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Up Front or – the never ending story?

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on May 5, 2015

144825The wargame community is again in high hopes for a new Up Front because the news is out that Wargame Vault has permission to do at least a strict reprint of the original game. So it seems that rights-holder Hasbro (owner of Wizards of the Coast and Avalon Hill) is aware now (after the Valley Games Kickstarter desaster) that the demand for this classic wargame is there and has allowed Wargame Vault to digitally re-master the second edition of Up Front and to offer it through their card printing program.

Folks already discuss the news in forum postings and wonder whether this is a hot deal or not so have in mind that in fact what you get here is a pure reprint of the game, so no new rules, no errata worked in and still the original graphics on the cards. It’s a kind of print on demand model and for about 50 bucks you get the game you want to play and that’s fine – given that Up Front in very good condition (or even mint/new etc.) can easily cost you 100 USD or more you might even call this a hot deal indeed.

Still, even with this strict reprint of the game and the proclamation that Wargame Vault has the permission of the rightsholder Hasbro to offer this there seems to be some legal issues regarding these rights –

Rodger MacGowan who was the artist of the original design is suprised to see this offer on the Wargame Vault website since Hasbro has never contacted him regarding the use of any of his Avalon Hill artwork or logo graphic designs which simply means they don’t own the rights to use it…

I don’t think it’s impossible to sort this out and they don’t offer the gamebox for exact the reason that they don’t own the rights of that artwork but since they use it on their website to offer the game it doesn’t seem to be good business manners and they use his logo design on the backs of the cards which clearly is violating his rights…so all is not cut and dried yet.

It’s a shame that  Up Front, this alltime classic and innovative game design is so often in the news lately…but always with a bad taste. It deserves to see the light in a modern new style so new gamers can see for themselves why the old grogs adore this gem of a game so much but it can be doubted that this will happen anytime soon.

Until then this reprint is the only option you have if you don’t want to hunt down the game on ebay etc. and here’s what you get for your money:

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Tiger Leader – new solitaire & coop WWII board game!

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on October 31, 2014

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DVG has launched a new Kickstarter campaign to fund a new game in the well known and popular Leader series. The game was eagerly awaited by fans of the series and funded in the first 24 hours! So the Tiger engine is already running full speed, but there is still time left for you to back it up to get even more convenient map tiles and other improvements that will be announced as new stretch goals for this campaign soon. By backing the game you may opt for the base game or for the game including 136 miniatures to add to your gaming experience!

Tiger Leader being the latest game in the Leader series is therefore based on an extremely polished and great working game system fans know from Hornet Leader, Phantom Leader, Thunderbolt-Apache Leader and U-Boat Leader. Check out the links to our reviews to see what we mean, these games are great for experienced wargamers and new players alike.

Campaigns take about 30 minutes to set-up, and each battle can be resolved in 15 to 30 minutes, game play time total is usually depending on your own style, which is one of the advantages of true solitaire games –  you can play whenever you have time, at your pace. But what makes the Leader games so special and what we always stress as one of the aspects that make them so outstanding is the fact you can bring a friend to the table and play cooperatively! Sit down, divide up your forces and plan with your fellow commander how to get the job of the mission done 🙂

Tiger Leader includes dozens of German vehicles and infantry types and includes 5 Allied Nations that you battle against: Poland, France, United Kingdom, Russia, and USA. The battlefield units for each nation have unique stats that reflect that nation’s combat capabilities. The game is played on a map that allows for always changing terrain and combat situations keeping the experience fresh and the replay value high.

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Components announced so far:

240 Full Color Cards

2 Full Color Counter Sheets

3 Full Color Sheets of MOUNTED Terrain Hexes 

22” x 17” Full Color MOUNTED Tactical Sheet

11″ x 17″ Full Color Head Quarters Sheet

1 10-sided die

To back up the game, get more detailed information and to see a funny video explaining the game to you go to the official Kickstarter site –> HERE

As always with DVG games, you can expect high quality stuff inside the box reminding us of the famous quote by Heinz Guderian….

Nicht Kleckern, sondern Klotzen!

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Review: Cards of Cthulhu (DVG)

Posted by Denny Koch on August 12, 2014

CardsofCthulhu_boxGame: The Cards of Cthulhu

Publisher: DVG
Published in: 2014
Designer: Ian Richards
Era and Topic: Contemporary / Hypothetical / Cthulhu Myth
Components: 8 Investigator cards, 8 Follower cards, 10 Item cards, 8 Cult Gate cards, 4 Minor Horror Cult cards, 4 Major Horror Cult cards, 4 Unspeakable Horror Cult cards, 60 Minion Cult cards, 7 Custom Cthulhu Dice, 4 8.5″ x 11″ Cult (player) boards, 10 Metal Custom Cthulhu Coins, 1 player help sheet
Game Type: cooperative card game (1-4 players)

HFC Game-O-Meter: Ebullet1


Our Rating (1-10):

Graphic Presentation: 8
Rules: 8
Playability:
7
Replay Value:
6.5

Overall Rating: 7

PRO Cthulhu! Can be played as a solitaire game or cooperatively. Great artwork. Very simple and fast game for the Cthulhu quick bite. Fast game play, almost no setup time.
CONTRA Very high random element: game can be unbeatable or a stroll in the park. Very simple mechanics without surprising elements (like special events). Not all required information are printed on the cards, which unnecessarily forces the players to refer to the rule book during a game. All cults have the same cultist types, which appears somewhat generic.

Introduction

 Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fthagn!

As we already mentioned in our Hornet Leader – The Cthulhu Conflict review, we are Cultists. We are avid fans of Cthulhu and the other Great Old Ones, so we love playing games about the Cthulhu myth. It’s always interesting to see how a game approaches the topic and how it deals with the signature features of this universe: Great Old Ones, gates, minions, cultists, investigators. There is a vast plethora of Cthulhu games on the market, monster games like Arkham Horror, quick and fast games like Elder Sign, or the Call of Cthulhu LGC.

So – when we played the new “Cards of Cthulhu” game in our HFC Test Lab, the most interesting question about “Cards of Cthulhu” was: is the game bringing any new angle or unique feature to the topic?

Why do we need another Cthulhu game and what sets the game apart from the other games?

Cards of Cthulhu is a quick, very simple game. It can be played as a Solitaire game as well as with 2-4 players who play the game cooperatively vs. the paper AI. Both options work without any adjustments to the rules. Each player assumes the role of an Investigator. The goal of the game is to fight 4 cults whose cultists try to awake a Great Old One by opening gates and raising minor, major and unspeakable Horrors. The time limit is set by the card deck; if the cultists don’t manage to overrun the world before the deck runs out, the players win.

The game was designed by first-time designer Ian Richardson and published by Dan Verssen Games (DVG). It was a Kickstarter game where all stretch goals had been reached by the backers, so the game offers some nice bonus features like mounted boards and metal coins.

Game components and graphic presentation

Box contents plus Bonus pack

Box contents plus Bonus pack

The game is shipped in a sturdy, solid box with cool Cthulhu artwork on the cover.

The box contains 10 Investigator cards, among which players choose their character. The other cards are shuffled into one large deck, containing all types of playing cards like Cultists, gates, Minions, items, Followers. The cards are of a good printing quality, but appear to be somewhat thin. Since we sleeve all our card games, this wasn’t a problem at all.

Generally, the illustrations on the cards are quite thematic and true to the topic. What we didn’t understand, though, was the simple fact why the Investigators and the Followers have the same illustrations. We know that each character is meant to be a “generic archetype” and not “Susan Miller, the journalist”, so that’s the explanation why each character can appear as an Investigator as well as a Follower. So you can “be” the Priest and at the same time recruit the Follower “Priest”. But to us, it would have been more atmospheric if each Investigator was a unique character with a unique picture. Playing a character and then getting the exact copy with the same illustration as a Follower simply felt awkward.

In addition, there are 4 mounted cult boards, representing one cult each (the Cults of Cthulhu, Arwassa, Chaugnar Faugn, and Yog-Sothoth, respectively). During our first game, the boards warped heavily and tended to turn around on the table when we touched them, but the warping was entirely gone when we unpacked the game for the second time. Since then, the boards remained plain and didn’t warp at all anymore.

There is also a Help Sheet which offers quick rules reference for the players. We always appreciate help sheets, regardless of how simple a game is (and Cards of Cthulhu is certainly one of the easiest Cthulhu games out there) – it serves as a rules reminder and is especially helpful when you didn’t play a game for a while and want to return it to the table without re-reading the entire rule book.

The game contains three types of special dice, Health dice, Body dice, and Spirit dice. These dice are used for combat resolution. The black dice are nicely done, but one of our players had slight problems in distinguishing some of the numbers, which are printed next to a colored tentacle-shaped object. Other players didn’t have any issues at all, so this doesn’t appear to be a general problem.

The currency within the game is “Experience” which is represented by golden metal coins. These were added as a Kickstarter stretching goal and we thought them to be really cool. Pure cosmetics, but much more evocative than counters.

3 types of special dice are used to resolve combat

3 types of special dice are used to resolve combat

Besides the full-color rule book, the game also contains an artwork book, which illustrates the origination process of many illustrations with comments and explanations by Cloud Quinot, the artist (who also did the artworks for Hornet Leader – The Cthulhu Conflict).

The overall production quality is, as usual with games published by DVG, very good. Especially the artworks are very atmospheric and true to the topic with painting-like illustrations. As in Cthulhu Conflict, the artist did a great job to convey a very special, very dark Lovecraftian atmosphere.

There is also a “Cards of Cthulhu Bonus pack” available which includes 7 more Cthulhu dice and 10 more coins. This is helpful if you play the game with more players, so players won’t have to share the dice – and you can never have enough coins. But the Bonus pack doesn’t include any additional cards, or rules, it isn’t a game expansion! So whether additional dice and coins are important enough for you to buy this expansion, is a matter of personal preference (you could also share your dice among all players and use coins of your local currency).

Rules

The 24-pages-full color rule book is very comprehensible with lots of illustrations, examples, and short, clear instructions. Only the first 15 pages are rules, though. After the rules section, you will find a sample game, and several Cthulhu short stories by renowned professional authors (you can download the rulebook here on the official DVG website)Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Fantasy Games A-Z, Games A-Z, Misc. Fantasy games, Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Review: Battle for Stalingrad – The Epic East Front Battle Game (DVG)

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on July 2, 2014

Stalingrad_box_mockup200Game: Battle for Stalingrad – The Epic East Front Battle GameReview

Publisher: Dan Verssen Games (DVG)
Published in: 2014
Designer: Dan Verssen

Era & Topic: WW2/ Urban Warfare in Stalingrad
Game Type:  Card Game
Contents: 168 Full Color Cards, 1 Full Color Counter Sheet, 1 Full Color Rulebook 

Number of Players: 2

HFC Game-O-Meter: E

 


Our Rating (1-10):

Graphic Presentation: 9
Rules: 9
Playability: 8
Replay Value: 9

Overall Rating: 9

PRO Quick set-up, well written rules, many options despite using simple mechanics, fitting to the historical theme, both sides play differently, enthralling and tactical game play…
CONTRA  …that might be slowed down because some cards are not as clear in their meaning as they should be; Uranus cards can be crippling for the German player if no counter cards are in hand; a tracking sheet for combat would have been nice

Introduction

Many (if not most) wargamers who are interested in the World War II topic are particularly drawn to the fightings of the Eastern Front. The fierceness of the battles fought on that front, the gigantic scale of this Clash of Titans, the different style of the tactics used by the Soviets and the Germans, all this seems to create the background for a scenario that is ideally suited for wargames.

Fighting for Stalingrad on the gaming table!

Fighting for Stalingrad on the gaming table!

Today the name Stalingrad is directly connected to the senseless brutality of war and is the epitome of the war of slaughter fought on the Eastern front. When the Wehrmacht started the largest invasion in the history of warfare, Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, with more than 4 million soldiers, 600,000 motor vehicles and 750,000 horses along a front almost 3000 km long, the city of Stalingrad was rather unimportant – as General Field-marshal Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist said:

The capture of Stalingrad was subsidiary to the main aim. It was only of importance as a convenient place, in the bottleneck between Don and the Volga, where we could block an attack on our flank by Russian forces coming from the east. At the start, Stalingrad was no more than a name on the map to us [Clark, Lloyd, Kursk: The Greatest Battle: Eastern Front 1943, 2011, page 157]

In the course of the later events of the war, it became a battle of prestige however – for both Hitler and Stalin – and this caused it to turn into one of the bloodiest battles of WW2. For over 5 months, the city saw extreme close quarter battles, soldiers fighting for single rooms in buildings like grain elevators, apartment blocks, factories, warehouses etc. or for other ‘strategic points’ like streets, staircases and sewers and both sides had high casualties to suffer. The nerve-wrecking close combat and man-to-man killing (which was called Rattenkrieg (rat war) by the German soldiers) was accompanied by the terror of artillery and air attacks that laid the city into ashes. The harsh winter weather, a lack of supply and ammunition because of a complete encirclement of the German forces in the city in the later stages of the battle, and the ability of the Soviet forces to bring in reinforcements eventually ended the Battle of Stalingrad and resulted in an total of about 2 million Axis and Soviet casualties.

Because of the fact that wargamers usually have the historical situation in mind and know a great deal of their era of particular interest, there is always the point of “how close and how accurate can a wargame be” in regard to the historical battle and how good it works as a game. The new DVG game we are reviewing here was announced with the promising words:

The Battle For Stalingrad puts you in the rubble-strewn streets as the German forces fight through one block of the city after another. The only hope for both sides is to secure the city before they run out of blood and food.

As the game unfolds, you’ll see one section of the city after another ground into rubble by your ceaseless fighting. As the city deteriorates, the amount of supplies generated for your men decreases. Supplies are the lifeblood of your army. Without them, you cannot move or attack, and you’ll suffer higher casualties in combat.

In the end, you’ll be scrambling through the ruins, as much in search of food as the enemy.

Let’s see if the PR announcement actually matches the game experience and what you can expect on your table 🙂

Presentation

Battle of Stalingrad (BoS) is a card game that comes in a very sturdy box that has a glossy finish, giving the feel of quality even before you open it. The first thing you see is the striking cover art done by Christian Quinot (who also did the great artworks for DVG’s Cards of Cthulhu game), evoking a feeling of desperation and chaos that seems rather fitting to the topic of the game.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Games A-Z, Historical Games A-Z, Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

WARFIGHTER Kickstarter project now live!

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on October 29, 2013

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Warfighter – The Tactical Special Forces Card Game

We love cooperative games and wargames on the topic of Modern Warfare,  so we started to listen attentively when DVG announced a new game that would combine both aspects! It will be published if the Kickstarter project that was going online today is raising enough funds and the HFC wants to encourage you to support this game. There are not that many cooperative wargames around or wargames on the topic of modern warfare and since we know the quality of the game designs by Dan Verssen especially when it comes to games you can play coop with a friend we are sure this one will not disappoint. You get to equip your soldiers, deploy for a mission, fight your way through a hostile city, and take out your objective. If you like fast-paced card games, co-op play, modern tactical military combat, and want a chance to use M16s, M4s, LAW Rockets, Grenades, call in mortar strikes, and perform sniper kills, this is the game you should support with your bucks!

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Command the world’s best Special Forces operators and complete vital assault missions around the world!

Warfighter is a card game for 1 to 6 players.

You play cooperatively with your friends against the system to complete present day squad-level combat missions.

At the start of each mission, you each select a soldier, equip him/her with skills, weapons, and combat gear within the mission’s Resource limit.

You then fight your way through hostile territory, engaging hostiles, as you attempt to reach and complete your mission objective.

Every mission is a stand-alone game. You build your Soldiers, select your Gear, and then run your mission. Within 30 to 60 minutes you will have succeeded or failed.

Warfighter uses a new combat system that takes into account the fire mode you select for your weapon, range, running out of ammo, suppression, and cover – all in the same dice roll! This system creates an incredibly deep narrative with every attack.

As you eliminate hostiles, you gain experience to Upgun your Action cards.

Very easy to learn!

Plays in 30 to 60 minutes!

1 to 6 players!

No special rules needed for solitaire play!

Awesome new combat system!

Access to modern tactics, weapons, and equipment!

59e7deb0f4dc6e8a5bec8af45e037ebe_largeWhat’s in the game box?

168 Full Color Playing Cards 

– Soldier Cards

– Mission Cards

– Objective Cards

– Action Cards

– Location Cards

– Weapon Cards

– Equipment Cards

– Hostile Cards

 1 Full Sheet of Full Color Counters

– Ammo Counters for different Weapons

– Bandage Counters

– Wound Counters

– Kill Counters

– Grenade and Rocket Counters

– Suppression Counters

– Experience Counters

3x 10-sided Dice

1x 6-sided die

1x Rulebooklet

                                                                                                                           

 

To check out additional information about the expansions that are planned for this new game system, about possibilities to get your personal soldier card in the game, to watch the promotional video and to make this game a reality go to the Warfighter Kickstarter website.

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The Cards of Cthulhu – support a new DVG title!

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on August 6, 2013

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I must warn you about a threat to our world.

Long before mankind roamed this earth, there lived great and terrible beings. Even a single of these ancient beasts held the power to enslave or even destroy the world. When they entered a state of hibernation, humanity was allowed to prosper.

Even now however, their power infects mankind.

Weak-minded men have fallen under their control and formed Cults dedicated to each Elder God’s revival.

You must prevent them from succeeding or the world will be lost.

– Walter P Matherson

Dan Verssen Games, the company known for their high quality wargames and especially great Solitaire and Coop games has a new cool game title in the pipeline – The Cards of Cthulhu by Ian Richard

A game that pits you against the forces of The Great Cthulhu and other Elder Gods. You will battle Cultists, slay Minions, banish Horrors, seal the Gates, and protect our world from the enveloping insanity that threatens to consume us all! Easy to get into and playable in 30 to 45 minutes for solo games, or 60 to 90 minutes for multiplayer games.

What you get in the box:

Cards – Each card is a work of art, literally. Cloud Quinot created these masterful pieces of horror art and we are very pleased to have been able to work with him. The cards will be printed on extra thick card stock to stand up to the wear of tear of many battles.

8 – Investigator cards549519_10151798269703545_750616184_n
8 – Follower cards
10 – Item cards
8 – Cult Gate cards
4 – Minor Horror cards
4 – Major Horror cards
4 – Unspeakable Horror cards
60 – Minion cards

7 CUSTOM CTHULHU DICE – These are your Health, Body, or Spirit dice. You’ll roll these to resolve your attacks on the foes plotting your destruction.

4 CULT BOARDS – More amazing artwork! Each of these 8.5″ x 11″ sheets features a piece of Cloud Quinot artwork of an Elder God. These sheets are vital in organizing the cards for each Cult.

3 METAL CUSTOM CTHULHU COINS! – Use these to track the Experience Investigator earn from battling Cthulhu’s Otherworldly Foes!

1 RULEBOOK

As you can see  the art is stunning and you can read the complete rulebook before deciding to back this project. If you find something unclear in the rules, send your questions to DVG and the designer will see to make points clearer – so this is a game where you know you get the rules you expect before you open the box instead of having errata and clarifications published later! The game is ready to go to the printers as soon as funding is complete, so here’s your chance to get a nice backer bonus like your name on a card or just to get the game first (since backer copies are sent out first).

We wish DVG  all the best in their new project and hope to see this game on everybody’s gaming table soon 🙂

If you want to play this game go to the Cards of Cthulhu Kickstarter website now!

Update:   Due to the great support of the backers the game now includes custom coins, mounted boards, and custom dice!

Go here and watch the Set Up video!

 

 

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Battle for Stalingrad – new DVG game announced

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on March 18, 2013

Dan Verssen Games (DVG) is known for regularly publishing a lot of quality (war)games and so it’s no surprise to see this announcement for a new game. It’s a card based wargame about the Battle of Stalingrad and seems to deal with sector control and getting supply/rations by doing so to keep the fight going. Nothing is mentioned yet about the actual scale but tactical or squad level is probably to be expected in this portrayal of the brutal house to house and street fighting this famous battle of WWII is known for.

If you like what the official announcement below is telling you, head over to the Kickstarter website to support this project and hopefully we’ll see another winner on our gaming table soon.

More info about the game, with pictures of the cards can be found here and you can also take a look at the rules draft already.

 

One of the most brutal events of the Second World War, the Battle of Stalingrad has long been regarded as a turning point in the fight against Hitler’s forces. The Fuhrer had ordered that Stalingrad be taken in a bid to crush the morale of the Soviet Union by giving the Germans a springboard to potentially seize control of the East. Supported by Luftwaffe bombing, the city was quickly reduced to rubble and hundreds of thousands were killed in the later months of 1942. Yet, despite staring into the face of defeat, the Red Army dug in and pushed back, eventually cracking the Nazi forces amidst the one of the bleakest winters on record. 

Now you can experience it for yourself in Battle for Stalingrad from DVG. Two players face off against each other, one taking control of the German Army, the other commanding the Russian forces, in a bid to either maintain or rewrite this momentous period of history. Using an intuitive card-driven game system that is quick to pick up yet offers an incredible depth of play, Battle for Stalingrad sees you and your opponent fight block by block through the rubble-strewn streets, struggling to keep your troops going as morale and supplies grow ever more scarce… As the battle draws to a close, you’ll be running low on everything – especially willing soldiers – leaving you to consider whether victory is worth such a high price…

The goal of the game is simple: gain control of five locations within the city of Stalingrad. At the start of each game these locations are randomly selected from a set of nine, adding variety every time you play. Locations contain a Control area and a Perimeter area for each player; if you have forces in your Control area when the enemy does not, the location is yours.

Commanders must balance their plays carefully by gaining control of locations while preserving their forces, managing their cards and spending ration counters – possibly one of the most vital aspects of the game. Rations are gained by controlling locations. They are necessary if you wish to move and attack, and are also used by forces to absorb battle damage. Players must decide when to spend cards, when to discard rations, and when to let a force get destroyed. There are always casualties in war.

The game is built around combat, with every action card having a Firefight value in the top-right corner ranging from -3 to +3. Cards can be played from your hand to build up your attack or decrease the enemy’s strength, and players draw Firefight cards back and forth. Once both players pass in succession, they each flip one last card from their decks as a randomizer, finally allocating damage to each other’s forces.

Throughout the game, the Russian player is also trying to get three Operation Uranus cards into play; if all three are still in play at the end of the German player’s turn, victory immediately goes to the Red Army.

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Review: Rise of the Zombies – The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Game (DVG)

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on March 8, 2013

Game: Rise of the Zombies – The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Game Review

Publisher: Dan Verssen Games (DVG)
Published in: 2013
Designer: Dan Verssen

Topic: Surviving in a  Zombie Apocalypse
Game Type: Cooperative-Competitive Card Game
Contents: 168 Game Cards, two 6-sided dice, 8 Plastic Stands for Survivor Characters, 1 Sheet of Counters, 1 Digital Timer, 1 Rulebook

Number of Players: 1-8OFFTOPIC_rund

HFC Game-O-Meter: E 


Our Rating (1-10):

Graphic Presentation: 8
Rules: 8
Playability: 9
Replay Value: 9

Overall Rating: 8.5

PRO Easy game mechanics, fast to learn, good written rules, lots of decisions, very thematic, good simulation, high replay value because it is difficult to win, cooperative, quality components (cards, rule book, box)…
CONTRA …but some of the components are less convincing (counters hard to read because of the chosen font which sometimes looks too cramped; plastic stands are ugly and don’t hold the counters in place too well; the timer looks a bit cheap and battery sometimes detaches from the electrical contacts so it stops working), no player aid, for some players the extremely unforgiving nature of the game may lead to frustration.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Introduction

RotZ_table

Zombies on the table!

There are so many Zombie games available on the market that it didn’t really awake my interest when Dan Verssen Games announced Rise of the Zombies, their new game funded by Kickstarter. We own several Zombie themed games and all of them are fun to play once in a while, but there was no reason to believe that a new game would actually bring some new game experiences to the table, so this game was not really on our radar. Then a review copy of the game arrived out of the blue and we did what we always do when a publisher sends us a new game – we quit playing the games we were currently playing for fun, took Rise of the Zombies into the HFC Test Lab and started our test sessions. 

So, what is the game about? It’s the usual setting you would expect from a Zombie game: the players are survivors in a world which was overrun by Zombies, no one knows what and why it happened, the world is just a looting ground and life is reduced to a constant run from a safe house to a new shelter, while trying to survive the walking dead. Actually, the rule book draws you into the story right away by letting you read a letter written by a certain “Gordon”:

The Howler is very dangerous because she attracts more zombies

The Howler is very dangerous because she attracts more zombies

“If you can read these words, there is still hope. On these sketch cards you will find my recounting of The Last Days of our World. Did it start in the water? The food? As a bio weapon? I never found out. 

I was touring Washington D.C. when the President declared a National Emergency and the Army barricaded the streets. Trapped in my hotel room, I watched Apache helicopters firing wave after wave of rockets into the shambling masses surging up Pennsylvania Avenue. I sketched what I witnessed on the cards you are holding now. For two days, the helicopters came, and my towering hotel shuddered from the ever approaching blasts. The third day was the worst. I awoke from a troubled sleep to silence.

Just before dusk of the fourth day, flames engulfed the White House. It burned throughout the night. At dawn, our flag over the White House had fallen. I raided the hotel’s kitchen for food and supplies and began my trek out of the city. For six days, I slept in sewers, slunk down alleys, and peered out of garbage dumpsters, sketching deep into the night to preserve my sanity. Seeing was never a problem. Something was always on fire. They were everywhere. Swarming. Searching with mindless eyes and rending flesh with outstretched hands. They never slept. They never stopped feeding. They mindlessly stalked the living. That’s all they did. 

I met other survivors along the way, but they each fell to the mindless hoards through carelessness or misplaced courage. On the seventh day, I found this house. I call it my Safe House. It was fortified with boarded windows and barbed-wire around the front yard. I met the guy who did the work. He was a construction worker before things went bad. There are more of them every day, and it is dangerous to sneak out for food. I don’t know how much longer I can stay here. I saw an Army helicopter circling the park on the other side of town yesterday. If I see another one, I’m making a run for it. I asked the construction worker if he wanted to come with me, but he said he’d stay here for a while and wait for the Army. I wish him well.

I’m leaving my sketches behind as a sign of hope. All is not lost. We will survive”

-Gordon

This letter explains the situation at the beginning of the game because the players start in the mentioned safe house, and since it’s not really safe there anymore, they will have to follow Gordon, who left the house to make a run for the rescue helicopter he saw.  This story introduction also gives the background for a very distinctive art style that is used in the presentation of the game: it’s a card game and all cards are sketches, pencil drawings that look interesting and fresh, and that’s what Gordon left behind to give other survivors some hope. It’s a nice touch, a great introduction for such a game and it did awake our interest and we wanted to know more…

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Sentinels of the Multiverse AAR no 1: “Machine Slaughterhouse On Mars”

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on February 19, 2013

An After-Action-Report of a 2-player game of “SENTINELS of the MULTIVERSE” by Greater Than Games LLC

Note, live from the HFC Test Lab: we only chose 1 character each because the rulebook mentions the “In a two-player-game, each player takes 2 characters”-rule as an “Advanced Rule”. We wanted to check out if the game could be won by 2 characters. This is an AAR of our third attempt to do so.

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The sentient beings of the Multiverse were shocked when they heard about the brutal defeat of first Haka and Ra, followed by the defeat of their comrades Tempest and Bunker, who were sent out when the first duo of super heroes had been defeated.

Their mission: to once and for all destroy what was known as one of the biggest threats in the Multiverse – a former robot factory built on Earth: Aldred Industries XK 9000-Alpha, which eventually had become a sentient and thinking being due to corrupted upgrades of its inhibitor core.

Omnitron, the "Self-Aware Robotics Factory"

Omnitron, the “Self-Aware Robotics Factory”

This self-aware robot factory is now known as Omnitron and even has begun to duplicate itself!

It had been discovered that the so-called “Core 1” sent out drones, which started to build a duplicate of the factory on the planet Mars – and sadly this was done in such a way that it completely went under the radar of the ever-watchful super heroes of the Multiverse. Instead of having the chance to interrupt what was going on during the early stages of the factory building process, our heroes were informed about it when it was already too late to do anything about it – and now, Omnitron is controlling a good part of the planet Mars and we do not know what the machine brain is going to do next!

Quickly, two of our heroes – Maori warrior Haka and Egypt sun god Ra – decided to deal with the new threat on their own and made their way to Mars in order to destroy the new Omnitron presence, but as we know, they were defeated…

The idea to launch a quick counter attack by sending Alien warrior Tempest from outer Space and The Indestructible Super Soldier Bunker to Wagner Mars Base turned out to be a bad one, as these warriors were also defeated in what seemed little more than a swift strike by the sentient machine.

Not willing to accept this defeat, Psychic time-traveler Visionary and angelic Templar Fanatic made their way to Mars as well…  and, at first, all appeared to go well when they arrived there…

The Fanatic, the angelic templar, is one of the "damage dealers" in SotM

The Fanatic, the angelic templar, is one of the “damage dealers” in SotM

Omnitron appeared to be in a sort of maintenance mode, when the heroes started their attack… the factory stayed rather inactive at first (at least compared to what was reported by the other heroes about their arrival before).

So, after the self-aware factory realized through its sensors that sentient beings were present again, it only used its disintegration ray cannons to fire on Fanatic and then sent out an assault drone to finish her – instead of spamming her with drones and components, as it had done with the other hero teams.

Finishing Fanatic off wasn’t so easy, though, since Fanatic was perfectly aware of the various ways Omnitron was usually dealing with enemies. So she was able to suck up these attacks, then she flew high into the air to make a powerful dive attack on the drone, destroying it with the first blow and – using the gap in Omnitron’s defenses – to actually attack the machine complex itself. That was something the other hero teams had been unable to do, because they had been welcomed by many drones and heavy initial attacks at their arrival, and had never been able to get close to the core.

After landing on solid, red ground again, Fanatic used her Exorcism power and was able to hit Omnitron again, this time with a hard melee attack, followed by radiant damage. Visionary, seeing Fanatic already bringing the fight to the enemy instead of waiting for other opportunities, tried to calm herself down and used the fact that Omnitron was in combat with Fanatic to prepare for a demoralizing psychic attack against the machine brain. The idea was to actually get into the self-conscious parts of the machine to disrupt it – just like Visionary would do with any sentient and conscious opponent. She couldn’t be sure, though, that this would work out as she hoped it would, since it was still unclear whether Omnitron was actually feeling and thinking or not… what appeared to be a sentient self-conscious machine complex could still just be a sort of simulation of consciousness, a corrupted program running in the many computers of the factory.

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Rise of the Zombies – Now available from DVG!

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on February 4, 2013

RotZ_Contents

“Rise of the Zombies – The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Game” – a new release from Dan Verssen Games (DVG) funded with Kickstarter is now available! It’s a coop game, playable solitaire or with up to 7 other players who try to survive the Zombie Apocalypse and reach the helicopter that brings them all to safety. It’s played in real time – that’s why the game comes with a timer – how cool is that? 🙂 – and the Zombies are controlled by the game system. Play together, stay together, or go and be a lone wolf trying to survive on your own…

Zombie Hunters can now add a cool dude to their game – go and look for Zombie Santa, perhaps he’s got some nice gifts for you 😉

The new card is free to download and can be downloaded here.

Since DVG sent us a review copy of the game (Thanks Dan!), which arrived yesterday, RotZ now enters the HFC test lab, so this first unboxing pic is only the beginning – stay tuned for the in-depth HFC review. Is this Zombie game fun like a Romero movie, or is it rotten as Zombie flesh? We’ll play the game and let you know 🙂

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