Monthly Archives August 2012

Portals of the Week

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Custom Gaming: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Zombicide

“It’s quiet.”

“Yeah, a little too quiet.”

The four brothers continued their patrol beneath the streets of the city. It had been days since they last heard from April or Casey, and the Shellcells stopped working at the same time. The normal rumble of the city streets had been replaced with… nothing. Mikey scouted ahead and signaled that the tunnel was all clear.

Raphael finally said what they had all been thinking. “It doesn’t matter what Master Splinter says, we need to go topside.” The four turtles began to climb up the ladder and pushed aside the manhole cover. The stale air was unsettling.

“Dudes, it smells like a sewer up here,” Mikey mumbled while staying on point. A shambling mass moaned and stumbled towards the sound of the turtles. The deep, scratchy call soon echoed around the turtles as the dead began to surround them.

“Please tell me you have an explanation, Donny…” Leo said as he drew his swords.

I absolutely love the game Zombicide. Maybe it’s the combination of tiny plastic toys (which I’m known for having a strong affinity for) or the simple fact that it is a game that allows me to scratch the urge of battling zombies while playing a strategic game. While I enjoy the characters included in Zombicide, the game is just begging for some customization. It doesn’t hurt than Guillotine Games provided blank character sheets either!

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Dragons Rock Commander Deck & Dragon Bites Recipe

Castles and Cooks is proud to welcome back our first guest writer on the site – Bill O’Dell! A long time player of Magic, Bill loves what we’re doing here and offered up a new deck idea along with a corresponding recipe or two! Welcome back! – Jesse the Baker

Most of us fantasy fanboys will hands down say that dragons are the coolest creature in all of the mythic lore. Whether we’re talking Smaug or Draco, Eastern or Western, dragons have always captivated people – in some cases for centuries.

And yes, I will admit, I love dragons. While I liked the classic Shivan Dragon, what I truly loved were and are the legendary dragons, specifically starting with the Elder Dragon Legends – you know the original heavy hitters – Nicol Bolas (before Planeswalker status), Arcades Sabboth, Chromium, Vaevictis Asmadi and Paladia-Mors.

These were THE dragons to have, to hold, to crush your opponents with their combolicious goodness!

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Arena Review: Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

In Brief

You don’t have to be a comic book fan to have a soft spot for Marvel superheroes. Whether you watched the X-Men cartoon show from the 1990s, the newer movies like X-Men or The Avengers, or even something farther off-canon like X-Men Evolution, you likely have a very distinct idea of what sort of character you’d be playing in Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. This product hit the market like an electric shock and almost overnight it became a sensation that people have been talking about. The system is interesting and new, the material iconic, and the presentation professional but still the attention it’s received is really worth a look.

Genre: Action superhero
System: Unique dice pool system
Potential Library: Small (3 products so far)
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions

The system developed for this game has a few items definitely worth mentioning. First, it works off of dice pools but unlike games with similar mechanics like ShadowrunWorld of Darkness, or Burning Wheel nearly every type of common polyhedron is used from d4 to d12. Strong powers use bigger dice and weaker abilities use smaller dice. This deceptively simple mechanic creates a game that is both craftily design and relatively easy to remember. For example, every hero and villain has a d6, d8, and d10 associated to different affiliation categories: namely, “Solo”, “Buddy,” and “Team.” If you’re playing Wolverine, you’re strongest as a Solo loner (using the d10), almost as good integrated into a team like the X-Men (using the d8), and worst when it’s just you and one other (using the d6). Isn’t that just… awesome?!? So simple yet so powerfully iconic and subtly tactical. It instantly gives you a mechanical incentive to play Wolverine as the type to ditch a partner or to leave his team behind to scout out some threat. He just isn’t as effective when he has to watch out for others.

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Full decklists for Izzet vs. Golgari Duel Decks – and five new Return to Ravnica spoilers!

In a surprise announcement, Wizards revealed the complete contents of Duel Decks: Izzet vs Golgari in their entirety today!

Full decklists after the jump, prepare to have your mind BLOWN.

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Portals of the Week

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Arena Review: King of Tokyo

As much as I love intricate games of strategy, depth and a complete lack of chance, every now and then I want to just roll some dice and smash things. King of Tokyo does all that and more.

I picked up this game sight unseen thanks to the box art. The image of a giant ape-cyborg fighting Godzilla and a mecha-bunny in the middle of Tokyo was enough to sell me – then I saw the name on the box: Richard Garfield. As the man who created Magic: the Gathering, Garfield has had a huge impact on my life and is enough for me to blindly invest (just like SolForge).

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SolForge Gameplay video from Gen Con! showed off a brief gameplay video of SolForge from Gen Con! With a brief walk through of the game and a few turns, it’s great seeing how well the demo came out. The confirmation that you can have one monster and one structure in the same row is nice too. I can’t wait to find out more.

For more information on SolForge, check out our interview with Justin Gary and the SolForge Kickstarter page.

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Ascension Immortal Heroes Previews: Week 7

Ascension Immortal Heroes finally got released this weekend at Gen Con! But a total of three new cards were shown off to round out the previews on the official Ascension Facebook page.

Hedron Pyromaniac continues the mixed messaging of Mechana doing both power and runes, but the self-destructive take makes for a drastically different play experience over the old method of assembling the great machine. Worst case, this is a Mystic worth double honor for only one extra rune.

Spider Witch really shows how far Eric Sabee’s art has come since Chronicles of the Godslayer. But as a card, my gut reaction is to compare this to Flytrap Witch. On its own, this card doesn’t do enough for me. With some extra Lifebound heroes, it can work but unless your strategy is honor ramp (or consistent uniting), this is a card you can leave for your opponents.

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Great American Food Truck Race III Recap: Humble Beginnings

A new season of the Great American Food Truck Race kicks off, and Tyler Florence is back on the case, Top Gun shades and all. One of our favorite cooking contest shows returns, but in year three they’re switching up the formula.  This year, all the contestants are newbies. None of them own food trucks, or have ever operated, cooked-in or even driven one. (Don’t you need a commercial license to drive these? What are the chances these teams all passed the commercial test on the first try…5%?)

The prize this year is not only a chunk of change ($50k), but also the food truck of their dreams. I’m really hoping Xzibit shows up and we get a “Pimp My Ride” episode in the finale, complete with a trip to West Coast Customs.

For those new to the show, here’s how it works. Each week the teams compete in a new city, serving food to the locals. Aside from planning menus and cooking food, the teams have to scout locations and try to drum up customers however they can. Along the way there are side challenges. In the end, the lowest earning team goes home.

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