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Tolarian Community College is an informative and entertaining YouTube channel based around Magic The Gathering. The channel is hosted by “The Professor” and he is an actual professor at an actual community college. He has had a big enough following that he was able to start a Patreon that covered the pay for his teaching one of his college classes so that he could focus some more time on the YouTube channel.
Unfortunately he was told that he won’t be teaching any classes this term and so will lose that income and possibly will lose his healthcare. There is an easy way to help The Professor out: contribute to his Patreon. He already turns out quality material. This may be an opportunity for him to create even more. If you are a fan of gaming in general or Magic The Gathering specifically you should definitely check out Tolarian Community College.
You may remember that we interviewed Dan Smith about his Battle of the Bands game. If you missed it or want to reread it you can do that here. Then you should go check out the Kickstarter. It has already funded so you are good to go there. As of the posting of this…post, there are 13 days left.
Hello! Brandon here. In addition to working on Spaghetti & Meeples I also have a music blog that I’ve been ignoring lately. BTW you should check out Brady Harris and Brandon Schott. Anyhoo, when I ran into Battle of the Bands while surfing the world wide web it seemed a natural fit for me. A tabletop game AND it’s about bands? Sign me up! So I reached out to Dan Smith, creator, designer, music aficionado, and slick rhythm air guitarist. What you read below is the result of that contact.
It’s music. It’s a fight. It’s both!! It’s non gender specific. It’s all ages. It’s accessible to non-gamers who love music. (Every card has a musical precedent in rock history.) It’s… FUN!
What was it about the subject that attracted you?
“I dig, rock and roll music and I really get off in that scene.” -Peter, Paul and Mary.
What was the design experience like?
I was driving home from my computer game job and was grousing about the state of CCGs at the time, 1998, and came upon the idea that everyone wants to be in a band or a rock star. After about 15 minutes of scribbling notes while I drove, I got home and in 2 hours, on the computer, the game was 60% finished. I played the game every lunch with my peeps, J.D. Straw, Seth Mayne and Danny Nicholson. With their input and tenacity, it was play-tested in a year. I printed the Kinko’s edition and sold it in Ziploc bags on eBay for $5! (About 30 copies exist.) Then Third World Games produced the first two editions, of which I am eternally grateful. (Thanks, Mike Nickloff and Frank Bustamante!!!!) And now, after being out of print for 14 years, it’s time to make the definitive edition!
Is this the first game you’ve designed?
It was my first. Then came King of Crime, Portable Adventures, Party till the cops show up, and about 20 other card games. I have made about 50 boardgames within the last 24 months.
What does your card game offer that others don’t?
A smile, when you are getting beat down by some guy who plays a candy box for an instrument and has the fan base of a senior citizen home, or the embodiment of Death himself, playing the flaming bagpipes like he’s Miles Davis. A simple game system that really gives the feeling of being in a band and not just a theme tacked onto a number acquisition game.. Astoundingly close to what it’s like being in a band.
What do you want people to experience as they play?
I want them to live the life of the leader of their band. When someone steals a band member of theirs, it’s a personal attack! Roleplay it! You made my Mom ANDROGYNOUS?! You stole my AIR GUITAR?!
Someone is going to win, but playing the game is more fun than winning. Getting that band you always wanted is huge! (Giant robot, angry puppet, goth chick and Me… gonna rule the stage, baby!)
Why did you decide to have it available as a print and play?
Because it’s going to be your go-to game when you are just hanging out, waiting for the other players or when you want to play a fun game. If you just can’t afford the printed version, I still want you to play the game… without the art. OH SNAP!! Or the expansions. Or the special cards. Or the dice and Ez Tracker cards.
There, I’ve made you cry.
And the printing out of the game will set you back about $30 USD for the printing, poker cards for backing and the 4 sets of sleeves… $5 more will get you the printed game and the stretch goals. See what I did there?
Are you looking at crowd funding options?
Mostly, the funders can get the 3 50 card expansions for free if we reach the stretch goals, a $45 value, as well as some unique cards if special FB like goals are met. Seriously, I have so many cards, I have to decide which ones I can’t do because of limitations on the card sheets!
What else will you offer backers?
There is the funding goal of being a band member in the basic set! 2 levels, the 1+ character where you are better with a specific instrument and the rock god, where you have either a special game option or effect, or you are worth a star with the right instrument type. I draw you in the BotB style, and you get to keep the original art!
And there is the ultimate gig, where I come in and grandmaster flash the ultimate BotB tournament at your convention or store! What an ego, huh?
What are your plans for the future?
At the moment I have my PORTABLE ADVENTURE series slated for later on next year, that will have at least 5 different themed games that can be played seperately or together. I also have a couple of games, ZOMBIERUN, PARTY TILL THE COPS SHOW UP, SUPERHERO SMACKDOWN, HAND OF WAR (ccg), and a few others that will probably make the scene fairly soon, if this campaign goes well. And then there is my game company, TIME2PLAY GAMES INC., of which will be in production very soon, where I make affordable boardgames for kids. And then there is the movie I wrote and produced, CLOWNS, D.C., that should be out in the next few months. I am busy at the moment writing a script for BATTLE OF THE BANDS. And I bathe frequently. 😉
Will there be expansions?
7 mini (6 card) expansions as well as 3 full 50 card expansions are stretch goals in this campaign. There is 1 50 card “dirty” expansion, SEX, DRUGS, ROCK & ROLL, that is an add on, if you like that sort of thing… which I do. It’s rock and roll, not bubblegum! (That’s actually dirtier than rock and roll!!!) There is a possiblilty for funders going home with 400 cards
Who is your favorite band or music performer?
I don’t have any one band, I’m too old for that nonsense… I have a wall of about 6000 LPs. As many 45s, 400 cassettes, 30 8 tracks, 10 4 tracks, and about 4000 cds. So I’ll have to say this, my favorite gig was The Revillos/Wigs/Bongos at the Roxy in Hollywood in 1981. It was the one that stuck to the back of my head.
Do you play any instruments?
I have good rhythm… the rhythm air guitar and record player are what I play best.
What bands or musicians would you want to play Battle Of The Bands with?
Dave Grohl, Weird Al, O.K. Go, Leonard Graves Phillips/Stan Lee (The Dickies)
Where can people stay updated on the game and anything else you may have coming up?
Our FB page is the only place I have at the moment. I used to have a BGG page but I am a lazy sod.
Spaghetti & Meeples can neither confirm nor deny the bathing habits of Dan Smith.
Retro Loonacy is a sophisticated game for those with a sophisticated taste. It’s also a family game. So grab an aqueous martini, a piece of licorice, and put on your sleekest coat while we slip into the super hip, and super fun game that is Retro Loonacy.
Designed by Andrew Looney and Illustrated by Andrew Heath Retro Loonacy is a fast paced matching game for 2-5 players. It is labelled as good for 8 years old and up, but I can tell you our 7 year old had no problems with it beyond some dexterity issues. The concept is quite simple. Everyone will have a hand of cards and try to match those card to the discard piles on the table.
There are two things I want to point out about how this works. First, each card has two images on it, so your chances are increased. Or are they? I’m not a statistician, but I did an internet search and found this, potentially(not at all), helpful video.
The second point I want to make is that the game has different set ups for the game depending on how many players you have. There is always one draw pile, but the number of discard piles related to players is as follows: 5 players-1 discard pile, 4 players-2 discard piles, 3 players-3 discard piles, 2 players-4 discard piles, 1 player-5 discard piles, 0 players… I may have gone too far…
“Wait,” I hear you saying, “Brandon, you have given us a lot of info, nice pictures, a very (not very) helpful video, but I still don’t feel like I know how to play.” Ah! You are correct. So, you know it is a matching game, and you know how to set it up, but what’s next? How many cards do you get? Who goes first? You each get 7 cards and you all go at once!!! Wait, not yet. Make sure you all have had a chance to look at your cards first and then, go!!
“Oh, man,” I can hear you remarking, “This game is moving so fast. Oh, I don’t have a match. You don’t have a match? None of us has a match? What do we do!?” Shh, it’s going to be OK. Look, there’s a draw pile. Everyone, take a card. Place it face down in front of you without looking. Make sure you are all ready and then go! The first person to play all the cards from their hand wins!
We here at Spaghetti & Meeples have covered various versions of Fluxx and Just Desserts and have enjoyed them. Retro Loonacy, however, is by far our new favorite from them. We all love the look, the style, the game play, the pace, and the player interaction. If you are a fan of Looney Labs then Retro Loonacy is a must have. If you have never played a Looney Labs game before then this is a great place to start. So get on it already!
You can purchase Retro Loonacy directly from Looney Labs here.
Another great game from Ed Baraf. Enjoy the review, the furniture, and check out the links below the video.
Kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ebaraf/gempacked-cards
We recently grabbed two games that we wound up really liking. Jetpack Unicorn and Poo! I will add that we bought these games mostly based on the box art. Yay graphic design!
Jetpack Unicorn is a card game for 3 or more players. Players take turns being the judge and ask questions about scenario cards. The non-judge players try to give the most interesting answers using transmog cards, which have specific words or phrases on them. The judge chooses the winner and that player gets the amount of points that are shown on their transmog cards.
Sounds easy. Except that it’s not that easy to figure out. The rules state that the judge asks anything about the scenario on the card, but the scenario card IS a question. What they mean is to ask any sort of clarifying question about the scenario, but that’s not easy to figure out from the way the instructions are written. We had to watch the online tutorial to figure that part out, and even then it seemed to me like they were playing a different game than the one we purchased.
Even with how frustrating it was figuring out how to play what is a simple game we did have fun once we figured it out, assuming we actually did figure it out. It is fun and silly and I would recommend it, but DO watch the online tutorial. Do a YouTube search for TeamHyperCube Jetpack Unicorn quickplay. Or just click here
I also feel it’s important to watch most of the videos from the Creators of Jetpack Unicorn. I not only got a much better feel for the game, but also got some great insights into the concept of the game beyond the basic mechanics. Here’s a video from the creative team explaining what they want to happen as you play the game. I’ve started it at :38 for you.
A game that was very easy to figure out and tons of fun right out of the box was Poo, a card game for 2-8 players. You are a monkey in a zoo and something in the food has made all the monkeys wacky and wild. You all start flinging poo at each other. The first player to get hit with and accumulate 15 poos loses. Our 6 year old, Finney, and I wound up playing 6 rounds at a go one morning. It’s tons of simple fun.
Players are dealt a hand of five cards. On your turn you may then play one, Poo, Special Poo, Event, or Clean card or discard any number of cards and replace them from the stack. That’s it. All of the cards tell you what to do. But wait! Just because it’s your turn doesn’t mean you don’t get to defend yourself. There are Mishap cards. Maybe your opponent plays The Big One dealing 7 poo to you. Oh no! That’s a lot of poo and you already have 9 poo. You could lose the game. Unless of course you you have Slip. All of the poo is sent back to your opponent and there is nothing that can be done about it!
Clean cards allow you to clean poo off of yourself an occasionally shake it off onto your opponent. Event cards are interesting and add an unexpected layer of strategy to Poo. For example, let’s say you play the Keeper’s Got The Hose card. The card allows players to clean 1 poo off at the start of their turn. You can still keep flinging poo at each other and all it takes is one poo flung at the keeper to make him disappear. So what do you do? Do you take advantage of being able to clean one poo off every turn? Can you afford to let your opponent do the same? Will you miss your chance for victory by dispatching the Keeper?
Poo is a great game to play between other games, but also fun to just play round after round for an afternoon. For me, Jetpack Unicorn is fun, but is a game that we only bring out once in awhile.
Today we are joined by Will Stateczny of Topwise Games to discuss his recently Kickstarter-funded game Monkeys Need Love Too. In the interest of full disclosure I did back this Kickstarter.
You mention in your Kickstarter video that games like Munchkin and Killer Bunnies inspired you to make Monkeys Need Love Too. What made you choose the theme?
If I remember right (it’s been 7 years since MNLT was first created), I believe it was just purely from my imagination. A lot of the times my best ideas come when I’m not even thinking about them. I like to think of myself as a very creative and imaginative person.
How did you get connected with artist Rick Menard(artist for Monkeys Need Love Too)?
I actually found Rick Menard on a website called Freelanced.com. It’s a site where you submit a job, people with those trade skills offer their services for the job, and you then choose who you’d like to work with. Rick was one of about 25 illustrators/artists who submitted their services. I visited his website and found his previous illustrations to be right in line with what I had envisioned in my head.
What was the Kickstarter process like for you?
I would say it was a grind. The only reason I say that was that I had to work the entire length of the campaign to get every single backer. I unfortunately didn’t have the luxury of getting my name out via conventions as most game companies do before firing off their Kickstarter. So because of that, I was up late almost every night working social media and searching for new avenues of advertising and backer acquisition.
Will you use it again?
I will definitely use Kickstarter again, but I plan on building up my company’s name a little better before I do so I have a somewhat easier campaign next go around.
I think my hopes for Monkeys Need Love Too, or any game that I plan to put out for that matter, will always be the same. I would love for it to be that one that just takes off like wildfire and gains popularity at an exponential rate. I got word from a lot of people at the last convention I attended, including the convention manager, that they heard nothing but good things from those that had visited the booth. That gives me great encouragement that I’m doing something right.
I know you don’t want to reveal to much about your next project, A Bad Day For Donuts, but it looks like it will be a board game…? What made you want to do a board game instead of another card game?
I didn’t want to limit myself to just one type of game. When you limit yourself, you reduce your potential customer base. As of now, the only common theme that all our games will have is that they are intended to make you laugh, whether it be by the flavor text, the artwork, or just how the game is played. Aside from that, I don’t plan on restricting myself to one specific type of game.
Where did you come up with the name “Topwise” and what are your hopes for Topwise Games?
Topwise comes from growing up watching the Simpsons. Most Simpson fans will know exactly what I’m talking about and where the reference comes from. My hopes for Topwise Games are to become a self-sustainable gaming company. Right now my day job is a great one and it pays the bills, but I’m a gamer at heart and would love to both design and sell games full time while also having more free time to spend with my family and get a good night’s rest each night.
Other than Munchkin and Killer Bunnies, what games inspire you?
Fluxx has been a good one lately. What The Food?!? is actually a fan favorite right now in my household. Carcassonne is one that my wife and I like to play together. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The range of games is actually quite large. My friends and I are avid MTG and D&D gamers when we can get together. I’ve also built my own crokinole board to play on and plan on making a carrom board and wall-mounted chess board before the year is over. You have to have a wide range of games to play if you want to create games yourself. And it’s not only just about what games you play, but also about the variety of people you play with. You can play a game a hundred times with one person and then learn something completely new as soon as a new player sits down.
What do you think makes a good game?
In my opinion, the main component to a good game is if everyone walks away happy. If you’ve achieved that goal, you’ve got a winner. You’ve also got to keep the game flowing. I have many friends who can’t stay focused on a game if they aren’t constantly involved. It was a lot easier to stay focused when everyone didn’t have a smartphone that they needed to check every 10 seconds. That’s why I’m not a big fan of playing games where you’re constantly having to reference something in the rulebook. It just slows down the pace of the game.
What do you look for in a gaming experience?
Again I’m looking for a game where I can walk away happy, whether it be by winning the game or by having a good time with the people I’m playing with.
What games are you playing right now and what games are you excited about?
I’m currently playing my game (of course), What The Food!?!, Magic, D&D, Tichu, and a few others on a regular basis. I’ve got about 10 kickstarter games that I’m backing that are still live, and another 24 that have successfully funded that I can’t wait to play. One of the live ones that I’m psyched about is Dumpster Brawl by my good friend Dave Killingsworth. I got to play this one night up at WaCon and it was a pretty cool game.
If you were a monkey, what kind of monkey would you be?
I would probably be one of the super tiny monkeys that you can get as a house pet. They always amuse me when I see them at the zoo and they seem very entertaining when you see them on tv. Plus you never know exactly what they’re thinking. I think I possess that similar trait.
The Kickstarter for Monkeys Need Love Too is over, but you can preorder your own copy at http://www.topwisegames.com/online-store/