Interview with Brandon Rollins: Creator of War. Co

Happy Birthday to us 🙂 First of all we would like to thank all of our followers, readers and fans for their support over the last year. It has been truly wonderful and we owe you big time. So for that purpose, we have got in touch with some cool people we know…And today we bring you our own very interview with game developer Brandon Rollins!! In case you are not acquainted with the man, Brandon is the amazing game developer of the card game War Co. We met over Twitter, and we have built a relation with him over the last year. He is a super funny guy, and very committed to his project, always willing to chat with other people about games.

About War.Co what you need to know is that this is competitive card deck game, where you win by running your opponent out of cards. There are different decks you can get to build your game. You can find Brandon’s game here http://warcothegame.com/pre-order/ or through the KickStarter site: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1357102631/war-co-expandable-card-game-0

And now, what you actually want to read about: Brandon, himself and his project.

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Tell us Brandon, why board games? What made you want to be a game developer and how did this all begin?

The earliest version of War Co. goes back to when I was 11 years old and watching Yu-Gi-Oh! on TV. I created my own game based on how I thought TCGs worked based on the TV show.

I’ve had a fascination with games since I was very young, but serious game development is something I only got into recently. I asked myself “why don’t I finish what I started a long time ago?” As heretical as it sounds, getting into modern board games was actually a result of being a designer first, not the other way around. Believe me, I was stunned at just how incredible the board game community has become in the last decade!

Continue reading “Interview with Brandon Rollins: Creator of War. Co”

Shadow of Mordor – Surprisingly Good Lore

I recently got around to playing Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, a game that came out in 2014. What I found there pleasantly surprised me, as the story touches on some of the lore in an interesting way while also doing its own completely non-canon thing.

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As far as the game itself goes, it is a pretty decent one. It is very similar to the Assassin’s Creed games in terms of combat and movement, except thankfully the enemies don’t just wait their turn to be countered, but can end up swarming you instead. You also end up with some very powerful abilities to deal with the huge amount of orcs you may have to kill. The most interesting thing about the gameplay is the interaction with the enemies themselves. A large part of the game is focused on ‘Sauron’s Army’, and in the menu you can see the composition of the enemy captains and warchiefs. The first thing you’ll notice about the enemies is that they will be directly influenced by you in a few ways. One such way is that if one kills you they may gain a promotion, and then if they see you again they’ll react, usually with annoyance, at having to kill you again. You can also manipulate the enemies into fighting among themselves, or even dominate a lesser captain, and help him rise through the ranks. This element of the game becomes the main point of the story half way through, but I’ll leave it there for now.

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The combat in this game is slightly brutal…

The main thing I wanted to mention was the way in which the game uses Middle Earth history in its story, as well as where and when it is set. The story starts off with the main character, a Gondorian ranger named Talion, at the Black Gate of Mordor. Straight away this made me question the game a little because I’m pretty sure Gondor wasn’t able to have rangers stationed there at this point. Also the place is immediately overrun by orcs, or uruks as Talion points out. This is apparently meant to be the moment that Sauron has returned to Mordor to build his army. This also doesn’t exactly fit, as I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be such a sudden event, but rather a slow establishing of power until  Sauron reveals unveils his presence in Third Age 2951. I’ll allow the game a couple of small liberties like these however, and at least we now know roughly when the game is set; before the War of the Ring.  Continue reading “Shadow of Mordor – Surprisingly Good Lore”

MMOs are Social Experiments? – When the game gets too real

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear MMO? Of course it would have to be economic debt, disease epidemics and good old fashion tribal killings.

Wait… those aren’t the first things you think of?

After doing some research into the bizarre places online games have taken us in the past those are certainly topping my list. If it sparks your curiosity too then let me share with you a few golden moments in virtual history that were entirely accidental! Yet still painted a frightening parallel to the real world. Be warned some of these examples go to unsettling places.

Let’s begin with something a bit closer to home for online multiplayer fans; Warcraft.
Now let me preface by saying I never got into WoW myself. As much as I love oversized weapons, elemental dragons and big green dudes carrying all manner of axes… it just never scratched the RPG itch I felt growing up. But it certainly did for millions of others (12 million at its peak) and as such there is no end to the social weirdness that can be found there. But we’re not looking at Blizzards fantasy juggernaut for its gold farmers and questionable roleplay guilds…

We’re talking extinction level disease epidemics. Continue reading “MMOs are Social Experiments? – When the game gets too real”

The Skyrim Diaries – Los Diarios de Skyrim Vol. 10.

“I have returned to the island for a while. Now that Miraak is gone, this place feels kinda nice. I feel like I can take time exploring it and learning something new. The people from Solstenheim are so different to the communities within Skyrim. In a way, sometimes, I feel relief being here, in such a detached part of the world; my world”.

“He regresado a la isla por un tiempo, ahora que ya no tengo que preocuparme de Miraak, puedo apreciar la belleza de este sitio con mayor claridad, y creo que podré dedicarme a explorar y aprender algo nuevo entre tanto. La gente de Solstelheim son completamente distintas a las otras culturas que cohabitan Skyrim. Y de cierto modo, hay veces que aquí me encuentro despreocupada. El aislamiento hace por su parte, perpetuando el sentimiento de separación para con resto del mundo; mi mundo”.

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“This material they use, Stalhrim, it intrigues me. I hope I get to master its use just like I have done with the common resources I found elsewhere. It is beautiful, and I really like its glow, like a gem”.

“Este material autóctono que usan los habitantes de la isla me intriga. Lo llaman Stalhrim, y me gustaría llegar a manejarlo y saber usarlo con la misma maestría que el resto de recursos naturales que he encontrado en la región. Me fascina el cómo brilla, como un diamante. Es realmente hermoso”.

“The entire northern area of this island is actually mesmerising. And more similar to mainland Skyrim than the Dumner would ever like to admit. The snow falls here with such a grace. And the sea roars…it is a song of hope and mystery”.

“La verdad es que la zona norte de la isla entera es deslumbrante, y más parecida al Skyrim continental de lo que les gustaría admitir a los Dunmer. Aquí, la nieve cae con gracia y majestuosidad, y el mar ruje tiernamente…Como una canción de esperanza y misterio”.

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“But you all know the main problem with this land…”. “No obstante, ya sabéis el principal problema que hay con este lugar…”.

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“These Black Books bring me knowledge dangerously, but like I established long time ago, in this land everything comes at a high price. Plus, it has some interesting perks…”. “Sin embargo, estos Libros Negros me proporcionan con conocimientos imposibles, y aunque siempre conlleva un riesgo el adentrarse en su mundo, como recordareis de otro diario, ya me he resignado a la idea de que en esta isla todo viene con un alto precio que pagar. Aunque hay que reconocer que tiene sus ventajas…”.

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“I kept roaming after my dealings with the Dremora merchant from a different dimension that thanks to ancient wisdom I managed to summon. It is said that the treasure of Deathbrand is hiding somewhere in here, so I chase after it – mostly out of curiosity, but particularly because I found these boots that allow you to walk across water”.

“Después de haber comerciado con el mercader Dremora que conseguí conjurar gracias a la magia del Libro Negro, me dediqué a vagar sin rumbo fijo. Se rumorea que hay un tesoro escondido en estos lares: el tesoro de Deathbrand lo llaman. Por tanto, me pongo a buscarlo, por curiosidad más que nada, pero sobre todo porque he encontrado estas botas que te permiten caminar sobre la superficie del agua…”.

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“Nevertheless, what I found was something completely different…Lord of Horkers? Like if they are some sort of organised group or something? I always got a funny feeling about them but…This blew my mind. In any case, we left horkers for meat a long time ago…”.

“Sin embargo, lo que encontré fue algo bastante distinto… ¡¿El señor de las Morsas?! ¿Como si fuesen un tipo de organización o algo por el estilo? Quiero decir, siempre me ha parecido que había algo que no me encajaba con estas criaturas, pero esto sí que no me lo esperaba. Pero, en cualquier caso, ya deje de usar hace mucho tiempo a las morsas como fuente de alimentación, así que…”.

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“I honestly thought there would be more to it than just a few horkers…Guess I was wrong”. “De verdad pensé que me esperaba algo más que un par de morsas, tal vez una horda o algo más impresionante…Pero al parecer me equivocaba…”.

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“I looked around the sinking boat and the horker nest for a while. But nothing much came out of it. So I decided it was time to leave Solstenheim for a while. But not without coming home with a souvenir”.

“Estuve observando el barco hundido y el lugar donde había encontrado a las morsas durante un tiempo por si se me hubiese escapado algo, pero nada más salió de aquel asunto. Así que decidí alejarme de Solstemheim por un tiempo, aunque no sin asegurarme de traerme un recuerdo…”.

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“I owe much to the Skaal. This is the way I shall honour them”. “Le debo demasiado a los Skaal. Esta es mi forma de rendirles homenaje por su ayuda y sacrificio”.

 

Probando Juegos para Dos en Board in the City (Southampton)

Este lunes Adie y yo nos pasamos parte de la tarde en un café de juegos de mesa en la ciudad de Southampton (Reino Unido), llamada Board in the City. Ya lo conocíamos de otra escapadilla que hicimos este verano, cuando estuvimos jugando con un grupo de amigos a cosas múltiples. El sitio es muy acogedor: antes era un pub de vecindario, hay muchas mesas, muchos juegos, el personal es súper friki (de hecho, nos pasamos como media hora antes de ponernos a jugar hablando de superhéroes y warhammer con uno de los empleados), y lo mejor de todo es que transmite una sensación muy hogareña. Y los batidos están riquísimos 😉

Total, ya que esta vez solo éramos nosotros dos, decidimos aprovechar la situación y probar juegos que fuesen solo para 2 o con buena jugabilidad con el numero mínimo de jugadores. Cogimos Seven Wonders Duel, pero como los dos ya estábamos familiarizados con la dinámica del juego tras haberlo probado en grupo, nos inclinamos por otras cajas. Como tampoco teníamos todo el tiempo del mundo a nuestra disposición nos decidimos por dos juegos con duración máxima de una hora cada uno. Así que aquí vengo a dejaros esta breve reseña y comentario:

Continue reading “Probando Juegos para Dos en Board in the City (Southampton)”

Geek Economy – BoardGame Wisely

So far we have covered many aspects of geek economy, but we had not discussed the elephant in the room which: board games. They are a double edge sword. They take space, time, lots of money, and usually they require other people to play with. You do not want to go wasting any of your resources on any kind of board game to end up with a bad outcome. I know lots of people who are put off-board games because the invested wrongly their time/money/space into them and they got so annoyed with the subject they just left it all together. We obviously do not want this to happen to you, so here are some things you can do to ensure you are building your games collection in a wise way. And the first point to begin with is being up to date and in tune with the current times. Technology, sociocultural changes and economy are actually making gaming life easier, and this is having a positive effect for those wanting to hoard cardboard boxes full of fun and joy.

As usual I would say the golden rule of board games is do some research: there is literally a game for everyone, about anything. The possibilities are truly endless. Diversity of player number, genre, game purpose and dynamic, game time, etc. Even if you think board games aren’t for you, I assure you there is one with your name out there. But you need to give them a chance. The best way to approach the subject is thinking what do you want from the game, do some little research, read about the game, find some reviews, and then you will be in a much better position to decide whether it is for you or not. Do NOT make the mistake of just looking at the box and thinking “this looks cool”. I mean, you can, and I am sure everyone has done that once in a while, but boxing is just another aspect of marketing, and I have played some pretty terrible and dull games that had some awesome packaging. Now, if you have decided you want a game, you may encounter the problem many of us have: games can cost a lot of money! And if you want to have a few for a games evening, you could easily spend a minimum of 20-50 pounds (I know, that can be A LOT of comics…and MTG boosters, and…). So here are some tips as to how to game wisely, and spend your money in the games you want with a bit of logic:

-Print and play: in this day and age, every game that has made big bucks is available through print and play. All you need is an account, a printer, paper, perhaps glue or cellotape, but most importantly a lot of time and patience. It does not require a terrible amount of skill to just make the basic components of a game as they usually come designed for you, but you will have to either print them, build them, or both, and that can be an arduous task. But it could save you a lot of money if you are up for the challenge. This also gives you the perfect opportunity to try games you are not sure if you wanna buy or not. Then you can see if you like them, or if they are worth the monetary investment. One of my friends is very good with this p&p business, and that is how I have played Puerto Rico (which is an awesome game, btw), as well as a few expansions for other games such as Seven Wonders or Colt Express.

-Tabletop Simulator: we live in the age of technology. Not only wonderful companies such as Days of Wonder have online versions of their tabletop games that you can play for free, but there are video games that have been designed to enable you to play tabletop games. Tabletop simulator is truly handy for this: not only you have access to several thousands of mods that allow you to play the same game you would on a table but on your computer, they also allow you to play with friends how may be far away. This way you can run proper and thorough game tests, and then this will allow you to decide if you want to buy the actual game because, let’s face it, as lovely as it is to not spend money, it’s not the same placing cards on a table or physically moving meeples than clicking on things. And some games are just great because of how tactile they are.

-Board game cafes: these are becoming more and more popular, so it is likely there is one near you. Their collections are usually varied, so for the price of a drink or maybe some food, you could try few games in a social environment. It is also a great way of finding people to play with if you feel stuck or your group of friends do not share your interest in board games. I have been to  few, particularly Draughts (London) and Board In the City (Southampton) and found them nice places where to spend a good evening. The staff is always friendly – they have to be gamers too in order to show you how to play! Just don’t be shy.

-Buy & Sell groups: got a game you didn’t like? or you got a game you didn’t get to use or you do not play any more and need to make some space? Why not sell it as a second-hand game? By getting the same game, but used and a better price you will be making another gamer happy, the game will be recycled, and you will get part of your investment back and some space to fill in with, obviously, more games. Many independent local stores will have their own buy & sell events, so go ask. Otherwise, there is plenty of forums and Facebook groups as well as places such as eBay and Gumtree where you can sort out these kind of transaction.

-Group game wisely by performing team effort: if you have a group of friends with whom you game frequently, you could all pitch in for games to make the expenditure affordable. Or you can take turns: there’s no point 4 people having the same game if they play it together all the time (unless you all really like it I guess). Perhaps friend#1 can buy one game, and friend #2 another, etc, and when you all get together you have a plethora of games to choose from without you all spending a fortune on them or having to carry thousands of boxes to your gaming den all at the same time. The gamers that stick and stay together, play forever. Keep this in mind.

Hopefully this has given you a few ideas as to how to make your board and card game collection more manageable without wasting many resources, and making sure you do things with precision and through calculated decision-making for the sake of your wallet and your gaming experience.

3 Comic Strips to Cure the Winter Blues

Today, making use of my extensive collection in Santander, I bring you a selection of comic strips that I particularly enjoy. Unlike comic series, graphic novels or volumes, I like reading comic strips because of their humour. I mean that was the point when they starting coming out as cartoons in the newspapers, to cause an effect with their gags and sketches. The use of sarcasm, the familiarity of the scenes, etc. However, please do not understand this as me reading them lightly or using them as easy reading, or something just to go by. There is a well established tradition in my family of reading these comic strips just as seriously and with the same dedication as any other comic series. My dad is an avid reader and fan of classics such as Dilbert, or Pearls Before Swine, and many others – Calvin and Hobbs being an all time favourite.  However, my selection of today will be something perhaps a bit less familiar, at least in some cases. So here I go:

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