Asmodee On Tabletop
A Fifth Asmodee Game to Be On Tabletop Soon!
Over the past few years, the Geek & Sundry show Tabletop has let us see some of our favorite celebrities playing our favorite games, and introduced us to a lot of new board games to enrich our collections. Even better, Tabletop has brought new gamers to tabletop gaming by showcasing entry-level games and emphasizing the experience of connecting with other people around the table. So far, the show has featured four games from our current Asmodee catalogue, not to mention some by Days of Wonder and Queen Games. All four are approachable and entertaining for players of all ages and experience levels. You may already be familiar with one or two of these games, but chances are you haven’t yet played them all!
High Octane Dice
You’ve probably heard the saying that it’s not the end goal that matters, but the journey along the way. That holds true even in the high-octane, high-risk world of Grand Prix car racing, and especially in the game of Formula D. In this fast-paced board game, you take on the role of a race car driver burning rubber in one of the world’s most illustrious competitions on one of the world’s most dangerous speedways. Your goal is to reach the finish line first—if you reach it at all. Your speed depends on which gear in which you’re driving and how well you roll the die for that gear. Simply going fast won’t get you victory, though; you’ll have to slow down for corners, navigate collisions without taking damage, and make some tough decisions about when to stick with the pack, speed ahead, or hang behind.
However, as you witness in the Tabletop episode, Formula D is richest when you look beyond winning and really get into your character. Are you the fearless Diane Montfort, determined to go first no matter what lies ahead? Or are you Stanley Washington, ready to toss his radio out the window if it plays the wrong tune? Or perhaps you're Jack Owens, always in control, even when he seems to be spinning out? Every driver in Formula D has his or her own strengths and flaws, every course has its own challenges, and every race tells its own unique story.
Featured on Tabletop's first season, the visionary Dixit told myriad stories with its vivid and imaginative dream cards. In this classic game of beautiful images and individual invention, one person, the narrator for that turn, plays a card face-down and says a phrase or sentence that can be everything from a quote, name, line from a song, or very short story. Then, the others play the face-down card from their hand that they think best matches the narrator's thought. Once all the cards are out, everyone tries to guess which card the narrator originally played. You earn points both for guessing correctly and for having other players guess your card, so a key part of the game is finding the knowledge that you share with others at the table.
In the Tabletop episode of Dixit, the shared knowledge of those at the table included Homer's Odyssey, Hook, Peter Pan, a quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and an Elton John song. In your games of Dixit, you might discover that you share your grandmother’s favorite musicians or your colleague’s favorite 80's movies. You may even unearth memories that hadn’t come to mind for years! The game is excellent to play among old friends and wonderful way to get to know some new ones. Its possibilities are limited only by the imaginations of those at the table!
A Comedic Twist
Wil Wheaton has called Concept “...the most innovative, unique, and fun twist on charades I have ever played.” In this party game, you must silently convey an idea, concept, celebrity, catchphrase, or title to the other players. But instead of using the human body and hand signals, you use a board depicting a hundred different symbols along with a handful of plastic cubes and exclamation points. A deck of cards offers you suggestions for concepts to convey, from Beyoncé, to polar bears, to the Black Death, to Mao Tze-Tung. You can also abandon that deck and simply go with whatever concept you think will entertain the other the players—maybe a coworker's name, a trending Twitter hashtag, or a popular meme.
Like Dixit, Concept is fundamentally about enjoying a unique form of communication. You can play it formally for points, competing as individuals or teams, or invent your own variants. You could even casually leave the board out on the table for others to guess at through the day. On Tabletop, they played a collaborative “Friendship” variant, vying only against the system and a terrifying “shame meter” that judged how well each player was conveying a concept, and how ashamed he was of others’ inability to quickly grasp the intended meaning.
The Pirates’ Strife
Freedom, rulebreaking, open seas, ridiculous accents, stolen loot, monkeys… there’s so much that’s appealing about being a pirate. In Paolo Mori’s Libertalia, you get to experience it all through a card game of simultaneous placement and brutal betrayals. Libertalia puts you in charge of a pirate ship and an ever-changing crew over the course of three campaigns. You’ll want to amass more booty and doubloons that the other pirate ships by the end, but you’ll need to constantly outsmart your opponents to pull that off. Not only are they trying to get the same loot that you’re after, but they’re willing and able to make your crew members walk the plank in order to do it.
The Libertalia episode of Tabletop features not only Wil Wheaton, but Karen Gillan (Doctor Who), Seth Green (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Seth’s wife Clare Grant (Walk the Line). The rivalries that develop between them during the game show how Libertalia evolves through its course: it goes from being a simple hand management game to a fierce bluffing game over just a few rounds. The episode also demonstrates how tabletop gaming can bring couples together through the joy of intense, cathartic competition. And in truth, pirate accents may also help!
Coming Soon: Celebrity Mediums
The game they’ve chosen to feature in the fourth season of Tabletop is already one of the most popular releases of 2015 worldwide. Time and time again, it has brought hardcore gamers and more casual players together to solve the murder mystery that darkens the halls of Warwick Manor. It’s an asymmetrical, cooperative game, in which one player takes on the role of a silent ghost trying to communicate with the other players, who must work together to discover the ghost's killer. It combines the visual aspect of Dixit with the silent, suspenseful communication of Concept.
You've probably guessed it or heard about it by now. Next season you’ll be able to watch Wil Wheaton and a few celebrity guests play Libellud’s beautifully illustrated, spooky deduction game Mysterium. We’re so proud that it has been chosen, and we can’t wait to see how the episode turns out!
Formula D, Dixit, Concept, Libertalia, and Mysterium are all currently avaiable at local retailers throughout the United States and Canada. Season Four of Tabletop is currently in production and will appear on Geek & Sundry soon!