Sunday, 10 May 2015

005. The Cardboard Cartographer issue 5.

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Welcome to issue 5 of The Cardboard Cartographer.


In this issue of The Cardboard Cartographer we'll be reviewing 'Cash and Guns Second Edition'.

But first I'd like to thank you for visiting our website!

Each issue we hope to post some news, a game review and talk about topics relevant to table top games, such as mechanics, conventions, Kickstarter and so on.

I'd also like to mention that all opinions in this issue, and all subsequent issues, are those of their respective authors.
Please don't feel like they are a personal attack or an attempt to undermine or void the opinions of others.
Feel free to agree, disagree, debate and discuss, or simply ignore any or all that is written here.
Whatever you do, be civil. Thank you.

If you have any suggestions feel free to comment, email us, or hit us up @TCBCartographer on Twitter.


New Game Announcements.

There are a great deal of games being announced ahead of the main chunk of the convention season. We've picked out a couple that have caught our eye.

001 - Strong Hold Games

Stronghold Games has published their release schedule for the year. You can check out the games on their website.
Highlights of the list are 'Among The Stars: Revival', 'Stronghold: Second edition' and all of the 'Survive: Space Attack' expansions.
So if you're fan of Stronghold games, or any of the above the games, then this is your year.

Following on from their hugely popular Imperial Settlers, Portal games has announced a new dice game called 'Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot.'

002 - Portal Games: Rattle, Battle Grad the Loot

If you like dice based adventure games, or like shiny loot, then this may be one to keep your eye on.
If you'd like to know more you can watch this vlog by the games developer Ignacy Trzewiczek.

Bored? Game! YouTube Channel.

003 - Bored? Game!

Our friend Matt over at Bored? Game! runs a gaming community on Facebook, and hosts several gaming nights each week so that the community can get together and have a safe, warm and welcoming environment to enjoy their hobby.
To help this along he sells games on the Bored? Game! webstore.

Recently Bored? Game! has decided to start up a YouTube channel to help this community grow. Their channel is in its infancy and has yet to find its feet, but we're looking forward to seeing how this develops.

Disclaimer: I'll probably be drafted in to help, so stay tuned.

Tokyo Game Market.

The Spring Tokyo Game Market kicked off proceedings on the 5th of May 2015.
We'd like to tell you more about it, but unfortunately Japanese isn't a language we're proficient in. From what we cans see there is a good mix of new and interesting games and games with familiar mechanics, but drastically different themes.

Board Game Geek have been covering the event on their twitter account, so if you'd like to check out what has been on offer then we suggest you follow them on Twitter @BoardGameGeek


Here is the bi-weekly Kickstarter round up!

The Titans of Gaming. 

004 - The Titans of Gaming Kickstarter

'The Titan Series is a line of gateway games—casual, family-friendly tabletop games—being created by some of the best game designers (“Titans”) in the world. Each a legend within the gaming industry, these Titans are responsible for such wildly popular games as Magic: The Gathering, King of Tokyo, Shadowrun, MechWarrior, HeroClix, Quarriors!, Risk Legacy, and many more.
Now Calliope Games is harnessing the talents of the Titans to create games you can play with anyone, regardless of age or skill level. Not only will you be able to play Titan games with your regular gaming group, but your friends and family—who might rarely touch a die—will also love playing them!'

Ending on May 31st 2015, 'The Titans of Gaming' by Calliope Games is a few thousand dollars over it's original $135,000 funding goal.

Another issue, another project the is unlike anything we've seen before.

The Titans of Gaming is a project that aims to deliver 9 gateway boardgames over a 3 years period. These games are made by industry legends such as Richard Garfield (King of Tokyo, Netrunner, Magic the Gathering and so on...), Eric Lang (Xcom: The Board Game, Marvel Dice Masters and so on...), Mike Selinker ( Lords of Vegas, Betrayal at house on the Hill, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and many more...) and others of equal boardgaming pedigree.

That is all we've got.

005 - The titan Series

I wish I could tell you what exactly is going on here, but alas, that is the point of the project.
You essentially put your money where your mouth is, with pretty much no knowledge of what it is you're going to get.

Calliope Games has added this to the end of their Kickstarter page;

'It’s important to note here that Calliope is not utilizing Kickstarter as pre-order system for finished games; we actually need the funding to make the Titan Series possible.'

Yes. I believe without a shadow of doubt that they need Kickstarter to fund the production of 9 games, starting now. What company has that kind of capital lying around outside of Hasbro?
However, that for me isn't enough to make this project not a pre-order system.
Why not just release these games in a steady stream like, you know, a reasonable and responsible business?
Alternatively, release each Kickstarter individually?

Buying the whole set means the backer gets them all at a very reasonable price.
However, it is only reasonable assuming that the games are actually any good.
Otherwise you're throwing $145 - $175 on what could be garbage.
As for the backer involvement, it is superficial at best.

Don't be fooled. This is a pre-order system for something that has no guarantee of quality.

I'd follow the advice of Tom Vasel of the Dice Tower and just wait until they hit retail and trading websites/ eBay, and pick up the ones you like the look of.
Yes you may end up paying more each than you would if you had backed the project, but you won't end up speculating a lot of money on games you know nothing about.

Despite the great names attached to this project, we're not getting involved with this, in any way.


006 - Apocrypha Kickstarter

'Set on the precipice of a modern day apocalypse, Apocrypha is an hour-long game that immerses 1 to 6 players in a conflict with the most dangerous entities in the universe. Players play "saints," characters who can see the monsters lurking in every alley and school lunch room. These characters grow through multiple sessions of gameplay, unlocking repressed memory fragments that expand their powers and capabilities.'

Ending on May 14th 2015, 'Apocrypha' by Lone Shark games is well over it's initial funding goal, although we suspect that this is goal was somewhat of a false goal to start with.

Designed by Mike Selinker and a bunch of other folk, Apocrphya is essentially a card driven role playing game in a box.
In 'his' words, 'it is the next evolution of the gameplay from two games... the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and Betrayal at House on the Hill.'

What does that actually mean?

well, the system is essentially that of the Pathfinder Adventure Card game, but modified to play with, or without, a games master.
It has a stronger focus on the card aspect, but tries to remain true to the RPG genre.
With a games master you play through a story,  decided by the games master, and the characters will evolve directly in relation to that interaction.
Play the game without a games master and that is where you cans see the Betrayal at House on the Hill element to the game; the game does its best to kill you before you beat it.

007 - Apocrypha Kickstarter

It does sound intriguing.
From the designers that bought you Lords of Vegas, Unspeakable words, the Pathfinder the Adventure Card Game and Betrayal at House on the Hill to name a few, you expect a good quality game to be made here.

Loneshark games have only created two previous Kickstarters, and while it is claimed they were 'big' projects, they really were not the same kind of scale as this game.
A great design team does not mean a great fulfillment team.
Despite this I feel they have enough industry clout to deliver this project reasonably well.

And as per usual, a design group with such accolades surely has the ability to have had this published without Kickstarter, either off their own back, or with an established publisher.
All the above games were.

If you like Adventure Card games, and you can push past the stupid pricing system then Apocrypha is something I'd look at, and for that reason it is our pick of the issue.

Sky Relics: A Sky Adventure Awaits.

008 Sky Relic kickstarter

Ending on May 27th 2015, 'Sky Relics: a Sky Adventure Awaits' by Sky Relics Games LLC has easily exceeded their initial funding goal of $6,500.

Now usually we include a big quotable section of a projects Kickstarter page to try and communicate some of the flavour and feel of the project.
However, that is all this project has, and that is way too much superfluous information.

Secondly, we include what the actual game is about so you can get a feel for the gameplay style, theme and mechanics.
There isn't a section to inform us about that either!

From what we can tell, Sky Relics is a 2-5 player aviation themed table top war game, cantered around the use of miniatures.

You know, like so many others out there.

That doesn't necessarily mean that this is a bad project.

The way the game seems to play, as that is the best we can do at this moment in time, is fairly interesting.
Combining new technology and old, with customisable crews, ships and skills, plays duke it out on the sky/space.

This could have been interesting.

But other then the sheer inadequacy of the projects ability in communicating...anything, this project has a major flaw.

In game where miniatures are the main feature and make no mistake about it, they are here, the miniatures need to be fantastic and/or interesting.

I know it is personal taste, but I think the miniatures or terrible.

The reason  this is such a big problem is that there are a vast array of table top miniature war games out there, and indeed, a good few aerial/ space/ ship based table top war games.
When faced with such competition you have to come out of the gate with something pretty phenomenal to break through the pre-existing competition.

Sky Relic does not do this. At all.

Battlefleet Gothic has fantastic miniatures and is still loved to this day, even if it is horribly expensive to get into. Firestorm Armada is pretty good too.
When you couple that with the pre-painted options like Star Wars X-Wing and Armada and the Attack Wing series.

There is no contest.

That and the game comes with almost 5 expansion before release. Why is that even a thing?

In addition this is Sky Relic Games first project on Kickstarter.
Honestly, we just cannot see a situation where this ends well for anyone involved.

Avoid. Just. Avoid.

'Cash and Guns: Second Edition' review by 'DarkHaZZl3.'

009 Cash and Guns Opening

Google - Fu.

The original version of Cash and Guns was a game for 2 - 6 players, and was published in 2005 by Repos Production. The game was designed by Ludovic Maublanc, with art by Gerard Mathieu.
Cash and Guns has been nominated for many awards since it was released and was awarded the JoTa party game of the year in 2008.

The second edition, published in 2014, features some subtle, but important changes.
The most notable of these is a switch to John Kovalic of Munchkin fame for the artwork and the ability to play with two more players.

If you want to know more about Cash and Guns you can check out the Repos Production website or the Asmodee website.

Alternatively you can check out the Cash and Guns second edition page on Board Game Geek.

Contents and Impressions.

010 Cash and Guns Contents

• Rulebook,
• 8 foam guns,
• 18 wound tokens,
• 8 character cardboard silhouettes,
• 1 godfather big token (first player),
• 1 godfather desk,
• 1 diamond bonus big token,
• 16 power cards ,
• 64 bullet cards
o 40 "Click" cards,
o 24 "Bang!" cards,
• 64 loot cards;
o 40 Paper Bills (15x$5000, 15x$10'000, 10x$20'000),
o 9 diamonds (5x$1000, 3x$5000, 1x$10'000),
o 10 paintings,
o 3 bullet magazines,
o 2 first aid kits.

Cash and Guns Second Edition is clean and simple.
The Kovalic artwork adds a cartoon-esq party feel to the game and its components.

The foam guns are easily the stand out component of the game.

011 Cash and Guns foam guns

There are many routes they could have gone down to represent the guns in the game, but the inclusion of foam guns to point at people was the right move.
They give an air of drama and tension to the game which I feel would have been lost without them.
That, and there is something fun about having a shed load of guns pointed at you that I think would have been lost with cards, tokens or dice.

The power cards are pretty cool and feel very Munchkin-esq with their individual powers and artwork.

012 Cash and Guns player power cards

Usually when I do a component break down I go through each set of items and talk about them all individually, but I feel that everything from here on out shares the same positives and negatives.

014 Cash and Guns player tokens

Every component is simple, minimalist and conveys all the information it needs to fairly well.
Functionally they are fine, and the artwork is generally pleasing, clean and clear.

These are all positives.
They are also exactly what is wrong with the game.

Every card it a little bit 'too' clean and simple.

016 Cash and Guns Godfather/ first player tokens

There is a lot of empty space on the cards making them a bit bland.
I feel that there could have been a little more flourish in the games graphic design, especially on the loot cards.

015 Cash and Guns loot cards

Luckily I don't feel like the simplistic style is detrimental to the gameplay, but I just think a little more detail and creative thinking along the lines of the foam guns would have made this game a little bit more immersive and enjoyable.

Game Play.

The objective of Cash and Guns is to survive 8 rounds and collect the most money by the end of the game.

The basic set up is the same for each game.

018 Cash and Guns set up

In our example we have four players.

Each player selects a Silhouette and is given a Foam gun and 8 bullet cards (5 'Click' cards and 3 'Bang' cards).

019 Cash and Guns gameplay 1

Officially the oldest player starts as the Godfather, but we usual decide randomly.

At the beginning of each turn 8 loot cards are flipped face up in the middle, with the Godfathers desk on the 'available' side.

Players then secretly chose a one of their bullet cards to use in this turn.

020 Cash and Guns gameplay 2

Once everyone has chosen a bullet card, the Godfather counts to three.
On three each player points their gun at another player.

021 Cash and Guns gameplay 3

At this juncture the Godfather can order another player to change their target, but importantly, not who to.

022 Cash and Guns gameplay 4

024 Cash and Guns gameplay 6

Once all of this resolved, players have the opportunity to back out of the standoff.
To do this a player lays their silhouette down on the table.

025 Cash and Guns gameplay 7

If a player backs out they forfeit that round, discarding their bullet card and take no loot.
The upside is that the player cannot be harmed in the round.

Once everyone has decide to back out or stay in the standoff, players then reveal the bullet card they have chosen.

026 Cash and Guns gameplay 8

If a player chose Click nothing happens. It was a bluff!
If a player chose Bang the they fire at their target. If their target decided to stay in the standoff they take a wound and do not get to take any of the loot.

027 Cash and Guns gameplay 9

When a player receives three wounds they are out of the game.

028 Cash and Guns gameplay 10

Depending on how you play, it is possible to take multiple wounds in one standoff, so be careful!

Any players who remained in the standoff, but did not take any wounds, share the loot.

Players take it in turns to take a card from the middle and placing them face down in front of themselves until none remain, this can mean going round multiple times.
This is done in a clockwise direction in a 'round-robin' fashion, starting with the Godfather (or the player closest standing player in a clockwise direction if the Godfather backed out or was wounded).

030 Cash and Guns gameplay 12

031 Cash and Guns gameplay 13

There are several different types of loot.
There are Cash loot cards.

These have three values; $5,000, $10,000 and $20,000.
Other than their monetary value they have no other effects.

There are Diamond loot cards.

034 Cash and Guns gameplay 16

Diamonds are worth the money printed on the card. In addition to this the player with the highest total value in diamonds gets the bonus $60,000 diamond token when scoring.

There are Artwork loot cards.

035 Cash and Guns gameplay 17

Artworks do not have a set monetary value but instead scales depending on how many Artworks you have at the end of the game.
In this example a player has 4 Artworks. These are therefore worth $60,000.

There are also two sets of cards that have no monetary value but rather serve a functional purpose.

036 Cash and Guns gameplay 17

The First Aid Kit loot card removes two wound tokens immediately when taken. If a player does not have any wound tokens then the card is wasted.

The Bullet Magazine loot card allows a player to exchange one of their 'Click' bullet cards with a 'bang' bullet card from the discard pile. If there are no 'Bang' bullet cards available, the card is wasted.

Instead of taking a loot card a player can flip the table and become the Godfather. only one player can do this per turn.

032 Cash and Guns gameplay 14

Once this is done, every player stands back up and repeats the process until 8 turns have been played and the game ends.

At the end of the game any players who have not died in the process add up their loot and the player with the highest total value wins.

037 Cash and Guns gameplay scoring

In our example Deacon has died, leaving three players remaining.

Pedro has the most Cash loot cards, but James has the most value in Diamonds and received the $60,000 bonus token.

038 Cash and Guns gameplay scoring bonus

Despite this, Nikita is the winner in part due to her collecting 4 paintings.

Congratulations Nikita!

039 Cash and Guns gameplay winner

Once you have mastered the basic game you can play with the power cards variant.

The power cards variant gives each player a special ability that they can use when their power card states.

040 Cash and Guns gameplay player power varient

For example;
The Lucky Man; If you take more than one wound during a turn, you take none instead.

If you'd like to download the rules for yourself, you can get them directly from the Repos Production website.

Personal Opinion.

I really enjoy Cash and Guns Second Edition.
It is a great game than can be played with friends or family alike.
It is simple to understand, but entertaining enough to keep you engaged.

There are a couple of areas where the game could do better. We've already mentioned that the artwork is a little too bland, but it isn't just the artwork that is an issue.
The loot cards are a bit of an oddity.
The Diamonds and Paintings create a situation where players really should only pick those cards first, even if they have no intention of collecting the most, but more to deny the enemy of those commodities.
this gives the game a very noticeable game theory aspect to it.

The more noticeable issues are focused on what the second edition decided to excluded.

The original Cash and Guns had a few extra mechanics here and there.

The two that stand out are The cop and the 'Bang, Bang' Bang,' card.

'The Cop' was a role secretly given to a player; their job was to contact the police three times in a game or kill all of the other players.
It added tension and deduction to the game which gave it a lot more depth.

'The Cop' was taken out for Cash and Guns Second Edition and I totally understand why; with the added players 'The Cop' had an extremely big advantage of just never being chosen by pure luck.
I still feel they could have worked around it and found a way to implement it someho, especially since Repos Production  have announced that 'The Co'p is going to be the first expansion.

The 'Bang, Bang, Bang,' card is another bullet card that allows a player to shoot before players that chose a 'Bang' or 'Click' bullet card.
Again, this little change added a little more strategy and depth to the game, but again, with 8 players, there will be a a lot of 'Bang, Bang, Bang' cards.

While these exclusions are understandable, it does reduce the amount of depth in the game.

This where the Player Power cards come into play.
They  add a little extra to the game to keep it fresh, and allow players to play the game in different ways every game.
It is interesting, if slightly clunky.
Having everyone have different powers slows down what is meant to be a quick, fun party game.

Balancing depth and fluidity is a difficult task, and I feel that both versions of Cash and Guns do it in their own way.

If you're after a streamlined party experience, with a little bit of optional complexity, then Cash and Guns second edition is a fantastic game
If you want a more cerebral party game then either get the original, or wait until the expansion comes out and reevaluate.

Personally, I think the game is really good fun.
The negatives I've written about are only minor things at most, and are a result of me playing devil's advocate to give a more complete review of the game.
I'd recommend Cash and Guns Second Edition to anyone.

Expansions, Reprints and Different Versions.

We've already covered that Cash and Gun is the Second iteration of the game.

Currently the only add on for Cash and Guns second edition is the Blackmailer power card.
This adds an additional player power card to the game, and is free to download from the Repos Production website.
Anything free is always good!

Repos Production has announced that they plan to release Cash and Guns: The Cop; an expansion we presume the brings back the cop mechanic from the original version of Cash and Guns.

We're excited about this.
While we love Cash and Guns as a fast paced, funny party game, we like the prospect of having the option to make it a little more strategic with added deduction.

Traitor mechanics always rack up the tension!

The original Cash and Guns had several expansions so who knows? We might see many more in the future.

Digital Spotlight.

We've searched high and low for a digital edition of Cash and Guns and we found nothing.
we almost gave up and then we hit YouTube gold (warning: video is over an hour long and is contains nsfw language).

TableTop simulator has the potential to be pretty awesome.
However, because of the haphazard nature and ability to literally flip the table, we are fully aware that TableTop Simulator is not for everyone and not overly accessible to everyone.

So while this is pretty awesome, from here on out we will only include examples from TableTop Simulator if there is nothing else available.


What did you think of this issue? Pro's, Con's?
Did any Kickstarter projects grab your attention?

Have you played either version of Cash and Guns? Which is your favourite?

Are you a fan of TableTop Simulator?

Feel free to comment on this post, or alternatively hit us up on Twitter @TCBCartographer

Thank you for reading this issue of The Cardboard Cartographer, until next time!