Author: Paco G. Jaen

Railways of the World: The Card Game

This review was first published by EndersGame at http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/554568 and is reproduced here with the author’s permission. This is what Ticket To Ride The Card Game should have been! Although this game has `Railways of the World’ in its title, it’s something that will arguably appeal especially to fans of the `Ticket to Ride’ series. Certainly fans of the `Railways of the World’ series will be pleased to hear news about a card game version of the popular train game. But it’s lighter and much quicker than the Railways of the World board game, so while satisfying existing enthusiasts with a simpler game, it also has the potential to bring the board game to a new audience. That audience is the Ticket to Ride loving crowd. Now if you were one of the folks who was disappointed with Ticket to Ride: The Card Game, you’re not alone: for me the memory component made it too brain-burning, and the take-that factor made it too confrontational. The good news is that the new Railways of the World: The Card Games is what  Ticket to Ride The Card Game could have been and should have been. It takes the set-collection mechanic familiar from Ticket to Ride, and gives it a new twist by adding pickup-and-deliver elements from the Railways of the World series. There’s even a simplified variant for families which eliminates...

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The Stars Are Right

One of the main themes in H.P. Lovecraft’s horrific tales was man’s tenuous grasp on his fragile sanity. It’s pretty safe to say that this theme is carried out splendidly in The Stars Are Right. You will lose sanity points. Resistance is futile. This brain-twisting diversion is a bit of a conundrum. It’s billed as a card game, but the cards are the simplest component. The real heart of the game lies in the 5×5 grid of tiles adorned with eclipsed moons, stars, meteors and such that constantly shift and switch places during the course of a game. It’s this oft-maddening entropy that lends a nervous edge to every play, and makes this little game stand out. The game goes a little something like this: You start out with the aforementioned 5X5 grid of tiles that represent the night sky. Each tile is double-sided so that they may be flipped during the game to bring up different configurations. You hold in your hand five cards with various creatures from Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, ranging from the lowly Gugs and Deep Ones to the Great Old Ones of Hastur and Cthulhu. Each round you can discard a card in your hand to invoke that creature’s power. This power is represented by a symbol(s) in the upper left of the card and allows you to rearrange tiles in the night sky. You...

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Savage Suzerain, by Steven Lindsey

Savage Suzerain is a cross-genre RPG done by Savage Mojo and Cubicle 7. The basic idea behind it is to allow players to use Savage Worlds to play characters that can go above the power levels of most games, and do so while in any numerous settings. The PCs at a certain power level are expected to gain the ability to travel between settings and time. Savage Mojo plans to release several settings that could all be backdrops for a Suzerain campaign. A bonus is that since this version uses Savage Worlds, virtually any SW setting from any company could be used with Suzerain. This allows a ridiculous number of possibilities. The Book Itself Savage Suzerain is a 192 paged full color hardcover. The cover depicts a surreal portal like background with a power armored (or perhaps a Cyborg) warrior carrying a rifle and an angelic Greek lady wielding a sword and shield in the foreground. The color art in the interior of the book ranges from average pieces to some truly remarkable works. Chapter Breakdown For Players (Pages 4-53) Savage Suzerain (from now on just Suzerain) uses the Savage Worlds rules and requires the Savage Worlds Explorer’s edition for its base. Some of the terminology is different such as Bennies becomes Karma, Power Points become Pulse, and Settings become Realms. Suzerain also adds a whole new rank to...

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Twilight Struggle

This Review coincides with http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/2326 ; my video review.The video covers a very brief overview of game play and touches on my experience withTwilight Struggle so far. This review continues on with my thoughts on this wonderful game. Twilight struggle was a game that I was unsure about for a long time. Why? Well for many reasons: * The theme: I knew very little about the Cold War and the time period represented in the game. I was born in 1984, live in Australia, and was never educated about the Cold War. Aside from knowing that the Cold War took place, I didn’t know the how, where, why or when. * The Rules: TS seemed overwhelming, I wasn’t sure that I was experienced enough in gaming to (A) learn the game, and (B) teach the game to an opponent. * The playtime of up to 3 hours: If a game exceeds 2hrs, I often lose interest. No other game I own has a playtime of up to 3 hrs, for this reason I am always hesitant to play such games, let alone purchase them. So I was not sure if Twilight Struggle was a game for me! So what lead me to actually purchase TS? I have found that good 2 player games are value for money because they get played repeatedly. I attend a monthly gaming club where I play...

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DC Adventures Heroe’s Handbook

I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, but Green Ronin – makers of Mutants & Masterminds – landed one of the two “Holy Grails” in the superhero genre: The DC Comics license. Their first release in the new line is the DC Adventures Hero’s Handbook, which is the rulebook and, essentially, the rulebook for Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition before 3e is officially released. I say essentially, because according to Green Ronin themselves, the only differences between the two will be hardcover vs softcover, the price and the presence of DC material. The Hero’s Handbook PDF is a whopping 281 pages, fully bookmarked and searchable, and chock full of licensed DC art, starting with an Alex Ross cover featuring a selection of iconic DC heroes with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman (of course) serving as the centerpiece. As is always the case with stuff like this, the art ranges from awesome to so-so, and that’s going to be largely a matter of opinion as to what is what. I’ll say this right up front: I’m not going into super heavy detail on the system, except where I see changes worth noting. It’s the d20 system, which has deeply permeated the RPG industry, for better or for worse, since the release of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition. I will say that I have only played one iteration of the d20...

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Children of Orion: The Venu Sourcebook

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