Sunday, November 22, 2009

Review Timestreams Episode 1

Timestreams Episode 1 01-TSD1 published by Bucephalus Games 2 thirty-nine card decks in a lithographed box. MSRP $19.99

Gameplay Play begins with each player choosing a deck. In this set, there are the Stone Age and Future Tech decks. Six era cards are laid out starting with the Stone Age and ending with Future Tech. Each era card indicates one 'day" of play. There are two parts to a Timestream game. In the first part, at the beginning of each day, if two players, each players draws six cards (there is no hand limit), then take turns playing them into a row beneath the era car. Players may do one of three things each turn: play an invention, which will score points in the scoring part of the game and may cause a change in the time stream; play an action card; or pass. Only the first six cards played score for each day, but player may wish to play additional cards in order to affect the time stream. Once both players pass, the day ends.

After the end of the sixth day, the first part of the game ends, in the second part, players score their cards, resolving any actions triggers by the scoring. When all cards are scored, the game ends and the player with the most points is the winner. Suitable for ages 8+, expect a game to take 45-60 minutes.

A couple of guys in the store played a game and, while they enjoyed it, the actions on some of the cards were hard to understand or nonsensical. For example, one card with the "Art" designation said it affected other "Art" cards, but the only "Art" card in the set are duplicates of that card.

Presentation Timstreams is a deceptively simple game to play, the rules pamphlet is only 8 pages long, with three of those pages taken up by either promotional material or descriptive text. The box is designed, as is typical with Bucephalus products, to hold the decks stable, and is rather small, about an inch shorter than SJG's Munchkin box and half as thick. There's even a small packet of silica gel included. The major design problem I see is on some of the Future Tech cards with black text printed on a dark background, soe you need to look closely at the card to read it.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Review: Stoner Fluxx

Stoner Fluxx Pub. Full Baked Ideas 100 full color cards. MSRP $20.00

Gameplay-- Stoner Fluxx uses Looney Labs basic Fluxx mechanic: start with thre cards in your hadn, draw and card, play a card, following the rules in play and win by achieving whatever goal is on the table at the moment. However, all of the Goal, Keeper and Creeper cards, as well as many of the Action and rule cards, are themed around the drug culture. In fact a couple of the cards, specifically the "Toke!" and "Weed Bonus" cards, which call for the player to light up, have warnings printed on the bottom to the effect that "Doing what this card says is illegal. Set it aside until after marijuana prohibition ends."

Presentation--Stoner Fluxx has been out of print since about 2005 and I've had hundreds of inquiries about it for the last several years so I'm glad to see it back in print. The cards are in full color and the art is much improved over the previous version. Fully Baked Ideas is an imprint of Looney Labs, created for the company to release its more controversial games. There's no doubt as to where Fully Baked Ideas sympathies lie, as 3 cards in the box have no have no use in the game, instead advocating for the legalization of marijuana. In addition, FBI will donate 5% of the proceeds from sales of Stoner Fluxx will get donated to groups working to end marijuana prohibition.

If you like Fluxx and if your store does well with Fluxx AND your customers or friends are pretty laid back, than Stoner Fluxx should do well for you, especially in areas with a strong college clientele. Stores or groups with a more conservative bent or who have very heavy family orientation, should think very hard before bringing Stoner Flux in and probably keep it behind the counter.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Comics Good For Kids

There's a new study out that says kids get as much out of and improve their reading skills as much by reading comics as they do by reading regular books. So give your kids comics, it's good for them.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Review: Masters of Magic

Masters of Magic Book One: The Heart of Magic by Mark Hall and Kevin Siembieda. Pub. by Palladium Books. www.palladiumboks. com. 8 1/2 x11" softcover with B&W interiors. 96 pages. MSRP $16.05.

Gameplay Designed for use with both the Palladium Fantasy Role Playing Game and Rifts, Heart of Magic focuses on the history and mystery behind Wizardry and spell casting. It looks at Warlocks, Cobbler Goblins and Priests. Also included are new Wizard O. C. C.'s and Priest O.C. C.'s, as well as new spell. Great book if you play any of the Palladium fantasy games, not so useful if you play any of their high-tech games or any other system.

Presentation Nicely evocative comer, though I guess the idea is to mage magic mor estructed as there are basic genometric symbols spread over it. Very well laid out book and the art is significantly better than I've seen in several recent Palladium releases. No index but there is a very comprehensive table of contents as well as list of other Paladium books on the back cover, though I'm not sure why Palladium chose to put Ninjas & Superspies and Heroes Unlimited there rather thatn more related titles.

Overall: IF you like Palladium Fantasy or, to a lesser extent Rifts, pick this up. If you don't carrry or play either, save your money for something else.