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Coming the Week of January 18th (17 Jan 2020)
First Impressions of Return to Dark Tower.
Reviews of Clank!, On the Underground, Cover Your Kingdom, and Arkham Horror LCG: Circle Undone Core Box.
It Came from the Tabletop's take on Sanctum.
Part 3 of The Others.
And more TBA
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Please start new threads in the appropriate category for mini-session reports, discussions of specific games or other discussion starting posts.
What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing?
Once you start playing with the RSG, things really open up. be careful of the unit sizes you pick. Due to the way leaders work in CC, the larger company sized elements don't feel nearly as dynamic as the smaller units. There have definitely been times I've left a squad or two of Russian infantry "forgotten" at the stepping off point for the mission.
We tried Slaughterville yesterday. or Yet another attempt to do a smaller/faster Arkham Horror. Same idea, big bad of some sort, you have various themed characters who move around a town encountering things and monsters. All themed around 80s-90s horror movies. So we fought the Redneck cannibals. while also having demons infesting the local prison and Not-Chuck Norris fighting zombies in the asylum.
There are some positives: a simple ruleset, modular boards with themed encounter decks for each spot, specific rules for each big bad -like A touch of evil. It uses the "photo-cosplay + Filter" stuff that Flying Frog used, but alittle better? But those rules...man, what a shamble. this was definitely one of those kickstarters. When you make your own rules up just to get through the game, it was fun enough.
Then Cryptid. which was ok.
Solitary units are generally very ineffective in tactical games. With how inaccurate most small arms fire was, it required multiple units to have much of an effect. In CC, it is possible for a single unit to inflict some damage, but it pretty much requires the target to be in the open and individual unit tactics to increase the likelihood of some kind of hit (spray fire, grenades, etc.). I feel that CC does a pretty good job of modelling that effect.
Not a complaint at all, just an observation.
After that we played the first scenario of Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower. After our game I feel like I need to apologize for my "Building a Better Dungeon Crawl" article at least a little, because I think Silver Tower actually threads that needle pretty well. The first thing is that it finds a way to do challenges that are different from mere combat, with environmental puzzles, traps, terrain, and random effects that make the game feel like much more than a mere hack-and-slash. I also think its approach to a campaign is really good. It almost feels like a video game to me, with levels that can be attempted in whatever order you like and very light progression between scenarios.
One thing that stands out to me at this end is that, miniatures notwithstanding, the game is actually very uncluttered. The Book of Tales, aside from providing lots of fun flavor and narrative, allows the game to create lots of cool situations without creating a ton of unique tokens and cards. The component density of the game is actually pretty low. And this has been commented on many times, but the setting is way better than most dungeon crawls. The nauseatingly colorful aesthetic is a nice change from the drab flagtones of other games like this.
I think my biggest issue with the game is that tactically the game feels a little "who-cares." I think on balance that's fine, because the game isn't concerned about stats and numbers as much, but there are other times where it feels like the designers just lost interest in this aspect. Frankly, on lots of turns there just isn't enough to do. If there aren't any enemies on the board, and you have a couple actions left, you're better off waiting and wasting those actions than exploring a new room and getting a ton of guys on the board right before the adversary stage. In practice I don't think it matters much, but I wish the game gave some kind of upside for not taking actions.
Anyway, we had a ball with it. This friend and I meet up with some regularity to play games, so I think we'll continue to tackle some of the later missions.
First we played What Do You Meme? with the Game of Thrones expansion. It fell somewhat flat, because the game mostly used what appeared to be promotional photos from the show, rather than actual pictures that inspired popular memes about the show. And then you are trying to match typical Cards Against Humanity type cards with things like a picture of Tyrion Lannister looking lost in thought, or an expressionless shot of Joffrey Baratheon sitting on the Iron Throne.
A couple of women left to go bar-hoping, so the remaining five of us retired to the basement to play Villainous. It was both better and worse than I was expecting. The design is very clever, but was a bit challenging for players to grasp at first. Then we all struggled with the unfamiliarity of our respective decks. There was quite a bit of take-that action with the Fate cards, and then somebody abruptly won with Captain Hook. The game is definitely interesting and seems to offer a lot of replay value due to the assymetry of the decks. But the downtime was significant, and the interaction was non-existent aside from the Fate cards. My girlfriend is a big fan of the Disney princesses and likes light games with a direct competition element, so I might buy Villainous. But I usually prefer multi-player games, and Villainous seems a bit long and slow for more than three players.
Shellhead wrote: My girlfriend is a big fan of the Disney princesses and likes light games with a direct competition element, so I might buy Villainous. But I usually prefer multi-player games, and Villainous seems a bit long and slow for more than three players.
I am not a Disney guy and have had multiple players react in a similar way, but I'm telling you what I keep telling all of them: it's a great game if you play it a few times to become accustomed to the decks. Once you know how your deck works and have an idea of how the others work, the game flows naturally and much faster and it becomes obvious when people need to be Fated.
No, the interaction isn't great and there will be downtime as people learn the decks, but that recedes rapidly after a few games. The best thing about it is that it can function as a nice, half-hour filler game while waiting for people to show up or as a way to round out a night. You really shouldn't expect more from it than that. Again, I'm not a Disney person and have not even seen a couple of the films in the latest expansion. However, I've had just as much fun playing them (even for the first time) as I have any of the other characters. I really think it's a solid design. The problem is that people will only begin to feel that if they're patient enough to play it a few times, which is a high bar to set, given modern time constraints and the neverending stream of new stuff.
Ah_Pook wrote: I've gotten Mexica to the table 3 times now multiplayer, and I think it's kind of an incredibly good game. The way it starts wide open and gets more constrained and sharper and sharper as it goes is really fun. The combination of abstract strategy maneuvering/blocking and area majority assholery makes for a really dynamic puzzle to crunch on. Looking forward to playing this one a lot more.
I can't remember if it was you or some-one else on here a while back talking about this game, so sorry if so and sorry to everyone else for just repeating myself probably, but, yeah. This is a favourite of mine too.
We then played Drako which pits a team of three dwarves against a dragon. The dwarves need to be aggressive, but he played careful instead and quickly lost two of his dudes to the dragon's claws. It's a pretty smooth design and it looks great, but there's just something about card driven melee games. For all it's action it seem a bit bland, and I'm very curious to see if the new edition of Epic Duels can add something new here.
Finally we played two games of Rune Age. It was his first time playing it and we played undead and demon barbarians against the Cataclysm scenario in which all players fight against a relentless event deck. I like this scenario a lot and have played countless of solo games, and part of the charm is that it is so hard without seeming impossible. We lost both times, but came close to winning the second time. He was quick to spot the enemies we needed to deal with quickly and the game is definitely a new favourite for him.
The first was one I bought the other day, Century: Spice Road. Buy cards to turn cubes into points. It plays a lot like Splendor. It took a while for me to figure out how important some of the cards are. We ended up splitting two games of this.
Then we were both getting kind of punchy, to the point where I didn't feel like teaching anything as crazy complicated as San Marco. So I brought out Kingdomino. We've played a lot of it with four players at our house, and I never win. After my brother figured it out I didn't win against him either, losing best-of-three. Evidently I suck at Kingdomino.
We completely bombed the third case and thought it was terrible. Reading more on BGG, it looks like the killer was changed from the original case, but they did not actually change most of the clues. My wife and I had built up as story pretty similar to the original version, which obviously did not match the revised events. It was super disappointing. At least the general opinion on BGG is that the third case is by far the worst one.
I also played 9 games of Zombie Kidz Evolution with my mini-human. She absolutely loves it and is super excited about unlocking everything. She is also really exited to come up with strategies and best methods to win the game. Are there other legacy games that would work for an almost 6 year old?
I played one game of NATO Air Commander and was kind of disappointed. It is a solitaire game from Hollandspiele where you play as the air commander for NATO forces in a Cold War gone hot scenario. It felt very cold and procedural without enough meat to feel engaging. I do not expect all wargames to be "fun" in traditional sense, but I want them to be at least interesting or present an argument about their topic. This just was kind of "eh". I'll try it a few more times because it is a quick play (around 45-60 minutes), but I am expecting more disappointment.
Deep Sea Adventure - Push your luck game that people pushed too hard on. The first two rounds we all drowned and third round only two people got out. The dice were unforgiving. I like this one but it wasn't received joyfully.
Trade on the Tigris - This is a great trading and negotiation game. I like it more than Sidereal Confluence because of the shorter length and smaller footprint. Ended up losing by two points.
Crisis - This is an economic euro that I had heard about on a podcast and grabbed based on that. After the first game I thought I'd bought a clunker, but as I've played I've come to really like it. Unfortunately no one else I've played with has been really wowed, but I might be able to get more plays yet. Teaching it at Fal-Con. I was happy to lose this one because me and someone else went in with a strategy that had previously been determined to be just overpowered. It's not. It all depends on your engine.
American Rails - A stripped-down rails-and-stocks game that I usually do pretty well at, despite not generally being good at these things. Came in second.
Century: A New World - The third of this series, where I didn't care for the first and didn't play the second. Dry and dull, just mechanically rearranging cubes around and sometimes getting cards for them. This one is worker placement and there's just so much else you can do with this time and type of game.
Haggis - Played this climbing/shedding/trick-taker with one other person and it was nice to do something so easy to pick up and play. Nothing world shattering here, just a quick, fun card game.
Quacks of Quedlinburg - This is a goofy push-your-luck game that is a lot of dumb fun. Build a bag of potion ingredients and pull them out one by one without blowing up the mixture. Less involved than I thought it would be, which meant more fun. We even played with the fancy expensive BGG tokens for it (which were admittedly lovely). A lot of fun.
Had a great time and only two games were new to me but that's fine; I'm more interested in playing games I like than trying ones I don't.