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?
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.
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.
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!