Awesome Party Games For The Long Winter Ahead

about X hours ago from
Awesome Party Games For The Long Winter Ahead

Not every get-together is best served by a sprawling strategic board game that will take all night to complete. Know your crowd, and recognize that sometimes the right choice is a fun and accessible party game that everyone can enjoy with a minimum of explanation or setup.

The following are some of my favorite recent party games, and any one of them could make for a great way to enjoy an evening with family and friends, no matter their experience level with tabletop gaming. As such, they’re an ideal pick for the holidays; wouldn’t you rather laugh through one of these games than hear your uncle tell his favorite fishing story for the 50th time?  

Player counts are listed so you can cater to your group size, and I’ve even included several fully cooperative options – just in case you’ve got that one friend who can get a little too competitive.  

The 2019 Holiday Buyers Guide

about X hours ago from
The 2019 Holiday Buyers Guide

Store shelves are bursting with so many amazing toys, tech, and media that it’s hard to know what is worth your money. Thankfully, we did all the hard work for you. Here are some of the best geeky gadgets of 2019. Whether you’re buying for a loved one or yourself, you’ll find plenty of great gifts in the following pages. Happy shopping! Read more...

Click image thumbnails to view larger version

The 2019 Holiday Buyers Guide

about X hours ago from
The 2019 Holiday Buyers Guide

Store shelves are bursting with so many amazing toys, tech, and media that it’s hard to know what is worth your money. Thankfully, we did all the hard work for you. Here are some of the best geeky gadgets of 2019. Whether you’re buying for a loved one or yourself, you’ll find plenty of great gifts in the following pages. Happy shopping! Read more...

Click image thumbnails to view larger version

Top Of The Table – Tapestry

about X hours ago from
Top Of The Table – Tapestry

Good games have a powerful ability to take big ideas and synthesize them into meaningful simulations, analogues, and mechanics. That need for taking an idea and breaking it down into purposeful and interpretative chunks is especially valuable in any game that aims to present the history of human civilization, whether the final presented medium is the digital screen or physical components on a table with friends gathered around.

In his design diary for Tapestry, designer Jamey Stegmaier openly cites video games like Civilization V and tabletop projects like 7 Wonders as inspirations. With Tapestry’s independent advancement tracks for different elements of society and gradual acquisition of technologies and resources, it’s easy to draw comparisons to familiar elements from other related games. But Tapestry feels like a species of its own in several regards, eschewing some classic elements of the genre (like the battling dudes-on-a-map dynamic), and instead focusing on an emergent story – what is your civilization, and how is it fundamentally different from those of your competitors? The game is surprisingly easy to start playing, but understanding how to play it with purpose and ingenuity is an entirely other matter that requires a significantly greater time investment.

Top Of The Table – Tapestry

about X hours ago from
Top Of The Table – Tapestry

Good games have a powerful ability to take big ideas and synthesize them into meaningful simulations, analogues, and mechanics. That need for taking an idea and breaking it down into purposeful and interpretative chunks is especially valuable in any game that aims to present the history of human civilization, whether the final presented medium is the digital screen or physical components on a table with friends gathered around.

In his design diary for Tapestry, designer Jamey Stegmaier openly cites video games like Civilization V and tabletop projects like 7 Wonders as inspirations. With Tapestry’s independent advancement tracks for different elements of society and gradual acquisition of technologies and resources, it’s easy to draw comparisons to familiar elements from other related games. But Tapestry feels like a species of its own in several regards, eschewing some classic elements of the genre (like the battling dudes-on-a-map dynamic), and instead focusing on an emergent story – what is your civilization, and how is it fundamentally different from those of your competitors? The game is surprisingly easy to start playing, but understanding how to play it with purpose and ingenuity is an entirely other matter that requires a significantly greater time investment.

How To Master The Wild Area In Pokémon Sword & Shield

about X hours ago from
How To Master The Wild Area In Pokémon Sword & Shield

Pokémon Sword and Shield are finally here, which sparked a slew of new questions about its biggest addition: The Wild Area. Acting as an overblown new take of the Safari Zone, the Wild Area allows players to roam varied biomes in search of new Pokémon, participate in Max Raids, cook, and advance the relationship with your team. Here are five tips for trainers looking to get the most out of Pokémon’s newest realm.

How To Master The Wild Area In Pokémon Sword & Shield

about X hours ago from
How To Master The Wild Area In Pokémon Sword & Shield

Pokémon Sword and Shield are finally here, which sparked a slew of new questions about its biggest addition: The Wild Area. Acting as an overblown new take of the Safari Zone, the Wild Area allows players to roam varied biomes in search of new Pokémon, participate in Max Raids, cook, and advance the relationship with your team. Here are six tips for trainers looking to get the most out of Pokémon’s newest realm.

Back To School: The Stories Behind Final Fantasy VIII

about X hours ago from
Back To School: The Stories Behind Final Fantasy VIII

Every installment of Final Fantasy experiments and innovates in various ways, but when Final Fantasy VIII released in 1999, no entry had ventured so far outside of the series’ traditional formula. Instead of seasoned heroes, the story follows a group of young students. Instead of stylized art, the visuals are more realistic. Instead of learning spells and casting them, players stock magic like items and “junction” them to improve various stats.

For players who were expecting familiar Final Fantasy plot points and systems, these changes were a surprise, and resulted in some split opinions among series fans when the game launched. But wherever you land on that spectrum, everyone can agree: Final Fantasy VIII is different. That willingness to take risks is also what makes the game so special, giving rise to a narrative that jumps between generations, a complex progression system that encourages players to test its limits, and the addictive Triple Triad card game that has appeared in multiple entries since. 

Back To School: The Stories Behind Final Fantasy VIII

about X hours ago from
Back To School: The Stories Behind Final Fantasy VIII

Every installment of Final Fantasy experiments and innovates in various ways, but when Final Fantasy VIII released in 1999, no entry had ventured so far outside of the series’ traditional formula. Instead of seasoned heroes, the story follows a group of young students. Instead of stylized art, the visuals are more realistic. Instead of learning spells and casting them, players stock magic like items and “junction” them to improve various stats.

For players who were expecting familiar Final Fantasy plot points and systems, these changes were a surprise, and resulted in some split opinions among series fans when the game launched. But wherever you land on that spectrum, everyone can agree: Final Fantasy VIII is different. That willingness to take risks is also what makes the game so special, giving rise to a narrative that jumps between generations, a complex progression system that encourages players to test its limits, and the addictive Triple Triad card game that has appeared in multiple entries since. 

An Exclusive Tour of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands' Revendreth

about X hours ago from
An Exclusive Tour of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands' Revendreth

For this zone, the team was trying to tackle the question of: “What would WoW Translyvania look like?” It takes the form of a gigantic gothic castle sprawling over a misty forest and a curious pit. Carriages, floating vampiric aristocracy, gargoyles, and little Igor-style gravedigger minions called dredgers mill about. The zone is colossal, so my guided tour through the realm of sinners – who can still be redeemed in some form – took me through each of the castle’s five wards.

The entryway itself is suffering disrepair, as are the buildings and structures across the castle grounds. This is a problem that many of the Shadowlands zones have, as no new souls are coming in due to everyone being routed to the Maw. The castle proper looms over the zone like an oppressive titan, towering over the Village Ward where players enter and can get the lay of the land. Sin stones, gravestones with the soul’s crimes listed upon it, litter each pathway. Souls sent here can etch these sins off their stones over time as they prepare for the afterlife, but the Venthyr’s methods are often horrific and torturous. While the Venthyr may have an important purpose in the Shadowlands, with their task of preparing tainted souls for the afterlife, you can’t help but think these vampiric, bickering aristocrats have a serious streak of sadism.