X-Wing Starter Set is a pile of fun hewn from cardboard and plastic. Grab a couple of extra ships and the door opens even wider, showing you just how entertaining a tabletop skirmish game like this can be. And then you start thinking about the future, about other ships that could potentially come out, about setting up new missions and adventures to tackle. This starter box comes with a couple of small missions to attempt but imagine what kind of things could happen in the future. Personally I reckon that if FFG don’t release a large scale Death Star Trench Run set at some time in the future they’re missing a trick.

In conclusion, the Star Wars X-Wing beginner set is just that – something that will start you off on a potentially epic experience. It’s not for everyone, sure, and it *will* end up being a pretty expensive game if you insist on picking up every single thing that’s released for the system, but if you’re sensible and pick and choose the odd thing here and there, you’ll have something that offers a massive variety of play with relatively little outlay. Whether it’s a one-on-one dogfight or an epic battle to decide the destiny of the universe, this is a hell of a lot of fun – and it’s going to get even better.

The Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game is available now. Designed by Jason Little and produced by Fantasy Flight Games, a copy will set you back a shade under £30, but you can pick it up from Gameslore for £25

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What I Did At The Weekend, by Michael, aged 34 1/2

Last weekend saw the return of the annual UK Games Expo, which took place as usual in Birmingham. From quite small roots, the Expo has grown in a few short years into a major event on the British gaming scene for people from many different gaming genres. While it’s still far from the size of something like Origins in the USA or the extravaganza that is Essen, the UK Games Expo is now firmly on the map. I was lucky enough to head up on the Saturday to see what kind of things were on offer this year.

First of all, there were plenty of interesting new games. Martin Wallace’s Age of Industry and the Ragnar Brothers’ Workshop of the World certainly seemed to be attracting an awful lot of attention from a British point of view. The Ragnars were especially impressive spending the day in full Victorian dress, even if the large coats were dispensed with pretty early in the day – not surprising as their stall was in one of the busiest and hottest rooms of the Expo! Both games were getting a lot of good buzz, especially Age of Industry – it certainly seems to be standing on its own as opposed to just being a simplified version of one of his previous releases, Brass. However, popular as both of them were, the game that most people seemed to be walking around with was Forbidden Island – previously reviewed here on Little Metal Dog, of course. The Expo seemed to be the unofficial launch for Matt Leacock’s latest release, and the demo tables were very busy indeed with many games being played throughout the whole day – the £15 pricepoint really helped too. It wasn’t just Forbidden Island that was getting a lot of play, however – Richard Denning’s Great Fire: London 1666 was also on offer, again getting a lot of people excited. Richard is also one of the people behind organising the whole Expo, so he ended up having an incredibly busy time – I’m quite sure he’ll acknowledge it was worth the effort, however.

Seriously, it was like this all day. And there was more than one demo hall!

Tabletop gaming was also in great form, with everything from ancient Rome to futuristic space battles represented. I played an excellent game called Last Living Soul, designed by the guys behind a magazine called The Ancible. Being a total junkie for zombie-related fun, this was a great effort considering it was basically a homebrew game – 30 minutes against the clock in a desperate battle for survival, LLS ended up being one of the best games I played at the show. Some of the work put into the tabletop games was incredible – Esdevium Games, the UK’s leading distributor, notably had a fantastic D&D Dungeon Delve set-up alongside demonstrations of many big games. If I’d had a bit more time, I would have loved to have taken a place at that table as everyone seemed to be having a blast.

Lots of the big online stores had stalls offering a huge variety of goodies for sale (and some free stuff – I managed to get sets of the Black Market, Envoy and Stash cards for Dominion!). Prices were competitive – mainly down to their being no need for postage, it must be said – and business seemed to be brisk for everyone. Certainly by mid-afternoon I heard a few people asking for certain games being told that they were sold out – surely a sign that business was pretty good. A quick mention for the guys at Board Game Extras and their excellent bits for customizing games – my wife was very happy indeed with her set of orange meeples for Carcassonne, and I was coveting their beautiful wooden train carriages for Ticket to Ride

If bargains were what you were looking for, the annual Bring and Buy was definitely the place to head for. One of the most consistently busy areas of the whole show, you could offer anything for sale, stick a price on it and see what happened. 15% of all sales went to charity, so as well as getting rid of unwanted games, you were doing something good! In past years I’ve found it a bit of a free-for-all, but organisation was much better this time around. I even managed to shift a couple of things!

Just a little bit of the chaos that was Bring and Buy.

If I’d had more money, I swear I’d have come home with stacks of stuff. Maybe next year…

As well as buying stuff, there was plenty of other things to do at the Expo – tournaments for board games and tabletops, book signings (Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone – the founders of Games Workshop and authors of the early Fighting Fantasy books – were there, and were gracious enough to chat with me for a few moments – two lovely blokes), workshops… I would love to see this kind of thing expanded next year – discussions and panels are one of the things I really enjoy at conventions, so a few more at UK Games Expo 2011 would be a great thing to see. However, if they plan on making it a bigger event, they’re going to need a larger venue. The current place was bursting at the seams this year – and as the day went on and got hotter, the comfort levels dropped. Not a major issue, admittedly, but something to certainly consider for future events. You can tell that the Games Expo has been set up by people who love to play, but the question is… where do they go from here?

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