Ixalan dino priest

2017: the year of the dinosaur in tabletop gaming?

Giving stuff a Triple A status is commonly used for movies, videogames, clothing brands or brands. But in tabletop gaming there are also a few publishers and companies who have achieved the Triple A status and two of these “big players”will/have publish(ed) games with the same theme this year which happens to be one of my biggest favourites since I was six years old, Dinosaurs! RAAAAAWR!

The two publishers are Wizards of the Coast, renowned for both the worldwide card game phenomenon Magic: the Gathering and the famous roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons created by Gary Gygax back in 1974. The other publisher is Osprey Wargames (part of Osprey Publishing) who started publishing their first rulesset in 2011 (Dux Bellorum by Dan Mersey) and has published amazing rules ever since, with their biggest hit no doubt being Frostgrave by Joseph A. McCullough.

So if you are crazy about dinosaurs and also like to play tabletop games, 2017 is your year. Let me show you why.

D&D Tomb of Annihilation
normal day in Port Nyanzaru
a normal day in Port Nyanzaru

The latest expansion to the RPG is all about the dangerous jungle peninsular of Chult.  A strange fatal disease grasps anyone who has ever been resurrected and the cause is a mysterious artefact called the Soulmonger hidden somewhere in Chult. This setting offers adventures in steaming jungles, crippling temples and the port city of Nyanzaru. Chult is invested with all kinds of dangerous wildlife, but far out the best are the dinosaurs. They can be hunted or trained by the adventurers and used as mounts, companions, or combat pets. There are even rules for betting on and participating in dinosaur races hosted in Nyanzaru. So if you ever wanted to slay hordes of swamp goblins riding atop a T-Rex or making a last dash to cross the finish line with your trusty Triceratops, then this is the game for you!

 

Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago
Frostgrave GA Tales cover
beautifull cover for the accompying novel

Frostgrave was without a doubt the biggest surprise for wargamers in when it was released in 2015, small bands of adventurers led by an ambitious wizard scavenged in the frozen ruins of a once magnificent city of magic for artefacts and spells. The game has seen many additions in both rulebooks and miniatures ever since. This year however we leave the cold behind and will fight, scavenge and plunder our way across the many jungle isles of the Ghost Archipelago. The islands are filled with dangers, giant serpents, tigers, snakemen, cannibalist tribes and even a goat… and dinosaurs! Yes! There will be several kinds of dinosaurs for the game who can pop-up any time to start chewing on your warband. I really dig this setting and since the attention has been away from heavy magic, I will no doubt have way more fun with Ghost Archipelago than I had with Frostgrave itself. Plus, DINOSAURS!

Magic the Gathering: Ixalan
Ixalan pirates vs dinosaurs
nothing to see here, just a Gorgon pirate captain and a couple of dinosaurs

I am not very good at card games, I know, especially in comparison with my wife. My wife doesn’t even want to play card games against me, because “there is no challenge for me to beat you…” so ever since this brutal realisation I’ve not looked at card games that much. Well, that is until now, because the upcoming set for Magic the Gathering has everything I like! Dinosaurs? check! Pirates? check! Jungle setting? check! Merfolk and other aquatic cultures? check! Vampire Conquistadores? I didn’t know I’d like that, but check!

Ixalan is all about finding that sweet sweet loot in your deck and sending out your troops to stomp your opponent into the swampy ground. Also something new for MtG are the double-faced cards. If you manage to meet the requirements on the front, you can flip the card to get a better/stronger/different version. The art as usual looks amazing!

 

mtg ixalan card previewSomething I really like in all three games is the artwork, a real feast for the eyes. They have used the latest knowledge of dinosaurs in creating their own primordial beasts with vibrant colours, feathers and patches of down which in my opinion is a big plus. I have read the hate about the inaccuracy of the dinosaurs  in the Jurassic Park movies. But than again, what we know about dinosaurs changes every few years, so you can’t blame anyone for that.

I like the fact that dinosaur always seem to stay with us, weither it’s in movies, books or games, we stay obsessed by these hulking creatures who once roamed out planet. Even now at thirty-one I can get exited if I see, hear or read something about dinosaurs. I do hope to see more dinosaur related stuff in the future.

Any of these games you excited about? Let me know which one and why 😉

~Jelle

 

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