Ravenshire at SXSW: Tabletop games
SXSW, or South by South West for those unfamiliar, may be known by many in Texas as being an event about live music, has become a hotbed for creators and fans of all things interactive, innovative, creative, and entertaining. When this festival takes place in Austin, it takes over the city, as thousands come to experience the talks, see the newest offerings from creators of all types, network with like-minded individuals, enjoy the parties, and everything in between. The festival has been split in recent years into three major categories, music, film, and interactive. SXSW Interactive, in the past decade has become known as one of the premier events for those involved in the technology industry. Recently, SXSW Interactive has started to hold other events during the festival to bring more concentrated programming and attendees. I was lucky enough to have attended SXSW Interactive and the SXSW Gaming Expo this year, and wanted to highlight some of my favorite games, talks, and strange/interesting things that I had the chance to experience.
Anyone who is a regular reader of our blog will know of our affinity for independent, and up and coming, table top and video games. There were many games of all sizes, but a certain few stood out to me as being very interesting. These lists of games from the SXSW Gaming Expo is not in any particular order, and are simply previews for some titles that I plan to play and review fully when possible.
Chaos of Cthulhu
This first game has a very fun and interesting mechanic that makes it a great new Lovecraft themed game featuring the random creation of the Old Ones. Each player receives two sets of dice, the first are rolled to summon the player’s particular monster. While each person has a different set of extra large Elder Dice, the sides of each die have various arms, body, legs, and insuring that no one will be using the same monster twice. A second set of dice are rolled to attack other player’s monsters, and offering tokens can be used to give your monster an edge. The beautiful artwork is combined with some unique gameplay mechanics, which makes this a fast and fun game to play with friends. If you are interested in Cthulhu, Lovecraft, or pop horror themed games this is one to take a look at and support their Kickstarter today!
When I walked by this booth, I saw a little promo sign that simply described this game as, “Uno on steroids,” and that sold me to sit down to give it a try. The game has a familiar premise; you are trying to get rid of the cards in your hand before your opponents, by matching colors or fighters, instead of numbers. If a player cannot play a card from their hand, they draw from the deck until they can play. There are two additional gameplay differences, which makes this game more interesting than the game that may have provided some inspiration. The first of these tweaks is that each fighter has a rival fighter pictured in the top right corner of the card that can be played on top of the fighter currently being played. The second is that each fighter has an ability listed on their card, and if a player plays another fighter of the same type they get to activate the power. These two twists make the game very interesting and fun. Also, the creator has plans for expanding the content of the game by releasing new sets of fighters that will allow any group to customize their Rumble experience. This game has great potential, and could become very popular, so make sure you test out your strategies early.
Another card game I had the opportunity to play for the first time at SXSW, has actually been around for a bit and is brought to you by Skybound, is Superfight: A game of absurd arguments. This is a fantastic game that has more to do with the player’s creativity and ability to argue in the weirdest way possible. Each person draws a set of white cards and black cards, then the two people that are set to fight first play their white card, or monster/person/creature/what-have-you, and you must argue for why your thing would win in a fight against your opponent’s thing. Then the black cards each person plays are the abilities/effects/situations your thing has or uses. For instance, I had a giant squid that could fly with a hostage, and my opponent had Thor that was blind with a light-saber. The argument between who would win was a fun, and very strange one.
To make the game more interesting, several add on decks were used to provide a location, scenario, and really geeky twists. It was also very interesting to see the green deck, which adds kid friendly cards to the mix, and the red deck which adds offensive cards to the game that are so over the top that viewer discretion is advised. The red deck is so over the top offensive, that to see a sample of it at the SXSW booth, a person had to ask. Out of curiosity, I did ask to see and found it sick, twisted, and hilarious. I then promptly purchased the core game with the red deck. If you are looking for a fun and family friendly game I would highly recommend the core game with the green deck to start. This game is without a doubt perfect for those who have a great imagination and enjoy the “who would win in a battle between…” arguments.