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Introducing The New Science

As I continue to make my way through my second Dark Souls playthrough (review coming this week but if you don’t already have this game then there’s just no hope for you) I have a special announcement today as Conquistador Games has launched a Kickstarter campaign for The New Science (TNS).

Before I get into what TNS is all about, I promise that we are not just making boardgames set in the 17th century.

Anyway this is a worker placement/area control game set during the Scientific Revolution.Whereas Road to Enlightenment is this big, somewhat sprawling combination of deck building and Diplomacy, The New Science is a quicker play designed to take about 60-90 minutes for 2-5 players. Well, technically, 2 to 5. Ideally this is a game that is best played with 3 to 5 players.

I had more of a hand in developing this one, and had a much larger role in the rulebook editing so if this rulebook is an issue…you can yell at me. I may yell BACK but you are free to yell.

Speaking of which if you’d like to read the rulebook in PDF form you can do so here at BGG.

OK, here’s what the game is about:

You control one of five famous scientists from the era (Newton, Galileo, etc.), each of which has slightly different “stats” in researching, experimenting, and publishing. The game is played on what is essentially a large tech tree full of important discoveries from the era. Each player attempts to earn prestige (victory points) by first researching, then successfully experimenting on, and finally publishing their works on a specific discovery. The trick here is that when you do decide to publish, every other player can take your findings and build on them, racing up that part of the tech tree (in this case they literally read your book) so deciding when to publish is a key part of the game.

There’s more going on as well with “happening” cards that throw a monkey in the wrench and other areas in which you can spend your limited energy each turn. You are only allowed three actions per turn so deciding where to use them is a big part of the game.

So take a look, see what you think, ask me any questions either here or at my CQ email address billATcqgames.com

Back the project so my family doesn’t starve. Think of the children.

Legend of Grimrock Review

Grimrock. A word I keep rolling around my tongue like an abjuration. Grimrock. Grim-rock. Rocks, of grimness. Say it enough and the solution of a puzzle may fall out of the repetition, might give me a few hours respite from agonising over the intricacies of the game.

I’m not normally one for puzzle games. They seem drab, lifeless things, a poor use of all the mighty power of modern microprocessors. But the puzzles in Grimrock are different. Some are logical, some time-based, some situational, others are riddles but all of them encourage experimentation and exploration as part of the solution, rewarding creative thinking as much if not more than logic. Built in an astonishing variety from a limited palette of switches, pressure plates and teleports, they’ll frustrate and delight in equal measure.

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Wish Fulfilled: A Week with FTL

Saavik: So you’ve never faced that situation? Faced death?
Kirk: I don’t believe in the no-win scenario.
—Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn

Is there any sci-fi geek of my generation (anyone born in the 70s) who hasn’t wanted a video game to bring the infamous Kobayahsi Maru scenario to video games? Various games have tried. There have been actual Star Trek games that have tried. None that I’ve played have ever quite captured that spirit of crewing and powering and surviving aboard a starship like FTL: Faster Than Light. This rogue-like in space that stumbled into $200,543 in Kickstarter funding, while petitioning for a mere $10,000, is the game I’ve been looking for ever since I first heard Kirk tell Sulu to lock phasers on Reliant and “await my command.”

It’s been a long wait…

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Ten Things About the Wii U We Didn’t Know This Morning

Nintendo released a metric ton of Wii U details this morning, across every territory on the globe capable of receiving electronic transmissions, so we now have a whole bunch of Wii U information to digest. Some of these things genuinely surprised me, some not so much. What is not at all surprising to me is that I have no idea if I’d get  Wii U at launch. I have long since learned that there are two things that I don’t rule out buying: Transformer alt figures and Nintendo consoles at launch. Too many times I have gone on at length about my unwillingness to buy either, only to be proven wrong by my craven need for material goods.

I’m feeling list-y today, so here, in no certain order, are ten things we know about the Wii U, and by extension, Nintendo, that we didn’t know this morning:

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Cracked LCD- Dragon Con 2012 Post-Mortem

Dragon Con 2012 was my 20th year attending the Southeast’s largest fan convention, and if you’ve followed my coverage of it over the past couple of years you probably know most of what I’m going to say about it. Yes, the kinds of things that got me more or less excommunicated from their press list. Hey, I didn’t realize they’d actually go and read my articles. I’m not sorry for pointing out the rudeness and lack of hygiene of the geeks in attendance, nor am I sorry for jabbing at the has-been and never-was celebrities that make up the guest list. The toilets in the gaming area really are the most unsanitary place on Earth, I’m not making it up. Continue Reading…

A New Chris Roberts Game in the Works

If you head on over to robertsspaceindustries.com you’ll see a screen like the one captured above. The little question mark doo-hickey asks for the answer to the Ultimate Question, which anyone who’s ever read the legendary Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy knows is 42. (You have no idea how smug I felt when that log-in actually worked.)  At that point you’ll see a message from Wing Commander creator Chris Robers revealing his intent to make a new game, or in his words, “And if you would indulge me I would like to create a world for you.”

More from Mr. Roberts:

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Borderlands 2 Skill Point Calculator Available

As my dad always said, proper preparation prevents piss poor performance. In other words, take some time out of your day to visit the newly released Borderlands 2 skill point calculator and figure out how best to assign 50 levels of glorious skill point madness. That link is for the siren’s skill point calculator, but there are links at the bottom of the page for every character class.

Now, I know that you may be confused as to all of the options, so I’m going to make it easy for you. These are, in no uncertain terms, the things you should be most concerned with:

  • Keeping me alive
  • Reviving me
  • Killing those that would prevent the previous two points

Now, if you’re playing a Commando and you want to roll with Team Binky, I better see not one, but two saber turrets drop when you call ‘em forth. They also better have rockets and they better be magnetic. If they don’t, go back home and don’t come back until you can spec your character properly.

Me, I’m having a hard time deciding if I want to do more damage and cause neat things like explosions and elemental damage when I phaselock someone, or if I should focus on more healing oriented skills. Seeing how I tend to rush into battle in a desperate effort to collect every bullet fired in Pandora and store them in my liver, I’m thinking healing might be the better choice. Then again, if there are no enemies to shoot me, what need do I have for healing?

Decisions, decisions!

Calendar Man – Week of 9/10

Hey, it’s a week until Borderlands 2! Hooray! Things are coming out this week, but none of them are Borderlands 2, so they don’t interest me. If you like hockey, you may feel differently, as NHL 13 comes out. NBA Baller Beats also releases, but I’m not sure anyone would admit to wanting to play that game. If it had nothing but jump shots, we may have been able to convince Bill to play, but alas, nary a long bomb to be found. Bill Abner’s relatively Kinect-free existence continues to this day.

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Diaspora: Shattered Armistice Trailer

Up to this point I knew absolutely nothing about this game, but Battlestar Galactica fans, this freeware mod for Descent: Freespace 2 is for you. Hopefully the game itself is at least half as cool as this trailer for it. Seriously, it makes me want to go suit up. Right. Now.

If only I knew what became of my old CH Flightstick Pro and accompanying throttle. Not that myPC has an serial ports to connect them to. My goodness, it really has been a long time since the days of Wing Commander and X-Wing/Tie Fighter. And just why did I never get around to the Freespace games? Folly, I tell you. Pure folly.

Spotted at RPS.

DreadBall – The Futuristic Sports Game

One of my favorite games, if not my #1 favorite game, is Blood Bowl. I adore almost everything about it. Problem is, I never get to play it much these days. Funny thing is I really don’t know why — I play a lot of boardgames but BB has remained packed up for quite some time now. I blame Cyanide. (Hey why not?)

It’s likely because Blood Bowl:

A: Is at its best when playing long term in tourney or league play
B: Is a bit antiquated in its rules
C: Takes a while to play

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the old game, but there’s nothing wrong with a new spin and perhaps a little innovation.

Enter DreadBall from Mantic Games.

The Kickstarter has raised $160,000 to date which has unlocked a slew of “stretch goals” and after reading everything I can about the game it looks like it could be a nice successor to Blood Bowl. Blood Bowl is such an established franchise filled with reams and reams of house rules, living rules, fan made teams, etc. that Dreadball will be behind that curve at first. I think the game, even with all the goals, will carry four teams to start.

But it looks modern, and sounds like it plays fast and fun without much downtime. I’m pledging.