Toy Fair 2013: The Gate: Yes, You NEED A High (Quality) Fantasy Board Game.

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My otherwise dull video aside, as soon as you see Oofdah! Games’ The Gate – A Game of Myth and Magic in person, you know you’re getting a quality product, but a longer look reveals there’s a great deal going on besides good looks and lots of cool pieces you’ll want to show off at your next game night. The game is actually a sweet two in one deal with beginner and advanced play modes (there’s an intermediate mode as well, but don’t tell anyone you now know this!), some surprisingly deep gameplay and as you can see here, a ton of pretty (and pretty useful) stuff inside that big box. I need to grab one of these for myself at some point, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have played the game at a friends on a few occasions and can safely say it’s one of those great board games that’s instantly likable thanks to its design and even more enjoyable once you’ve spent time playing it.

Your basic goal is to “merely” get your chosen piece to the center of the board, but of course, with up to five others trying to do the same thing, a wealth of fantasy/RPG tools, tricks and traps at your disposal and plenty of twists and turns along the way, there’s going to be some serious competition from the game itself as well as the other players. There’s almost a real-time strategic element to play as you roll dice and acquire and play cards to battle the other live opponents and the game’s deadly monsters. What’s cool is beginner players (who don’t get to use all those pieces initially) can become advanced players by going through a few games and mastering the techniques there, then tackling the more difficult mode as they get comfortable with the rules and the occasional (OK, always) pesky “boss” battles.

I won’t spoil the fun by spilling any more beans, but I will say that you can probably play through the game in about 2 – 3 hours when things are rolling along and you’ll probably want to make this one a regular if the fantasy thing is indeed your thing. At $54.95 (and worth every penny), this is certainly not an impulse buy you’d see stacked up at a big box store or the local mall. Nope, folks – The Gate is a game for the board gamer who wants something that’s made to last and made to deliver a thrilling and always challenging play experience and as noted, it does just that and does it well (which is getting harder these days with video games getting most of the press on sites that ignore board games almost entirely).

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