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Coming the Week of July 22nd

The first installment of Beyond the Veil an in-depth look at Arkham Horror The Card Game, It Came From the Tabletop Podcast, a look at FOMO, reviews of Undaunted Normandy and Starlight Stage, and more TBA.

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Re: What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing?

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15 May 2019 18:43 #297121 by Shellhead

Erik Twice wrote: So I played Twilight Struggle twice today and...I didn't like it. Don't have a reason why, I just didn't have much fun and it frustrated me. Nothing against the game, it's just not somehing I enjoy.


I played Twilight Struggle once and found it dry. The subject matter is good, but the gameplay was ultimately just a tug-of-war for points, making the best of a random hand of cards.

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16 May 2019 07:38 #297136 by Legomancer
I've come to really sour on Twilight Struggle. It's a masterful achievement, but it's just not for me. I'm not down for 2+ hours of "I put a token here; I remove it; I put it; I remove it; I put it; fine, I'll play this scoring card". I'd much rather play 13 Days or 1960. I'm terrible at TS and that means I always die before I can get any better at it, because most of it is just knowing what cards are out there. I think the game itself isn't dry, but what's required to play it well is.

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16 May 2019 07:44 #297137 by mads b.
Played two games of Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne the other day. It's based on Cosmic Encounter (which I've never tried) and while it's not bad, it's not great either.

Each turn a player challenges another and then the other players can join the fray as either attackers or dedenders and share the spoils of victory or pains of defeat. It's not a complicated game to play, but all players have special powers, you can take hostages and much more which means a turn is never simply I attack, you defend let's compare strength. The game also creates a lot of fun table talk if you like the source material, and there's lots of fun as you play. Like when two players end up with a truce and have to negotiate about what each will give the other. But unfortunately it's about 30-45 minutes too long to be a great game.

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16 May 2019 10:17 - 16 May 2019 10:29 #297152 by Ah_Pook
After playing a really enjoying San Juan, Roll For The Galaxy, Jump Drive, and New Frontiers over the last however many years... I finally grabbed a super cheap used copy of RFTG+the first expansion. I've played 10 games so far (largely Solo) and it seems pretty great. Who ever would have guessed? I'm terrible at it, but I want to get better. I'm hoping I can hook my wife on it (she loves SJ, Roll and Jump Drive) and we can go down theb rabbit hole together. If not I'll probably end up getting the app and playing that I guess, until I get my skill up enough to compete against the local killers.
Last edit: 16 May 2019 10:29 by Ah_Pook.

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18 May 2019 03:01 - 18 May 2019 03:03 #297255 by Erik Twice
Played games yesterday.

Wingspan was dull. It's dull because it's a very simple, draft or worker placement game where you can spend actions to make a space give you the equivalent of 3 cubes instead of 2. But. mostly, it's dull because it's completely uninteractive and nothing your opponents do affects you in any manner. This resulted in 75% of my Wingspan experience being about watching other people take their turns instead of actually playing.

There's not much thematic about the game, either.

China was fun. It clearly belongs to the early eurogame school of design, which is good. The way ties are resolved and the way area control extends beyond each area is very smart and makes the game work on levels other games don't. It's a solid title.

Brass: Lancanshire was the highlight of the evening. I was going to leave because nothing looked appealing and I had already spent my whole morning there but say down at the suggestion. Everyone knew the game and one player had played a lot so it was fun. I tied at 136 points after a massive train rush and lost the tiebreaker. I walked away happy at having played a good, challenging game instead of a learning romp.

I don't think the Lancanshire vs Birgimham debate is too important. They are just two different scenarios of the same game. Still, I think Birgimham is better. It has more industries and gives players more options, which opens the strategic space. Lancanshire is more tense but much of the tension comes from the lack of real choice and the power of double rail builds.
Last edit: 18 May 2019 03:03 by Erik Twice.
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18 May 2019 11:04 #297261 by Shellhead
The monthly hipster board game night. Turnout was higher than expected, because the nearby art festival was endangered by a forecast of rain all weekend.

The obligatory filler/party game at the start was What Do You Meme? It is almost exactly Cards Against Humanity, except that the judge picks a picture of a popular meme from a deck of memes. All the other players try to play a caption card in hopes of being judged as the funniest or otherwise best. We kept adding players as people showed up, then ended the game early when we had nine players, to break up into two separate games.

The other table played Stone Age, so I was up for anything that my table wanted to play instead. A married couple brought a real classic that they had recently been gifted by the husband's grandmother: Masterpiece. My family had this game, so I played several times when I was kid, though it was never as popular as my dad's beloved Acquire.

Masterpiece is actually a very good game that was published by Parker Brothers in 1970. There is a roll-and-move board that is simply a big circle of spaces, with a Rembrandt in the middle and a fancy border suggesting a picture frame. Each player starts with $1.5 million dollars and a pseudo-character sheet that has a picture of a fictional art dealer and a brief biography. The first sentence of my German baron's background noted that nobody could account for his whereabouts during WWII, which abruptly reminded me of how so many '70s movies were still hashing out WWII. On the back of the dealer card is an inventory of the value cards, showing how many cards there are at each dollar value. There are also a couple of dice, six pawns (including one that is the color of coffee with cream), a stack of art cards, a stack of value cards, and plastic clips.

Players travel clockwise around the board, with spaces awarding them money or forcing them to buy or sell or auction paintings. The first few turns are usually a snooze, but then the auctions start happening. Every painting acquired gets a secret value card clipped to the back, and only the owner knows if it's a valuable piece of art or a worthless forgery.

At first, it's just random spending, until players realize that the average value of art in the game is around $425,000. It's still guesswork, until a piece of art changes ownership once or twice. Then the mindgames begin, as people study the behavior of previous owners. If previous owners are bidding a little, it might be a low-value painting. But if previous owners are bidding aggressively, it might be an undervalued asset worth spending to get. Or maybe they are trying to pump up the value so some other chump buy a forgery. And sometimes the player gets played, hanging in the auction just a little too long and getting stuck with a bad deal. Players are also sometimes able to sell a painting for the real value directly to the bank, so eventually some of the more valuable works get cashed in early and players are competing over less valuable works still in play. The host won both games.

Stone Age was hindered by at least one analysis paralysis victim, so we played a second game of Masterpiece. Stone Age was dragging on, so our table played three quick games of F**k. The Game. It's a light filler game that would be a perfect drinking game. Deal out the deck of cards to all players, so each player has a stack of facedown cards. On your turn, you turn over your top card to the center of the table, and quickly say a word, depending on the relevant rule.

Each card has a background color, and a word printed in a different color font. 1. If the word is in black font, you say the background color. 2. If the word is in a color font, you say the color of that font. 3. If the word is any form of profanity (like SHIT) except for FUCK, you say the word. 4. If the word is FUCK, you follow either rule 1 or 2, depending on font color. If you say the wrong thing or you are too slow, another player can slap the discard pile. The slapping player then gives each player one card from the discard pile and hands the rest of the pile to the player who messed up. Keep playing until someone runs out of cards and wins.

F**k. The Game was slightly fun but probably needs drinking rules and shots to come to life. I was a little punchy from a long day plus an allergic reaction to recent pollen counts, so I lost the first two games, and the host lost the final game. The same woman won all three games.
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20 May 2019 14:14 - 20 May 2019 17:51 #297375 by Vysetron
Got one game of Camp Grizzly in the other day. Y'all were right. This thing is a story-generating machine.

Jody and Karen decided to fool around turn 1, only for Jody to call it off because he was too awkward to lose his virginity. They then immediately realized that there was a murderer in a bear mask just outside of the swimming area and split up. Jody found a phone to use as a weapon only to nearly have it confiscated by the local authorities. Fortunately he convinced them that he did not need a license to carry an assault phone. Unfortunately he made it about three steps away before tripping down the stairs and landing on the thing. The cops only had his best interest at heart. He never walked well again, and said cops were promptly murdered by Otis.

Karen was a productivity machine, largely because she was always just outside of Otis' range. She scrounged up a crowbar and started ripping through doors, but only found car batteries and cranks galore. Turns out you can't use those together. Most unfortunate. (Edit: you totally can for the ranger tower, but Karen didn't have the damn keys) Jody located a chainsaw and defended himself from Otis more than once, but through a series of unfortunate events and unlucky cameos being murdered Otis found himself quite strong by late game. He also stabbed Jody with a box cutter at one point, meaning he was likely to eventually bleed out.

Late game consisted of Jody yelling out "wait for me!" and zooming across the map to Karen for a brawl with Otis. He won, but that stab wound caught up with him and he collapsed. Karen tried to get the chainsaw working but couldn't do so in time, and Otis immediately reappeared to take her out. Dun dun duuuuuun.
Last edit: 20 May 2019 17:51 by Vysetron.
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20 May 2019 15:10 #297379 by WadeMonnig

Vysetron wrote: Got one game of Camp Grizzly in the other day. Y'all were right. This thing is a story-generating machine.

Jody and Karen decided to fool around turn 1, only for Jody to call it off because he was too awkward to lose his virginity. They then immediately realized that there was a murderer in a bear mask just outside of the swimming area and split up. Jody found a phone to use as a weapon only to nearly have it confiscated by the local authorities. Fortunately he convinced them that he did not need a license to carry an assault phone. Unfortunately he made it about three steps away before tripping down the stairs and landing on the thing. The cops only had his best interest at heart. He never walked well again, and said cops were promptly murdered by Otis.

Karen was a productivity machine, largely because she was always just outside of Otis' range. She scrounged up a crowbar and started ripping through doors, but only found car batteries and cranks galore. Turns out you can't use those together. Most unfortunate. Jody located a chainsaw and defended himself from Otis more than once, but through a series of unfortunate events and unlucky cameos being murdered Otis found himself quite strong by late game. He also stabbed Jody with a box cutter at one point, meaning he was likely to eventually bleed out.

Late game consisted of Jody yelling out "wait for me!" and zooming across the map to Karen for a brawl with Otis. He won, but that stab wound caught up with him and he collapsed. Karen tried to get the chainsaw working but couldn't do so in time, and Otis immediately reappeared to take her out. Dun dun duuuuuun.

(I haven't watched the GOT finale yet but the timing in this requires me to post)
Still better than the Game of thrones finale.
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20 May 2019 15:17 #297380 by WadeMonnig
Lords of Hellas - Scythe for the cool kids... in a really good way. (Is that vague enough?)

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20 May 2019 15:42 #297381 by jpat
Very quick Geekway rundown, which my wife and I attended for maybe the eighth time (with a gap year last year):
* Thursday: Got into the con really quickly. Started off with a somewhat abbreviated game of Terraforming Mars with all the fixins. My wife won, and I continue to spend too much time on the colonies. Rolled into a six-player Dominant Species. I choose poorly when it came to the lose-an-AP-or-lose-all-but-one-species-on-each-tile decision. I always go with the latter, but this time I went with the former because it was early and I had so many species out (also my fault for not paying attention), and ... well, it was as big a mistake as I worried it was and everyone said it would be. Went straight from that into a 4p Cuba Libre, which I've played a few times, Jenn had played once, and the others had, I think, not played. I (Government) walked away with a midgame victory, which probably means I didn't teach it well enough. This same group then played Days of Ire, a game reminiscent of Pandemic that I'd never heard of about a Cold War uprising in Budapest. We both liked it and its efforts at historicism. We ended up losing on the very last play.

Friday: Jenn and I played Dinosaur Island, which I'd picked up for her because she loves dinos. I believe I won this--it's a bit of a blur. We both thought it was pretty OK. Jenn then stomped on me again in Terraforming Mars. After that, we tried Master of the Galaxy, a bag-building game from Ares that came out last year and that I'd once read the rules for. We struggled a bit as I tried to learn it on the fly, and we goofed up some things, but I have a high tolerance for x-building games. We ended the day with 18 holes of Mars Open. Jenn came in fourth, and I came in second to last but at least hit par three times and had some good (and obviously some awful) holes. It was a fun and pretty well-run event.

Saturday: This was our last day because Jenn had to leave for a work trip on Sunday (after we drove home for four hours), but we still packed a lot in. We started with a new player with Food Chain Magnate, which I always feel like I teach poorly but it's also a hard one to grasp without playing it at least once (and I'm also pretty terrible at it). But it was still fun for our new person, I hope. After a quick game of Battle Line, Jenn and I both participated in a very well-run Dominion tournament. I ended up 2-2 in the double-elim format, though one of those wins was a tie, and the other guy wanted to bail. We finished up with a game of Concordia, which I'd read the rules for before but hadn't played, and with three games of Drop It, which was a good note to end on.
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20 May 2019 16:09 #297382 by hotseatgames

WadeMonnig wrote: Lords of Hellas - Scythe for the cool kids... in a really good way. (Is that vague enough?)


Still waiting for my Lords of Hellas, but I sure hope that's not accurate. While I am a cool kid, I hate Scythe.

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20 May 2019 16:32 #297385 by dysjunct
(Crossposted from the Tableau Builder Rumble thread)

Played Res Arcana this weekend and it was the real deal. We played 4 times back-to-back; can't recall the last time a game was compelling enough to do that. Plays fast, has a nice arc in a short time. Looks nice too. Has enough moving parts that each turn is a bit of a mini-puzzle, but then you also have to track what your opponents are doing.

Recommended, looking forward to playing again.

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20 May 2019 16:58 #297386 by charlest

hotseatgames wrote:

WadeMonnig wrote: Lords of Hellas - Scythe for the cool kids... in a really good way. (Is that vague enough?)


Still waiting for my Lords of Hellas, but I sure hope that's not accurate. While I am a cool kid, I hate Scythe.


It's fighty and not like Scythe.

I think Wade's making that comparison due to how the special actions work, but it doesn't feel like Scythe at all.
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20 May 2019 17:08 #297387 by Michael Barnes
I’ve been playing 26+ pounds of Middara...they gave us a review copy.

I don’t know. There is quite a lot to like and there are some ways it is possibly superior to Gloomhaven- I think those that don’t like the puzzly tactical combat and prefer dice will like it better. I like that it uses square boards instead of shaped tiles. I like that there are good options for non-campaign play. I like that there is more crunch to to it- details like elevation and flanking. I really like a lot of things about it, and the JRPG-ish setting (I.e. fantasy but with prescription glasses and leather biker jackets) is pretty good although there is some pretty sleazy immature artwork that I don’t care for. They really went bananas with the story- I think it has more written content than any other board game I’ve ever seen. It’s definitely not William Faulkner quality, but the ambition is pretty impressive.

But it is one of those 26+ lb Kickstarters, with like ten expansions worth of material in the box. It’s overwhelming and annoying. I feel so front-loaded by it that it is kind of off-putting. Gobs of cards everywhere. Trays of cruddy (but at least fairly unique) plastic.

It’s definitely not a bad game, but I find myself wishing that it were more contained, editorial, and refined. It comes across as sprawling.
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20 May 2019 18:24 #297389 by WadeMonnig

charlest wrote:

hotseatgames wrote:

WadeMonnig wrote: Lords of Hellas - Scythe for the cool kids... in a really good way. (Is that vague enough?)


Still waiting for my Lords of Hellas, but I sure hope that's not accurate. While I am a cool kid, I hate Scythe.


It's fighty and not like Scythe.

I think Wade's making that comparison due to how the special actions work, but it doesn't feel like Scythe at all.

It's a horrible comparison, I was just working it out in my head. The comparison starts and ends with using alot of tried and true mechanisms from other popular games and combining them into something else. Hellas is more than the sum of its parts. Some cool bits from Cyclades, Inis, Kemet, Monster hunting, etc... in a fantastic way.
Sorry, first play has me Hellas excited and trying to find the words to explain why... while typing on a phone lol
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