Sunday, April 24, 2016

BRUNO! - Part 1

Folks, I say that we are a great podcast and I mean it.  If you've stuck with us this far or are just joining us, then you are in for a treat.  I've got the one and only Bruno Faidutti for the this week and next.  You can hear me discuss all sorts of interesting topics with one of my favorite designers.  Plus, this week we review Warehouse 51 from Passport Game Studios and FunForge.

As always, we are sponsored by the illustrious Game Surplus!  Head over to for all your gaming needs, especially hard to find imports.  Plus get the best customer service in the industry.

Have you checked out Aether Captains on Kickstarter?  This bad boy is 200% funded!  Get in on this for some great Kickstarter bonuses and fly the friendly (or unfriendly) skies.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Harry and Karrin - Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game for two players

Our Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game preview continues with more insight after a few more games.  If you want to read our initial impressions, go here:  Dresden Files - first impressions

Tonight we thought we'd try the official two-player rules.  Yesterday I played a second hand separate as that's how most co-ops have you handle less players.  Plus, I really wanted to get a feel for the multi-player game.  Tonight we played it the way the rules suggested.

When you play a two-player game, the rules tell you to take 2 characters, lay out their stunt and talent cards, and then shuffle all their character cards together into one deck and draw 9 cards.  I had serious reservations about how this would work.  How did it turn out?

Flexibility galore -  When you discard for fate in a normal two-player game, you can choose to utilize either talent.  That was huge, especially as my two allowed me to place clues.  The choice was great because it put more emphasis on choosing when to discard for Fate which is already a monumental decision.

Card variety - The bigger deck means you'll see less of each characters cards.  This means you'll have widely varied hands from game to game causing you to solve the puzzle differently each time.  I love the fact that you never know what you're going to draw.

Play time - The game stayed the same length.  This was ideal.  Such a great feature.

Balance - The Horsey Avenger says she loves the fact that playing this way didn't feel unbalanced compared to multi-handed.  She was worried that the combined decks and character powers might be overpowered, but it definitely wasn't.  In fact, it was maybe even tighter.

This game is tight!! - Speaking of tightness, this game is finely balanced.  Our games have all been really close and these were no exception.

Love the 2-player variant - I love playing the 2-player game this way.  It's so much nicer than having to manage multiple hands or characters.  Everything is right in front of you.  There's no picking up or putting down cards.  You just need to look at your talents.  This really simplifies the game for 2.  I'll probably never play multi-handed again in this game. 

If you can't tell, I adore this game for 2 players.  The official rules work so much better than I was thinking.  It's nice to not have to manage 2 hands of cards.  It just makes the experience so clean and easy.

Also, our last game came down to the Showdown!  That was exciting.  At first I thought this was anticlimactic but it turns out that it can be really great.  We saved Fate points and utilized my two talents to set ourselves up for one last case and it came through.  I love that you can manage to eek out a victory you didn't think you could get.  It was such a fun way to pull it out.

Evil Hat Productions and Eric Vogel have done a stellar job converting one of our favorite books to a wonderful boardgame.  This game feels so smooth.  You can feel the development that went into it.  If you're not in on the Kickstarter, go do it now.  Dresden Files on Kickstarter

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

FUEGO! - A first impression of The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game

If you like wizards and magic along with all the fun that comes with people of that ilk, odds are you've read about the wizarding adventures of Harry Dresden in Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files series.  These books have become iconic in the modern fiction world and rightfully so.  Harry and his band of cohorts and enemies are part of a rich world that's easy to get lost in, the mark of any good book series.  When I found out that a game was coming out, I was excited.  And when I found that it was Evil Hat Publishing putting out an Eric Vogel design, my excitement went through the roof.

We just played our first two games and we wanted to get out some first impressions while the Kickstarter is running to help inform people of whether they should back the game or not.  We played with 3 characters mocking a 3-player game.  We'll try playing the official 2-player rules tomorrow and report back.

Rules - The rulebook is laid out very well.  It was easy to understand and get up and running.  I did read the rulebook in advance, but this thing is so clear you could easily sit down and be playing within half an hour.  It's clear and concise.

Short play time - Both of our games played in about 30 minutes which is perfect.  That means you can play this game at lunches or when you have a short window of time.  Part of me wishes it was longer, but it's actually sort of perfect.  The way the cards are laid out means the game will almost always fall in this timeframe.  It's nice to know you can count on the length.

Player interaction - There's a lot of it here.  This game requires serious teamwork.  You'll all have to make sacrifices of cards you really want which eliminates the alpha-player problem.  I like that everyone has to do things they don't want to do to keep the game going.  There's a lot of discussion required to optimize your strategy and the cards in each player's hand will change the plan from moment to moment.

Cards - Speaking of cards, I love the fact that you really won't see your whole deck every game.  Most times you get a draw or two which means there's a lot of cards that you just don't get.  This really adds to the player interaction because you will need to find ways to make the cards you have work.  You can't count on the cards you want to be available so you need to make it work.

Book cards - We loved that the same story is arranged differently every time.  This will keep it from getting stale when you beat a Book.  Just shuffle up and lay them out again and you'll have a different puzzle to solve.  We've only played Storm Front so far so I can't speak to variety, but I love how different cards become your target based on the layout.  That will make sure your strategy adapts every game.

Artwork - The artwork is great.  Once they get the individual pieces for all the Book cards, it will be even better.  This game is going to shine with all the cards tying in to what they are in the stories.  Fans of the Dresden Files world will love seeing their stories come to life.  It's awesome already and the individual artwork will make it even better.

Less is more - The game is very minimalistic and that's a great thing.  It makes the experience very clean.  There's really nothing fiddly here at all, just a solid design that allows the players to work the game.  That's the mark of a good game.  When the game gets out of the way and the player interaction shines, you've got a great design.

Luck of the dice - The Fate system works awesome here in that it takes some certainties and adds just a touch of random.  It's just enough to make you work around it and I like that.  You have plenty of chances to mitigate the luck so good play seems like it will prevail the majority of the time.  I'm sure there will be a time that dumb luck makes me lose, but that will make for a great story at least.  Also, the fact that the Showdown can trigger at inopportune times due to a dice roll adds some great tension in key moments.

Resource management - There's definitely a focus on resource management with the limited number of cards.  These are basically your currency because you have to use them for everything.  Managing how you use them feels a lot like a puzzle.  It's interesting to see how far you can stretch your possibilities.

Characters - We played with harry, Susan Rodriguez, and Michael Carpenter.  It felt like each character had separate strengths and that felt thematic.  The Talents and Stunts really felt like they matched the characters perfectly.  It added a wonderful connection to the stories and made the game pop.

Something for everyone - The game is easy enough to teach non-gamers but there's enough decisions to make gamers happy.  The game skews to the lighter side, but there's plenty to like for gamers of every skill level.  Also, if you aren't a fan of the books you can still like the game.  Liking the books will just make it better.

Cooperative - Lest I forget to mention, this is a co-op boardgame. That gives it advantages and disadvantages which depend on your taste in games.  I personally like co-ops.  If you do, then this is an excellent one to add to your collection.  If you don't this won't change your mind unless you are a die-hard Dresden Files fan.   That said, the cooperative element here is wonderfully executed. 

Naturally, there's bound to be something I don't like.  I really wish the endgame was better.  I don't love it, but I do like that you've got a chance to come from behind with some lucky rolls.  I wish there was some sort of climax, a fight or battle.  Just something to work towards that would add one more layer to the design and really tie it together.

We're just a couple plays in but so far it feels like this is a perfect fit.  It's thematic, it plays wonderfully, the design is clean, and the player interaction is highlighted.  The stories are highly replayable due to the randomness in the card layout and player deck draws.  There's huge amounts of room for expansion and various levels of customization.  The game length is consistent and fits in a perfect slot.  The integration with the books makes the entire package shine in a way that alleviated my worst fears.  This game is a lot more than just okay.  It's great.  And it's got even more potential for greatness.  I can't wait to play this thing more.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Episode 18 is live - Wizard of Oz, part 2

Our second episode of the season is live on iTunes and RSS feed.  This week we continue our interview with David Harding of Grail Games.  David tells us about what's coming up in the future for Grail Games.  Spoiler Alert:  He's going to be busy! 

Horsey Avenger and I review Grail Games' wonderful reprint of the Reiner Knizia classic filler, Circus Flohcati.  Hear our opinion on this awesome game.  Like everything David publishes, it's a lot of game in a small box.

Monday, April 4, 2016

We are back! Episode 17 is live!

You wanted the best? YOU GOT THE BEST. No, not the legendary KISS. It's even better: Cardboard Insanity has returned!

It's been a long time, but we have made our triumphant return and we're starting off with a killer episode. CI Alumni David Harding is back to tell us all about what's going on with Grail Games. David's been a busy boy and he tells us all about it. Plus, we review Matcha, a wonderfully elegant 2-player game designed by David and published by Grail Games.

We're starting a bit of a new format with shorter episodes. We hope to bring you episodes as often as possible, hopefully weekly.

Sorry it took so long. We promise you the wait will be worth it. We've got some awesome guests and reviews coming up.