Game Review: Evernight

by Chris Tompkins

 

For all those folks still ducking the online-gaming phenomenon, VR1 Entertainment’s Evernight may be your entry drug. Evernight combines plenty of interesting human interactions with the leisurely chess-like pleasures of a solid turn-based fantasy-strategy game.

Evernight simply uses your internet browser as an interface. The game consists of maps, statistics tables, and email communications—all presented in a series of dynamically-generated web pages (interspersed with some high-quality graphic images).

You set your own pace for the game; taking as much (or as little) time as you need to manage your empire, study the maps, ponder the importance of emails, and to execute each phase of your strategy. When you are finished, click on “Done” and go about your business. Later on (usually in the wee hours of the morning), the system analyzes the maps and statistics, and the game advances by another “tick.”

Typically, each game begins with a land-grab rush, in which players deploy their non-magical units (called “Lessers”) to grab up as many provinces as they can reach. Different types of terrain confer varying amounts of treasure for every turn that you occupy them. Powerful supernatural entities (“Forms”) and lots of wacky spells are available in exchange for “Fury” points that you earn with your victories. You can also invest in fortresses and temples.

If Evernight was just another expand-and-upgrade contest, it would be pretty thin gruel; but after a few ticks the multi-player interaction kicks in. When you are fighting over a huge map with fifty or more competing players the possibilities heat up fast for deal-making, resource-swapping, alliances, double- and triple-crosses, and some really fine misdirection and duplicity.

Beginners can play a free game to see how they like it; registered users pay only five dollars a month, and can play up to eight games simultaneously (about as many as anyone could handle). I urge you to give it a try at http://evernight.vr1.com. After only three days of play, you’ll be hooked, even (or especially) if you’ve been skeptical about online games before now.

 

Evernight

A sample map from VR1 Entertainment’s Evernight.

 

Game Review: When Good Villagers Go Bad

villagers

Honey, company’s coming. Better put the tar on to boil!

by Chris Tompkins

 

Anyone who has ever played one of the classic-style role-playing games has been through the standard prototypical small village. You know the scenario… Adventurers casually stroll into a small idyllic village and do as they wish, while the villagers sit back and do little more than offer the occasionally useful rumor. In the miniatures microgame, When Good Villagers Go Bad (Inner City Games Designs), the happy-go-lucky villagers are not gonna take it any longer!

At the beginning of the game, players choose sides to play either the villagers or the adventurers. The goal of the game for the villagers is to convince the adventurers that their attitudes and actions are not appreciated in this town—the townspeople have the ever-popular tar-and-feathers option to fall back on if the adventurers happen to be particularly stubborn. On the flip-side, the goal of the adventurers is to teach the villagers a lesson in hospitality by cruelly murdering them, looting their homes, and burning the peaceful little village to the ground. The adventurers are—of course—much stronger, but the villagers have them outnumbered by six to one, so the game isn’t weighted to any one side.

As the adventurers proceed with their looting, burning, and killing they must constantly be aware of line-of-sight for all of the villagers. Every time that a villager witnesses a crime against anyone or anything in the village there is a chance that the town will collectively become increasingly angrier. The worse the crime, the greater the chance. And as the villagers get more and more irate, their stats increase until the adventurers find themselves facing an angry mob.

The game is played using Victory Points to determine the winner. Villagers earn points by removing Courage Points from the adventurers; scoring the big points by running the adventurers out of town. Adventurers earn their Victory Points simply by killing, burning, and looting their way through town. The game ends when the last adventurer has been run out of town or when the village is burned to the ground.

If this strikes your funny bone in a particularly sick and twisted way then go to www.fuzzyheroes.com. For other good beer-and-pretzel laugh-riots, check out My First LARP, (your name here) of the Jungle, and Who’s Your Daddy? the game of paternity battles.