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24 May 2019 09:19 - 24 May 2019 09:32 #297589 by Sagrilarus

charlest wrote: Wings for the Baron . . .

Any comments on whether the campaign game is better than the standard?

First of all a point of order for those who have never played -- "campaign" game means Advanced Rules for this particular title. There's no campaign involved.

In my opinion, the basic rules make for a super-tight, in-your-face play where you are in direct competition for limited resources with the other players. Three guys having a knife fight in a closet. The advanced rules offer a lot more options, which is nice, but it relieves a lot of pressure from the core part of the game and removes much of the need for you to use the bottom half of resource cards to retard your opponents' progress or increase your own. There's plenty of contracts to go around, and players can specialize in order to get their share.

My review on BGG (identical to my review here, both links -- and ) spawned some great comments that speak to the "campaign game", largely defending it from my comments that it neuters a significant part of the play. Though I'll admit I've warmed up to the campaign version, it's still not as good as the original, results in significant extra rules coaching even with players that have played a couple of times, and is a much cooler play. I'll admit that my group generally prefers it, but I think part of that is because they're accustomed to jumping straight into the advanced rules of any game we play. If it's advanced, it must be better, right?

In short, it's a different game, a softer play, which will appeal to some. Give both a shot.

That said, I love it when I get to play the basic game, 'cause you gotta take care of business to excel, and getting your plane one notch better than the other guy's and stealing a bucket of contracts from him can feel pretty damn cool. You do that in the campaign version and the guy just says, "that's ok, I'm full up on bombers either way." He has a more or less permanent get-out-of-jail-free card.

I've had to replace pieces in my copy which was easy enough, because the original got lost. But it's also showing signs of wear. I've played it 17 times and I'd wager it has 12 or 15 plays on it when I haven't been at the table. Games do wear out if you play them often enough, and I get requests for "that airplane game" so much that I leave it in the trunk of my car. Really on heavy rotation with my group, four years after its release. I'm considering buying a second copy. It's cheap and it's one of the workhorses on my shelf.
Last edit: 24 May 2019 09:32 by Sagrilarus.
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24 May 2019 09:54 #297593 by Gary Sax
Huh. You're right, Sag, it is super unintuitive that the advanced game would be more forgiving.

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24 May 2019 13:05 #297608 by mezike
At home

Much tableau building with the arrival of the first batch of expansions that I recently bought for 51st State and Imperial Settlers. Scavengers introduces individual discard piles and a mechanism that fishes the top card out of your opponents discards; it’s transparent that the individual discard piles are purely there to stop someone endlessly cheesing their own card in a broken discard and draw cycle but it’s not in any way onerous to manage. The cards that it introduces feel slanted to tableau growth and with all the additional card draw mechanisms it ramps up the ease with which you can get cards into hand and put together some combo chains. This is the absolute fundamental basic strategy in all of Trewicek’s tableau games, draw cards in order to expand your options and keep your engine going, so it makes the game simpler and more forgiving. In fact I found it a little too easy to exploit and managed to build up pretty much the biggest settlement I’ve ever managed.

There is another facet to this deck that works around ‘ruins’ (face-down cards) and which has some pretty neat combos where you can toast your own buildings, pull benefits from the now ruined location, and then resurrect the card or blow it up for another bonus – or simply upgrade as normal for a cheap and easy way to get cards into play. The slant on this one totally means that you will be able to get big settlements going with ease. I like it, maybe not as much as Winter for a less confrontational building game, however I’m much more interested in checking out the Allies deck that should be turning up this weekend.

I haven’t yet played with the Amazons deck for Imperial Settlers, it looks like something that is geared very well to competitive games whereas this is exclusively a solo game for me these days, but I did rebuild my other faction decks using some of the cards that come in the box. I’ve always struggled a bit with the Egyptians who are another faction geared toward competitive games and, out of the base box, are very difficult to push into a maxi-sized tableau or to break into exceptional levels of scoring due to a structure that delivers lots of resources but not enough card draws to be able to keep up with the other factions when on a drive to expand their tableau. However, some of the new deck options really open things up and I ended up with a build mixed with some of the Atlantean expansion cards that is an absolute monster. Atlantean tech is great for doubling up the Egyptians ability to turn gold into VP, however they struggle with card and worker acquisition which Amazons handily fixes; suddenly the engine opens up and provides you with ways to draw up more than enough cards that you can then easily build with their typically huge wash of resources. A little effort with timing the order of card plays means that you can still afford to run those gold offerings for bonus scoring and they suddenly hit the accelerator in a way that took me completely by surprise. Sweet Rameses I kid you not that my first game with this deck ended up scoring over five hundred points and I dug down through more than half of the commons deck along the way. A lot of the cards in Amazons facilitate card draws so I’m going to have fun with the contents of this pack.

We also played Days of Ire recently so I was interested to see it mentioned further up the thread. Our family is half-Hungarian so I had already learned an awful lot about the 1956 uprising and it was an easy decision to back the original print, especially with the beautiful artwork and close attention to historical detail whilst retaining family-friendly levels of play. The game had burrowed its way into storage so when I cleared everything out over our Easter spring clean it triggered some interest and we got playing. A while back now I wrote a lot about it here , in a nutshell it’s a totally decent game in co-op mode but I find the overlord variant is only satisfactory when in a head-to-head with two players.

At the club:

We took a trip to 2014 as part of our tenth year anniversary celebrations, and I ended up playing Castles of Ludwig which is light and fun because you get to play with those little room tiles and do weird stuff like putting a torture room in a side passage off the master bedroom or forcing everyone to walk through a thousand feet of pantries and storage rooms before they get into the castle proper. I managed to miscalculate the placement of one of my rooms which then made for a right mess that I struggled to make work for the rest of the game, coming in a distant second to the person who was actually paying attention to the bonus scoring element of his room tiles. My previous go-to strategy in this game was to buy as many orange rooms as possible because they come with bonus scoring cards that are game-breaking if you get enough of them, but those tiles just didn’t want to come out.

We also played several rounds of Fake Artist which was great as we’ve not had it on the table for quite some time. There’s always that moment when someone adds something to the drawing and it’s clear that they haven’t got a clue what’s going on – “lets all count to three and then point at Dan!” – the big giveaway on the night was when I drew the logo of a famous sports brand for the clue “slavery” and it got a big reaction from all but one non-plussed individual. There was a simultaneous collective “Ooooooh!” followed by everyone literally swivelling in their chairs to look at the person who didn’t get it. For the rest of the game they just drew random and confusing stuff to make it even more of a mess for the fake artist.

Finally got around to trying Let’s make a Bus Route which is a recent non-2014 hipster import that, no surprises, is about making bus routes. I’d describe it as a light take on crayon rails without any economy or share-trading getting in the way; in other words you do the route drawing and not much else. A dozen cards get flipped over and each player has to extend their route on the central map in a unique way based on the instructions on their player board. As you pass over exciting things such as Tourists! and Students! or Old People! you tick them off on your board as passengers and then you get a scoring bonus when you reach various destinations on the map. There are penalties for shadowing another player’s route and a Tron-like game-ending explosion if you collide with your own trail. I became immensely disgruntled because, yet again, the scoring was badly explained until halfway through the game therefore wrecking my strategy. Specifically that you have to periodically visit board locations to score throughout the game rather than loading up your bus and scoring in one go, which makes sense as it intimates that you have to drop passengers off before you can pick up more. This time round though the game owner actually reached across and wiped off half the stuff on my board on the revelation that the rules were only half explained which I found a tad rude. It wasn’t a big deal though, it takes around ten minutes to play and is very simple so long as you don’t box yourself into awkward positions in the early game where there is more random chance in which card will come out next. Its okay, I’m ambivalent about playing it again but it’s not a bad way to fill a short gap while waiting for another group to finish off what they’re playing.
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24 May 2019 13:36 #297611 by dysjunct

Legomancer wrote: Bought Res Arcana based on the hype here, and after two plays...

,,,I just don't get it. It's doing almost nothing for me. Part of it is that it's tired ass high-fantasy bullshit, which is so vanilla and uninteresting to me that it may as well be themeless.

Tom Lehmann isn't a hit factory for me, and this feels a little closer to his To Court the King, a game I actively hated, though I don't hate this. Being themeless resource conversion, this feels on par with Century Spice Road, but that game doesn't have 15 different types of cards to choose from, all of which are slathered in Euroglyphics.

Maybe there's something here I'm not seeing but this is wizarding its way to the trade pile rapidly.

Oh man, I really liked the theme -- I thought it was more western-esoterica and alchemist wars than standard elves/dwarves fantasy. That might be splitting hairs though. I do wish they had done golems instead of dragons.

I find the VPs particular flavorless and boring (what do they even represent?) but the rest of the cards I thought were pretty thematic for the most part.

YMMV of course.

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25 May 2019 11:38 - 25 May 2019 12:13 #297664 by Ah_Pook
Played a pretty cool game last night called Champions of Hara. It felt a lot like Mage Knight Jr. Use your hand of cards to move around a map and fight Monsters and whatnot, level up to get more cards, etc. 2 main cool things: 1) the art was really really good, in a weird fantasy comic book style that really struck me and 2) the card cycling between your hand and the table was a neat system that was just fun to play around with. Each card has two effects, a hand effect and a table effect. When it's in your hand you play it for the hand effect and it goes on the table. In a later turn you play the same card off the table for the table effect, and it cycles back to your hand next turn. This lets you plan stuff out in a fun way. Not sure I need to run out and buy a copy, but I would definitely play it again.
Last edit: 25 May 2019 12:13 by Ah_Pook.
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26 May 2019 11:32 #297689 by RobertB
Played two games of Root at the local game club, with my brother, my nephew, and an interested player for player number 4. I/We went about learning to play this in a totally "How not to tackle a hard game," fashion. No video preview, no solo play, just dragged all this stuff out and had at it.

We used the Walkthough for the first play. "This Walkthrough works better with an experienced player." Yeah, no shit. I played Vagabond, and the Walkthrough makes you a Thief, with no hammer. So until someone makes one for you, you don't get to craft. Makes it tough. But we did get a halfway decent grip on the game, and Eyrie got the win.

We all liked it enough that we said, "Let's switch and do this again." We all had a better idea of what each role is trying to do, and things went a lot more smoothly. I got the Eyrie, and pulled off the win before Woodland Realm did.
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26 May 2019 20:30 #297701 by DarthJoJo
Went to a lakeside park today for a town festival. A lot of the stuff you’d expect: deep-fried fair food, a bungee trampoline, chance to sit an ambulance, but the local honey-and-pickles and woodworking tents a vendor for Simply Fun caught my eye. Feel a lot like the American HABA. Boxes are way bigger than those svelte yellow ones and the pedagogical element is stressed, but the pieces are chunky and feel good in your hand.

Saw one about climbing a three-dimensional tower with magnet people, but I enjoyed my play of Kilter. The board is two wooden seesaws atop each other to form a cross. Each player gets a pile of wooden cubes in different sizes and masses. Your turn is placing cubes on an up seesaw and lasts until it tips down. You take back any that fall. Winner is first to place all of their cubes. Clean rules, good components, nice dexterity element and subtly teaches about levers. Winner.
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26 May 2019 21:30 #297705 by trif
So I played Wingspan twice over the weekend and... I'm still not sure what I make of it.

I'm tempted to just say it's a perfectly cromulent game and leave it at that but I think it deserves more attention even though it's not exactly the most exciting game in the world.

It's very well produced (which you would expect from a Stegmeier game) but the game play itself seems almost leisurely. Play an action cube on one of your four actions and activate the cards in that row. Each round you lose an action cube (to the round bonus card) so in the fourth and final round you have less cubes but, presumably, more cards to activate.

The thing is, the round bonus card (which give players points for matching criteria at the end of each round, the criteria is a random chit draw at the start of the game so you can see what's coming) has two sides: the blue side which I call the Oprah side (Everyone gets points! You get points and you get points! etc) - each player scores up to five points for matching the criteria so the bonus scores tend to cancel each other out; and the green side which is the majorities (competitive) side - whoever has the most cards/resources gets the most points, like in a normal euro. I have not played the green side yet.

It's an interesting idea to have a slight change at the beginning that changes how interactive the game is - I assume with the green side each player is watching the others like a... hawk, I guess.

Wingspan is primarily a tableau / engine building game that's less complex and, to my mind, engaging then Race for the Galaxy or Glory to Rome and yet, and yet, there's a solidity to it like the best family games and it's non-threatening enough to act as a more involved "gateway game". My wife's not a fan of any game with over four pages of rules, yet she's itching to play this because of the bird cards.

Do I want to play it again? Sure - especially with the more interactive scoring. Is it a keeper? Maybe - it has a lower cognitive entry barrier to hobby games - Stegmeier compares it to Gizmos due to the engine building, but I think the bird/ecology setting makes it less alienating to non- gamers.

Introduced a friend to Innovation and Argent the day after, but I think he found them both too chaotic for his tastes.
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27 May 2019 00:54 #297706 by hotseatgames
Three rounds of Fantasy Realms with my girlfriend, and I won all of them. The last round was very close, and I only won by having a 6 card run with the Gem of Order. It had been far too long since we had played and it was nice to break it out again.
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29 May 2019 16:37 - 29 May 2019 16:39 #297769 by Rliyen
Played two games this past Sunday for Game Day:

Exalted: War for the Throne As much as I thought the game would go quicker with only 3 people, it turned out to last nearly 4 1/2 hours. I initially broke ahead, only to be smacked back by Nathan or Eddie. Then, Eddie and Nathan fought over one territory for four turns straight without a decisive winner. One would lose a troop, then move in more on their turn and start the process again. It finally got to the point wherein I could knock out Eddie, and then in turn lose to Nathan. So, we called it and let Nathan have the win.

Then we played Heroes of Graxia. It was only the second time played with the group. I played Sype, Nathan played Flist, and Eddie played Oshnuk. I warned Eddie not to attack Flist, unless he can outright crush her. Otherwise, you're looking into a world of hurt.

Things were going fine, I was killing low level monsters and buying up cards to make my deck kewl. Then, Nathan just announces, "I'm attacking you, Scott." I tried to inflict as much damage, as I could, but was stymied by Nathan playing a Magic Shield card to thwart my Burning of Alesana. "I inflict 18 wounds, Nathan. How much defense do you have?"


I uselessly tossed the the Wound cards in the air. "That does it for me. What are you sending my way?"

I don't remember the exact amount of Wounds he fired at me, but it was a lot. What I do remember that, after Defense, it was 29 Wounds. I had 29 Hit Points exactly. "Whelp, I'm wiped out." Nathan got 12 Prestige Points, 3 points more and the game would end.

My turn came back around, I played what I could, killed Nathan's Henchman and goblin army, but I was all by my lonesome. No other armies. Eddie, channeling his inner Orc, declared an attack.... On Nathan.

Oh, Eddie. No....

Sure enough, Flist was by herself, but being attacked allowed Nathan to draw two additional cards to his hand, which is very helpful on defense. Eddie played a Mercenary from his hand, then Nathan played Roth (which allows the player to cast as many spells as you want). It went downhill from there, with Nathan redirecting chain lightning back to Eddie's own line and hammering him with 2 Double Strikes on Roth. Eddie's entire line was destroyed and he ended up being badly hurt. In the end, Nathan had 27 Victory Points, I had 16, and Eddie had 11.
Last edit: 29 May 2019 16:39 by Rliyen.
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29 May 2019 16:41 #297770 by Michael Barnes
I never in a million years expected to see either of those games listed in a post made here today.
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29 May 2019 16:44 #297771 by Gary Sax
When we say old games, we mean all sorts of old games. ;)
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29 May 2019 21:30 #297774 by Ah_Pook
Tried out Just One tonight, which is a word game that got nominated for the SdJ this year. Super simple, really good party game. One person is the guesser, everyone else sees the word and then writes down a one word clue. Then everyone shows the clues to each other, and any duplicated clues are erased. The guesser sees the remaining clues and tries to guess the word from them. That's the whole game. If you're on the market for a really solid little party game this one fits the bill for sure. We played three rounds in a row and loved it, and this is a group that generally doesn't like coop games or party games.
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30 May 2019 08:38 - 30 May 2019 08:40 #297775 by charlest
Just One is great. I think it's actually a much better design than Codenames and it's the only real party game I've played that holds up completely if you don't keep score at all.

We played Pax Pamir 2nd Edition last night (paging Mr. Sax). It was excellent. I need much more time and it's quite the nuanced design, but Cole may have just produced three seminal hits in a row. IN A ROW. Recognition to his brother Drew as well who co-designed it.

It's a more intertwined and social take on Pax as the game forces you to ally with these kind of neutral factions (British, Russian, Afghan) that have armies littered about the board. It's still all about timing and trying to force your will upon a chaotic game state, but it's also more strongly centered on negotiation and player interaction than Porfiriana. Marvelous.

Afterwards we played two games of Duhr. The second featured no villains, which is something I've never seen before. Such a fun and weird little game.

My brother left after that and we were down to four. We picked up our Middara campaign and played our first scenario post-MAST (training intro series of scenarios). It was solid and I finally got to utilize my respec'd tank to great effect. I fear this game may be a bit too easy though. We've only had one player ever come close to being knocked out in now four scenarios of play.

We closed out the night with our second play of The Terrifying Girl Disorder. This opaque game perplexes me because it feels like it's trying very hard to convince you of its depth, but it feels too random and inconsequential at times as if you only make a couple of key decisions (which girl to amass in your hand) and the rest is just kind of whatever. Then someone wins.
Last edit: 30 May 2019 08:40 by charlest.
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30 May 2019 09:46 #297780 by Legomancer
played a bunch over the long weekend. here are some quick hits:

Tiny Towns (x3)
Pleasant enough little puzzle game. Not fantastic, not terrible, but I wouldn't want to play with more than 3 or 4.

Res Arcana (x2)
Everyone is crazy about this tableau builder but man, it just doesn't do anything for me. The theme is typical fantasy junk, the play is pretty mechanical. It reminds me of Seasons, where the majority of the game is in the drafting phase and then you just go through the motions of playing it all out. Headed to the trade pile unless something happens to make me think again about it. I love tableau builders, but nothing about this made me think I'd pick it over others.

Xenon Profiteer
A pretty solid and overlooked deckbuilder (sort of).

TIME Stories: Brotherhood of the Coast
Finally got back on this after a long time away. We have three adventures saved up here and started in on the first of them. Pirates! It's a long one, though, so we only got about halfway through before saving our game.

Pandemic: Fall of Rome
This is the only skinned Pandemic I've played and it's aces. Theme works great, battle is fun, and the action cards that let you take a decline (outbreak) for a stronger action are nice. This one is well worth checking out.

A negotiation game that is okay, but I prefer Trade on the Tigris or Sidereal Confluence to it.

Winner's Circle
Classic Knizia race game with some great moment in it. That horse that doesn't move much except on one specific roll got it twice in a row, flying past all the others and winning before some had left the gate.

Dogs of War
Obscure worker placement game about interfering in the battles of the dumbest empires for personal gain. It's a CMON game so the workers are absurdly produced plastic chunks while no one bothered to make sure the symbols for the different empires matched themselves on different components. It's not bad, and I grew into it as the game went on, but it's an unappealing theme and has some other issues.

Broke out two brand new decks and went in to them blind. We had a great time, though my opponent kind of ended up shooting himself in the foot, handing me a victory.

Food Truck Champion
A Chudyk style game not made by Chudyk. It builds on the Glory to Rome and Mottainai thing of multiple card uses but since the theme makes sense, it's a lot easier to follow the card paths. I liked it a bunch.

Fallout (with New California)
This is fun but it's criminal that you can play for 2 hours and neither player ever get a single gun. That's not Fallout, and I'm working on a mod for that. The endgame also can be a problem, but usually you're okay with it ending anyhow. This still needs a fix or two to really compete with Xia on anything but theme.

Dual Powers: Revolution 1917
Finished out with this KS about the Russian Revolution, played as area control. I misplayed a card which game my opponent a crushing lead. I recovered a little but not enough.
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