Sep 122011

Arkham Horror logoPlayed a couple of games of Arkham Horror during the summer, and became even more convinced of two things: it’s a good game, and the tons of fiddly bits in the box are a nightmare to keep in order.

Indeed, the co-operative boardgame to rid the eponymous new england town of Cthulhu’s kin remains as entertaining as it was on the very first date.

Arkham Horror offers a nice mix of a story-telling adventure game mixed with pure dice mechanics that has been spiced up with hundreds of cards and other components.

While the selection of characters and enemies is pleasantly random, the encounters in the city are recycled rather too fast. Soon, the potential occurrences in the most commonly visited locations become predictable and a source of amusement.

Variety is not the sole reason why Fantasy Flight Games has supplied the basic set with no less than ten supplements, but sadly it’s a rare gamer who can summon up a table large enough to support the entire Lovecraft Country.

Arkham Horror is the game that takes up the most shelfspace in the collection. But despite the volume and the fact that I haven’t yet explored all of the expansions, I keep on buying them. That’s either a sign of a good game or obsessive collecting. My bet’s on both.

Aug 132011

Dark Pharaoh revisedFantasy Flight Games has released an updated version of the first Arkham Horror supplement: Curse of the Dark Pharaoh.

The changelog seems formidable enough to warrant a repurchase, the original was done when the process of designing and releasing expansions for the game were not completely thought out.

As the product manager for the most wrung-out game franchise in existence, Mark Rosewater’s description on the realities of game longevity only scratches the surface. The card games have a much easier time reinventing themselves than traditional boardgames (where Carcassonne has proven that a double-digit number of expansions is feasible, and Dominion’s key selling point is that it will be changed periodically).

Feb 152011

Arkham Horror Toolkit iconFantasy Flight Games has released Arkham Horror Toolkit, an iOS helper application for the increasingly complicated boardgame of Arkham Horror.

The very appropriately iconed-up application does not eliminate the board, but assists in managing some of the fiddliest bits: the investigators and the location cards. Especially the latter cuts down on space requirements on the table. Inventory management and tracking of mythos cards would be a good target for the next version.

The application itself is reasonably priced at 3$, but the expansions are separately purchased within it, thus raising the cost a little.

Haven’t played in a long while, and will likely give this utility a spin on the next bout against the zygotic and squamous horrors beyond space and time.

Apr 212010

Targets of Opportunity coverThe long-awaited Targets of Opportunity, the second ransomed Delta Green sourcebook has been published as a pdf, with the hardback book to follow in June.

The book is sizable, it clocks in at 300+ pages.

Based on a cursory browsing of some of the chapters and the list of contributors guarantees that the ransom money was well-spent.

And I’m certainly looking forward to future books from the Arc Dream / Pagan collective – the proposed release schedule is full of teh awesome.

Mar 162010

Laundry coverCubicle 7 Entertainment, publishers of the recent Doctor Who role-playing game have announced a surprising new licensed game.

Laundry Files, to be available this summer, is based on Charles Stross‘ series (two books now, with a third one out soon). Sadly the game uses Chaosium’s aging basic roleplaying as the engine, and not the far more elegant and flexible system introduced in the company’s previous production.

Cubicle 7 has been on a roll lately, since their third new game is nothing less than The One Ring, yet another game based on the Lord of the Rings (the third, it would seem in the wikipedia article on the subject).

Moral bonus point for the gratuitous XKCD reference on the cover.

Aug 042009

This summer’s seen the release of (at least) three interesting interactive fiction games.

Jack Toresal and the Secret Letter is the first commercial game in a long while. I’ve held off purchasing it, mainly on account of worrisome reports about the interpreter. It apparently employs a book paradigm in quite suboptimal fashion, and has had serious performance issues on OS X. According to the company, a much-improved version will be published in August. I’ll wait until then. And will very likely purchase the game to support Textfyre’s future.

Jimmy Maher’s The King of Shreds and Patches seemed oddly familiar upon its announcement, and the adventure is indeed an adaptation of an old Call of Cthulhu scenario. Haven’t played the game yet, but certainly will. And incidentally I’ve performed a reversed transformation. Michael Gentry’s classic Anchorhead played very well as an everyday horror-scenario.

The third big arrival is Alabaster. A collaboratively written fractured fairy tale that brings to mind Neil Gaiman’s Snow, Glass, Apples – another controversial take on the old story.

This is just a sampling of the games that have been published in 2009, there have been more, and there will be more. After all, the annual contest is just a short while away.

May 302009

Dennis Detwiller, one of the most prolific authors of Cthulhu-related gaming goodness has been prolific lately.

The fourth part of the Future/Perfect-campaign is now out, though it has not been integrated to the first three parts yet.

The sixth issue of Worlds of Cthulhu features the first installment of the Dreamlands-centric improbably named The sense of the sleight of hand man. Hopefully the second part comes out in reasonable time as well, this magazine has not really been one to calibrate calendars with.