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Red Dead Redemption’s Sequel Teases the Violent Resistance of a Passing Era

Bo

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Much of the first Red Dead Redemption focused on the passing of the American Wild West. It was game centered on the consequences of that era. Protagonist John Marston represented an age basically passed, and spent the game suffering from the mistakes he made during said age. He was personally tasked with eliminating some of the stubborn resisters from the old days.

This time around, it looks like players will be stepping into the blood-soaked boots of this resistance and fighting against its inevitability.

Red Dead Redemption 2 takes place in 1899, about 12 years before the first game. You play as Arthur Morgan, a member of Dutch van der Linde’s iconic game from the first game. It looks like this sequel will place us right into Dutch’s rebellion. The Wild West may be on life support, but it’s going down fighting. This game looks like a full-length version of John Marston’s iconic gunfight ending the first game. And if this trailer was any indication, what a glorious, cinematic, and ultimately depressing fight it’s going to be.

The first game raised many questions about Dutch’s gang and John’s part in it. Now it looks like we’ll find out exactly what this gang did that led to the deaths of its members a decade later. Including John Marston’s role, by the way. That was definitely him at the end there. I couldn’t be more excited, and I haven’t even seen gameplay yet. Rockstar has more than earned my trust in that regard.

While there’s still time for a delay, Red Dead Redemption 2 is currently scheduled for release on October 26. I don’t expect a delay. Rockstar doesn’t play that way.


Video and Images Courtesy of Rockstar Games

Bo

Bo relaxes after long days of staring at computers by staring at computers some more, and continues drifting wearily through the slog of summer TV.

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Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth Will Let You Craft Your Own Adventures

Dan Arndt

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In the past, Fantasy Flight Games has let you recreate the excitement of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in several ways, from normal board games to fast-paced dice tossing action, to a digital CCG.  They’ve even let you play as Sauron himself! But, for the first time, Fantasy Flight has announced that players can experience never before seen adventures in the world of J.R.R Tolkien with their new co-op strategy game: The Lord of the Ring: Journeys in Middle-Earth

Journeys takes place roughly the same time as the books, and features iconic heroes like Legolas or Bilbo Baggins alongside FFG’s original heroes like Beravor and Elena. Taking on one of these heroes, players take part in unique adventures spanning the breadth of Middle Earth as they work to defeat the dark forces of the world. Much like other epic co-op strategy games such as Folklore: The Affliction, players retain their characters from session to session, leveling them up and gaining new skills, items, and abilities as they travel. The lands of Middle Earth will open up as you adventure and reveals itself procedurally, meaning the path you take will change from game to game.

The characters can change the way the stories go, with plenty of side quests and personal stories to be fleshed out even as you work towards defeating evil in what Fantasy Flight calls a “climactic finale.” The game will heavily feature a companion app that does everything from track character scores to even laying out the tactical battles that occur between the two sides. The ongoing battles and ease of support, as well as FFG’s usual polish and presentation, mean that they clearly intend for players to get plenty of bang for their buck.

The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth will be a 1-5 player game for ages 14+, and is set for release in Q2 of 2019, where it will retail for $99.95. Be sure to keep an eye on the Fandomentals for all the latest in news and more on this and other Fantasy Flight games!


What do you think of the new game? Going to pass or are you already making space on your shelf? Sound off in the comments!

All images via Fantasy Flight Games

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Star Trek: Galactic Enterprises Can Bring Out The Ferengi In Anyone

Dan Arndt

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Reviewers log, stardate 58489. Wizkids has send us a board game, Star Trek Deep Space 9 license. I wasn’t sure when I got it if  anything short of adorable raccoons could get me to like an economy game. It can be difficult, sometimes, to find the fun in money and math. But after playing, and I think my mind may have changed, and I think I’m beginning to even think like a Ferengi. 

What’s In The Box

Rule of Acquisition #194: It’s always good business to know about new customers before they walk in your door.

I won’t go super in depth for this, as you can get a full skinny on the contents in my unboxing video on the Fanfinity channel. However, I want to emphasize two of the standout elements in Star Trek: Galactic EnterprisesThe first is the art, specifically the colors and designs on the cards, Padds, and “Technical Manual.” There’s an amazing  fidelity to the world of Star Trek, one that helps the game feel more than just a game with a license slapped on it. The well placed quotes from the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, font choices, and even those retro-futuristic curves all the shapes have; they all make this feel like a real game a group of Ferengi are playing around a table at Quark’s. The “padds” used to record business even feel Trekkie despite being florified pads of paper.

Adding to that is the second highlight and the “star” of the show (especially for any self-respecting Ferengi merchant): that beautiful gold-pressed latinum you’re fighting over. Made of thick cardboard and well-detailed, there is a deep satisfaction to stacking, sorting, and running ones finger through piles of the gold pressed latinum pieces you’ve earned. It seems minor because it’s just themed monopoly money but, damn it, it does make you feel like what Kira once called a “greedy, misogynistic, untrustworthy little troll.

How’s It Play

Rule of Acquisition #17: A contract is a contract is a contract… but only between Ferengi.

Once you get past the intergalactic trappings, Star Trek: Galactic Enterprises is a very straightforward game of commodity trading and bartering. The goal of the game is to become the First Clerk, the right-hand Ferengi to the Grand Nagus. During the game, the title moves from player to player, conferring on them the almighty control of the latinum (they’re the banker) as well as the role of auction master and adjudicator of business disputes.

The players bid on the semi-legal commodities of Star Trek, the things Quark is smuggling onto Deep Space 9 amidst the chaos of the wormhole, everything from basic Padds to illegal phasers and even the dilithium crystals that power the starships of the Federation. Each round, the merchants add these items to their stock before the feeding frenzy begins. All bets are off as the merchants can trade, make deals, and decide on price fixing. When its time to deal out latinum, Ferengi are given the value of their goods. If the merchants share a commodity, they must have the same price to earn that much latinum.  The Ferengi-ness comes in when the undercutting bonus kicks in: if a merchant prices his (Rule of Acquisition #94: Females and finances don’t mix) commodity below another, he gets the value as well a bonus. All negotiations, lies, and trickery are both allowed and encouraged as a part of business.

The big complication are the action cards, which are bought like commodities and represent the aforementioned chaos of DS9, as well as the institutional limitations (Odo) of the station. These cards can do things like steal or remove market cards, mess with the order of play, or even skip entire phases of play. Just like the trade goods, these can be swapped or bought or used as bargaining chips for deals with other merchants. They add a good amount of in-universe flavor as well as more unpredictability to the rampant capitalism going on.

The Verdict

Rule of Acquisition #59: Free advice is seldom cheap

This game is an extremely solid economy game, with lots of opportunity for the kind of crafty wheeling and dealing you expect from the genre. Sometimes it feels like Catan, other times like Pit, but anyone who likes to yell and make deals are going to have fun with this. The rules are deliberately streamlined, allowing for an immense amount of creativity when it comes to what you can get away with. The action cards are a fantastic change of pace as well, and help diversify beyond simple commodity training. It’s simple, streamlined, and fun enough to be whipped out at parties or as a quick and casual game, and it’s over in a rapid fire whirlwind (my test games ran less than half an hour).

The one thing holding the game back is that it doesn’t quite do much that isn’t done by other games, even if it does those things EXTREMELY well. The design, the action cards, the very feel of the game is entirely based on one’s experience with Star Trek and especially Deep Space 9. If you don’t appreciate the weird satire of the Ferengi, get the show lore referenced in the action cards, or even remember the episodes all of the game’s art comes from, you’re not going to really appreciate this game like you should.

That said, it’s an amazing game for Trekkies and particularly us Niners, who have basically been stuck seeing TNG, TOS, and the movies get all the license love these days. For us, this is for sure an essential game to seek out, and definitely worth a look from Trekkies of all stripes. For anyone else, I’d definitely give it a shot if you have the chance, but don’t expect anything truly mind blowing.

 

 

Immersion notes:

  • Don’t be afraid to read the rules of acquisition on each card. Not only do they help you get into the Ferengi mindset, they’re invaluable business tips to boot.
  • Treat your latinum like the valuable thing it is. Don’t forget to handle it, play with it, and feel your wealth as you play. After all, you did earn it.
  • Approximations of Romulan ale, jellied gree-worm, or Slug-O-Cola can help mimic the seedy vibe this game demands.
  • Please assume that this takes place post-reform so that you don’t have to make any female players disrobe before the game starts.

Star Trek: Galactic Enterprises is currently available from the WizKids site, online retailers, and your local games shop, where it retails for about $25.00. And be sure to keep an eye on the Fandomentals and Fanfinity for everything in the worlds of gaming, fandom, and Star Trek!


Big thanks to WizKids for providing the material for this review as well as some images, with the rest via Paramount. Have you gotten a chance to play Galactic Enterprises and disagree with our assessment? Is there a feature that intrigues you? Sound off in the comments!

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One Card Game to Rise Above

Cat

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Digital card games are on the rise. The success of Hearthstone has seen a larger movement toward this platform, with common comparison Magic: The Gathering following suit with its new Arena online game. The popular Elder Scrolls franchise recently launched its own digital card game as well. Now, Lord of the Rings has joined the digital card game ring. The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game is part classic card battle, part story progression. Fantasy Flight Interactive and Asmodee Digital have created an immersive and challenging solo strategy game.

The game proceeds through a series of levels, each part of an overarching story. Levels have objectives that can be completed to move on, or all enemies can be defeated. Certain objectives also offer rewards, so they are worth trying to complete if your playstyle supports it. Once you complete one of these objectives, you have the option to travel, which allows you to move on to the next stage. Beware when traveling, though, as enemies will attack you as you flee from them. These stages help tell the story of your adventure, and each level has story before the game begins. These bits of story are accompanied by art and voice acting. In fact, there is voice acting throughout, so keep your sound up.

Your health and characters carry over from level to level, so keeping your heroes alive and healed is important. Once a hero card is destroyed, I have not seen them again that game. Heroes always begin the game on your side of the field. You can summon other characters to aid your heroes using the cards in your deck. You will also be able to use equipment, maneuvers, and special abilities to help you defeat the forces of evil. Your hand and resources also stay the same, so be sure to think ahead a few turns. Gameplay is challenging and dynamic. It can be difficult to predict what the enemies will do, and Sauron is always growing in power. Keep an eye on his threat meter; you don’t want to be caught too off guard by his special abilities. Or more spiders. Really, there are a lot of spiders.

There are four types of cards, known as spheres, each supporting a different style of play: Leadership, Lore, Tactics, and Spirit. Most decks will choose a combination of three. These types are determined by the heroes you choose to play with. You start with a few free ones and then you can choose supplemental heroes to get with packs. Leadership, the sphere of Aragorn, is all about keeping your characters alive through the use of blocking and strategic maneuvers. Lore, the sphere of Arwen, also keeps your characters alive, but through the use of healing and evasive maneuvers. Tactics, the sphere of Gimli, wants to see your enemies suffer damage that your own characters avoid. These three spheres and heroes are all in your starting deck. The last sphere, Spirit, is available through purchase of Eowyn, and its main focus is helping to complete quests.

Honestly, I haven’t even been able to complete the first section of story. Even having run through it multiple times, the game goes differently each time, and it hasn’t gotten boring yet. A little frustrating—did I mention the spiders?—but still fun. I look forward to seeing the story progress and all the cards that will be added with future expansions. There are so many strategies still to try, and one of these days I will know the sweet taste of victory.

Looking for a way to dive back in to Middle Earth? Join your own story in this game when it releases, or join me in early access now.


Images Courtesy of Fantasy Flight Games and Asmodee Digital

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