Condottiere

Condottiere

“None of the principal states were armed with their own proper forces. Thus the arms of Italy were either in the hands of the lesser princes, or of men who possessed no state; for the minor princes did not adopt the practice of arms from any desire of glory, but for the acquisition of either property or safety. The others (those who possessed no state) being bred to arms from their infancy, were acquainted with no other art, and pursued war for emolument, or to confer honor upon themselves.” –Niccolò Machiavelli, History of Florence Book I, Chapter VII

It is 13th century Italy. Trade flourishes between the city-states and the Levant. Venice, Florence, and Genoa are bursting with wealth. However, each city-state is also plagued with a weak national army, leaving them defenseless against invasion from their envious neighbors. Enter the Condottiere.

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Evolution: Flight

Evolution: Flight

Evolution: Flight, an expansion for Evolution, introduces avian species into the ecosystem. Now your species can swoop on unsuspecting prey from above, fly away from predators, or soar to a new location when food is scarce. Will the ability to fly propel you to new heights? Or will it bring your downfall? Explore the expanding Evolution world and find out!

With this expansion, you may now choose between creating a normal species and creating a flying species! The expansion changes tactics and strategy dramatically, but it doesn’t change the base game’s core mechanics, so it’s a snap to learn.

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A Game of Thrones: The Card Game (Second Edition)

A Game of Thrones: The Card Game (Second Edition)

In A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, the warring factions of Westeros await your command, inviting you to engage in a life-or-death struggle. In every game, you select devious plots and challenge your opponents on the field of battle, through back alley intrigue, and in the political arena. Whether you play a against a single opponent, in a game known as a joust, or engage in a battle of three or more players, called a melee, winning challenges against your opponents is the way to victory.

Your ultimate goal in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game is to gain influence over the greatest seat of power in Westeros: the Iron Throne! To achieve this goal, you must call upon iconic characters, such as Tywin Lannister, Robb Stark, Stannis Baratheon, Daenerys Targaryen, Euron Crow’s Eye, The Red Viper, and dozens of others. You must maneuver the members of your House and your allies in a constant battle to gain power. The first player to claim fifteen power wins!

In the game, each player has two decks: a draw deck and a plot deck. Your draw deck contains the tactical elements of your struggle, including the characters, locations, attachments, and events that you call upon in your struggle to claim the Iron Throne. You can command characters from throughout A Song of Ice and Fire, and you can march forth from the icy walls of Winterfell or muster your armies around Casterly Rock. You may even equip your characters with storied weapons, such as the Valyrian steel blades Ice or Widow’s Wail. The draw deck holds these powerful characters, locations, attachments, and events. This deck is randomly shuffled and players draw their hands from this deck.

At the start of each round, each player simultaneously chooses and reveals one of the plot cards from their individual seven-card plot decks. Your plot for a round determines how much gold you can spend on cards, which player starts with initiative, and how powerful your challenges are. Your plot also bears a reserve value, which determines how many cards you can keep in your hand past the end of the round. Plots may also offer powerful effects that can trigger when the plots are revealed or persist to shape the entire game round. You may scorch the earth with a deadly wildfire assault, or call upon all players to support the faith of the Seven.

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The Burning Wheel

The Burning Wheel Gold

Burning Wheel is an award-winning fantasy roleplaying game in which players take on the roles of vibrant, dynamic characters whose very beliefs propel the story forward. Starting with a simple D6 dice pool mechanic, this game intuitively builds on its core concepts. The rules detail dramatic systems for task resolution, advancement, trials of belief, tests of nerve, searing social conflict, dangerous sorcery, miraculous faith, and brutal, gut-wrenching martial combat.

Behind the dice, your decisions drive the game’s systems. Their choices tangibly affect every outcome—from glorious victory to ignominious defeat. But there are consequences to every decision, ramifications to every action. The choices you make close off one path, while opening another. This philosophy underpins the character creation system for Burning Wheel. And it’s not just a matter of pushing a point here, or nudging a number there: As soon as a player decides to make a character in Burning Wheel, he is confronted with decisions about the character’s past, ethics, beliefs, scars, goals and dreams. Questions whose answers affect not only the player’s character, but the shape of the story as a whole. Burning Wheel is presented in an easy-to-read writing style, with plenty of insight and advice from the designer. If you’re not careful, Burning Wheel will change the way you play roleplaying games. The Gold Edition combines both the Revised Edition’s Burning Wheel and Character Burner. It has been reorganized for clarity and updated by the author.

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Evolution

Evolution

In Evolution, players adapt their species in a dynamic ecosystem where food is scarce and predators lurk. Traits like Hard Shell and Horns will protect your species from Carnivores, while a Long Neck will help them get food that others cannot reach. With over 4,000 ways to evolve your species, every game becomes a different adventure.

Evolution packs a surprising amount of variety for a game with simple rules. The variety comes from the synergies between the trait cards and from the different personalities at the table. Some players thrive on creating Carnivores to wreak havoc on their fellow players. Others prefer to stay protected and mind their own business. Evolution encourages both play styles by giving each of them multiple paths to victory. And it is the mix of play styles at the table that ultimately determines the eco-system in which the player are adapting. So gather your friends and see who can best adapt to the changing world around them.

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Cockroach Poker Royal

Cockroach Poker Royal

As in its parent game Kakerlakenpoker, Kakerlakenpoker Royal has nothing to do with poker – except that the game is all about bluffing, but with cards showing cockroaches, rats and stink bugs instead of queens, 10s and aces. To set up the game, shuffle the deck and deal the cards out to players. On a turn, a player takes one card from his hand, lays it face down on the table, slides it to a player of his choice, and declares a type of critter, e.g., “Stink bug”. The player receiving the card either:

Accepts the card, says either “true” or “false”, then reveals the card. If this player is wrong in her claim, she keeps the card on the table in front of her face up; if she is right, the player who gave her the card places it face up before him.

Or passes the card to another player, peeking at it first, then keeping it face-down and either saying the original type of critter or saying a new type. This new player again has the choice of accepting the card or passing it, unless the card has already been seen by all other players in which case the player must accept it and make a true/false claim.

The game ends when a player has no cards to pass on his turn or when a player has four cards of the same critter on the table in front of him. In either case, this player loses and everyone else wins.

To this, Kakerlakenpoker Royal adds new rules and new nasty “royal” critters to create more options for players during the game.

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Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope

Gather 3-5 players, set aside 2 hours, and make up an unwatchable “foreign” film using a pile of index cards and your crazy brains!

Use this step-by-step guide to guffaw your group through non-chronologically remembering a wildly bizarre movie that you apparently just watched together! On each player’s turn they write a part or moment into the movie (oh, I mean remember a part or moment of the movie they saw, pardon me) and insert it anywhere into the timeline you’re collaboratively creating!

Kaleidoscope, a thorough stand-alone hack of Ben Robbin’s celebrated Microscope: a fractal role-playing game of epic histories, has been simmering on my back-burner for a couple of years. I want to share the laughs! Through these years Kaleidoscope has been streamlined and made more silly, seen play in numerous conventions up and down the west coast of North America and many living rooms and several cafes, receiving amused or (on one occasion) unamused looks from folks at neighboring tables, and eliciting many decibels of laughter from its players.

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Colt Express

Colt Express

In Colt Express, you play a bandit robbing a train at the same time as other bandits, and your goal is to become the richest outlaw of the Old West.

The game takes place in a 3D train in which the bandits can move from one car to another, run on the roof, punch the other bandits, shoot them, rob the passengers, or draw the Marshal out of position. The train has as many cars as the number of players, and each car is seeded with gems, bags of loot or suitcases at the start of play.

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Goblin Quest

Goblin Quest

Goblin Quest is a roleplaying game. As you play, you’ll tell stories about goblins trying to achieve basic tasks and meeting fatal misadventure as they do it. You’ll play the goblins, and you’ll steer them through (or, more commonly, directly into) adversity, and you’ll have a fun time doing it.

It’s not a game about winning; there are no points for surviving the longest, or achieving the most goals. The aim of the game is to have fun with your friends. Even if all the goblins fail in their quest, if you’ve had fun losing, that still counts.

Goblin Quest is designed to be played from start to finish in a single sitting – it should take around 2 hours to complete a story. The more players you have, the longer the game will take to play.

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Pandánte

Pandante

Pandante is a gambling game that’s all about lying.

It’s the Panda’s version of poker that brings joy to all.

And it has a Gold Fairy.

You should see how the Pandas gamble. Everything about it is familiar, yet different. The cards are oversized to fit their paws. It’s sort of like Texas Hold ‘Em poker, but you don’t have to know anything about that to play it. The whole game centers around constantly lying, which makes it a lot of fun. While they have a way of playing it for real money, they also have a way that makes for a great social or family game for 2 – 6 players.

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