Halfling Recommendation: Savage Worlds Roleplaying Game

A Great Game in Such a Small Package

A Great Game in Such a Small Package

Back in 1980, Chaosium published Basic RolePlaying (BRP), the first “generic” role-playing game. Six years later, Steve Jackson Games released the Generic Universal Role-Playing System (GURPS), which would popularize the idea of having a single system designed to be independent of setting and genre, allowing players to have “one game to rule them all”. Since then, several other generic systems have made their way onto the market: Grey Ghost Press’ FUDGE, Eden Studios’ Unisystem, and the subject of today’s recommendation, Pinnacle Entertainment Group’s Savage Worlds.

Savage Worlds is a role-playing game designed by Shane Lacy Hensley and loosely based upon the system used in his previous western game, Deadlands. Savage Worlds, like other generic games, is designed to be used with a myriad of different settings and genres. However, the game also emphasizes speed of play and reduced preparation over realism and simulationist play. Savage World‘s tagline is “Fast! Furious! Fun!” and I believe it delivers on that promise in droves.

Unlike 13th Age or Dungeons & Dragons, Savage Worlds doesn’t use a class-based system. Instead, players build their characters from the ground up by spending several points to generate their traits and skills. Because characters aren’t limited to belonging to a constructed archetype or class, players can what they want and make sure the final version of the character remains true to the original vision they had within their head.

Savage Worlds also utilizes several different sizes of dice instead of the numerical scores most other games use. This means your character has a d8 in their Strength trait instead of a 14 and a d10. This might seem like a minor, slightly weird change, but I feel like it’s the main reason why Savage Worlds is fast, furious, and fun.

When someone attempts to do something within the game, they will roll the die associated with the appropriate trait or skill and an additional d6 called a “wild die”. The player keeps the die with the higher result and if that result is equal to or higher than a 4, they succeed at the task. That basic resolution system represents a majority of the game’s mechanics, keeping things simple and to the point.

Because the game utilizes that basic idea for the majority of its mechanics, the Game Master has more freedom at the table, not worrying if they’re forgetting a minor rule that’s hidden somewhere within a massive rulebook. Instead, this task resolution system allows the GM to simply have the players roll a dice and see where it falls, keeping the game going and moving at a brisk pace. While combat changes this somewhat, but the fact that the dice explode if they land on their maximum result and allow you to roll them again, adding all the results together keep the changes introduced within that corner of the rules under control.

Savage Worlds’ system really is lightweight and flexible, making it relatively easy to modifier and twist to work with the specific genre and idea you want to use. Want to run a superhero game set in an alternate, steampunk version of the 1800s? You can do it with Savage Worlds. How about a science fiction game set within a galaxy reminiscent of Flash Gordon and the serials of yesteryear? Savage Worlds is got you covered. What about a horror campaign set in a small college located just outside a small Texas town? That’s a piece of cake with Savage Worlds.

There’s a reason why Savage Worlds is quickly becoming one of the most popular generic role-playing games on the market. It’s fun, flexible, and simple. The fact that the rulebook (Deluxe Edition) packs so much content into a small page count and can be had at a relatively cheap price is just icing on the cake. Get your hands on Savage Worlds today. You won’t regret it.

Summer Fun with Games!

Summer beach writingEnjoying this summer? We have the cure for “Are we there yet?” and “I’m bored”. We have a lot of little fun games that are great for vacation fun, or just summer fun!

3020p_12c_1mWant a few easy games that can just slip in your purse or backpack? Try Cthulhu Dice! It is a fun dice game that everyone can enjoy! Even little kids will have fun with this game! Just roll the dice and see if you lose or gain a token. Whoever has tokens left will win! This is a fun and fast paced game that is sure to keep everyone having fun and is a great way to pass the time. I keep a copy of this game in my purse for when we are waiting for things like doctor’s appointments, at a restaurant and etc.

zombie-dice-bottomAnother great game is Zombie Dice! This dice game comes in it’s own sealed cup and is a lot of fun! Zombie Dice is fun for any zombie fan (or the whole zombie family). The 13 custom dice are your victims. Push your luck to eat their brains, but stop before the shotgun blasts end your turn! This is also a great game while you are waiting for restaurants, appointments and in long car rides as well!

Now for the games to play when you get to your destination!

download (1)We have Tsuro: The Game of the Path! In Tsuro, you place a tile and slide your stone along the path created, but take care. Other players’ paths can lead you in the wrong direction—or off the board entirely! Paths will cross and connect, and the choices you make affect all the journeys across the board. Find your way wisely and be the last player left on the board to win! This is a great game that even young kids can play. Sarah started playing this game at age 3 and is now quite the little champ at age 6, and that’s when she plays adults too!

pic1398895_mdHeading to a family reunion? Then check out Avalon! Avalon is a game where players attempt to deduce one another’s identities. The setting of the game is an imagined battle between Mordred and his evil minions trying to overthrow King Arthur and his knights. This is a great party game that will have you wondering who is good and who is evil!

Need more game ideas? Stop in and we will help you pick out the perfect game!

Halfling Recommendation: DC Comics Deckbuilding Game

71HIvxpYCdLBack in 2008, Rio Grande Games released Donald X. Vaccarino’s Dominion, the game that introduced and popularized the deck-building genre. Vaccarino took the basic idea of constructing a deck out of a pool cards shared among the players and built a rather enjoyable game around it. Because of Dominion’s popularity, numerous other “deck-builders” made their way to store shelves with a myriad of different genres.

Today, we’ll be looking at one specific deck-builder published by Cryptozoic Entertainment: the DC Comics Deck-Builing Game. Designed by Ben Stoll and Matt Hyra, DC Comics Deck-Building is obviously based upon DC Comics’ superhero universe, incorporating their various characters and locations.

Like most deck-builders, each player receives a small deck constructed of ten cards: seven “punches” which you use to purchase better cards and three “weaknesses” that hinder you and take up space within your deck. The rest of the cards belong to a large, main deck which is shuffled and used to create a line-up of five cards. These cards belong to one of several different types: equipment, heroes, locations, super powers, and villains. These cards have their own special abilities that can be used to make your deck better and screw with your opponent.

Every turn, the player draws a hand of five cards from his or her deck, which they will use to purchase cards from the line-up or do anything else. Unlike Dominion, you can do as much as you want as long as you have the cards to do it. At the end of the game, players count up the victory point totals listed upon the cards in their respective decks and the player with the most points wins.

Seems pretty simple and straightforward to me. However, DC Comics Deck-Building adds two cool elements that make the game fun and interesting: Superheroes and Supervillains.

DC Comics Deck-Building includes seven over-sized cards each depicting an iconic member of the Justice League that possesses a special ability the player can use. These cards allow the players something unique to do on their turn, especially when they play certain cards. The Flash allows you to draw an extra card when you play a card that allows you to draw an extra card while Batman grants you additional power when you play an equipment card. The superheroes also do a good job giving players an idea of what cards they probably should be focusing on, cutting down on any analysis paralysis problems that might show up.

The supervillain cards add a cool mix to the game as well. At the beginning of the game, eight supervillain cards are shuffled together and placed into their own stack near the main line-up. The cards are very expensive and whenever one is purchased, the next is revealed and does something bad to every player. You might wonder why you’d ever want to purchase one of these cards, but it’s pretty simple: they are very powerful, worth a huge number of points at the end of the game, and the game ends when this deck is depleted. However, you have to be quick because if the main deck is depleted before this one, the game ends and nobody wins. This gives the game a ticking clock mechanic, causes interesting shenanigans to happen throughout the course of the game, and gives the person who might be a little behind in victory points a way to catch up by just purchasing a couple of these guys.

While Legendary and Sentinels of the Multiverse are much more thematic superhero card games, DC Comics Deck-Building Game is a simple game with straightforward mechanics that are easy to learn, but still offer a good deal of strategy and happen to be incredibly fun to play. If you like superheroes, deck-building games, and simple games that possess strategic layers, give DC Comics Deck-Building Game a try.

Halfling Recommendation: 13th Age

Cover_500px1Published by Pelgrane Press, 13th Age is a d20-based fantasy game designed by Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet (who were once lead designers on different editions of Dungeons & Dragons). I’ve always described 13th Age as what would happen if you told an indie designer who specializes in storygames to design his or her ideal version of Dungeons & Dragons. The game feels both familiar to those of us who’ve been playing fantasy roleplaying games for awhile, but also has numerous new aspects that make it both cool and intriguing.

Like Dungeons & Dragons, 13th Age utilizes a class-based system. Players create their characters by selecting one of a myriad of races (such as dwarf, human, or elf) and one of several classes (such as fighter, rogue, or wizard). These two things help define the character’s initial talents and abilities, such as their skill in combat or the ability to cast powerful spells. Anyone familiar with D&D will recognize this idea and be able to understand it.

However, 13th Age also introduces a few cool ideas that melds beautiful with the more familiar elements, creating something more interesting and unique. Instead of a list of prescribed skills, 13th Age uses freeform backgrounds that represent the character’s history in broad terms and can be used to modifier ability checks associated with them. Characters also have a One Unique Thing that helps them stand out in the world. These are also created by the players and can be just about anything, such as I Have a Clockwork Heart Made by the Dwarves or I Hear Voices in my Head. Sometimes, Those Voices Tell me True Things. These elements have no mechanical benefit, but help separate your character from other individuals in the world and give both the player and Game Master something to play around with.

Characters also have relationships with several powerful entities known as “Icons”. These beings rule or shape the world of the game, some wielding power that rivals that of the gods. These relationships can be positive or negative, but they give the characters ties to the world and things the Game Master can leverage for or against you at different times within the campaign. They do this by having you roll relationship checks, which are done by rolling a number of six-sided dice based on the strength of your relationship with that iconic. Based on the result of the dice, good or bad things can happen.

Like the character creation process, the actual mechanics of the game feel both familiar and new at the same time. 13Th Age utilizes the basic d20 mechanic, having players roll a d20 when attempting specifically harrowing actions, adding a few bonuses to the result and trying to beat a specific target number to determine success. Almost everything within the game uses this rule, from simple ability checks to combat. Anyone familiar with the most recent editions of Dungeons & Dragons will know how this works and be able to easily grasp it.

However, during combat, 13th Age throws a cool idea into the mix: the escalation die. When the 2nd round of combat begins, the Game Master brings out a d6 and sets it to a result of 1. Players receive a bonus to attack rolls equal to the result showing on the escalation die. Every round, this die’s result advances by one, representing the characters gaining an upper hand against their enemies. This mechanic is incredibly simple, but it adds a lot to the game by making combat move faster and capturing that idea of the players starting off at a disadvantage, but quickly overcoming that and showing their true potential.

13th Age is a game that manages to be two different things at the same time: new and familiar. Those who enjoy Dungeons & Dragons and similar games will find a lot to like in 13th Age, but they’ll also find a great deal of new ideas and cool stuff they’re most likely fall in love with. You’re doing yourself a great disservice if you don’t pick up a copy of 13th Age.

Marvel Civil War is coming…

51Wnu2ignDL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_We now know that the next Captain America movie will be based on the Marvel Comics Civil War series. For comic junkies, like myself, this is AWESOME!!! Both Brad & I collected every issue we could that was wrapped up in the Civil War series and even got our Death of Captain America issue (number 25) signed by Ed Brubaker himself! Needless to say, this nerd is SUPER excited for the upcoming movie!

But what does this mean for our game store? Well, if you haven’t had a chance to check out Margaret Weis’ Civil War Heroic Roleplaying game, now is your chance! This is a fun game that will allow you to take a side: to register or not and fight for it! Some of the pre-generated characters include: Captain America, Iron Man, Mister Fantastic, Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel (before she became Captain Marvel), Wolverine, Deadpool and Doctor Strange to name a few. There are three acts in this adventure series (all within the book), from Road to Civil War to Rocket’s Red Glare.

Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with Civil War, here’s the run down:

The Superhero Registration Act (SHRA, for short) states:

6 U.S.C. S. 558 – Also know as the Superhero Registration Act, or SHRA – proposes that all those with superhuman abilities who are active within the United States of America register with the United States federal government as “living weapons of mass destruction.” This applies to all such cases including those naturally occurring, those endowed with magic (scarlet Witch & Doctor Strange), or those subject to the effects of extreme sciences (Hulk, Captain America and Spider-Man). It even includes gods (Thor) and those using remarkable and unique technology, such as Iron Man. 

(Taken on May 21, 2015 from http://marvel.wikia.com/Superhuman_Registration_Act)

As you can see, this is a pretty weighty subject that tore into friendships, superhero teams and even superhero couples. This is a great setting and I, for one am excited about it!

Make sure to pick up your copy today at Halflings Hideaway Games, your East Texas Game Store for only $45 plus tax and get it before it’s too late! (aka, be the hipster, you know you want to!) Until then, enjoy this awesome fan made trailer for Marvel’s Civil War. (It’s my favorite one out there!)





Halfling Recommendations: The Settlers of Catan

settlers-of-catan-3“Euro Game” is a strange, little term that you’ve probably heard tossed around by many a gamer before, especially when discussing whether these games a sign that a benevolent creator exists and he love us, or are a trick created by some malevolent entity with the sole goal of turning us away from truly great games (usually Twilight Imperium).

We can be an overly dramatic lot sometimes.

Anyway, “Euro Game” is simply a label applied to certain games that tend to share similar qualities. These games tend to have simple rules, an emphasis on strategy with very little to no luck, indirect player interaction, and usually keep all the players in the game until the very end. The reason behind the name is that a majority of these kind of games tend to hail from European countries, with Germany being the most common place of origin. Although these games started hiting the European market in the 1960’s, they remained relatively unknown to those of us living in the United States. However, that all changed in 1995 when a certain game was brought here by a company called Mayfair games that paved the way for euro games in America, leaving a lasting impression on the industry.

This game was called The Settlers of Catan.

Designed by Klaus Teuber, Catan is a resource management game where players assume the roles of settlers attempting to build and develop settlements and cities upon the titular island. Players do this by producing and trading different resources, each hoping to be the dominant settler upon the isle.

The game begins with the players creating the island by combining numerous hex-shaped pieces to create the board which they will play upon. At the beginning of each turn, the active player will roll a pair of six-sided dice in order to see which resources (brick, lumber, wool, grain, or ore) are produced that turn. Afterwords, they may trade resources with other players, build settlements or roads, upgrade one of the settlements they’ve already built to a city, or purchase a development card which might give them something special. These actions will usually reward players a certain number of points, with the 1st player to obtain 10 points being the winner.

Many gamers consider Catan to be our Monopoly. It’s the game that introduced many of us to this interesting world of dice and cardboard. The rules are easy to learn, but leave just enough room for engaging strategies based upon your choice of board placement and interaction with the players around the board. It’s incredibly fun when you’re playing with a group who revels in the opportunity to weal & deal with each other, only to stab their one-time ally in the back become someone else is offering them a better deal.

Honestly, the only thing about Catan I’m not totally keen on is the randomized resource production. While it’s awesome to be able to generate a lot of useful resources on a good die roll, it sucks when you can seem to produce anything a couple of turns in a row. The trading aspect allows you to mitigate this, but it can still be annoying, especially when you’re having some unlucky rolls.

With that being said, The Settlers of Catan deserves its place within the imaginary Board Game Hall of Fame. Not only did it introduce us to the wonderful world of euro games, but it also brought many of us into the fold. It’s a game that you should pick up and add to your collection immediately.

Halflings Hideaway’s First Year

April 1st marked one year for Halflings Hideaway. We couldn’t have done it without all of your help and support!

It has been a fun first year and we strive to make year two even better!



Halfling Recommendation: Ticket to Ride

Imagine, if you will, a specific scenario: you have a friend who you want to introduce to the wonderful world of tabletop gaming. You want to show them why board games are awesome and hopefully draw them into the hobby as well. However, a dilemma rears its ugly head. Which game do I play with them?

You get the urge to pull down Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition, showing them the intricate strategies that board games can offer and the sheer scope they can capture. You’re also sure the eight hours required to play TI3 will just fly by and your friend won’t be bored or overwhelmed by the magnitude of rules presented in that enormous box.

Yep. Not intimidating at all...

Yep. Not intimidating at all…

Hopefully you can see why would be a mistake and would most likely send your friend running to the hill, never looking back at the monster you’ve released upon them. What you should have done is pull out a gateway game.

The term “gateway game” usually refers to a game with rules that are simple enough to be taught in just a few minutes, but possess enough depth and create a decent amount of tension that manages to entertain both new and old players at the same time. This is where Ticket to Ride comes in.

Designed by Alan R. Moon, Ticket to Ride is the epitome of a gateway game. It’s relatively easy to teach and learn, but also possesses a nice level of strategic depth and challenge. The fact that it’s also incredibly fun to play is just the cherry atop this metaphorical sundae.

That's much better.

That’s much better.

Ticket to Ride has each player take on the role of railroad barons in the late 19th century hoping to control numerous train routes spread across North America. Players achieve this by doing one of the following options each turn:

1. Draw two colored cards, either from the array of five face-up cards placed upon the table or from the face-down deck.
2. Play sets of matching cards to collect corresponding routes found upon the board, gaining a number of points based on said routes length.
3. Draw a number of “tickets” which depict specific routes you must complete to gain the listed points on the card. However, you will lose that many points if you don’t complete the ticket.

At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins. Sounds simple enough and its relatively easy to teach due to your options being limited and you only being able to do one each turn. However, there’s depth to what you do and when you do it. Do you spend your first few turns gathering a whole bunch of cards so you can get those longer routes one after another? Do you grab a bunch of smaller routes so you can get some board presence and maybe lace them together later to get more points? Do you grab a bunch of tickets and work on completing those to gain a bunch of bonus points? That’s for you to decide.

Quick Suggestion: Pick up the USA 1910 expansion. It fixes the small card issue.

Quick Suggestion: Pick up the USA 1910 expansion. It fixes the small card issue.

The game is also gorgeous. Days of Wonder is known for making good-looking games, and Ticket to Ride is definitely a good-looking game. The board is sturdy and interesting to look at, with the different colors making everything pop, the trains that each player receives are made from a durable plastic and the mold is expertly done, and the cards’ art is superb. The one major drawback is the size of said cards, which are inexplicably tiny, making them hard to shuffle at times.

I consider Ticket to Ride one of those essential games that every gamer should have in their collection. It’s a great gateway game with a good dose of simple strategy and is very fun to play. I can’t recommend this highly enough. Pick it up as soon as possible.

The Golden Menace – Jund in Fate Reforged

Alright everybody I am going to be the first to tell you I was wrong a couple of weeks ago when I said Jeskai was going to end up being the next Jund. As it turns out, Jeskai is falling off the radar, even with the extremely powerful cards that were printed in Fate Reforged. I also said I was testing a jeskai deck because I felt it would be too powerful and would take over… This has not been the case and I’m going to explain why in a few short sentences.

Upon testing Jeskai tokens in standard and against every deck I could get my hands on for standard, I realized that it was indeed powerful but there was one card it just couldn’t handle in the meta… Siege Rhino. Now I’m positive I’ve mentioned this card before because it was the reason people didn’t win with Jeskai to begin with… this is still quite the case, though not as much because monastery mentor and Soulfire grand master give some reach against the giant beast. However, that reach is marginal when paired with the plethora of removal that any deck with black can run… the other reason I have abandoned ship on Jeskai is because… well honestly it was one card… Flamewake Phoenix!

Now I know what you’re thinking… Really? That card… C’mon there’s got to be better… But just hear me out… this card is by far my favorite card in this set… and the cards ive started playing are built around this card… like… no joke.

The list is as follows

4x Flamewake Phoenix

4x Polis Crusher

3x Tasigur, the golden leaf

2x Reaper of the wilds

2x Elvish Mystic

2x Sylvan Caryatid

4x Satyr Wayfinder

2x Hornet Queen

4x Whip Of Erebos

4x Commune with the gods

3x Murderous Cut

4x Drown in Sorrow

4x Wooded Foothills

3x Bloodstained mire

3x Temple of Abandon

2x Temple of Malice

1x Temple of Malady

1x Llanowar Wastes

2x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

3x Swamp

2x Mountain

2x Forest


This is the list I’m working with right now, and readers… let me tell you… this deck is ridiculously good against pretty much everything in the standard meta right now. I have been building it for a couple weeks now and I’m happy to say there is no net-decking done on this… it is actually all from my head! It is resilient against control, and when you play a Tasigur on turn two… your opponent starts to get very very scared and often times your opponent may just scoop because when they deal with him three turns later… you already have your small army of phoenix that are eating their life total due to all of the digging you do. This deck is good and I just wanted to share this idea with you because I want your input on this as a deck, and as a choice for an upcoming star city games tournament list. So until we next speak this has been a short article by yours truly!.


Halfling Recommendations: The One Ring Roleplaying Game

NEW-TOR-packshotI bet if you were to ask someone who the most influential fantasy writer of the 20th century was, they would most likely say name J.R.R. Tolkien. Without a doubt, modern fantasy media would look very different if The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings trilogy were never written and released. Look hard enough, and you will find Prof. Tolkien’s influences in numerous places, even the realm of roleplaying games.

While many tabletop games have taken inspiration from The Lord of the Rings, there have actually been a handful of games set within Tolkien’s magical world, such as Iron Crown Enterprises Middle-Earth Role Playing (a.k.a., MERP) or Decipher Inc.’s The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game. Recently, Cubicle 7 joined the fray with their very own game, which in my opinion is probably the best one yet.

Designed by Francesco Nepitello, The One Ring Roleplaying Game is set in the region of Rhovanion (a.k.a., Wilderland), 5 years after the Battle of Five Armies. Players can create a variety of different characters, from a Dwarf of the Lonely Mountain to an Elf of Mirkwood or a Hobbit of the Shire. Once created, these characters form a company of adventurers who seek to explore the familiar regions of Wilderland, such as the Lonely Mountain, Mirkwood, Lake Town, Erebor, and Dol Guldur.

During these adventures, the players’ characters will attempt to do certain actions by rolling a twelve-sided die called the “Feat” die and six-sided dice called the “Success” dice. Whenever a character tries to do something important, the player will roll the Feat die and a number of Success dice equal to the score of a particular skill, adding the results together and comparing them to a Target Number assigned to the task by the Game Master (a.k.a, the “Lore Master”). Results that equal or exceed the Target Number means the character succeeds at the task.

Although that basic mechanic sounds familiar and it is, The One Ring presents an interesting take on the average roleplaying game by dividing sessions into two phases, called the “Adventuring Phase” and the “Fellowship Phase”.

The Adventuring Phase depicts the characters traveling into the more rugged areas of Wilderland, exploring exciting locales and having extraordinary quests. This phase is what most players will probably expect from an average roleplaying game session. However, the Fellowship Phase is what makes the game truly interesting. This phase depicts the characters activities when they return to civilization, during their time of rest and relaxation. Characters can do things like develop their relationships with NPCs, perform duties tied to their profession, build a new business or maybe a keep, or something else that would usually happen between sessions of a more traditional roleplaying game like Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder.

The One Ring is the perfect game for the Tolkien-loving roleplayer, especially for those who want something a little different than Dungeons & Dragons and games similar to it. Anyone who’s looking for a well designed game with an interesting setting and cool concepts should check out The One Ring Roleplaying Game.