Blog Archives

It’s Never Too Late to Launch a Coup

Ah, a beautiful woodcut of a city state, begging to be coup-ed. So much better than that weird Resistance art on the newer edition, with that gal wearing elephant reins or whatever they're supposed to be.

Hoo boy, I’m late on this one. Sorry about that. Thanks to some buried childhood trauma, now and then I’ll intentionally not engage with something I know I’ll like — a highly-anticipated movie or book or slice of pie — just to save the thrill of the experience for later. I know it’s dumb, and I also know that every single board game reviewer has already talked about why this is such a great game.

Still, Coup is like good chunky peanut butter. So smooth. Yet so nutty. And so simple, yet so compelling. Multitextured. Rich. Rewarding. Sexy.

Okay, that comparison doesn’t hold up very well, because Coup certainly isn’t oily — scratch that, it totally is! But okay, I’ll try to explain why I’m crushing so hard on Coup, and I swear I’ll stop talking about the world’s number one food paste.

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One More Reason to Love Dominions 4

I've been chatting with a friend about how much we love the Dom4 menu screens, but that's not what this article is about.

I love Dominions 4. It’s the sprawl of the thing. The thousand thousand units, spells, magic items, deities. The expansive mythology. The steady build from small armies supported by a little bit of magic to massive armies that exist only to protect wizards who cast world-ending doomspells. The fact that I’m running a 13-player, 15-AI game that will likely last over a year and generate stories I’ll remember for the rest of my life — and yes, I’ll also report the whole thing here once the game is done and nobody can use the writeups to suss out my team’s strategies.

Today though, I found one more thing to love about Dom4. You can find it after the jump — though be warned, what follows contains about 85 pixels (no, I didn’t count) of Not Safe For Work thanks to some mythological nudity.

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Our Quiet Year: The Index

Looks rather nice all put together, doesn't it?

I recently finished a four-session play of the fantastic story-telling and map-drawing game The Quiet Year from Buried Without Ceremony, easily one of the indie-est board/card game designers I’ve had the pleasure of hearing about these last few years. The Quiet Year also happens to be one of the few boardgames I’ll gladly file under my “Why Games Matter” tag — it’s nothing short of compelling the way it assembles totally unique stories by a process of creative collision. It isn’t always an easy game to play, but it’s definitely a worthwhile one, if only because it will give you a window into your friends’ weird imaginations. I guarantee you’ll be surprised by what they come up with.

“But what is The Quiet Year, really?” you ask. Sorry, but one cannot be told what The Quiet Year is. I mean, you totally can be told what it is, but not here in the introduction. That’s an unreasonable expectation. The only solution is to read on.

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Our Quiet Year: Autumn

You have no idea how much time we spent debating the merits of calling this "Our Quiet Year: Autumn" or "Our Quiet Year: Fall" for the symbolic aspect. I hate it when people call autumn "fall," hence the resultant title.

Spring. Summer. Twenty-four weeks have passed in our telling of The Quiet Year, a story-weaving and map-drawing game from Buried Without Ceremony, and our year has been anything but quiet. Our community has shattered into far-flung splinters, tiny communities that were once part of a greater family, all of them grieving past losses, all of them seeking redress — well, except for the goatherds. They just watch their goats get it on all day. But everyone other than them is having a pretty rough time.

And this season looks like it might prove to be the roughest time of all. There’s a reason the folks of the Former World used to call it “The Fall,” after all.

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Our Quiet Year: Summer

Fun Space-Biff! Fact: This is the fifth article in a row to have a colon in its title. Now you know!

Welcome to part two of our series about The Quiet Year, a storytelling and map-drawing game from one-man outfit Buried Without Ceremony! After the upheaval and social tensions that marked the end of spring and caused our community to worry that perhaps our new home wasn’t quite the fresh start we were hoping for, the summer season has fallen across the landscape like a warm blanket, and our small family of nomads is looking forward to mending divisions, securing borders, and working towards a brighter future — or a quiet year, if you prefer.

If you haven’t already, it would be a good idea to read about what happened to our family back in spring before continuing on with this season, because there’s far too much to relate to spend time catching up.

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Our Quiet Year: Spring

Thanks to J.B. for recommending this style of header for this series.

Today marks the beginning of a short series about storytelling card game The Quiet Year from Joe Mcdaldno’s Buried Without Ceremony. This designer is so indie, you can pay for his games by doing good deeds. Awesome.

This is going to be a little different than most of the stuff I write here at Space-Biff! As The Quiet Year is a storytelling game, I’m only going to talk about the rules a little each week. The rest is about the story four people crafted about our community; its hopes, fears, and struggles; and, eventually, its end.

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Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension

I was so happy to be offered a pre-release copy of Dominions 4 that if I ever see that Illwinter PR guy, I'm going to kiss him. On the mouth. No tongue, but only because I'd be doing him a favor.

Dominions 4. If you’ve played Dominions 3: The Awakening, the mere mention of another entry to this utterly unique series should send shivers down your spine. If you haven’t, then… well, this article might not be for you. In that case, I recommend getting up to speed with my game diary RPS Ascension, or maybe taking a look at some articles I wrote about one of Illwinter Game Design’s other titles, the similar-yet-distinct Conquest of Elysium 3.

Returning to those of you who know exactly how remarkable this series is, today we’re going to walk through my first match, and take a look at a few of the ways Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension is refining its own formula.

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Infested Planet: 20,000 kills, 20 minutes

The other members of Hero Squad always make fun of Doug for his sissy helmet.

On Tuesday afternoon, my elite squad of bug-hunters descended into a particularly overwhelmed mine shaft, squashed over 20,000 space-slugs, and secured it permanently against further infestation — and all in under 20 minutes.

This is Infested Planet from Rocket Bear Games, a highly polished spiritual sequel to their earlier free experimental game Attack of the Paper Zombies. Just like in Attack, Infested Planet is all about facing down an ever-evolving enemy that has no shortage of cannon fodder and always seems to have you surrounded. Just another day in the life of your regular space marine.

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Not Such a Bad Legacy After All

Hey! Hey you down there! Yes, you! Could you, um... bring some, ahem, bath tissue up with you?

Everyone’s been talking about Rogue Legacy, the new side-scrolling roguelike from Cellar Door Games, and there isn’t much for me to add except that, just like everyone else, I really, really like it too.

So that’s it. We’re done here. Unless you haven’t heard anything about Rogue Legacy, then feel free to read on and find out exactly what I’m also liking it about it.

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Signal Oops

The concept and setup ooze good thematic intentions, as you can see from this wallpaper image that I got as a bonus for purchasing the game on GOG.

One of my earliest attempts at writing here on Space-Biff! was on the superb Atom Zombie Smasher, which I argued was the “most frightening” thing I’d played that year thanks to the way it made its players complicit in the ruthless containment of a zombie outbreak by a remote authority with a surfeit of power and a shortage of conscience. Just thinking back to the leveling of entire blocks of healthy city to keep them from falling into the hands (and mouths, more critically) of the approaching horde gives me the chills.

So when I heard that Signal Ops, the new indie title from Space Bullet Dynamics Corporation, intended you wrap its players in the shadowy cloak of Big Brother himself, I had little choice but to refill my censor’s pen, charge the old police scanner, and prepare for all the history-rewriting, evidence-planting, and dissident-sacking I was sure it would provide.

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