Thursday, February 28, 2013

Johnny Sokko

Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot: The Complete Series is scheduled for release on DVD on March 26th. I have serious nostagilic memories of watching this in syndication in Kansas City when I was around 7 or 8 years old. I rewatched much of the series on Hulu not that long ago and I really enjoyed it. Oh, it's campy and dated to be sure ... but it's also all kinds of awesome!

Imagine being a 7 year old kid and watching another 7 year old kid working as an adult secret agent fighting space aliens with loaded revolver in hand (yeah, I know ... it's stuff like this (Johnny Quest specifically ... must be something to do with "Johnny's") that caused the "Mothers against fun cartoon shows" movement in the 70's) ... to me ... it was AWESOME! Johnny fought evil space aliens and oh, yeah... he had a giant flying Eqyptian themed robot that would obey only him!

For years I thought the show was called, "Giant Robot" ... That's what I remembered Johnny calling the robot. It wasn't until I found the show on Hulu that I re-discovered the show's name and was able to recapture that magic of my youth.

Anyway ... check out Johnny Sokko and I know that I will be pre-ordering my copy.



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

International Table Top Day, Blade Raiders and More!

So, I just made an account on Twitter: @jeffwmoore ... I know ... not been one to keep up with the times. However, I have been watching some of the web-shows on Geek & Sundry. Mostly Table Top and recently On the Table.

Well, On the Table's Season 5 Premier (which is months old now ... again ... behind the times) made prominent mention of an upcoming RPG that really caught my interest: Blade Raiders.

So, I did a Google search and found a blogspot link that talked about the game ... Huzzah!

Awesome! I read more about the game and became really excited. Wow! A blogsite sidebar with a picture of the game said, "Expected release dates: Blade Raiders rulebook (Feb. 2013)" ... Feb. 2013! That's now!! My geeky excitement nearly caused me to rupture a spleen. But with only a few days left in the month and the last blog post dated February 5th how could I find out when the game would come out for sure?! I didn't want to miss it!!

Twitter! Blade Raiders is on Twitter!! ( @BladeRaidersRPG ) And that ... is the true story of how I came to have a Twitter account.

And being a Twitter Tweater for all of 2 days has really paid off! I got to be there for the announcement of International Table Top Day! Which I totally plan to support! I recently reviewed a few table top board games which it would be awesome to play again! Or given the connection between my learning of International Table Top Day to the game Blade Raiders, maybe I will run that game. If it's out by then.

Are you planning on playing on International Table Top Day, Saturday, March 30th, 2013?! Post a reply and let me know!



Monday, February 25, 2013

King of Tokyo

King of Tokyo is a BLAST! King of Tokyo is a dice game with a theme near and dear to my heart. In it you play giant monsters bent on the destruction of Tokyo!

The game is a board game version of "King of the Hill." Your monsters compete to hold the position of grandeur in Tokyo proper while the other players mill about in the ocean around the island waiting for their chance to push you out. The game mechanic support this struggle very well and the whole things just comes together to equal pure brilliance.

Each player picks a monster. This choice is purely aesthetic as all the "monster cards" are the same. Your monsters will be able to gain special powers and abilities to make them unique as the game progresses so don't think you'll get bored. There are bunches of power cards. You buy powers with Energy. You gain energy by rolling it on the dice.

King of Tokyo is a dice game with cards to change certain aspects of game play. The primary aspect of play is rolling the dice and deciding which dice to keep and which to re-roll. You can roll numbers and sets of three or more numbers earns you victory points. You can also roll Energy Icons that will let you buy powers to give you the advantage in the game, Attack Icons that you can use to damage the other player's monsters, and Healing icons to recover from the damage that your monster has suffered.

Tokyo is a key position strategically as your Monster gains victory points just for being there. However, beware as all the other monsters will be attacking you, and when in Tokyo healing dice don't count! Choosing which dice to keep and which to re-roll is a big part of the game and that gives it a little bit of a Yahtzee or Farkle kind of vibe, but the power cards add a lot to the flavor and theme of the game and in the end I really enjoyed my experience with it.

Plus, since the monsters in KoT all begin with the same stats it would be a breeze to make one of my own. I can't wait to field my cardboard cutout of the Giant School-Girl Miss Borg from Karate Robo Zaborgar!



Firefly RPG

I am behind the curve on this, but since it is of particular interest to me I have decided to post about it anyway. Margret Weis Productions has announced a Firefly RPG. MWP entered into the RPG system creation game with Cortex and the Serenity RPG. Serenity is an awesome game, but limited a bit by being restricted to drawing characters only from the movie. "What? No Badger in Serenity?" This news is exciting because it shows a continued commitment to the Firefly universe which is awesome. Also, the Cortex system has evolved quite a bit since it's inception. Serenity is a lot different from Smallville which is a lot different from Marvel Heroic Role-play. All are iterations of the Cotex system. I would love to see what the Serenity RPG can evolve into under the new license.

Currently I am playing in a Battlestar Galactica game that uses the Cortex System. It's been a lot of fun. If I have one complaint of the Cortex system for Battlestar it would be the mechanic for Wounds, Stun, Shock, Healing, Recovery, Surgery ... etc. The damage and healing systems aren't as neat and tidy as the rest of the system and they don't feel like they fit to me. Serenity has a similar system. Marvel Heroic Roleplay addresses this and is much better. I hope the new Firefly game learns something from MHR's example.


Jeff Moore

Red Shirts

I played and very much enjoyed a card game called "Red Shirts" the other night. I enjoyed the experience enough that I went out to Amazon and added the game to my wish list after playing it.

Amazon reviews of Red Shirts are quite mixed. It seems that the rules sheet for the game is confusing to completely nonsensical and that more than one reviewer declared the game unplayable as a result. My group played using some rules found on Board Game Geek and even with that we found ourselves making a few quick judgement calls at the table, but ultimately a good time was had by all.

This review is going to speak to playing the game with the rules and interpretations of our group of experienced gamers. Who knows maybe someone reading this will have a better experience playing the game as a result.

The game has 2 decks of cards. The first deck is comprised of "Red Shirts." Each Red Shirt card depicts a single crewman that is a parody of a character or extra from the TV series Star Trek. The art on the cards is funny and attractive. The characters seem to all be inspired by either the original series or Next Generation. I didn't see any characters that seemed specifically inspired by DS Nine or Voyager or Enterprise.

Usually a "Red Shirt" has at least one skill. The skills are: engineering, diplomacy, infiltration, science, medical, and tactical. These skills are used to complete missions listed on other cards.

To begin each player is dealt 4 "Redshirt" cards. These cards are placed face up in front of each player for all to see. This is the player's crew. Now each players is dealt 5 cards from the other deck. This deck, "the Captain's Log" cards contains 4 different kinds of cards. There are missions, locations, equipment, and events.

Completing missions will get you more Redshirts. Fail a mission and you lose a Redshirt. What's brilliant about the game? The goal isn't to win the missions but to lose them. Your goal is to be the first player to kill off all your Redshirts.

You play a mission that requires the Engineering Skill and then send the Nurse Redshirt with Medical Skill to complete it. There's no way she can succeed. But, wait! All the other players around the table are given the opportunity to help your poor doomed nurse on her mission. Maybe another player gives your poor Nurse a toolkit that grants her the Engineering Skill. Now she has succeeded at her mission, and she will have that toolkit and the engineering skill from now on unless you can play a card that allows you to get rid of it.

The way we played is each player can play one mission each turn to try to kill off some Redshirts. If you have extra missions in your hand that maybe you don't want to use yourself then you can play them on other players. No player can have more than one mission at a time played on them and if you have a mission waiting in front of you when your turn starts then you have to play it out.

When a Redshirt is sent on a mission, their character card is "zapped" (That's turned on its side to show it's been exhausted for the turn. It's "zapped" because the term "tapped" is trademarked by another game company.) and can't be used for anything else until the player's next turn. You can also "zap" a Redshirt to fetch resources which allows you to discard and redraw cards once per turn.

Once you play cards to undertake (and hopefully fail) a mission everyone at the table has a chance to respond adding cards to try to help your Redshirt and keep you from winning the game. You in turn can respond to this to play cards to unravel the plans of your opponents. Card play may go around the table several times before everyone has exhausted their options. Once every one has played all the cards they wish to play the outcome of the mission is resolved. With any luck, your Redshirt has bought the farm and will be sent to the discard pile.

Card play around the table reminds me quite a bit of Munchkin and the banter and interaction during play was quite enjoyable. The cards are funny and the artwork appealing. I found the game very playable, but this may be partially attributed to past experiences with similar games.

If you are interested in the game, be sure and grab the alternative rules sheet at Boardgame Geek. And have a blast!


Jeff Moore