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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing?
Then today I got together with my coworkers, and we played a game that gets a lot of love here at TWBG: Wingspan. There were five of us, and Wingspan doesn't really play well with five, because it's just a little too slow (yeah, yeah, it's too slow with any player count, bite me). I like it fine, but the other players, who were new to the game, really liked it. We finished the first game, and they said, "Let's play again!" Uh, okay? I'm not sure that 'all eggs all the time' is the be all/end all of Wingspan strategy, but it definitely sets a bar high enough that you can't half-ass it and expect to win if someone is doing that.
RobertB wrote: ... Then today I got together with my coworkers, and we played a game that gets a lot of love here at TWBG: Wingspan. There were five of us, and Wingspan doesn't really play well with five, because it's just a little too slow (yeah, yeah, it's too slow with any player count, bite me). I like it fine, but the other players, who were new to the game, really liked it. We finished the first game, and they said, "Let's play again!" Uh, okay? I'm not sure that 'all eggs all the time' is the be all/end all of Wingspan strategy, but it definitely sets a bar high enough that you can't half-ass it and expect to win if someone is doing that.
I'm also in the pro camp re: Wingspan, despite maybe questioning the GotY hype. I can see why the game doesn't appeal to many here, but what Wingspan is attempting to do, I think it does exceptionally well (unlike Tapestry, which I've discussed previously)
Also, got a play of "Eschaton" in last night. They had me right at "medieval-death-cults-ushering-Armageddon"...
It was surprisingly rules lite. It's an interesting design: take Dominion or Star Realms style deckbuilding (your cult members / fiends) where you play your whole hand each turn, but in addition to using that as an economic / point engine, use it to power army spawn/movement/attack, with a majority area control element that had echoes of El Grande or similar (armies can co-exist). Some powers like "plague" tokens make things interesting by poisoning an area, killing any units in it by twos each turn until the area is vacated or wiped out (ending the plague). Areas vary in their VPs and bonuses.
It was pretty good, better than I was expecting. It did feel like there were a few rough edges around the deck building. For one, it felt like getting "zeal" was easy -- every point of zeal stat provides an additional draw / play of a card from your deck, typically an aspect of deck building that's highly valued by cost or scarcity. Also any cards played can immediately get trashed onto your funeral pyre without taking effect, making it simple to cycle cards out at will -- clearly this is a feature and aspect of good deck building, but it's fairly easy to engineer a play-all-cards-each-turn deck, by the late game.
We played with four players, but I could see where a full six might bog the experience in downtime, especially with newer players.
Some of these perceived issues could essentially be self-balancing on repeat group play...
At any rate, I enjoyed more than I was expecting, and despite not feeling any need to own it, I'd definitely play it again.
An amusing race last night where the Gladiator was going up against the Siren and the (erm.... the one that lets you move a space whenever someone uses a special ability) and the Ninja, who had chosen to shadow the Siren. Essentially it meant that everyturn we all just kept lining up together on the same square and having gladiator bouts, including to actually win that race. So funny.
Also, loads of lo-fi Gaslands with my son. He made a wrecking yard minefield with piles of upside down cars spread out over the floor for us to race through, blocking line of sight for attacks a lot of the time, but super tricky to get through without hitting. His pickup with all those hullpoints predictably won out with all the other vehicles getting destroyed.
Since I had to go pick the wife up at the airport around lunch, the day started with some games of Lovecraft Letter, probably my group's favorite filler game. I personally prefer the theme and purity of classic Love Letter, but the zaniness of the insanity cards leads to a lot of fun situations. After failing to get any win tokens with a few other knocking on the door of a victory, I pulled off an Insane Cthulhu win of the game.
After collecting the wife and perusing the exhibit hall, we hit the library and grabbed a few games. First game was Way of the Bear, cute looking, simple rules, but incredibly thinky if you want to play competitively. I don't like games that reward you for planning a lot of moves in advance, so not a fan, and no one at the table much cared for it.
Next we played Realm of Sand, a game I had demoed at Gen Con and thought the wife would like, and she did. Think of a cross between Patchwork and Splendor, where you're putting shapes down, and using them to buy cards for points or more ways to match shapes. I screwed up pretty bad with some color-dyslexia, but I still enjoyed the game, will have to pick it up at some point.
I only had a short time until the Virtual Flea Market, so we played a speed game of Barenpark, one of my wife's favorite games...at least it was before this trip, as she had a really bad game this time. While I was at the VFM, she found a copy of Era: Medieval Age in the library, one that I really wanted to try. Unfortunately it would have to wait until after dinner to try. This led to a late 3-player game with a cranky wife. This game is basically Roll Through The Ages with plastic toys, and it was OK. While circumstances weren't ideal, but I was also reminded why I got rid of Roll Through The Ages.
Wife went to bed, I cam back down for a game with a bunch of drunks that had returned from Medieval Times to play some Don't Mess With Cthulhu, the party game of choice for my group. This is a game of Cultists vs. Investigators where no one knows who is on what team. The investigators want to uncover Elder Signs, the cultists want to see Cthulhu uncovered or for time to run out. I sucked, as usual, though I did get dealt the perfect Cultist hand of 3 Elder Signs and Cthulhu and won the first turn. The funny thing is that my fun-murdering cube-pushing regular loves this game and ended the night undefeated.
We ended the night with a 3 player game of Cartographers, which has already been talked about a bunch on this site. It was pretty good, I thought I was killing it, but ended up winning by only a few points. I think the maps were a bit hard to read, my friend thinks we need colored pencils...
While I love Omen, Neolithic, etc... this game for me is John Clowdus’s best design. It is super easy to learn and set up. It has a small footprint and plays quick. There are a lot of interesting decisions. When one game ends, I’m ready for another. As far as the production, it’s outstanding and further elevates the game. Very elegant. I really hope this one gets the attention it deserves.
James Terry and I played two games of COMBAT COMMANDER. Just like the last time we played, the Random Scenario Generator was our guide.
The first one was a German vs Polish set in 1939 on Board 40. I was attacking from a rise overlooking a bunker complex in front of a canal. Halfway thru the scenario I had managed to break then lose all four of my machine guns. To add insult to injury, the Poles then Scrounged my HMG ! However in the meantime I had worked my way through the trench complex and in a series of Melees captured all but one Objective ; the Germam Hero had gone in and wiped out a crew in one singlhandedly. This, coupled with several Random Events granting VP for enemy objective hexes were too much for James valiant Poles to overcome.
Second round feeatured James being saddled with the other Minor Ally deck, this time the Italians. We both chose the large OOB, but since mine was worth more he ended up defending despite having EIGHTEEN squads in his OOB. Of course not only were they Italian, but they had virtually no Support Weapons, only a single MMG and a large Infantry Gun along with two Brexia grenade chuckers. He did have copious amounts of WIRE . We were on Board 12, narrow facing. So he was able to pretty much make a wall of WIRE. I had 12 Elite Squads, 6 crews and a lot of LMG, Mortars, and some Demo charges. And SIX leaders.
But besides the WIRE, the other barrier was that he started with 31 VP. Add in another potential 10 VP for Time advances. The Objectives were two locations being worth a single VP each and Exits were doubled. Of course, I had to traverse the long axis and wade thru a ton of bodies to do that. So I started by sweeping the hills of defenders, but this took some time. After eating some premature Time Triggers, I finally coughed up the Initiative to slow the game down and never got it back. I started racking up a decent body count as the Italians started to melt away - with Broken side Morale of 5, a Rout Order was often the kiss of death for them. But James did a good job delaying me despite not actually killing anything . And since Sudden Death was on the 10 space, it was going to be a slim chance the scenario would go past the first time check, which it did not. James won a well deserved Pyrrhic victory.
Its been said countless times, but the RSG is truly a work of art .
We ended the day with me showing James the ropes on TANK DUEL. We played two T34 vs two Mk IVs . I just unwrapped the cards and we started playing, it wasn't til partway through that I realized some Battle cards are alternate terrain ( City, Factory etc ) so the deck was both larger than normal as well as containing more dense terrain making stuff harder to hit. Still, we each blew up one of the others tanks before we stopped for dinner. James' wife kindly got some BBQ from a new place that opened up nearby that was pretty good.
Today, GLOOMHAVEN beckons. About to start a new character, the BLADESTORM . Very different - he's entirely Melee build. Should be interesting.
5 player game with all of the expansion stuff except for Rated R, normal difficulty. I had Saffron, the hippy girl who's not into weapons, and started with Telekinesis. What I didn't know was that the d8 that lets you roll was going to be the best weapon we found all game.
We split up, as you do, and after some fumbling and getting lost in the woods Otis went after whoever he could get which was almost always Saffron. At one point the poor girl actually bit the dust, only to be saved by a survival card that undid the horribleness. It just kept happening. Notably though, our Karen player was never touched. She found loads of cards, albeit not weapons, multiple campers all of whom were useful, the works, but went through the entire game without a single conflict.
After scrounging up all but one tile (our luck was horrendous) we finally had a combination that'd let us take on the boat finale. Unfortunately our mass exodus over there led to our first casualty - poor rich kid Kevin, who just wanted to make it to daddy's yacht. And in a particularly fitting twist, Saffron invited Karen to fool around in the swimming area while they were waiting to embark on the boat, only to be ambushed by the bear and have to psychically repel him again.
The group finally got together and started the finale, which was a new one - the ghost ship. Or Captain Kevin's Ghost Yacht as we called it, because the body count determined how difficult it was. We managed to evade it fairly easily. The finale closed on one more confrontation with Otis (who was felled with a shard of glass and a heap of positive modifiers) then a Scooby-Doo style reveal where we flipped cards from the cabin deck until we revealed the cameo that was under the mask. And incredibly, it was Karen's asshole boyfriend Eddie.
Suddenly it all came together. Karen literally never getting attacked, Saffron being particularly focused on by Otis because of her and Karen's mutual interest, all of this was a particularly stupid lover's quarrel that escalated to the point of serial murder. It literally could not have tied together better. This game's so fucking cool.
Meanwhile a giant white whale smashed into our boat, causing another breach, but this was not the worst of it. A giant crab crawled on board, and with its mighty pincers, stabbed the shit out of the first mate, poor Hamish. Hamish drew a KILL card that meant his number was up. It was titled simply, "SURPRISE!". Yes, he was very surprised when the crab pierced his brain.
The serpent reared its ugly head again, and grabbed the captain. This time the beast meant business, and the captain was no more. The cause of death was officially "frozen in the deep", but we know better.
It wouldn't be truly evil without a kraken, and yes, we got a kraken. Its tentacles slammed onto the deck, entangling two crew members. They were desperately fighting for their lives when the evil Sea Witch made a fatal error, emerging below deck. We mustered as many crew as we could spare and got them down to the galley. Through a coordinated focus fire effort, we felled the evil witch and sailed onward, safely.
One player left at that point, so we played a three player game of Nexus Ops. This went smoothly, but ran long, taking 2 hours to declare me the victor as I snagged the final secret mission. It ended very closely; had I not clinched it, the player after me would have won, and if he had failed, the other player would have had it. It was universally liked, and damn if this game just doesn't keep paying off with its simplicity. I love it.
Only three of us (of the normal four) so decided just to run it in full Co-op as a learning game. In the end we played two games as fire quickly swept the ship mid-game and it exploded, second game we were more organized and managed the win.
From just the co-op mode I'll have to say that it lived up to its worldwide hype and I can see it being an amazing game in the standard semi co-op mode - especially if your group likes stirring each other up. And about the miniatures, yes the game would be just as good in gameplay with standees but the quality of the miniature plus having other quality (usually plastic) components for the different game markers does create a great atmosphere for the actual game. The only downside was I couldn't hit the side of the barn shooting in combat, honestly I rolled the equivalent of 1-3 on the D6 on all but two combats including everytime I used my re-roll card - it was embarrassing.
I'm now thinking about getting the two expansions since they expand the story.
Whoops, nearly forgot, I also have the 'other' Aliens game Lifeform that I also haven't managed to get out, and that has been mainly for the messy 50 page rulebook and a slightly lacklustre session video I saw. I know it was reviewed here a few months back and went down well so I'll have to get my head down into the rulebook so we can compare the two (impressions of it vs gameplay of Nemesis has Nemesis ahead at the moment).
cdennett wrote: Regarding Lifeform, I highly recommend you go print out EOG's rules summaries and handouts. They were a godsend on my first play through.
Yep, already got that. Now just got to find the time to read it all in between our Sword & Sorcery campaign, more plays of Lords of Hellas and Nemesis and quite a few other games screaming for more table time …. [STOP buying games !]