An Emergency Buyer’s Guide to Talisman


Now that Talisman is going out of print due to Fantasy Flight’s loss of the Games Workshop license, players are already snatching up copies of the fourteen expansions. This makes the choice to put together a buyer’s guide a somewhat strange one, since FFG won’t be offering these titles at all after February 2017.  Continue reading

Dungeon Humor – Dungeonquest Revised Edition Review

Fantasy Flight’s third edition of the classic fantasy game Dungeonquest came out in 2010, and four years out it certainly feels like a turning point in the popular narrative of the company. The changes they made to a very simple game were indeed divisive, and almost all of the criticism centered around the revamped combat. Whatever damage you feel FFG did to Dungeonquest, it’s obvious now that the greatest damage was to Fantasy Flight’s brand. As a company they have always been willing to rework classic games to bear FFG’s distinctive mark, but up until Dungeonquest this was largely tolerated. Both Arkham Horror and Fury of Dracula were drastically changed from their original forms, but were warmly received regardless. But after Dungeonquest, every Fantasy Flight reprint is immediately met with suspicion from the game’s fans. It’s the exact opposite of how such announcements were received prior to Dungeonquest’s release. Continue reading

Tag, You’re on Fire – Wiz-War Re-Review

Red needs to get his treasures back.

Image by user kilroy_locke on

Sometimes reviewers have to write up what they know, and call it a day. There’s a kind of nebulous pressure to get a review out quickly, and usually that’s fine. If you play a game 3-4 times, you almost certainly know how you feel. There are times when it doesn’t even take that long. But now and then a game begins to grow legs after you pass judgement, and becomes this odd game that you gave an alright review to, but that you now love. Continue reading

No Disintegrations – Star Wars: The Card Game Review

Star Wars Box cover

I’m on the leader!

Star Wars represents my third attempt at one of Fantasy Flight’s Living Card Games. My first was a copy of Game of Thrones that I scored in a math trade. I tried most of one two-player game, and it was not much to my taste at all. I found the strategy more daunting than the effort I was prepared to expend, and I’m not a big fan of the source material in the first place. So into the trade pile it went. Then I tried my hand at the very unusual Lord of the Rings card game. I’m a big fan of those books, but after a brief flash of enthusiasm, that one left me cold as well. It felt mired in process, and all too often the cooperative nature rendered the game an utter slog.  Continue reading

Even I Get Boarded Sometimes – Merchant of Venus Review

Merchant of Venus box cover

That robot was trapped the minute he showed casual interest int whatever that human is hawking.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on the events of a year ago, when both Stronghold Games and Fantasy Flight announced a reprint of Richard Hamblen’s Merchant of Venus. Confused fans had every reason to be pessimistic. The ensuing silence only fed fears that the lawyers had been sent in to do battle. We may never know all of the details of how the whole thing happened or how it was resolved. But what I do know is that the resulting reprint of Merchant of Venus succeeds beyond anything my heart dared to hope for. Continue reading

I Bid You Welcome – Fury of Dracula Review

Fury of Dracula cover

The children of the night…what music they make.

At this point in popular culture, it’s hard to swing a stick without running into something about vampires. And as is always true when something reaches cultural saturation, it descends into parody. The ubiquity of the Twilight franchise has rendered vampires just a little less overdone than zombies. It’s easy to forget that vampire literature has a much richer history, one that is steeped in atmosphere and darkness. One has only to see Murnau’s Nosferatu or Tod Browning’s classic Dracula with Bela Lugosi to see the possibilities for the genre. They eschew cheap scares for moodiness and quiet dread.  Continue reading

Stupider Like A Fox – Talisman Review


A dragon! A dragon! I swear I saw I dragon!

I have a genre of games that I like to call “stupider like a fox.”  These games are profoundly silly, filled with ways for your planning to be rendered moot by simple bad luck. While this might make a lesser game aggravating, if a game goes far enough, it comes back around to being terrific. Only a couple games I’ve played have really been able to swing for the fence of stupidity and succeed so wildly. Magical Athlete and Dungeonquest are two such games.  But before them, there was Talisman. Continue reading