Feb 032017
 

Puppetland RPG

Topic -    In one of my favorite interviews ever, I had the pleasure of sitting down with someone who changed the way I looked at story structure, character developement, and gaming as a whole.

John Scott Tynes wrote Puppetland more than 20 years ago, making him a pioneer in the “storytelling” game world.

The concept was a twisted mixture of the familiar and the macabre, where the innocence of childhood sensabilities rides the center line, crashing headlong into visceral and existential horror.

There is a new, (beautiful!) edition of Puppetland available now.  John tells us the story of how it came to be.

In one golden hour, you and your friends tell a story that may very well stick with you forever, for better or worse…

…at the very least, you’ll never look at puppets the same.

Enjoy the show!

 

Media - 

John’s website - http://www.JohnTynes.com

Purchase the Puppetland RPG -

On Amazon

On Indie Press Revolution

ArcDream Publishing - http://arcdream.com/home/

The New Delta Green RPG –  http://www.delta-green.com/

The new Unknown Armies 3rd Edition RPG - http://www.atlas-games.com/unknownarmies/

RPPR Actual Play podcast- http://actualplay.roleplayingpublicradio.com/

Holospark, the video game start-up where John works - http://www.holospark.net/

The Impossible Travel Agency (John’s first virtual-reality project with Holospark) - http://impossibletravelagency.com/

The original version of Puppetland - http://johntynes.com/revland2000/rl_puppetland.html

The (very “drippy”) cover art from the 1999 release from Hogshead Publishing:

Puppetland

 

John Supported:

The Siblings Trouble storytelling card game - http://www.pencilfirstgames.com/the-siblings-trouble/

Just for fun, here is the Santa Claus, Punch,and Judy video that I was talking about on the show:

 

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Sep 282016
 

GenCon 2016 Game review – Ice Cool

IceCool

At a glance –

School is almost out in Antarctica but a few of the penguins are too hungry to wait!  They skip out on class and, racing through the hallways, make their way to the cafeteria to grab an afternoon snack.  Will they make it before being caught by the dreaded hall monitor?  Welcome to “Ice Cool”.

“Ice Cool” is a surprisingly fun and innovative “flicking” game for 2-4 players published by Brain Games.  The gameplay is fast and intuitive.  Although it’s geared to younger players, I’ve played the game with several different age groups, including a mixed session, and the result is always the same, LOTS OF FUN!

8fbe28_b86fe61c8ebf4bd28d0871faa4ef4a3d

The Object -

 The players choose a color and collect the corresponding penguin and ID card.  One of the players is chosen to be the Hall Monitor (called the Catcher). The other players (called Runners) take turns flicking their penguins, trying to get them through the doorways that have their fish clipped to the top.  If they make it through, they collect their fish and score a fish card.  On their next turn, they begin making their way toward their next fish.

The Catcher has a different goal.  He or she is trying to collect the IDs of the Runners by flicking their penguin so that it touches the penguins of the Runners, thus, collecting their ID cards.  A round ends when either, one of the Runners collects all of their fish, or the Catcher has all of the IDs.  There are as many rounds as there are players so that everyone gets a turn to be the Catcher.  Also, there is a bit of a “rubber band” mechanic built in.  You look at the ‘fish cards” as you collect them.  If, at any point in the game you have collected two cards that only have a “1” on them, you can “ice skate”.  You turn over your two “1” cards and get to take an extra turn.  After all of the rounds have been completed, the players total up the numbers on their “fish cards” and the highest total wins.

The Board – pic3188780_md

The board for this game is a VERY innovative design called “Box in a Box”.  Inside the box are 5 smaller boxes with holes in the sides and art depicting the different rooms of the school.  These all clip together with the holes matching up to create the doorways and a kind of obstacle course for the players to navigate by flicking their penguins from room to room, collecting fish and (hopefully) avoiding the Hall Monitor.  The art on the board/boxes themselves is a convincing depiction of what a penguin school would look like, complete with overhead views of desks, chairs, a gymnasium, a cafeteria, all of which are complete with nice little touches like posters, drinking fountains, and basketball rims.  (Even though I’m sure that penguins are terrible at basketball)


8fbe28_407f327266a44ba2a39921d72625f763

 

What’s in the Box? -

(4) Plastic penguins;

(5) Cardboard boxes – rooms;

(16) Wooden fish tokens (12 fish in 4 player colors and 4 fish in white color);

(45) Fish cards (each showing 1, 2 or 3 victory points);

(4) Color reminder cards;

(4) Penguin ID cards;

(1) Rules booklet

Several re-sealable bags for component storage

Components –

The components for this game are quite nice. The cards are of good quality, and the “fish” are solid wood and seem to be very durable.  The real features of this game are, as described above, the board itself, and the adorable little penguins.  The penguins are rounded at the bottom, and weighted so that they can’t lie on their side.

For those of you who know what they are, think Weebles.

il_fullxfull-260793308

When flicked, they flop and flounder, spin and turn, but what they don’t do, is lay still.  With a little practice, you can begin to steer them around corners, make them jump over walls and, if you’re really good, you may even be able to get them to travel in a straight line!

Check out the “Ice Cool” promo video on YouTube to see an AMAZING shot near the end.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhzIZUQvLng

If you’d like to listen to our interview with the man who, both, made that trick shot, and helped design this game, it can be found here:

 http://carpegm.net/interviews-ep-17-ice-cool/ ‎

Learning Curve –

This is an easy one to grasp for kids and adults alike.  If you’ve ever flicked things on a table you already have the basics down.  Spend a few minutes reading the rules and a couple of minutes setting up the board and you’re ready to go. There is a bit of a learning curve as you figure out how to make those pesky penguins do what you want, but not so much as to make the concept unattainable.  In any case, in a game like this failure can be just as entertaining as success!

pic3188778_md

 

Packaging –

As I said before, I’m absolutely enamored with this box.  Not only does it hold all of the smaller boxes, but, because there is no insert for the smaller pieces, the designers included small, re-sealable bags for storing the other components.  This allows “Ice Cool” to pass the “shake test” with flying colors.  Store it however you’d like!

Rules –

The rules document for this game is clear and concise, has little comic-style penguins all over it making it fun for kids to read, and even covers some of the unpredictable things that can happen when you get a few people around a table flicking plastic things through cardboard things.

Play time – 30 minutes

 

The “Sweet Spot” –

The game is rated for 2-4 players.  The sweet spot for this game, in my opinion, is 4 players.  The more pieces that you have flying around the board, the better!

Replay Value –

Due to the shape of its components and the nature of dexterity games in general, the replay value of this game is quite high.

Price Point - $39.99

 

Notes - 

Even though most of the components are cast or printed in bold primary colors, color blindness may be a concern.  That said, because of the gameplay and the mechanics involved, this could be overcome with just a little assistance by other players. The cards are easily read, but the penguins and wooden fish are all the same, only differing in color.  However, adding multiple casts to a game is extremely expensive, sometimes adding tens of thousands of dollars to a game’s initial bottom line.  This would have probably priced it out of its market and, all things considered, is probably not necessary for our chromodysoptic friends to enjoy it.

Rating –  9 out of 10

 

Final Thoughts -

Even though “Ice Cool” is targeted toward younger players, I think gamers of all ages will have a lot of fun with it.  I’ve seen older gamers pull the chairs away from the table so that they can line up their perfect shot as if they’re playing a tiny game of billiards, while a game with younger players looks and sounds exactly like what you may think;

 Raucous excitement sometimes mixed with the spell cast by a basketball circling the hoop in an Antarctic gymnasium.

I highly recommend this one, particularly if you have children.  However, I think this game would be a welcome addition to any collection, whether it’s found in a kid’s closet or the college campus.

In a word, “Ice Cool” is white-hot!

But then again, this is just my humble opinion.

 -Dan Whorl

(CarpeGM.net Game Reviews)

 

 

A review copy of Ice Cool was given to me at GenCon 2016 by the game designer.  No money or further compensation changed hands or has been promised for a good review.  They earned it!

 

Sep 212016
 

IceCool

Topic -    Live from GenCon 2016!  I was able to spend a few minutes talking with Egils Grasmanis From Brain Games about their new, super fun dexterity games “Ice Cool”  We talk a little about the design process and how the idea for one of the most popular casual games of the year came to be.

Enjoy the show!

 

Media - 

GenCon 2016 

 Brain Games.com

 Ice Cool

 

For our full review of the game, go to

 http://carpegm.net/game-review-ice-cool/ ‎

Egils Supported:

Mikkel Bertelsen’s game “Klask

Check out the Ice Cool promo video!

 

 

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Sep 102016
 

GenCon 2016 Game review – Mr. Game!

logo-mr-game_large

At a glance –

Part board game, part social experiment, all chaos…

Mr. Game! challenges nearly every convention of the classic roll and move board game.  This modern spin on retro style gaming has become a family favorite for game night at my house. It checks boxes that I didn’t know existed and jumps through hoops that I had no idea I was holding…Refreshing!

The object is simple.  Everyone starts on one space and races to land on the “goal” space to win.  That’s pretty conventional stuff, right?  Wrong.   Mr. Game! creates an atmosphere where even the concept of “what is a space?” can be challenged.  The road to victory is complicated by an ever-changing board, as well as an array of cards with different types of wacky functions, a goal that just won’t sit still, and of course, Mr. Game!.

Mr game board

The board – 

The board is a pretty straight forward design with the numbers 1-4 in the four corners and some wandering paths of spaces in between.  You start on “1” at the beginning of the game and you’re trying to land on “4”. This is subject to change.

The cards –

There are 3 types of cards in the game, “Actions”, “Badges”, and “Powerups”.

display-action-goalswitchdisplay-action-singularitydisplay-action-banish

Actions” are the most common cards in the deck and are played immediately when drawn.  The effects of these cards vary wildly including (but not limited to) moving other people’s pawns, adding or moving spaces on the board, changing the goal, etc.

display-badge-mrwhistledisplay-badge-mrcaffeine

 

Badges” are cards that are kept secretly in your hand to be played at just the right moment. Some of the effects may be similar to “Action” cards but the ability to weaponize them makes them valuable.  The results of a well-timed “Badge” can range from devastating to hilarious…

…or both…

…or neither…

…or…

Never mind. Moving on.

display-powerup-jetpackdisplay-powerup-sleightofhanddisplay-powerup-ballandchain

A “Powerup” is a card that is played immediately when drawn and changes the way your pawn behaves, giving you some sort of ability or taking one away.  For better or worse, you’re stuck with these until someone takes them or you roll doubles.

There are also four blank cards found in the deck that prompt you to use your imagination…or not.  It’s up to you.

Spaces –

Given the ubiquity and familiarity of spaces in tabletop games, I hadn’t really considered the idea of describing them until I got to this point in the review.  On one hand, because of the nature of this game, they need to be discussed.  But on the other hand, it feels a little like describing to someone how it feels to blink.

download

 The spaces on the board, at a glance, are rudimentary.  You have normal spaces that prompt no action. As mentioned before, there are four spaces in the corners of the board that are numbered 1-4 and serve as the “goal” spaces.  There are spaces marked with an exclamation point that prompt the player to draw a card.  There are also spaces found sporadically about the board that prompt you to “roll again”.   If that’s not enough, all of these spaces can be different colors depending on where they are found on the board.  The colors of the spaces have no bearing on their function when playing with the rules as written.  That said, the colors, location, and even the null area between spaces can (and probably will) routinely come into play because of this game’s chaotic nature.

Tiles –

Tiles are essentially spaces that can be added or moved on the board once prompted by a card, changing the effect of a space or adding a new one altogether!  There are several types of tiles.  Nearly all of the spaces described above can be found in the stack of tiles, as well as webs in which your pawn can get “stuck”, portals that allow you to quickly traverse the board, and null spaces to cut off possible avenues for your opponents.

Mr. Game! – 

Last but certainly not least, there’s Mr. Game!.  Before you begin playing, you decide who will act as Mr. Game!.  While all players are expected to interpret the rules, this player will have the final word on any decisions to be made concerning them.

From this mechanic, chaos is born.

While the other players are constantly trying to take advantage of any given situation that may get them closer to winning, they invariably will be challenging the very conventions of a roll and move game.  This, coupled with a purposefully minimalistic set of written rules, creates an environment where house rules are necessary.  This is where Mr. Game! comes in.  During play, Mr. Game! will have to make any number of probably ridiculous and unforeseen rules decisions.  As these situations are arbitrated, they become rules for the remainder of the game.  Keep in mind that whoever is playing as Mr. Game is also playing the game with everyone else and, as such, must uphold and is subject to his or her own rulings throughout the game.

What’s in the box? – 

( 1 ) Game BoardMr game board

( 1 ) How To Play Booklet

( 1 ) Alternate Game Types Booklet

( 104 ) Cards

( 18 ) Tiles

( 8 ) Player Pieces

( 8 ) Player Cards

( 2 ) Four Sided Dice

( 2 ) Goal Markers

( 4 ) Blank Cards

Components –

The components of the game are all of very good quality and have weathered several plays with little to no wear and tear.

Learning Curve –

If you read every word of the rules pamphlet it’ll take you about 10 minutes to learn to play. The set-up is minimal and the core mechanics of the game are extremely intuitive.

Packaging –

The storage space in the box holds all of the components well and passes the “shake test” with minimal movement.

Rules –

Ordinarily, a rules document that leaves so many unanswered questions would receive bad marks in this category. However, this one, because of the nature of the game, is perfect.

Play time –

The play time varies from game to game.  Most of them last 20 to 60 minutes with 4-6 players,

The “Sweet Spot” –

Rated for 2 – 8 players, the more the merrier! We’ve played with as many as 7 players with no negative experience regarding gameplay.  That said, after having experienced the game several times with varying group sizes, I’m going to put the sweet spot somewhere between 4 – 6 players.

Replay ability –

Having many variants and additional rules included in the “Alternate Gametypes” book that comes with the game, several more variants published at http://whoismrgame.com/your-house-rules/, along with the fact that you can play a completely different game just by changing the people playing or who presides as Mr. Game!, the replay ability of this one is off the charts!

Price – $35

You can purchase your copy here.

Final Thoughts –

The charm of Mr. Game! is rooted in the unpredictability that spawns from just playing the game. This provides the players with an experience that is unique not only to their gaming group, but to the individual session, which prompts the telling of stories and anecdotes about those sessions.  This is a trait usually found in meatier board games and tabletop RPGs such as Dungeons and Dragons rather than a simple roll and move game.  But then again…

Just a simple roll and move board game, Mr. Game! is not…

I believe that Mr. Game! is, in and of itself, an experience.

Rating – 10 out of 10

But then again, this is just my humble opinion.

-Dan Whorl

Check out our interview with the creator of Mr. Game!, Frank DiCola, here.

A review copy of Mr. Game! was given to me at GenCon 2016 by the game designer.  No money or further compensation changed hands or has been promised for a good review.  They earned it!

 

Sep 102016
 

Topic -  I was finally able to sit down with Frank DiCola, the creator of Mr. Game!, one of my favorite family games EVER! In this episode, we discuss Mr. Game!, the nature of its design, and some house rules.  Frank also gives a little insight into Kickstarter and we discuss some of the hurdles of being an independent game designer.  

Enjoy the show!

 

Media - 

GenCon 2016 

whoismrgame.com
Mr. Game! (@whoismrgame) | Twitter
Mr. Game | Facebook
Frank DiCola (@Yoshgunn) | Twitter
drinkinggamezone.com/drinking-games/mr-game
Tabletop Simulator on Steam
Buy Mr. Game!

For our full review of the game, go to

http://carpegm.net/game-review-mr-game/

Frank Supported:
Aether Game Cafe

 

 

Subscribe, rate, and review us on iTunes!Subscribe on Stitcher Internet Radio!Like us?...Then like us!Follow us!Send us an email at dan@carpegm.netOur HomepageReccomend us on RPG Podcast.com!

Feb 182015
 

Kyle & Kyle sit down and dig into Far Cry 4. Traveling the Kyrat countryside, meeting the locals, fighting wolves, eating crab rangoon, and surviving avalanches. It’s a weird place.

Note: This video was almost scrapped due to an user audio issue. Sorry if the commentary is a little sub par. That person has been sacked.

far_cry_4

 

Far Cry 4
Hidden in the towering Himalayas lies Kyrat, a country steeped in tradition and violence. You are Ajay Ghale. Traveling to Kyrat to fulfill your mother’s dying wish, you find yourself caught up in a civil war to overthrow the oppressive regime of dictator Pagan Min. Explore and navigate this vast open world, where danger and unpredictability lurk around every corner. Here, every decision counts, and every second is a story. Welcome to Kyrat.

Feb 042015
 

XLS Logo

Tonight we laugh at South Park, go fast with Forza, auto aim with Titanfall, stream out with Playstation Now, and… do whatever it is you do in Minecraft.

Theme Music:
“RetroFuture Dirty” by Kevin MacLeod

Follow Kyle on Twitter: @eroe_vigoroso

Jan 192015
 

XLS GOTY2014

Join Kyle & Kyle in an action packed and fully loaded show this week as we invite special guests Kenny Maxey and Will Blevins to share our favorite games of 2014! In this episode Kyle P. and Will give their top 5 picks.

Theme Music:
“RetroFuture Dirty” by Kevin MacLeod

Additional Music:
“Super Brothers” by Guitar Vadar
from the Jet Set Radio OST

Follow Kyle on Twitter: @eroe_vigoroso

Jan 192015
 

XLS GOTY2014

Join us for part two of an action packed and fully loaded show this week as we invite special guests Kenny Maxey and Will Blevins to share our favorite games of 2014! In this episode Kenny and Kyle M. give their top 5 picks.

Theme Music:
“RetroFuture Dirty” by Kevin MacLeod

Additional Music:
“Rock It On” by Hideki Naganuma
from the Jet Set Radio OST

Follow Kyle on Twitter: @eroe_vigoroso

Dec 272014
 

XLS Logo

It’s Halo CE, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4 this week!! It’s a Halo Extravaganza! Also there’s Titanfall and the return of the League of Legends Hour.

Theme Music:
“RetroFuture Dirty” by Kevin MacLeod

Additional Music:
“Braum’s Theme” by Moisés Nieto
from the League of Legends OST

Follow Kyle on Twitter: @eroe_vigoroso

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