Wow, I can’t believe its already been two weeks since the UK Games Expo. Sorry for the lateness of this post!
It’s not uncommon for us at Critical Indie Gamer to give a bit of
physical love. Sorry, love for physical games. Tabletop games! Gah what’s wrong with me today. We’ve covered a couple board games on the site before and we plan to cover more in the future so keep an eye out for that.
For those of you not familiar with it, the UK Games Expo is (probably) the biggest tabletop convention in the UK. There were so many booths that even after 3 days I’m still not sure I found them all. Heck, I discovered a new aisle at closing on Sunday!
All the big names were there: Asmodee, Modiphius, Games Workshop but we’re not interested in them. Here are 3 indies I absolutely loved.
Digisprite – Doomsday Bots
“Doomsday Bots is set in a Steampunk Post-Apocalyptic world where all that has survived are Mad Geniuses and a virtually endless supply of moddable Bots! These Geniuses have got it into their head that they can do the End of the World better than the last guy. But in this world, quality components are even rarer than sanity. So you’d better strap on your Goggles and enter the fray. If anyone’s going to end the world right this time, it’s you!”
Doomsday Bots is a tense, fun, competitive card drafting game. The goal of the game is to reach the top of the randomly generated 5 x 2 tower, kill the boss, steal the doomsday device and get out. The catch is that every room has some sort of challenge you’ll need to pass and the other players are actively trying to kill you. And you’d be forgiven for thinking that this sounds just like any tabletop dungeon crawler but Doomsday Bots handles hit points in such a novel way that completely changes the experience. Instead of tracking some arbitrary hit point value on a separate character sheet, each part of you can be broken off. Your character is comprised of six cards (Head, both arms, torso, legs, and an item) and each part give bonuses and determine your 3 stats (intellect, speed, strength). That magitech head you’ve got that lets you mind control other players? Well you just failed the turret room so it’s either that or your smart missile arm and your buddy’s getting pretty close to the exit…
While Doomsday Bots was quick and tense, there was a quiet layer of strategy going on that really became apparent when I noticed that the body parts I’d been dropping around the tower where now being used to devastating efficiency against me.
Inspiring Games – Untold Legends
Now remember a couple paragraphs back when I said “sounds like any tabletop dungeon crawler”? Yeah, well Untold Legends is one of those but it does it so well that I felt I had to mention it. Each dungeon is made up of a deck of area cards that link together by the passages leading off of them. Each passage has a light rating which determines how obvious you are to enemies in the next room and how likely you are to trip a trap. As you progress through the dungeon you’ll have to choose how to deal with obstacles (randomly chosen from the obstacle deck), enemies (enemy deck), and how much time you’re going to take exploring. And that’s what makes Untold Legends interesting to me; light and time are resources that you must balance to survive. Those familiar with the indie game scene might see some similarities with Darkest Dungeon and you wouldn’t be entirely wrong.
Similarly to Doomsday Bots your cards are your health. Every time you get hit you choose either your weapon, fighting ability, both of your skills, and item to exhaust. Run out of things to exhaust and your character is next. This again meant that getting hit was such a big deal as it required some strategic thinking to determine which card to exhaust.
Currently there are two Untold Legends sets, Caves and Sewers which can be put together to form the basis of a campaign. As the game matures the developers have stated that they intend to create more areas, more character options, and more events/enemies. And while I personally prefer traditional RPGs, Untold Legends does make for an engaging and rewarding experience. So if you’ve ever wanted to dungeon crawl with your friends then I heartily recommend you give this a try.
Untold Legends can be found HERE
Blood On The Clocktower
“Blood on the Clocktower is a bluffing game enjoyed by 5 to 20 players on opposing teams of Good and Evil, overseen by a Storyteller player who conducts the action and makes crucial decisions.
During a ‘day’ phase players socialize openly and whisper privately to trade knowledge or spread lies, culminating in a player’s execution if a majority suspects them of being Evil.
Of a ‘night’ time, players close their eyes and are woken one at a time by the Storyteller to gather information, spread mischief, or kill. Use all your powers of deduction and deception to survive this game of murder and mystery.
The Storyteller uses the game’s intricate playing pieces to guide each game, leaving others free to play without a table or board. Players stay in the thick of the action to the very end even if their characters are killed, haunting Ravenswood Bluff as ghosts trying to win from beyond the grave.”
Essentially Werewolf or Mafia, Blood On The Clocktower addresses a few of my key issues with the genre. Namely, instead of voting on one person to kill, a player is nominated and everyone votes. Then another can be nominated and everyone votes. Or, if no-one has died, no-one gets randomly lynched! Instead of relying on the rounds ticking down to weed out the guilty, you actually have to think about what people are doing and saying. And to top it all off, everyone gets an ability!
Simple, elegant, and you have to play it to really understand why its better than the others.
Blood On The Clocktower can be found HERE