Sunday, May 15, 2011

Surveying the field

Adventure games ahead.  And maybe danger.
While I see the little white and orange B across a number of gaming blogs that I frequent, I never thought that having Blogger go down for a day or two would disrupt my usual internetting half as much as it did.  I have a battle report and painting update on deck, but for now something topical.  When I wrote about Warhammer Quest a few posts ago, I managed to forget my feature of the game: no need for a GM.  This has less to do with solo play than playing as a pair.  Lone wolfing is just...creepy, but games like Warhammer Quest make it possible for two people to game without setting one up as the GM.  Obviously there are plenty of ways for two people to game, but I'm after methods for people not already in the hobby, or even just for something a little different.

It is was with this in mind that I cast about a bit more on the internets, looking for games similar to Warhammer Quest.  I found more than I expected.  Beyond Descent, which I already knew about, and HeroQuest, which is basically Warhammer Quest, the dungeon-tile-crawl genre is well represented.  Wizards makes a pair of games, and perhaps another is forthcoming, using D&D 4e as the base.  Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon look like what you'd expect from D&D the boardgame.  The pieces look to be of good quality, judging from the unboxing video, but the minis are a little underwhelming.  I think I've been spoiled by the new GW sets with all their bits and construction options.  Dwarf King's Hold from Mantic, like the WotC offerings, is what I expected from Mantic: a close clone of the GW counterpart, but with enough twists and reshapings to make it something different enough.  The internets say the dungeon tiles are flimsy though, a point which torpedoes the decent minis in the box.  Heading a little further afield you run into games like Runebound, Talisman, and others than fit a similar genre of adventure board games, but lack the tile and mini component that I'm looking for. 

Ultimately this is just an exercise in market research.  One of the great problems that I face as a gamer, and surely many others do, is a combination of a short attention span and a collecting compulsion.  Scattering your attention across multiple games saps you of not just money, but also time and other mundane concerns like storage space.  Much as I'd like to play every game out there, in the end you have to make your choices.

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