Wednesday, 27 February 2013

My 10 greatest sci-fi board games of all time

I'm sure many of you have seen the recent blog post: 10 Greatest Science Fiction Board Games of All Time over on the Forgotten DM blog. There's been quite a few people talking about it and lots of people disagreeing with his list. I feel there really no point in me taking apart his list or arguing over why certain games should or should not be on it, instead I figure it would be better to just make my own. So here's my 10 greatest sci-fi board games of all time (in no particular order).

1. Risk Legacy. This is a fantastic game. It did something no game before it has done and so far no game after has done. You literally modify your game permanently as you play through. You rip up cards, you write on your board, you put stickers on things. Added to that cool factor this is a very solid version of Risk. With a new victory point system games of Risk Legacy are done and over with quickly. We were often able to fit in two or more games in one night.

2. Eclipse. This one is still a newcomer to the scene but it's already found it's place at the top of many gamers 4x list. Eclipse is the perfect mix of simplicity and depth. It's a version of Twilight Imperium that can be played in a couple of hours. What it lacks in options it makes up for in gameplay and speed. Since getting this one I haven't touched any of my older 4x games and I don't really expect to go back to them any time soon. Added to that they just released an expansion to Eclipse adding ever more options and strategies.

3. Race for the Galaxy is a non-collectible card game and one of the best ones out there, sci-fi or not. It started as a re-theme of San Juan but has grown into a very solid game of it's own. It combines role selection with resource management and traditional card mechanics. It plays just as well with two players as with six. Fair warning though, there is a bit of a learning curve with this one. The cards use a ton of unique symbols to show what they do and these take a bit for people to pick up.

4. Star Wars X-Wing Miniature Game this is probably the most fun game I've played so far in 2013. Another newcomer to the market, it's quickly growing in popularity. X-Wing is basically a Star Wars re-them and re-write of the classic Wings of War dog fighting game. It combines simple to learn mechanics with a hidden movement system and amazing pre-painted models. There have been complaints about the price per model on this one but I find that this is actually one of the cheaper miniature battle games out there, especially when compared to Games Workshop or Privateer Press.

5. Star Fleet Battles this one has been around since the 70s and is still supported and played. Sure there have been some new iterations released. Mostly ones that make the game simpler and quicker. Games like Klingon Armada, Federation Commander and Call To Arms: Star Fleet. I figure if we are looking at best games of all time, I think the original deserves the credit here. SFB did hidden movement of ships long before Wings of War and X-wing and it added having to allocate your energy each turn to that. Having to decide just how much to allocate to shields, engines, phasers, scanners and more will always stick with me.

6. Alien Frontiers was one of the first games to come out that combined dice and Eurogame mechanics. Like games like Kingsburg, you start each turn by rolling a set of dice. Then the dice become your workers and the game becomes a worker placement game. Alien Frontiers uses this mechanic excellently with each die representing a ship and the numbers rolled determining where each ship can land each turn. Add that to a variety of way to earn victory points and a short play time and you've got a winner.

7. Starfarers of Catan. I've loved this one since the first time I played it. It takes some of the best parts of Catan and tosses them up in Space. The great thing about this one though is that it isn't just Catan in space. There's so much more going on here. You build and upgrade a space fleet. You visit different planets. You can meet and negotiate with a variety of aliens. You have to deal with ancient races and space pirates. Added to this is one of the most unique and cool board game pieces yet. A plastic ship that you snap upgrades onto to show the status of your flee. The ship is also your randomizer  you shake it an coloured balls fall to the bottom of it to determine your speed and if you have an event every turn..

8. Battlestar Gallactica Here's one where I agree with the Forgotten DM. This is a great game. I see a lot of people who compare it to Shadows Over Camelot and I'm not sure that's totally fair. Shadows is a co-op game where there might be a traitor in your midst. To me Galactica is a team game because you know at least one person is a cylon and it's the humans vs. them. Half way through there's a great balancing mechanic that looks at who's winning and then adjusts the teams accordingly. Other than that it's a good game all around though a bit hard to explain to newcomers.

9. Space Hulk I don't know what it is but I love this game. I loved this game since it came in that box there on the left. I collected all of the Games Workshop 3D Roleplay games and Space Hulk was always my favorite. Awesome looking models combined with the epic Warhammer 40,000 universe and fluff combined with quick to learn but difficult to master rules. Things like the way blips work still seem brilliant to me and it seems like every mini game after it had rules for Overwatch.

10. Twilight Imperium Another one that's on the Forgotten DMs list. I know up above I said that Eclipse has replaced this one for me, and it has. That doesn't mean that TI needs to be dropped from the best games of all time though. This one is a beast, but it's the board game that does space exploration in the most detailed way. It's the closest you will get to playing Masters of Orion on your kitchen table. One caveat  you have to have the first expansion for his one to belong on this list. Shattered Empires makes this good game great.

EDIT - by the gawds how the heck did I forget Battletech!?! Sorry Catan you are off the list and replaced by 100 tons of awesomeness.

7. Battletech I have no idea how I forgot this one the first time around. I loved this game. I need to get back into this game. It's been around almost as long as I've been gaming and is still supported and played. Battletech is an amazing game of giant robot combat. It's crunchy, strategic and highly scalable. There's what seems like a near infinite amount of supliments out there ranging from new factions, new mechs, rules for tanks, jets and more. What's really cool is that behind it all is a great world of fiction rivaling the denseness of even the Warhammer universe. I still feel shame for forgetting this the first time around.

X-Wing Demo day at Hugin & Munin Sat. March 2nd

Saturday, March 2nd I will be running an X-Wing demo day at Hugin and Munin. The event will run from 1pm until 5pm.

X-wing is an awesome new Star Wars miniature battle game from Fantasy Flight games. It's quick to learn but will take some time to master. Check out my review of the game on the Windsor Gaming Resource Blog: I spent 8 hours deciding the fate of the galaxy in X-Wing last weekend

I will be bringing over 300 points worth of ships as well as two mats to play on. That way if we get enough people we can have two concurrent games running. I will also have one of each of the new Millennium Falcon and Slave 1 sets available to use during the games. There is no cost to attend this event but I do suggest that if you dig the game you pick up a copy while at the store.

Hugin and Munin is located at:
1664 Tecumseh RD. E.
Windsor On, N8W 1C5
519 974 7898

Monday, 18 February 2013

The D&D White Box is back in a big way

Just announced a few minutes ago on their websites, Wizards of the Coast will be releasing a premium edition of the Original Dungeon & Dragons White Box. Not only do you get the original little books but it includes all of the later released supplements. In addition it's presented in a beautiful wood box and includes some pretty cool looking dice.

From the WotC site:

Original Dungeons & Dragons RPG
Original Edition Premium Reprint
Wizards RPG Team
A premium, deluxe edition of the Original D&D "White Box"!
The original Dungeons & Dragons boxed set was published by TSR, Inc. in 1974 and was the very first roleplaying game, introducing concepts that have persisted throughout later editions. It included three small rules booklets in a white box.
This deluxe, premium reprint of the original "White Box" features new packaging and includes the following seven booklets:
  • Volume 1: Men & Magic
  • Volume 2: Monsters & Treasure
  • Volume 3: Underworld & Wilderness Adventures
  • Supplement I: Greyhawk
  • Supplement II: Blackmoor
  • Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry
  • Supplement IV: Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes
Each booklet features new cover art but is otherwise a faithful reproduction of the original, including original interior art.
Item Details
Item Code: 45390000
Release Date: November 19, 2013
Format: D&D Boxed Game
Price: $149.99; C$172.00
ISBN: 978-0-7869-6465-9

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Boardgames Are Really Fun - It Came From the Earth! Feb 22nd

B.A.R.F. - Boardgames Are Really Fun
Theme: It Came From the Earth!

The Windsor Gaming Resource and Villains Beastro are proud to announce another awesome free gaming event scheduled for February 22nd from 6PM until Midnight.

The Villains Beastro is a unique, funky, weird, mystical, fun, serious, laid back, Viking-feeling, pub-looking rock n’ roll type place that has offered to open their doors for us. It’s the perfect spot for a group of gamers to hang out and play some games. There are plenty of tables of all sizes, a well lit stage area, some great beers on draft, a selection of harder beverages and a some great tasting sandwiches. Villains has agreed to give us the space for free and I encourage everyone to support the venue by buying some food and enjoyed a drink (responsibly of course).

The theme for this event is: It Came From the Earth! We're looking for games about growing things, farming, agriculture and stone golems. Specific games we see as fitting the theme: Settlers of Catan, Bohnanza, and Agricola.

This is an open non-competitive gaming event that anyone is welcome to attend. Any form of game is welcome: board, card, rpg, miniatures, whatever you want to bring we are willing to have you. We aren't rule lawyers. You are welcome to bring your own games or share in some of ours. Everything we bring we are willing to teach and no experience is necessary. The goal is to get as many local gamers out as possible to enjoy some good food, some good company and some good games!

An important note: we are not a private club. Anyone and everyone is welcome to come out and join in the games. If you see someone playing a game and it looks interesting, ask about it. If you see a game on a table and you want to try it out, ask around and see if someone will teach it.

Villains is located Downtown at:
256 Pelissier
Windsor, ON N9A 4K3

Villains Beastro on Facebook:

The Windsor Gaming Resource Webpage:

The Windsor Gaming Resource on Facebook:

Monday, 4 February 2013

Games and Grub - Feb 15th at the Green Bean

Look for this banner at gaming events around Windsor

The Windsor Gaming Resource is proud to announce another free Games and Grub gaming event at the Green Bean on Friday February 15th 2013, running from 6PM until 11PM

The Green Bean is an independent coffee shop that provides a wide variety of coffees, teas, lattes and more. They have a full menu that includes fresh made soup, paninis and some really tempting deserts. There's the option for a bottomless cup of coffee and they have free WiFi. For us gamers they have a wide variety of tables of various sizes and a well lit stage.

This is an open non-competitive gaming event that anyone is welcome to attend. Any form of game is welcome: board, card, rpg, miniatures, whatever you want to bring we are willing to have you. We aren't rule lawyers. You are welcome to bring your own games or share in some of ours. Everything we bring we are willing to teach and no experience is necessary. The goal is to get as many local gamers out as possible to enjoy some good food, some good company and some good games!

Games we've played at events like this in the past include: Settlers of Catan, Dominion, Scrabble, Ca$h and Gun$, Bohnanzha, Magic The Gathering, Carcasonne, Race for the Galaxy, Puerto Rico, Agricola, Core Worlds, Munchkin, Scrabble, Chess and more.

An important note: we are not a private club. Anyone and everyone is welcome to come out and join in the games. If you see someone playing a game and it looks interesting, ask about it. If you see a game on a table and you want to try it out, ask around and see if someone will teach it.

Free Giveaway: This time we are giving away a copy of The Castles of Burgundy, a game currently ranked at number 18 in the world on

Demo Game: Throughout the event I will be running demo games of the new Star Wars X-Wing Miniature game. I'll have over 300pts worth of ships there for opposing generals to choose from. Both new and experienced players alike are welcome to try out this great new game.

The Green Bean is located near the University of Windsor at:
2320 Wyandotte St. W (Lower). Windsor, ON.
It's in the basement of the Church with the big sign that says "God Loves Students" on the side of it, next to Harvey's

Note: The Windsor Gaming Resource has no political or religious ties to the Green Bean or the Church it is located in. It just happens to be an awesome place to play some games and meet other gamers.

You can find them on facebook here:

You can find them on the web here:

The Windsor Gaming Resource on Facebook:

The Windsor Gaming Resource on Twitter:

I spent 8 hours deciding the fate of the galaxy in X-Wing last weekend

I have been hearing fantastic things about the new Star Wars: X-Wing Miniature Game from Fantasy Flight Games since even before it was released. I've had it on my gaming wish lists since it was first announced. Well thanks to the generosity of a fellow Windsor area gamer, I finally got to give this new game a try. For about 8 hours. It's been a long time since I've done a marathon gaming session but that's exactly what happened a week ago Sunday. The original plans included trying out the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game RPG as well but we never got to that. We were having far too much fun playing X-wing.

X-wing is a non-collectible pre-painted miniature game designed to be played by two sides. The core game set gives you enough to play a simple game with one X-Wing facing off against two TIE Fighters. The game is mainly written for two players but more can easily be added with each person controlling one or more ships. Expansion sets exist and each includes one new ship and associated cards and counters. At the time of writing you can pick up more X-Wings and regular TIEs as well as Y-Wings and TIE Advanced.

A line of TIE Fighters from our first 100pt game.
The core set includes a set of rules of varying complexity designed to quickly teach and expand the game. With the basic rules you can begin playing, out of the box, in about ten minutes. Full rules add more complexity to the basic rules and add more strategy to the game. Advanced rules also exist that turn the game into a more traditional wargame with players spending points to build their armies before play.

Gameplay consists of players taking turns through a movement round and then a firing round. This is repeated until one side is wiped out or specific mission objectives are met. The movement round is the real meat of this game. Each ship has a maneuver disc that lists all of the possible moves the ship can make on it. Players simultaneously use their discs to select a move for each of their ships. This is done blind so that no one knows what the other players are going to do. Moves include things like moving straight, 45o turns, 90o turns and even a bootlegger style turn. What's brilliant is that each ships list of maneuvers is different., for example: X-wings are slower and less maneuverable than the TIEs. Some moves are considered hard, and stress out the pilots meaning they can't make any actions until they do an easy move and remove this stress.

Actions are a big part of the full rules. After each maneuver made with a ship the controller of the ship gets to do one action. These are based on what ship you have. X-wings have the ability to Focus or add Target Lock. TIEs can dodge, focus or do barrel rolls. This ads another level of variety between the ships. The combination of effective maneuvering, predicting your opponents moves and appropriate use of actions forms the core of the strategy in this game..

X-Wing forces set up for a 100pt game.
All of this moving about and using actions is done to set yourself up for blowing your target out of the sky. This is done by first checking firing arc and range with the included range ruler. There are three range bands and so far all basic weapons fire into all three, while some secondary weapons only shoot in a limited number of bands. Shooting people in band one gives you a bonus on attack while shooting people in band three gives them a bonus for defense. Actual attack and defense resolution is handled with unique eight sided dice. Red for attack and green for defense. The number of dice rolled is determined by range and by the stats for each ship. Evasion rolls on the defense dice cancel out hits on the attack dice. Various cards and actions can modify these rolls. Damage is tracked by damage cards with critical hits causing one of these cards to be flipped over and giving some additional effect. Shields reduce damage for ships that have them. When a ship has taken more damage than it's hull rating it is destroyed and removed from the game. For a regular game the winner is the player with the last ship standing. The core game also includes three different missions the players can try with different victory conditions.

X-Wing really hits it's sweet spot when you've picked up a few expansion ships and start to build your own forces. The standard game has players spending 100pts each to build their force. Points are spent first buying ships and pilots. The core game comes with a selection of named Star Wars pilots as well as some generic pilots and each expansion adds to this giving you about six new ship/pilot combos. In addition to buying pilots you also have the option to buy upgrades on a ship by ship basis. The upgrades you can choose are limited by the ships you have, for instance all X-wings allow for an Astromech Droid  to be added if the player wishes. Each upgrade breaks the rules in some way giving that ship more or better options during battle. Even with just the ships currently out there are a ton of possible combinations available with more being added with each expansion.

The big mess at the center of the table.
I've got to say that this one not only met my expectations but far exceeded them. I can't remember the last time a single game held my interest for an 8 hour stretch. The game is very quick to learn but not at all easy to master. The way the rulebook is presented slowly adding more variety and new rules was a prefect way to slowly learn the game without becoming overwhelmed. By the end of our first 100pt battle we hardly had to reference the rules at all, and by the end of the day I didn't even need to pick up the rule-book. Added to the fact the game is very solid is the fact that the miniatures look amazing. I'm not a huge fan of pre-painted miniatures, but these are more than your regular pre-paints. Heck I think most of the ships I have are painted better than I could do.

Overall: X-wing is a very solid tactical miniature game. It has amazingly painted and detailed pieces that are tied to a rule set that is just as elegant. The hidden movement system is completely brilliant and really helps to recreate a dog-fight feel that is perfect for Star Wars. Different movement dials for each ship combined with different actions, a variety of pilots and a selection of upgrade options means that each ship feels very distinct, each with it's own strengths and weaknesses. This variety combined with solid tactical gameplay means I should be coming back to X-Wing again and again.