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67 MIN READ TIME

WHAT WAR IS GOOD FOR

The Spanish team huddle to discuss tactics for fantasy wargame The 9th Age. (ETC)

Wargamers are some of the most competitive gamers around, alongside chess grandmasters, CCG champions and your nan during the annual family Monopoly game on Boxing Day. They tweak their armies and hone their strategies for days on end, removing every weakness and claiming every advantage, striving for victory in the next clash of toy soldiers. Kitchen table battles are hotly contested, and tournaments resound to the noise of dozens of gamers rolling dice and pushing plastic, steam whistling from their ears as their brains overheat.

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About Tabletop Gaming

Cover feature: Starfinder: We have an exclusive chat with creative director James Sutter about the huge sci-fi sequel to massively popular fantasy RPG Pathfinder. Featuring exclusive artwork from the upcoming game. Awe of the Ring: As Middle-earth prepares to turn 80, we speak to influential and renowned creators of board games based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. UK Games Expo 2017: Picture Special: The unmissable sights and games from the UK’s biggest gaming show. Swords, Sex & Sci-fi: Legendary RPG designer and R. Talsorian founder Mike Pondsmith and his son Cody speak exclusively to us about the legacy of revolutionary game Cyberpunk and their upcoming tabletop adaptation of lauded fantasy video game The Witcher. What War Is Good For: Fans and publishers of miniature wargaming titles tell us how battling on the tabletop has fostered a strong sense of community. Playing With Yourself: Creators of single-player-only games tell us why gaming alone can be just as rewarding. How Analogue Gaming Went Digital: We take a close look at the rise of digital apps in the tabletop world. Rediscovering the Disc: In celebration of next year’s 20th anniversary of Discworld, the creators look back on one of the more unique entries in the genre. The Making of: Hunt a Killer, which uses a subscription box-like format to deliver a mystery game to players over the course of several months. Painting guide: We tackle the eighth edition of Warhammer 40,000. Ten of the Best: Word Games (That aren’t Scrabble). Introduction to: Forbidden Island and its sequel, Forbidden Desert – the kid-friendly Pandemic follow-up. Columns: With Bruno Faidutti, Jeff Tidball, Holly Gramazio and Doctors Paul Wake and Sam Illingworth Played: The latest reviews and exclusive interviews including: Starfinder, Sub Terra and Warhammer 40,000.

Other Articles in this Issue


EDITOR’S LETTER
Where did the summer go? We’re already fast approaching
NEED TO KNOW
Kingdomino has scooped this year’s Spiel des Jahres
If you’re looking for a list of the best RPGs of the
That settles it then: games are art. If you want definitive
Magic: The Gathering turns 25 years old next year,
You may not have heard of Larry Harris, but you’ve
It’s been a bumper year for RPGs, so Fantasy Flight
After close to a decade away, Warhammer is coming back
It seems that every month there’s another big movie
COLUMNS
The master-builder of Citadels looks back to his bruising, mid-’80s debut: the crazy, cartoonish biker-gang barroom-brawling simulator Baston
The seasoned roleplaying writer, Horus Heresy designer and Gameplaywright co-founder explains why there’s nowhere he’d rather be than on the Trail of Cthulhu
Holly Gramazio and her team prepare to bring their inventive drawing game Art Deck to Kickstarter, and find it’s not as simple as it seems
10 OF THE BEST
Aren’t words great? After all, without them you wouldn’t
In Paperback players are elevated to the status of
A slightly different spin on the ‘letters as money’
Often called ‘Scrabble without a board’, Bananagrams
An earlier game by Catan creator Klaus Teuber, this
A brain-busting spin on Snap, Anomia hinges on your
Wibbell++ is not just one game; it’s a deck of two-letter
Solving the issue of never having the right letters
The recent Spiel des Jahres winner and party favourite
Following in the wake of Codenames‘ success is Word
Here’s something a little different: a word game that
RPGS
With Star Trek and Lord of the Rings releases hitting the tabletop, plus Warhammer on the way, it’s a summer of RPGs to remember
ALL THE JAHRES
James Wallis replays the winners of the Spiel des Jahres in order
STARFINDER
Fantasy RPG Pathfinder is headed to a new world – actually, dozens of them – with sci-fi sequel Starfinder. Creative director James Sutter shows us around the far reaches of the roleplaying universe
TOLKIEN ON THE TABLETOP
As The Hobbit turns 80, we look back on the tabletop legacy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy tour de force alongside some of the designers and creators who have brought the world of Middle-earth to life
AN INTRODUCTION TO…
Join us as we get stranded on Matt Leacock’s kid-friendly follow-up to Pandemic and explain why you should sink into its simple charms
THE MAKING OF…
Co-creators Ryan Hogan and Derrick Smith join us as we open the case on their ambitious live-action game, which challenges players to solve a murder mystery using clues they receive in the post
R. TALSORIAN
Father-son design team Mike and Cody Pondsmith reveal the future of iconic RPG Cyberpunk and discuss swapping pixels for paper as they bring video game series The Witcher to the tabletop
SOLO GAMING
Designers of single-player-only games tell us why more and more people are choosing to enjoy their tabletop experiences alone
GAMING APPS
The makers of Carcassonne’s mobile version and new integrated app game Rising 5 tell us the right way to mix technology and tabletop gaming
DISCWORLD RPG
Nearly 20 years after it was released, Discworld RPG author Phil Masters tells us about encouraging humour at the table and how you go about adapting a series as beloved as Sir Terry Pratchett’s modern fantasy classic
ACADEMIC COLUMN
Manchester Metropolitan University academics and Games Research Network co-directors Paul Wake and Sam Illingworth reveal why studying board games is anything but boring
UK GAMES EXPO 2017
More than 16,000 players roamed the NEC in June to check out the latest must-see titles headed to the tabletop. Whether you made it to Birmingham or not, here’s your guide to an unmissable weekend , plus some of our favourite games from the show
PLAYED
Wrong as it may be, there’s little more exhilarating
Pathfinder takes to the stars, but is its sci-fi sequel interstellar or lost in space?
Hold your breath as we go beneath the surface of the caving horror
After a barnstorming Kickstarter, Sub Terra is tunnelling onto the tabletop. Designer Tim Pinder and Peter Blenkharn from British publisher Inside the Box Board Games shine a light on the survival horror hit
Cards, spice and everything nice fill this gorgeous Splendor-killer
The Cold War heats up tensions in this sneaky game of lying and deceit
The legendary miniatures game trims the fat with a fantastic new edition
We promise we’ll be fair – even if this theme park-building card game isn’t
Australian designer Joel Finch takes us through the thrills and spills of creating his first game
Dice have rarely looked as beauti ful as they do in this stained glass spectacle
Report to the bridge as we set phasers to fun (and promptly get killed)
Let this adorable tile-arranger wrap you in its warm bear hug
After partying with the sea delicacies of Sushi Go, Phil Walker-Harding is getting cosy with grizzlies in zoologi cal delight Bärenpark
No one game should have all this power
Sail along the Fury Road in this beautiful but flawed Mad Max-a-like
Can’t we be archfrenemies instead?
We’ve got 20 Questions for this snappy game of word deduction
Conquer the land using fantasy creatures in this intriguing title
Roll with the gods in this light and bright dice-crafter
Try to blend in with this mixture of Spyfall and Codenames
Gorge yourself on Uwe Rosenberg’s Viking epic
A frantic magical monster-builder that doesn’t quite add up to the sum of its beastly parts
The brutality of conflict has rarely felt so real on the tabletop
We head into the post-apocalypse to recover what we can from this mess
Save Einstein from being eaten by dinosaurs in this rollicking adventure
Give these gum-sized games a deserving place in your pocket
Play. Word. Clue. Fun. Fast. Laugh. Laugh. Laugh.
It’s a fast and furious race through Hell in this colourful dungeon-crawler
Grail Games | £16.99 | Dice-rolling 2-4 players | 25
Kosmos | £13 | Social deception 3-4 players | 30 minutes
Century: Spice Road is a beautiful card game that’s
Games & Gears | £27.99 (kolinsky), £23 (synthetic)
HOBBY TIPS
We celebrate the launch of the legendary sci-fi miniatures game’s eighth edition by tackling the Space Marine and Death Guard forces included in its latest starter box
DUNGEON MASTERS GUIDE TO…
Our ongoing column focuses specifically on providing tips, guidance and advice to dungeon masters as they create their own worlds to run campaigns in. Some of the advice will be specific to the latest fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, but the majority of the concepts are applicable to any setting, game or ruleset that you prefer. This is the fourth entry in the series and focuses on both creating dungeons from scratch and balancing them for your party’s size and skill level
EVENT REPORT
Paul Roberts recalls how the Burtonon- Trent gathering went from a chat in a pub to four conventions a year
SHOP SPOTLIGHT
One of the UK’s biggest online games outlets is making a break for the High Street with a new shop in Kent. Co-director Anthony Skinner tells us why the real world is the place to be
TABETOP TIME MACHINE
Phil Robinson is a game historian and the founder of