Last Minute Holiday Gifts for Your Favorite Gamer
Sometimes it can be rather difficult to score the perfect holiday gift for the discerning gamer in your life. That’s why we’re here to present (in no particular order) a fine selection of titles which are sure to please both newcomers to the hobby and longtime hardcore gamers.
Cthulhu Britannica: London Boxed Set
Cubicle 7 Entertainment is at it again with Cthulhu Britannica and the latest core release in the line is a doozy. The London Boxed set includes three books (Investigator’s Guide, Keeper’s Guide, and Adventures) aiming to bring to life The Big Smoke of the 1920’s in your Cthulhu mythos tales. While designed for Call of Cthulhu, the set can easily be converted to any Lovecraftian style roleplaying game.
Cthulhu Britannica: The London Box Set is available now and carries an MSRP of $89.99.
The Investigator’s Guide to London is a comprehensive guide to the capital in the 1920s. It contains, amongst other things, information on public transport, the bustling party scene, the people and a whole lot about the places investigators might go in the course of your adventures. Great for both players and Keepers alike, and packed full of maps and beautiful artwork.
Secondly is the Keeper’s Guide to London, which is strictly for the Keeper’s eyes only! This book is jammed full of ideas for running Call of Cthulhu adventures set in London, including new cults and Mythos threats, advice for capturing the unique feel of the city, a ready-made private club devoted to investigating the weird and wonderful, and a whole swathe of NPCs and plot hooks that you can use in your own games.
The final book is Adventures in Mythos London, which includes three complete, standalone adventures set in the capital city: Terror on the Thames, by Peter Wright, which has the investigators caught up in a night to remember on a boat trip down the river; Those Poor Souls Who Dwell in Light, by Call of Cthulhu 7thedition author Paul Fricker, which concerns the sins of Reverend Leigh, a vicar who has come into possession of a potent artefact; and The Non-Euclidean Gate, by Mark A. Latham, which is all about what happens when seven pages from one of John Dee’s notebooks turns up unexpectedly on the open market.
But that’s not all that will be included in the boxed set: we also have six sheets of beautifully designed handouts for you to use in your games (in the physical edition these will be die-cut – you’ll have to print and cut them out for yourself in the PDF edition). Some of these are taken from the scenarios in Adventures in Mythos London, others completely new to inspire your own scenarios.
You might be wondering if the world really needs yet another Battle of the Bulge game. The answer to that is more than likely “no” but Tiny Battle Publishing has an intriguing design which just may entice you to add one more title on the subject to your collection, Winter Thunder. You can once again battle around Bastogne for an MSRP of $26.99.
From Tiny Battle:
In late 1944, in the wake of the allied forces’ successful D-Day invasion, it seemed as if WWII was all but over. On December 16, with the onset of winter, the German army launched a surprise counteroffensive through the densely forested Ardennes that was intended to cut through the Allied forces in a manner that would, the Germans hoped, turn the tide of the war in their favor. You can call it Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein (“Operation Watch on the Rhine”), Bataille des Ardennes (“Battle of the Ardennes”), or the Ardennes Counteroffensive, but it is best known today as the “Battle of the Bulge”.
WINTER THUNDER is an operational-level game on this famous battle. Designer Brian Train has substantially revised and streamlined his 2004 design, Autumn Mist, incorporating a newly-researched and more accurate order of battle with revised counter values and reinforcement schedule. The rules have been cleaned up and include an improved solitaire play system. There’s even a drastically revised map with a different scale and treatment of terrain.
WINTER THUNDER utilizes the same “nearly diceless” double-blind mission matrix system from AUTUMN MIST, SUMMER LIGHTNING, and THE BALKAN GAMBIT. This unique system sets the game apart from the rest of the pack.
The game includes a campaign game scenario that runs from December 16 to January 3, a bit longer than many Bulge games, but playing in a fraction of the usual time—just around 3 hours. There is also a short “Home for Christmas” scenario which assumes the Germans launch an offensive with more localized aims and fewer resources.
Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
While it only took a touch over a year to see a non-adventure related sourcebook arrive from Wizards of the Coast, the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide is well worth the wait and makes a solid addition to your Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition collection. The guidebook is available at an MSRP of $39.95.
WELCOME TO THE SWORD COAST—a region of Faerûn that comprises shining paragons of civilization and culture, perilous locales fraught with dread and evil, and encompassing them all, a wilderness that offers every explorer vast opportunity and simultaneously promises great danger.
While the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide is a valuable resource for Dungeon Masters, it was crafted with players and their characters foremost in mind. There is a plethora of new character options to intrigue and inspire every member of the adventuring party.
For use with the fifth edition Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide, the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide provides the setting, story, and character options needed to participate in a game anywhere along the Sword Coast of the Forgotten Realms.
Doomtown Reloaded Base Set
I heard some really great things about the AEG release of Doomtown Reloaded following the rush of copies which flew out the door of this year’s Gen Con. The expandable card game of the Weird West is sure to please fans of the Deadlands setting and, word has it, the game is especially strong for two players. Plenty of expansions have already hit so your favorite gamer might be awfully pleased to check out the base set.
It’s your chance to take it to the streets of Gomorra and show who runs the most dangerous boomtown in the West. The Weird West!
Doomtown is an expandable card game set in the Deadlands universe. Based on the classic collectible game, Doomtown: Reloaded is a fast-paced game of gun slingin’, spell slingin’ and mud-slingin’! Use poker hands and card pulls for everything from gunfights to summoning abominations.
Doomtown: Reloaded puts you in charge of one of the four main outfits vying for control of Gomorra: The Law Dogs, the Sloane Gang, the Morgan Cattle Company, and the Fourth Ring.
Who will control the town? Slap leather in the town square and join in the story.
Conflict of Heroes Eastern Front Solo Expansion
Ever wish you could break out Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! and play solitaire. Now you can as Academy Games has recently released the Solo Expansion to satisfy wargamers of all experience levels. The expansion carries an MSRP of $45.00.
The Conflict of Heroes Solo Boardgame System revolutionizes solo tactical play. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) utilizes a unique Emergent Behavior and Agent Based Logic system. With this system, each battlefield situation is evaluated and the AI implements the best course of action using available resources and unit assets. Even veteran CoH players will be challenged to hone and adapt their playing styles in order to overcome this resourceful high-level AI. You will experience tense and engaging solo play like never before!
Included are several stand alone missions, plus two full campaigns covering the German 1941 advance on Moscow. In the first campaign, you command elements of the 10th Panzer Division. In the second campaign, you switch sides and command elements of the Soviet 32nd Army trying to undo your gains from the first campaign!
Ghostbusters: The Board Game
While early indications are this is a title surely aimed squarely at kids rather than hardcore gamers, one of the more highly anticipated game releases of Q4 was Ghostbusters: The Board Game from Cryptozoic Entertainment. Up to four players take on the role of the Ghostbusters (the all male team as opposed to the 2016 line up) as they look to capture an assortment of ghosties and ghoulies. The ectoplasmic goodness carries an MSRP of $84.99.
Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night? Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic? Have you or your family ever seen a spook, spectre, or ghost? If the answer is “yes”, then don’t wait another minute. Pick up the phone and call the professionals!
Ghostbusters: The Board Game is an episodic adventure game for one to four players, who are charged with busting ghosts and sealing gates to the Spirit World. In the game, players choose one of the four Ghostbusters character figures — Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddemore and Ray Stantz — then select one of the game’s pre-written scenarios, beginning a game session that lasts from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the chosen scenario(s) and degree of difficulty. Each of the Ghostbusters has unique traits and talents that can assist the entire team, with highly co-operative gameplay. As players gain experience from banishing spirits, the Ghostbusters level up, gaining new abilities that help them take on greater challenges. The team can also hop in the Ecto-1, the Ghostbusters’ converted ambulance, to help them quickly move through the city.
Ghostbusters: The Board Game comes with more than forty plastic figures, including the four Ghostbusters, Slimer, Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Indulnas, and numerous Galloping Ghouls, Gruesome Twosomes and Boogaloo. The game board is created with double-sided modular pieces, increasing the game’s replayability for scenarios and customization.
Wings for the Baron
Here’s an interesting concept which hasn’t been gamed to death: leading a major German aircraft manufacturer, during WWI, to greater designs and larger government contracts. Yes, Wings for the Baron is a unique concept from Victory Point Games and the game (which handles up to five players) has been getting some very good word of mouth reviews. You can grab the strategy title at an MSRP of $49.99.
It is 1916, and the First World War continues with no end in sight. With the war a bloody stalemate on the ground, the combatants have turned to their developing air forces to achieve victory.Wings for the Baron allows 3-5 players to take the role of German aeroplane manufacturers, supplying the machines needed to drive the Allied air forces from the skies and ensure German victory.
Note: This game is currently only available in the boxed version.
What’s In The Box?:
• One 24-page, full-color Rulebook
• One 12-page Historical Reference book
• 96 cards
• Five double-sided playmats
• One game mat (in two sections)
• One solo player aid
• 193 thick, laser-cut, multi-shaped counter pieces
• Four six-sided dice
• One bright red, 9″ x 11 7/8″ Deluxe cardboard VPG game box
• One beautiful box cover sleeve
• One “Wipes-A-Lot” napkin
• One charcoal desiccant packet
One of the most popular roleplaying systems of the 1990s is back with a vengeance by way of Modiphius Entertainment. Mutant Chronicles was a global sensation (there was even a cheesy film made about the setting) back in the day and now the system has been revamped for the 21st Century. The nearly 500 page core book can be had in a print and PDF bundle for $61.99.
Mutant Chronicles takes you on a full – throttle diesel-punk ride though a solar system beset by corporate intrigue and the invasion of the Dark Legion. With technology failing due to the insidious effects of the Dark Symmetry, mankind must fight back against the Dark Legion hordes whilst dealing with in-fighting and conspiracy.
Now, in this 3rd Edition of the definitive techno-fantasy roleplaying game, you can play during the early days of the Dark Symmetry, through to the brutal Corporate Wars.
Investigate foul cults as technology turns against mankind, or fight the armies of the Dark Legion as they pour forth from citadels across the colonies the battle for humanity’s future.
Mutant Chronicles includes:
- Complete 2d20 game system written by Jay Little (X-Wing Miniatures Game, Star Wars, Edge of the Empire RPG), including detailed character creation and cinematic roleplaying, plus full rules for spaceships and vehicles.
- Never-before seen secrets of the Mutant Chronicles universe, maps of the solar system and Luna City.
- Insights in to the Dark Legion Apostles and their unique forces, tactics and plots along with full stats for new and old monstrosities.
- Briefings on the major corporations, Imperial, Bauhaus, Capitol, Mishima, and Cybertronic, as well as Cartel, the Brotherhood, and Whitestar.
- Guide to running adventures during the rise of the Dark Symmetry and the first wars through to the return of the Dark Legion.
- 496 pages of adventure in the Mutant Chronicles universe!
Shadows of Brimstone
Flying Frog Productions took gaming by storm with their Shadows of Brimstone line and you can still grab a copy of the base game to check out the miniatures based Old West/Horror/Dungeon Crawl mashup everyone’s talking about. Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients carries an MSRP of $99.95.
From Flying Frog:
Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients is a fast-paced, fully cooperative, dungeon-crawl board game set in the Old West, with a heavy dose of unspeakable horror! Players create characters, taking on the role of a classic Western Hero Archetype, such as the Law Man, Gunslinger, or Saloon Girl. Forming an adventuring posse, the Heroes venture down into the dark mines, overrun with all manner of ancient demons and foul creatures from another world. With tactical gameplay, lots of dice, and a robust card-driven exploration system, no two games are ever the same as the heroes explore the mines finding new enemies to fight, new loot to collect, and new dangers to overcome. Players can even find portals to other worlds, stepping through to continue their adventures on the other side!
An exciting campaign system allows the players to visit local frontier towns between adventures, spending their hard-earned loot and building their characters from game to game! As players find fantastic gear and artifacts to equip their heroes, they also gain experience from their adventures. This experience is used to level up, guiding the hero’s path through an expansive, class-specific upgrade tree of new skills and abilities, allowing each player to develop their hero to fit their own play style.
In City of the Ancients, players will encounter portals to the otherworld on the Plains of Targa, finding an ancient frozen city whose living inhabitants are nowhere to be found. Instead, great mechanical keepers wander the city going about their duties – until interrupted by the arrival of the players’ characters!
So load up yer’ six shooter, throw on yer’ hat and poncho, and gather the posse as the darkness is coming, and all hell’s about to break loose…in the Shadows of Brimstone!
Position Magnifique: Mars Le Tour 1870
My buddy Hermann Luttmann saw his design for Duel of Eagles receive a revamp and brand new coat of paint this month, from Compass Games, in issue 81 of Paper Wars. Visitors to TGG might recall I liked the original design quite a bit and now what had been considered the nearly ungamable battle of Mars Le Tour can once again hit your table in Position Magnifique. This issue of Paper Wars (which includes the game) can be had at an MSRP of $46.95.
From Compass Games:
Position Magnifique: Mars-la-Tour 1870 is a medium-sized, brigade-scale game for two players (although it is solitaire-friendly). The French player, as Marshal Bazaine, must coordinate his huge army and take advantage of his greater numbers and the French infantry’s superior Chassepot rifle. The Prussian player, as von Moltke, must play a cunning game of bluff, hold the line with his deadly Krupp artillery and launch timely attacks as his reinforcements race to the battlefield.
13th Age Collection in PDF
So you say you’re interested in checking out some fantasy roleplaying and you’d like to stay away from the “Big Two”? Pelgrane Press has garnered a ton of praise for their 13th Age RPG and now they’ve once again teamed with Bundle of Holding to give you the opportunity to snag the PDFs of nearly everything currently in print for less than $35.
From Pelgrane and Bundle of Holding:
Pelgrane Press has worked often with the Bundle of Holding, a site that offers collections of the best in roleplaying games.
Bundle of Holding has (almost) the entire 13th Age line for less than $35! Get it now.
The 13th Age Bundle of Holding features nearly every published 13th Age standalone title in PDF format—AND the 13th Age Soundtrack—for less than the price of the core book in print.
Pay just $19.95 to get our Starter Collection (retail value $62):
- 13th Age rulebook
- 13 True Ways rules expansion
- 13th Age Soundtrack
Pay more than the threshold (average) price and you’ll also get our Bonus Collection:
- Eyes of the Stone Thief : Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan’s massive 364-page campaign
- 13th Age Bestiary: A horde of new creatures with hundreds of variants
- The Book of Loot: A 72-page collection of new treasures.
- Shadows of Eldolan: An ideal introductory adventure
- Candles, Clay, & Dancing Shoes: Half a dozen new one-use magic items, plus a voucher code good for a discount on a 13th Age Monthly subscription at the Pelgrane Press web store
- EXCLUSIVE to the Bundle: Diamonds and Shadows, a new, expanded and updated compilation of adventures from the 13th Age Organized Play program
Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game – The Force Awakens Core Game
Obviously, it will be impossible to avoid all things Star Wars: The Force Awakens this holiday season so why not let the Force flow through you all the way to your FLGS as you get your hands on the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game – The Force Awakens Core Game. Fantasy Flight Games has included two Tie Fighters and one X-Wing fighter from the new movie in this head to head space combat title. Even if you aren’t interested in the game play itself, for an MSRP of $39.99 you still get three pretty cool pre-painted minis.
Take command of a Resistance X-wing or two First Order TIE fighters with The Force Awakens Core Set for the X-Wing Miniatures Game! In this two-player game of dramatic, high-speed dogfights, you and your opponent battle head-to-head for the fate of the galaxy. Secretly plot your maneuvers, fly at your enemies, take aim, and fire. It takes just minutes to learn the rules, but the game’s expansions and rules for squad building ensure there’s plenty of Star Wars action that you can explore and enjoy for years to come!
Mage Wars – Academy
A perfect jumping on point for those new to the Mage Wars line from Arcane Wonders. Mage Wars Academy is an immensely portable edition, for two players, of the high energy dueling wizards system. The new title just arrived last week and carries an MSRP of $29.99.
From Arcane Wonders:
Mage Wars Academy is the BRAND NEW, STAND ALONE GAME that pits you against your opponent in a Mage’s duel, using a unique Spellbook mechanic that provides you access to all your strategies rather than relying on the luck of the draw. Train in your school, craft your spellbook, and test your skills at the Academy!
The Mage Wars Academy Core Set is everything two players need to begin their duels in the world of Etheria. Items included in the Academy Core Set are:
- 2 Mage Cards
- 2 Mage Ability Cards
- 2 Four-pocket Spellbooks
- 2 Status Trackers
- 131 Spell Cards
- 62 Markers
- 6 Attack Dice
- 1 Twelve-sided Effect Die
- Rules and Codex
Mark Herman’s Empire of the Sun
Some might wonder why a game released in 2005 is making the list. The reason for this is trifold: I wanted to include one of the great titles from our friends at GMT; many of their most recent games have completely sold out; Mark Herman’s classic is back in print. Hardcore grognards who missed a chance at grabbing this classic are now in luck because Empire of the Sun is once again available! This monstrously challenging title pits two players head to head in a strategic level, card driven battle between the Allies and the forces of Imperial Japan from the bombing of Pearl Harbor through to the Japanese surrender. Empire of the Sun can be had for an MSRP of $75.00.
Empire of the Sun (EotS) is Mark Herman’s third card driven design since he introduced the system to the hobby in We The People. EotS is a strategic level look at the entire War in the Pacific from the attack on Pearl Harbor until the surrender of Japan. EotS is the first card driven game (CDG) to move the system closer to a classic hexagon wargame, while retaining all of the tension and uncertainty people have come to expect from a CDG. Players are cast in the role of MacArthur, Yamamoto, Nimitz, and Mountbatten as you direct your forces across the breadth of the globe from India to Hawaii and from Alaska to Australia. This is represented on a single map based on a 1942 equal area projection of the entire theater of conflict.
As in other games using the CDG system, players try to maximize the impact of their cards even as they hide their intentions and traps from their opponent. The player is faced with a wide set of clear strategic choices. The focus of EotS is on directing major offensive axes of advance. The Japanese early in the game are challenged to achieve their historical expansion as Allied forces battle the clock to react with their in-place forces trying to achieve maximum damage to the hard-to-replace Japanese veteran units.
Combat in EotS is based on successfully bringing superior combined land, air, and sea forces to bear in a two-tiered combat system. The first tier is the resolution of air-naval combat, the second tier covers ground combat. The culmination of both tiers results in one side prevailing in battle.
The key variable in determining strategic victory is the level of U.S. political will. The Japanese win the game by forcing the U.S. into a negotiated peace, which was not achieved historically. The Japanese achieve this by knocking countries like India, China, and Australia out of the war, while inflicting massive casualties on the United States. The delivery of the A-bomb on its historical schedule is not a guarantee, often necessitating Operation Olympic and the invasion of Japan. It is often in its darkest hour that the Japanese find victory in EotS.
King of New York
Giant monsters? Check. A city in ruins? Check. Handfuls of dice rolling? Check. Richard Garfield’s follow up to King of Tokyo is much more than a rehash as King of New York brings a tad deeper gameplay to the table. Gamers of all ages are sure to dig the Iello title of monstrous mayhem! King of New York won’t take a massive chomp out of your wallet either at an MSRP of $49.99.
NEW CITY. NEW RULES. NEW MONSTERS. SAME FIGHT… TO BE THE KING!
There’s always something happening in the city that never sleeps. Maybe it’s the lights, maybe it’s the energy, or maybe it’s the giant monsters trying to demolish the place!
Get ready for Richard Garfield’s follow up to the best-selling King of Tokyo! Who will be the King of New York?
King of New York introduces lots of new ways to play, while still keeping the core ideas of King of Tokyo. There are Buildings to Stomp! Vengeful Military Units to Destroy! Six brand new Monsters! Every roll of the dice might mean that your monster feels the OUCH, as military units open fire.
Will you grab the spotlight, and become a celebrity Superstar? Or will you become the defender of the city, and befriend Lady Liberty?