Deadfellas – The Zombie Mobster Card Game

Deadfellas Zombie Mobster Card Game box cover with designersEver since picking up Deadfellas at Comic-Con back in 2012, I have brought the game with me to any sort of gaming or geeky event: Gen Con, Vegas Game Days, Wasteland Weekend, and various SCA Wars. It’s that good and is my backup go-to game for passing 10 or 15 minutes enjoyably. On a flight back from Gen Con I taught the guy next to me to play in under two minutes and soon enough horrible Italian-American accents were trading back and forth as we talked about whacking this mook or that one with cries of “Hey, I Know a Guy” and “Fuhgeddaboutit!Exile Game Studio has a real winner with the Kickstarter-funded Dead Fellas and at only $19.99 MSRP, it’s a pretty good value. For its solid game play, fast pace, simple mechanics, and cool style I give it a 9 out of 10 on .

Ease of Play

Cheerleader Uniform card art from Exile Game Studio's Deadfellas Zombie Mobster Card Game

Cheerleader Uniform: +2 to a Mook’s Strength

When game artist Brian Snoddy explained the game to me on video at Comic-Con 2012 in about three minutes, he really covered 95% of the game. You get three random undead mobsters called Mooks. Each has a point value represented by a bullet icon, ranging from one to three. Collect 10 points of Mooks by whacking them and you win. In order to whack your opponent’s Mook, you need to equip one of your own with a blue Vehicle card, a red Weapon card, and a yellow Disguise card. Each of these pieces of equipment has its own strength (from 1-3) at the top. Add those together with your Mook’s strength and if you equal or exceed your target’s strength you win, successfully Whacking him. As a small price, you have to Ditch a piece of evidence, one of the three Equipment cards.

Gameplay comes down to Mook and Equipment management. At the beginning of every turn you draw a card from the Equipment deck, which also contains Special cards. You can play as many of your cards as you are able to and then you need to decide whether you 1.) draw another Equipment card 2.) do a Whack action on an opponent or 3.) recruit a new Mook. Special cards like Fuhgeddaboutit! allow a player to cancel a Whack action or another Special card, like an opponent’s Boost card, which could potentially allow the opponent to steal a piece of your Equipment. Another Special card called Dying Wish allows a player to keep his Mook’s Equipment cards if his Mook gets whacked

With three or four players, the game gets even better with more targets to whack. Just make sure to play up the bravado, add a little antagonism, and a lot of accents, and you’ll be in for a good time. I strongly suggest narrating every Whack and attempted Whack, to create an atmosphere of vendetta after vendetta. Let ’em know that “Big Dump don’t like seeing Joey “Coco Pops” Cotroni in his Boosted Monster Truck, so Big Dump’s gonna Whack ‘im wit’ da Rolling Pin…”

Dead Fella’s Theme: Zombies, Mafia, and… Tutus

Tiny Bug-Eyed Zombie Bug Eyes from Deadfellas Card GameI’m an unlikely advocate for Dead Fellas because apparently unlike the majority of Western males, I’m not a fan of the mafia or Tony Soprano. You could say that I’m Team Elliot Ness even. I’m also not particularly fond of zombies, but Brian Snoddy blends the two themes humorously well in his art for the Mook cards. My favorite Mook has to be the diminutive Bobby “Bug Eyes” Deluca who barely clears three feet on the lineup chart which serves as each Mook’s background. Most of Deluca’s criminal peers have eyes falling out or missing, cuts, gashes, and the occasional squid or mutation. Because Dead Fellas is such a good game, I can say without any reservations that both organized crime fans and zombie fans will get a kick out of this game, though what they’ll make of the other half of the game’s theme is beyond me.

Card art illustration of Sock Monkey for Deadfellas Zombie Mobster Card Game

The Humble Sock Monkey

What I enjoy the most about Deadfellas’ theme though is the absurdity of the Equipment cards. I still get a chuckle when I announce that Pauly “Bed Head” Bonasera disguised in his Tutu and riding his Unicycle is going to whack “Bug Eyes” with the Egg Beater. I have even foregone a more powerful piece of Equipment just for the delight of using the less powerful Biplane, Maid Uniform Disguise, or Sock Monkey. Again, without any narration, the humorous imagery of these cards is lost.

Deadfellas’ Few Choices Are Another Hit

Deadfellas also goes to show just how powerful using only a few gameplay mechanics can be when combined with quality artwork and a fun theme. While Deadfellas can play with anyone young or old, the tactical choices in it are so limited that it’s a good game for gauging how strong a grasp other players’ have of the game itself and board gaming in general with the following in particular standing out:

1. Equipment Dispersal and Disposal
The first choice any player will have in Deadfellas is which of their Mooks to Equip. There is the temptation to possibly bolster weaker Mooks with Equipment to make them less susceptible to weak Whack attempts, but it’s hard to argue with stacking 3-Bullet Weapons, Vehicles, and Disguises on your most powerful Mook to try to get as close to 12 as possible. This doesn’t reveal much about the player, but what they choose to Ditch does.

A player can have a Disguise in his hand already and choose to Ditch the existing Disguise from the Mook who just capped someone. If that Mook survives the round, it’s a simple matter of equipping the new Disguise from hand and repeating the beatdown. This is an effective tactic, but one which I have seen a number of opponents neglect.

The Special card Fugazzi poses its own choices, both in how to pronounce it (Brian Snoddy insists that it’s Foo-gay-zee, while many English speakers go for Foo-gah-zee) and how to best utilize it. The card takes the place of a piece of Equipment, but is a fake, having zero strength. After successfully Whacking an opponent’s Mook do you ditch the zero-strength Fugazzi because it adds no strength to resist opponents’ Mooks or do you ditch something more powerful because the Fugazzi is versatile and allows you to possibly meet the three-Equipment variety condition for a Whack action more readily?

Zombie Mobster Hugo The Hat Nitti playing card missing brain

No Brainer: “The Hat”

2. Target Selection and Elimination – One of the few other choices in the game is which Mooks to target. Most of the time, this is a no brainer (which is fortunate for Mooks like Hugo “The Hat” Nitti): always try to get as many points from each Whack as you can. The exception is targeting a weaker Mook who has Equipment cards on him just to kill him preemptively and waste your opponent’s Equipment cards.

3. End of Turn While there’s nothing tactical about ending a turn, it’s another good clue to just how attuned a player is to the game’s rules. As soon as your opponent’s drawn a second Equipment card or a new Mook or performed a Whack action, he or she’s done. That’s it. Because of this the game’s designers were being quite generous when they list game length at 30 minutes. Cut throat zombie mafiosa can get it down to 10-20 minutes easy.

All card images are copyright Exile Game Studios and used without permission for review purposes.

Card-Boards Wooden Card Holders

Ever since I first used a Card-Boards Card Holder at a friend’s house, I’ve been hooked on the devices and want to use them in every game that uses more than three playing cards. $15 gets you four of the attractive, smooth, wooden holders from Card-Boards, located in Orem, Utah. I sprung for eight of them because the Card Holders really are that useful. It may be hyperbole to claim that the boards revolutionize card games, but now that I have used them, I don’t want to go back to spending 15-90 minutes holding a hand of cards. Imagine playing Scrabble without the tray for your letter tiles and you’ll begin to understand the true worth of Card-Boards.

Cards from Guildhall Board Game from AEG held in wooden Card-Boards card holder

AEG’s Guildhall Cards are Easily Sorted Using a Card-Board

While owner David Hacking originally made his card holders for family games of Ticket to Ride, they are useful and usable for almost any card game where players need to hold a private hand of cards. Hacking’s now sold over 2,000 of the boards and it’s easy to see why. Measuring 10″ by 3.75″ wide by 0.75″ tall, a Card-Board has four slots cut into it. Each card holder holds about 16 standard playing cards without the cards overlapping one another. The slots are cut to a depth of approximately 3/8ths of an inch and will obscure that much of a playing card. As for quality, I imagine the wooden boards will last a lifetime and beyond. There are other companies besides Card-Boards making this style of wooden board, of course, but I found Card-Boards’s response to my order as well as the shipping to be lightning fast. If you’re playing with unprotected cards without plastic sleeves, the Card-Boards also help to prevent the transfer of sweat, oil, and Cheeto-dust to the cards that can happen with prolonged gripping. Your cards should also remain straighter because they’ll be free of the bending tendency that accompanies holding cards in a semi-circle.

Game of Thrones LCG Lannister cards in wooden Card-Boards holder

A Card-Board Card Holder Can Keep a Pride of Lions Ready for the Game of Thrones LCG

A Significant Downside and Two Minor Ones

The only real downside to the Card-Boards is obvious in that they require a flat surface to rest upon. In small cramped spaces or without a table available the Card-Boards will not be of much use. A minor downside of the card holders is that properly holding a hand of cards is an actual learned skill that is expected of most adult gamers. I may be making a mountain out of a molehill, but children do need to develop manual dexterity and hand and finger strength, besides the skill of not revealing one’s hand to other players. However as an adult, I’ll stick to a Card-Board when I can get away with it and avoid hand cramps. The only other problem the Card Board could pose is that it reveals your hand when other players get up from the table and walk around to answer the phone or get more chips and soda. In this respect, it’s also like a Scrabble tray but at the point where this becomes an issue, you’ve probably got bigger ones.

The Perfect Use for Card-Boards: Hanabi

R&R Games’ Hanabi is an addictive game of near-silent cooperation, the 2013 Spiel des Jahres Game of the Year Winner, and also the perfect way to use Card-Boards card holders. While I’ve played Hanabi a number of times, I’ve never done so by holding the cards in my hand. Instead we play using the Card-Boards. Each player’s hand of 5 cards is always perfectly visible and we have an easy time pointing out which card to discard or play. With a player’s cards tilting away from that player there is no danger of a player getting a glimpse at his own cards and the game becomes a purely mental and social exercise. The Card-Boards have the added advantage of allowing further organization based on the transmitted knowledge of what number or color cards are by using the other three rows. Now this may break the spirit of the game, but players could possibly do so already by trying to hold their cards in different places by using their ring or pinky fingers.

Game of Hanabi played using wooden Card-Boards card holders

Hanabi is Much Easier and More Enjoyable with Card-Boards Card Holders

Excellent for the Elderly and Others with Special Needs

As good as the Card-Boards are for a fairly healthy adult, they are even better for the elderly or others who suffer from arthritis. As such, the Card-Boards would make a great gift to a grandmother or grandfather. Children (or adults) with disabilities will also benefit from the Card-Boards. Simply by using a card holder, those with moderate to severe cerebral palsy or who are quadriplegic could still play most card games and retain the same level of secrecy that most card games demand. The dealer could deal cards directly into the Card-Board with the player giving instructions as to which cards to play or remove. “Play the middle card.” or “Discard the second card from my left.” could suffice for instructions.

The Fan Style of Card Holders: Not as Useful

When compared to the fan style of card holders, where cards are clipped or slid into a holder, the Card-Boards design comes out ahead since it has multiple rows, is more durable than plastic, is stylish, and is generally less expensive. Handheld fan-style holders can be just as hard for those with disabilities to hold as managing a hand of cards conventionally. Due to this, I would recommend Card-Boards to both teachers and parents because they allow every child to participate in educational games and activities. Any concerns a student may have about standing out from his or her peers by using a card holder will vanish once their peers realize just how many advantages a Card-Board has and just how comfortably one can play by using one. Every player will want one.

Resource cards from Attika in wooden Card-Boards Card Holders

Even for Games with Fewer Cards Like Attika, the Card-Boards are Useful and Keep Hands Free

The Incredibly Useful Hugo’s Amazing Tape

Clear rolls of Hugo's Amazing Tape with words Patent ApprovedWhile Hugo’s Amazing Tape bills itself as “the most VERSATILE, DURABLE and STRONGEST HOLDING tape in the WORLD!“, I have found that it at least lives up to its name and is really quite amazing and incredibly useful. Packaging for it shows the tape wrapped around a wrist “to help relieve arthritis pain”, keeping pipes held together, wrapped around luggage, and keeping a book opened to a specific page, but it is the tape’s organizational use (and not these “miraculous” uses) that has most impressed me. The patented secret to the tape is that it lacks adhesive and only adheres to itself.

The tape is amazing for any application where rubber bands (or string) might normally be used, namely keeping cards and game components together. Unlike string, yarn, ribbons, or rubber bands, Hugo’s Amazing Tape shouldn’t bite into your bundled material, because it has a larger surface area. In the case of rubber bands, which become brittle over time and are sensitive to the cold, the tape is again a winner. Hugo’s Amazing Tape is transparent and comes in Clear, Blue, and Purple varieties. It is sold in 2 inch, 1 inch, and 0.5 inch width rolls measuring 50 yards long, but for most gamer purposes I strongly suggest the moderate 1 inch roll. Getting the tape is a little tricky, because despite its many craft uses, I have not seen the tape sold locally at Joann’s or Wal-Mart. Instead, you can buy a roll directly from Hugo’s, or find it in stock at or at, of course.

A few pieces of advice for when you get your own: Do write on the tape with a Permanent Marker if you want to. Sometimes finding the end can be hard and a dot, arrow, or star can help you find it. The company advises that items should be wrapped “at least twice” in the tape, but for playing cards, 1.5 to 2 inches of excess tape snugly wraps most decks in my experience. When I dropped a 45-card Game of Thrones LCG Lannister deck from a height of over 25 feet, it didn’t split the deck open (or harm any Joffreys) with only two extra inches. For owners of Summoner Wars or Omen and for further insight into Hugo’s Amazing Tape from users, please read this warning about potential damage to cards from the tape. In my own limited experience with the tape, I have yet to see any hazards.

Card, Board, RPGs, and Miniature Games

Gamers caught between using rubber bands and dedicated card boxes to keep cards organized, should take a long look at Hugo’s Amazing Tape. Because the tape is broad and does not contract or constrict like elastic, it lacks the bite of a rubber band which can mar card edges. Thus the tape is useful for managing small and moderately-sized collections of cards. The choice for the CCG/LCG player then becomes whether to use Hugo’s Amazing Tape to keep a group of cards together or whether to store them in a cardboard or plastic deck box. Admittedly simply having cards taped together won’t protect them from a soda leak or other environmental hazards like a deck box might, but the tape has the advantage of not being confined to a set amount of cards, provided you were generous when you cut the tape the first time.

Board Gaming Uses

It’s this versatility of the tape that has seen it pressed into use by many board gamers who may only have sets of 5-10 cards to keep organized. Tired of your Guillotine decks getting mixed up? Do you hate how the Game of Thrones LCG Core Set has a tendency to spill the top cards of its four decks around? Hugo’s Amazing Tape is for you!

Almost invisible Hugo's Amazing Tape has been wrapped around Guillotine card deck to keep it organized. Colored arrow marks where tape ends

The Noble Deck and Action Deck for Guillotine Stay Separate with Hugo’s Amazing Tape

Games like Smash Up have dedicated card trays for their decks and Hugo’s Amazing Tape would be overkill on them, but even classics like Risk or Monopoly would benefit by having neat stacks of money, deeds, or army cards in the case of Risk. If you know any obsessive-compulsive types or anal-retentive neat freaks, you can probably get on their good side with a gift of the tape.

Stack of Game of Thrones LCG cards held together with Hugo's Amazing Tape

Game of Thrones LCG Cards Stay Neatly in Place Thanks to Hugo’s Amazing Tape

RPGs and Miniature Games

Of course, any other type of tabletop game that uses cards can benefit from the amazing tape. RPGs that use Fate decks like the TORG System or modern games like Pathfinder which has issued item decks can benefit from the use of Hugo’s Amazing Tape to keep cards organized. Likewise, you can keep your Warmachine and Hordes cards together and grouped into individual faction-specific bundles with the tape. While many prefer nine-card plastic binder sleeves for storage and to review unit capabilities, making a travel “deck” using Hugo’s Tape may be the way to go, especially for older systems like Confrontation or AT-43 that actually use the cards to determine unit activation order. Lastly Hugo’s Amazing Tape is invaluable if you’re a gamer with a broad collection of miniatures which came with ability cards. Now Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures (and Chainmail), Star Wars Miniatures, Heroclix, and Pirates of the Spanish Main Crew and Ship cards can all be easily separated for storage.


Spools of thread with Hugo's Amazing Tape wrapped around them keeping threads confined

Thread is Neatly Wrapped Under a Layer of Hugo’s Amazing Tape

The most advertised use of Hugo’s Amazing Tape, as the back of the packing says, is “to prevent raveling and to keep dust and dirt off of” spools of embroidery thread. While I’ve not had too much experience with dirt and dust in my own brief attempts at stitching and sewing, I have had many spools unwind and get caught in or on something, which is always annoying, but never quite as bad as old audio cassettes. With this amazing tape however, I can easily put an end to any runaway threads. The tape could also be of use when assembling and gluing foam weapons to get an accurate dry fit without the possible tears to the foam from trying to temporarily use duct tape or any other adhesive tape. However for dry fitting weapons, I would probably just use rubber bands.

Most LARPs wouldn’t be complete without food and Hugo’s Amazing Tape could have a few culinary applications. I tested the claim that the tape is “Heat and Cold Resistant” by putting Guillotine cards wrapped in the tape in the freezer and several hours later the tape still functioned normally. To test its heat capacities, I wrapped some spaghetti in the tape and boiled it. Failing my Wisdom check, I ate a few bites of the spaghetti which came out perfectly. It was undercooked though closer to the center, where the stands had been forced together by the tape. Despite initially having a whitish residue from the whole wheat pasta, the tape retained its self-adhering properties and regained most of its clarity.

Leftmost picture of spaghetti with Hugo's Amazing Tape wrapped around, next picture raw spaghetti where tape was used, then Game of Thrones cards held together by the tape

The Tape Survived Boiling and Is Still Usable But Left Covered Areas of Spaghetti Raw

Modeling Uses

Hugo’s Amazing Tape may also be of minor use for some miniature modeling purposes. If a project requires extreme delicacy, involves broad surfaces, and the need for keeping multiple parts pressed together while glue or epoxy sets, Hugo’s Amazing Tape may be the perfect solution. For certain soft modeling materials like balsa wood, bass wood, or foam, Hugo’s Amazing Tape could be used to prevent telltale rubber band impressions.

Summary of Hugo’s Amazing Tape for Gamers

Obviously I have become a huge fan of this amazing product. To recap, Hugo’s Amazing Tape is reusable, non-adhesive, and offers great utility and has a strong grip with little to no bite. While I would always prefer a lower cost, 50 yards for around $11.99 won’t break any banks. Now to test some of those bolder packaging claims!

Dark Legacy: The Rising at Gen Con This Week

Bryan Tillman standing before a vinyl hanging at Comic-Con in San Diego promoting Dark Legacy

Bryan “Kaiser” Tillman at SDCC 2012

One of the products that will be available at Gen Con this week in Indianapolis is the card game Dark Legacy: The Rising from Kaiser Studio Productions. A smaller production that has been in the works for a few years now, Dark Legacy combines RPG elements with more traditional CCG/TCG ones to create a fusion game. Fusion also describes the game’s setting as it blends swords and sorcery, ninjas, technology, guns, and the elements. Spell cards have a fixed cost and are cast using spell points which are randomly determined by rolling a d20. Each turn a player may choose to roll the d20 and cast spells OR whether to attack with the player’s character and any summoned allies.

The mind behind Dark Legacy and Kaiser Studios is Bryan “Kaiser” Tillman. We spoke at Comic-Con back in July and recorded an interview with some of his thoughts on the game. We also played through the game for about 10 minutes and I got a feeling for how complex Dark Legacy can be. At such a small level, Tillman does all of the sorting of the random packs of cards himself, which are divided up into Commons, Uncommons, Rares, and Uber-Rares.

Interview with PK Torretto on P.O.W.E.R.

I interviewed P.O.W.E.R. creator PK Torretto on May 24 and will be reviewing the modern military card game soon. It should be on shelves in stores as early as late June.

PK Torretto’s Background in Gaming

Steel box for POWER sits on playing matt with P.O.W.E.R. cards deployed to playCG: So you came up with the idea for P.O.W.E.R. in 2009 on a car drive from LA to San Francisco, what had you been doing prior to that in terms of gaming?
PKT: In short? Nothing official or professional, but I give myself my own personal trophy for logging in over 465 hours in Oblivion IV. I am, and always have been, an avid gamer. Specifically PC, not console. People have the Commodore 64, Atari or Apple IIe memories, but I can one-up those with this: my family had a TV gaming system that would move a pong-like white dot on the screen and the way you would change games is to apply a different see-thru sheet of a map that would stay onto the TV by the static! Each game would have a different color and maze, but I digress.
CG: But this wasn’t the actual Pong?
PKT: No, no. The white dot was like that of Pong and we had several games, Haunted House, Treasure Finder, which were different themes on a see-thru plastic sheet that would stick the TV and stay because of the static. Then you would play with the pong-like dot through these stick-on maps/games. That must have been 1975? I have no idea on the name of the manufacturer. [The Magnavox Odyssey from 1973.] Genius for the time. Of course I played Magic when it first came out 1994ish and revisited it around 2008. I played all the popular board games throughout my youth, like Life and Monopoly, and pen-and-paper D&D big time. Our DM wrote a thesis at Cal Berkeley about the learning/teaching opportunities of D&D!
CG: Do you remember his name?
PK: Dennis O’Flaherty from Ancient Dragon Comics in San Rafael, CA. Clerics had to cast spells in German, Mages in Latin, to name some examples. Man do I miss those days!

The Development of P.O.W.E.R.

Playing grid on a board game surface with military-themed POWER cards in play

P.O.W.E.R. in Development: As a Board Game

CG: Wow. I’ll have to look him and the thesis up then. You played Magic in the 90s, but you went with a non-collectible format. Was that inspired by your Magic-playing days?
PKT: The booster pack-buying, luckier guy gets the better card? I just didn’t like it. When I would play with the Magic professionals they would get a circular combo and just win, period. I didn’t have access to these cards as a casual player and that’s why I made certain the U.S. Core Pack’s game ranks Private to Master Sergeant must be played using only the Core Packs. Thus? “The richer player doesn’t win” as in Magic (assuming one buys enough boosterpacks that money spent supercedes luck). The Air/Sea expansion and Officer Game Ranks lifts this restriction and you can play with any card you own when deck-building.
CG: What has the retailer reaction been to that idea? Magic: TG arguably puts a lot of money into their registers because of its collectible nature.
PKT: They love it. Apparently the thought of buying boosters over and over again to get the cards you want just leaves a “bad taste in their mouth” and for a new game? They just will opt not to buy-in and play it from the get-go. Hence the LCG market was born. And I developed this game prior to FFG’s trademark of that term, widely used nowadays. Moreover, the online selling and purchasing of individual cards really upsets the business model in my eyes. The richest player truly wins at that point. Remember, P.O.W.E.R. is a deck-building tactical card game “where the cards are pieces with movement and range.”
CG: You came up with the game in 2009, some of your copyrights are listed as early as 2010, so what’s been happening in the interim, if you could give us an overview of P.O.W.E.R.’s development.
PKT: In the first half of 2009 – competitive research on wargames. How many? What type? What era? No board game was modern warfare… and all the video games were! Even by namesake. So first, there was nothing like it. There was a niche. After the I-5 drive? I laid out all the pieces in Excel. They looked like Monopoly cards.

Since the cards have movement and range and take up space, I experimented with different sizes to shorten the field of play, but the amount of info and legibility became an issue. Pricing too at the end of it all, actually. Then playtests started in the last half of 2009. Once the name was decided? I started the trademark process to protect it. Both word mark and design mark with help from a college buddy, Sho Higuchi.

Then 2010 was all patent. The crazy thing is if you know about it because you look it up? That’s “willful infringement” and three times damages. Talk about ignorance is bliss! [That] led to a complete redesign and the birth of the Build Queue, which I may patent if possible. I also set up my LLC this year and all that company stuff, like taxes.

I started finalizing the design in 2011 and looking for printers/manufacturers and the like. I decided to go with less information on the card and more icons and logos which led to the major info redesign of having buzz words or traits not a paragraph explaining what each card does over and over. So Immobile Fire is when a card can’t move and shoot the same turn. instead of writing that on every card, I can just list it, in hopes that in the future I can just say “Immobile Fire” and not define it.

P.O.W.E.R.’s Build Queue and Future Mechanics

A vinyl map with a verdant green hill background is the playing grounds for PK Torretto's P.O.W.E.R.

The Vinyl Playing Matts are an Accessory

CG: You mention the Build Queue. I know that it was, in part, inspired by Real Time Strategy games, what are some of your favorite RTS games?
PKT: Here’s the thing, I don’t like them. I think they are broken (or I can break them) mathematically (my major at UCLA). Starcraft, Dawn of War II, you name it. There is a sweet spot of either wait and pounce, or steadily chop down the tree, that is always there. Always. Maps/terrain restrictions can change this, but there is an exploit somewhere in the video games, not in P.O.W.E.R. however.
CG: So it’s really just the mechanic of the BQ that you take away from RTS?
PKT: I love, love, love Homeworld by Relic Entertainment and Alex Gardener. Best game ever in my humble opinion, but I don’t know if that’s strictly an RTS. I’d have to say that my favorites are Company of Heroes and World in Conflict, but yes, the wait for the bigger/stronger pieces, or immediate smaller/weaker forces is the foundation of RTS and their Build Queues. The math has to be right and to do this? I used a 6-way rock/paper/scissors mechanic – which RTS games don’t.
CG: Speaking of mechanics, will we see more cards like Body Armor that affect the entire army or units in the army? Improved Munitions? Environmental Battlefield Conditions?
PKT: In short, yes. I have a whole matrix of buffs to be made as an expansion pack to include in your deck. Many say those are the enchantments, sorceries, and equipment cards, and yes, well, sure they are.

The Direction of P.O.W.E.R. Expansions

CG: You had our American military helping you out with images for the game, I think. Have you started looking into where you’ll get your other images for any other nations’ militaries and so on?
PKT: I have one buddy to help with the Chinese. I forgot to add that in my timeline by the way. I spent over six months and many IP lawyers to get rights to all of the images. But that’s why I don’t have multiple nationalities… yet. The different laws overseas. And the nostalgic packs like the “British Schooner Navy” must be graphically rendered. So, when big enough, I hope to hire. Not to mention the puppy dog packs for the anti-military. That was a joke sort of. We joke that our next expansion is going to be stickers that you would just place on the cards! Tanks would be werewolves and helicopters would be vampires. Infantry? Zombies, et cetera. Makes the wargamers chuckle and the fantasy players snarl. But? Then again, what tank can match an Abrams? And do you know how hard it is to find an in-service land-based SAM? All of the US’s are on ships now. All of my units are in service by the way.
CG: I think you’ve mentioned Chinese Infantry, animals, now the British Schooner Navy, what will most likely be the first non-US pack of cards we’ll see?
PKT: Technology Development (Tech Dev, the grey ones) and Politics & Population (P&P the purple one) – but that’s not your question is it…
CG: No, because those would go along with the US military. Or is it still up in the air whether it’ll be Canadians, Russians, Chinese, or Terrorists?
PKT: See, you are bringing up a good debate. As the developer, I don’t want the reenactment so much and I don’t want the “bad guys”. A military board game is a hard enough sell as it is. Flames of War is fantastic and I hope they play POWER in their off-time or a 30 minute skirmish, but it’s about the area of influence and control – and math – less about the theme to me. In fact? I can go ahead at this very moment and say after the A/S Expansion? I would like to make the Pacifist Packs – think Tiananmen Square. Captures more market. And could lead to good trash-talking banter either way, if the math is right. Though we are in talks about going alien invasion/cyberpunk/futuristic versus the US now.

CG: I know the Air/Sea Lane Expansion has been in the works for a while, what all will that give players, besides lifting the restriction on Core cards. Does that cover it?
PKT: The gameplay changes immensely with your Submarines ducking under Aircraft Carriers and Jet Bombers refueling in the air. And remember the Air/Sea Lane Ranges are in rows across the entire Battlefield.
CG: Is it hard to adjust to going back down to the Core set after you’ve been playtesting and working on Air/Sea?
PKT: No, that’s where the game is played and won and I wanted it to be that way. Though at times you wish you didn’t flip over that card, because it must enter the battlefield, you know? The Air and Sea doesn’t inhibit or take over the game, much to playtesters’ surprise. Much to my surprise is that the increased number of cards per side, up to 20 each in Admiral instead of the 8 cards now, does not increase gameplay duration because of the strength of those units. Having said that, there is a lot of balance in the Air and Sea units.

P.O.W.E.R.: In Stores Soon

Small light Cayuse helicopter displayed on orange-backed card for P.O.W.E.R. game

Torretto’s Favorite Card: the Cayuse

CG: What are your personal favorite cards in the game?
PKT: Of the ones in the U.S. Core Packs? The Cayuse – a BQ1 C.A.S. that can do 1 dmg in the current square. People don’t see it now, but when you have to take out the Seabees that are building the naval or air base that will launch Destroyer Class ships or F16’s? Better believe they are stacking Cayuses in their BQ. Take out the Construction Battalion? No bases, no sea, no air: lots of cards turn into sore thumbs.
CG: Duly noted. How well do you tend to do at playing P.O.W.E.R. yourself?
PKT: Actually, not that great. I make little mistakes that seem to add up against the expert gamers that play games more than design them. But? There are times I see the end quicker than they do, so I win decisively, just not all the time. And that to me is a sign of a good game, come to think of it

CG: Where can gamers find P.O.W.E.R.?
PKT: At Origins next week…. and SoCal Smackdown at Disneyland Sept 21-23… check and and for upcoming details.
CG: What’s this Disneyland one?
CG: When will P.O.W.E.R. be in stores? Do you have a date yet?
PKT: Alliance Distribution is taking pre-orders now… and I have found sites on the net already taking orders. End of June, methinks
CG: Awesome. Thanks, PK.
PKT: Thank you!

P.O.W.E.R. card art and board game picture copyright PK Torretto, used with permission.