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Table Of Tales: The Crooked Crown

Posted by GG Goblin On May - 9 - 2019

Dining table, coffee table, bedside table, why not tale table?

For as long as there have been video games, there have been video game board games. While most are simply digital representations of their original form, some video game board games really have tried to bring that tabletop feeling to the player, and none have succeeded as well as Tin Man Games’ Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown. Embark on the most traditional tabletop turn-based tactical RPG, albeit played in virtual reality.

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Putting on the PlayStation VR headset and starting up Table of Tales will bring the player to a table of all things. Even from the very start, there is something quite nostalgic about this game, with the surface of the table transforming into the play area, and figures representing the heroes under the players control. Dice cast to one side and various other items that would feel at home in a session of tabletop Dungeons and Dragons all add to the atmosphere.

However, the challenge of telling a deep fantasy story with just inanimate figures would be challenging. They can’t talk after all, they are figures. This is where the dungeon master steps in, filling in for the characters with its own take on their voices, and fleshing the story out. In this case, the dungeon master is a bejewelled bird who looks a little like a pimped up Professor Yaffle. The bird will be your companion throughout this adventure, narrating the story and filling in as voices for any conversations.

As the player moves from one area to the next with their little troop of heroes, the board will change to suit the new area. It is laid out in a grid fashion, guiding the player in movement and the like, and is all displayed on the table just like a real game, with the player standing to one side and able to lean in and get a closer look at any of the details.

When it comes to the actual playing, the two Move controllers will give the player access to everything they need. This is a very tactile experience, even in VR, and the player will find themselves able to pick up figures and move them around the board, thinking tactically as they take out any enemies. Characters have action points that will allow them to do only so much each turn, and take turns to move and act before the enemy has their go. So, the movement is covered by picking up the figures and actually moving them. The actions pretty much work the same way, in that the player will have a selection of cards that represent that characters abilities, and using an ability is as simple as picking up a card and positioning it on the intended target, be that the player’s character or an enemy for an attack.

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It doesn’t get much more complicated than that for the mechanics and will feel very at home to anyone who has played this type of tabletop game. Sure, there are a few more things to learn, such as levelling characters up is quite simple and rewards them with new abilities, and certain contextual actions will come up that require rolling dice against a skill. There is even narrative branches to deal with, where the player will have to actively choose a response and potentially change the course of the game. However, with all of that, even the most novice gamer could pick up the basics in a matter of minutes.

When it comes to the controls, well, it’s not all perfect. Using the Move controller to pick up a figure in the middle of a group of other figures can be tricky, as can placing a card on the selected target in a crowd. It can also sometimes be difficult to see everything on the board. Thing is though, knocking over a few figures on a crowded playing area feels authentic. For the usual VR gripes, motion sickness isn’t really a thing as the player is not moving around. However, the ship scene at the very beginning did bring on a little sea sickness.

Table of Tales isn’t an overly long game, which we expect from VR, coming in at around four hours or so. Obviously the branching narrative will give players a good reason to come back for more, and there is even a multiplayer mode included with the VR player setting up against regular screen players. Considering the cost of the game isn’t overly expensive, players will get more for their money in Table of Tales than in most PSVR games.

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Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown is quite the magical experience. Those familiar with tabletop games such as Dungeons and Dragons will feel a pang of nostalgia and familiarity, while other will get to see a fantasy turn-based tactical RPG presented in a whole different way. It really is such a cool idea, and one that I would love to see expanded upon. Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown is possibly the best use of VR so far, and really should be played by anyone with a headset.




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