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Clubs & Crazy Clubs – Card Game Review

Clubs VGS

Tabletop games are great fun, but it usually takes a group of people to get one going. Now that my children are moving out of the house (oh happy day) there are times when it would be nice to have a tabletop game that is as fun for two people as it is for a larger group. This is exactly what I found in Crazy Clubs which is a variation of Clubs, a new game from North Star Games I found at the 2013 PAX Prime show.

The North Star Games team is already one of my favorites because of games like Wits & Wagers along with Say Anything, both of which are great party games. I was already looking forward to trying some of their other offerings when I saw Clubs in a little box on their PAX table. Luke Warren from the North Star team gave me a quick rundown on how to play and gave me a copy to try out.

Clubs is a fun little game that has some overlap with Hearts and Spades, but there are several things that set Clubs apart. Similar to Hearts and Spades, the goal is to get rid of your cards as quickly as possible each round and to win Tricks containing the named suite. Clubs however includes bonus cards and has variations that are fun for fewer players. The result is a great game for two to six people whereas Hearts and Spades really need four players to be fun.

The setup and game-play are easy to pick up, but of course the strategy becomes apparent after playing a couple hands. To start, place the appropriate number of bonus cards (based on number of players) face up on the table then choose a first dealer who shuffles the deck and deals 10 cards to each player. The first person on the dealers left plays a Meld-Type (run or matching cards) and players continue along with that meld type or pass in clockwise order. Once someone plays a Meld-Type with a 15 or if everyone passes, the last person to play wins the trick.

When the first player gets rid of all their cards they take the highest available Bonus Card and play continues. The next person to “go out” takes the next Bonus Card until someone wins the 0 Bonus Card. Players get points for the clubs they won and for their Bonus Card. The person who wins the 0 Bonus Card does not get any points for their clubs in that round. The game ends when a player earns 50 or more points and then the player with the most points wins.

Crazy Clubs is a variation which is ideal for two to four players whereas the sweet spot for Clubs is four to six players. Crazy Clubs also encourages more trash talk and crazy unexpected results. The trick goes on until all other players pass consecutively. You have to stay with a meld type but any run can be beaten by any run of more cards and any single card or pair can be beaten by any set with more cards. This means that a trick with a 15 is no longer guaranteed to win the trick and it frequently leads to more points per trick. Needless to say, the momentum can shift on a dime.

Clubs and Crazy Clubs are great games for two or more people and are now among my go-to games. If you are looking for a quick and fun little game that will shift your competitive spirit into high gear, either Clubs or Crazy Clubs is the solution. For more information on this and other North Star Games, check out their website and like them on their Facebook page to share the love.

 

Written by Brian Cady

 

Try out the New Wikipad at the PAX Prime Arcade

Wikipad1Come out to the PAX Prime Arcade later this month and try out the new Wikipad tablet (http://www.wikipad.com/) while you are there.  For those who are not yet familiar with this amazing mobile gaming device, (which is also great for mobile applications, work, movies, and entertainment) it is an Android tablet with a removable game controller, amazing sound, and a top quality screen.

Video Game Scoreboard will have Wikipad devices at the PAX Prime Arcade and we will be validating many inaugural world records on this new device.  We have a few games already slated for the event but we would love your input.  Please take a look at some of the games that are optimized for the Wikipad (http://www.wikipad.com/Games) and let us know (records@videogamescoreboard.com) which ones you want to try.

For more information on the Wikpad, keep an eye on our website for an upcoming review or pick one up for yourself.

Anarchy Online Celebrates Ten Amazing Years

 Funcom celebrates ten years of groundbreaking innovation, with one of the first games ever to feature in-game advertisement, instancing, massive player vs. player combat, in-game concerts, virtual items and more.

This month Funcom is celebrating the ten year anniversary for ‘Anarchy Online’! On the 27th of June 2001 the world’s first science fiction- based massively multiplayer online game launched, and now, a decade later, thousands of players still call the world of Rubi-ka their home.

The history of ’Anarchy Online’ is one of innovation and pioneer work. The development started as early as 1995, in an age when the Internet was reserved for hardcore adopters. The initial design document even questioned whether the Internet had a future, and the stated hope was to get at least 2500 players. For Funcom, ‘Anarchy Online’ has always been a proving ground for new and exciting ideas, both in terms of gameplay, technology and business models. Instancing, massive player vs. player combat, digital download of games, in-game advertisement, virtual world radio, concerts, virtual items, ‘freemium’ business models – the list goes on. These are but some of the areas where ’Anarchy Online’ has served as an initiator and innovator.

Now, millions of gamers and many innovations later, Funcom are ready to throw down the biggest party on Rubi-Ka to date.

“When Anarchy Online launched ten years ago nobody would have predicted where it would go, and that we would even see this day are all thanks to the dedication of our players and our community”, says Colin Cragg, Game Director on Anarchy Online. “I have so many fond memories from the years with Anarchy Online, and there are so many people to thank. The span of time and the way our world has touched the lives of so many is something we will always cherish. The fact that the kids of couples who met in AO are now playing our game says it all. I feel incredibly grateful to have been a part of Anarchy Online, and can’t wait to see what the future holds in store for us all.”

As a part of the celebration Funcom is adding new content to boost the festivities. Ranging from an all new birthday raid to new vehicles, clothes, gear, action figures and pets, players will have tons of new content to play around with. Players who choose to re-subscribe during the festivities will even get a special “Heckler of Celebration” social pet, and many other benefits. The Heckler is known as one of the most notorious monsters in ’Anarchy Online’, and it comes complete with a rocky personality and a 10th anniversary Birthday Hat.

And of course, no celebration would be complete without a grand party, and we’re featuring music from the founders of the world’s first virtual game radio. The combined efforts of Funcom, in-game volunteers and Gridstream Productions is going to bring it to you live with one of the biggest AO parties ever. Running over three days on two dimensions, this is the Anarchy event of the decade. The party starts this Friday, and a complete list of times can be found on the official site.

We hope you will join us for the party, and if you have not been to Rubi-Ka for a while we are certain that you have a lot of exciting new content to catch up on.

See you on Rubi-Ka!

Interview with Claudina Lopez, Alienware Marketing Manager, on AlienFX

A brief interview with Claudina Lopez of Alienware at the Alienware Arena at PAX East Friday morning.

Friday morning at PAX East started out with a visit to the Alienware Arena.  The area looked, almost, like an MMA cage fighting arena.  The area featured Alienware products as well as various games, including Dungeon Seige III, Guild Wars 2, League of Legends and Need for Speed2.

I got to sit down with Claudina Lopez, marketing manager, who works with game publisher relationships.  She has been with Alienware for 8 years and answered a few questions regarding the Alienware SDK equipment they were showing at PAX East.  She was accompanied by John Blain from Dell.

While we talked I got to see games in action with AlienFX running, including League of Legends and Dungeon Siege, as well as play Guild Wars 2 for a little bit while I was at the arena.  However, I knew nothing about AlienFX and she was willing to talk to me about it.

Kayhynn:  Tell me a bit about what you guys are showing here with all the various games.

Claudina:  All the different games at these events is to show their content as much as possible.  So with games like  Dungeon Seiege II, Guild Wars II, Dark Spore, etc. we are showing content that hasn’t been released to the public yet.  Most of these have closed beta programs right now, but not many have access to it.  We want to bring the latest unreleased content to the community so they can try it out and see what gameplay they like.

We have different genres.  We have shooters, MMOs, you can find RPGs.  Anytime of game you like depending on your game style and game tastes.

We’re also showing some games that have certain technology implemented .  So some of these games, such as Need for Speed 2 and Dungeon Seige III,  have AlienFX enabled.  So with certain instances in the game, the colors of our lighting zones change.  Our keyboards light up, the mouses light up.  For instance, in Dungeon Seige III, when you are at full health, the backlight of the keyboard or mouse is green, but as you loose health, it turns yellow and when you hit red…well basically you’ve died.

So we’re working closely with developers to implement these AlieneEffects SDK in the games so their customers can experience a different gaming experience, a more imersive experience.

 

Kayhynn: Are you expanding to other games such as World of Warcraft or other MMOs and such?

Claudina: So we pitch to everyone.  Right now, we’ve seen a lot of attraction from developers who are a bit more independent, such as League of Legends with Riot Games.  They did the implementation with AlienFX SDK.

We have pitched to larger developers, we are just waiting to hear back from them to see if this is something they can implement in their games.

Kayhynn:  How long has AlienFX SDK been in development?

Claudina: So we have had the AlienFX SDK for three years now.  But actively, last year, we started putting it out more and more.  Last year, we saw 12 titles launch with AlienFX SDK enabled.

Kayhynn:  How much does a typical keyboard, mouse or laptop run with AlienFX installed?

Claudina: A typical keyboard  or mouse with AlienFX SDK enabled sells for $100 each.  Laptops start at $799.  We have every single product line supports AlienFX, it just depends on your needs and budget.

Kayhynn:  What made you go with the back-lighting of the keyboards and mouse in connection to life bars?

Claudina: We wanted to bring different experiences for the Alienware Customer. If a gamer was in a dark room, they should still be able to play.  So we illuminated certain areas.  For example, in our desktop chassis design, when you pull off the panel, to find your USB ports, you have a light in there too – an LED light that makes it easy for you to find your ports and keys as well. So that was the thought behind it and since we had that implemented, we asked, why not use this technology to make for a more immersive gaming environment?  Which is exactly what we did.

Kayhynn:  Anything new that you can talk about?

Claudina: Not really, no.  We can’t talk about any of that.

Kayhynn:  Can’t blame me for trying right?  What games, of the ones showing here on the event floor, is your favorite?

Claudina: My favorite has to be…um…that puts me in a bind right?   I’m more of a shooter girl, we’ll leave it at that.

I would like to thank John and Claudina for sitting down and showing me their new equipment as well as the games being demoed at their arena at PAX East.

Cosplay Competition: Best in Show Winners

EOGamer, in conjunction with the Big Bang 2010 event hosted by the International Video Game Hall of Fame, hosted a Cosplay Competition Friday, Aug. 6 at the theater in Bridgeview Center.  While the turn out for the first time event for both Big Bang and for EOGamer, everyone that attended enjoyed the event.

Even though we never specified video game characters, every individual who entered the competition were dressed up as video game characters.

The Best in Show part of the competition included everyone who entered into the contest — 4 people.

The judges, after talking things over for several minutes, decided first place would go to two people, a father and son combination that made up Mario and Luigi.

Congratulations to Tyson Faorco (Mario) and James Barbieri (Luigi) on their first place win.  They received a $100 dollar gift certificate to Cosworx.com

Second place went to Kyle Smith who was dressed up as Solid Snake from Metal Gear.  He received a $25 dollar gift certificate to Cosworx.com

 

Thank you to Cosworx.com and Cosplay.com for their sponsorship of the event and to everyone who participated in the event.  We look forward to more events like this in the future and would love to hear from you on it.

 

 

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