McGinnis: BASHCon recommendations: Some great titles you may have missedWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Gamers around the area are preparing to descend upon the University of Toledo Student Union for BASHCon XXIX. One of the best parts about the event is the ability for players to share their passion for particular games with other gamers, maybe spreading their love for certain titles to new people and gaining a few new favorites of their own.
In that spirit, here are a few great games in a wide variety of genres that I love, and I hope others will be inspired to give a try.
One of my current favorites is a unique tower defense game called “Castle Panic,” published by Fireside Games. In this game, you play as the residents of a castle attempting to repel a horrific horde of monsters as they lay siege to your home. If even one tower remains standing, you win. While I find a lot of tabletop games to be difficult to get into because of their complexity, “Castle Panic” provides just enough to bring genuine strategy to the process of playing, while being easy enough to understand that even the most casual of gamers can dive right it. And its adaptability in terms of number of players is also a plus — it can even be played solo, for those times when there’s no one around, sigh.
If you’re looking for something a little more in the trivia vein, one of my all-time favorite games is “20 Questions.” No, not the classic parlor game, this is a board game version published by University Games. In this take, contestants draw a card with a person, place, thing or year on it, along with 20 playfully-written facts on the subject. Each player picks a number from one to twenty and is read the corresponding fact. Guess the subject, you win points. It’s simple, tests your knowledge on a wide variety of subjects, and gets more fun the more players you have.
If you’re hanging out with a group of people who have creative minds and a somewhat dark sense of humor, it is impossible to go wrong with Atlas Games’ classic storytelling card game “Gloom.” Sort of the Addams Family mixed with a Lemony Snicket tale, “Gloom” tasks players with spinning the tale of several tragedy-stricken families. You play cards dealing pain and misery to your own family, while trying to make your opponents as happy as possible. You will never have so much fun causing so much suffering.
The most popular title created by prolific gamesmith Andrew Looney (and yes, as I noted in my interview with him a couple years back, that is his real name), “Fluxx” is a masterful card game designed to force players to adapt. It starts simply, with only the most basic of rules, but as the game progresses, more and more qualifiers get added to the game with every card that gets played. The title’s structure means no two games are ever even remotely alike, and you’ll always end up in an entirely new situation in virtually every hand. It is difficult to describe to beginners, but once they start playing, it’s a remarkable amount of fun.
If you’re looking for a way to merge your love of tabletop and video games, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than Relic Entertainment’s surprisingly excellent action title “Warhammer 40k: Space Marine,” released for XBox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. A third-person run-and-gun style game, the title is an immense amount of fun as you guide a marine named Titus through a battle with Orks and other baddies. Even for people who aren’t fans of the original Warhammer universe, the game provides enough action and exciting visuals to make it well worth the investment.
But if your tastes are biased toward something more original, I cannot recommend SCE Japan’s title “Puppeteer” more highly. This PS3-exclusive got all but ignored this past fall in the rush to the release of PS4 and Xbox One, and gamers the world over missed one of the most remarkable titles of its generation. This side-scrolling adventure casts players as a young boy from Earth who must fight to save the souls of all the children in the world. What sets “Puppeteer” apart is its amazingly unique art style, as the whole game is presented as a puppet show, complete with curtains and scene changes. You have never played a game like “Puppeteer” before, and you owe it to yourself to experience its magic.
Tags: 20 Questions, Atlas Games, BASHCon XXIX, card games, Castle Panic, Fireside Games, FLuxx, Gloom, PC, PlayStation 3, Relic Entertainment, SCE Japan's title "Puppeteer", tabletop games, University of Toledo, Video games, Warhammer 40k: Space Marine, Xbox 360