Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tannhäuser: So Relevant to My Interests

As most of you already know, I'm really into the idea of a Weird War: World War Two with added elements of sci-fi technology and occult power. It should come as no surprise that I am intrigued and fascinated by the idea of Tannhäuser: a board game originally by Take On You and now owned by Fantasy Flight Games, set in 1949 and featuring the sci-fi technology of an Allied squad against the occult menace of a group of evil Nazis. What's not to like?

One of the intriguing things about Tannhäuser is that it's not set during World War Two. It's actually set during World War One, but that war never ended. The opposing sides have thus become desperate to end the war, turning to either technology obtained from Roswell and re-worked by Edison or occult power from the underworld.

A danger of the Weird War setting is that the evil Nazi zombie occultists are often much more interesting than the plucky Allies who are fighting them. While there's no doubt that the coolest-looking character in the game is the German leader, Herman Von Heïzinger, who looks wicked awesome and more evil than the Devil's upper-deckers. Fortunately, the heroes in the game also look quite interesting, thanks in part to their dieselpunk gear and weaponry. Plus, who can resist the plucky American oo-rah attitude of a bunch of marines?

If you think this sounds cool, you'll want to check out Fantasy Flight Games' Tannhäuser site, and be sure to watch the intro video, which has surprisingly high production value for something that's kind of hard to find on the site.

One complaint I have about the game is that, while the characters on both sides look awesome, the teams are a mix of grunts and named characters. In games like this, everyone gets excited about playing characters with names and personalities, while nobody wants to be the faceless grunt. Maybe this is based around a game mechanic where the troops respawn while the named characters don't, but it's still a pain to buy a game with ten pieces and only get six real characters for that price.

Unfortunately, while this game sounds and looks awesome, the hefty $70 pricetag on the main set, and the $50 expansion that adds a Tesla-armed Russia to the mix, makes this a game I'll probably never get a chance to check out. If this were a roleplaying game or a video game, I would jump for it. However, as a board game, it's limited by the scenarios, figures, and boards available for it.

Maybe I'll just get Weird War Two: Blood on the Rhine, which is a d20 roleplaying game set in the Weird War, and make my own scenario. And I'll definitely continue writing my own "194X" series of Weird War stories!

EDIT: Oh man, you can download the rules online, you guys! In games like this, the art and the backstory is the best part, and you can get it for free from the Fantasy Flight site!

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