My Favorite Game Mechanics: Marvel Heroes

I don’t care too much for Marvel Heroes, the miniatures game published by Fantasy Flight Games in 2006. It’s a little fiddly for my taste. There’s even a system in place to prevent a runaway winner, and while it does a good job of keeping the game close, it makes players feel a little less super.

I do like the game’s combat system. Leave it to a superhero game that depicts four superhero teams (X-Men, Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Marvel Knights) and their arch-nemeses to deliver the goods for combat.

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Hi, it’s your uncle Geekly here and if you lasted long enough to not rage close this article, I’ll let you know how Marvel Heroes made Rock, Paper, Scissors interesting and fun.

I’ve talked briefly about Marvel Heroes in the past. It plays out well enough. Villains cause trouble in various places in New York and the various players (in charge of superhero teams) send their heroes to deal with said trouble. Usually, this means combat.

Each hero and villain have attacks—heroes always have three, but villains range from 1-3 attacks—they can make and each of these attacks has a value for attack, defense, and intelligence (intelligence equates more to initiative or speed than actual intelligence). Every attack is assigned to one of three tokens that a player can choose from and each player in the battle chooses which of their attacks they wish to use.

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If you want to deal more damage, pick an attack that’s high in damage. If you’re worried about accepting damage, choose one with higher defense. Or if you don’t think you’ll get much out of a character (usually a low-level villain), pick one with a high intelligence so you can get in a quick shot before that character’s discarded.

The numbers indicated on the cards relate to the number of specialty dice you roll, so there’s always an element of luck added to the equation. It all boils down to an intriguing and layered take of rock, paper, scissors, but it’s done well. I just wish the rest of the game excited me as much as the combat. Still, with a few house rules it can be a great play.

What do you like most about the Marvel Heroes Strategy Board Game? What are the things you don’t like about Marvel Heroes? Maybe I’m a zombie to all things Marvel and just want to hate. You can chew my ear about it in the comments.

Tabletop Games That Would Make a Good Movie

Your uncle Geekly made a list like of tabletop games that would make a good movie three or four years ago, but a lot can happen over the course of years, Uncle Geekly’s a fickle bastard, so the list would’ve changed two weeks after the first one. Hungry, Hungry Hippos? Nah, too scary. Ouija? Ach! Hollywood already made a movie about that since the last list. Maybe the following five games would make a good movie.

And yes, there have been good board game movies. Clue was one, I think. Unfortunately, they’re rebooting it. Ugh!

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Scythe

At first glance, someone may think of Scythe as a war game, but it’s more of a cold war game. It’s set in an alternate sci-fi fantasy version of post-World War I Europe. The technology used to fight The Great War far exceeds our current tech. One look at a gargantuan Mech is a great cue, but despite its vast technology, this world is more of an agrarian continent destabilized by conflict.

Scythe’s story changes depending on how gamers play, but the overall concept has the makings of a political thriller with plenty of espionage. This is a cold war game after all. It’s just a cold war game with Mechs, and that’s awesome.

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Pandemic: Legacy

The original Pandemic made the first list of this type, and one could argue that there’s already a Pandemic movie out there (Contagion), but Pandemic: Legacy adds what at first can be viewed as a subtle layer of storytelling that becomes so pronounced toward the middle of the game (gamers play a finite number of games, usually 24, because there is a story that unfolds like a movie or TV show) that you realize you aren’t playing base game Pandemic anymore. I won’t spoil anything here.

But the fact that I could spoil a tabletop game for someone suggests that it could make a great movie or TV show. I’m not that picky.

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Gloomhaven

People have seen high fantasy movies where the heroes join forces to conquer a common evil or foe. Gloomhaven shakes things up by having these “heroes” motivated by selfish endeavors and that needs to happen more in high fantasy stories. The city of Gloomhaven is down on its luck. You can kind of guess that by its name. Its “heroes” or anti-heroes don’t mirror the world in which they live.

This has the potential to be a dark movie, but in the hands of the right people, Gloomhaven could have some of the deepest fantasy characters.

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Dead of Winter

Dead of Winter may come off as a Walking Dead clone, but like Walking Dead, the zombies aren’t the most engaging thing about the story. The survivors take center stage. In Dead of Winter, players don’t know who the traitor is in their midst, they don’t even know if there is a traitor. This set up has the trappings of a good psychological thriller.

The setting of a zombie-apocalypse in the bitter cold adds another layer of tension. Finding out that food rations go missing or there aren’t enough being produced as before or that items like coats and firewood go missing would call into question everyone’s loyalty.

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Fireball Island

Sometimes you just want a dumb action movie about grabbing treasure and getting the heck off an island. Hire a resident actor of weird roles like Tim Curry, Johnny Depp, Neil Patrick Harris, or Jim Carrey and add them to the formula of a huge volcano god puking fireballs, and you’ll have yourself a hit. You just need a volcano god puking fireballs.

These five games can’t be the only ones good for a movie adaptation. Slap me upside the head with a VHS tape—those are ancient movie viewing devices for younger readers—or let me know about it in comments. If you like what we do, subscribe to our page to get updates and then you can let me know how wrong I am as soon as possible.

Getting Started with Cooperative Board Games

Let’s talk about cooperative board games—cause you’ve gotta have friends. These are games where the players compete against the game, not the other players seated at the table. It also happens to be one of your uncle Geekly’s family’s favorite gaming types. That could be due to a lineage of sore losers.

They’re sore losers, not me. No, really. They’re terrible. I have no idea what you’re talking about. No, you’re a stupid, doodoo face, and I don’t want to play with you anymore because you cheat. Cheater!

You don’t have to worry about cheaters as much with cooperative board games, and there are plenty of these games out there. The problem is that some of these games aren’t that good and others are too difficult to get into. Don’t worry. Your uncle Geekly will point you in the right direction of some good beginner cooperative board games.

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Pandemic

I almost didn’t put this one on the list, but I’m sure tabletop game purists would cry foul if I didn’t. You made a list of great starter cooperative games and you didn’t include Pandemic? Shame!

Calm down. It’s on the list.

Players assume the roles of people trying to stop a global pandemic. The diseases behave like you’d think diseases may behave and that makes sense, since the game’s designer Matt Leacock happens to be a medical doctor. Come to think of it, I could use a physical. There’s a growth I’ve been meaning to have examined. I should give him a call.

Anyway. The game scales extremely well, meaning that it plays just as well at two players as it does at five, and there are varying levels of difficulty. You’ll see this in other Leacock games—spoiler alert: one will show up later on this list—and the inclusion of easier difficulties allows players to start small and go for something more challenging later. The theme is also one people can get behind. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen players name the various diseases, even though these diseases are represented by little more than cubes.

The one gripe I may have about Pandemic is that there can be a tendency for an alpha gamer (a player who tells other players what to do) but give them a few kicks to the cubes and they’ll stop. Pandemic is one of the games that put cooperative games on the map, and it’s easy enough to learn for new gamers.

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Hanabi

Hanabi is the odd game on this list. It’s a simple card game for folks who don’t want a more complicated game, so it’s easily the most streamlined game here. It also encourages non-verbal communication. It’s like Freddie Mercury once said, give me your body.

Well, maybe not, but body language and positioning cards a certain way in your hand does come into play here. Hanabi uses a deck of cards numbered 1 through 5 in various colors or suits. Players must place these cards in order by suit, but the catch is that each player’s hand of cards is facing away from them, and the other players must give their teammates clues as to what’s in their hand.

Hanabi forces players to create their own language as they’re only able to give simple clues like “this is a 5” or “this card is yellow.” It’s up to the player receiving the information to figure out what was intended. While “this card is a 5” usually means don’t discard it, idiot, because there’s only one 5 of each color in the deck, “this card is yellow” could mean that the card in question plays on the communal play pile or if yellow is already finished (as in the 5 has already been played), “these cards are yellow” could mean that you need to discard those cards and get new ones.

No one can say anything besides short clues about cards in other players hands. I’ve never seen a more tense game where little is said.

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Forbidden Desert

Yep, Forbidden Desert is the other Matt Leacock game. I also could’ve gone with Forbidden Island here, but it’s kind of a Pandemic light. Forbidden Island is worth the play if Pandemic or Forbidden Desert sound too complicated. Did I mention that Matt Leacock is the king of cooperative board games? Well, if he isn’t, he’s close.

Forbidden Desert adds moving location tiles and sand tiles to bring home the theme of a desert and its shifting sands. Players can lose four or five ways but can only win if they find the parts to an ancient, Jules Verne style flying contraption and escape. Anything is better when you add a steam punk.

Players also have variable powers like they do in Pandemic and these powers are based on occupation, and the flying contraption is one of the best implementations of a toy piece in a board game. I don’t know the last time I placed one of the pieces in the flying contraption. I usually have the task of dismantling. Your uncle Geekly’s a little salty about that.

Like Pandemic, Forbidden Desert is clever and finds a way to make the desert its own character. That’s always a strong point for a game. I can’t wait to see what Leacock’s third game in the trilogy Forbidden Sky will bring. It just came out at GenCon 2018.

Final Thoughts

Even if a cooperative game is more complicated than the ones on this list, it’s easy to teach new players because players join forces to beat the game. Players want their teammates to succeed so a cooperative game is a great place to begin for a new gamer, but the games on this list are very assessible. If you don’t think so, I’ll dump a bucket of cold water on Jim.

Know of any other great beginner cooperative games? Let us know in the comments.

3 Lists of 3 Tabletop Game Themes

Your uncle Geekly has talked about board game mechanisms in the past, so I figured it may be a good time to cover some tabletop games that tackle some great themes and intellectual properties. Let’s start with some board games that do a great job of putting their players in the middle of some other world.

Games that perfectly captured the intellectual property it used

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Firefly: The Game

I resisted playing this game for several years because I heard it used the pickup and delivery mechanism, and it sounded boring flying around the ‘Verse picking up things and dropping them off at other planets. But that’s what Serenity’s crew does. Firefly: The Game excels at capturing the feel of the original TV show. Players fly around various ports, picking up passengers and crew and cargo and performing jobs, while avoiding Reavers and the Alliance.

Easter Eggs flood this game. Character abilities and motivations—yes, there’s enough character development and story for the characters to have motivations—make sense. I’ve played and replayed the scenarios more than I can remember. This is a must play for any Firefly fan.

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Star Wars: Rebellion

I liked this game a ton when it first came out and stand by what I’ve said in the past that Star Wars: Rebellion is the original trilogy in a tabletop game. The only issue I had with it was its runtime. Firefly isn’t a short game either, but it’s quick compared to Star Wars: Rebellion. But like Firefly: The Game, Rebellion feels like the original trilogy.

The Empire tries to find the hidden Rebel base and crush it. The Rebels perform various tactics to undermine the Empire, so the planets overthrow their oppression. Rebellion is a great example of how to design an asymmetric game, but it also happens to cast the two gamers playing it in two very different positions that mirror—but doesn’t duplicate—the roles in the original movies.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past

This is another one I’ve talked about in the past, but Shadows of Time deserves another mention. It’s another game that features asymmetric sides that play like gamers would expect them to. One player takes on the role of Shedder and the rest of the Foot Clan, while the rest of the players join forces as the Turtles.

Each turtle’s power set matches their strength as ninjas and their personality. This is by far the quickest of the three games mentioned so far and that’s a huge plus for my family. I also like how adaptable Shadows of Time can be. Gamers may play a campaign (an extended story) or play individual scenarios. The dice sharing mechanism is great; it brings the combat to life.

Can you feel that? I think it’s called Turtle Power.

Games that don’t use an intellectual property, but they are heavily based on one

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Dead of Winter

There are plenty of Walking Dead board games out there; most of them stink, so don’t waste your time with them. Dead of Winter doesn’t use the IP, but it does a great job of capturing what makes the series great: internal struggle.

Are there zombies present? Yes, but like the TV show, player alliances and motives factor as much as the walkers. Traitors and the threat of traitors will have gamers doubting if the others seated at the table are friend or foe.

Dead of Winter also has plenty of survival elements, where players must determine which needs are most pressing. It’s a tense game that captures what the essence of The Walking Dead.

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Wasteland Express Delivery Service

As the name implies, this is another pickup and delivery game, but this time players traverse a dystopia like the one found in the Mad Max franchise.

I’m not going to lie, I like the idea of delivering packages while avoiding berserk motorbike gang members—from the safety of my gaming table of course. The game shows the underrepresented people of this world who just want to live a normal life apart from the freaks patrolling the roads. How does the other half live?

Wasteland Express Delivery Service does a great job of combining a dissimilar mechanic (pickup and delivery) and theme (Mad Max), but it’s using the Mad Max theme and designer Jon Gilmour doesn’t try to hide it. Wait. Gilmour’s a co-designer of Dead of Winter and Wasteland Express Delivery Service. I’m sensing a trend.

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Dinosaur Island

Yep. There is a trend. Gilmour co-designed the hodgepodge of game mechanisms that is Dinosaur Island, and Dinosaur Island is Jurassic Park the board game. Like The Walking Dead, there are a lot of bad Jurassic Park board games out there and Dinosaur Island is a great one that doesn’t have the license.

Players build their own Jurassic Park and how awesome is that? Dinosaur Island also happens to be a great study in how to combine seemingly unlikely game mechanisms to form a cohesive whole. I’m a Gilmour fan if you can’t tell.

Games with interesting themes

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Sagrada

Sagrada’s been a critical darling and that stems from the marriage of its theme and gameplay. Players compete to construct the stained-glass window masterpieces in the Sagrada Familia. The game uses dice drafting, and the dice it uses are color-coded to match the windows. It’s a simple, beautiful game that I highly recommend.

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Great Western Trail

Have you ever wanted to relive City Slickers? Well, you can with Great Western Trail. Players move cattle from Texas to Kansas city, taking turns to add to your herd, construct buildings, and contracting cowboys, engineers, and craftsman.

I’m not a huge fan of point salad games (point salad games are those games where players cobble together enough points from various means to achieve victory), but Great Wester Trail is a great strategy game and the theme of cattle wrestling isn’t used enough in tabletop games. My only complaint is that they don’t go through Omaha.

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New York Slice

Pizza. There aren’t enough games that use pizza as their theme. “I cut, you choose” game mechanism. There aren’t enough games that use the “I cut, you choose” game mechanism, and New York Slice’s gameplay is mostly that. The first player in the round splits up a pizza composed of 11 random slices (meat lovers, pepperoni, cheese, veggie, and more). The player to the first player’s left picks which slices they want and play continues in a clockwise fashion until the player who split the pizza gets the slices remaining.

New York Slice is lightning fast, and I can’t think of a better way of teasing dinner for your guests. Mwah-ha-ha!

Do you agree with my picks? Cool. If you don’t, you can take to the message boards and let me know about it comments.

3 Lists of 3 Collectible Card Games

And we’re back from our scheduled holiday break. Hope you had a great and geeky couple of weeks. Your uncle Geekly sure did. Let’s get this Monday started with a new 3 Lists of 3.

Ah. Collectible card games represented a very specific time in tabletop gaming history. When Magic: The Gathering came out in 1993, a deluge of similar games came out in its wake. Every gaming company wanted to throw their hat into the CCG ring. Several of these games were good, but few of them lasted.

Old Uncle Geekly has played several of these games, so get your booster packs ready.

Overlooked, Long-running CCGs

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Vampire: The Eternal Struggle

Let’s start with Richard Garfield’s follow up to Magic, Vampire: The Eternal Struggle. This game is deeper than people might first think. It’s based off White Wolf’s Vampire: The Masquerade RPG, so there’s plenty of political intrigue as well as combat and hunting for food. You know, the stuff you’d think vampires would be up to at night.

The series may come and go, but fan support for Vampire: The Eternal Struggle persists, and it remains in production (as of this write-up). What truly separates Vampire from Magic is that Vampire insists on a higher player count. It’s best played with more players, so gamers can form alliances and potentially betray those alliances.

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Battle Spirits

Battle Spirits is a Mike Elliot design—you’ll see Mike Elliot’s name again on this list—that never really took off in the States due to inaccurate translations from Japanese to English, but it has interesting resource management component. Like a simplified Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, Battle Spirits players use their core crystals (also their life) to summon creatures.

The push-pull of when to summon these creatures is magnified in Battle Spirits as there are fewer crystals with which to summon creatures. If you run out of core crystals, you lose. It’s a fun, brisk tight-rope walk. Battle Spirits was first released in 2009, and as of this write-up, it’s still in print.

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Legend of the Five Rings

Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) makes this list on its character development and lore. It was in print from 1995-2015 and has since become a living card game, but while it was in print as a collectible card game, players affected the world in which they played.

If a certain faction won a tournament, that faction would assume power in the world of Rokugan. L5R’s actual card play centers on building one’s stronghold. Dynasty and fate cards may alter a stronghold’s future or the surrounding land. The personality cards are based on characters of L5R, and they change and grow during each match as well as the stories after major tournaments.

CCGs with Unique Game Mechanisms

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Doomtown: Reloaded

Doomtown combines Poker with a collectible card game, and the Poker aspect to the game is the one that determines a player’s combat power. Each card has an ability but also a card suit and value. This leads to a very interesting push-pull. While most collectible card games require a gamer to think of only a card’s ability, one may choose one card over another because it works better for playing the Poker side of things.

It also doesn’t hurt that Doomtown is more of an area control game. Movement is just as important as combat as players go back and forth, building up the town and trying to control as much of the town as they can throughout the game. The currency may be called “victory points,” but it functions as money. One must consider the ebb and flow of their actions to be successful and that makes for an interesting puzzle.

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Hecatomb

I never realized how many collectible games Mike Elliot has made in his career, but Hecatomb is another good one. It’s essentially Magic with pentagon cards that players can play on top of each other. The edges of the pentagram can hold extra play text and that’s how each player upgrades the creatures they summon.

It doesn’t surprise me that Hecatomb is no longer in print. The production value was through the roof and unsustainable, but it’s an excellent game and if you find it in a sale rack or garage sale, it’s worth a shot.

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Dark Age: Feudal Lords

I hope Dark Age: Feudal Lords gets reprinted as a self-contained game or living card game because the combat system in it is unique. It borrows more from miniatures games and RPGs than it does from typical collectible card games. The characters have a range of numbers (on a die) that can hit your opponents and power up cards add to that range. It’s a simple, elegant combat system that’s a lot of fun.

I could take or leave the actual theme (dystopia) so a rebranding of this combat system would be welcome as well. Still, if you can find Dark Age on the cheap, I’d highly recommend it.

Collectible Card Games that Became Living Card Games

I’ll preface this section by clarifying what a living card game is. The term living card game (LCG) can only be used by Fantasy Flight Games because they trademarked the term, but many other card games qualify as LCGs.

LCGs work differently than CCGs. While CCGs have random packs that players may purchase, and players must purchase a lot of packs—and I mean a lot of packs—to gain a copy of each card in a set, LCGs have everything available from a set in one box or series of boxes. Both game types encourage—or better yet require—deck building.

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Android: Netrunner

A lot of people’s favorite LCG Android: Netrunner started as a CCG, and it was a very good CCG, but it works just as well as an LCG. The two players have asymmetric decks. One side plays as a futuristic corporation while the other plays as a hacker trying to break into the corporation’s defenses.

I always liked the concept behind Netrunner, but it’s a game that has a lot of barriers for entry. While the two sides have similarities in the card types they play, the game renames these cards. It’s almost like learning two new games for each side, and there are plenty of Netrunner fans who know how to play your deck better than you if you’re a beginner.

Still, it’s a solid game that deserves its community. Each side feels different and thematic.

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Star Wars: The Card Game

The Star Wars Customizable Card Game was fun to play, but the unruly card sets made it difficult to balance the game. It may have followed the movies a little closely too. If the rebel player built a deck centered around destroying the Death Star (and they’d win the game by blowing up the Death Star), the empire player would only have to not play the Death Star to prevent the rebel player from winning.

Star Wars: The Card Game LCG does a better job of balancing these discrepancies while still giving the players the flavor they want. The various objective cards a based on the specific decks each player constructs, so one side can’t play keep away. Players will want to use as many of the various expansions as each one invokes a sense of place. The Hoth expansion feels like Hoth.

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Vs. System 2PCG

The Versus system was a relatively short-lived CCG from the early 2000s. It did a decent job of depicting all manner of comic book characters. You could even pit one comic book world against another—Marvel versus DC anyone?—and that wouldn’t happen again until Dice Masters.

Vs. System 2PCG takes elements from the popular Versus system and turns it into an LCG. Of course, it’s not named an LCG because it’s published by Upper Deck, but it functions the same way. Vs. System 2PCG streamlines the original gameplay and while that may turn off some Versus purists, the game had gotten bloated. The new LCG does a better job of introducing new players to the system. Marvel, Alien, and Predator have gotten their own LCG releases. We’re still waiting on DC.

That’s what I have for CCGs. I’m sure I didn’t collect them all. If you have any suggestions or complaints, leave a message with my answering service or just leave a comment.

Games I Hope Are Under the Tree

A certain holiday is right around the corner, and JK Geekly plans to take a break, but before we do your uncle Geekly will give into greed and list some of the games he hopes are under the tree. United States day of avarice, here I come.

I kept the term “games” vague because I’ll have some video and tabletop games on this list. No. I’m not changing beyond all recognition. Uncle Geekly may have a love of tabletop games, but there are plenty of video games coming out this year that can’t be ignored.

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Batman: Gotham City Chronicles (Monolith Board Games)

Yeah, I’m all in with Batman: Gotham City Chronicles. I’m also at the mercy of when the game will be available in retail stores (Conan also made it into gaming stores), so this may be a pipe dream. There’s a reason Gotham City Chronicles surpassed its Kickstarter goal in less than a day. It’s excellent.

I’m not sure if I need to clarify more than that. Okay. The asymmetric villains (one) versus heroes (many) gameplay creates some great moments. Those moments happen to be classic Batman tales from the comics, not TV or movies. And there are miniatures. Lots and lots of high-quality miniatures of classic comic book characters.

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Spider-Man (Sony)

I’m hoping the PS4’s Spider-Man does for the wallcrawler what Rocksteady’s Arkham series did for Batman. The web head hasn’t had a good video game in some time, and I wouldn’t mind taking on Green Goblin, Scorpion, or whoever the game has to throw at me. Plenty of reviews have been written about the game, but I’m trying to avoid them as much as possible. It’s gotten great reviews; that’s good enough for me.

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The 7th Continent (Serious Poulp)

The 7th Continent is another Kickstarter board game, but unlike Batman: Gotham City Chronicles, this one most likely won’t see mass retail appeal. Players are stranded on an island and must find ways to survive. The features exploration and has great storytelling moments. It’s an event game. It’s also one that makes you talk about it well after game night.

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Mega Man 11 (Capcom)

I don’t care if it receives good, great, indifferent, or poor reviews. I’ll probably look for Mega Man 11. It’s the first numbered entry for the Blue Bomber in over a decade, and it’s long overdue. Bring on Block Man, Fuse Man, Blast Man, Torch Man, and Impact Man.

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Dinosaur Island (Pandasaurus)

This one may be the most likely tabletop game to find its way under the tree, and I’m happy if does. Dinosaur Island is the board game version of Jurassic Park. The game mechanisms, of which there are numerous, blend together to make a great gaming experience. There are very few games that pack a lot of strategy in a small time frame (like Dinosaur Island), and Jonathan Gilmour is one of my favorite new game designers.

Your uncle Geekly could’ve added a few dozen more games, both board and video. If you disagree with a pick or two of mine, direct your anger at Jim. He likes hate mail that isn’t his hate mail. Or you could leave a comment.

Things Kyle Does When He First Opens a Tabletop Game

This little list may give you too much insight into what happens at the Geekly household when a board game is first opened. We’re talking about a rabbit hole that you may not want to go down. Consider yourself warned.

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Smell the box…mmm New Game Smell

I like the smell of a new board game. Nothing beats tearing off the shrink wrap, hearing the box fart for the first time as you open it, and having the smell of fresh tabletop game goodness waft over your face.

To be fair, I do this with a lot of things: books, cars, video games, the occasional magic marker. Mmm, magic markers.

I may have brain damage.

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Punch out all the bits, put them in piles, and make towers and other things out of them

I love it when I find a lot of punch boards with a heap of little bits I have to poke out. Gloomhaven had somewhere around 30 of these boards, and I was as happy as a kitten playing in gift paper.

I don’t care about the game at this point. I just want to make a fort out of cardboard discs, dice, and wooden pieces shaped like Whistler’s Mother.

Wait. Whistler’s Mother? What game did I just unbox? I don’t care. If you need me, I’ll be in space.

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Organize things despite not knowing where they should go

Who needs to read the rules to figure out which things go together in a little baggy or small tackle box? I follow my gut, and it’s almost always wrong. Never trust a gut that suffers from GERD.

At least an hour will be wasted figuring whether the color or shape of an object should dictate where it should go. Eventually, I’ll say, screw it and check YouTube.

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See if Rodney Smith (Watch it Played) or Paul Grogan (Gaming Rules!) posted a video on how to play

Who needs to read the rules to figure out how to play a board game when Rodney and Paul will tell me in a short video with time stamps directing me to specific rules? Sure, I’ll follow along in my rule book if I can, but rule books aren’t the best reading material. So many of them have too many Appendices and use terminology I can’t understand. With few exceptions most of these designers expect you to already know how to play.

Help me, Rodney. Help, help me, Rodney.

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Reorganize things after watching the video

I’ll remind myself that I should never trust a gut that suffers from GERD. If Rodney or Paul were in my house, they’d shake their heads and say, again, Kyle. What are we going to do with you?

I’ll spend another half-hour putting things where they should go and take another hour calming down before asking my friends and family if they want to play. You’d think I’d learn, but most game unboxings end the same way.

You probably know too much about your uncle Geekly’s unboxing habits at this point. What are the things you do when you first open a tabletop game for the first time? Let us know in comments.