Shiniest New Toys

During the run up to the holidays, every company known to man was busy shouting their wares at the top of their marketing budgets. Now that you’ve all had a chance to open your presents, I’m here to ask you a question: what was the best gaming present you had this year?

Now I’m not fishing for complements – you don’t need to say that it was Deadzone or anything else I wrote. In fact, that’s not going to help at all. 

What I’m really curious about is what I’ve missed; what really cool stuff got drowned out by louder voices and bigger budgets? I’m sure that I’ve missed some hidden gems, and I’m here to see whether you’ve found them and what they might be.  

So, my fellow gamers, any top tips?

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21 Responses to Shiniest New Toys

  1. Hendybadger says:

    While I did get a big box of Deadzone, I was also very happy with a selection of Star Trek Attack Wing ships and some money towards the Pulp City Kickstarter next month.

    If you like space ships , Star Trek, comics or superheroes then these 2 games are well worth checking out.

  2. Compel says:

    Its got to be the Dropzone Commander starter set (I got my Deadzone during the open day).

    I suppose one of the most convenient things it has is the ‘everything you need to know’ nature of the starter. It hands you all the scenery needed for the game scenario provided, how to lay it out and a step by step guide to pretty much get you going as a quickstart. Plus both players get an ‘everything you need to know about your faction in 2 sides of A4’ which helps loads.

    Deadzone gives you all the things needed as well, of course. Which is really awesome, however a lot of the game is dependent on your own initiative in working things out be it going online to print out the stats summary sheets, or checking the kickstarter updates for how to stick your enforcers and gen 2s together, Drop zone just had this extra level of nonthinkingness needed, which is a good thing on a busy day.

    Perhaps it might be a good idea to make the ‘training day’ scenario available in the February box set as a black and white prihtout , plus maybe an almost full rules ‘scenario’ with sample complimentary strike teams. Even if it is a ‘pick from these 3 out of the 8 missions’ using this strike team and this example terrain setup you get in the box set…’ Type of thing.

  3. Nicho says:

    Besides Deadzone, I got an HD Camcorder so I can start making battle reports for Deadzone and other games and get them up on YouTube. There’s a real lack of vids showing how awesome it is 🙂

  4. Jonathan Radwell says:

    This year I got two diffent gaming presents
    £250 worth of hordes minis (circle of oubros)
    And dread ball dalux game with two mpvs
    Over all I say I’m very pleased with what I was given

  5. Mark Thompson says:

    Gulo Gulo… The kid LOVES it. It was a pain in my #*$ and my pocketbook to find, but worth the purchase. Great family game where kids have a distinct advantage!

  6. Douglas says:

    There’s been a great new sci-fi dungeon crawler called Level 7: Omega Protocol released in September. I just ordered it so haven’t played it yet, but it’s being universally praised.

    There’s also been a new fantasy dungeon-crawler that’s quietly slipped in to the market and largely gone unnoticed, or when it has it has been panned, both — in my view — undeservedly. It is an Italian-made game called Dungeon Venture, a tribute game to The classic HeroQuest. It plays virtually the same with a few modified rules and has cardboard standees instead of miniatures. I have played one game so far and LOVE it. I am in the process of replacing the standees with plastic miniatures from Reaper’s Bones series. Great for reviving nostalgia, but if you’re looking for something more advanced like Descent, move on.

  7. lines42Lines says:

    Well, this was more my Essen gift than my christmas gift. But, Jake, if haven’t already you should definately get a copy of Level 7: Omega Protokoll! It’s awesome!

  8. tornquistd says:

    I picked up Ticket to Ride to play with the family over the holidays. I found the mechanics of the game thought provoking as it combines simple rules with a fair number of choices during play however it seems results can be largely random. But random is good for a family game and the family seems to like playing it.

  9. Austin Capewell says:

    One of my favourites this year has to be Zombicide. I love the cooperative aspect of the game and it makes a nice change seeing a group of guys around one table having a laugh and playing together as oppose to being spread out around the club playing different systems. It’s also a wonderfully simple game to learn and the support for the game online is tremendous with free downloadable map editors to create your own custom missions as well as a plethora of missions available online which are all free to download.

    I was given season 2 and the expansion yesterday and we’re already eagerly awaiting huge games with multiple game were connected together to create zombie mayhem!

    If you haven’t tried it yet I highly recommend it!

  10. The Achtung! Cthulhu Investigator’s and Keeper’s guides made an appearance just before Christmas, and they are absolutely lovely. The background information is very accessible and the production values are great.

  11. Paul Turner says:

    Deadzone arrived just before Christmas and is amazing….as a miniature war gamer primarily I am surprised to say my other favourites are the Toxic Mall Zombiecide expansion and the absolutely brilliant Firefly board game…four of us had an absolute ball playing this … My best Xmas present to myself !

  12. Brian S says:

    Deadzone is up there, but my most remarkable toy from Santa was the insane and amazing
    OGRE designer’s edition. It has to be seen in person to be believed.

  13. Angus says:

    In terms of gaming gifts… the only game I was bought by someone else as a gift was DreadBall. If however, you are asking what game have I got the most out of this year I’d have to go with FFGs X-Wing. Its been a lot of fun and hasn’t had so many releases that you cannot keep up with it.

  14. Kyle Hotchkiss says:

    A squad of khaliman warriors from alkemy along with some… pantharen from 100 armies (or some such from to make a neat warband fir Songs of Blades and Heroes. If you’ve never heard of it I recommend checking it out for a real quick and easy fantasy skirmish game. It’s great for all those dnd or reaper bones minis people have a tendency to have lying around unused.

  15. Ben says:

    I’ve played a lot of games for the first time in 2013. There have been some very good ones amongst them but I’m not sure I’d classify any as a hidden gem. Twilight Struggle is neither a new game nor particularly obscure but I’d give it my vote. Obviously I’m omitting both God of Battles and Deadzone from consideration.

    My least favourite gaming gift this holiday season has been the standard of writing in some of the rulebooks I’ve read. It’s an issue that plagues the hobby to begin with, but two rulebooks in particular have been especially egregious offenders. One is for a game mentioned already on this thread. It reads like it’s been fed into a random-adjective generator (as well as informing the reader that the game can be played on a 4’x4′ rectangle). The second is for an oriental-themed skirmish game and is a crime against grammar. If a game’s creators weren’t talented enough at sculpting, painting, or rules-writing, then they’d outsource it to someone who is. Prose writing shouldn’t be any different.

  16. pepperpunk says:

    I’d have to say Sedition Wars. (I buy myself gaming xmas presents, its for the best!) Picked up a couple of boxes in a firesale and am very pleasantly surprised at how nice everything is and how the series of scenarios eases you into the game.

    I found Deadzone a bit tricky to get started with. There isn’t really any kind of intro scenario with stripped-down rules, just a rulebook which is a lot to take in and read all at once. Nexus Psi campaign with intro scenarios would have been better off included in the starter box, similar to how space hulk has a missions book.
    Additionally, it takes a bit of work on the model side of things, the restic minis come in a million tiny pieces but they’re not posable so you don’t get any benefit from the multi-partness. And the connectors don’t go together all that well unless you set the pliers on them. Some sort of quick reference sheet included for short and long actions would also have been really, really useful.

    I know a lot of this is online as .pdf files, but it would have been better off as an extra in the retail box. Perhaps future print runs could include a mini-booklet of quickstart scenario, reference sheet and a mini-campaign?

  17. ST:Attack Wing was the unexpected gift I gave myself this year. Initially, I had no intention of playing the game and only bought the model of the Enterprise to display on my shelf. When I opened the case I smiled and laughed out loud that I could use the Corbomite manuever or the Cochrane deceleration and the entire crew of the original star trek show in a game. That and a great organized play program and an equally great community of players is what has kept me involved in the game for the past 4 mos. It essentially comes down to playing out all the “what if” scenarios of ST on the table and the OP is based on episodes of ST and it’s attached shows (DS9, Voyager etc.) so it’s lotsa fun. I think that the campaign and prizes is what maintains interest and fun and even if you don’t win, the participation prizes are worth it. I haven’t tried DZ (I don’t like to pledge to KS- I have a thing about spending cash on something promised and not yet made) but I would like to see an extended campaign supported by Mantic to get interest in the game. Mantic is competing with Infinity that has books and a support system for players so it would be wise for mantic to match Corvus Belli at least on this level.

    BTW Happy holidays and thanks for replying to my and everyone else’s questions! We really do appreciate it. And if I have a request for the coming year it would be success for DZ and personally, for you to make a DZ army of ancient space warriors like the Egyptian aliens in Stargate, Kirby’s Eternals/Celestials/Inhumans or even Thor’s Asgardians or Thor 2s dark elves. I just really like the juxtaposition of hi-tech weaponry and technology integrated in the design of
    ancient civilizations. Hey, all I can do is ask, right? 😉

    • nathan payne says:

      No gems just a couple of bolt action tanks for the awesome game from warlord. A very easy game to play and learn with a really good rule book thats set out very well. Got my copy of dead zone… love the game play but must say if it had not been for the game with you jake then i would find it tricky to learn from the rule book.. deffo need to read it a few times to get to grips with it. Some more Napoleonic stuff and 15mm minis for the sci fi gem Gruntz. 🙂

  18. James 'Maz' Marsden says:

    Star wars x-wing!

    Its pretty damned awesome

  19. Tierling says:

    The best game-thingis this year were:
    1. Of Gods and Mortals (I am a big Song of … Fan.)
    2. God of Battles (Very interesting rules-ideas (especially the moving-rulkes!))

  20. Dom Pastore says:

    There’s a lot of mini- and wargaming stuff on this list…for me I’d have to say Terry Pratchett’s The Witches boardgame is a whole heap of fun, which my wife was given for Christmas, and if you like Deckbuilding games High Command is pretty fun and unique.

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