Category Archives: Reviews

Kingdom Death: Monster Hands-On: Controversial Kickstarter Makes Good

Kingdom Death: Monster Demo at GenCon

Kingdom Death: Monster in action (click to expand)

When Kingdom Death: Monster’s Kickstarter launched in November 2012, it crushed its goals with more than $2 million in funding. The game was, shall we say, ambitious. The brainchild of Adam Poots, the Kickstarter showed beautiful, pre-production resin miniatures while promising an expansive board game, and promised an almost unbelievable set of contents:

  • 4 35mm-scale survivor miniatures
  • 4 copies of each of 6 armor kits (one armor kit can equip all 4 survivors)
  • 7 large-sized boss miniatures
  • 400+ cards
  • 2’ x 3’ game board
  • 15 terrain tokens
  • 6 custom dice
  • 1 rulebook-storybook, with art throughout

When I heard a Kickstarter promised such outstanding miniatures alongside a board game with euro-style development, RPG-style narrative, and tabletop wargame-style tactical elements at an almost comically high price–backers pledged $150 for the game–I was skeptical. Like many people who didn’t back the project, I assumed the game would be a loose justification to sell the admittedly gorgeous minis. Three years later, after multiple delays and setbacks, I hadn’t given the idea much thought. Saturday at GenCon, the guys from Board Game Replay invited me to join them for their demo of Kingdom Death (the full video is here)—now through production, boasting a 17 pound core game box, and sporting a shocking $400 MSRP.

I wasn’t any less skeptical, and I couldn’t have been more wrong.

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Review: Dungeons & Dragons and Fantasy Grounds, A Happy Medium

Note: The following article originally appears on The Mad Adventurers Society in three parts (one two three.) It has been consolidated and reprinted here with the author’s permission.

When it was announced a few months ago, I wrote at length of virtual tabletop app Fantasy Grounds and its acquisition of the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition license. After that discussion, the folks at Fantasy Grounds ( were kind enough to send me a copy of the 5E content for review. I downloaded the game on Steam, loaded the Player’s Handbook module (“Complete Core Class Pack”), the Monster Manual module (“Complete Core Monster Pack”), and the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure module, grabbed a few friends, and ran a trial adventure.

This is a hands-on review of Fantasy Grounds’ D&D 5E licensed content. We’ll start by discussing my impressions of Fantasy Grounds as a virtual tabletop overall, followed by the Player’s Handbook licensed content aimed at players, and conclude with a discussion of the licensed content for Dungeon Masters, namely the D&D Complete Core Monster Pack and Lost Mine of Phandelver adventures. Please note that there are spoilers for the first act of Lost Mine of Phandelver contained within.

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How I Murdered My Father: Lessons Learned from Playing Fiasco with Parents


Tonight, for the first time since I picked up Dungeons & Dragons in middle school, I shared my favorite hobby with my dad. He saw me playing D&D with my friends in high school, and while he was supportive, he never had much interest in learning about roleplaying games, much less participating. That all changed tonight when, almost 20 years after I first picked up a roleplaying game, I finally played Fiasco with my girlfriend, my dad, and my stepmother.

As obsessive card players, my dad and stepmom are no stranger to games. I grew up playing Poker and Cribbage with my dad, and we play hundreds of hands of Pinochle each time I visit them. We also play spirited games of Monopoly, Scrabble, and Boggle. Over the years, we’ve played a lot of games, but we just haven’t played any roleplaying games.

So it was with cautious optimism that I sat down with my girlfriend, my father, and my stepmother last night to play Fiasco. They’re both movie buffs who enjoy the Coen brothers’ films, so I tried to explain the concept in cinematic terms: we would be, collectively, the writers, directors, cinematographers, and actors in a Coen brothers movie set in the Wild West. We would use dice to determine some details, but all of the decisions were ultimately in our hands in a directed improv style. Not quite sure what we getting ourselves into, we embarked on our journey.

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