― Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers
Top 5 Adventure Games
One of the main reasons to play games is to escape our drab day to day existance. To flee the boring and repatative job, or class, or chores and pick up the sword, the walking stick, the ray gun, leave this world behind and become something or someone better, braver, stronger and usually far more foolish. At least for a short while.
To aid those who wish to seek new horizons, brave the unknown and bask in the glow of victory despite the odds, I present to you the Top 5 Adventure Games:
5) Mage Knight Board Game (Wizkids)
If you wish to embody power and aren't afraid to be an outsider acting for reasons the normal peasantry can never understand, then taking on the role of the titular Mage Knight is the thing for you. Are you a hero? Are you a villain? Are you both and neither being above such trite morality? It doesn't matter. What does matter is that you have access to powers and abiltiies beyond mortal ken and you are stalking the land, slaying monsters, looting tombs, and eventually, if you are clever or strong enough, conquering and claiming the cities of the land.
Mage Knight is a very cerebral exercise in adventure. The action is driven by a hand of cards which dictate your ability to move and fight. The playing of these for maximum effect is intrigal to the game and does require concentration and brain power. It may leave you mentally exhausted but when it all comes together and you kill that dragon and take that city the feeling of accomplishment is unrivaled.
4) Talisman (Fantasy Flight)
As you sit in your workspace cubicle or behind the counter at the customer service desk, have you ever wished for the abiltiy to make people just shut up and do what you say? Who hasn't? Well what if I told you that such an artifact exists and it's called the Crown of Command and all you need to do to acquire it is to roam the land, fight horrific monsters, suffer the whims of fate and perhaps be turned into a toad indefinitly?
If, upon hearing that, you are one who rushes forward proclaiming "Sign me up!" then Talisman is for you. A simplistic game at it's heart, Talisman has the players rolling dice and landing on spaces that provide them with challenges. Defeat the challenge using one of your two abilities; strength or craft (guile), and you are rewarded with an increase in your abilities, new equipement to aid you or maybe even a sidekick to tag a long and sing your praises. Fail the challenge and you may get killed or sent somewhere nasty or lose your abilities or gain an annoying ghost that follows you everwhere and reminds you what a loser you are at every opportunity. Once you feel you are strong enough you can attempt to claim the Crown of Command and lord it over all those kids who were mean to you on the playground.
Talisman is not the most strategically deep adventure game but boy is it fun. Those moments where everybody is holding their breath as one player is about to make a critical die roll and then they either groan or burst out laughing and cheering at the results are priceless.
3) Merchants & Marauders (Z-man Games)
Mortagage and two car payments got you down? The cost of college tuition bringing the inevitable brain hemorage one day closer? Your girl or boyfriend left you and ran over your dog on the way down the driveway? Chuck those cares away and ship aboard for a life of freedom upon the seven seas!
Merchants & Marauders puts you on the weather deck of sailing ship during the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean. You can chose the honest life of a trader sailing from port to port acquiring riches in the legitamate way. Certainly the port agents who collect your dock fees and tarrifs will appreciate your honesty. Or maybe you've had enough of all that and think that you can take what you wish and go where you will. In which case, hoist the Jolly Rodger, chug down a 5th of rum, and become one of the vile pirates that haunt these waters. Or maybe you'd rather hunt down rumours and strange tales heard in dank seaside taverns. Who knows what you may find in that forgotten cove? Or maybe all three of these paths appeal to you. Nothing says you can't do them all.
A somewhat complex game mechanically, it can be a bit difficult to learn and any time away from the game will require a refresher course in how things like combat and ship upgrades work. However the game is immersive and compelling. There is no better game in which to yell "Avast" as much nor as loud as this one.
2) Western Legends (Kolossal Games)
Having trouble finding a parking space? That rank smelling hippee on the subway standing just too damn close to you? Time to head out West to the land of big skies and open spaces.
Another game where you are free to chose the path that appeals to you be it law man or outlaw, rancher or rustler, gambler or prospector. Upgrading your character, all seemingly based on legendary figures of the mythical west with new equipment including but not limited to six shooters, rifles, and bottles of whiskey. Riches are important but what wins the game if reknown. Let 'em all know who's the fastest gun East, West, North and South of the Pecos!
This game is smooth playing and it looks absolutely fabulous. From the board to the cards to the "story" cards, it'll make you feel as if you are actually taking part in a Saturday afternoon matinee at the local bijou. (That's an afternoon movie at the local movie theater for you youngin's)
1) Arkham Horror (Fantasy Flight)
Is everyday starting to seem the same? As you look out the grimy window in your back office at the corporate accounting firm, do you find yourself thinking that you'd give just about anything for something exciting and unexpected to come along? I assure you, the people of Arkham Massachusetts never EVER think that.
Arkham is a game where players pick one of about a million characters to play as they explore the streets of the town ecountering every weird, bizarre, and horrifying oddity imaginable. Along the way they meet a vast array of perverse and creepy denizens who either help or hinder them in their quest to close the gates that will allow intradimensional creatures to invade and devour our reality. And you thought getting the T.P.S. reports done on time was stressful.
This game is not the most streamilined of games but it's many processes provide a near infinate array of outcomes that allow for years of replayability There are skads of games invoking the Lovecraftian mythos but this is the king of them all. Hold on to your sanity, grab your trench coat and be careful of what lurks in the dark.