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Game Review – Eldritch Horror

Posted on | September 2, 2015 | 1 Comment

First Arkham, then the World!

A few nights ago I was invited over to a friend’s house to play Eldritch Horror, which Fantasy Flight Games describes as “a cooperative game for one to eight players, based on the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and inspired by the classic board game Arkham Horror”. I have played Arkham Horror, Elder Sign and Call of Cthulhu, so was excited about this new game. I have to say I really enjoyed it, so much so that I wanted to write my first boardgame review.

First off I have to say that, as with most FFG products, this game is great to look at. The cards, pieces and board all provide a window into the theme and time period of the works of fiction upon which the game is based. It’s great to see that many games these days are of great production quality and I feel that FFG have had a hand in influencing this and aren’t resting on their laurels in this department.

Review 1 - The Board

As with many Lovecraft flavoured games the emphasis is on a team of investigators trying to prevent the awakening of some really nasty ruinous power. The players have to work together to complete a set number of Mysteries before the appropriately named Doom Track ticks down to zero. At the same time gates are opening and monsters are threatening your investigators. You need to use your varying skills (Lore, Influence, Observation, Strength and Will) to overcome challenges and prevent the big bad from appearing. Or if you can’t do that, hope you can defeat whatever you happen to bring into the world.

In Arkham Horror the game board was based on the eponymous city. In Eldritch Horror, the threat has been extended out to the entire globe. The board is a lovely 1930’s map of the world with period appropriate names and locations (including Arkham). Each continent provides different challenges through dedicated card decks and gates, clues and terrible monsters pop up all over the world, providing a constantly shifting emphasis for the players.

This brings me to my first negative point, and it’s a small one. A lot of the locations are named (e.g. London, Sydney, Heart of Africa), but there are also generically numbered locations mostly in the sea. This leads to a mix of “a gate opens on London” and “a gate opens on sea location 12”. I think a small amount of time could have been spent on adding “South Seas” or “Indian Ocean”. It’s minor, but it did seem to jar with me in the heat of the game.

Not only is the product made exceedingly well, but every card and counter in the game adds to the Lovecraft feel. As my friend’s and I travelled the world encountering gates, exploring cities and facing off against monsters I felt immersed in the story of the game. The cards have plenty of story text to help flesh out the world and provide much of the atmosphere for the creeping doom that is building around you.

Review 2 - Card Example

This brings me to my second negative point and this is a bigger one. There is a lot of stuff, and lots of different stuff. There are several decks of cards (although clearly different), lots of counters, various special actions and about a hundred characters to choose from (not quite, but it felt that way). The owner of the game informed me he had already picked up an expansion for the game, which had added a bunch of stuff. For me this volume of stuff creates two issues.

Firstly I felt that with so much choice it was a bit hard to pick a character. In the end I went with the guy that looked like Winston Churchill smoking a big cigar, why not? As an experienced gamer this didn’t actually deter me. I like choice and was thinking about the future re-playability of the game. However, I could see it as a barrier to less experienced gamers.

Secondly, I arrived after the game and pieces were set up. The owner assures me it only took ten minutes to get sorted, but I noticed he had bought a nifty organiser to put all the bits in. I can imagine you need to add 15 to 20 minutes to your expected play time for Eldritch Horror for setup. This is clearly not an entry level game, but it is not advertised as such and therefore I don’t hold that against it. Also I have horrible memories of setting up Arkham Horror, which needed at least half an hour to get it setup and tidied away.

We spent the evening trying to prevent Cthulhu himself from rising and destroying the world. We managed to complete the three mysteries that faced us, but unfortunately the last one completed in the same round as the Doom Track hit zero. It was slightly galling that all our efforts had been for naught! However, we went on to defeat Cthulhu by the skin of our teeth, so we were redeemed! It was a great night and the cooperative elements of the game really pay off when you all win.

Review 3 - Luck!

Verdict

For the Fans:                      9/10

A great looking game, this slicker take on the Arkham Horror theme provides the fans with the detailed, rewarding game they have been wanting from the large scale board game genre.

For everyone else:          4/10

This is not a gateway game. Even though this has effectively streamlined Arkham Horror, this is still an intimidating game to get out of the box. People wanting to explore the tabletop Lovecraft world should probably start with Elder Sign.

Legacy of Sol Faction Focus – United Colonies

Posted on | August 29, 2015 | No Comments

The United Colonies

A para-military group that advises the governments of the new Human colonies, the United Colonies (UC) are the peace keepers of human space. Colony armed forces commit members of their own military to the UC for joint operations. The main democratic colonUC - New Priaies are keen to support this movement. However, some worlds are less willing to contribute and look to other powers to back their agenda.

The United Colonies are keen to foster cultural and technological exchanges with the wider galactic com
munity. Adopting existing technologies has proven a powerful step up for their capabilities, but without a manufacturing base they are reliant on alien technology or what the colonies are willing to share. This access to alien technology has proven an incentive for colony armed forces, which are keen to have their troops trained in advanced warfare.

On the galactic stage they are the most progressive. Willingness to work with the Free Species has opened many avenues for the UC and many ‘alien’ organisations view them as the primary political force of humanity. The Protectorate in particular has worked with them closely in helping to bolster the Human Colonies and encourage trade and diplomatic involvement.

The lifting of the quarantine of Sol has opened a pathway to the history of Humanity. The UC are working hard to co-ordinate colony efforts to reclaim the old worlds. However, some entities are seeking individual dominance at the expense of others. With the backing of the Protectorate, the UC is determined to ensure the security of the home-system as a resource for all mankind.

Faction Focus

The United Colonies faction is a very flexible one. They are able to call upon expert tactical units from some worlds and have limited access to advanced Protectorate military and sensor technology. Expedition forces are likely to be able to deal with most issues, but not focused on any one particular battlefield methodology. They potentially therefore don’t have the synergies that other factions do in particular areas, but are set up to deal with many different types of battlefield scenarios. The first Leader available for the United Colonies is the New Pacifican Scientist Pria Katharmi.

 

Montage Time!

Posted on | April 17, 2015 | No Comments

Hello Garblaggians!

We have been having such a great time creating Legacy of Sol. The rules are in a really good place, with a strong basis to move on and start adding funky stuff like upgrades. The couple of playtests we’ve done have been resounding successes and we intend to do many more.

With Salute just 8 days away we are very keen to pick up some more appropriate minis to use and some sci-fi urban scenery. I think we’ll need to prep a shopping list for the first time!

Anyway, to give you a feel of the last couple of months we’ve created our first video montage.

So please watch the video at the link below. We hope it gives you a bit of insight into our process.

Garblag Games Channel

Hopefully that also gives you a flavour of what’s to come.

By the way if you want to check out our artist in more detail you can head to:

Pencil Wright

Archalofax

Gothic Tales

Posted on | April 8, 2015 | No Comments

Gothic_Logo

19th century London: city of industry, affluence and discovery. The British Empire’s finest gather, their conversation giddy and feverish with talk of scientific wonders, mysteries of the ‘dark continent’, and the latest engineering marvels. Yet outside these prestigious halls, the London’s streets and slums wallow, overcrowded, in disease, crime and death.

These contrasts attract many visitors, and not all harbour wholesome intent. There are creatures in this world, beasts unexplained by Victorian science, and they are legion. Be they supernatural beings, or mere humans whose chests cage the blackest of hearts, they skulk among the populace, their own twisted ambitions their sole company, and woe betide anybody who interferes.

Some call them ‘monster’; others ‘villain’, but whatever the moniker bestowed upon them, these entities are the engines of evil, their machinery that of murder and mayhem.

In Gothic Tales, 1 to 4 players assume the mantle of a powerful villain – known as protagonists – from literature. The Vampire, The Werewolf, The Monster and The Pharaoh are newly arrived in London and have their sights set on enacting something quiet terrible. These protagonists travel around London performing acts of Murder or Mayhem, each aligned to their unique story and set across three distinct ‘acts’. These foul creatures are single-minded and ruthless, and so to combat these villains and save the populace from their predations, each player will also play one of four Investigators (Antagonists). These antagonists will examine every scene in the hope to find clues to a protagonist’s identity, and eventually equip themselves, along with the people of London, with the knowledge to put an end to the evil schemes of the monsters.

The villains know, however, that with each and every step taken in achieving their goals, they leave behind them a trail to be followed, one that may promise their downfall.

Legacy of Sol

Posted on | April 7, 2015 | No Comments

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After 75 years the galactic alien peacekeeping force known as the Protectorate has finally lifted the quarantine on the Sol system, the birthplace of humanity. Now 3 human factions vie for control of vital resources on the worlds their history books detail so well. Old rivalries have flared and true intentions have come to the fore. Starships have arrived once again in orbit of Earth, Mars and the colonies and stations that were created in the height of civilisation in the system.

The United Colonies is a para-military group that advises the governments of the new Human colonies, a clutch of nine habitable worlds. With backing from the Protectorate, the UC is determined to ensure the security of the home-system.

Highmountain is a conglomerate of corporate entities within the human colonies as powerful as the government itself. The corporate leadership has recognised the potential value in rescuing biological and technological artifacts from humanity’s past.

New Toronto is a militant offshoot that did not accept the worlds offered to humanity by the Protectorate. They shun the wider galactic community, believing that human worlds should be for humans only, including those of the home-system.

Expeditions have begun to clash in strategically important points throughout the system. Each of these factions has a claim to the past and is determined to exert their authority. As an expedition leader you must ensure that your faction is the one to win out on the battlefield. For what happens today determines the future of humanity.

Do you have what it takes to seize the legacy of Sol?

Update on direction

Posted on | April 2, 2015 | No Comments

Hello Garblaggians!

It’s been a while since we last gave a decent update on what we are doing. Aside from our recent playtest pictures we’ve been pretty quiet. Well unfortunately as is the way with our hobby, real life has intervened to slow things down. However, we now have a clear stretch ahead and, more importantly, what we see as a definite focus; which is what we want to talk to you about.

Up until now we have been messing about with various different formats and games and it has lacked a certain focus. This doesn’t mean that all our other stuff won’t appear, but it will be later on that we get round to them. So, we have decided to focus on two main games to bring to you:

1. Legacy of Sol
2. Gothic Tales

Before we go on to talk about these we wanted to just mention the three games we’re side-lining for now. There are our two roleplaying settings Third Order and Five Cities. Hopefully you’ll notice that Third Order isn’t altogether forgotten for now, but we will be holding fire on Five Cities for the foreseeable future. Also Ascendancy, our card game, is going on the back burner.

Let’s make it clear though. We love all these games. In the future once our two first games are developed and out there we’ll come back to these. But for now we need focus.

We feel that with these games we’ll be able to quite quickly encapsulate the feel of two great settings and provide quality products. We’ll post a synopsis for both of the games very soon. For now we’ll leave you with a one-liner on each.

Legacy of Sol is a unique tabletop skirmish game based in the Third Order universe.

Gothic Tales is a flavour rich boardgame of Victorian monsters and mystery.

Please stay tuned in the coming months as we outline what you can expect from Garblag Games this year.

See you soon!

Archalofax

Third Order Update

Posted on | September 21, 2014 | No Comments

Hello Garblaggites!

So, not wanting to lag behind on Third Order I’ve recently updated the materials available. At the links below you will find the Character Section, Character Sheet and the Forge Galaxy History. This should be all you need to get a feel for the world and make a Third Order character.

Character Section

Character Sheet Page 1

Forge Galaxy – History

Please let us know what you think.

 

PS. A few edits have already been identified in the Character Section by players and these will be updated shortly.

PPS. Page 2 of the Character Sheet is nearly done!

Five Cities Characters

Posted on | April 27, 2014 | No Comments

Hello Garblaggites!

So, the new campaign begins on Monday at the St Albans Roleplaying Club. In preparation for this I have been working on the Character Creation and Equipment sections as well as the Character Sheet. There have been a few subtle changes, nothing fundamental. These days it’s a refining process and getting it all down on paper.

At the links below you will find all you need to make Five Cities characters:

Character Creation

Equipment

Character Sheet

The World of Five Cities

I’m really looking forward to the new campaign, which I’ll post about here – so stay tuned for campaign updates.

Archalofax

Five Cities Magic

Posted on | March 27, 2014 | No Comments

Hello fellow Garblaggians!

So I’ve been working on Five Cities a bit, mainly to support an upcoming campaign I’ll be running at the Monday Night Club. Chiefly I’ve been concerned with Blackbridge the city, equipment and trappings and Magic. I’ll be updating on the first two shortly, but I just wanted to share the current outlines for Magic.

There are 4 Elements, which are broken down by 4 Essences to create 16 Circles of Magic. These are then broken down again by 4 Expressions (the skills that characters use in the game) to leave 64 different types of effect that Magi can create. It’s an open and free form system – no spells other than those you can imagine within the guidelines.

Anyway, I’ve attached a file that you can download and have a read of. So feel free to read and let us know what you think here, or on facebook.

Download here: Five Cities Magic

Regards,

Archalofax

Welcome to the British Order for Science and Reason

Posted on | October 2, 2013 | 1 Comment

The Order exist for the betterment of the British people. The discovery of Salite and the development of its many applications were a catalyst for the Order to rise to power. With the support of the house, James Faraday, son of the late Michael Faraday, became Prime Minister within a few years of standing for election. In this position of power, the Order’s first move was to remove the influence of the church and the monarchy from Parliament; judging their hold over the people as unproductive and a detriment to the advancement of British society.

 

This move was not met without opposition and in several areas across the country, was met with violence. The Order decided to take a firm stand against this lawlessness and after the riots were put down swiftly thanks to the new technologies given to enforcers of the law, the Order dissolved the church and exiled the monarchy. The land that the churches occupied were seized by the newly formed republic and the occupants were turned out onto the street. The residences of the royals were spared the land-grabbing but they were made acutely aware that their presence was not welcome. Slowly over the years, the royal family and those closest descendants left Britain, seeking harbour in countries that were sympathetic to their cause. As for the religious leaders and those they once employed, the Order allowed them to continue their worship but never en masse.

 

With these obstacles removed, the Order set about changing the face of the country. London was transformed into a bustling hive of industry. Steel clad and wreathed in a mixture of dirt and steam, it is the centre of the Salite movement and the many branches of science and engineering that have benefitted from the power Salite provides. However, the giant structures that tower over the city and the mechanical contraptions that move along its streets are the mask that hide the misery and poverty that are forever a part of London life. The Order firmly believe that they are bettering society and indeed, those willing to embrace the technology have risen to become important members of their communities, but those who existed on the bottom rung of society have found it harder to rise than the Order would have hoped.

 

The opportunities that Salite brought were not extended to the poor of the country and as a result, slums appeared in every city that began to ‘advance’. Many ask why the Order has forgotten them; why their ethos of extending a better life to all of mankind does not mean all of mankind. The answer is that, quite frankly, the majority of those in the Order do not notice what is happening on the streets. Far too busy with the grand picture or tasking expeditions across the globe, they take as much notice of the lower classes as they did before they ran the country.  The Order’s law Enforcement branch have been given the job of maintaining the peace and the majority do so with a heavy hand and an open palm. As a result, the Order are viewed by some as a cruel master, rather than a benevolent father. Enforcement squads put down dissention with brutal force and the military cordon off the slum areas to ensure the status quo is maintained.

 

Playing as the Order you will use the might of Salite machines and the armed forces to sweep your enemies aside. Preferring to use superior tactics on the attack and steadfast resolve on the defence, the forces of the Order rarely engage in personal melee. However, that is not to say they are incapable of such things; do not mistake tactical positioning for a lack of resolve.

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