Today’s Daily D4 features three great games, two of which I already own and a third that I’d like to add to my collection as soon as it becomes available. There’s something for everyone today so sit back and enjoy. Fair warning for fans of the Dresden Files books who have yet to read Changes, there are spoilers contained within the last bit of today’s article.
Love Letter is a card game in which two to four players compete for the affections of Princess Annette, whose mother Queen Marianna was recently arrested for high treason. Ever since her mother’s arrest the Princess has locked herself away in the palace. In order to reach her each of her potential suitors will have to try and get their lover letters into the hands of someone who can deliver it to her. At the end of the day the person who is closest to Princess Annette delivers the suitors letter and the rest end up being tossed into the fire. There are sixteen cards in the deck and each card is marked with a rank that indicates their proximity to the Princess, the higher their rank the better they’re positioned to deliver your letter. On the surface it is a very simple game, and with only sixteen cards in the deck you may think you’ll be able to master it all too soon. You’re going to be delightfully surprised by how entertaining it can be though, I assure you.
For one thing at the start of the game one of the cards is removed from the deck and placed into a bag without anyone having a chance to look at it. Now none of the players know if that was one of the many poorly positioned guards, a handmaiden, the King, or the Princess herself. Then you have to take each of the cards effects into account. Some will allow you to see which cards other players have, others will force you to trade hands with them, and a few will even allow you to knock them out of the game for the rest of the round. It’s interesting because you want to play cards that are good enough to keep you in the game, while trying not to reveal what other cards you have in your hand, and trying to keep yourself in a good enough position to win the round.
In all I’d definitely add Love Letter to your game collection if you’re looking for something fun, easy to learn, and that doesn’t take ages to play. As an added bonus Love Letter comes in an attractive little red bag that makes carrying the cards around quite easy. If you’re looking for a good two-player game be warned I do feel Love Letter is better with more than two players. With just two rounds tend to end much more quickly without anyone managing to score which can draw the game out a bit.
As a rule I’ve never given much thoughts to the retirement plans of pirates. Burying chests full of gold on some deserted island probably isn’t the best way to invest your earnings, and a more savvy investor would probably tell them to invest it in a 401k. At which point the pirates would take his valuables, force him to walk the plank, and bury the loot anyway. Libertalia is a board game which features up to six pirate captains and the crews, all of whom are in a race to collect enough booty to allow them to retire once and for all. It’s an extremely simple premise that adds up to a highly entertaining game that embraces the theme of pirates like a long lost brother. You’ll try to collect chest of gold, goods, and treasure maps while avoiding the Spanish prisoners and cursed masks as much as possible.
Now how do you collect this loot you ask? Well you play cards depicting all the members of a pirate crew. The game comes with six nearly identical decks loaded with cooks, captains, monkeys, parrots, priests, gunners, and every other seadog imaginable. Each card has a rank and effect and the pirate with the highest ranking card gets first pick of the booty, allowing them to get first choice while everyone else will be forced to make due with what’s left behind for them. My favorite part about the game is that all of the decks contain the same cards, and all of the players begin each round with nearly the same hands. This shows how flexible the cards really are as each of the players try to use them to the greatest advantage. After days of doggedly chasing after treasure the crews count up their loot to determine who the winner is.
There are also several other mechanics that come into play and add to the strategy of the game. Scattered in along with the treasure are sabers that will allow you to kill off competing pirates, and prisoners who will force you to discard your own pirates. It’s a game that draw you in and gets you thinking not only about what you’re doing, but what all of the other players are doing as well. We played it for the first time with five people and it was an absolute blast. Go and grab Libertalia if you’re looking for something with strategy and entertainment value, plus the artwork on the cards is lovely. Speaking of the cards the flavor text is as funny as anything you could imagine without being utterly ridiculous.
Paranet Papers Preview Chapter: Las Vegas
When I saw that a preview chapter for the third installment in The Dresden Files RPG was available for download I tore through it like there was no tomorrow. The new book is called the Paranet Papers and it is meant to provide information about what has befallen the world ever since Harry Dresden eradicated the Red Court at the end of Changes. As we’ve seen in subsequent books his action had some unforeseen consequences, and by eliminating the Red Court he initiated a power struggle that has been coming to a boil ever since. As I said Evil Hat Productions has only released a single chapter at this time, but based on what I read I think it is going to be a must have item.
If you’ve ever seen the chapter from Volume One: Your Story for the city of Baltimore you’ll find quite a few similarities between the two, but there are also quite a few differences. For one thing all of the little side notes that are added in are provided by Waldo Butters, Karrin Murphy, and Billy the werewolf. Considering what happened at the end of Changes that makes sense, and it’s beyond fun to read Murphy’s responses two her nerdier co-narrators. There’s also just more information here than there was in the previous volume and it is all told from the perspective of a Vegas native whose suddenly been thrust into the world of the supernatural at the deep end. In all there’s nearly fifty pages worth of content detailing the places, faces, themes, and threats that make the city unique.
Now if you’ve played the Dresden Files RPG in the past you’re probably wondering why you should buy this volume. I mean city creation is one of the most interesting aspects of the game and it is also a way to help ensure that your campaign is truly unique. Well for one thing it is just extremely interesting to see what’s been happening across the country in the Dresden Files universe. I also think that city creation can sometimes seem a bit daunting for some players, so this makes for a very nice way to introduce them to the game with a few options aside from playing a game set in Baltimore.
I’m hoping for a few more previews soon or failing that a release date in the very near future because I for one cannot wait to get my hands on the Paranet Papers.