The popular series of Legacy board games continues this month with the release of Betrayal Legacy, published by Wizards of the Coast under the Avalon Hill imprint. For designer Rob Daviau, it’s a bit like coming home. He’s credited as the co-designer of the original Betrayal at House on the Hill, a cult classic board game about a haunted mansion, first released in 2004. Now he’s been invited back to apply the revolutionary Legacy system, which he created, to one of his first hit games. They even put his name right there on the box. After playing through just a few games in its 13-session campaign, I can already tell that it’s going to be spectacular. [Ed. note: This is a spoiler-free review.] The Legacy series When I first met Daviau a decade ago, he was running around the Gen Con tabletop gaming convention with a handful of pre-production copies of Risk: Black Ops, a rare variant of the 1959 classic that now sells for a pretty penny on eBay. At the time he was … [Read more...] about Betrayal Legacy is 13 hours of bloody brilliance from board gaming’s great innovator
Classic board games
Axis & Allies & Zombies, first unveiled here in June, is finally on the shelf at your friendly local game store and on Amazon. So how does the classic game of World War II strategy hold up with the added weight of the undead? Amazingly well, it turns out. The $40 package provides for hours of entertainment and has tremendous replay potential, aside from one big issue with the rulebook itself, Created by Larry Harris and first published in 1981, Axis & Allies is practically the model for the modern grand strategy genre. Two-to-five players take on the roles of Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany, the United Kingdom, Imperial Japan and the United States in a dice-driven battle for global domination. The game famously models industrial production, logistics and scientific advances using the same six-sided dice used to fight its battles. Each of its units have different characteristics, leading to dynamic strategies and exciting twists of fate. Despite its notoriously lengthy … [Read more...] about Axis & Allies & Zombies reinvents the classic board game with one small tweak
Board game designer Rob Daviau and the team at Restoration Games faced a huge challenge when they decided to update Fireball Island, a classic board game from 1986. How the hell do you re-create a game that is remembered for being so much larger than life? “The board was 95 percent of our effort to get this going,” Daviau admitted to Polygon. The issue was that no one remembers Fireball Island as it was — they remember how it felt at the time. “People have this very fond memory of this game, people remember it being even bigger and even taller and even faster,” Daviau explained. “So we had to somehow make it bigger and faster without making the box bigger. That was the first problem; it was an engineering problem.” The goal in Fireball Island is to steal a jewel from an unexplored island defended by a stone sentry, and the hook was the ability to roll marbles down the three-dimensional board to knock other players off their paths. It was a … [Read more...] about How do you top a board game that was already larger than life?
Focus Home Interactive and Cyanide Studios have just announced Space Hulk: Tactics, a new game based on a Warhammer 40,000 board game Space Hulk. Many Warhammer 40K fans may be familiar with Space Hulk: Deathwing, the first-person shooter that takes place within a giant, derelict spaceship with Space Marines battling waves of Tyranids. Yet, what some may not realize is that the original board game is actually played at a slower, more tactical pace. In fact, another thing some may not know is that Space Hulk will now have three video game iterations attached to its name. There’s Deathwing, as mentioned before, as well as the original game simply called Space Hulk, which more closely resembled the board game. It was very thin on story, mostly focusing on being just a digital representation of the tabletop title. Space Hulk: Tactics seems to be a mix of being an homage to the board game, while also bringing more to the table on the … [Read more...] about Space Hulk: Tactics; Taking the Series Back to Tactical Board Game Style
The granddaddy of all space-empire sims, Twilight Imperium retails for over $100 and is delivered to your house in a cardboard coffin. It is huge, meticulous, stocked to the gills with itty bitty rules, and it takes a solid eight hours to finish a single game. Twilight Imperium sessions begin when you invite your friends over for breakfast, and end when you've ordered pizza for the second time. Nothing in the tabletop games industry is more unreasonable, and nothing is more fun. If you think board games are boring, you've never watched in horror as a former mate gleefully goes back on their word then conquers and colonizes your home planet. This happens in hour number six, and you react by swearing vengeance til the day you die. Shattered Ascension was originally a set of house rules invented by a Twilight Imperium fan named PsiComa. He loved the game, but identified some nagging imbalances in the design, and started work on a remix. Soon enough, PsiComa's pet project emerged as a … [Read more...] about Modders are making their own version of massive space opera board game Twilight Imperium