Episode 12: Wiz-War, Pre-Fab vs Homebrew Campaign Settings and What Makes Board Games Fun

In episode #12, the gang gives you a walkthrough and review of the new Fantasy Flight re-imagining of the Tom Jolly Ameri-Trash classic, Wiz-War. Then they have a round table discussion of the pros and cons of per-fabricated and homebrew campaign settings in role playing games. And finally the founders wrap up the show with a discussion about what makes board games fun.

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Episode Timeline:

  • Wiz War Walkthrough: 00:32
  • Wiz War Review: 00:42
  • Gaming News with Tony Topper: 01:03
  • Prefab vs. Homebrew: 01:20
  • What Makes Board Games Fun: 01:58

Opening Banter Topics:

  • The founders take a moment to thank folks for tweeting them, posting reviews, and providing feedback
  • Jamie got his hands on a copy of Wiz War, he tore the head off the elementalist and put a skull head on top, and painted the models then the founders got a couple plays in
  • Jamie shares his trick for stripping paint from metal models, soak models in Simple Green overnight and use metal polishing brushes for a handheld dremel to clean the paint off
  • Tony is working on painting his Warhammer Fantasy Vampire Counts army, lots of skeletons and zombies
  • Chris shares that he wants to go to a painting clinic at Origins to learn the skill of painting miniatures
  • Brian reevaluates his review of Kingdom Builder, not in a positive way, and the founders talk about a recent game of Quarriors
  • The conversation about Kingdom Builders and Quarriors develop into a discussion about house ruling to fix game issues
  • Chris talks about his acquisition disorder kicking in for Cthulu Gloom then the founders talk about story games
  • Chris purchased City of Secret Skyline which he explains plays like Sodoku
  • Brian and Chris complain about the fad of micro-purchases in iOS and Facebook games

Walkthrough and Review: Wiz-War

Walkthrough 00:32 Review 00:42 In Wiz-War, wizards wage no-spells-barred magical duels deep in an underground labyrinth. This classic board game of magical mayhem for 2-4 players, created by Tom Jolly in 1983, pits players' wizards against each other in a stupendous struggle for magical mastery. Win by stealing other wizards' treasures and hauling them back to your base, or just score points by blasting the other wizards. The last wizard standing always wins. Staying true to the spirit of the game that has entertained players for years, as well inspiring an entire genre of games, this 2011 edition of Wiz-War caters to the imagination and the funny bone. Casting an enriched array of spells, your wizards race through an underground maze, avoiding fireballs, werewolves, and psychic storms. Subtle game enhancements by Kevin Wilson and Tom Jolly promote faster play and clarify card effects. Check it out on Board Game Geek!

Gaming News with Tony Topper:


Pre-Fab vs Homebrew Campaign Settings:

01:20 The founders start off discussing the time they typically take to develop a homebrew campaign setting, which is the most obvious perk for playing in a pre-fab setting. From there they talk about some of the pitfalls of playing in a pre-fab campaign. Jamie expresses that it's a much more daunting task for him to run a pre-fab setting when he's unfamiliar with it and the players are. Chris shares his experience running Forgotten Realms and removing Elminster or other profound characters from play. This leads to a discussion about what people love about pre-fab settings and how various alterations can take away the novelty. This leads to Chris pointing out that the love that people have for pre-fab settings has to be built into homebrew campaigns. Brian shares what he feels are core elements of Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms and that it's the cliches that he loves. Jamie talks about the advantages of World of Darkness, where there's tons of lore but the specific politics of any given city can be designed by the GM. He expresses he feels World of Darkness is the best of both worlds for him. The conversation flows into hybrids settings. This leads to discussion about the founders Mass Effect Savage Worlds game. Brian reminisces about Dragonlance games where Chris always played a Kender and talks about how vivid memories of those games are. Jamie discusses the detail of NPC's and how they make the world. Brian talks about the lack of discovery in a pre-fab game. The group wraps up the discussion sharing what each of them prefer to play in and to run.

What Makes Board Games Fun:

01:58 The founders start off this discussion by sharing their experiences with games where they really don't care whether they win or lose, they just enjoy playing the game. This discussion leads into games that they don't enjoy and why. A common thread runs through this discussion where the victory conditions have to match the theme or it loses some of the charm. Another common thread in the category of games that aren't enjoyable is when there's a constant obligation that seemingly never goes away. Jamie, Brian, and Chris talk use Agricola as an example of these. Tony disagrees and shares his experience playing Wiz Wars and Escape from Atlantis and why he finds them stressful. While in the case of Agricola, the stress of the constant food obligation is stressful to the others, he finds the chaotic nature and lack of control in Wiz War and Escape from Atlantis stressful. They all agree Merchants and Marauders and Galaxy Trucker are games they enjoy playing regardless of the outcome. This leads to a discussion of confrontation in games. Jamie expresses he doesn't mind direct confrontation but shares that he doesn't enjoy bidding games. The founders switch focus and discuss what they each loved about Magic the Gathering on various levels (casual, competitive, tournament play). From there Jamie talks about how he finds a game not enjoyable if he wins all the time, citing Pandemic as an example. Tony shares what he doesn't like about co-op games like Pandemic. Chris shares that he finds heavy strategy games stressful and that's why he prefers lighter games. Brian poorly summarizes a segment of the Dice Tower concerning the psychology of game design and the founders wrap up the episode by going through recently played games and using that logic to ascertain why someone had a good or bad experience.

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