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Episode 107: Nippon, XCOM and a Short Topic Extravaganza

Hey Now, Cabalists! In today's episode we review a game about industrial conglomerates at the end of feudal Japan, Nippon! Then we look back at XCOM The Board Game one year later. Tony T goes bananas with the best gaming news in podcasting while the peanut gallery throws in their two bits. Finally we present a short topic extravaganza including skirmish miniatures games, games with matching themes, and making the first few levels of your RPG campaign fun.

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  • The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac
  • Oh My Goods
  • Port Royal
  • Runebound
  • Serenissima
  • A Game of Thrones
  • For Sale
  • Frostgrave
  • Steve’s a Big Loser

Nippon

Japan during the Meiji period—a closed, isolated, and feudal country—decides to change into a modern westernized state. The Empire sends emissaries to foreign nations, brings technicians and scholars from the west, builds a network of railroads, and achieves an outstandingly fast industrial revolution. The nation and Emperor count on the support of the Great Four, the big conglomerates that emerge with great power and massive control over the Japanese economy. They are called Zaibatsu, and their influence on the Meiji Emperor and importance on the fate of Japan is incredibly high. Nippon is an Area Majority Game in which players control Zaibatsu and try to develop their web of power by investing in new industries, improving their technological knowledge, shipping goods to foreign countries or using them to satisfy local needs, and growing their influence and power as they oversee the era of rapid industrialization of Japan. The foundations of the big Zaibatsu were the traditional silk workshops, but soon the conglomerates diversified their influence and power, building a complex structure of interconnected companies that made them giant players in the world’s new industrial era. Each player takes the reins of one of these big corporations and tries to develop it in order to grow and achieve power. To win the game, players must carefully choose which types of industry to invest in to get the most influence over the Japanese islands. Every action that is taken helps to forge their own path to new opportunities. Nippon is a fast-paced economic game with challenging decisions, set during an important time in Japanese history, and when a new great nation is born.

XCOM: The Board Game

In XCOM: The Board Game, you and up to three friends assume the roles of the leaders of the elite, international organization known as XCOM. It is your job to defend humanity, quell the rising panic, and turn back the alien invasion. Where the world's militaries have failed to stand against the alien invaders, you must succeed. To do so, you must make strategic use of the resources available to you. You must launch Interceptors to shoot down alien UFOs, assign soldiers to key missions, research alien technology, and use that technology to defend your base — all while trying to keep the world from collapsing just long enough that you can coordinate one final mission to repel the invaders for good. One of the more notable aspects of XCOM: The Board Game is the way that it incorporates a free and innovative digital app into the core of its gameplay. This digital companion will be available both as a downloadable app and as an online tool. The app's primary function is to coordinate the escalating alien invasion, randomly selecting from one of five different invasion plans. Each invasion plan represents a general outline that the alien commanders will use to coordinate the arrival of new UFOs, plan strikes against your base, and respond to your successes or failures as it seeks to conquer Earth. The app manages all of these tasks and heightens the game's tension as it forces you to respond in real-time. Then, after you move quickly to coordinate your response, you engage the enemy in the untimed resolution phase and feed the results to the app. Based upon these results, the app launches the invasion's next strikes. Additionally, the app teaches you the rules, controls the information that your satellites provide you, and tracks the progress of your resistance efforts, even as it allows you to enjoy the game at any of three levels of difficulty: Easy, Normal, or Hard.

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