I’ve had a preview copy of MicroBrew since I went to Airecon, after I spoke to Nigel from One Free Elephant; a board game company based in Scotland. We spoke for a bit about their release last year of the cute mining game, Ore Some, along with their most recent venture at the time, Carcosa. Nigel very kindly offered me a chance to beta test MicroBrew and now that they have gone live with their Kickstarter, it’s a great time to tell you all about it.
In the first part of my UK Games Expo Kickstarter roundup, I mentioned a game involving Goblins by Room 17 games called Miremarsh. Now that the Kickstarter is live I listened back to the play through that I recorded at UKGE this year and wanted to give my full opinion on it. As per usual, we would like to remind you that this is a Kickstarter Campaign and as such things can change, so some of the information here may be out of date by the time the game is published.
So often board games strive to emulate the rich depth of gameplay enjoyed by role-playing games. Often the result is a thin facsimile or an unwieldy brute of a game, and rarely does role-play enter into the equation, but here we have at least one game in which role play is the whole point. In Role Quest by Hercules Game Studios you assume secret characters, place them opposite one another in locations and situations, and act them out. It is down to your opposing players to guess who you were. Sounds fine. Until you add curses. Speaking in rhyme, singing, impersonating someone, some new complication to add to your efforts.
Best of all the game is limited to two rounds, and a time limit is set on each and every role-play, meaning that it’s a quick game that plunges you straight into a narrative, it’s over quickly to move on to something else, or to get another round in. Locations offer new options to alter the tactics of the game, treasures help twist the flow of the game, and there is a fixed point scoring system, but ultimately it’s a game of improvisational acting skills and character playing that’s great for people who don’t think they’re good at that sort of thing.
I think this is also one I ought to add to the GeekOut Shrewsbury library.
As I write this, the game has surpassed it’s funding goal of £4,500 in the last half hour or so with twenty one days (ending August 9th) left to go to achieve some stretch goals. So let’s take a look at what Hercules Games are going to funding…
There’s very little more to say about the game itself, especially now it’s past the finishing line, so let’s take a look at what Hercules Game Studios can do with just a little more money.
£5,000 At goal + 500 we see our first new location, The Guild. With only three locations, that could prove an essential for replayability.
£5,500 The City Guard is introduced as a new possible character, a classic for every fantasy setting.
£6,000 The Temple is added as another new location, which should also help boost the diversity of the game.
£7,000 A timer for every copy of the game to help keep things moving without the need for breaking out the clock on your phone. Of course supporting apps are ever more popular these days but they can often be poor compromise to having an actual timer to slam onto the table. But I digress.
With a fairly tight cluster of stretch goals and so much time left after hitting the 100% mark, Role-Quest might need to add more goals, and fast. Perhaps more characters and locations, but with a game this simple there is definite scope for expansions. At least one expansion has already been created (more info in the pledge rewards below) but I can think of several directions this game could take with very little thought.
So what do you get for your money?
Pledge £4 or more
Wizard Pledge: For each Wizard pledge, Alex, Phoebos or a guest will roleplay a personality of your choice on video after the end of the campaign (the personality must be appropriate for all audiences)
Interestingly there is no option for a £1 “tip jar”, I like that the most basic option still gives something back. Also, not included here is a retailer specific pledge, but go check out the campaign if you’re a stockist.
Pledge £15 or more
Innkeeper Pledge: One copy of Role Quest: the card game of legendary role-playing
Pledge £18 or more
Blacksmith Pledge: One copy of Role Quest: the card game of legendary role-playing and the mini expansion.
The expansion will be NSFW and for ages 18+, which I feel is a somewhat necessary addition to this game, not because I think the game will need it, but because for the type of people I play with, I will need it.
Pledge £29 or more
Mayor Pledge: Two copies of Role Quest: the card game of legendary role-playing and two copies of the mini expansion.
This may seem odd, but by the time you incorporate shipping – at least within the UK, US, and Germany – you’ve saved a total of £5, and more if shipping elsewhere in the world. It does become worth it to share the burden of your pledge for the sake of £2.50 each.
Pledge £59 or more
Necromancer Pledge: Necromancer’s don’t just play ordinary board games, they get a personalised card with their face and the Role Quest Role-Player’s handbook. Includes: Role Quest base game, NSFW Mini Expansion (ages 18+), Personalised Character Card, Role Quest Role-Player’s Handbook.
Currently about half of these remain, 22 out of 50. If you want a personal and unique touch added to your game then it may be worth looking into this option. I might not go for the whole thing, but I may be tempted by that Role-Player’s Handbook if it’s available separately after the pledges are completed. I’m a sucker for role-playing accessories, and this looks like a quick and easy way to create or adapt characters. The book can help turn Role Quest from a basic board game and turn it into something one might use to actually enact small role-playing games, or incorporate it into existing campaigns to create in-game impact.
I actually ran across the game at UKGE. I was plainly suckered in by the wheel-spin (I won a sticker, I am perfectly find with this) but I talked to the designers and was immediately quite interested. A means of creating short and punchy RP scenarios to play out short vignettes or to draw people into the concept of role-play is right within my wheelhouse. I sincerely wish Hercules Game Studios the best of luck, not just with Role-Quest, but in their future endeavours too.
In the mean time, check out the Kickstarter today.
I mentioned in my UK Games Expo Kickstarter Roundup that while I was at the event this year, during my lunch I was set upon by pirates. While my initial thought was that they had turned up for the Viking LARP, but not read any of the memo’s, it turns out they were a mother and son team peddling their wares. Amongst their wares was a board game called the Pirates Of Penryn, but sadly I was not able to play a game during the Expo. It took a few days and a bit of back and forth with e-mails, but Caitlin wrangled up a magic eye so that I may see a game in play and indeed take part, albeit virtually.
Check out the Pirates of Penryn Kickstarter campaign here.
In a world filled with dangerous hackers, the board game Hack Trick: It’s Hacking Time puts us in the position of power. Designed by József Dorsonczky and published by Mind Fitness Games, Hack Trick paints a picture of two hackers looking for world domination… Or at least, cyber domination. But this cyberspace isn’t big enough for the two of us, as we have to deal with our opponents, as well as taking over servers all across the world. Make sure you’ve got a secure connection, as we’re about to check out this simple, easy to understand board game.
GROWL makes an incredibly bold claim, saying “We designed a better werewolf card game for you and your clan!” When I saw this tagline, I honestly couldn’t help but click onto the product and have a look. What I saw appears to be a simple, quick game of Werewolf with some interesting differences. From pure discussion and deception to a card game, is GROWL all bark and no bite? I decided to put my money where my mouth was, as I’ve ordered myself a copy of GROWL – And here’s why.
Jump into your TARDIS and make your way to May’s GeekOut Bristol Meet, where we get all timey-wimey with the good doctors of Bristol! This month will be filled with dangerous Daleks, Cruel Cybermen and some curiously fine scarves! Join us for another 10 hour long event (exclusing our 2 hour pre-meetup), where we’re going to enjoy some good food and drink, followed by some excellent games and geeky conversations.
Looking for a card game where you get to judge cartoon characters? Looking for something quick and easy to set up and play? Want a game with lots of unique looking characters, random questions to ask about them and to be co-operative? Well, I think you’ve just described Unusual Suspects; a game where you see a bunch of suspects and ask a witness a bunch of random questions, from if the suspect is interested in politics, to if they have a record player. Sound strange? Well the clue was in todays title!
Harbour is a worker placement and resource management game, where you play an entrepreneur who has been invited by Dockmaster Schlibble and Constable O’Brady to set up business in their bustling town. You set up your warehouse and take a hard look at how the market is doing before making your first trades. Designed by Scott Almes and published by Tasty Minstrel Games it was first released back in 2015.
Great Scott is a drafting game of invention from Sinister Fish. While at UKGE this year I had the opportunity to secure a copy of Great Scott. Ostensibly I was there to buy for someone else, but at their recommendation I ended up taking a copy home too. I had never before pondered the need for a Diabolical Donkey Destroying Banana Bender, but I have come to an all new appreciation for the device, and here’s why.
Each invention is put together with cards, three concepts and two assets laid out in a particular order to create a coherent and descriptive name, effectively boiling down to a simple formula:
Adjective – noun – verb – noun – noun
Each section is it’s own deck, players take two of each, and commence building by drawing card from a deck, taking one, and passing their hand to the next player. You begin fairly free form, but as the cards are passed around you find yourselves with fewer and fewer gaps to fill, and the pattern you’ve tried to create may suddenly be completed or broken depending on which stack you draw from. Everyone then pitches their idea, describing how it works and what purpose it serves. Everyone picks a favourite and a second favourite, and the next round begins.
Points are accrued from scores on the cards, matching pairs or groups, the commendations of others for a fantastic pitch, and alliteration. So while you may score fewer points by building a Colossal Cactus Burning Bee Booster than an Alarming Albatross Attracting Ape Automaton you may still recover some ground by describing the method by which your huge device might hold back the bee extinction by immolating cacti, compared to the guy who’s mechanical gorilla has led to an albatross infestation.
I love draft games as a format, it’s been a while since I did a Magic: the Gathering draft, but I still love a round or two of 7 Wonders every couple of months. Drafts tend to leave you completely oblivious to begin with, and madly desperate towards the end, so adding the draw step gives Great Scott a little bit more freedom to build an invention you can be proud of, but doesn’t give you sufficient support to make the game too easy.
It’s a sign of a good game that round by round players end up with very similar points, and by the end of Great Scott the point difference between first and last place is quite narrow. There’s a good balance of random and tactical play, and it always leaves you with an invention that is sheer chaos to try and pitch to the crowd. However, it’s this mechanic that does cause a few issues.
For those without a very creative mind, trying to describe their inventions can be difficult, especially for those who perhaps don’t know the less common words like Bitumenising, meaning that points accrued in the commendations phase are often lost. The Aspect cards break down into animal, vegetable, and mineral, and it’s entirely true to say that animals are funnier than most rocks and plants like Diabolite or Elm; there are a few shining examples like arsenic and dynamite, but it’s still a bit of a struggle to derive humour from Bauxite for example.
Really that’s an issue with target market. I still rate the game very highly, it’s good quality daft fun that kills an hour without effort, and even comes with a set of baggies that are slightly too small for any single deck in the box. Ah well, still a nice consideration.