The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is essentially a direct sequel to A Link to the Past, set in the same world and with many callbacks to one of the finest games ever made. Many of the mechanics, such as the constant switching between Hyrule and another world — in this case the kingdom of Lorule (a bit of wordplay also made by The Wonderful 101, oddly) — make a return in some form or another, but Link Between Worlds adds some modern twists to the classic Zelda gameplay. READ MORE
A couple of years ago I discussed a pair of Discworld-themed games that attempted to adapt Terry Pratchett’s hilarious fantasy satire universe to cardboard and wood. Of the two, I definitely felt that Martin Wallace’s Ankh-Morpork was the superior design, so I was thrilled to learn that he would be designing more games using the characters and world that I love so dearly. The second such offering, The Witches, has finally arrived. How does it stand up to its predecessor? READ MORE
It’s not often that I am embarrassed to play a game in public. As a man in his mid-30s, I can train pocket monsters and manage my animal-inhabited town without caring who knows about it. But Senran Kagura Burst will never get played outside of my own private home, despite its legitimately-earned (if barely) T rating. Which on one level is something of a shame, and yet on another level completely justified. READ MORE
Most cooperative games pit the players against a sort of cardboard AI, forcing them to bail water against a relentless rising tide until they either achieve victory or drown in the attempt. Antoine Bauza’s Hanabi, however, is a rare specimen, in that there is no simulated opponent or opposing force; the players are simply trying to recreate fireworks displays that had become jumbled through some comic mishap prior to play starting.
Well… maybe “simply” was the wrong word to use. READ MORE
Most games include some inherent element of randomness, typically either the draw of a card or tile, the roll of a die or both. There are some exceptions, notably abstracts or cat-and-mouse deduction games, but even pillars of strategic gaming like Agricola have variables that change from game to game to mix things up. In Canterbury, designer Andrew Parks has offered up an experience with no randomness (other than determining start player) that still manages to play out differently each time. READ MORE
Richard Borg isn’t a name you’re going to see in this space very often, but if you’re a fan of tactical two-player war sims like Memoir ’44, Command & Colors or BattleLore (which are all basically the same system), then you are familiar with most of his notable designs. He is also credited with the classic Liar’s Dice back in 1987, so he’s been around the industry for some time. His latest non-war offering is the fantasy trick-taking card game Dragon Whisperer, which was successfully Kickstarted and published by Albino Dragon just recently. READ MORE
Lords of Waterdeep is still a great game that sees a lot of play in many groups, but maybe it’s getting a little old by now. And did you ever notice that sixth agent space on the round five holding area? Obviously that board was designed with expansion in mind, and that expansion has finally arrived with Scoundrels of Skullport. Or, more accurately, expansions. READ MORE
Platinum Games likes to make challenging titles with deceptively deep systems. Its latest offering, The Wonderful 101, is no exception. It is also a difficult game to describe, as it combines various genres – and indeed abruptly shifts between a few of them at various times – into one cohesive whole. READ MORE
You can play Deadwood Studios, USA (originally Deadwood in its 1999 incarnation but changed in its most recent printing for a couple of reasons) for free right now by going to the Cheapass Games site and downloading the print and play edition. Or, for $40, you can get the new prettied-up (and rules-revised) Kickstarted edition and take it easy on your printer.
Your move, pardner. READ MORE
Matt Leacock has a knack for designing cooperative board games. The creator of both Pandemic and Forbidden Island is back with a spiritual sequel to the latter in Gamewright’s Forbidden Desert. The streamlined design and ease of access to Forbidden Desert might just make it his best yet. READ MORE