Posted on January 20, 2009 by Matt-M-McElroy
Flames Rising has been fortunate to receive support from White Wolf over the years; they’ve provided us with review copies, contest prizes and give-a-ways. When we mentioned we wanted to check out their recent selection of board games, Kelley Barnes-Herrmann (White Wolf Marketing Director and all-around awesome individual) agreed and sent us a box of games to dig into. The box arrived a day or two ago and we’ve only had the chance to crack them open a bit. So, what follows are our initial impressions after messing around with the contents and skimming the rules. More complete reviews will be on the way after we’ve had the chance to play the games.
Hunter: Deadly Prey
Monsters exist in our world, lurking under cover of darkness, hiding their depredations behind a veil of lies. You are an ordinary person, but you have discovered the creatures that prey upon us. Now you search the city for supernatural secrets, gathering weapons, tools and lore in your own personal crusade against the unknown.
Hunter: Deadly Prey is a horror strategy game for 3-5 players. One assumes the role of the monster, protecting its unnatural existence. The rest are hunters who seek to defeat the creature. But the supernatural is not the only threat that hunters face. Their own goals clash, making them just as dangerous to each other.
A Deadly Game
White Wolf Publishing‘s newest board game is based on the also relatively new Hunter: the Vigil RPG. Designed by Ken Cliffe, Hunter: Deadly Prey is a lot of game in a small box (and only $24.99). The full color rulebook breakdowns the contents in detail:
– 12 monsters to choose from to defy hunters
– 100 City Cards, monstrous secrets waiting to be uncovered
– 75 Arsenal and Influence Cards, the dirty tricks that hunters and the monster play
– 25 Hardship Cards, the penalties hunters pay for becoming obsessed with the unknown
Set-up and Turn Sequence seem pretty easy to follow, allowing the players to get into the action quickly. We’re impressed by the quality of the components. Everything is easy to read, yet still has some great artwork from some very talented folks. The cards are study and seem like they will hold up well over time and there is enough of everything to keep the game interesting.
Vampire: Prince of the City
Vampire: Prince of the City is a game of strategy and diplomacy of moderate complexity for 3 to 5 players set in the world of Vampire: The Requiem.
High-quality components include five plastic miniatures, 100 full-color play cards, a full color board, five clan record cards, influence tokens, dice and an attractive box. This medium-complexity game requires no previous knowledge of Vampire and the subject matter has been kept appropriate for family play.
Do you have what it takes to rule the night?
This game is based on the Vampire: the Requiem RPG and it specifically has strong ties to the Damnation City supplement. There is a small sidebar on page 243 of the book describing how Prince of the City inspired the Primacy system and almost all of the Districts from the board game are featured in the book in some fashion.
Like the previous game, there is a lot of cool stuff in the box for this game. There is a detailed breakdown of the components with photos at the White Wolf website that is well worth checking out. You can also download the rulebook there for free.
Each character card (representing one of the Clans) has the detailed stats for the Clan. In addition, each card also has a handy breakdown of the game rules. Which is great because you don’t have to break out the rulebook if you have a question. There are a lot of small tokens in this game and while we see the plastic container for them in the box, we’re not looking forward to sorting them all out again next time we play. This is a problem for a lot of board games, not just this one.
Long Live the King
In the role of an ailing king, the gamemaster plays an actual role while up to seven other major players, including a young queen, a haughty archbishop and a wily ambassador, vie to place themselves in a position to rule the kingdom when the king finally keels over. Dozens of minor roles allow the game to be as large and elaborate as you desire. Or just keep it small… and cut-throat.
The King is dead…Finally!
Not really a board game or a card game, Long Live the King is more of a live-action card game. The Character Portfolios are made of heavy cardstock and contain all kinds of useful information (Dealing with Others for example). You can check out the components in detail online and download the rulebook as well.
We’re hoping to run this at a couple of upcoming conventions here in Wisconsin soon. We’ve had some good discussions about the game at the RPGnet LARP forum and we’re sure more will follow once we’ve run it a few times.
You wake up to the sound of your cell buzzing in its network cradle. Out slips a little square of heat-printed fax paper with the name and address of a dead person. Murder is your business. You are a jovan, a freelance detective in an overcrowded megacity.
Murder City is a strategy game for 2 to 5 players. You assume the role of a futuristic investigator, from hard-boiled detective to alien sleuth to company man. Your goal is to track down killers and prosecute them. The player to survive “the life” best and earn the most credits is the winner, the foremost jovan in the city.
A Job to Die For
Murder City is an intriguing card game that seems to be heavily inspired by the movie Blade Runner. It has a lot of very cool looking sci-fi elements and each player gets a fold-out character card detailing the investigator they are going to play throughout the game.
There are a lot of cards in this game. The Murder and Hardship cards are full size, the rest of the cards (Legwork, Eye Witness, etc) are half-size. They have a lot of cool bits of art, detailed text and generally support the gritty sci-fi mood of the overall game. While the artwork does enhance the overall feel of the game, it is pretty standard for what you would expect from a product within the World of Darkness line-up. However, since this game is not inspired by the World of Darkness, it would have been nice to see White Wolf experiment more with the look and feel of their non-signature games into new artistic territory.
Mwahahaha! is a card game of mad scientists and global domination for 2 to 5 players. You assume the role of an evil genius who builds a criminal empire and constructs a doomsday device with which to cow a trembling humanity. But you’re not the only one with grand machinations. Other players rival you for absolute mastery. He who completes his device first and collects the highest ransom is declared the winner — and ruler of the world!
“World Domination Shall Be Mine!”
This game is a bit more lighthearted than the rest and yet, looks like a lot of fun. Mad Scientists, doomsday devices and other bits of mayhem are all included. Working against each other with Minions and Empire cards each player attempts to take over the world in their own way.
We weren’t thrilled with a new version of “Hitler” included in the game, but none of the Mad Scientists are exactly “politically correct” either. Many of them are simplistic and exaggerated for laughs. Play seems easy enough, with plenty of variety (20 different Doomsday devices) to keep things interesting next time you try to take over the world. This is the sort of game we’d expect to play when we want a night of exaggerated, silly fun.
More to come…
As I mentioned earlier, these are merely first impressions of these games and we will make every effort to get more detailed reviews of each of them once we have had the chance to play them. If you are a fan of these games, let us know what you think. You can also drop by the Board Game Forum on White Wolf’s website to touch base with other fans and talk shop a bit.
If you are looking to pick up any of these board games, the good news is that they are available in a variety of places. You can order directly from the White Wolf Catalog or order them through Funagain Games and Noble Knight. These science fiction and horror board games are also available through your local gaming or bookstore, too!