Hello, and welcome to a new regular feature on Dicebreaker!
There are a lot of tabletop games released every month, and only so much time to write about them. That means we often only cover a fraction of the games we’re playing, looking forward to and thinking about.
So, in an effort to share a bit more about the things we’ve excited about, we’ll be sharing some quick thoughts on those games each Friday - starting with a delve into mouse adventures, blocky spaceship dogfights, heated motor racing and digital dungeon-crawling this week!
We also love hearing about the games that you’ve been enjoying and can’t wait to get on your table, especially those we might have flown under our radar or missed completely. (Again: there’s a lot of games out there!)
Let us know in the comments what you’ve been playing recently!
What We’ve Been Playing - January 20th 2023
Snap Ships Tactics
Alright, I’ll admit: I actually played this a little while ago at PAX Unplugged. But the only thing I’ve tried to play this week is the Frostpunk board game, which defeated me after an hour with its 17 - seventeen! - pages of setup before I could even get to learning the game. Next week, maybe.
Anyway, Snap Ships Tactics is absolutely brilliant and I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Its mixture of build-it-yourself Lego-like spaceships and quick, beginner-friendly X-Wing combat sounded great when its Kickstarter launched last year, but having now played it for myself I’m even more sold.
The ships are a lot of fun to build - their multidirectional plastic blocks have the experimentation and ease of Lego, Duplo etc. down pat - and look the part. I’ve only played around with the jet fighter-esque Sabre Interceptor so far, but the hulking cruisers on display at PAX had me itching to dig through a bucket of bricks and play around.
So, the toy bit is a winner. But it’s a surprisingly well-made miniatures game, too. Movement with templates - again, the X-Wing influence is clear - is smooth and energetic, while the management of your ship’s various weapons and systems on your control board throws up some tasty dilemmas (Do I fire my lasers now and risk the heat? What if I’m left with no ability to shield next turn?) without adding a bunch of rules to think about.
I’m a sucker for ship combat games - Wings of Glory, X-Wing, that Battlestar Galactica one that no-one but me remembers - and Snap Ships Tactics looks like it’s backing up its irresistible gimmick with plenty of substance. Count me in.
The Gloomhaven Digital saga continues, as my party attempts to survive a gauntlet of missions featuring seemingly obnoxious enemy after obnoxious enemy. Our experiences in the digital board game have almost always veered towards to the challenging, but recently it felt like the addition of a fourth player had granted us a bit of a reprieve. However, our most recent quests have proven that Gloomhaven Digital was far from done with us.
After having our arses handed to us by a gang of oozes capable of replicating themselves multiple times, we decided to switch to a different mission - this one involving a gaggle of cultists, undead and demons. Since one of our players switched to a different character - the Berserker - we’ve found we’re able to deal out a lot more damage each round. This definitely helped when quickly eliminating cultists before they could summon more Living Bones, as well as cutting through the enormous health pools of the Night and Sun Demons.
Though it was a very close battle - leaving just one of our party members left standing - we thankfully managed to defeat the gauntlet of enemies and claim our latest victory.
Heat: Pedal to the Metal
This game goes so hard. I am 100% not a racing/cars guy which might be why the Rallyman series, whilst enjoyable, never really struck that much of a chord with me. It was too simulation-y, too caught up in the minutiae of tyre softness and downforce.
Heat: Pedal to the Metal understands the visceral core of why we enjoy racing. The excitement of going way too fast around a corner and desperately hanging on to your steering wheel. Pushing your engine way past its limits and spinning out on the final corner as you watch your competitors blitz past you. Also, it has cute little 3D cars!
If there are two things you’ll learn about me on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel it’s that I love Old School Revival games and I love cute things. So it was only a matter of time before I became obsessed with Mausritter. I got a copy of the lovely physical box set over the summer and played through a few games, but more recently I got my friends together for New Year's Eve and a festive rodent game where we had to track down the renowned cheese and pineapple stick from a human party. They also very narrowly avoided having to wear mouse ears to play, but I’ll get them next time.
My partner GM'd and three of us as players created mice. Character creation is incredibly fast and easy. You roll for everything from your stats to what your fur looks like. Rather than any classes or skills to learn your unique background gives you some extra starting equipment which might be a spell stone to wield a little bit of magic or just a quill and some ink. That’s about as complex as it gets for your cute critter.
OSR games are generally more rules-lite; you're not relying on a character sheet to decide what you can and can’t do in a given situation. Instead you come up with your own wacky ideas, using your equipment and knowhow in any way you see fit. There can be combat; on NYE one mouse poked a cat in the eye with their needle sword, so they rolled to see if they could hit and what damage was dealt. Otherwise, dice rarely come up.
So not only does it feel simple to play, you’re in a much simpler world. As a mouse so much more of the environment is a threat, but also an opportunity. A shoe could mean someone is about to stamp on you, or it could be a way to hitch a ride past a hungry looking bird. It’s really fun seeing our world from a different perspective and being tackling the world as a much smaller hero. If anyone is looking to try an OSR game for the first time, you can’t get much better than Mausritter.