International Tabletop Day 2015

Saturday was International Tabletop Day 2015. I’ll describe what I played below. Please note that I didn’t read the rules to any of these games except Redshirts, so my descriptions of them are limited to my interpretations from a single playing.

Heat. In this game the players are criminals working through different stages of a crime spree, trying to take the most money without earning too much heat from the cops. The cards in your hand represent actions you can take, such as a bank job (earning money if nobody else tries a bank job the same turn), petty theft (earning a small amount of money but not generating heat), or laying low (to bleed off some heat). The rules suggest that players chat in character about their plans for each round, but we were so focused on learning the game that we didn’t do much of that.

Shootin’ Ladders. A nicely twisted takeoff on Chutes & Ladders, where players are homicidal gingerbread men trying to blow each other to crumbs. Movement is similar to Chutes & Ladders (including the chutes, and also the ladders), but everyone has a gun (a Dessert Eagle) and can get more guns, items, and ammo from the board. I got my guts shot out, but I’d do it again.

Redshirts. We played one round using my copy of Redshirts. In this game, each player tries to be the first to get all her away team members killed off. It’s a mildly-Munchkin-like game of screw your neighbor. Players can play missions on themselves or others, and want to fail their own missions (getting their folks killed) and make the other players succeed. It’s always hard to wrap my brain around at first, but I like it. On this occasion, due to either closely matched (nonexistent) skill or weird luck, nobody even took the lead in this game, so we called it a tie after a while.

Sentinels of the Multiverse. This is a superhero game I’d heard good things about, and I liked it. It’s a cooperative game where each player is a superhero, fighting as a team against a single supervillain. The villain we chose was a robotics factory that could also turn into a giant robot. One player had lightning powers, one was very much like Superman, the third was Egyptian-themed, and I was a Batman-clone. Each hero has his own deck of cards representing powers and equipment. My Batman-themed deck, for example, had a crime computer (defending us against some damage), grappling hook (for knocking away enemy effects), and blades I could throw to damage one target a lot or several targets a little. I liked the fact that the longer the game went, the more cool stuff we got to put into play, increasing our options. I also appreciated that the game assigns complexity levels to all the heroes and villains, making it more accessible to new players.

Dominion. We finished up with Dominion, another one I’d heard about but hadn’t played. It’s a deck-building game, but not a collectible one—all the cards you need come in the box, thankfully. The goal is to increase your wealth enough to buy the most property. A big part of the strategy is that money and property cards aren’t useful to you in the action phase, so you have to balance how much money and property cards you have in your deck vs action cards, such as ones that give you more actions, let you draw more cards, or make opponents discard theirs. I’m proud that out of three of us, I came in second place! (Maybe I should mention that the other two players tied each other for first.)

How bout you? Did you celebrate International Tabletop Day? If not, maybe you’ll join me next year!

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