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Murderbot!

In Martha Wells’s All Systems Red, we meet Murderbot, a security droid assigned to a research team on a faraway planet. After the scientists are attacked by a creature that did not appear in survey reports, the team starts to notice discrepancies in maps and other reports. Murderbot just wants to be left alone to watch soap operas, but finds itself starting to care as corporate plots start to unwind and its team is in danger. Murderbot has managed to hack its software and become self-governing...

November 19, 2017

Citadels

Another good city-building game is Citadels. While the basic play is just purchasing buildings, there is also a draft each round in which you select a role. This role­—hidden from other players until it is your turn that round—affects both the order of play and the special ability you have. Some roles increase your income based on the type of buildings you have; other roles attack other players or allow you to draw extra cards. Not every role is in use each turn, which also affects ...

October 25, 2017

Provenance

In Provenance, we leave the Radch Empire of Ann Leckie's Ancillary series and meet neighboring societies in a political thriller—murder included....

September 27, 2017

Seeking Vendors for 2017 Geek Faire

Calling all local and semi-local sellers of cool, geeky merchandise! Are you interested in renting a table to sell your goods as part of Geek Faire?...

September 21, 2017

Forbidden Desert

My household loves cooperative games. One of our favorites is Forbidden Desert. While it shares some concepts with Forbidden Island—you need to collect items and escape before nature swallows your party—it adds some mechanics that make it a much different game....

September 21, 2017

Preorder Betrayal at Baldur's Gate for 20% off!

Fans of D&D and Betrayal at House on the Hill: the new Betrayal at Baldur's Gate board game is coming out on October 6, and we are now taking preorders! Regular price is $50.00, but we are giving a special 20% discount to customers who order by September 30. You can place your order in person at Pandemonium, or you can send an email to orders@pandemoniumbooks.com. We will need your email address and phone number, and the discount is only valid if you pick up your copy within 7 days of the game's...

September 11, 2017

Suburbia

Living with an urban planner, I play a lot of city-building and tile-placing games. One we particularly like is Suburbia. It has a good combination of flexibility, strategy, and chance....

August 31, 2017

Six Wakes

I first heard of Mur Lafferty when the Shambling Guide to New York was released a few years back, and I passed on reading it. I was burned out on the zombie thing and did not need a New York guidebook in my life—or so I thought. Then she appeared as one of the authors of Bookburners, a shared world novel edited and partly authored by Max Gladstone. Max is a recent personal favorite of mine and a frequent guest at the store. Mur’s work was so impressive in Bookburners that when her novel Si...

June 29, 2017

Come to Dust

A horror novel with a somewhat atypical zombie trope that works beautifully because of the juxtaposition of a strong, loving, and very real-feeling blended family...

June 22, 2017

Recoletta

In the Recoletta trilogy by Carrie Patel, society is living in underground cities after a calamitous catastrophe. The first book is part murder mystery and part political intrigue, while a fight over access to a mysterious pre-catastrophe library ensues. In the second book, we move aboveground and learn more about the relationship between the buried cities and the farming communities as a backdrop for revolution. In the final book, we leave the buried cities and all-out class warfare behind a...

June 22, 2017

Summer Family Program Schedule

12:30–3:00 p.m. Kids aged 7–14 and their parents are welcome to drop in! ...

June 21, 2017

Proof of Concept

Kir is a "scav"—someone who grew up in the polluted, devastated wilderness between hive cities. She was kidnapped from the wastes at a young age and brought to a lab, where her mentor installed an AI in her head....

June 12, 2017

Clank!

I recently spent an afternoon playing Clank!, a deck-building game with a board component. We play a lot of Dominion in my household and have played some Ascension at parties. Clank! is the next evolutionary step. It is a natural integration of deck-building and board game, requiring a more flexible strategy. ...

May 28, 2017

Ninefox Gambit

I don't often read military SF, but I've been reading through this year's Hugo finalists, including Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. This is a great example of an awards list recommending books that I wouldn't pick up on my own but am glad I had the nudge. What makes this book feel unique is that while it is very much science fiction, the science is so foreign to us that it takes on a magical approach. Ninefox Gambit doesn't feel like a fantasy, but the worldbuilding often flows like one. Kel Ch...

May 26, 2017

Seeking GMs for Free RPG Day

Free RPG Day is coming up on June 17, and we are looking for volunteers to run tables. Game Masters of all experience levels are welcome! If you are an experienced GM and have a 2–4 hour adventure you’d like to run in your favorite system, we are happy to have you. If you’re a newer GM or just don’t have a one-shot game ready to go, we can give you one of the Free RPG Day adventures to run. If you’d like something easier, we can teach you the rules of a GM-less game such as Fiasco ...

May 24, 2017

Down Among the Sticks and Bones

I absolutely loved Seanan McGuire's Every Heart a Doorway last year. It was the concept/world that I didn't know I had always been looking for—what happens to children who visit magical lands when they return home? This isn't the brooding Holden Caulfield-goes-to-Narnia of The Magicians; this is a boarding school full of children who no longer know how to relate to their families, each returning from wildly different worlds. Some are desperate to return. Others are haunted and unable to re-adj...

May 11, 2017

Above and Below

When the buzz first started about Above and Below, I was curious. But then people said "storytelling," and I wasn't sure how I felt about it. Is it part RPG? How would this play at home, or across age levels? I finally got a chance to play last month, and storytelling just means "choose your own adventure." As a child of the 80s, I am all over that! ...

May 4, 2017

Retrospective—Arkham Horror: Song of the Black Goat

Arkham Horror: The Card Game is the latest Living Card Game from Fantasy Flight Games, and has been one of Pandemonium's bestselling game lines since it came out last fall. With much tighter rules and faster playtime than its namesake (the original Arkham Horror board game) the Arkham Horror LCG is easily my favorite game from 2016....

April 20, 2017

Machi Koro

One of the things I look for is a multiplayer game that also plays well with just two players. I especially like games that are perfect for that Friday night after a long week when I'm tired and just want takeout and a fun-but-not-too-taxing game to play with my spouse. Machi Koro hits the spot. A friend describes it as "fast, accessible, and a decent level of strategy"—which is exactly what I'm looking for on a casual evening!...

April 7, 2017

Savage Worlds: Rifts

The people at Pinnacle Games have done a masterful job in reinterpreting the classic Rifts setting into the Savage Worlds rules system. It is more balanced and more nuanced than the original classic Rifts from the 1990s, yet keeps the same iconic feel. If you like the classic Rifts game and want to see it updated for a more flexible and balanced system, this is for you! If you are a fan of the Savage Worlds rules set and want a fun new world to play in, you should definitely check this out. ...

March 30, 2017

Flash Point: Fire Rescue

We are huge fans of cooperative games in my household. While we enjoy competitive games, it is nice to not have to worry about the balance of players all the time....

March 14, 2017

Getting Ready for PAX

It's that time of year again! We may appear more than a little harried... but please swing by the booth this weekend and see us at PAX!...

March 6, 2017

Unexploded Cow

I am always looking for games that have a fairly simple mechanic with a good balance of chaos and strategy, as they are ideal for playing with my in-laws. I want something easy to explain with an edge of silliness. Unexploded Cow fits the bill nicely. The premise is simple: you have some mad cows you need to get rid of, and France still has unexploded bombs....

February 12, 2017

Traveling between Worlds: Millennium's Rule and Shades of Magic

There are two trilogies concluding in 2017 about which I am very excited. Both are about magic and moving between worlds—and the rules about doing so—yet have completely different characters and world-building....

January 5, 2017

These Are a Few of My Favorite Games

It's December, which means time with family. And time with family means gaming! I started playing card games as a teenager. One of my favorite drinking games got cleaned up (the original name violates the store's appropriate language policy) and turned into The Great Dalmuti. (The original drinking game also got adapted in a Dilbert-themed version.) Being a card game, there is a certain amount of luck, but what drinking game relies solely on strategy? My mother-in-law loves this game. It feed...

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