...No? Not to worry. We've also got Quinns' exclusive thoughts on the new Netrunner core set and Paul's advance review of Unearth, as well as chatter about Legend of the Five Rings, Donner Dinner Party and Cities of Splendor. Also, Quinns has finally played the game that Paul called Uwe Rosenberg's greatest work ever, A Feast for Odin. Will the pair agree, or will this be Caverna all over again?
It’s a difficult time for a lot of people in the Caribbean and the Gulf Coast right now. Our thoughts are also with the Dice Tower team members who have been forced to evacuate their homes. We hope they can return to enjoying the board games we all love very soon.
Remember when Fantasy Flight Games bought the rights to 1996 collectible card game Netrunner and released a new edition that took over my life? Well, Legend of the Five Rings (henceforth “L5R”) is them doing that again. This was originally a 1995 card game, but any week now shops will receive FFG’s beautimus new edition using the Living Card Game business model of releasing fixed expansions rather than randomised boosters. This makes it cheap compared to most collectable card games, albeit still expensive compared to board games.
In other words, we could have a hit on our hands. Have Fantasy Flight folded the original game’s steel into a captivating card katana?
Let’s find out.
Quinns: It’s time to have a Really Honorable War.
It's also the sequel to 2012 release Robinson Crusoe, which Quinns didn't get on with very well. What's changed in five years? A lot, we can tell you.
Blades in the Dark is a game by John Harper, who you might remember from Cynthia’s review of superb free RPG Lady Blackbird. But while that game was an improbable 15 pages, Blades is 336 pages. By comparison, it's his opus.
Which is very good news if (like me) you’re a fan of Scott Lynch’s Locke Lamora books or the heist genre in general, because Blades is a game of playing regency-era criminals. Oh, yes. This is a scoundrel simulator, and whether you want to play a crew of classy vice dealers, some down-and-dirty brawlers, or even a worrisome cult is simply the first of one million entertaining decisions that you'll be making.
Blades in the Dark also offers a vast, seductive backdrop to your escapades: The haunted city of Doskvol, which will be familiar to anyone who’s escaped into the gloompunk of videogames like Thief, Dishonored, Sunless Sea or Fallen London.
This is going to be a long review, and not just because this is a huge book. You see, not only is Blades the most fun that my friends and I have ever had playing an RPG, it’s also like nothing I’ve ever played.
Still, there’s a new Uwe Rosenberg game coming, hooray! Let’s all hail Nusfjord, a game of fishing and worker placement.
Quinns: Hooray! That said, we made this our top story without thinking about how we were going to illustrate it. So up there is just a picture of the real-life town of Nusfjord.
Paul: This isn't our finest hour, is it?
Quinns: Quick, let's distract them with the box!
Now, you’ll remember that while you can go back and play this game’s scenarios on “Hard” and “Expert” modes, most of the appeal is in the first playthrough, making each new expansion pack feel like a long-awaited episode of a favourite TV show. You call your friends over, microwave some popcorn, put the popcorn in the bin so nobody can get grease on the cards and sit down to see what happens to your characters (and their decks!) next.
Which begs a question. Now that the first full campaign has been published (seven expansions that make up The Dunwich Legacy), how’s this TV show doing?
And I think most players would answer you the same way. A small laugh, a faraway look, and then they'd say “Oh, man. It’s good. And... weird.”
And in a world where that speed comes from pounding alloy pistons, feels like warm, rubber-scarred asphalt, stinks of fetid fumes and fury, the Pit Crew are the kingmakers. They, and thus you, decide the monarchs of motorsport, with deft hands of restoration and renewal.
Collectively you wrench home a new wheel, working as well together as the finely-tuned machine you maintain. Nobody is screaming for petrol, nobody has broken the engine, nobody has just dropped a card. It’s fine. It’s okay. You’re the pit crew.
Put on your lifejackets as we dive right into this BUMPER EDITION and start at the deep end with the BRAND NEW STAR WARS MINIATURES GAME.