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  • List : Halloween Games 2015

    In case you missed it, we’re going to be having an awesome Halloween board game celebration later this month at Beermiscuous because Halloween is the best! What better way to spend some time with friends than by enjoying some spooky board games?

    5. Arkham Horror (Fantasy Flight Games)

    Arkham Horror takes place in 1926 and something is about to go horribly wrong. Strange events which nobody can explain have been happening throughout the city and it is up to your small band of investigators to prevent the Elder Gods from unleashing armageddon.

    Arkham Horror is a co-op game which can take up the larger portion of an afternoon and it also occupies quite a bit of table space especially once the expansions are added. That said if you do play it and win, it is an incredibly rewarding play experience. If you’ve got a group of friends that are looking to gather and watch your heroes slip into madness then this game really takes the cake.

    4. Smash Up: Monster Smash (Alderac Entertainment Group)

    The Monster Smash expansion adds four new decks to the Smash Up game: Vampires, Giant Ants, Werewolves and the Dr. Frankenstein-esque Mad Scientists. It also brings with it a bevy of new locations which all loosely tie in with the new factions. Particularly fun are the ant cards which are mostly named after Queen songs.

    One big thing that we should note is that although the base game contains a larger number of factions in the box, you can still play Monster Smash on its own. It is effectively a stand-alone expansion containing everything you need for just two players to have fun.

    3. Ultimate Werewolf: Ultimate Edition (Bezier Games)

    Whether you know it as Mafia or Werewolf, the core idea of this game has been around for quite some time, and is great for large groups of players. Most of the players are villagers, but within the group there are a number of werewolves lurking. The game takes place in a series of day and night cycles; during the night the villagers all have their eyes closed and the werewolves collectively decide who they will kill off. When the daytime arrives the entire group (including the sneaky lycanthrope) all bicker on who they think the werewolves might be, they must agree to kill off one player within the group by the end of the day.

    Ultimate Werewolf comes in and adds a whole lot of chaos into the mix! In brings a huge number of new roles into the game including: The Seer (who gets to learn the identity of a player during each night phase), The Minion (a villager that is secretly working on the side of the werewolves) and Bloody Mary (upon being slain she gets to take out her revenge on those that killed her).

    2. Shadows of Brimstone: City of Ancients (Flying Frog Productions)

    The game takes place in a wild west mining town where perhaps the miners have dug a little too deep. A deadly unknown evil lurks in the mine but your hero is more concerned with the rumored treasure than they are with the accompanying danger.

    The game is an incredibly well put together dungeon crawl that just oozes with theme. Not only do you spend time exploring the mine but you also need to return to the town to restock on supplies and sell off your treasure, and neither location is ever particularly safe. The game really captures the sense that your heroes are up against overwhelming odds and it is often better to turn tail and flee like a coward than it is to press on.

    1. Betrayal at House on the Hill (Wizards of the Coast)

    Betrayal is an AMAZING game!… wait we can’t just leave it at that?

    I grew up on horror movies and remain a huge fan of them. John Carpenter’s The Thing and Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre are, among many others, classic films as far as I am concerned. Betrayal at House in the Hill puts you in the shoes of a person that has been invited to dinner at a mysterious house. It captures those early moments of a horror movie as the characters have know idea what is about to unfold. The game starts off with the players slowly exploring the nooks and crannies of the house flipping over tiles to build it as they each take their turns.

    Eventually after flipping specific tiles over the “Haunt” phase of the game begins. At this point the players all consult the rulebook to determine what scenario they are playing. One scenario involves a player becoming a mad scientist that shrinks the explorers down so that he can feed them to his cat; meanwhile, the players need to find a radio controlled plane so that they can escape out the window. Another scenario mimics the great serpent Ouroboros slowing crushing and consuming the house.

    Depending on which edition of the game you have there are upwards of 50 different scenarios all of which are incredibly fun. There are very few games out there that capture a theme so well and truly you can never play the same game twice with this, even the same scenario will play out wildly different.

    By popular demand we will be bringing Betrayal to our Halloween event later this month at Beermiscous. Tell us what some of your favorite horror themed board games are and maybe we’ll bring them to the tables on the 30th as well!

  • List : Drew's games of 2015

    List : Drew's games of 2015

    We ended last year with a series of posts where we picked our favorite games which we had played for the first time that year. Now we are back at it again highlighting our top picks for 2015 out of the games which we played for the very first time…

    By our count I (Drew) played 64 games for the first time this year and surprisingly Courtney had me beat having played just one more game than I, though we each had about a dozen or so which were not yet played by the other. That’s well over a new game every single week of the year which is pretty wild! I’d definitely be interested to hear what some of your favorite firsts were this year and also if you are excited to have a chance to play any of mine, so be sure to let us know.

    Vault Wars

    If you’ve made it to any of our recent events then you probably already know that this is my favorite game played this year. Vault Wars very closely mimics the television show Storage Wars. You all play as aspiring adventurers who need some loot and it just so happens that some folks out there abandoned their treasure vaults, which contain literal Junk alongside various items of value. Just like the show the players are all auctioning / bidding for the vaults and what they might contain. I am starting off with Vault Wars because it is my favorite game of the year but the others will be in no particular order.

    Fury of Dracula

    Twilight fans need not apply! Fury of Dracula is a thematic hunt featuring Van Helsing and crew which takes many cues from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. One player is Dracula himself who operates with a hidden movement mechanic meanwhile the other four characters work together to find his trail and bring the villain to an end. The game was just recently reprinted this past October and I can’t wait for another opportunity to play it again in the new year. If you’re in the mood for an truly epic gaming experience I highly recommend checking this one out!

    XCOM

    I remember receiving a demo disk in a PC Gamer magazine and discovering one of the earlier X-COM games when I was probably twelve. While Fantasy Flight’s recent release shares the name it bears similarities to the much more recent reinventions of the series. X-COM the board game is a co-operative game which integrates the use of a digital app from your tablet (or phone). You are part of a super secret international agency tasked with defending earth from an imminent alien invasion. The game has a real-time element to it which requires strong communication and decisive action from the players in what becomes the most stressful board game I think I have ever played… IT IS GREAT!

    Cosmic Encounter

    Cosmic Encounter has become quite a phenomenon and I really have no excuse why I hadn’t played it sooner. A regular to our events brought it out one night and I was practically begging her to bring it out again. Its stab your neighbor in the back style game play is great for larger groups and is very approachable for newer gamers.

    Ashes : Rise of the Phoenixborn

    A card game which came out during the middle of this year. It uses a model similar to Fantasy Flight’s “living card games” and has absolutely AMAZING art. Really though the art is amazing, it sold us on the game instantly and lucky for us it turns out that the game play is also exceptional. Plaid Hat Games has recently announced a whole slew of expansion content and we can’t wait.

    Trains: Rising Sun

    My favorite deck-building game played this year. Having a board that is effected by the cards you acquire makes things really interesting and perhaps a little bit more tangible for people who are new to the genre. I also particularly like the “Waste” cards which work as a sort of price of progress style mechanic.

    Alchemists

    Alchemists feels like a game that people will either love dearly or hate deeply. You are all squabbling alchemists trying to discern the mystical properties of various ingredients and it involves what feel like a series of mini-games which all form this very tight logic puzzle that fits the theme perfectly. It involves all sorts of ups and downs throughout the game. My favorite aspect of Alchemists is that it often rewards players for participating in “bad science.” The complexity of the game means that it caters to a very specific type of gamer and I’m still learning new things about the game each time it comes to the table.

    Star Wars : X-Wing 

    I used to play a lot of tactical miniature war games when I was younger and X-Wing really scratches that itch. It doesn’t help matters that after seeing the most recent movie all I want to do is play this game more and more. In essence it is a dog-fighting game that feels like something that could almost as easily be themed around World War 2 era aerial combat. X-Wing stands out in that is incredibly simple to learn but also has game play which is deceptively intricate if you want it to be.

    Star Wars : Imperial Assault

    Okay, so I put the two of these back to back and I have no shame in admitting that Star Wars fever caught on very hard for me late this past summer. Imperial Assault is a narrative driven dungeon crawler pitting a team of Rebel players against a solo player controlling the Imperial menace. The game takes the Star Wars franchise and puts it into this great choose-your-own-adventure style experience.

    Shadows of Brimstone: City of Ancients

    The locals have dug perhaps a little too deep in this Wild West meets H.P. Lovecraft themed dungeon crawler. It is incredibly brutal and the theme of this game really comes out in an incredibly satisfying way. If unloading your six shooter on a spider monster or creating a chaotic maelstrom of death by chucking dynamite down the mine shaft sound at all like fun you should definitely wrangle a posse of friends together and give this one a go.

    Honorable mentions for two games which I need to dedicate some more time for in 2016 so that I can fully appreciate them:

    Landed

    Memoir 44