Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Game Night: Exit, BATTLE, and King of Tokyo!

Lots of great games have been hitting the table over the past few weeks, and here are a few worth mentioning. On our most recent game night we played Exit (the Milton Bradley board-tilting game), BATTLE (designer Joel Hobbs video game-inspired fighting game), and King of Tokyo (another video game-inspired game. This time it's Rampage, with dice!)

I should also mention that I am changing the title of Saturday Night Board Games to Game Night, right here and right now. I hope you don't mind. We usually play on Saturdays but post throughout the week, so having Saturday in the title on Tuesday or Wednesday just feels weird.

Speaking of weird, check out our first game of the evening... Exit. The game isn't as weird as this photograph of designer Alex Strang's odd, miniature arm.

Click through the jump for more on Exit, BATTLE and King of Tokyo!

I was surprised to find out that the gameplay in Exit involved each player tilting the board, trying to knock plastic discs off of the surface, and onto the table. It's oddly strategic, and seems to capture that classic era of board games that had a gimmick to go along with them. Many were abstract, like this one,  and I'll happily try any of them out. Exit was fun enough.

BATTLE is an unreleased prototype by Joel Hobbs. I met Joel at Gen Con, where he was demoing the game at The Game Crafter's mega-booth. He since sent a copy over, so I could get in some plays and get him some feedback. The game is still going through a few theme and mechanic tweaks, so what you see here is all prototype, but a very nice one. The cards could easily be part of the final product.

BATTLE is a game where a bunch of players will gang up (in the great Team Mode) and fight each other to the death, inside of a high-rise building. It plays like a video game, very similar to a First Person Shooter in the way players obtain items from crates (which respawn after you re-enter a level). The items range from simple to complex weapons, and also items to help you heal, run, etc.. Each item also has a dollar value, which allows it to be traded in for another item/weapon.

We had a lot of fun with the game and offered Joel some suggestions (smaller maps for smaller groups).  We played as both individuals and teams, and teams is the way to go. Working together to take your opponents down was so much fun. Especially with weapons like the Nail Gun, which allows you to nail your opponent to the wall, sticking him there for the round. And then your teammate walks up an blasts him, while he's helplessly pinned to the wall.

Looking forward to playing BATTLE again, and seeing what lies in the future for the game. It really captures the feel of a multiplayer video game battle, which is usually played against faceless opponents. Being in the same room as each other makes all of the difference. Since local multiplayer is becoming a thing of the past, this tabletop style game could be the new local multiplayer. 

Keep an eye on Joel's twitter account for updates (@TheJoelHobbs) as well as BATTLE on Facebook (

King of Tokyo
Speaking of video games as tabletop games, King of Tokyo has a big hint of Rampage to it. You each play as a big monster, rolling dice to be the one and only King. At its core, it's a simple dice rolling game (roll all of them, re-roll a few, etc), but the production was amped up to include more than just the dice. This is a full game with player score keepers, a center board and thick cut-out, stand-up characters. It retails for $40-50, and while it feels a little pricey, you are getting your moneys worth in the amount of fun you will have playing the game.

There are a few different options on your turn, and these really make the game for me. After rolling all of your dice you can decide to go for points (rolling 3 or more of the same number) or energy (which allows you to buy cards) or go for the attack. Attacking is very interesting, in that you are only attacking the King (whichever monster is on the center board) and if you are King you are attacking all other monsters at once. Points are awarded to the King for each round he survives in the center, so the risk is often worth it.  

You need to carefully balance these options to win the game, and that has been the hardest / most enjoyable part for me. I haven't developed a winning strategy yet, but I'm loving the path that I've taken to get this far.

And it's totally worth mentioning that the art is amazing. This game has single-handedly changed my opinion on cardboard stand-ups. Miniatures would be nice, but I don't think they would capture the bubbly art style. The stand-ups aren't the best component, but the art does shine.

I need to buy this game so I can play it all the time. Even my 4 year old daughter can play this one, with a little help when reading the cards.

Lots of new games in the mail this week. VivaJava, The Manhattan Project, Boss Monster, Roll Through The Ages, Incan Gold, Fastrack, Alien Frontiers Factions, and more. Hope to get these to the table very soon!

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