A Deckbuilding Look at Zeppelin Attack!

Zeppelin Attack!Zeppelin Attack!, by Eric Vogel, is a deckbuilding game that I have a personal connection to, as I gave playtesting comments on it from its earliest days. It’s also published by Evil Hat, who is currently running my Kickstarter for Designers & Dragons. So, take what I say here with a grain of salt — but I do find it an interesting and innovative deckbuilding design.

The Game

Zeppelin Attack! is a game of fighting zeppelins. You build a fleet out of your flagship and other zeppelins, and then you use those zeppelins to launch attacks and deploy operatives. The card-based direct conflict of zeppelin-to-zeppelin attacks makes Zeppelin Attack! a very different sort of game from the multiplayer solitaire that’s the basis of much of the deckbuilding genre. You even get points when you cause another zeppelin to “retreat” (die in flames!), making the conflict an important element of the game.

As you’d expect, there’s card buying too. Currency in the form of “Fate Cards” can be used to buy new cards from piles of Attack cards, Defense cards, Operatives cards, Attack Zeppelins, and Operations Zeppelins. The big catch is that the Fate Cards go away when you use them! This isn’t the infinitely renewing currency of most deckbuilders, but instead a uniquely expendable resource that must then be reacquired. Continue reading

Designers & Dragons

Designers & Dragons: The '70sSadly, I missed publishing a new Mechanics & Meeples article again this last Monday, but there’s been a good reason for it. I’ve got a live Kickstarter going for Designers & Dragons, my 4-book history of the roleplaying industry, and it’s been eating up my free time like you’d expect a hungry dragon to do.

If you enjoyed the short historical tidbits I’ve written on the board game industry, I encourage you to take a look, as Designers & Dragons was a model for those articles. More generally, if you’re curious why small hobby companies rise and fall, and how roleplaying publication intertwinces with wargame publication, eurogame publication, and miniatures gaming, Designers & Dragons is a rich source.

The first book, Designers & Dragons: The ’70s is particularly good in this area. It talks about the rise of fantasy and science-fiction board games and of the minigames (with a focus on Metagaming Concepts), and it also talks about how miniatures led to roleplaying games (in the TSR article). Continue reading