Warning: Declaration of ES_Text_Diff_Renderer::_lines($lines, $prefix, $class) should be compatible with Text_Diff_Renderer::_lines($lines, $prefix = ' ') in /home/dmetro/games-blog.pairodicegames.com/wp-content/plugins/exploit-scanner/exploit-scanner.php on line 946
Game Articles - Pair O’ Dice Games

Game Articles

Miniatures Battle Variant for Three Players: Down in Front

Most miniatures war games usually revolve around battles between two opposing forces. But what do you do when you have three interested players?

Here’s my suggestion for a game style based on an all-out free-for-all, but with scoring mechanics to encourage shifting targets and a back-and-forth battle.

Continue Reading…

Custom Firearms for Shadowrun 4th Edition

Previously I posted a couple of custom pistols made using Shadowrun 3rd Edition rules. This time around I’ve updated them for Shadowrun 4th Edition (using the weapon modification rules in Arsenal).

Continue Reading…

Custom Firearms for Shadowrun

After a bit of mail from a Shadowrun 3rd edition fan, I dug these bad boys out of my archives. Here’s two pieces of heavy artillery (all right, heavy pistols) for the firearm enthusiast on your team!

Continue Reading…

More than Four Players (and the Gaming Sweet Spot)

Ever notice how some games are great, until you try them with a different number of players? Maybe this game works best with three while another one only works really well with more than four players, despite what it says on the box about supporting two to six.

I’ll take a look at the sweet spot for a few games and why I think these games work well (or don’t work at all) with more players, plus some suggestions on how they might be improved to scale for a larger group.

Continue Reading…

Silent Death: First Impressions

Silent Death: the Next Millennium Deluxe Edition

While I’ve had Silent Death: the Next Millennium for a while, I recently had my first opportunity to play it. In short order I discovered the qualities which gave it the reputation for being a fast-moving, easy-to-play, and exciting space combat miniatures game.

What follows is my brief description of the game’s contents, rules, how it felt playing for the first time, and why I’m very eager for a rematch!

Continue Reading…

Wageslavery – an Underappreciated Theme in Shadowrun

Shadowrun Wageslavery - Chipped Workforce

Shadowrun’s futuristic technology includes skillwares, chips with software which grant users access to knowledge and skills they do not innately possess.

Convenient for shadowrunners, yes. For the general populace? Downright dramatic; think about areas like manufacturing, and it becomes apparent that skillwares pose new pressures on the global workforce.

Here’s how I think new levels of civil unrest and social upheaval can create an excellent backdrop for a meaningful Shadowrun campaign.

Continue Reading…

Dual-Queue Draft for Jyhad/V:tES Cards

VtES Dark Sovereigns booster box

Drafting can be a great way to enjoy CCGs. While booster drafts are popular, I’d like to put the spotlight on my favorite drafting format: The Queue Draft.

In this post I’ll explain how the queue draft works and what you need in order to enjoy drafting. Plus why I think it works especially well for one of my favorite CCGs, Jyhad (aka Vampire: the Eternal Struggle) – but keep in mind it can be used with just about any CCG!

Continue Reading…

Snow Tails – First Impressions

Compared to some of my First Impressions posts this will probably be pretty short. It’s not that Snow Tails is any less deserving of space but rather it’s more that the game is fairly simple to describe. I have to admit that this is one of the reasons I decided to do this post today.

There are several other games (Le Havre for example) I have played recently that I feel the need to either put up in a First Impressions post or write a full scale review about, but most of them (again Le Havre comes to mind) would take up a lot of time to discuss. Since I sort of feel that I am still recovering from Origins (and the pile of work that I came back to after being away for a couple of days) I didn’t want to tackle anything too extravagant.

Continue Reading…

Battlestar Galactica – First Impressions

bsg

Just so we are clear this is about the game Battlestar Galactica and not either of the two TV series. The game is simply called Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game however so it’s possible it could be a bit confusing.

Continue Reading…

Market of Alturien Review

Market of Alturien box cover

Market of Alturien feels like a new twist on a familiar classic, sort of a more-skill-less-luck Monopoly if you will. After having played it several times I’ll provide a brief review of the game and how I feel about it.

Continue Reading…

Cosmic Encounter – First Impressions

cosmic encounter

I toyed with the idea of calling this Cosmic Encounter post something else since really these are not my “first impressions”. Cosmic Encounter was originally published in 1977 (the same year I was published, for those interested) by Eon. It has since seen versions from West End Games, Mayfair Games, Avalon Hill, and now Fantasy Flight Games.

Continue Reading…

Small World – First Impressions

small world game

Continuing my marathon of new game additions I recently received Small World as a gift. As I mentioned in my Galaxy Trucker post I want to give First Impressions of all the games I play and then later on (assuming I play the game enough to give a decent review) write a Review of the game. So, this article is about my First Impressions of Small World.

Continue Reading…

Galaxy Trucker – First Impressions

Over the weekend I received Galaxy Trucker as an early birthday gift from one of my friends and I wanted to take a few minutes to write about it (see side bar).

Continue Reading…

Exploring Fun and Game Complexity

Sometimes it’s the simple games.

Recently I bought a house and moved. It’s great that my wife and I own our living space… but moving sucks. We’re unpacked but I’m still very busy, getting things taken care of around the house, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Lasting disruption, basically.

I’m not sure if it’s that disruption or the weeks without gaming, but this past weekend I played some simple games with my group… and had a lot of fun doing it, even though I’m usually biased toward complex gameplay.

Let’s take a look at the desire for complexity in games and how it relates to fun.

Continue Reading…

Agricola – Review of the Very Popular Intense Farming Sim

agricola-box-cover

Agricola is not simply “Very Popular” it is in fact the number one game over at BGG. While for some this might not mean much, it certainly influenced my decision to purchase it (or rather have it purchased when one of my friends said “what should I buy?” while we were at the local game shop).

So, reviewing this game is a tad bit intimidating. I sort of feel as though I should take a stand and either say “wow this game is awesome OMG, OMG!” or take a contrary position and bash it and talk about how “freaking overrated this ‘been there, done that’ eurogame is” but really I can’t honestly take either of those positions. There are things I like about Agricola and things that I don’t like and I will try to express them without bias.

Continue Reading…

Saying “No Thanks” to Dominion

After reading my review of Dominion it would be hard to imagine that recently when people have suggested it, I have shrugged and said something along the lines of “If everyone else wants to, I guess” and yet that is exactly what has happened.

Continue Reading…

Scrap Heaps: To Be or Not To Be Collectible

Over the last couple weekends we’ve gotten some playtesting time on Scrap Heaps. Like last time on Scrap Heaps game development I’m continuing to file away the rough edges, with the help of playtest feedback.

In this post I’ll relate some of the recent changes and things learned from playtesting, and my thoughts on the big question of what kind of card game Scrap Heaps wants to be.

Continue Reading…

Alhambra – Review

I’ve been a bit busy the past few weeks and I am falling even further behind in my game reviewing. Today, thankfully, is a bit slower than some (I don’t have to work through lunch today for a change and I should even get out on time!) so I figured I should finally get around to writing up the long anticipated review of Alhambra.

Continue Reading…

Path to Victory – Scrap Heaps Game Development

Recently I dug up an old game prototype I made for a card game called Scrap Heaps. There were a number of reasons I liked the overall design, but looking over the game again after years have passed I noticed some rough spots.

In this post I’ll touch upon the design of Scrap Heaps and go over one of the problems I aim to solve as I take it through the game development process.

Continue Reading…

Masquerade – Card Game – Review

This would be the first review I have written since my Review of Reviews. I chose Masquerade partly because I have owned it for a while and I have been meaning to write about it but also because it is fairly simple and I hope to demonstrate how I plan to review further games in the future with a game that will not be too overbearing.

Continue Reading…

Review of Reviews

What follows is a discussion of how I have been reviewing games and a description of how I plan to review games in the future. While I have reviewed role-playing games and role-playing game books in the past, this article is in reference only to board games and card games.

While I feel there can be a general way to review board games and card games, reviewing gaming books falls under a different umbrella and while I may some day analyze the way I have been reviewing these products this is not that analysis.

Why Review Games?

Continue Reading…

Rorschach – The Inkblot Party Game – Review

After my review of Dominion I thought I would turn to a less-than-stellar game that I recently added to my collection, namely Rorschach.

Continue Reading…

Dominion – Review – Best New Game I Played in 2008

Normally I am rather reluctant to call anything “the best”. This is true both with games and the rest of my life. The reasons are many but it often boils down to my feelings that things feel better at certain times or are better for certain reasons but will falter at other times. For example, when you’re in the mood for a comedy it is unlikely that a horror movie will fit the bill and is thus not “the best”. Perhaps that’s a rambling bit of nonsense but essentially what I am trying to say is, that I sort of feel like I am going out on the proverbial limb when I call Dominion the “Best New Game I Played in 2008” and yet I am still willing to say it. Which hopefully says a lot.

Continue Reading…

Race for the Galaxy – Review of the Popular Card Game

In some ways I almost feel silly (as well as intimidated) writing yet another review of this much talked-about game, but I still feel obliged to do so. My reasoning is that every opinion counts and I suspect that while my opinion will mirror some, in some ways it will diverge from others. I have the advantage and disadvantage of going into this review knowing that the game is immensely popular. I could for example try to write a very negative-minded review for purposes of garnering attention for the blog (there is no such thing as bad publicity) but I will not do that.

What I will try to do is describe the game in my own words, the basic play of it, and then describe what I like and what I don’t like. This is essentially what I always try to do, which is why I generally stay away from giving my reviewed games a “score” of any sort but it is certainly far more intimidating when I am dealing with a game such as Race for the Galaxy. Race (which i will often refer to it as) has been both heaped with praise and analyzed by many that are certainly smarter than myself. Still, I will do my best.

Race for the Galaxy Box Cover

Continue Reading…

Smart Ass – Game Review – A Trivia Party Game

No, this is not a cheeky game review but rather a review of a game called Smart Ass.

Overview

Smart Ass is a rather simple but interesting Trivia Game from University Games, a nifty little company that I had never heard of before playing Smart Ass. Essentially the game is about one player giving the others little clues until someone can identify What, Who, or Where the “I” of the question is. The game moves fairly quickly and while it has a few snags should appeal to anyone who likes trivia.

Continue Reading…

Minimum Wage Goes Live

It’s finally up! I would love to hear back from anyone who has a chance to play it or even if you just look over the cards.

More info about the creation of Minimum Wage will be up soon so keep coming back!


Gonzo! from Minimum Wage 40 Hour Deck

Continue Reading…

CCGs the Fun Way, Part 1: Friendly League Play

Ever since Magic: the Gathering first became popular, there has been a problem playing CCGs casually with a group of friends: someone spends their way to victory, which triggers an arms race until everyone is either left in the dust or spending way too much on a “casual” game.

In this article I’ll offer some tips on how to enjoy collectible card games with friends, without breaking the bank.

Continue Reading…

D&DI – Brief Review of the Bonus Tools

D&DI Bonus Tools

Currently individuals willing to pay for a D&DI subscription have access to three “Bonus Tools” with the promise of more online tools, not called Bonus Tools but still tools of a sort, to come. Obviously the most dynamic of these eventual tools is the Game Table but for now all we have is The Encounter Builder, The Ability Generator and The Monster Building which are the three tools called Bonus Tools. I had played around with the first two already and finally took some time to check out The Monster Builder, so far I’m very unimpressed.

Continue Reading…

Thoughts on Stealth and Perception in Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition

I have always had a bit of a problem with perception in role playing games. One issue is the fact that, with so many players (five or six for most games I have run), one player will inevitably roll high and thus find whatever it is they are looking for, even if they have a low score in perception. The RAW for D&D 4th Edition tries to avoid some of this by using Passive Perception Checks.

Continue Reading…

Say Anything Review – Simple and Fun but Maybe Missing the Pop

Say Anything Box Cover

I’ve discussed and reviewed a lot of party games over the past year and this is another game that falls in that category. Say Anything is the newest game from North Star Games, the company that brought you Wits and Wagers, discussed briefly in my Life is a Four Letter Word post. While the game doesn’t really play the same, Wits and Wagers is a trivia game where Say Anything is not, you can certainly see the similarities.

Continue Reading…

Risk Revisited Edition – More on House Rules and their Biggest Design Mistake

Our group has been playing the Risk Revised Board Game for the past few weeks and I wanted to do another post about about the game. I have done fairly well at winning this game so it may have skewed my opinions on but I do feel it is a solid game with solid rules.

Continue Reading…

Review of Risk Revisited Edition

In case you missed it Hasbro has a new version of their classic Risk game. This game is being called a reinvention as it is not the same as Risk 2210, Lord of the Rings Risk, Godstorm or any of the other versions of the game but is instead a new version of classic Risk and is being distributed by Hasbro as a mass market game and not by Avalon Hill as several of the other versions have been.

Continue Reading…

Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition – Game Review

Before I get into the review I feel I should mention that I haven’t played any of the other versions of Ticket to Ride.  This review will reflect that and those who have played other versions of the game are welcome to comment on the differences, but as I only have second-hand accounts of the differences I will not be discussing them.

Continue Reading…

Review of Shadowrun: Runner’s Companion

Shadowrun Runner\'s Companion

As I have mentioned several times I am a huge fan of Shadowrun. I love almost everything about the game from its living world with new and interesting events happening all the time to its concise and well thought out rules. Shadowrun, for me, offers the perfect mix of action and role playing and really opens itself up to all kinds of gamers.

Recently I purchased the Runner’s Companion combo pack which gets you the pdf version of the book and the hard bound version when they release it. Most likely I would have waited for the hard bound version if my next game were not starting soon but as it is starting soon I wanted the new options available for my players. I also figured that it gave me the opportunity to write a brief review of the book in a somewhat timely fashion.

Continue Reading…

Skill Challenges – Comparisons, Game Incorporation, and House Rules

I’ve spoken at some length already about my feelings toward skill challenges and in general those feelings have been rather positive. This article is meant as a wrap-up of all of the previous discussions and to be sort of my “final word” on the subject. In all likelihood I will mention them again but probably not at this length. I hope that this post will not end up being tragically rambling but then that is my writing style and I am trying to touch on several related topics so I’ll do my best but don’t count on it.

Continue Reading…

The Messiah List, Part 1: Betrayal

Shadowrun short fiction


“You sure this is the place?” Highlight asks, left lip curling up to reveal her prominent teeth. She sits in the back of the van but leans forward and peers at the small suburban house through the passenger’s window.

Continue Reading…

Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition – Solo Monster – Necro Infused Orc

After my first attempt at making a solo monster I was left frustrated and disappointed but after starting a post on the official forums and reading what others had to say about solos I decided not to give up. Instead I refocused and began working on a couple new ideas for solo monsters. Below you will find the stats for the first of these solos.

Continue Reading…

Fat-Free Magic: the Gathering – Without Lands (Channeling Land Variant)

Ever since Magic’s debut, there has been a built-in inefficiency to deck building and play caused by the requirement of including basic land.

This always irked me, and here I’ll look at why basic lands exist, then explore some house rules variants which remove them and evaluate the merit of each. Find out how Magic: the Gathering can be more fun with no lands!

Continue Reading…

Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition – Classes, Roles and Professions

One of the biggest complaints I see these days in regards to D&D 4th Edition is the limitations put on a character because of Class and Role. While some people seem to understand what the creators were trying to do, others either don’t get the idea or deliberately avoid understanding it. Because this is a bit of a hot topic and one that interests me I thought I would spend a moment talking about how I perceive it and how I feel it should be perceived.

Continue Reading…

Kill Doctor Lucky – Why a Binary Win Condition Fails

Recently I had the opportunity to play a newer version of Kill Doctor Lucky (thanks Dan, for having one of those birthday things) and find out how it compares against the original. There are a few important differences, which I’ll run through before describing their ultimate impact on gameplay.

Kill Doctor Lucky – Game Overview

Imagine Clue (the game, though the movie was great). Now imagine that instead of each player trying to uncover the identity of the killer, each player is out to be the killer but only when nobody is looking. Oh, and change Mr. Body’s name to Dr. Lucky, because he’s, well, extremely lucky and uncannily avoids numerous attempts on his life.

Continue Reading…

Elite Gribb Statistics

Here are two Elite Gribb I made up for my player’s first D&D 4th adventure. I was trying to figure out how to template them before posting but computers and I really don’t get along. These guys are based on my Gribb statistics.

Continue Reading…

Quelf – Review – A Party Game for Gamers but Only Certain Kinds of Gamers

I got a chance to try out Quelf a few weeks ago but then over the weekend I got it out again and the room was filled with laughter as a full eight player game took place. I ended up sitting out to let others play but it certainly made its mark on the participants.

Continue Reading…

Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition – Monster Statistics – Gribbs

I love the collection of monster in new 4th Edition Monster Manual and I love the array of powers that the designers have given them. I know some people are lamenting the loss of certain creatures (centaurs, rust monsters, metallic dragons, etc.) but never having had an attachment to the D&D world of old I guess I’m just as happy with these things as without them.

There are several reasons for choosing the creatures they did, not least among them that they wanted to keep a few hold-outs for the Monster Manual 2. While some people will insist that this is a greedy move by the company I guess I personally would rather see a book have some “normal” monsters and some bizarre monsters rather than have the basic Monster Manual be all the boring stuff and then have the later MMs be full of ever more crazy creatures.

One problem I have with the Monster Manual is that there are very few options for introductory adventures. At about level five onward you have the option of sending lots of lower level creatures at a party (or perhaps “pumped up” versions of lower level creatures) but of course there are no lower level creatures for a starting party. It seems your basic options are either Kobolds or Goblins. I wanted to have another option so I created Gribbs.

Continue Reading…

Role Playing and Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition

Just how much role playing is in the new edition of Dungeons and Dragons? Just how much role playing was in the older editions? Is D&D a roll playing game? How much does a system of rules force players to play a game a certain way? How much impact does genre have on role playing?

I felt I should warn people that this is a rather long post. I get some flack about the length of my posts but I still have not learned the art of brevity. Since I have no soul and very little wit, this really comes as no suprise.

Since the release of 4th Edition (and actually even before its release) many people have become irate about the lack of role playing in it. Many felt that the changes were taking away options and making the game less realistic or more board-game-like. Not everyone agrees with this statement, and after reading through most of the core books I don’t agree either. In this post I would like to examine the evidence and explain why I feel there is greater potential for role playing in 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons than in 3.0 or 3.5. I will also touch upon other aspects of role playing such as genre impact and rules impact. These ideas are far more general but they are no less important to the whole.

Continue Reading…

Pandemic – Review

I got a chance over the weekend (well, Saturday, as Sunday was taken up by other things) to play a few more games of Pandemic and I think I now have a pretty good idea of how the game works. So below you will find the review I promised last week when I was talking about Co-Op games in general.

Continue Reading…

Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition – A Wickedly Short Review

Many people beat me to the punch of reviewing D&D 4.0. In truth if you were looking for reviews and opinions of the new edition you could easily have found them long before the game was officially released (you could even have found some here!). In fact you could have found the whole game before it was released since a pirated copy showed up online and Buy.com released some hundred copies a week early.

So, I really don’t feel another normal review of the game, one that goes over the changes and then either says “D&D 4.0 scores big for its simplicity and fun” or “D&D 4.0 is now a completely different game, Wizards has destroyed the game we all know and love!” is in order. Instead what I would like to do is talk about one of the things I was doing this weekend instead of writing a review, namely going to see the musical Wicked.

Continue Reading…

Co-operative Board Games: Working Together for the Enjoyment of All

Yesterday I was given a copy of Z-Man Games’ Pandemic. I knew it was on the way and had originally planed to buy it myself until I was informed that someone else had ordered it for me as a gift (thank you Matt). I plan to do a full review on the game after a few more plays (got two in with two players last night but I would like to get a more even assessment before writing my review) but I thought that I could at least do a brief post about co-op games in general.

Continue Reading…

The Addition of Editions: A Brief Look

The release of Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition is right around the corner and if you have been paying attention at all you’ll know I am pretty excited about it. When I first heard about it I shrugged it off but then curiosity got the better of me and I did some research and posted the results of that research. Since that time I have been reading the Wizards posts and poking around for opinions from people with advanced copies while I eagerly await the arrival of my copies of the books.

The opinions about the new edition seem to be fairly split, with an edge given to positive impressions. While there are many different complaints (no gnomes, no half-orcs, no sorcerers, multi-class changes, alignment changes, etc.) the most amusing complaint I have seen is “3.5 is fine, don’t let Wizards trick you into spending more money!”

Continue Reading…

Vegas Showdown – Games I Play

Vegas Showdown

I haven’t done a Games I Play post in a while and I have been meaning to. After getting a chance to play Vegas Showdown with Scott over the weekend I thought now would be a good time to do a quick write up about it. Remember, this isn’t really a full review so I will try to keep it short. There are, as always, good reviews over at the Geek including a review by Yehuda Berlinger who was kind enough to link to our blog way back when we were first getting started.

Continue Reading…

Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition – The Good and Evil of the new Good and Evil (Alignment Changes in 4th Edition)

I’ve been waiting for today’s D & D preview to come out even know I was pretty sure I already knew what it was going to say. It was about alignment. I have already spoken about how I feel about the old alignment system and anyone that read that post can be fairly certain that I was looking for a change. Well, it looks like I got what I wanted or at least got part of what I wanted.
Continue Reading…

c

Fatal error: Uncaught Error: Call to undefined function ereg_replace() in /home/dmetro/games-blog.pairodicegames.com/wp-content/plugins/popularity-contest/popularity-contest.php:2531 Stack trace: #0 /home/dmetro/games-blog.pairodicegames.com/wp-content/plugins/popularity-contest/popularity-contest.php(2495): akpc_is_searcher() #1 /home/dmetro/games-blog.pairodicegames.com/wp-includes/class-wp-hook.php(286): akpc_api_footer_javascript('') #2 /home/dmetro/games-blog.pairodicegames.com/wp-includes/class-wp-hook.php(310): WP_Hook->apply_filters(NULL, Array) #3 /home/dmetro/games-blog.pairodicegames.com/wp-includes/plugin.php(453): WP_Hook->do_action(Array) #4 /home/dmetro/games-blog.pairodicegames.com/wp-includes/general-template.php(2630): do_action('wp_footer') #5 /home/dmetro/games-blog.pairodicegames.com/wp-content/themes/pairodicegames05/footer.php(3): wp_footer() #6 /home/dmetro/games-blog.pairodicegames.com/wp-includes/template.php(688): require_once('/home/dmetro/ga...') #7 /home/dmetro/games-blog.pairodicegames.com/w in /home/dmetro/games-blog.pairodicegames.com/wp-content/plugins/popularity-contest/popularity-contest.php on line 2531