Archive for the Product Review Category

Madness at Gardmore Abbey Boxed Set

Posted in D&D 4e Content, Dungeons and Dragons, Gaming News, Product Review with tags , on September 19, 2011 by boccobsblog

pic via

Tomorrow Wizards will release Madness at Gardmore Abbey. According to the Wizards website:

This deluxe adventure takes heroes into the ruins of Gardmore Abbey, a monastery that was once the base of a militant order of paladins devoted to Bahamut. According to legend, the paladins brought a dark artifact back from a far crusade and stored it in their abbey for safekeeping, and evil forces gathered to assault the abbey and take it back. What the legends don’t tell is that this artifact was actually the Deck of Many Things, a force of pure Chaos.

This adventure brings characters into the extensive dungeons beneath the ruins—dungeons that are warped and twisted with the raw forces of Chaos surrounding the cards of the deck.

I am glad to see that boxed sets are making a comeback. While I personally prefer 3.5e. I do miss the box sets from second edition. You really felt like you were getting your money’s worth because along with the books, you got poster maps, handouts, code wheels, 3d cardboard terrain, etc.

Another awesome aspect of this adventure is that it comes with a deck of many things. While this artifact has ended or destroyed more campaigns than it’s helped, it is still an icon of D&D.

This boxed set comes with a bunch of cool stuff:

  • Four 32-page books that present the adventure location of Gardmore Abbey, new monsters, enemies and allies, quests, and encounters.
  • Two double-sided battle maps depicting dramatic locations in the adventure.
  • A die-cut card stock sheet of monster tokens.
  • A die-cut card stock sheet of dungeon tiles.
  • A deck of 24 cards — 22 cards presenting the Deck of Many Things plus 2 Treasure Cards.


The adventure begins tomorrow and will retail for 39.99USD

Example of the DoMT artwork:


Posted in Product Review with tags , , on August 29, 2011 by boccobsblog

image from

PowerZ is a superhero-themed game that is played using rock-paper-scissors in place of dice. The game is touted as being a “Mobile Action Game”. What the heck is that? Well, I’ll let the guys from PowerZ explain:

MAGs are a brand new way of gaming. This is true gaming on the go – gaming whenever and wherever you are. I wanted to move gaming away from kitchen table tops and secluded computer nooks and bring it out to wherever people congregate live and play. Places like school halls, office lounges, game and comic shops… Gaming should really be about connecting with other people. […]

Desktop computers, books, boards, dice and other components just don’t translate well into mobile gaming. Everything you need to play a game should fit into your shirt pocket, wear on your body, or carry with you on that indispensable tool of modern day living – the mobile phone.

A neat feature about Powerz is that the powers are on stickers and you mix and match them to make your unique character and create your character sheet by placing the stickers on a card or basically anything to make your character record sheet. The Powerz website also has a database where players can upload their character for later use.

The artwork and presentation on this game is what caught my eye. Also, everything you and a friend need to play comes in one pack. It is a pretty sweet game, check it out.

Powerz rules can be found here in pdf form

The World’s Greatest Screen By Hammerdog Games

Posted in Product Review with tags , , , , , on August 26, 2011 by boccobsblog

image from Hammerdog site

Sometimes it is the simplest ideas that make the best products. At this year’s Gen Con I saw a gamemaster screen that can be used for any game. The screens are blank and the GM slides in sheets of paper that has all the pertinent information for their game. This allows the screen (which is made of heavy-duty materials and will last a lifetime) to be used for any game system. If you’re running a D&D campaign, then switch to Star Wars, you simply switch out the sheets. TWGS is truly reusable.

The folks at Hammerdog games (the makers of TWGS) also offer a range of down-loadable inserts that you can get for free on their website.The screen would work well with our Quick Treasure Chart, and our Quick Name Chart.

Check out their site and see for yourself. While you’re there look at Chaos Chess (a four-player version), and Imajewels (glass bead gaming tokens).

Hammerdog is a great indie company and worth a look.

Neverwinter Campaign Setting Drops Tomorrow

Posted in D&D 4e Content, Dungeons and Dragons, Gaming News, Product Review with tags on August 18, 2011 by boccobsblog

Made popular by a string of video games (including the first ever MMORPG), and  a series of books by R.A. Salvatore, the city of Neverwinter is now its own campaign setting.  According to

A heroic campaign set in one of the most popular regions of the Forgotten Realms world.

Reduced to ruins by supernatural cataclysms, Neverwinter rises from the ashes to reclaim its title as the Jewel of the North. Yet even as its citizens return and rebuild, hidden forces pursue their own goals and vendettas, any one of which could tear the city apart.

Neverwinter has long been one of the most popular locations in the Forgotten Realms campaign world. This book presents a complete heroic-tier campaign setting that plunges players into the politics, skullduggery, and peril of a city on the brink of destruction or greatness. A wealth of information about Neverwinter and its environs is provided: maps, quests, encounters, and statistics — everything a Dungeon Master needs for his heroic tier adventures.

If you didn’t snag a prerelease copy at Gen Con, Neverwinter drops tomorrow and retails for 39.95 USD


If I Had a Million Dollars…

Posted in Product Review with tags , , on July 30, 2011 by boccobsblog

pic via Geek Chic website

Well maybe not a million, but several thousand to blow I would buy a table from Geek Chic. You may have seen these impressive tables at a gaming convention. I know that in the past they have had displays at Gen Con showing off their hand-made gaming altars.

The table depicted above is the Emissary. According to their website:

The Emissary’s looks and versatility get its visa stamped to gain entry to dining rooms, living rooms, kitchens, and more. Equally versed in dining and gaming, it smoothly mediates the transition between the two.

This is our original multi-function, multi-purpose problem solver, and our most configurable table. You can fine-tune every feature of the Emissary. No compromises: you can have a table that is both beautiful and functional.

I just thought I’d pass along these beautiful gaming tables. If you have one (or know a gamer that does) please let us know how you like (or dislike) it.

Until then I will keep dreaming of the day when I crush my players on a Geek Chic table…

pic via Geek Chic website

pic via Geek Chic website

Review of Dominion by Rio Grande Games

Posted in Non-Collectable Card Game, Product Review with tags , , , , on July 15, 2011 by boccobsblog

This weekend I had a chance to play Dominion, a non-collectable card game from Rio Grande games.

Dominion is all about resource management with a dash of “screw your neighbor over” thrown in. The purpose is to amass the most victory points (which are represented by lands: Estate, Duchy, Provence, and Colony). There are also ten action cards that each affect the game in some way. Victory points, treasure and action cards are all purchased with money in the form of cards (copper, silver, gold, and platinum).

Each round a player will have an action phase in which they play an action card(s) and a buy phase when they can purchase treasure, victory points and more action cards.

What I really liked about the game is that it will be different each time, as you pick ten new action cards each game (the set we played had about 40 – 50 different action cards).

 The Breakdown:

  • Easy to learn (you’ll have the gist after one game)
  • Changes each time for high replay value
  • Fantasy-themed cards, but far enough removed from an RPG or fantasy board game that non-geeks will play and enjoy themselves.
  • Low attention game (you can chat and joke without messing up your turn)
  • Fast-paced 30-60 minutes a game

Check out the rules for free

Rio Grande Games’ Dominion site


Put Down the Dew and Try Some Blood

Posted in Gaming Culture, Product Review with tags , , , , , on July 4, 2011 by boccobsblog

pic from

Are you still drinking Mountain Dew as your gaming beverage of choice? Step up your game fool!

Lately we’ve talked a lot about ways to increase the immersion factor at the game table. Handouts, props, music, and even incense can all be used to deepen your gaming experience, but what about the refreshments you serve at your game table? The following is a list of interesting drinks that are sure to get a grin from your gamers.

Pirate themed game:


The world’s only pirate energy drink. According to their website:

RootJack’s a tasty Root Beer with a hint of Orange flavor and Vanilla, Guarana to liven yer step, and a full daily dose of Vitamin C to keep scurvy in check.

I sampled this at last year’s Gen Con and it was very good.

Maybe you’re running gothic horror:

Tru Blood

Inspired by the hit HBO series, True Blood, this drink is a “uniquely carbonated, slightly tart, lightly sweet blood orange drink” (

Blood Energy Potion

I saw this drink hanging in the cooler at my local game store and I knew I had to work it into a post. They are packaged to look like an IV bag and according to their website:

Blood Energy Potion has the same colour, consistency, and texture as real blood, but tastes like fruit punch. It also contains the same nutrients as real blood, including iron, protein, and electrolytes.

They also have a

Zombie Blood Energy Drink

Zombie Blood Caffeinated Energy Potion is loaded with iron, protein, electrolytes, and other fancy things to have the same nutrients and consistency of real blood. Throw in some lime flavoring and greenness, and you have the recipe for realistic Zombie Blood! Of course, we did make sure this blood is filtered so you won’t be getting any mutagens or viruses or anything else that might turn you into the walking dead. All you’ll get is energy, great taste, and stares from passers by.

Classic. I love how the website makes sure to note that their product is, “Not an actual biohazard”.

This company also makes energy drink shots shaped like health potions, and mana potions (blue), but as they are shots and not drinks, I didn’t list them.

Limited Edition Dungeons & Dragons Spellcasting Soda

Jones Soda made a run of soda with iconic D&D monsters and races on them. You can serve your players Illithid Brain Juice, Sneak Attack, Potion of Healing, Dwarven Drought, Eldritch Blast, or my favorite, Bigby’s Crushing Thirst Destroyer.

Maybe you want something stronger?

Wychwood Brewery

The people at Wychwood make several beers with a fantastical theme like, Hobogolin, Goblin King, Wychcraft, and Scarecrow. I am not a big beer drinker, but I have had the Hobogoblin and it was amazing. Even if you don’t drink, be sure to click the link and check out their website; it is by far the most creative website I’ve ever seen for a product.

Why I Love DDO

Posted in D&D 3.5, D&D 3.5 e Content, Dungeons and Dragons, Gaming Culture, Product Review, Video Games with tags , on June 27, 2011 by boccobsblog

 The Dungeon Master. The narration helps me immerse myself in the game world. (This may seem like a small detail, but it adds a lot to my enjoyment of the game).

Repeatable Quests. I can replay any quest as many times as I like and still get XP and loot.

Variable Difficulty. Quests have five levels of difficulty to choose from: casual, normal, hard, elite, and epic. (Note you have to unlock the last three. If you beat hard, you unlock elite, etc.) This makes leveling easy and adds new life to old quests.

Hirelings. Are you a caster without a tank? No healer in the party? You can just spend a few coins and get a hireling of nearly any class/race combo.The hireling stays with you for the entire dungeon. (I pay one fifteen gold and hire a cleric and the two of us can easily complete dungeons on the hard setting)

Puzzles. For those that tire of hack and slash, DDO includes many challenging puzzles into some quests. (I tried some out this weekend and was greatly impressed)

It’s D20 system. DDO uses 3.5 mechanics (modified slightly for video game use of course). I like the familiarity and ease this brings. It also makes character creation a snap.

It’s Free. DDO is completely free to download and play. Granted there are options not available to the free account players (namely the Favored Soul class, and some races: drow, half orcs, and warforged). Also, free accounts can only have two characters. Wizards makes their money through the DDO Store, in which you can spend money to get points which can be used to buy several things (items, classes, races rare adventures, hirelings, etc).

DDO is certainly worth a try. I am enjoying it greatly.

Try DDO for free

DDO concept art from

Conquest of Nerath Boardgame

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons, Product Review with tags , , on June 20, 2011 by boccobsblog

On June 21st Wizards will release its latest boardgame, Conquest of Nerath. The game, designed by Richard Baker, Mons Johnson, and Peter Lee looks like Risk meets D&D (which sounds like a badass pairing). While the last two games focused on party-sized combat, Conquest puts you in control of an entire army.

image via

Here’s what the folks at Wizards ha to say about their latest game on their website:

War has come to the Dungeons & Dragons world! In the north, the undead legions of the Dark Empire of Karkoth march against the fragile League of Nerath, determined to sweep away the human kingdoms forever. To the south, the infernal Iron Circle launches its own goblin hordes in a campaign of conquest against the elves and corsairs of Vailin. From the snowy expanse of the Winterbole Forest to the sun-warmed coasts of ancient Vailin, four great powers struggle for survival.

Muster armies of footsoldiers, siege engines, monsters, and dragons to attack your enemies. Fight across the waves with fleets of warships and raging elementals. Plunder ancient dungeons with bands of mighty heroes, searching for magical artifacts and awesome treasures that might tip the scales of battle in your favor. The fate of empires is in your hands!

This game includes the following components:

  • Rulebook
  • Dice
  • Game board
  • 110 cards
  • 252 plastic playing pieces representing the champions and armies of Nerath, Karkoth, the Iron Circle, and Vailin

The game is set to retail for 79.99 USD.

Gaming Paper

Posted in D&D 3.5 e Content, D&D 4e Content, Pathfinder, Product Review with tags , on May 9, 2011 by boccobsblog

If you’re looking for a new way to map out your game, give Gaming Paper a try (at four dollars a roll it’s an inexpensive test run).

What is Gaming Paper? Well according to their website:

Gaming Paper is the latest innovation in roleplaying and miniatures accessories and is a low-cost alternative to expensive battlemaps and tile sets. It’s an inexpensive, reusable and disposable product for gamers.

Gaming Paper is sold in convenient rolls that are 30 inches wide and 12’ long, for 30 square feet of playing surface. At only $4/roll, it is a fraction of the cost of other gaming mats on the market. Not only is it usable for miniatures games, but it is also ideal for roleplaying games. Anyone can use pens, markers, or other simple writing implements to create detailed terrain for campaigns or miniatures battles.

While I don’t use Gaming paper for every game, I do like it for situations when I don’t want to lug a mess of Dungeons Tiles or when I don’t want to halt the game while I draw a scene on a reusable battlemat. Gaming Paper allows you to draw elaborate maps using markers, pencils, pen, paint, (basically any art supply you enjoy using). You can get Gaming Paper  with either a square grid or hexes.

I highly recommend Gaming Paper, give it a chance and see if you enjoy it as much as I do.