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Around the Web on February 18th

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Around the Web on February 18th

Dungeons and Dragons Board Game

The Wrath of Ashardalon is a new 4th Edition D&D board game. A review is up at Ars Technica. For 1-5 players, great replayability, but expensive (lists at $65 or so), this looks like a well-thought out, everchanging game.

Alice: Madness Returns

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Some of you may remember American McGee's Alice. A fun and twisted video game take on Alice in Wonderland. EA is releasing a sequel, Alice: Madness Returns. It looks as twisted and dark in tone as the original, but keeping the vibrant colors and dreamlike imagery that made the first Alice so much fun.

Dragon Age: Redemption

It was mentioned earlier this week on the site, but I did not see a link to the trailer. I like Felicia Day. The Guild is amusing, Dr. Horrible was great fun. She's cute, smart and seems to understand geeks. However, this new series, Dragon Age: Redemption looks a little low budget to transfer the majesty of Dragon Age to the screen. Even the small screen. And since it does not appear to be a gentle parody, I am curious as to how good this will be.

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Thor

Speaking of women in show biz that I like, Natalie Portman is in Thor. So I am immediately torn. I did not think the trailers looked very good. The Alien thing is a puzzling take on a pre-existing pantheon and while I am not in any way saying characters can not change, evolve or show masterfully different interpretations from what the original texts may show, I find the casting of a very talented black actor as an Asgardian (traditionally very very white, blonde and blue eyed people) to be troubling. Why was such a choice made? For controversy? For publicity? Because Hollywood has become color-blind? The new trailer is up and looks better than the previous ones, but the majesty seems lost in some sort of garish superficiality.

Shane Black to direct Iron Man 3

Shane Black is directing Iron Man 3. If you do not know who Black is, he's a writer and director who wrote Lethal Weapon, Last Boy scout, Last Action hero and Long Kiss Goodnight (many of which he has stated were so rewritten he barely feels comfortable calling them his) but he also directed Downey in Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang. And Val Kilmer as Gay Perry. This picture is masterful black comedy.

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Steve Jackson's Muchkin: Munchkinomicon

For those who enjoy Steve Jackson's Muchkin game, the Munchkinomicon expansion is out. It is usable with any set but is not standalone. Perfect for use with Munchkin Cthulhu but drop it into of the sets.

Mutants and Masterminds: Enemies of the State v. 1

Enemies of the State v. 1, has been updated for 3rd edition Mutants and Masterminds. If you purchased the 2nd edition one from drivethrurpg, you will receive the latest update free.

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TROUBLE IN JERSEY!

What fun is it being a hero if there are no villains to push you to your spandex-wearing limits? The world (of superheroes) needs villains! But where do we find these maniacal criminals? Delaware, of course! Not just Delaware, mind you, but every state of the union has spawned criminals and now super-criminals.

Enemies of the State is a state-by-state chronicle of some of America's most diabolical, cunning, violent and psychopathic villains. The villains from all 50 states will be presented by the order of statehood. Enemies of the State (EoS) presents at least two villains from every state and even more bad guys from the larger states. From Delaware to Hawaii EoS has them all.

There's more to a great nemesis than a pile of stats. EoS offers detailed backgrounds, psych profiles, tactics summaries and caper lists for every entry. New skills, minions, bases and vehicles are also included. There are also tips on bringing the villains to your campaign city, sending your heroes on a road trip, or a little of both.

EoS Volume 1 kicks things off with the first six states to become America. Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut and Massachusetts have produced 12 villains, two sidekicks, three new minions, three secret lairs and one stealth submarine. There are also over a dozen new skills outlined. The villains run the gamut from criminal mastermind to mutant thug, serial killer to clueless rebel, master thief to mad mystic. So pack your bags, hero. There's trouble in Jersey!

White Wolf Release Calendar

Speaking of new releases, White Wolf has a release calendar up. It covers up through June of this year but was posted last year, so some have come to pass. A couple of Vampire release, Exalted, Scion, nWoD.

Dead Island

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There is a lot of discussion of the trailer for Dead Island. A new video game. Devin at badassdigest, hated it. He criticized it for being maudlin, manipulative, not game play footage and unable to pull of any real emotional catharsis during game play. Everyone else seems to love it.

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I am very interested in The Wrath of Ashardalon. I am trying to find a way to get new people to try a rpg. I really like that this is cooperative. I recently bought a few other games, including Munchkin, to try out but I think this looks a lot better for what I want.

Does anyone else have anything they have played with non-gamers that they would recommend?

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I am very excited about Alice. The first came out when I worked at Software Etc. (Which became Gamestop) and they allowed associates to check out games so they would know something about it. I must have checked out that game 5 or 6 times (3 days each) before I had to give it up so we could sell it.

All I need now is a good sequel to Messiah. wink

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Originally Posted By: Chosen
I am very interested in The Wrath of Ashardalon. I am trying to find a way to get new people to try a rpg.


I've also been eyeing this game. Boardgame Geek rates it at 7.84 out of 10, but I feel that BBG's early ratings are usually on the high side, so I'm a tad skeptical.

Originally Posted By: Chosen
Does anyone else have anything they have played with non-gamers that they would recommend?


While it's not completely co-operative, I'm a big fan of board games like Battlestar Galactica (2008), and
Betrayal at House on the Hill
(2004), both of which have high replayability and are at least mostly co-operative. The former is obviously based on the television franchise of the same name, while the latter is based on various horror movie scenarios. People who haven't watched the former show might have some trouble with the game because of some of the concepts involved (unless they're hard core social and board gamers). The latter game is quite easy to get people to play in October for some reason. wink

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I might suggest Settlers of Catan. It's fairly easy to learn and highly addictive.

Also, I just found out today that Munchkin made a board game... that's something that I definitely want to try myself.

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Originally Posted By: RushingMountain
I'm a big fan of Betrayal at House on the Hill.

I saw that this got good reviews. I may pick it up at some point.

Originally Posted By: Stargaizer
I might suggest Settlers of Catan. It's fairly easy to learn and highly addictive.

Also, I just found out today that Munchkin made a board game... that's something that I definitely want to try myself.

I'll check into Settlers of Catan. I haven't heard of it before.

I bought the Munchkin board game a few weeks ago, as well as the supers munchkin game. Some friends are coming up tonight and we were going to play one of them. But I got excited to try The Wrath of Ashardalon and changed the plans. I couldn't find that but I did find the Ravenloft game.

I like that with the D&D games the time length is shorter. The standard board game for Munchkin is supposed to take around 3 hours and I'm not sure that I can get people that are new to this stuff to play something for that long. The Ravenloft game is supposed to take an hour to an hour and a half.

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Settlers has a huge luck quotient that I find gets old very quickly. A game where the dice are against you is all but impossible to win.

I suggest Carcassonne. It has surprising depth of play/strategy despite the exceedingly simply mechanics.

Puerto Rico is a more intimidating game in terms of components but I found that after one game people usually get it and really enjoy wanting to play it. It's also either the #1 or #2 rated game on BGG so that should say something.

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If you don't mind banishing the concept of competitive play the game Pandemic! from Z-Man Games is an excellent co-op play board game with a strong tie between theme and mechanics, that is also very easy to learn.

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Sorry, Chosen, I read a little more into your post than was there. I thought you were looking for board games as entries to RPGs.

If you're looking for good board games, SoC is a great game, but Jameson's point certainly stands. The randomness can get quite annoying. Also annoying can be the "constant pitches" of some people to get a trade for something to make their hand useful on their turn. Since I am friends with a number of sales people, though, that might be a problem that is peculiar to my social circle.

I also have to agree with Jameson about Puerto Rico, although the game can get quite deep, and as a result, can be quite frustrating for players of different skill levels.

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Originally Posted By: RushingMountain
Sorry, Chosen, I read a little more into your post than was there. I thought you were looking for board games as entries to RPGs.


You were correct RM. I am looking for board games to use as an entry into RPGs. I don't think there is just 1 game that will accomplish that though, so I am hoping to find options. I am also trying to find products that we can review for the site.

There has been enough response to this that I am thinking about starting a card and board game forum.

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