Cardboard Children: NEWSABADDON

By Robert Florence on September 16th, 2012 at 11:33 am.


Hello youse,

I’ve been playing Netrunner this week, but I’m not ready to talk to you about it yet. I’m still getting my head round it. So this week I will bring you up to date on all the gaming news. I like you all to be well informed, so that you can plan your purchases and then suffer that sweet sense of shopping guilt alongside me.

So what’s happening?


X-WING

Fantasy Flight’s X-Wing miniatures game is almost upon us, and I expect it to be fantastic. The game is based on the brilliant WWI dogfighting game Wings of War, so it should play fast and play fun. If it’s priced correctly, I think this thing is going to make a lot of money. A lotta lotta cash. Fantasy Flight released this video that pretty much explains how the whole thing plays. Watch it and see if it looks like something you fancy. I expect to be covering the game in due course.

Also, to further excite you about it, here are the upcoming expansions. Yes, Han’s ship. Yes, Boba Fett’s ship. Yes.

Here’s an idea for some cool dude to try out – a version of the game using Star Wars figures and toys. Like, the action figure scale X-Wings. You know what I mean? A cool thing to do at a gaming convention or something. A big oversized game of this. Yeah. That’ll get you laid.

I’m excited. I love toys.

MAGE KNIGHT GETS AN EXPANSION

It was my game of the year last year, and time has not faded its brilliance. Read what I said about it.

Well, an expansion is on its way. It’s called “The Lost Legion” and it adds more of everything. New location tiles, new enemies, new cards, new scenarios, a new Mage Knight to play with and support for a fifth player.

Five players? Wow. Mage Knight plays really long with three players, so five players will be an epic thing. I’m hoping there might be a few tweaks to get the play time down a bit, but even if there isn’t, it’ll be a great way to spend a substantial chunk of your existence.

If you haven’t picked up Mage Knight yet, you should correct that shit. There aren’t many games as big and deep and great as this. Get it in before the Lost Legion arrives.

CITY OF HORROR

You will also remember that one of my favourite board games of all time is Mall of Horror, the most vicious zombie game you can lose your friends over. City of Horror, the sequel to that game, is close now. You can tell that a game is close when the rules get released for us all to read.

And here are the rules.

I’m more excited about this game than I’ve been for any game in years. The first, now unavailable, is one of the most stressful things you can play. It’s hardly a game. It’s a psychological knife-fight. But, man, the stories it creates will live with you forever. Voices will be raised. Grudges will be held. I’m hoping the sequel retains that dark, unforgiving feel.

I WANT TO KILL MY FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES.

I WANT TO KILL MY FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES WHILE A ROBOT.


ABADDON

Fuck the news. Let me tell you about Abaddon.

Richard Borg, the fella who gave us all that Commands & Colors action, took some of the basic design elements of his usual stuff, flung some giant mechs at it, flung a load of dice at it and called it Abaddon.

The publishers took a lot of toys, a lot of miniatures of big robots and little soldiers, a shitload of dice, and flung a thin rulebook in alongside all of that stuff. And they called it Abaddon.

It’s primarily a two-player game, although it pretends it can play up to four. You can learn how to play it in about five minutes, and then you can start moving big robots around the board and firing lasers at your friends and loved ones. Did I mention that there are a lot of toys inside the box? Big chunky plastic robots, with all their movement and combat stats actually displayed on the miniature itself. No fuss.

To activate your robots, you need to roll command dice. On the faces of the dice are things that say “HEAVY LINK” and “RECON LINK” and stuff like that, and if you roll “HEAVY LINK” you can activate your big heavy robot. If you don’t get that roll, you can’t move that robot. Sucks, huh? It certainly sucks when you just had a great opportunity to kill a friend or a loved one.

Each player only has four units. The HEAVY LINK (big bastard robot), a MEDIUM LINK (slightly smaller bastard robot), a RECON LINK (fast bastard robot) and an INFANTRY SQUAD (cannon fodder for bastards). You can use cards in combat. Often you won’t have the card you need. Sometimes you will make a shitty roll in combat and take critical damage. This means you have to draw a Wild Fire card and suffer some awful and ridiculous affliction that makes your robot as useful as an unplugged fridge. Or, it might make your circuits go so haywire that your robot actually gets stronger. I’m not joking. That happens.

Abaddon feels like a game from the late 80′s. It’s a simple head-to-head robot skirmish game where the best player won’t always win. To score a win in Abaddon you can’t just be good, you also have to be freakishly and annoyingly lucky. It’s a late-night game you can play with a drink in your hand. It will make you shout “OH, FUCK YOU!” It’s a game for 14 year olds, and so you feel like you’re about 14 when you’re playing it.

You will almost certainly wish for more complexity after you play it for the first time. Then you will remember that games are primarily supposed to be fun and judge it on that basis alone. It is robot toys on a board with a shitload of dice and a bunch of stupid cards. And it’s a joy.

But there’s one problem. It is WAY too expensive for a game that’s so light. There’s a lot of plastic inside, so I get why it’s expensive. But this is like a modern take on a fun MB game, something that feels almost like Thunder Road in terms of weight, and so the price really feels pretty steep. But if you can afford it, or if you find it at a good discount, I recommend it highly.

NEXT WEEK

I will tell you about my first Netrunner experiences, and we will look for a third game to join Cosmic Encounter and Descent 2nd Edition on our list of Some Games. Stay you know what!

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20 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    JB says:

    Funny, as soon as you listed the mech types, Thunder Road popped into my head, then you mention it.

    Looking forward to reading your take on Netrunner!

  2. Hatonastick says:

    Abaddon and X Wing are my must buys. X Wing I was already familiar with, but that’s the first time I’ve ever heard of Abaddon. Sounds like a must-buy to play against my video-game-obsessed nephew. :)

  3. Shadram says:

    Really looking forward to your Netrunner review, Rab. You and I appear to have the same taste in games (I, too, like killing friends and loved ones. And in the game.) I took the plunge and preordered it (it’s not arrived in NZ yet) so it will be nice to know if I did the right thing. And City of Horror looks amazing.

  4. repairmanjack says:

    Keen to hear what you have to say about Netrunner – mine is on order. (As is a reprint of Mage Knight and the last copy in the UK of Flash Point Fire Rescue.)

    Anyone here played K2? Tempted by it as it’s so different but not sure of the longevity. Although I’m buying that many new games right now, longevity is almost a moot point. (“Some games” is probably going to cost AND save me money in the long-term.)

    Anyway, time to unbox Arkham Horror, Castles of Burgundy and the Resident Evil deck-builder Rab convinced me to pick up, ages ago.

    Loving the column, as ever.

    • Charupa says:

      I have K2, its a clever and very satisfying game. I believe that the designer is also an avid mountain climber, so there are some nice touches, the board is double sided (easy & hard face of K2) and you get winter and summer weather, so there is a decent amount of replayability. There are plenty of games that I enjoy more, but K2 is a good game that I come back to from time to time. Its particularly good with newish players as the theme means that they can get a good idea of what is going on.

  5. JFS says:

    So Richard Borg is back, eh? Nice.

  6. Kefren says:

    This is my favourite column, it has led me to so many good games. I recently had a frined stay for almost a week with the goal of just playing as many boardgames as possible, time off work etc! We recorded the whole week’s scores. It was 50/50 at the start, but then I seemed to take over and win almost every game. The best was Summoner Wars. He won the first game, when his guild dwarves beat my undead. We decided that was it, undead couldn’t be played again since the summoner was dead. So the next game I picked cave goblins and managed to beat his deep dwarves. The battle for the mountain was on. We waited days, huge buildup, before pitting his champion guild dwarves against my champion cave goblins. Incredibly tense, I kept up the offensive on his summoner, then at the last second rushed forward with some fast but weak units, and unbelievably the two slingers managed to defeat his summoner (slingers are the weakest of all units). Cue huge groans from one player, and victory dances from another. You can guess which was which. I mentioned some of the games briefly in the second paragraph here http://karldrinkwater.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/stories-in-games.html. Happy memories.

  7. malkav11 says:

    Fuck yes Mage Knight expansion.

  8. KieranFurie says:

    I must have these tiny little xwings.

  9. Trithne says:

    I’m awaiting the Netrunner article just because I want to know how much has changed from the original game and how much they kept. I won’t say that Netrunner was perfect, but it came pretty close, and I’m concerned that change for the sake of change will kill it.

  10. makute says:

    This new Netrunner, is a CCG like the old (ancient) one?

    • Trithne says:

      No, it’s an LCG, which is a bit more suited to the Netrunner style. But they’re adding things like cards related to specific corporations or types of runners, to apparently add flavour and tie it more closely to their Android setting they’re basing it in. Also, psychic powers.

  11. TheXand says:

    Those are just adorable.

  12. Shralla says:

    Wow, Mage Knight is still around? I remember buying boosters and playing that when I was in middle school.

    • malkav11 says:

      It’s technically the same license, but we’re not talking about the collectible miniatures game that was popular a while back. This is a brilliant one-to-four-player (five, apparently, with expansion) boardgame of fantasy exploration and conquest.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    X-Wing looks like a lot of fun, and I like the fact that the model isn’t tied to the unit stats/cost. That said, FFG doesn’t seem have to any real organized play system. Back in the day I played the Mechwarrior Clix game, and on the Wizkids website you could find a list of all the weekly games scheduled to play in your area along with details of the matchup, how many people RSVPed, etc. FFG just has…a forum.

  14. Synesthesia says:

    Hi rab! Im glad city of horror is coming, but arent you upset to see the amazing, beatiful artwork gone?
    Why did they go and kill the polaroid items? That was a stroke of genius. Now they look like generic, everyday item cards. Boring and bland. Ill still be getting it, but if mall of horror was still in print, id get that instead.

  15. johnnype says:

    Looking forward to the Netrunner review. Don’t be discouraged Robert, the game really isn’t that hard. A couple plays and the run rules will make perfect sense. When it comes down to it it’s not that it’s hard it’s just that it’s different from most other card games out there.

    My take, speaking as a fan of the original, is that this new version is at least as good as the old. The only drawback I’ve come across is the moneygrab the publisher has made by NOT including 3 copies of each card in the core set which makes serious fans of the game like me want to buy a second box all for maybe 20 cards. Not cool FFG. Not cool at all.

    Other than that the game is fantastic. I look forward to the monthly expansion packs which we are told will contain 3 copies of each card so will only require one purchase. Best game of the year? Maybe.

    • kaffis says:

      In defense of FFG, I think their argument that it’s less a moneygrab and more about creating 7 legal, playable, and generally balanced decks out of the box with no deckbuilding (by combining all the cards for one faction with the neutral cards) is not only a plausible one, but a laudable one.

      By doing so, they expand the market for the box set to include people who aren’t attracted by deckbuilding, and that’s a good thing because if people buy and try it, they might become sufficiently engrossed in it that they want to start changing things. And that makes a long-term & potentially organized play player out of somebody who might not have bought it to begin with if the decks weren’t legal, fun, and useful out of the box.

      And considering most of the cards that are 1x copies are unique in the first place, purposefully including dead cards in a prebuilt deck is pretty lame.