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Episode 95: La Granja, A Study in Emerald and Creating Engaging Characters in RPGs

Scheduling issues be damned! WE’RE BACK IN BUSINESS, BABY! Today we take a look at a fantastic farming euro, La Granja and look back at Martin Wallace’s masterpiece, A Study in Emerald. Then Tony T does his typical bang-up job giving the the best in gaming news while we interrupt the whole time. Finally we reboot the RPG discussion segment with our Character Creation Series #1: Creating an Engaging Character.

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The Games We Played

  • The Village Crone
  • Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn
  • Legendary Encounters: Alien
  • Rex: Final Days of an Empire
  • Firefly Shiny Dice
  • Empires of the Void
  • New York 1901
  • Camel Up

La Granja

In La Granja, players control small farms by the Alpich pond near the village of Esporles on the island of Mallorca. Over time, the players develop their farms and deliver goods to the village. Players are vying to earn the title of "La Granja" for their country estate! Over the course of 6 game rounds, players will expand their farm by adding fields, farm extensions, market barrows, and helpers. They will earn VPs by delivering goods to the village of Esporles. It is important to observe the actions of other players, manipulate turn order, and adjust your strategy based on the dice and cards. La Granja is a fascinating game that requires careful planning. Timing and speed is crucial. However, successful players must cope with the uncertainty of events during the game. The player who has earned the most victory points at the end of the game is the winner and new owner of the La Granja estate!

A Study in Emerald

A Study in Emerald is a game for two to five players based on the award-winning short story of the same name by Neil Gaiman. In this stylistic mash-up of Sherlock Holmes and H.P. Lovecraft, the worst has already happened and the world is now ruled by the Old Ones. However, a secret war is being fought to free mankind from their servitude. The game A Study in Emerald fleshes out this core idea by including historical figures from the late nineteenth century, most being persons involved in the anarchist movement of the time. Deck-building forms the core of the game. You use influence cubes to bid for the right to draft cards and take control of cities. Each player has a secret identity, either a Restorationist fighting against the creatures or a Loyalist attempting to defend the status quo. Which side you are on determines what you score points for. An additional twist is that the performance of other players on the same side as you can stop you from winning if they are doing particularly badly, so you really want to know who is on which side. More specifically, when the game ends – and this can result from multiple causes, such as a marker on the War or Revolution track hitting 15 or the assassination of a Restorationist player agent – then the sides compare their scores; which side has the lowest score automatically loses, then the player with the highest score on the remaining team wins the game. The game takes around ninety minutes to play and is more complex than most, so more suitable for the experienced gamer.

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