A tentacle-faced monster spreads its wing.

Elder Sign: Omens (App Edition)

Fantasy Flight Games made its name creating huge, sprawling board games with hundreds of fiddly-bits and robust game mechanics that take hours to play. Fans who buy Arkham Horror or Mansions of Madness know they’re getting their money’s worth … and that there’s no way the game will fit in their pockets. With the Elder Sign: Omens app for iPhone ($3.99), Android ($3.99) and iPad ($6.99), they’ve taken a different approach: create a lightweight, fast-playing game that’s as atmospheric as its predecessors but can be played anywhere.

Read more

RPG Reviews Roundup, September 2012

One of the good things about Dungeons & Dragons next-generation inspired publishing hiatus is that it gives other games a chance to shine. While I doubt gamers are suddenly diverting all of their D&D 4th Edition buying power toward other games, I do hope (and anecdotally this seems to be the case) that it gives folks a chance to try something new.

One of those new thing’s that’s generated a fair amount of buzz has been Margaret Weis Production’s Marvel Heroic Role-Playing, which is a Cortex-infused take on the superhero genere. I bought the core rulebook early in the summer and paged through it. Based on that initial glance, I liked what I saw, particularly with how it handled the superhero tropes of particularly solo vs. duo vs. team match-ups, but I give it a more through read-through.

Read more
An assortment of aliens in the foreground; U-shaped spacecraft in the background.

The Unknown Regions

The Unknown Regions is the final sourcebook for Wizards of the Coast’s Star Wars: Saga Edition Role-Playing Game. The book serves as a placeholder for all the books left unpublished, and promises to carry players to the unexplored corners of the Star Wars galaxy. It does this by venturing into The Unknown Regions to explore what fans know — the Chiss, the Rakata and the Sorcerers of Rhand — and plenty that they don’t.

The Unknown Regions details eight worlds created just for the book, introduces a planet generator that game masters can use to make their own, and debuts creature generation rules to populate them. Since Scouts are essential to exploring these brave new worlds, they get a variety of feats and talents, and because no final frontier should be without its dangerous challenges, the book re-envisions “Hazards” as Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition-style threats that require a combination of brawn and skill to defeat. The end result is a toolkit that gives players everything they need to continue their adventures beyond the last book in the Star Wars Saga Editions line.

Read more

Galaxy of Intrigue

Skill challenges were the best thing to emerge from our Dungeons Dragons 4th Edition mini-campaign, and when we started playing Star Wars: Saga Edition, we pieced together our own version of the rules. We based them on 4E’s examples, the skill DCs established in Scum and Villainy, and personal experience. The end result created some of the most memorable moments in our campaign, including the heroes’ disastrous attempt to escape a proto-star nebula.

Galaxy of Intrigue formalizes these ad hoc rules by creating a Skill Challenge system for Saga Edition that improves the 4E iteration in every way. The source book introduces new feat and talent options for skillful characters, nine new species (including the Bith, Defel and Neimodian), an entire world dedicated to intrigue, eight mini-adventures, and the “The Perfect Storm” campaign.

Read more
Black and blue cubes -- representing viruses -- are stacked on a map-like game board depicting various cities. A white pawn represents the player character fighting the viruses.

Pandemic

Pandemic is Z-Man Games’ globe-spanning game of viral infection in which 2-4 players travel from city to city trying to prevent local outbreaks from turning into full-blown pandemics.

The game is played on a map of the Earth, with major cities connected by highways and flight paths. At the start of the game, color-coded cards keyed to the cities are drawn from the Infection Deck, indicating which metropolises have seen virus outbreaks. There are four viruses in all; the goal of the game is to cure the viruses before the planet succumbs to rampant disease.

Read more
A masked villain holds a large gun.

Necessary Evil: Explorer’s Edition

 Explorer's EditionAliens. We always knew they were out there, ready to invade our planet, enslave the population and strip mine its resources. But we also knew that if they should try it, Earth’s greatest superheroes would rise up and save us.

We were wrong.

When the V’Sori came they slaughtered our super-powered defenders just as easily as they did our armies. Now our cities are conquered, our people are terrorized, and the job of saving the world has fallen to the most unlikely of people: Earth’s super villains.

Read more

Munchkin Level Counter

At its heart, Steve Jackson’s Munchkin is a simple game. Players assume the role of adventurers hacking, slashing, and looting their way through a dungeon, fighting monsters (and often each other) on a quest to reach level 10.

These power-hungry munchkins can play all manner of cards to help them, including weapons, armor and other magic items, as well as special species and class cards. It’s simple … but often devilishly hard to track. The Munchkin Level Counter app ($4.99, Steve Jackson Games) adds to the complexity, but also brings some new tools for managing it.

Read more