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Published on April 5th, 2012 | by Greg

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Game Days (Steve Jackson): Revolution and Munchkin Axe Cop

Like we mentioned yesterday, we love a good party game. But we also love more serious fare as well- and few companies have a track record like Steve Jackson Games. Makers of games like GURPS, a universal roleplaying game, they also offer many other titles, from wargames to ones featuring Cthulu. We tried out one that has been on our wish list for a long time, and a couple of others as well, over the last month.

We’ll start with a Revolution (and the Palace Expansion, which adds support for two more people, so that up to six can play). Revolution plays in a fairly familiar style as a combination of a variety of games- tactical control, bidding, and balancing multiple strategies, and takes about an hour to play (after the first game). Each player is trying to build support throughout a city, competing with the other players for control over buildings like the tavern, fortress, market, cathedral, or harbor. And you can do this in three ways- gold, blackmail, or force- through purchasing the support of influential figures like the spy or magistrate. Players play simultaneously, bidding on each of these figures, and you have to use all of your tokens to bid on up to six of the important city figures. Ties result in no one winning, and so careful bidding is essential. And you then use that support in turn to control the buildings, using tokens- and there are some special abilities, like swapping tokens, that shake things up.

We really liked this one, especially since the action is fast, but we did notice that there are some imbalanced strategies at first that allowed some people to win handily. Plus, it’s pretty easy to get knocked out of bidding nearly completely and be left  The board and artwork are lovely though, and everything is well labeled. Plus the theme makes sense, and contributes to the gameplay. All in all, a definite pick for strategy gamers who like a little economy and little strategy without too much setup or too long of a game. Make sure you pick up the Palace too, which adds the namesake building and an interesting counter to the Spy and Apothecary. Revolution is available for $30, with the Palace expansion running about $20.

We’ve also been trying two Munchkin titles- the original as well as Munchkin Axe Cop. For those not in the know, Munchkin is a running series of games that are fairly similar, and Axe Cop is a web comic written by a five year old and drawn by his brother. So, the game is cute, kid-friendly, and pretty simple to pick up. It’s also flexible, with three to six players all working well (unlike some games, such as Revolution, where generally maxing out the game is the best option). Munchkin (primarily) is a card game with monsters, where each player has a hand of cards, chooses a class and a weapon if possible, and then faces a random monster. Players can actually interfere with one another, and get new cards if they are victorious. Hands are played in front of each player and can have a wide variety of effects.

The original is quite balanced, and great for older players, while the Axe Cop version does offer some more… entertaining art and is a bit easier (or so it seemed). And, of course, the best is blending- you’re meant to collect booster packs and expand them, play them together, and find combinations that work. Altogether, it’s a strange world, but fun and more than a little addicting- once you start, it’s hard to stop. Veteran players do have some advantages, in knowing what cards there are, but there is enough luck to balance that out for the most part. Each version runs about $20, available widely online.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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