Author: Paco G. Jaen

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...

Read More

How have we and gaming changed?

I have recently read an article in the LA Times about a reunion of Dungeons & Dragons players who started their adventures in 1987 after one of the kid’s uncle introduced him to the game and how it escalated from there. You can read the entire article here, and I do recommend it. It does make for good reading and brings up a few interesting questions. The most obvious is what has gaming contributed in your life? But also, how has gaming changed and why? To answer the first question would probably take me a very long time if I went into detail, so I won’t go into detail. However I will say that gaming has been a huge imagination catalyst that’s helped me in my work and in my daily life. For other people, gaming becomes escapism to take them to places where they can’t be hurt, or where they can live dreams in a way that brings them that little bit closer to reality. For others just an excuse to socialise and for others it will just be a matter of pride…. and the list goes on and on and on. What is very clear is that gaming, be it Role Playing Games, Board Games, CCGs or War Games, can have, and indeed do, a big impact on people’s lives and help them direct where it takes...

Read More

Battlestar Galactica Boardgame.

After seeing their worlds destroyed by the Cylon robots, the Battlestar Galactica crew and a fleet of surviving lucky spaceships, speed toward the fabled 13th colony, Earth. Galactica Commander Adama and President Laura Roslin face waning supplies, crushed morale, Cylon attacks and the credible threat Cylons aboard the ship, undetectable in the shape of humans. Now is your turn to survive and bring the fleet to safety… and that won’t be easy! Being a great fan of the series, I bought this game in the hope it would resemble in any way the same sense of desperation and struggle, both emotional and physical that the series so masterfully brought to the screens. I was hoping the game would bring a deep experience I would want to play again and again and the promise from the official website to offer an “unique gaming experience” set the benchmark very high indeed! I am keen on cooperative games, like Pandemic or Arkham Horror and the fact this game is played versus the Cylons and not each other player grabbed my attention even more. Some of the best sessions I have had recently have been in those games where the session can become tense and exciting and the cooperation of the players brings a very creative slant to strategy and game development. However Battlestar Galactica adds yet another level of tension to the...

Read More

Lost Cities, by Michael Schroeder

For the daring and adventurous, there are many lost cities to explore. They are in the Himalayas, the ever-shifting sands of the desert, the Brazilian rain forest, ancient volcanoes and in Neptune’s Realm. With limited resources the players must choose which expeditions to begin. Those with high confidence may want to up the stakes: increasing the rewards for success, but risking more should the expedition fail. The player who finds the right balance will find victory! Basic idea in my own words, In Lost Cities, you really don’t think of the theme too much, but that’s typical in euro games – where the mechanic and strategy is most important. This game is extremely simple, you have a rectangular board between both players that has spots for 5 or 6 different adventure colors, which represent different locations around the world, such as the Himalayas. And you have very large cards that have numbers on them from 2-9 (or 10), and 3 cards per color, that are handshakes, which are investment cards. You start the game with 8 random cards, I believe and what your goal of the game is, is to accrue the most investment points in an exploration. And how you do that is by laying your cards out on the respective color 1 by 1, until the round is over, or you’re out of cards. A turn in...

Read More

Defenders of the Realm

Cure The Pandemic That’s Causing A Castle Panic In The Magic Realm! While at Gencon 2010 I had a moment to run over to the Eagle Games booth to try to chat with Keith Blume, the BMOC at Eagle, but the booth was so busy that I didn’t have the opportunity to chat with him. One of the major reasons the booth was busy was that people were there in swarms to pick up Defenders Of The Realm (DotR), their latest venture. It was at this point that I realized that I was not the only one who thinks that it’s a neat concept, and that I was sure glad to have played it. The art is superb and incredibly sharp, the gameplay is brisk and engaging, and the fun factor is absolutely there. The long and short is that if you like Pandemic, like the theme and “four generals trying to siege the castle” of Castle Panic, and the questing/reward system in Return of the Heroes, this game is absolutely the one for you. Quite frankly, after reading some of the reviews of my more *academic* colleagues, I wasn’t sure that this would be anything new. The game’s been compared to Pandemic almost as much as George Bush has been compared to the Devil. After my first read of the rules, I almost agreed, but after my first...

Read More

Children of Orion: The Venu Sourcebook

Games genres