Episode 65: Touching Buffy

65: Touching Buffy

Release Date: Oct. 20, 2008

Running Time: 120 min.

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If the apocalypse comes, beep me. First we take a trip to Colonial America to battle classic horror movie villains in A Touch of Evil. Then we enroll at Sunnydale High and try to dust The Master playing Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

News & Notes:  Hexer von Salem, Ghost Stories, Witchcraft
The List: A Touch of Evil, Buffy The Vampire Slayer Board Game
Name That Game: Win Rage
Backshelf Spotlight:
The Keep, Wicked Witches Way
Truckloads of Goober: Atmosfear
Game Sommelier: 5 games to pair with movies for a Halloween party
Mail Bag:
NFL pool update, Haggis!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

 Game News & Notes

Hexer von Salem  Official site | BGG

Elder demons are gathering their powers to enter our dimension through a rift in space. Their goal is to spread darkness in our world. It is not too late yet though and the mighty Witcher of Salem beckons brave warriors to aid him in his fight against the lurking evil.

Ghost Stories Official site | BGG

Ghost Stories is a cooperative game in which the players try to banish unwanted spirits before they haunt a town. Each Player represents a ghost hunter who is working together with the others to fight off waves of spirits and other beings mostly inspired by eastern mythology.

Witchcraft Official Site | BGG

Witchcraft is a two player game set in a fantasy universe. Every player commands wizards from magical guild and tries to take control over the ancient temple.

The List

A Touch of Evil BGG | Official Site

A colonial-era advernture board  game filled with Gothic horror. Players take on the role of a character investigating the supernatural events happening in and around the village of Shadowbrook. The town elders are the key. Find out their secrets and discover the villain's lair and you'll find yourself in an epic showdown to save the town.

Buffy The Vampie Slayer Board Game  BGG 

Welcome to Sunnydale. Home to Buffy, Willow, Giles, Spike and the rest of the Scooby-gang. ONe player plays the villain and the others take on the roles of the characters from the show, attempting to collect artifacts, sire new vampires, or destroy their enemies.

Backshelf Spotlight

Mystery Connection Contest
Can you create a connection between these two games?
Post your connections in our forums and you could win a set of custom Spiel dice! Remember the more left of center your connection, the more likely you'll get our attention.

spiel dice

The Keep BGG

A semi-cooperative board game based on the cult-classic film, The Keep. Good players search for the Hilt to destroy the demon Molasar. The Molasar player uses his minions to try and stop them.

Wicked Witches' Way BGG | Official Site

A simultaneous puzzle solving/pattern matching game with about a witch race rally. No, really.

Truckloads of Goober

Atmosfear DVD Game  BGG | Official Site

The aim of Atmosfear is to collect a key from each of the six regions of the board before heading to the "Well of Fears" in the centre and attempting to draw your fear from among those of your opponents in order to win the game. This must be done before 49 minutes passes, or all players lose automatically.



 Game Sommelier

The Challenge: 5 games to pair with movies for a Halloween Party.

Stephen's List

Movie / Dave's Vote

Monster Menace America
Godzilla, Jason & the Argonauts, Valley of Gwangi
Fury of Dracula
Dracula, Lifeforce
It's Alive!
 Frankenstein, Young Frankenstein
Grave Robbers from Outer Space
Plan 9 From Outer Space, Ed Wood, Killer Klowns From Outer Space
Dawn of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead
They've Invaded Pleasantville Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Invaders from Mars

Next Challenge: still a secret!

Mail Bag

Thanks to donor John "Mr. X" Lund

Thanks to Sean Ross for offering his game Haggis (BGG) in the Games by Spielers for Spielers forum! It is a variation on a classic ladder-style card game. Looks really interesting. And with a name like Haggis, how can you go wrong? Download Haggis from our forums.


I'm sure there are some goofs in there somewhere. Let us know if (when?) you find one!




I coincidentally just got A Touch Of Evil. The Flying Frog team were so charming in person that they overcame my concern that it might be too similar to Arkham Horror, another sprawling horror epic which periodically returns to claim more of my money (with a soupcon of the classic Black Morn Manor for taste). And it undeniably is, but it's so very shiny and streamlined that I've started to actually waver between which of the two I prefer. Mary Beth Magallanes' score works surprisingly well at being atmospheric but not intrusive, except the spoken sections in the middle that can break the very mood it works so hard to create, especially if you don't happen to be going up against the villain discussed.

Sorry the roll and move aspect was so awful for you guys. I know some players are kind of allergic to it full stop, but I actually didn't mind how it's used here. It made me wonder if I was getting a small taste of what fans of the original 1980's Arkham Horror were talking about. On a board the size of the Arkham remake, it might indeed kill the game but this board is so small that even if you can't immediately get where you planned, you can- and possibly should- profit by moving through another location on the way and scooping Event cards. If not, you can always elect to stay where you are; thus the movement mechanic enables the risky "lingering" rule; it all works together. If it really bothers you that much, though, try the character with a +2 movement bonus or save up and buy one of the two horses. With these, I really can't see how you would be delayed from reaching any location on the small board for longer than a turn or three at most. Not sure how it got so "painful" without one brutal run of luck. I thought the movement was "a feature not a bug." but then I'm late to work often enough that I've surrendered to random transit in the real world.

Oh and thank you so much for pulling the voice of the Gatekeeper back from the dim recesses of my distant VHS past- that was indeed a hilarious evening. "WHO IS THE YOUNGEST?" "H-h-here, my Gatekeeper!" Nothing like seeing a group of grown men and women bowing in frightened deference to their TV set as it coldly insults them.


The roll and move mechanic as a concept doesn't immediately put us off any game, for sure. We love Talisman, after all. But the way it is implemented in A Touch of Evil just seems to work against the tension the game tries (and succeeds on many levels) to build. As a result, the mechanic feels more like a bug than a feature to me.

I am willing to admit that we rolled an inordinate number of 1s in our game. But as with card games where the shuffle is important to the overall randomness of the game, you have to account for games like ours when figuring the limits of the random movement mechanic.

I really really enjoy the world created by A Touch of Evil and it is no great hardship to spend a few extra turns in it. But the fact is there is a chance that a significant number of those turns could result in less decisions and less drama. These slow move turns certainly don't drive home the fact that Shadowbrook is in immediate danger and every turn matters. Some turns matter more than others, not because of the player's decisions, but because of those angry dice. If the theme didn't hammer on the danger and doom so strongly, I think I'd feel less put off by these slow move/no move turns.

Great show - even if I am still struggling to get the title out of my head.

I've been musing about whether to get A Touch of Evil for awhile now. For me the attraction has been that it is a kind of 'Arkham Horror' Lite. I've only played AH once, at PoodleCon, and I found it way too long and drawn out, but I kind of liked the idea. Also I'm not patricularly bothered by the whole Cthulu thing so the theme didn't really stick with me (I'm curious, does anybody actually read Lovercraft or does the whole Cthulu mythos just self perpetuate itself with everyone raving about it ? Or is there a film that I've missed ?). Anyone, an early 18th Century gothic horror theme is more interesting to me so I have been wondering if this game might hit a sweet spot for me.

Following the episode, I'm ready to give it a try.

The dice roll mechanic is an interesting debate. Given that it took me two hours to get to work today despite the fact I had an urgent meeting at nine (which I missed), I am kind of pursuaded by the idea that fate (or roadworks) might stop the investigators getting to the graveyard on time. Someone was rolling a shedload of "ones" for me this morning - fortunately I did not have to check for random monsters while I was lingering in the traffic jam.

Spiel on, dudes.  

But your two hour commute wasn't fun was it? And it sounded to me like the roll and move objections were based on the fact that instead of keeping the investigators from getting to the graveyard on time, it just made 'on time' a lot longer. So do you roll 6's and get to your meeting on time (30 minutes), or roll 1's and get to your meeting on time (2 hours).

LOL - the two hours in the car were made all the more acceptable by the Spiel podcast :-)

I agree with your point although I was merely reflecting on the fact that the game could be viewed as adding an element of realism in the fact that travelling is never as smooth and consistent as we may think and sometimes there's a lot of waiting around.

As you, say, though, you still get there 'on time' so why stretch the time ?

Ah, I can see that then. For us it was kind of the opposite; when we found our movements stymied, it reminded us of those cliched moments in horror films which find someone trying to start a car engine while some unspeakable beastie is shambling after them ("C'mon man! C'mon! " *whirrwhirrwhirr* "%$^#, start the car!" I'm trying; I'm trying!" *whirrwhirrROAAAR* "Okay, okay, go go GO!" *tires squeal*) so it actually worked with the theme for us. But then we were playing co-op where the villain grows stronger as the game progresses, so time is more of the essence. In the competitive game, I can see this becoming more of a drag, since the tension is created more by your fellow players and if they can't put their plans to harass you into operation, you might indeed face a duller time.

We played the competetive version and I hadn't thought about the tension being different in the co-op game. Good point. 

I still think the tension you're describing fits better with the b-movie aesthetic of Last NIght on Earth than it does the classic horror vibe of A Touch of Evil. Then again, if you're working together the fickle dice can be seen more as a way the game itself can work against you. Maybe the dice themselves are evil!

I played this game in the VHS version back in college.  It was exactly as cheesy as you'd expect, and the gamemaster was so annoying we conspired to beat the game within the time limit. 

The most amusing part of the game was when the gamemaster stopped the game, as he does, and [Spoiler]demanded that the player whose turn it was, me, lose two keys.  He then demanded I say "Thank you."  "Screw you!" I declared instead.  After a moment, the gamemaster said "If you did not say 'Thank You,' then LOSE ANOTHER TURN!"[/Spoiler]

You couldn't script that any better if you tried. Great story!

To improve the roll and move mechanic could you incorporate a mechanic similiar to the +1 chit in Airships that you get when you miss on a roll. 

I haven't played this yet (it is on my List) but it may be an extra dice or +? on your next roll if you miss or roll a 1.



The +1 method would be a good fix, especially since the board is pretty compact.

I also think adding a speed attribute to each character could be an easy workaround. Each could have a speed between 1-3 and this attribute could be added to the die rolls. You could still keep the lingering rules in effect for characters who choose to stay put.

Having a "speed" or "movement" die modifier for each characters is a great idea, Stephen.   And, since the characters all have different attributes, how fast a character can travel would be a logical attribute as well.

Cody and I reviewed this game on a recent episode of "Game On!", and we had a similar feeling about the pace of the game.  Of course, our main problem was getting stuck with a card that cancels Lair cards, causing us to get stuck in a vicious cycle of collecting investigation tokens, spending them, and then losing the lair card due to a bad die roll.  But, overall, we both liked the game quite a bit!  The mehcanic of investigating the town elders' secrets was especially refreshing. 

Great show as always, guys.  Hey, you should come over to my house and game with me and Cody sometime - something other than Formula De.  :-)

John (The Science)

I agree about the Lair card cancellation being a bit over the top. Though we didn't mention it in the show, we chose to not use this rule.

And I think that's where the many variations and customizable nature of the game is really quite cool. They've accomodated players who really want to play a screw-your-neighbor kind of game but you can easily play without it and the game doesn't suffer at all.

We'd be glad to get some games to the table with you some time. Just make sure your Loser's trophy is on display. :)