While we wait to see what Gale Force Nine has in store for us with the Black Sails, WWE and Family Guy (really?) games, they've recently dropped a couple of expansions.
Spartacus is a no-brainer if you are already a convert, because that game still rules and this one makes those wacky Primus events more common- along with adding new versions of three of the best gladiators, a new boasting mechanic and a couple of "Cock Block" cards. You betcha. The Sons of Anarchy expansion is basically just a player-add thing, and that's fine and this is a good gang. But it's also not particularly essential, especially if you're having a hard enough time getting three or four people to play SoA, let alone five or six. Review at No High Scores this week.
Really enjoying Legendary Encounters, but I tried to play it with a couple of friends last night and it just kind of flopped. I dunno, they weren't really feeling it and the general consensus was that they wished that we had played Forbidden Stars instead. C'est la Vie. But a solo game, it's really fun and the way the scenarios describe the films is actually really well done. For example, in the Aliens scenario, it starts off with you exploring Hadley's Hope and encountering host colonists and events happen that prohibit you from attacking in certain rooms. Heading into second phase, you've got to set up sentry guns in two of the rooms, Newt shows up, and TONS of aliens start streaming out- and it really feels like fighting against a horde of them rather than in the first scenario where it does come across contextually as one alien popping up and hitting your people. In phase 3, you've got to find the queen and kill her, of course, but you can't if she has captives. And the first time I did this one, I kept getting captives taken but I thought it was kind of good since it thinned my deck of starter cards. But then when I found the queen there was so many that there was no hope of freeing them all and then killing her beore she took out two of my people. I've lost the Aliens scenario a couple of times now but I've beaten Alien three out of five times. Not sure this one needs any kind of expansion, it really feels complete out of the box unlike so many other deckbuilders.
I'm also really enjoying Victory Point Games' Darkest Night- but again, this is one that feels like it's best solo. I have the Necromancer Bundle and the From the Abyss expansion and I'm using everything. Fundamentally, it is an Arkham Horror-style adventure game with some sort of vague similarities to that, but it's really lean. There are seven locations on the board and an evil Necromancer that moves between them, dropping off "blights" where he goes. These blights are sometimes monsters, but sometimes hazards or other tidings of ill omen. You have four characters that each have a VERY unique set of ability cards. You do one thing each turn after you resolve an event card- move, attack, hide, pray, search, etc. The idea is that you have to unlock these holy relics that each require three keys. Get all four relics and go to the monastery and you win. Or, you can try to fight the Necromancer.
It's pretty standard fantasy adventure stuff on the surface, but there are some really cool things going on in the game. You don't have HP, you have grace. Whe you fight and lose, you die unless you have the grace to survive. Stealth is important, and certain things make you gain or lose stealth and effects play off of how stealthy (or not) you are in this quest. The Necromancer also comes looking for you if you have low stealth, which is bad. It's interesting that you don't always kill monsters or other blights when you battle them. They attack/affect you at the end of your turn, but they remain until you take an action to actually attack them, which incurs a stealth loss. Lots of interesting little things like that going on in this design. I'll probably review the whole thing soon. But so far it's up there with Eldritch Horror and may in some ways be better than that great game.
I have the new edition of Drakon on tap for Miniature Market's Review Corner. I dunno, this is like the third time I've owned this game and I'm still not quite sure it's a contender at all. It's cute, kind of fun, light, etc. but it's also in the same space as DungeonQuest, which is by far the superior game. But on the flip side, I've been playing it with my kids (5 1/2 and almost 4) and they've been able to grasp it with some help such as explaining the room tiles and playing with open hands. Trying to get this out a the next group get-together with six.