Monday, 29 June 2015

008. The Cardboard Cartographer issue 8.

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Welcome to issue 8 of The Cardboard Cartographer.

Editorial.

In this issue of The Cardboard Cartographer we'll be reviewing 'Terror in Meeple City'.
But first I'd like to thank you for visiting our website!

Each issue we hope to post some news, a game review and talk about topics relevant to table top games, such as mechanics, conventions, Kickstarter and so on.

I'd also like to mention that all opinions in this issue, and all subsequent issues, are those of their respective authors.
Please don't feel like they are a personal attack or an attempt to undermine or void the opinions of others.
Feel free to agree, disagree, debate and discuss, or simply ignore any or all that is written here.
Whatever you do, be civil. Thank you.

If you have any suggestions feel free to comment, email us, or hit us up @TCBCartographer on Twitter.

News.

Origins.

Because of the sheer UK games Expo content in the last issue, we did not get to cover Origins which hit Columbus, Ohio (US) from June 3rd to the 5th.
Origins is similar to the UK Games Expo in so far that it is a board gaming convention with focus on playing games, rather than the larger conventions such as GenCon and Essen which focus more on trading.

As always there was a huge amount of games on show.
If you'd like to check it out, we strongly recommend checking out the Dice Tower's Origins playlist on YouTube, as their coverage of the events was excellent!

Publishers not paying designers.

This issue was first bought to our attention by Board Game Brawl in one of their 'Kickstarter Update' segments.

It has been claimed that Queen games has not honoured numerous contract agreements between a handful of designers including Donald X Vaccarino, Sen-Foong Lim and Jay Cormier; printing their games without the designers permission and without paying the royalties necessary to do so.

In addition to this Martin Wallace has had a similar experience with Eagle-Gryphon Games which has gone very public on Board Game Geek.

For more information on the Queen Games incident, click here to watch the Board game Brawl episode here.

Alternatively read up on each separate case here:
Donald X Vaccarino.

Sen-Foong Lim & Jay Cormier.

For more information about the Martian Wallace vs. Eagle-Gryphon Games incident, there is a thread about it on Board Game Geek.

This is quite distressing news.
As a general rule, the boardgaming community is quite open, fair and friendly.
This kind of controversy brings bad blood to a community that isn't brimming with negativity.

It will be interesting to see how these disputes are resolved, and how the community reacts to it.

We hope for an all round positive resolution so that all parties can carry on making and publishing great games.

Samurai Reprint.

Back in issue 2 we reviewed the out of print Reiner Knizia game, Samurai, published by Rio Grande Games.

Samurai is getting a reprint!

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Hot on the heels of another Reiner Knizia game; Tigris and Euphrates, Samurai is being reprinted by Fantasy Flight Games, and is due out in the 4th quarter of 2015.

 For more information head over to the Fantasy Flight Games website.

Kickstarter.

Yet more Kickstarter projects!


Zombicide: Black Plague.
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Zombicide: Black Plague is a standalone cooperative boardgame for 1 to 6 players that brings the relentless zombie-killing action of Zombicide into a brand new fantasy setting! Players control a party of survivors as they fight to rid the land of an invasion of zombies controlled by the game itself. Survivors find weapons, learn spells, battle zombies, and gain experience. The more experienced they get, the more powerful they become, but the more zombies rise to face them!


Ending on July 7th 2015,'Zombicide: Black Plague,' by Cool Mini or Not has so far smashed it's funding target.
Initially looking for $125,000 the project has achieved over $2,300,000.
Success isn't unknown to the Cool Mini or Not team; Zombicide Season 2 and 3 both surpassed $2.5 million.

For those of you unfamiliar with Zombicide, Cool Mini or Not originally Kickstarteted this game back in May 2012.
Black plague is their 18th project, all of which have been hugely successful.

The game is a cooperative one where players use their skills and weapons to fight their way through huge hordes of zombies to achieve a certain goal.
Zombicide: Black Plague brings a fantasy setting to Zombicide, tweaking the game along the way.
The game adds enchanted weapons, spells and armour.

The jury is out on how playable Zombicide is as a game, but it's success and popularity is undeniable.
Simply put: If this is your kind of game, there is no reason this shouldn't excite you.

It adds a nice twist to an established system.
The Fantasy theme really comes across quite well through the cards, characters and their well crafted miniatures.

There is no questions over reliability.
This project has been funded, and they will deliver.
By now Cool mini or Not are seasoned Kickstarter veterans.
If there are problems they will deal with them, so there should be no worries here.

With so many games like this on Kickstarter, my main gripe is 'why is this here?'

Zombicicde is hugely successful.
I can understand why the first iteration back in 2012 took to Kickstarter, but now some 3 years later, it is an established company with a product that will shift a ton of units.

It does not need Kickstarter in any way.
They clearly understand this too, as their stretch goals go all the way up to $2.4 Miilion.

Another gripe I have is concerned with the manner of these stretch goals.
The entire Zombicide franchise is plagued with Kickstarter only backer rewards unlocked via stretch goals; adding additional characters, missions, miniatures and so on.
These will be in limited supply once the projects funds, and after each campaign, they have been sold separately for extortionate prices.

I know this is not Cool Mini or Not's fault directly, but these kind of rewards encourage this behaviour.

I personally am not a fan of this.
Limited rewards are meant to be just that; rewards.
Giving something back to people who genuinely have an interest in the game and not just something for someone to make some quick money on.

Personally, I'm not sold on Zombicide.
The game works well enough but it relies heavily on theme over mechanics, with a heavy focus on flooding the gameboard with miniatures to add any feeling of tension or engagement.


Apotheca: The Secret Potion Society.

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Across the land, an invitation has summoned the most clever apprentices: a chance to enter the secret potion society. The cutthroat members, the Apothecaries, have grown too savvy of each other's schemes. They've chosen you to compete in their black market game! Conjuring powerful magic and deception, outwit your adversaries, and you too might join Apotheca.

Ending on July 10th 2015, 'Apotheca' by Knapsack Games has achieved more than double its $20,000 funding goal, sitting at just over $45,000 at the time of writing.

Apotheca is a game for 1-4 players which focuses around making potions.
Players take it in turn to perform 2 of the 4 available actions; Reveal, Power, Restock or Hire.

The Restock actions allow a player to take two potions, look at what they are and place them face down on the board.

The Reveal action allows players to reveal 1 face down potion card on the game board, and collect the corresponding gem.
These Gems are in turn used when performing the Hire action.

Hiring allows a player to gain extra apothecaries, granting them additional powers.
Powers are unique to each Apothecary meaning the more hired, they more versatility a player has.

Apothecaries are the key to winning to the game; the object of game is to satisfy 3 apothecaries by making matches on the game board.
Matches are horizontal or vertical rows of at least 3 face up potion cards of the same colour on the board.
Once a match is made, those potions are removed from the board and placed on a player Apothecary.
This Apothecary is now satisfied.
This provides the player with 1 point towards victory, but at the same time stops the player from using its power in the future.

This game is really well put together.
The rules are simple and easy to understand, meaning the game isn't complicated or hard to learn.
Due to this the game is straightforward to play, making it really accessible to all types of player.
The hidden potion deployment as part of the Restock action gives the game some depth and room for passive player interaction; having a bit of bite without any outward aggression.

This is only Knapsack's second Kickstarter project, and you wouldn't know it from the quality of this project and how well it is presented.
Andrew Federspiel has spent an outrageous amount of time researching just what makes a Kickstarter campaign tick; how to present it, how funding levels should be tiered, the type and level of backer rewards and stretch goals and so much more.
Due to this level of commitment to the project, I have no doubt they will deliver on their commitments; any delays or problems will probably come from manufacturing.

Apotheca is a project we'd happily back because of how much effort has gone into the game and the campaign.
For these reasons it is our pick of the issue.
Though if you're unconvinced there is a print and play version available, as well as a pdf of the rules available, so you can try it out in advance.

Mare Nostrum - Empires.

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'Mare Nostrum - Empires' is a French language board game classic designed by Serge Laget that is being re-introduced by Academy Games and Asyncron. This expanded title includes updated rules, counters, and map board, many new components, and multiple new ways to win!'

Ending on July 5th 2015, 'Mare Nostrum - Empires' by Academy Games has completely destroyed its funding goal of $15,000, raising over $425,000 with days to spare.

Mare Nostrum is empire building meets area control, very reminiscent of 4 ex strategy games.
It is what I imagine would happen if you crossed a game like Sid Meirs Civilization with a territory control game like Game of Thrones.

The project page does touch on some aspects of how the game works, but doesn't go into great detail.
As it doesn't have downloadable rules or a gameplay video it is hard to tell how well the game actually plays.

The way the board is laid out seems similar to a Kickstarter project we looked at in issue 2 called Hands In The Sea. - http://thecardboardcartographer.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/002-cardboard-cartographer-issue-2.html
Where Hands in the Sea's visuals were 'dull, dated and just not visually pleasing in the slightest,' Mare Nostrum is the complete opposite.
Everything looks well designed and polished ; the components are clean, visually distinct and look set to be of decent quality when made.

The game also comes with summary sheets; a feature I'd like more games to have.

Academy games have put out two fairly successful Kickstarter campaigns prior to this including Fief - France 1429 and Freedom: The Underground Railroad, so have decent experience with this type of project.
The Fief Kickstarter especially would had provided a wealth of experience as like Mare Nostrum it did exceptionally well.
This did cause delays, and as such is something they will have planned for this time around.

I'd like to talk more about it, but there isn't much that can be said due to the lack of gameplay explanation, rulebook or related media.
Certainly something worth checking out if these types of games are interesting to you.

'Terror in Meeple City' Review by 'DarkHaZZl3.'

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Google - Fu.

Terror in Meeple City (Formerly known as Rampage) is a dexterity game for 2- 4 player, in which players collect sets of Meeples.
Designed by Antonie Bauza and Ludovic Maublanc, the game was originally publish under the name Rampage by Repos Production in 2013. Due to the similarities between the boardgame and the arcade game of the same name, Repos changed the name to Terror in Meeple City in 2014.

For more information head over to the Terror in Meeple City page on the Repos Production website.

Alternatively you can check out their page on Board Game Geek.

Contents and Impressions.

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• 4 body pawns,
• 4 Paws tokens,
• 4 Mouth/ Stomach player screens,
• 16 Teeth Tokens,
• 1 City Board (in two parts),
• 1 Runaway board (double-sided),
• 90 Meeples (15x6 colours),
• 4 Vehicles,
• 19 Floor Tiles (12 small squares, 6 rectangles, 1 large square),
• 48 Monster cards (16 Characters, 16 Powers, 16 Secret Superpowers),
• 1 reference sheet.

The visual style of this game really jumps out at you.
All the components are big, bold and colourful and the art style is the same.

The art style is very cartoon-esq.
Despite this style there is actually quite a lot of attention to detail .

For example, the details on the players screens match the details on their corresponding pawns.

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The purple dragon's pawn has an earring as does it's player screen and the floor tiles all have little details on them.

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There is a game of Cash & Guns being played in one, a pok├ęball in another.
I also like how the game comes with a sticker sheet to make the Meeples more interesting.

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It might not seem important, but details like this are a really nice feature.
You get the feel that a lot of time and effort has gone into the game, and that is a somewhat satisfying feeling.

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All these game pieces; the cardboard floor tiles, the game board and the wooden pawns are fairly sturdy, as they have to be, but it really adds a sense of quality.

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The rules are fairly clear, simple and well laid out, and the reference sheet is extremely helpful as the cards don't explicitly explain what they actually do.

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Despite this the cards are all pretty cool.
The artwork is colourful and has a sense of humour.

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The overall impression you get before you've even played the game is that it doesn't take itself too seriously, and wants you to have fun with it.

Game Play.

The objective of Terror in Meeple City is to gain the most victory points by the end of the game, which last until the last building has been destroyed.
Players do this by taking turns to perform various actions to knock down buildings and eat their inhabitants.

The set up Terror in Meeple City is always the same with more monster for more players.
In addition there are two runaway board options to change up the game.

To set the game up, Meeples are drawn at random and placed onto the Meeple icons on each of the ruins and then a floor is added on top of them.
This process continues until each building has three floors, with the middle building being the exception.
Players then pick a monster and place its corresponding pawn on its paws in one of the four corners.

In this example the game is set up for two players, using side B of the runaway board.

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Players are then dealt a Character card, a Power card and a Secret Superpower card.

The Character card gives the player a goal for the game that provides them with additional victory points when scoring.

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The Power card allows a player to perform a unique action.

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The Secret Superpower card allows a player to use one off unique action.

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The Secret Superpower card remains a secret, however the other two cards are played face up for all to see.

Once this is all done, the game is ready to be played.

It is worth noting at this point that the game board is broken down into 'areas.'
These are distinctly marked with boarders around them and are also different colours to help them stand out form each other.
It should also be noted that if any part of a piece is touching an area it counts as in that area, which means pieces can be in more than one area at once.


Players take it in turns to perform 2 from the 4 available.
These can be in any combination and in any order.

The 4 actions are Move, Breathe, Demolish and Toss a Vehicle.

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To move, a player removes their pawn from their paws, and flicks the paws token in the desired direction.
Wherever the paws end up is where the move ends and the player place their pawn back onto their paws.

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If the controlling player knocks over another players pawn by doing this, the controlling player takes one of the now prone players teeth and places it behind their player screen.
The prone player pawn remains that way until it is their turn.

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In this example the Purple player has knocked down the Blue players pawn while using a move action.
The purple player then places one of the Blue players teeth tokens behind their player screen.


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In addition to this, if a player flicks their paws off the game board they lose one of their own teeth, which is returned to the box.

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If the player has another action, the player places their paws in one of the corners and continues their turn.
If it was their lats action then that player remains off the game board until their next turn.

To perform a Breathe action a player place their chin on top of their player pawn and simply blows.
Carnage ensues.

To perform a Demolish action a players paws must be touching a pavement which surrounds the buildings on the game board.
The player then picks up their pawn and drops it onto the building from anywhere above the building.

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If the player somehow manages to miss the building entirely, they lose 1 tooth which is return to the box.

To perform a Toss action, the player must be in the same location of the board as a vehicle.

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The player then places the vehicle on top of their player pawn and flicks the vehicle off in a chosen direction.

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If while performing any of these actions a Floor Tile has no Meeples on top of it then the player whose turn it is gets to take that tile and put it behind their player screen.

Also, if at any point during their turn a Meeple is knocked off of the game board it 'runs away' and is placed on the Runaway board.

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Once the threshold of Meeples is reached its effect is activated. These are different for each different Meeple type and also vary depending on which Runaway board is being used.

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Once a player has performed two actions they then get to eat Meeples.

Players can only eat Meeples who are not touching/ partially touching a building.
In addition to this a player can only eat as many Meeples as they have teeth.
Players start with 6 teeth, and will minimum have two teeth (these cannot be knocked out).
To eat Meeples a player picks 1 location they are in and eats as many Meeples as they are allowed to following the above rules.

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In this example the Purple player can eat the Red Meeple and the Yellow Meeple from the location they are standing in.

These Meeples are then placed behind the players screen.

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The game continues in this fashion until the last floor ties is removed.

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The current player finishes their turn, and then each other players get to take one more turn.
Once this is done the game is over.

Players then calculate how many points they have earned.

10 points are awarded for each set of Meeples collected.
A set of Meeples is 1 of each colour.
Each floor tile is worth 1 points and the teeth taken from other monsters is worth 2 points per tooth.
In addition to this, players may score additional points depending on their Character card.

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In this example Purple has won the game.
The blue player has 17 points; 10 for a complete set of Meeples and 7 for the floor tiles they've consumed. They did not achieve their Character card's goal of eating the most Green Meeples.
Purple player has 38 points; 20 for 2 complete sets of Meeples, 1o for the floor tiles consumed and because of their character card, 8 points for the teeth they've taken from the other player.




There are a lot of little extra rules as a result of the various cards and variations on how to play.

If you want to know more about these, or read the rules for yourself, you can download the rules from the Repos Production website.

Personal Opinion.

Terror in Meeple City is not a game you're going to play all of the time.
It is not a deep, heavy strategy game.

It is simply a fun, family friendly game.

Personally, I am not a fan of dexterity games.
When I first played this game I was very apprehensive because of that.
One of the reasons I think this game is quite good is all throughout my first game, in spite of my apprehension, I was giggling like an idiot.

The simple rule system and absurdity of flicking tokens and dropping pawns allow for the game to provide a funny, enjoyable and thoroughly entertaining experience.
The first time someone tries to blow down a building, or drops a pawn on a building is always a great moment as Meeples go flying in every direction.

Because of this game and the amount of fun I have playing it, I have decided to give dexterity games another chance.
So take that as you like.

The main downside of this game is obvious.
Pieces literally fly off in all directions, and it is extremely easy to lose pieces because of this.

When you first get the game some assembly is required.
None of the pawns or Meeples have sticker on them, and sticking them all on is a tedious process.
I can look past it as it is a one time problem.

Another problem is the 'sticky' ruin tiles.
To raise the buildings from the game board, you have to stick ruin tiles over the ruin locations on the game board.
The adhesive quality of these tiles is terrible.
I ended up super gluing mine on as it was a better alternative.

Another little gripe I have is that during set Meeples are to be drawn at random, but no opaque bag is supplied.
Again, it isn't a major thing, I just feel it would just make the game a more complete package.

Re-playability is also a potential issue.
The game is a simple, light and fun.
Unfortunately that means it lacks depth and diversity in terms of game play.
While the different card combinations do switch it up a bit, I don't feel it is a significant enough change to extend the games longevity.

While this may be a problem for some, I personally am fine with it.
The game is not designed to be that type of experience; it is lighthearted, fun and not really serious in any way.


Overall I think Terror in Meeple City provides a really fun gaming experience, is very pretty to look at and if it sounds like something you'd enjoy I'd happily recommend you pick up a copy.

Expansions, Reprints and Different Versions.

The first edition of Terror in Meeple City was called Rampage.
Other than the name there are no differences between the two.

There is a mini expansion available for Rampage/ Terror in Meeple City called 'Rampage: The Space Cowboys.'
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Image courtesy of Board Game Geek

This mini expansion adds track for the Grey Meeples whilst playing side B of the runaway board.
Unlike all the other tracks the Grey Meeples reward the player that knocked them off.

The availability of this expansion is questionable, but can a print and play file can be purchased from the Repos Production web store.

Alternatively you can download and lower quality version for free from Board Game Geek.

Considering it costs very little, or nothing, it is certainly worth picking up.


Digital Spotlight.

As far as we're aware there doesn't exist an app, digital version or tabletop simulator version of Terror in Meeple City.

That being said, you can always play the classic Rampage arcade game!
http://game-oldies.com/play-online/rampage-nintendo-nes#

Outro.

What did you think of this issue? Pro's, Con's?
Did any other Kickstarter projects grab your attention?

Have you played Rampage/ Terror in Meeple City?
What do you think?

Are you a fan of dexterity game or not?

Feel free to comment on this post, or alternatively hit us up on Twitter @TCBCartographer.

Thank you for reading this issue of The Cardboard Cartographer, until next time!