Monday, 24 February 2014

Boards & Bits @ Brimstone - March 22nd

The Windsor Gaming resource returns to Brimstone Games on Saturday March 22nd from 6pm until Midnight. A full 6 hours of gaming! Our longest event of the month.

Brimstone has a huge gaming area with tons of tables, chairs and great lighting. I'm told by the owner, Sean, that we could fit 60 of us in there.

This is an open, all ages, theme-less gaming event. Just a bunch of us getting together to play some games at a great venue. Along with having games for sale Brimstone also has a good selection of drinks and snack food. They are also really cool about people bringing food in and personally I'm a big fan of ordering Pizza from Armando's just down the street.

You can find Brimstone at 3298 Walker Rd. Parking is available on the south side of the building and on the street around back. Note Brimstone used to be located in McGreggor. This is no longer the case, they moved into Windsor last year. Some internet mapping sites seem to have not gotten this figured out yet.

At these events you can usually find people playing Magic The Gathering and since Brimstone is a Games Workshop specialty store so we've often seen a table or two of Warhammer going down. Add to this our usual mix of card board and dice games for one of the most varied events in the city. Bring your own favourite game or play one of ours.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Cards & Coffee at Hugin & Munin - March 8th

March 8th we return to long time FLGS Hugin & Munin for a night of cards and caffeine. The event will run from 5pm until 11pm. Through the entirety of the event all Tassimo coffee will be half off.

Due to the popularity of this event, Ian has added a fifth table to the store to hold games, so we have more table space to play. This also gives a great communal area for people to look at what games are available to play. As usual the store will have a bunch of games there you can play or you can bring your own favourite.

Yeah it's called Cards & Coffee and yes some people dig playing Dominion or Magic or Munchkin but you don't need to stick to card games. It's just an excuse to spend a Saturday night playing some games, any games. Our last event saw games like: Castellan, The Duke, Race for the Galaxy, Star Trek Catan and more.

Cards & Coffee is a free all ages event that is open to anyone and everyone. Though there is no cost it would be awesome if you supported the store and thanked them for hosting events like this by buying something. Even if it's just a cup of coffee.

The event runs from 5pm until 11pm. and people often come and go through the night. Hugin & Munin is located at 1664 Tecumseh RD. E. in Windsor Ontario. Parking in back or on side roads and free out front after 6pm.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Runewars: not quite a fantasy Twilight Imperium but I can see why people say that

Runewars is a game I've had my eye on for quite some time. My attention was first turned towards Runewars by +Paul Beakley, a member of +Ben Gerber's massive G+ boardgame community. At the time Paul was sharing posts of recent games he had played. There was talk about how this was pretty much a fantasy version of Twilight Imperium. That almost sold the game instantly for me.

Twilight Imperium is one of my favourite event games. What is an event game you ask? Well that's a game that is generally so big, so complex or so long (perhaps even all three) that it requires you to plan an event in order to play them. They aren't the kind of games you just pull out one night when you've got a couple hours to play. These take more commitment than your average game night. 

I've also found that these games aren't great for public play events. Over the last 10 or so years  of running gaming events in Windsor, I've found that the majority of players would much rather show up to an event and play a few different games with different groups of players rather than one long game with the same group. People would rather get in a round of Catan, two games of Tsuro and a game of Puerto Rico each with a different set of players rather than one game of Dominant Species. 

To me event games are games I generally play at home and make more of a big deal out of. We start earlier. We plan on ordering dinner. We expect to game for 5+ hours. Instead of your average game night, it's an event. Thus the term event game. Examples of event games I dig: Dominant Species, Twilight Imperium, Starcraft and now Runewars. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Oddball Aerounauts Giveaway

I was lucky enough to get to try out a preview demo copy of this rather brilliant game over the holidays. Besides really sweet looking artwork this game has a pretty cool twist: it's a card game you don't need a surface to play on. You play the game 'in hand' never needing to put a card down anywhere.

Check out the full review I posted back on January 22nd to see how maverick:muse managed to pull this off.

Even cooler, when I made the deal to get to try out the game I also talked Nigel Pyne, the game's designer,  into letting me host a giveaway right here on the Windsor Gaming Resource Blog. This is our first official giveaway and it's something I'm really excited about. Be sure to spread the word to your fellow gamers.

What you can win:

Dueling in the clouds is dangerous work. Besides having to worry about what your opponent is doing you also have to worry about potentially game changing events. Like a giant sky Kraken attack or a minefield. One of the events that will be included in the kickstarted version of the game is the "Bounty Hunter".

You can help design the Bounty Hunter. The winner of this giveaway will work with Lloyd Ash Pyne, the game's artist, to develop the card art, choose a name for the character that will appear on the card, receive the original artwork and be credited in the rule book as a co-designer of that card.

How cool is that?

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Games & Grub at the Green Bean (University of Windsor Location) - Feb 28th

Friday February 28th we've got a Games & Grub event being hosted by the Green Bean Cafe. This all ages event runs from 6pm until 11pm.

Due to the Windsor Star having an event at the Windsor Star Cafe, this event will be held at the original Green Bean Cafe right by the University of Windsor. The actual address is 2320 Wyandotte St W. (Lower Level). It's in the basement of the church with the great big "God Loves Students" sign, next to the Harvey's. 

The Green Bean Cafe has great food and offers bottomless coffee along with lots of other yummy things. Unlike downtown this location is not licensed. Parking can be found out front on Wyandotte and you don't have to pay the meters after 6. Do not park on the side streets unless you have a U of W parking permit. 

We play a wide variety of games at these events. You will find card, dice and board games. We've even seen some miniature gamers bring their armies out. There's no theme to the event. You are welcome to bring your favourite game or just enjoy ones that others have brought. There's always lots of variety and people are usually very happy to teach you their favourite games.

Our last event saw plays of Space Cadets Dice Duel, Spyrium, Ticket To Ride, 7 Wonders, Entdecker, Smash Up, Pandemic and lots more.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Moldy Frank 'n Beans Slathered in Cole Slaw... What The Food?!

Back in December I received a copy of a rather fun looking light, large group party game called What The Food?! I first broke this out during a Gaming in the New Year party and have brought it to a couple of Windsor Gaming Resource events since then and tried What The Food?! out with a mix of gamers with various preferred gaming styles. This had very mixed results.

What The Food?! is published by Squirmy Beast and as far as I can tell is their only released game thus far. It was originally launched through Kickstarter way back in June 2013 and shipped to backers in December.

In addition to the base game there's also the What The Food?! Special Edition expansion pack. Squirmy Beast was cool enough to include a copy of this with my review copy but normally you would need to purchase this separately.

What The Food!? Gameplay Summary

What The Food?! is a casual, non-collectible card game. It's a 'gotcha' game where players are trying to humiliate the other players during a lunch room food fight. The game it reminded me the most of was Poo and the card combo system reminded me a bit of Epic Spell Wars. The one thing that I found really interesting about this one is that there's no player elimination, which is rare for this style of game.

Last night at our Games & Grub event I was talking to a fellow local gamer about box size. One of the things we both agreed we would like to see more of is smaller more compact boxes for more games. They are much easier to transport and store. This game fits that criteria really well. The box is just about as small as you can make it and still fit everything in it. That includes all of the cards, humiliation tokens, the rules and a really cool little rubber hamburger you use to show who's turn it is. There's even just enough room for the expansion to fit in the box.

The rules are short, clear and filled with lots of examples. The second half of them includes a very useful card summary explaining many of the more ambiguous cards and abilities. The cards are nice and thick and seem like they will have no problem lasting plenty of plays. I was also surprised by the thickness of the red humiliation tokens. They are about twice as thick as the usual small red chips you get in games like LCR.

The theme here is a high school lunch room food fight. This fight is between three to eight players (love games that can play up to 8, they are great for our public play events). Each player gets (or picks) a character. There are a ton of these in the base game and even more in the expansion. Each character has a special action card that goes with them and players take these along with a set of three standard actions: Duck, Grab and Throw. Each player is dealt a small starting hand and one condiment card. The player who gets the Relish card becomes the start player and gets the little rubber burger to mark this privilege. 

The actual game is played to 10 humiliation points. When one player has 10 or more humiliation tokens in front of them at the end of a round the Principal comes in and breaks up the fight. At that point whoever has the least humiliation tokens wins. This is how What The Food!? manages to avoid player elimination. 

Each game round starts with players choosing their target for the round. This happens starting with the first player (the person with the burger) and is done by pointing your condiment card, which has a nice arrow on it, at your target of choice. 

Once targets are chosen players then pick out three actions to take and the order they want to take them in. Each player starts with three basic actions (Grab, Duck and Throw) and one special action based on their character. More actions can be gained during play. 

The basic actions are common to all player. Grab lets players take new cards from "the cafeteria floor" which is represented by five face up cards laid out next to the main deck. This is the main method of getting new cards in your hand. Duck is the main defense card. When ducking no one can target you with food. Throw is the main way to throw food at other players and cause humiliation. The special actions are extremely varied and include things like Spin which deflects food back at your attacker, or Eat which lets you discard a food and a topping card to remove 2 humiliation. In addition to the basic cards everyone starts with and the unique character based abilities there are a bunch of new actions in the main deck of cards which can be gained by any player. I personally thought that the Goose card which does extra humiliation if played after two duck cards was rather amusing.

The main strategy of What The Food!? comes from choosing your three action cards. You only get three actions a round and all players decide on their actions simultaneously. They get put face down in front of you as a stack and are revealed one at a time. What this means is that you have to try to figure out which round you should be ducking, when it's safe to grab more cards, or whether you are better off using a special card or not. The targeting set up in the previous round has a big impact on this as well. No one targeting you? Well I guess you don't have to worry about ducking this round do you?

So about all this humiliation. There are quite a few actions that cause small amounts of humiliation to the other players but the main way you pile those red chips on another player is by throwing food at them. This is done by playing an appropriate action on your turn (the basic version being Throw) and targeting someone who hasn't done something to prevent themselves from being hit (like choosing the Duck basic action). Assuming you can hit your target you build your attack with the cards you have in hand. 

A basic attack is one food card or one topping card. These each cause 1 point of humiliation. You can combo a food and a topping for 2. You can also just toss two toppings for 2. There are also condition cards. These can be added to a food or a topping and add 2 humiliation for a total of 3. Lastly there's the big combo, a food, a topping and a condition or two toppings and a condition. These are so impressive that the whole table should yell out "What the Food!" Besides doing 4 points of humiliation the combo is so cool that the thrower looses two humiliation. 

That's pretty much the basics of the game. The only other thing that really needs to be mentioned is event cards. These come up when you are replenishing the cafeteria floor after someone has picked up some cards. When an event comes up it resolves immediately and is then replaced. The events include a wide range of things like the janitor cleaning things up which distributes all of the cards on the cafeteria floor to the players evenly or the sprinkler system going off and everyone getting humiliated.

I was very pleased to see some advanced rules in the back of the rule book that add a bit more to the basic game. Besides just options to make the game last a little longer (by playing to more than 10 humiliation) there are what's called Super Conditions. Each condition card has a unique rule printed on the bottom which takes affect whenever someone is hit with that card. There's the option of adding the unplayed character's special abilities to the deck and a neat variant that lets players hold on to event cards and play them when they want. 

Mixed Results:

I brought What the Food!? out at a couple different events. Both at home and at public play events and had very mixed results. I don't think I've broken out any other game that had such mixed reviews.

The main thing you need to realize about this game is that's it's a silly party game meant for some cheap laughs. Yes there is some strategy there with picking your actions, something I appreciate, but it's not very deep strategy and it's not very balanced. Some actions are just better than others and in one play one of the characters got a combo of actions that meant they could never be hit by food. This didn't go over well with the 'gamers' in the group. While we all laughed at the first few card combos the joke didn't last. The one thing that really stuck was how little variety there actually is in the cards. Every food card does the same as every other food card. Only the name and art changes. The same with the toppings.

Now that said, at another sitting it was non-stop laughs. Players were threatening each other during the targeting phase. Alliances were made and broken. What The Food!? was yelled so loud that the entire place had to stop and look at what we were doing. We had a blast that game. No one really cared who was winning or cared about the balance of the cards.

I also had a couple of plays of What The Food!? that fell in the middle of both of these experiences. They were fun filler games. Not the best games, but a few laughs were had and it filled the gap while waiting to play heavier games. 

So overall I've got to say this one is not for everyone. Most gamers are probably going to prefer a gatcha game with more strategy and tactics than this one. There's something here to be enjoyed for more casual gamers. I also think this would be a great game for kids. Mine aren't old enough to read yet or else I think they would adore this game.