Tag Archives: Tempest

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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Three Little Words – Love Letter review


Let us join the thronging crowds and talk about the small but perfectly formed New Hotness that is Love Letter! Originally released through Japon Brand, it was picked up quickly by AEG and added to their Tempest game-world (the fourth release under the banner, in fact), and now this tiny game has captured the hearts of nigh on everyone who has had the chance to try it out. Considering the fact that there’s only twenty cards and a bunch of cubes in this package, you may initially wonder what all the fuss is about – then you get to play and swiftly realise that there is an awful lot of gameplay inside the red velvet(ish) bag…

The story behind Love Letter is that the Princess of the city state of Tempest, distraught at the arrest of her mother (at the end of the first game in the series, Courtier) has locked herself away and refuses to see anyone. Players act as potential suitors, attempting to cheer her a little by using members of the household to pass messages of love to her; successfully winning a round nets you a ‘token of affection’ that looks remarkably like a red cube. Manage to get a certain amount before anyone else and victory – as well as the Princess’ heart – is yours.

Gameplay is incredibly quick and rounds take, even at their longest, only minutes. Sixteen cards are used in play (the remaining four being very helpful crib sheets), one of which is dealt to each player. Another is removed from play, adding an element of randomness that could well put a spanner in your deductions. Each turn will see a player take a card from the deck, meaning they have two in hand; at this point, they must discard one face up and follow the instructions written upon it. The eight different character types have abilities specific to themselves and can be found in differing amounts; there are five Guards, for example, who can allow you to knock an opponent out if you manage to guess what card they’re holding. As you go up the ranks through the Priest and Baron all the way up to the Princess herself, you’ll need to be sneaky and cunning to be the last one standing in order to catch Her Majesty’s eye.

Our characters, each of whom will do their best to get your billet-doux to its destination...

Our characters, each of whom will do their best to get your billet-doux to its destination… Pretty cards, aren’t they?

I often hear games described as ‘elegant’, a word I find somewhat curious when it comes to stuff we play – however, having spent plenty of time with Love Letter I now have something where I reckon that it’s an ideal definition. This is gaming stripped down to its simplest, a bare minimum, and it’s a wonderful experience. There’s so much room for analysis, such a vast array of configurations that can happen, and yet you will only ever have two options in front of you. Each card you play provides your fellow suitors with that little bit more information, but there’s always plenty that you can do in order to trip them up. The Countess, for example, must be played if you also hold the King or one of the Princes, but having one of them isn’t necessary to put her on the table. Deception and deviousness is the order of the day in Love Letter, and getting caught out when another exposes you is gutting. Mercifully you’ll be back in play in mere moments…

Of course, sometimes you can paint yourself into a corner – it’s entirely possible that a situation can arise where the cards in play will see you having to knock yourself out of a round (I’ll leave it to you do discover precisely how that can happen!) but it’s a rarity and never feels cruel. Of course it helps that rounds speed by, so being eliminated is never a major issue. In fact, I’ve generally found that once one player is knocked out the round draws to a conclusion quite quickly. It’s a perfect filler that doesn’t outstay its welcome, accessible to players of all levels. The only people I can’t recommend it wholeheartedly to are those who only ever play games for two – there’s just a little bit too much randomness in there if only a couple are involved – but with three or four Love Letter is absolutely golden. The fact that you should be able to pick up a copy for under seven quid (or $10 for our American cousins) says to me that every collection should be able to boast a copy of this little gem of a game.

Love Letter was designed by Seiji Kanai and originally released by Japon Brand in 2012 – the AEG edition was also a 2012 release having first seen the light at Essen. Between two and four can play and games will normally take about twenty minutes to half an hour. Should you want a copy – and why wouldn’t you? – head to Gameslore where you’ll be able to get one for a bargainous £5.99! Lovely.


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Episode 43 – Salutempest

Yes, it’s a terrible title. They can’t all be magically awesome.

Anyway! Episode 43 is here, where I get to (virtually) meet up with a couple of the industry’s good guys. First, Todd Rowland (who has been on before) comes along to discuss the new Tempest project from AEG. Tempest, a world in which designers are invited to make whatever game they like using provided assets and stuff, launches in October at Essen with three games – Dominare, Mercante and Courtier – with many more to hopefully follow. Imagine having the ability to create a prototype where the art and templates have already been built for you, then letting your imagination go wild: that’s Tempest. After that, I’m joined by Game Salute’s very own Dan Yarrington. In a pretty candid discussion, we talk about Kickstarter (of course) and what GS are attempting to do with their Springboard Seal of Quality, as well as get into the meat of what’s happening in the industry today.

Et maintenant, les links du jour:

Direct download: http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/7s9a3j/LMD_Episode43.mp3

Serpent Stones on Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/springboard/serpent-stones?ref=live

Alien Frontiers iPad: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/clevermojogames/alien-frontiers-for-ipad?ref=live (Be quick, it ends on July 15!)

AEG’s Tempest Designer Resource site: http://www.alderac.com/tempest/designer-resource/ (VERY cool indeed)

Game Salute: http://gamesalute.com/home/

And last but not least… the Little Metal Dog Show’s 2012 pledge drive! Help get the show to Essen and keep us online for another year! http://www.indiegogo.com/LMDS2012?a=703837

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