January 13, 2012

Gaming News: Victory Point Goes Kid-Friendly

There is a hard-working, "small-ish" game company that is meeting a unique niche in the hobby and who are now reaching out into the "kiddie table" territory!  Victory Point Games produces an amazingly diverse line of approachable titles.  Okay, so what's so unique about that?  Well, Victory Point is an independent company that produces all of their games "in-house," rather than contracting them out to a printer - games even come bagged, rather than in the standard cardboard box.  The components are still sturdy and usable, but are decidedly cheaper looking than what the likes of Fantasy Flight, Days of Wonder, Rio Grande, or GMT would produce.  Not that this is a problem, because they do this for good reason.  First of all, it keeps their operating costs low, which they then pass on to us, the consumer, in the form of very attractive prices.  Two, it allows them to create and produce a surprisingly diverse line of titles at a frequency unmatched by many other publishers.  And, finally, it generally keeps their games streamlined, quick, and unencumbered by numerous, fiddly pieces.  This production and gaming style suits a sizable demographic in the hobby who are looking for fun and manageable strategy games without having to pay heavy prices.

Victory Point's array of titles is impressive.  First starting out with hex-and-counter, tactical war games, the company took pride in its philosophy to produce strategy games with succinct rules and lower component counts, making the genre more accessible to those afraid of old Avalon Hill and SPI creations.  Since then, they have branched out with board and card games covering history, politics, role playing, dungeon-crawling, space, mountain climbing, and sports!  Now, they've created a childrens line of titles.  The first title in the Me & the Kids Series attempts to address the age-old question of why the chicken crossed the road in Why?.  Although from the rules, the only thing it actually solves is instead what would happen!  And that appears to be a massive pile-up and/or fried chicken dinners!  In what appears to be sort of a Frogger-clone, 1-5 players must safely and quickly race across and around six lanes of traffic with the aid of cards and dice.  Simple rules and a fun concept put this high on the family-friendly scale.  They have recently announced the second title, King's Critters, which seems to offer a bit more decision-making as players race against each other to retrieve little creatures that a fearsome dragon has stolen from the King's zoo - another light-hearted and kid-friendly concept.

Victory Point Games already has a reputable track record in producing elegant, fun, unique, and low cost strategy titles.  It will probably come as no surprise that I am keenly interested in seeing them apply that experience to the kids genre of the hobby, as well!

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