What are TRPGs and why do we quest? Why we think you might like them too.

By Mykal K Grimm

If you are new to role playing games then I hope this piece will shed some light on the hobby and help further your interest in this truly enjoyable form of social entertainment. Table Top Role Playing Games are not like other games the majority of your friends might play when they hangout in their free time as it has a heavy reliance on the players imagination and it is narrative driven, a story is unfolding throughout play and you can change the course of events by decisions taken by the player. The dice have more than 6 sides or less depending on which ones are needed to be rolled and the game is not competitive in the sense that there is a winner and looser at the end. The game also lasts longer than most traditional board or card games and is played in a way that most people have not encountered as it is vastly different to Uno, Chess or Poker. We will go deeper into the mechanics at another time but it is a very different game that offers a truly unique and fun experience for the players and game masters. I will do my best to help explain what it is we do around the table and why I enjoy it and think more people would if they tried to play TRPGs.

Role Playing Games are games in which the player takes on the role of a character of a certain class and race in often a fictional setting where they are given a quest to resolve. When generating this character you roll or calculate Points for your ability score and distribute them among your skills and attributes which is done during the character creation phase. Different classes possess different talents and abilities as do races which can include dim light vision if you were an Elf or resistance to poison if you were an Orc shaman. Classes can range from the combat focused Fighter to the versatile Wizard and Elves, Dwarves and Halflings are but some of the playable races and classes in some of these systems.  These tabletop games are not merely restricted to medieval fantasy settings but those are the ones I prefer and will use them for most of my examples.

Games can be set in any era, in any environment and classes and powers vary from system to system as do the rules of play.  Mutants and Masterminds is an RPG system which sees you take on the role of a super hero or villain and battle it out Marvel style while Call of Cthulhu has the players play as Investigators trying to solve a murder before dying or loosing their collective s##t in the process. Some RPGs require a  gaming surface and miniature figurines for staging combat, others may use index cards to tell a story while some do not require anything but a piece of paper and is entirely spoken. RPGs come in many forms , levels of complexity and have actually been around since the 70’s with  Dungeons & Dragons being the first leading name in the industry and remains so until today.

Gary Gyax and Dave Arneson were enthusiastic war gamers who wanted to create a game in which you controlled a single soldier opposed to an entire unit or platoon. They would eventually brainstorm a very basic Dungeons & Dragons system and later Gary Gygax would publish it through his company TSR. D&D would change the face of gaming forever as many video game developers would use the character stats from their game to develop and design their own games with them serving as a template. In time their brand would have bestsellers popularizing the genre of fantasy further and familiarizing the reader with their RPG settings and lore. They would push the envelope for the entire industry while creating it at the same time. Fantasy was the first setting but later they would release futuristic science fiction settings in Gamma World  and other books including D20 Modern where players could use SMGs and helicopters. The whole idea was to give players a chance to enter their imaginations and with their guidelines play out epic adventures all from the safety of their own home and in the company of their friends.

Me and my guild first really got into RPGing because we all enjoyed similar things and for most of us, none of us had a chance to really play an TRPG. We would come together and after long discussions about D&D we decided to give it a shot and start playing. At first most of us were brand new to Dungeons & Dragons TRPG games but we enjoyed reading the books, seeing the great artwork. We did start with a more complex system (3.5 Edition which later evolved into Pathfinder) that did have many stats, numbers, reading and may not have been the best choice for newbies in hindsight. The learning curve is not as steep as it may appear at first glance but it does require reading the material in order to have a basic grasp of how it the game is played. Coming to the gaming table without reading anything is a mistake. With the resources available online today a new player can get a decent idea of what the game is about and a basic comprehension of stages of play and how a turn goes. We ourselves plan to put out tutorial videos down the line.

In the beginning your eyes will be overwhelmed with many of the Character sheets but after a few gaming sessions you will know what to look for and where what goes. With every session we ran we would feel more comfortable with the rules, questions would get addressed and answered and the deeper we delved into this imaginary world. My first character was Marcus Marvella, a Half Elf Ranger with a cliche backstory and I remember how much I like attributes of the class. My brother player a more advanced class of a War Mage, Boris of the Bash Bros was a Human Barbarian and Medeni played a dwarven cleric. All of us enjoyed figuring out which skills and weapons to use depending on the situation they found themselves. We learned very fast that there was a big coop component to playing the game, communication and teamwork is the only way to survive an attack or escape a potentially fatal argument. We also grew closer as friends and before long we are snapping D&D puns and jokes and it was something we all would continue to look forward to until this day.

When you quest you are playing a character other than yourself in a fictional setting where you are not bound by our current reality and norms. Want to slay dragons and rescue the princess, you can do it from the safety of your home with your friends as your allies. Ever wanted to be part of a story as it was written? Solve mysteries in a Victorian city or escape the Death Star with you friends, yes and yes guys. Questing is always going to have more options than any video game because there is no limit to your imagination. Many have described the RPG experience as the players are characters in movie and are playing it out as the Game Master is the director responsible for crafting the obstacles and supporting cast. I cannot describe the laughs had at the table and the tension when the Health Points were low and nobody had any potions and our Cleric was out of heals! The immersion is a big part of why I enjoy playing and running the game. No one session is the same and if done right a session involves just as much role playing as combat encounters.

The community of tabletop RPG players is diverse and the passion for the hobby is very real. There are dozens of groups and pages on social media and websites (cough) including Nerd Dimension who seek to make this hobby more accessible and make it easier for those wishing to pursue it as a hobby. RPGing can be a truly liberating experience, being able to break away from the problems in the real world and it can also be very social if you schedule games with new players once in a while. I hope that this post can help motivate readers to consider playing or maybe return to it now as there are so much more options now. Reach out to members in local gaming groups or go to game shops and see if there other players who need an extra player. The experience can be rewarding and it is better than solitary gaming in my opinion. At the end of every session I feel I did not waste my time, I was socializing while playing a game by telling a story. I do not have the same feeling after playing 4 hours of a PC game or console and my eyes get tired.

If you love playing RPG PC or video games, this is something you should at least look into to get some insight into how your pass time originated. I have noticed it seems harsher for video game players crossing over but there are systems that let you do awesome stuff in the early levels so don’t worry about being bored.

If you love fantasy fiction then I cannot recommend this enough for it is the closest I have gotten to playing a character from one of my favorite novels and immersing myself into a setting. It could also serve as a helpful tool to flush out your own settings and characters if you group are open to trying it out.

If you are looking for something different that could sharpen your writing, voice acting or social skills in general than this is something that could be beneficial to you.

 

Game Systems I can recommend for new players:

GURPS : A very basic system which is good for a first session as there is less attributes and a basic rule system. A great way to introduce basic character creation and principles of play found in the more complex systems especially for younger players. There are many itirations of the system with loads of settings to choose from and is the cheapest to get price ways compared to the bigger systems.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (2nd Edition): A step up in complexity but still easier than the later editions and other RPGs on the market. Despite having more rules than GURPS the AD&D system allows for more options in play and character creation. Good starting point if you have a group thinking of playing D&D the amount of materials and campaigns online to me make this the most fun to run and play for new players from teens to adults. Our very own DM Pat still runs the system until this day and you can catch him on Roll20 running sessions.

Shadowrun: A science-fiction / cyber punkish game which is more focused on skills opposed to class for solving problems and resolving combat. It is a more modern setting and is rich in theme and flavor and serves an interesting alternative to players not looking for Swords and Sorcery. The weapons and races are just as diverse as you can find in most fantasy and the twist of entery this ‘Matrix’ like cyber dimension makes for a unique experience. You have hackers to tanks and working together while one of your runners is disabling a security program is pretty cool. If you want to get a feel for the general idea of the game you can get the Shadowrun PC games for fair prices on GOG and I recommend them.

Call of Cthulhu: A horror science-fiction RPG based on the HP Lovecraft’s Mythos in which you investigate mysterious events and have to maintain your sanity and safety as the Ancient Ones hurl every demonic thing it can at your party. The basic role playing rules make it easy to get into for new players and the horror setting will have players on the edge of their seats until the very end where everyone dies…because it is very very very hard to survive in COC. A must play for all horror and Lovecraft fans thinking of entering the RPG realm.

Star Wars Roleplaying Game: What more can I say. This game was designed to be easy for those taking their first steps into roleplaying games and the theme is there in buckets. It is new and you can buy beginner boxes for cheap and I think this goes over well with younger players the most. Unleash the force with your buddies while recapturing some of the magic of the movies.

Vampire: The Masquerade :  A system unlike the others which is more story orientated opposed to combat. The system has a strong community and following is designed with those looking for more storytelling in the game and the setting and theme of vampires is very well done. Take on the curse of the night in the form of unique vampires as you and your party have to decide how to operate in this hidden world. There is a great PC game developed by Troika of this system which I recommend.

There is something for everybody in the world of tabletop RPGs and maybe this post helps somebody choose to give them a shot. Until your eyes gaze upon my humble writing once more please let us know what you think of our content in the comments section below. If you like what you read so far we welcome you to subscribe and follow our social media pages and podcast.

*Nerd Dimension also have started recruiting members and players for our Sci Fi Fantasy Club in Kungsbacka, all you need is the app Meet Up to find and get in touch with the group.

Fighting with little plastic men. The story of Warhammer:Fantasy Battles

New contributor and fellow Nerd Big K aka Kruno drops an article about the best table top fantasy war game of all time. Read more to find out more about this forgotten classic.

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It was the year 1998, the author of this text was in his late teens and admittedly a bigger geek then I am now if that is even humanly possible.

My friends and I had been playing D&D from the very beginnings and as a group we have been hardcore gamers, but D&D to us was a system that was just missing something, we could not quite put our finger on it, but as we understand it now we were missing gritty reality and logic.

While playing D&D at later levels, talking 12th and up, any character could basically walk into a village, kill every single person there and leave without so much as scratch on them! So things like that happened a few times in our playgroup before we disbanded until we could find a punishing enough system that would prevent stuff like that from even the most advanced level players.

We explored and read a lot and my friend and I found an article on (god damn I feel so old for remembering) Alta Vista(for those of you who don’t know what it is, its basically something like Google but way more primitive) about Warhammer: Fantasy Battles. It was a game of heroes and armies clashing on the field of battle, where 2+ players each commanded their own little or big army as we would later discover and beat each other senseless for bragging rights and a pint of beer, or if you played seriously on the tournament scene you could win some nice expensive Warhammer figurines and accessories like paint stations and professional style airbrushes.

In August 1998 the very first box of Warhammer: Fantasy Battles 5th edition arrived in Split, Croatia and my entire crew gathered to see what was in the beautifully painted box which sported a knight in full plate armor on a warhorse charging some sort of lizard like creature.

The suspense was crazy and we were all giggling like schoolgirls, and then we opened the box, it was full of unpainted and un-assembled models of knights, archers, lizardfolk, and sported 2 phenomenal looking heroes/champions for each army.

It also contained a phenomenal rule-book with loads of rules for almost any situation that could occur during the game itself and incredible Gothic looking artwork which we all fell in love with at first sight.

While some people felt underwhelmed and a bit disappointed, most of us including me saw huge potential in Warhammer. I saw endless possibilities for customization and making your own unique army and heroes, which could possibly be used in other gaming systems not just in Warhammer.

Now that we had the actual game it was but the the beginning of the love that would mark the next 20 or so years of my life.

We would all now have to chose an army to represent us best on the battlefield, it would define the way you build your army,  the way you play and what were the strengths and weaknesses of your particular army.

As a group we all picked what we felt most comfortable with.

The Vampire Counts with their incredible necromantic magic that could make entire units of skeletons appear on the battlefield.

The High Elves with their fast moving infantry and cavalry paired with their Mages that could wreak havoc on enemies.

The Empire ,a human faction with  heavily armored knights and heavy artillery like cannons and mortars to back them up and mostly used infantry as cannon fodder and something to be sacrificed to achieve victory at any cost.

The Dark Elves and their specialist units which were lightning quick while their heroes were ferocious in up close melee combat.

The Wood Elves as absolute kings of shooting with their longbows which had extra range and extra power, and the best scout units in the game.

 The Brettonians as a human faction which could be best described as feudal french knights mixed with crusaders and peasants as backup units which provided numbers while their fantastic cavalry did heavy hitting.

The Skaven a race of mutant ratfolk which use unstable magics and fight in huge numbers while supported with a form of close combat magics and semi/mechanical shooting which were hugely unreliable but when they did work  it proved absolutely devastating for the enemy.

The Warriors of Chaos a semi human demon faction wielding insanely powerful magic, which were the ultimate bad guys in the Warhammer world.

The Dwarfs a  reliable army of heavy armored infantry that could withstand almost any charge and strike back with good measure, backed up with some of the most devastating shooting units in the game and very decent protective magic.

And the last but certainly not least, my own favorite faction

The Orcs and Goblins   purely for practical reasons cause nobody else wanted them, I took them as my favorite and never regretted it for a millisecond.

It was an army of monsters, giants, trolls, goblins and orcs which lived in a mostly nomadic tribes and while they had huge numbers they were primitive and their magic was unreliable. When it did hit  it was absolutely devastating and while orcs were huge lumbering brutes that relied on pure strength, goblins were sneaky and devious so with those 2 combined were for me a match made in heaven.

 

And so we all began collecting and painting our armies, gathering for gaming and painting sessions that would last for entire weekends, I personally remember a couple where my folks asked me „Have you guys eaten anything in the last 2 days?“ we would paint and play for hours, the game was to us so immersive and so gritty and real that we had people including me (actually, especially me) have nerd rages for rolling bad and having our heroes killed by sheer bad luck. To most of us it was the best representation of tabletop conflict we have ever seen, and we loved every second of it, because even if you lost, there was a sense of dramatic achievements when you told how your mage wiped out an entire enemy unit when his spell failed (yes it was actually quite possible for a spell to fail and do devastating damage to both friends and foes alike).

We loved the unforgiving nature of the game which made you think of it like chess but with six sided dice included, mistakes on the battlefield were severely punished and your units could quite easily be wiped out by much inferior opponents just because you left your flank or rear open and vulnerable to attack. It was unlike anything we ever played before, in D&D you could resurrect your fallen comrade, in Warhmmer if a Lord/Hero/Mage died it was a huge deal and most armies suffered greatly with a loss of such a huge point investment and lack of leadership.

Warhammer as a game itself has many extensive rules, most of which I will not mention in this text, cause I’m writing an article not a 450 page book, but I do need to mention the game has complex character stats and quite a few of them for each model/character and the better your stats the more points the model costs and each game is played with an agreed number of points, for tournaments it was considered that 2000 point games were most balanced but most playgroups played anything from 500 point skirmishes to 5000 grand battles.

The game itself developed and my group played all editions of the game, however instead of making progress, it is my firm opinion that the game was at its peak during 6th edition which was the most balanced and started deteriorating from there, instead of fixing the minor issues of the game Games Workshop made 7th edition which was somewhat an improved version of the 7th but it reduced and gimped a lot of armies because it reduced the number of race specific magical items doing away with the uniqueness of armies,instead of listening to their player base Games Workshop messed up big time, we thought OK, we can adapt its not 6th but its still playable.

After 7th edition was released followed by the semi disastrous and final installment of Warhammer: Fantasy Battles the 8th edition, while it added some great stuff, like advantage for fighting in large units the so called horde units, it absolutely killed cavalry and mobility and made all armies a copy paste of each other which huge infantry units charging frontally into each other. It seemed to us older players that the game was so stupidly simplified that even preschool children could play it, and we were pretty pissed off.  The number of race specific magical items was almost nonexistent, everything was  incredibly streamlined and we were all disappointed and incredibly angry to the point that some people actually quit playing all together after reading the rulebook.

It was a sad time, we were friends who shared an interest but this tore our group apart, nobody wanted to play with these stupidly simplified rule set, we felt like the huge effort and not to mention a really large money investment was taken from us because developers were morons who did not listen to their player base! Games Workshop wanted to make more money but they failed to realize that you can’t make such drastic changes without alienating and antagonizing longtime customers and supporters of you previous iterations.

It felt like they cheated us old players in favor of new kids and we were pissed off, I believe we had every right to be.

Warhammer: Fantasy Battles no longer exists as a game system, it is replaced by a stupidly simplified game called Age of Sigmar, which while undoubtedly fun to play has no where near the complexity of the game I loved to play which has reduced the number off stats and characters become 1 man armies that decide combat results, while in previous editions it was all about the positioning of your units making the right charge at the right time. Now it is all about who has a bigger sword on a bigger lord class character which is too simple, non complex and for this reason is NOT in the true spirit of Warhammer!!!

It makes me sad and happy at the same time that a group of enthusiasts made an unofficial Warhammer game called the 9th Age but, its not officially endorsed by Games Workshop unfortunately.

This was my experience with Warhammer: Fantasy Battles a game that has given me great joy and a lot of fun memories. It made me a lot of friends and it saddens me that it no longer exists as something I loved to play but as something completely different, that greed and corporate money grabbing destroyed what was once of the greatest tabletop war game of all time.

 

I hope you enjoyed my debut article for Nerd Dimension and look forward to reading you feedback in the comments. Remember to rate, comment and subscribe to our Facebook page and Podcast to stay in the loop as we upload new content.

Aliens : Colonial Marines ( Xbox 360 Game Review ) * Couch COOP Gaming *

We take on the the Aliens in this splitscreen shooter, read more to see how we faired and what we think of one of the worst reviewed games in console history.

To clarify for all of our readers that the guy who wrote this review was a fan of Aliens from the jump. The first Aliens game I played was on Sega and I spent hours of my early teens in Lan gaming spots playing the first Aliens Versus Predator with an IV drip of soda and pyramids  of snack wrappers littering my immediate surroundings . All fandom aside this will be an honest critique of the game where the franchise history factored only slightly in regards to ‘theme’ and ‘story’. Having hear many negative things about the games AI I still held out hope when I heard writers from Battlestar Gallactica worked on the plot, trying to approach the game without bias proved harder than I expected.

It would be wrong to ignore the power a brand can have on influencing your first impression or motivations in purchasing a game. The Ridley Scott classic movies made Xenomorphs one of the most identifiable aliens in popular cultural putting them in the same category as ET, the Predator, the Grays and the green men from Mars. Every kid wanted to blast those aliens and if nothing this game promised you that out the gate.

Needless to say we were curious to see the campaign Sega managed to pull together with all the existing source material available and if would play as well as it should compared to previous shooters under the same brand. It was their second game after purchasing the franchise and took the developer Gearbox which had worked on a version for the Playstation 2 earlier butt hat project was scrapped. Sega had a lot of pressure to deliver and I would be lying if I said this game even came close. In fact after playing the game the first time I read that it was considered to be in the top 10 worst games of all time. This game was released in a time when Sega had long given up on consoles and were making the millions in intellectual property so they did not have that many games in the works.

Off the bat the graphics are not the best we have seen as the campaign opens with you and your player 2 getting briefed on the USS Sephora before things start blowing up. As expected for the classic first person title the controls are standard and easy to learn while the darkness and shadows are done well making it feel more authentic adding to the overall horror theme. Despite the graphics seeming kind of blocky in the some of the cut scenes when compared to other titles out at the time. The designers and developers dropped the ball so much that at a few times while playing I was genuinely disappointed because I expected more from Sega.

The are arsenal contains all time fan favorite pulse rifle with upgrades and gadgets to add to your enjoyment such as red dots beams, scopes and grenade launchers to boot. Shotguns, pistols and smart-guns make for more passionate slaying though we feel more weapons should have been offered and the option of dual wielding pistols would have been something good to see.

Its reminiscent of the newer Doom and its predecessors as my brother and I swept through corridors shredding xenomorphs while remaining silent and on edge. the tension adding to the immersion of the game. The game is not as easy as expected and will leave you frustrated but in a good way because you really want to pass that next checkpoint. We recommend having a 40″ TV or monitor and up minimum to be able to enjoy the splitscreen experience in the its fullness.

Sadly the game clocks short at 11 levels with an extra level with the Limited Edition we played. The game does have highs and lows as the short campaign, less than smooth graphics and no DLC or expansions leaves Aliens Colonial Marines with much to desire. The upside is that it is fun to play, it won’t have you as glued as Borderlands but there is something in the nostalgia of it that leaves you on the edge of the couch. The game is too dark at times and turning up the brightness highlights some of the bad graphics but after some fiddling you can reach a playable compromise. I feel Sega were banking on releasing something that could keep gamers interested in Aliens but failed in creating a classic game let alone breathe new life to such a titan of a franchise. Bodying waves to Aliens, acidic highlighter colored ooze splashing everywhere, covering your other players back and the gore and explosions will test even the best of friendships. There were time I found myself taking a smoke break after being frustrated at certain points in the game, partly because of my paper thin nerves and mostly because of glitches and some stupid game architecture. Be warned, if Left 4 Dead has you screaming at your teammates this might having you choking them !!! We strongly advise playing this with the lights down low and in coop because it seems to be intended to be played that way. The short campaign and difficulty in solo play points to this being a two player experience.

All in all a fun game, worth the purchase and can be found cheap second hand. You have to stick together so the coop is emphasized and is a must have if you are looking for something other than zombies and terrorists. A good game to play through a few times but don´t expect it to be in your top 20 and it will not be something you come back to often. However, I do enjoy pulling it out after I watch of the Aliens movies so there is always that.

Giving this game a rating of

5 out of 10

Let us not get it twisted or misconstrued, ACM is far from a good game but it passes the minimal requirements. If we look at the third gen console library you will be hardpressed to find that many couch coop titles and this is one of the less than 20 titles availible. With XBOX live and PSN removing other titles the list is even shorter so that helped give ACM that extra point to get it to a passing grade. The sound is on point and you do feel that paranoia when scanning corridors with your pulse rifle. The lack of weapons, customization and personalization is a downside along with no extra content to spice things for repeat play. We factored in how cheap you get a copy for and it does give a decent coop experience if you have run out of things to play. Despite the short campaign and visible glitches of the developers made this a game Sega probably wishes never came out. This is a game which you can buy for cheap and breeze through in less than a dozen settings but do not expect to revisit it much after you have finished it.

Stay tuned for more reviews on Aliens games that we will be posting and commenting on in our podcast and on this site. Let us know what you felt of the game, did the carnage even satisfy even the least bit? Was the the story as boring to you as it was for me? Did this leave a permanent dent in Sega and its legacy as a developer?

Marvel : Legendary Board Game Review – A coop deck builder for the newbs but does it deliver ?

Upper Decks smash is reviewed. Capes, Crime Fighters and Cards, lots and lots of cards !!!

This review was years in the making and I wanted to play through the game enough times before passing judgement on something I was excited about for so long. I was hyped about it when I first heard of the concept of a coop Marvel game, something to play with friends that was not miniatures on a board and had more possibilities. Granted I was not a deck-builder fan at the time but it sounded like something I could enjoy.  More importantly I wanted my group to have played a few hands to see how players of different levels of experience felt about it. A game with hundreds of cards and new mechanics may be fun for an avid gamer but a newbie might be overwhelmed by all the things they have to remember.

The game is pretty popular from the amount of expansions (11 at present) that  continue to be print and with Comic Culture and Nerd Culture being at an all time peak I felt something like a COOP deck builder required us to be able to give an accurate, fun and informative review. I saw a lot of Youtubers discussing it, lots of reviews but it was one of those games that was not so popular in Croatia so at the time of its release it did not get such a push I guess in the Eastern European markets. I digress. Nevertheless I was syked to play it after reading and hearing mixed reviews I still went in hoping for the best.  Upper Deck are not usually associated with board games as many of my peers recall them from sports trading cards and memorabilia so it had me curious to see how they would fair in this new realm. To clarify I would like to state that I was not big on deck builders or card games at the time so this was a recent purchase after I had played a few more card games .

Having new players and a bigger place meant I could get back to boardgaming and this is a game I felt I never quiet played enough of. The first time I played it was in Split with my close friends and guild brothers Boris aka Moses and Ivan aka the Apache in a small apartment an wound up playing it on the floor! So my first impression was that I needed space to run it. I recently played it at the new place with my girlfriend and fellow Nerd Dimensioners Apollo and Gustonius. I purchased the game at Dragons Lair in Kungsholmen Stockholm. The price did catch me a little off guard considering that it is not the newest title however the artwork on the box and the shape of it made for easy storage and display piece . Seeing the amount of expansions already available indicated to me that this game obviously is still selling well when so much added content is still being released.

The base game contains 500 cards in total, a gameboard and manual. Upper deck threw in a ton of free dividers so you can label all the heroes, villains, schemes etc as to make it easier the next time you play. WARNING ! This game will take time to prepare and explain and I suggest you play it with 3 before playing five. After you organize the infinity deck of cards you can build the decks which go on the board. The board is good quality and straightforward with authentic artwork. Upper Deck saw to it that the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and reaming flavor added to the game. The manual is short and simple, big enough text and pretty easy to understand after you flipped through it.

LEGENDARY MIC FNL

Included is how to- run your very first game and other ways to run the villains so that you can easily setup the henchmen and masterminds. The mechanics involved players drawing from different decks to either build their own deck or to play their hands on the table. You combat bad guys by playing different shield cards which serve as a currency or attack points and your goal is to prevent bad guys from escaping and destroying the master minds. The game is not the easiest and you will be knocked around but it does balance out as you start taking villains off the board. The developers and designers created a beautiful game and made sure that each game will be different. The mechanics do take a couple of hands but you will know what you are doing after 3 games and will be able to explain to any new players you wish to include in the crime fighting fun.

After playing enough games I did start feeling that I was playing the mechanics more than I was fighting bad guys but in all fairness it is a deck-builder game not a classic boardgame. Luckily I had purchased the Deadpool Expansion which was not expensive and added more cards and made for some interesting combinations. This being a review of the base game I will say that despite have 500 cards the game did feel like it was more mechanics and it did not give me enough options to make it more of a game that I could play say twice a month. 7 Wonders does this well where you get enough flavor and options out the box and it gets people back to the table because it is engaging despite being a competitive game. When I purchased the Dark City expansion I saw that it allowed for more options and added mechanics which did make the game harder but in return the scales did tip back in the players favor with better cards and characters. The base game should have included a few more things and with the price tag I would have preferred a mat instead of a board for conveniences sake.

All in all Marvel did deliver a fun deck-builder that you can teach kids and adults could still enjoy as it has moments where it does feel a little pokerish yet maintains a very enjoyable team aspect. Working together, letting the next player get a certain hero so they can deliver a harder hit. It does have a competitive option where you count up the amount of damage done and cards in your deck to determine who earned the most points which also can spice it up. This is a game which needs sleeves and expansions so be prepared to dish out some coin for it if you want to truly be able to enjoy the game. The cards will get worn out and the expansions keep you and your players more interested. As a stand alone it can prove fun for a regular group but is not something we recommend for smaller groups as we feel it plays best at 4-5 players.

The Nerd Dimension will give this game a

 

6.7 out of 10

 

*Ruling: Despite the great artwork the game is a considerable investment for a game that will not have the same feeling after 20 games. The mechanics can be mastered but for new players it can take a couple of games.The Legendary system has been applied to everything from Buffy to Aliens so it is not that the system is bad but I felt there would be more flavor in the base game. However the rating jumps higher when you add the expansions so subscribe to see which ones we liked and which ones we felt did not add much.

 

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Citadels + Dark City Exp (Boardgame Review) G.O.L.T.

 

The weather has been foul the past couple of weeks in Split and a few of the guild members had not seen tabletop in action in quite some time. The once regular Dungeons & Dragons game fell apart due to unforeseeable circumstances so the G.O.L.T. was on hard times. I can speak as a DM it hurt watching dust accumulate on my books, missing the sound of dice hitting the table and watching players squirm. Good times. Thankfully this changed recently thanks to Lil Joey and the senior guild members.

An office space belonging to a relative of Joey’s was being renovated and he had time to use it prior to the work starting. The boy notified the guild and a session was booked. This is a review as much as it is an article because the first purchase of the guild of 2016 was Citadels. After seeing several reviews and playing the game myself over the holidays with my girlfriend I grew fond of its mechanics to it immediately. I was surprised I had not heard of it before and proposed it to the guild that we consider getting it for our game bank. After a short vote we managed to buy the last one from Carta Magica Split. Not long afterwards I tested the game with a few members but it was not until a couple of weeks ago we played it in its entirety with 6 of us.

Citadels

Citadels is a card game of bluffing, diplomacy, intrigue and plays up to 8 players with the Dark City Expansion (which is standard with the 3rd Edition) and was designed by Bruno Faidutti whose last game priror to designing it was was Mystery of the Abbey. The box contains everything you need to start playing and fits in snug, the box itself is small so carrying it around is not going to be a problem for anyone choosing to purchase it. The one thing is I would stress to anyone looking to buy Citadels is to be sleeves for all the cards because they will get worn out fast after playing regularly.

In short in the game a player takes on the role of a city builder and the point of the game is to have the most valuable structures and total points at the end of the game. The game ends when the 8th district is built and upon the final players turn you tally up the scores. This card game which also has strategy involved is why it can be fun even for non gamers but the luck factor also comes in so one game can truly be hectic if you keep drawing bad cards. Character cards are numbered 1-8 (9 if you are playing 8) and the order of play starts at 1 every hand or next number. At the end of every round of play the character deck is reshuffled and the characters vary from the Assassin who plays first can kill characters while the Warlord can destroy any district card except for the Bishop’s whose lands are protected. No one character is overpowered and you can really mix it up by including the expansion district cards and characters. The box says that the game can take up to half an hour but in all honesty I am yet to play a game under an hour and that is with only 1 new player but unlike most cards games this one is engaging and you always have something to do.  The artwork in the manual and cards is interesting and the gold tokens look decent though I would have loved more of them because we at certain times had nothing in bank and that was with only 6 players so Fantasy Flight should step their game up but u can always play with other tokens.

cit session 1

Citadels is a very fun game to play and I was skeptical that a card game could be so intense but I have witnessed cards fly across rooms and tokens roll off tables after someone gets robbed for the third straight round. This is not a game if you want something quick paced and short because there is thinking and you have to pay attention to who is building what and anticipate who they may be. The mind games run a muck especially once you really get the hand of all the cards and the expansion cards truly make the game that much more interesting. The game cost 250 Croatian Kunas and it has the expansion built in and the only other investment you would have to make is getting sleeves for the cards to enjoy the game forever 🙂 This game has a high play-ability rate but because it is a card game which is competitive so don’t expect much depth while throwing down cards and pissing off your neighboring players. A game that is fun to play, relatively cheap to buy just don’t expect this to be your go to game and its not something you can play more than twice in one setting but the positive is that it is something you can do while having beers and still have a chat without missing too much.

Until next time, don’t touch my board with greasy hands, don’t include monopoly as a board and never never EVER let a bro blow on ya dice.

The numbers (out of 5 *):

Price: **** (4)

Playability: **** (4)

Build: **** (4)

Design: ***** (5)

 

Where you can buy it:

CARTA MAGICA SPLIT ( 5% DISCOUNT IF YOU SING UP AS A MEMBER)

SPEIL OFFENSIVE (Deliver to most European Nations with varied discounts)

BOARD GAME GURU  (UK based store with affordable prices)

 

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Info Zona & Carta Magica ST : Board Games for the people of Split !!!

Yours truly decided to accept the invitation of Carta Magica Split & Info Zona to their ‘Modern Board Game Night’ ! Read further to see what we thought.

 

I am glad to tell the expats and locals alike in Split that gaming is growing and it is thanks to to Carta Magica Split and Info Zona. The shops ownership decided to take their efforts a step further by aligning themselves with Info Zona to give the people of Split a place to game on Saturdays. As I stated in my very first blog post Split does not have a large, hell even mid sized gaming community. There are only 2 gaming clubs which are only for consoles and PCs and apart from the shop itself (which cannot work long weekends) the promotion of gaming was limited. After a successful convention last summer Marko Mlinar and his team are hoping to garner more interest in board games and RPGS. The biggest problems they face are resources and spaces, games in Croatia sadly are expensive for the younger demographic and places to play is a problem for the older demographic. The third would be, WHO TO PLAY WITH? So instead of giving up they have been doing these game sessions every Saturday back to back and last weekend broke the record for attendance with more than 35 gamers present!

ZONA 1

Walking up to the venue you go through the very heart of the city so I knew if I would get thirsty or hungry the solution is walking distance. You go through a small door and are energized by the vibes when you enter. A room full of people, packed like sardines but everyone is all smiles and there is no yelling ! Polite socializing, open door policy and most of all friendly faces. It was my first time attending was glad to see a game I was dying to play for a while (7 Wonders) and to my luck Marko brought the Leaders expansion :D. There were classic favorites such as Settlers of Catan, Cosmic Encounter and the party time favorite Avalon were some of the arsenal they brought out that night. In short its a bright light for gamers and every gamer would have something for themselves. The level of gamer also varied so that made it a little more enjoyable for me. Nobody wants to get owned as a newbie, especially not their first time. The whole time I was there everyone was friendly and helpful, forthcoming with information and for the first time in a while I was somewhere where the majority of people were not staring at their cellphones or texting. Info Zona run a tight ship and have a great space especially for those living in the center or who simply find themselves strolling can easy find the location. As you can see in the picture above, it is well furnished and everyone present came to game and have a good time. No loud music, no loud patrons and above all a decent game bank to choose from. An added bonus is also that the crowd is very mixed ranging from ages, backgrounds and if you are an expat most of the gamers speak very good English.

 

ZON 2

 

In short I would to thank them for their noble pursuit but I must also state why I am wary of their efforts. As of now in Split if someone is searching for a place to game and learn about gaming you can visit the store during working hours and you can also game Saturday’s at Zona. Problem with Zona is that it starts a  bit later in the day and the place is pretty much always crowded so people looking for earlier sessions are on their own. I heard from some people that it is usually the same people which slightly irritated me. As you well know I am the head of a guild and in one year our board game collection is at 7 games ! I feel its wack to come every Saturday and not at least consider buying a game for yourself to game with your friends or by yourself, in fact I would go as far as saying its downplaying the efforts of volunteers and taking advantage of their generosity. Maybe Im old school but owning a game always gives you the option of introducing gaming to your friends and new people. These people invest their time and energy into something decent and pure and I believe the only way to repay them is by doing right and grasping their commitment. None of them get paid to do it and they can just as easily be at home gaming with their friends but they gift you their time and themselves, selflessness…it’s a beautiful thing. I say this in the hopes of people considering that the games offered at these places are out of someones private collection and if one was to be ruined I highly doubt the hurt party would be compensated. I urge people who have not yet visited Carta Magica Split or Info Zona to make an effort to swing by, you can meet some interesting people, if your lucky you might even meet me (kidding). Characters to look out for would be Gordan ( the gentle beard ), Toni ( The Sci Fi guy), Jerko ( Star Fly ) Kruno ( Troll Vader ) Romana ( Scroll Vader ), Marijana ( Sweetheart Zombie Slayer ) & Marko ( Pancho Splicho ) who are very helpful to guests and do their best to ensure you have a good time.  It is because these individuals put in the work we have such a treasure in the city and I will ALWAYS speak highly of them and it will only be a pleasure to do write ups on their events. For these events to continue other people outside the volunteer circles MUST start participating because Split is the second city of Croatia yet there is only one board game and RPG guild (G.O.L.T.) . So to all the the people who are on the fence of buying a game here are some suggestions :

  1. Watch reviews online : this way you can at least get an idea of a game you may like
  2. Visit the store and become a member : 5% discount with membership!
  3. Try out different games
  4. Gather a group of friends and split the costs

 

and if you are truly interested in gaming or have games but no one to play with then apply for membership with The Guild of Lost Travelers. Bare in mind the screening process may take a couple of days as all senior members must vote on granting admission to the group. If you reach out expect to receive a message and a meeting to be arranged but fear not young padawan for no one in the guild is a dick…except me (kidding again). Until next time quest strong, drink responsibly, roll 20 and watch out for that ORC !!!!

 

*the opinions of The Fantasy Dimension do not reflect those of Info Zona or Carta Magica and the nicknames provided are aliases which I carefully crafted to maintain the privacy of these heroes of gaming! Like the pages now so you don’t have to later !!!

 

pages to checkout:

Fantastikon (Only Sci Fi / Fanstasy / Gaming Con in Dalmatia)

Carta Magica Split

Info Zona (FB Page)

Guild of Lost Travlers

NERD DIMENSION FB PAGE

 

 

 

International TableTop Day 2015, held on 11. 04. 2015. @ FESB powered by : Carta Magica Split & Stari Svijet

That Saturday it was a sunny day in Split, the sun was shinning and a cool breeze was blowing. Almost too hot for the hoodies and jackets many of the students from FESB ( University of Split Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture … the translation is brutal). This writer was on route to the college to DM a session at the first ever International Table Top Day event to be held in Split. It was the brain child of the gracious owners of Carta Magica and the members of Stari Svijet who decided to throw an open door event to promote the culture of gaming.

I was approached and volunteered to do be a Dunegeon Master and even considered bringing my guilds set of Summoner Wars and maybe school some noobs in between D&D sessions. Or so I thought. Fast forward to your beloved blogger speeding towards the venue with half his notes missing as well as his second fix of caffeine. Upon arrival I was welcomed by the part I was to DM for that faithful morning but first shook hands with my inside guys : Marko Mlinar and Kruno Lapenda (two of the three Owners of Carta Magica Split).

Preparations were still underway as the final waves of promotion went down. I laid down my materials and ran across to the Carta Magica store to print some character sheets and buy some cigarettes where I bumped into a few guys who looked like they would be interested in throwing some dice and squashing some minions. Returning to the venue I saw that we had table 1 next to the blackboard and my party awaited :

encounterJerko Sanja Kruno Ivan

ROLE CALL :

Sanja M. aka Scarlet > a fiery dragonborn sorcerer in pursuit of knowledge and magical artifacts. Not too bad to look at neither.

Boris M. aka Skaras > A water Genassi cleric whose neutrality would make the Swiss look like bullies. Not for nothing but it was not the water that made this Cleric slippery.

Nikola aka Rockslide: Sadly Nikola had to jump ship half way through the questing and was picked up by Ljubo Simic temporarily. Sadly no one has seen or heard from Rockslide since…dare we call it a conspiracy?

Marin M. aka Heldeggar: Interesting rogue, always bouncing around but despite his size asked the big questions.

Josip B. aka Arthos: A curious caster who found himself in a bit of a pinch with some Planar chick but how can you blame him, those eyes are hypnotic !

Jerko HP. aka Bruce Banner: Bruce is truly smarter than you average barbarian, no seriously he is 😀

Ivan P. aka Scottish Legolas : In between drinking and hitting on some of the shadiest women in Ashroft he is … stabbing himself with his arrows or contracting parasites.

game Runebound

Considering I myself was new to D&D 5.0 there was no shortage of laughs, puzzle solving and ofcourse a dungeon was entered and a fight broke out in the tavern. All in all dice were rolled, role play points were awarded and most of all fun was had. In the down time other games could have been played ranging from Warhammer 40 K, Arkham Horror, Runebound 2nd Edition, Race for the Galaxy, Game of Thrones, World of Warcraft, the epic Twilight Imperium to name a few. No gamer walked away without getting their fix of their favorite table top games or trying something new out. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizers for getting us the big hall and providing us with food and beverages. For the first time ever in Split gamers had a space they could call home and the place and the gaming ran well into 21:00 before an after party was announced for the brave few.

I was sad to see all the games boxed up but in my eyes and those I played with it was a success and they can count on our support any time. I would recommend that anyone visiting ST and looking to kill some time to pencil in a game, or if someone from ST is looking to dive into the magical world of board games and RPGs to also swing by, the people at Carta Magica are very forthcoming with information and even offer a 5% discount on cash purchases for members of their club. Below I have attached the links where you can check for time slots, browse the pictures and like their group.

Word is a con is coming to Split in the very near future and we are expecting more people to show up and support. I encourage those visiting Split, studying in split or just living in Split to check out the store because you never know when you can meet your next board game buddy or just start a new friendship.

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Carta Magica in Split !!! The place to be for gamers and fans of all ages !!!!!!!!!!!

I am proud to do my first write up on a store and local spot and it just so happens to be the FIRST EVER gaming store in Split, yes ladies and gentlemen fear no more. All the years of ordering online or relying on friends to bring it back are over. The store is located in kaleta 3 at Split 3 (across from the T Mobile Center on that level) which is walking distance from both the high schools and colleges in the area meaning you ain’t loosing much time travelling before and after you academics. It is partnership/family owned and the vibe is much the same, greeted with smiles at the door and all 4 staff members, the three owners and an intern in the form of a toddler are well informed on the culture and numerous games.  I have met some pretty awesome people at the store in just a few visits. To make this place a true lair for the gamer in Split is the fact that they allow you to book tables for FREE and play board games, you can even bring one from home. Apart from the solid offering of board games and RPGs you also have themed t shirts, model paints and gear, card games and an entire shelf of both paperback and hardbacks displaying Dungeons & Dragons to Warcraft. I will list the links bellow, they have been a treat to meet and I am starting a weekly Summoner Wars tournament. This family are true fans and members of the culture and go out of their way to spread the joy and I believe that all fantasy, sci-fi and gamers should at least pay them a visit and feel that energy that has me coming back. What else can you ask for, a PG environment with decent hours where you can play for free. So if you are looking for a game in a place where like minded people gather this is your spot and when the store closes you have enough

https://www.facebook.com/CartaMagicaSplit

The Quest Begins 1/22/2015

In 2012 a group of friends from different parts of Split began a guild, mostly an excuse to play classic RPGs on classic gaming consoles between their basketball games. The winters in Split can be harsh and an indoor hobby could be fun to escape the elements. There was no specific game nor did it really qualify as a guild and was more of a gang of grown up Goonies looking for something to do.  As time passed and the weather got colder, the winds stronger they found themselves playing less basketball outside and more time indoors. Finding a place to hang out was a challenge and several nights were spent, just them huddled somewhere sheltered from the rain sharing a few words or a drink in a whole in the wall bar.

It was not until Vedran, the ‘master narrator’ returned from his studies in Dubrovnik that Dungeons and Dragons was formally introduced to the guild. Up until that point all the majority knew about the game was from an episode of Dexter’s Lab and Community but knew it sounded like fun, despite the nerdy connotations. The guild mostly consisting of comic book men, fan boys, former PC gamers, has been athletes and the sort welcomed it with open arms. Everyone had heard of Dungeons & Dragons but nobody had really knew much of how it was played other than dice and some basics of fantasy. One must consider that in the city of Split there was but one establishment for fantasy fans and it was the Land of Magic for the longest time.

A hobby shop franchise with a small store in the Center of town with a gaming room in the back. It was finally a vestige of hope but sadly social media was not really a thing back then and the city did not yet have the demand for such a store. So unfortunately they would close their doors and leave the citizens of Split without any substitute leading to the biggest problem facing potential gamers and fans. Where could they learn and meet people who can bring them into that world, introduce them to other players. Apart from what they can access online it is difficult for people to get into something like D&D in a city like Split.

Dragons-of-Massive-Geek-dungeons-and-dragons-1004082_771_762(2)

The biggest challenges are as followed:

  • No places where such games, manuals and materials can be purchased through traditional retail channels. Meaning those interested in playing cannot familiarize themselves or ask questions to someone in person and blog posts will never replace the store experience and assistance.
  • Apart from two Croatian portals (and now the Nerd Dimension); games, reviews and the bulk of the material available are in English so a language barrier does exist as there was no Croatian print version. Good thing most of us were proficient in English!
  • The price. The average modern fantasy board game will run you about 300 to 400 Kunas excluding shipping and even more for miniature based games.
  • The limited amount of games and waiting period for getting them delivered. Croatia still does not have the option of delivery through some of the bigger sites and customs for most games produced in the USA make them too expensive for your average consumer who are lucky if they earn 500$ a month.
  • Lastly it is hard to get a game going when most of the gaming demographic live with their parents in close quarters (not by choice in most cases) so places to play and getting a steady game becomes a feat in itself for many. This also seems to be a problem in other European cities as well as many young adults are forced into tight living arrangements.
  • Lack of knowledge and the public stigma towards board games is that of classic European Style games such as Monopoly and Risk which are staggeringly basic and I dare say boring when compared to the newer modern games that are now in print. Due to the fact that few people are being introduced to these games and the limited understanding and comprehension of the fantasy genre they believe it to be childish, boring or simply a waste of time. Do not get me started on tabletop RPGS !

It was tough staying motivated and getting new people to play so the few members would pool their resources and come together in dimly lit dungeon settings and share in adventuring and begin filling the passages of their quest. All of the group were excited to finally play something they had heard about for so long.

After playing the simplified board game version Vedran had in his stash, with him Dungeon Mastering the group grew to understand the basic concepts and would pursue playing the original RPG. For most of the players it was their first time experiencing something similar and thought the game Vedran was running was grossly simplified compared to the original source material. The evening proved to be fun and did spark the party’s interest in the hobby further. In the first campaign the role-play would immerse them and they would start researching the subject, reading up on classes, races and characters. Vedran would become the hub of their party for all things fantasy and board game related and a go to person for questions concerning said subjects.

Not long afterwards, the unthinkable happened. The first and only DM of the guild had to journey westwards to continue his studies, effectively leaving the party masterless and without his knowledge. After months of meetings and failed attempts at finding a suitable replacement the group had almost but given up hope. Until…

The noble gamer and fellow comic book man Stipe arrived and once again reunited the fellowship around the table once more. It took time before they could get a regular party going but not too long. Soon the guild were testing their mettle and spell casting their way through his obstacles and familiarizing themselves once again with the fantastic world that could be created with their imaginations. New members would arrive with each party or guild meeting. Even women would show up interested in the RPG, which was a pleasant and welcome surprise that helped shatter the stereotype some members still held of it being a ‘guy thing’.

The group would soon order individual dice sets, character sheets printed and minis hunted down as other games would enter their arsenal. As time passes the members create a lasting bond and friendship with one another becoming more than just guys and girls who game together. Birthdays were celebrated and highs and lows shared as they grew closer as friends while forgetting the prior boredom and loneliness.

What started as a group of out of shape guys meeting up to play Champions of Norrath or Marvel Ultimate Alliance soon became a community of friends playing a deeper role in one another’s lives.  Now the guild members meet more frequent than before and are on their way to mastering their crafts. The guild now are seeking to find a place for all people like them, fans of fantasy, comic book men and gamers to meet and congregate but above all quest and play together.

Who would ever believe that so many people from such distant walks of life could connect over their shared common passion for fiction, last of all in such times of negativity and isolation? In a time and city where the only thing for young adults to do on any given weekend is indulge in alcohol and lousy loud music. It is now finally that people from Split and the surrounding cities can meet up, game, talk or just exchange ideas with one another in person. With time this sub culture and form of entertainment and art will grow and embrace more fans and followers. What a day it will be when Split hosts its first Con, what splendid times will be had as ale is raised and cheer is shared by all present.

Until then, may your games be thrilling, reading inspiring and your questing EPIC. guantlet.jpg

Special thanks to:

Apic, Vedran, Stipe, Boris, Milos, Medeni, Kruno, Darko & Dom. I am glad we still speak for the most part and are still friends and adventurers til this day.

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Dungeons and Dragons : Legends of Drizzt ( Review )

It’s Drow Time at TFD as we sink our teeth into Wizards most popular popular board game. Read on to see more.

My guild and I decided to purchase The Legends of Drizzt board game (Wizards of the Coast) from  Carta Magica to make the winter a little more fun. The reviews we managed to see online from Dice Tower and other channels on YouTube all praised the game and what truly drew us into it was that it is a 5 player coop board game using the characters from the Forgotten Realms novels. We all were familiar with classic Dungeons and Dragons so it was not hard to make our decisions and don’t expect me to trash the game. They provide you with minis that you can use for your traditional D&D campaigns as well as a decent D20. As for adventures they provide you with a simple rulebook and an adventure book but fret not my fellow gamers there are also home brew and custom scenarios you can find online to keep the steam going.  What made this more interesting is that the original D&D Fantasy adventure game was only 4 players and required a DM whereas Wizards fixed this kink so that everyone can quest together. The coolest part is that the game is one of 3 released (Wrath of Ashardalon & Castle Ravenloft) which all serve as stand alone expansions meaning you switch treasure cards, heroes, tiles and adventures. In the last 6  months Wizards released Temple of Elemental Doom which too is a standalone expansion. The fact that Wizards provide advanced decks to keep the game playable longer than other similar products which you can get bored of recently. The hero selection is impressive but the lack of female heroes did not farewell with the female guild members but what can you do. I personally would recommend the game for anybody looking for a tabletop game one can play with family or friends and have a good hour and a half to kill.

drizzt

My rating would be 9/10

A must buy for anyone trying to get into fantasy RPG and a great gift for someone trying to get their friends into it.

 

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