Morth's the pity?
So this week (last week, actually) the feature review is for Portal of Morth, an oddball Spanish game that seeks to do a hero-based tower defense game on your tabletop. It mostly works pretty well, and it has quite a bit more game than something like Castle Panic. Despite the murky artwork (something that is oddly common with import-only titles it seems) t's a really neat production- lots of Dicemasters-style dice for the monsters and a veggie tray that you roll the dice into to distribute them among players. The mechanics aren't quite like anything else out there, kudos to the designers for not just doing a worker placement or deckbuilding thing and calling it a day. It also features a nasty competitive mode with brutal take-that cards, a fully co-op version and a solo game so there's a lot of versatility built in. The problem with it all is that it feels like one of those wackadoo games that never makes it to the US because it doesn't quite get above its own novelty. I played it several times and enjoyed it, my friends liked it, but it also felt like after the review process that I wouldn't likely pick it up to play again. Outside of showing it to a curious friend or something. So it's a three star review that you can read right here.
Star Trek: Ascendancy will be next week. Charlie, Dan Thurot and I took the three player spirit of the game and did a triple header on it. It almost got a perfect score between us except for ONE Klingon sympathizer, who will remain nameless. I usually play coy about my GOTY pick, but I'm not going to this year. This is it, y'all. Even with the three player cap, the downtime and the length. It is Gale Force 9's best game to date, and it is the best Star Trek game ever made. I can't wait until Al and Josh get to sound off about it here.
Got some other things kicking around for review right now, I have the new edition of Medici which is, no surprise, destined for a five star review. It's classic Knizia and it is still one of the best auction games. Legomancer commented the other day in the forums here "remember when games just set out to do one thing really well?" Well, this is one of them, like a lot of great Knizia games. I am SO FREAKING HAPPY to be quit of the old RGG edition, which remains one of the ugliest games I have ever seen. The new edition is very nice-looking, and in some ways I prefer it to the recent FFG reprints. For one thing, it's only like $25 unlike the $70 Ra. And it looks more timeless and less bound to the FFG art style.
Sator Arepo Tenet Rotas (hey, a palindrome!) is another game like Portal of Morth. It's good! But is it something to play a lot of? I dunno. It's a cool concept- monks shift these magical walkways around to try to collect forbidden books- and the gameplay is very thinky and fun. Not to mention DIRTY. The first game I played, I was thinking "this is boring" until one of the guys I was playing with had a lightbulb moment and started using his cards to screw with the other players. Then I got it, and the game took on a new life. When we added the Malleus Maleficarium part, which adds an almost Wiz-War like mutually controlled adversary, it got even nastier. Which also makes it a little odd, because it's a borderline abstract and it requires some heavy thought but there's no use in any kind of planning. Because the board will be totally different and you will be somewhere else by the time it comes back around, especially in a three or four player outing. I like it, but I'm already sort of done with it. File in the "glad I got to check it out, don't want it though" bin.
Of course I've been hitting the GWpocalypse stuff pretty hard lately with it top-of-mind for everyone. WHQACG is coming out often, and I like the new POD characters a lot. $80 a lot? I dunno about that. But they are good, and it's a damn shame there won't be more. Still really love this game, especially solo or with two players. Not a first choice for three or four though, I don't think.
Had a friend over for Forbidden Stars, the game I miraculously bought at a FLGS for $30 less than retail the day of the GWpocalypse. He just adores the game, I gave it three stars back when I reviewed. I'm still just really iffy on it. There is a lot I love about it, but then that combat...yeesh. It just junked up silly for no good reason. And then FFG did the same thing in Rebellion. Anyway, the game was pretty fun, but I sort of struggled with digging back into it, especially the wonk-ass movement, so I was pretty soundly beaten. I really want to play it more, there is a lot to like there if you can come to terms with the things it does wrong.
I've gotten back into Space Hulk: Death Angel for what is now the third time. I've been sort of hot and cold on it, historically, and I kind of still feel that way about it. It's a good game that really has no business being a multiplayer design at all. I like the depth of working through situations by combining each team's card effects. I like that it gives you those heartstopping, do-or-die die rolls. And it does feel like Terminators lumbering around in cramped spaces fighting more nimble and numerous adversaries. If FFG were smart, they'd make a do-over of this with an Aliens license.
Trying to line up a MEGA TALISMAN game this weekend with EVERYTHING. Probably won't happen because it was sort of scoffed at and I still don't have Deep Realm or Cataclysm. Maybe next weekend.
On the painting scene, I've already cratered the value of my 3rd edition Fury of Dracula by painting those up and now I'm doing DungeonQuest. I'm getting the Infinity: Red Veil starter tomorrow so I'm looking forward to painting that Islamic army in particular.