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Dragoon Board Game Review

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13 Feb 2020 11:54 - 13 Feb 2020 13:05 #307089 by Jackwraith

Gary Sax wrote: The incredible advantage of the defender takes low roll mechanic I don't think is super obvious when you first sit down at the table.


True, but combat in Root can be very slow. If you send six birds in on my five moles, the chance that you'll "win" the battle as in most other games (i.e. wipe the enemy or force them to retreat and take the clearing) isn't very high, since you can't inflict more than three casualties without a crafted ability. You'll often have to fight twice (or more.) Do you have the actions for that? If you're the Aerie, possibly, but that's a lot of fighting to do every turn to avoid turmoil. If you're the Cats, maybe, since you just used one action to move and then another to battle, leaving you one to fight again, which means your whole turn was tussling over this one clearing that you still might not have won because the attacker's die came up 1 and 2.

Edit: But, then again, I just realized I'm thinking about Root as a "regular" wargame and it isn't one, because it's not normally important to "win" the clearing by removing the enemy, as much as it is to RULE the clearing, so you can take actions in it. Yes, it's annoying to leave enemies there who might just take the opportunity to fight and mess with your stuff, but action economy is so important there that the only harassing attacks that often take place are against the Vagabond to keep him in check.
Last edit: 13 Feb 2020 13:05 by Jackwraith.
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16 Feb 2020 12:36 #307161 by Shellhead
A friend celebrated his birthday at the FFG Event Center yesterday. Based on RSVPs, we were going to have 10 people. Thanks to my pesky gf, I had to make a detour to the local mall, and showed up 15 minutes late. Just in time to watch a boring 4-player game of Lord of the Rings: the Card Game. I like Lord of the Rings. I liked the books, I enjoyed the movies, and I have enjoyed certain games in that setting in the past. But this game was thinly-themed boor that overstayed its welcome by an hour. It was also a thematic mismatch, as the table talk largely revolved around concepts not featured in the books or movies, like Paying for things or Colors or Questing. Two other people showed up, but they wanted to play a 2-player euro, so I just continued watching Lord of the Rings, under the mistaken impression that the game was close to done after an hour. After the game, the other 3 players in the LotR game bailed, and another guy showed up, for a total of 5 players.

Next, the birthday guy brought out Level 7 Invasion, which a multi-player co-op DoaM (wtf, right?) which just happens to max out with 5 players. The game is about an alien invasion of an Earth consisting of 5 continent-sized coalitions: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. The aliens start out controlling Australia and Greenland, and drop loads of aliens every turn that are deployed according to card flips. The players manage various resource dials and climb 4 tech trees while fighting back. There is also a sub-plot involving an alien traitor who is helping humanity pull off some multi-stage agenda to repel the invaders. It basically works out to a fifth tech tree, except that it requires that alien to travel to a different continent to execute each stage of the plan. Functionally, the game is like a co-op Risk/Battlestar Galactica plus tech trees. Ironically, our last 2 players showed up early on, but Level 7 Invasion only accomodates 5 players, not 7.

Like most co-ops, Level 7 Invasion plays out like a frantic game of Whack-a-Mole, except in this case it's more like Whack-a-Grizzly-Bear. Every turn, the aliens would nearly exterminate all of our forces, then we would rally with surprising amounts of resource gains. Repeat, repeat. Since this was our first play, we belatedly discovered that one our resource dials (Military-Industrial Complex) was effectively a hit point dial, and that we would lose as soon as one continent's MIC dial went to zero. President Eisenhower was right. The game was moderately fun, but I wouldn't go out of my way to play it again.

Since this was the FFG Event Center, there was a long wall of bookcases full of demo copies of games. Not just FFG/Asmodee/etc games. So as Level 7 was going south, I was studying the nearby wall of games, looking for a good game for 7 players. And I spotted a good one: Citadels. It was a newer edition, so there were 2 extra sets of roles, and big chunky chits representing each role. Setup was easy, and teaching the game was easy. I often go years without playing Citadels, then play a game and realize it's a very good game. Then late in the game, I remember that the Architect and the Magician are a little too good compared to the other cards, and I get weary of getting whacked by the Assassin or the Thief. One player jumped out to an early lead, but then we started Warlording him to cut him back and prevent a fast victory. The turn before the game ended, 4 of us were all close to winning. The following turn, our early leader/birthday boy grabbed the architect again and nailed the win. One guy left, leaving us with six.

Our birthday guy was also one of our regular Vampire: the Eternal Struggle ccg players, so he managed to persuade everybody to play a game of it. This was a big ask, because 3 of us were experienced players and the other 3 had never played before. Vampire is a challenging game to learn. Rating the rules on a scale of one to ten, where Tic Tac Toe is a 0 and Magic Realm is a 10, Vampire is a 9. the game has been around for 26 years with some rules addtions, errata, and even card layout changes. We experienced players all brought extra decks, so we set up each of the new players with decks that were relatively easy to play and also competitive, and we coached them through each turn. Experienced players can usually get through a six-player game within about 2 to 2.5 hours, but new players take a lot longer. So we played for over 3 hours and then had to wrap up early because the Event Center closes at 11:00 PM. If we had kept playing, it looked like one of the new players would have probably won. But at the pace things were going, it would been close to a five-hour game. Still, the new players seemed to enjoy the game. Not enough to run out and buy cards, but maybe enough to try it again sometime. One of the new players was the birthday guy's girlfriend, so she may end up borrowing decks from him and playing again.

I live just a few miles from the FFG Event Center, but rarely talk about it here. The place is great. There is a retail area near the front that is a little on the small side, but offers plenty of games that are not published by Asmodee, including some Kickstarter games and also a vending machine that accepts credit cards only and dispenses Keyforge decks. There is kitchen that serves up pizza, sandwiches, salads, snacks, and also beer and wine. There is a large gaming area, and an even larger gaming area that is adjacent and accessible through two sets of doors. The bathrooms are well-lit and surprisingly clean for such a busy gaming site. There is a lot of parking available, but it isn't enough sometimes, so there is now an overflow parking area across the street, between the post office and the local Salvation Army office.
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17 Feb 2020 10:57 #307183 by Msample
SPACE MARINE ADVENTURES

Played this yesterday. Was originally a Barnes and Noble exclusive when it came out a few years ago, not sure if its other places now .

This is a very basic cross between DEATH ANGEL and SPACE HULK. Its a co-op for up to 4 players; if you have less players, you'll still want four Space Marines because there isn't any player scaling . There are four enemy cards and 2 per marine. You shuffle them and then draw randomly to see who goes. When the bad guys go, they either spawn at one of 6 spots on the map. They spread a la Pandemic if that space is occupied by an enemy, or wound a Space Marine if they are there . Two Wounds kills a Marine . If they don't spawn, there are random events sprinkled in - enemies are harder to kill for a turn, one player loses a turn, etc.

On the player turn Marines get 3-4 actions ( varies by Marine ) . Move one space costs an action, shoot/melee costs an action. Additionally each Marine has a built in special ability like melee or ranged combat bonus, as well as a one time use card . Combat is a D6 vs the enemy defense # .

Play goes pretty fast; once you get the hang of it you can bang out a single room encounter in a half hour or less. You can link up to 3 rooms together to play a campaign .

Overall it scratches the same itch as DEATH ANGEL in a less abstract environment and a slightly easier rules set. Component quality is decent - the marines are color coded and snap together, the aliens are round tokens. The card art is very nice, although the oversized tarot cards likely boost the cost a bit. No doubt at some point B&N will blow this out . The base game is $40; there are two expansion packs that add 3 Marines each as well as some new scenarios .

I am not a minis player but am aware of the nerd rage over GW's policies over the years ( case in point, I couldn't find a rules download, the BGG one had been disabled ). Yet games like this show their commitment to recruiting new customers at a pretty accessible price point and rules load.
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17 Feb 2020 11:11 #307184 by hotseatgames
My girlfriend and I had our second play of 51st State yesterday. Our first game was many weeks ago, so we re-acquainted with the rules and got going. I was able to get a lot of deals in place that supplied me with resources, while she built a lot of locations including storage and some extra workers.

She razed some locations out of her hand over the course of the game. I eventually did this at the end. No one razed enemy locations, and no one developed any locations. I had mainly forgot about developing and thus never considered it. I built some VP generating actions and made sure I had the resources to pay for them, and mathed things out so that I knew I'd be in control of ending the game. She didn't see what I was doing until it was too late, and I managed to win by 5 or 6 points.

She won the first game, so we are now even.
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17 Feb 2020 11:17 #307186 by Michael Barnes
Space Marine Adventures is at -Target- now. It’s a shame they didn’t put Blitz Bowl out there too- it is the best version of Blood Bowl.

There are expansions for SMA- I think they mostly just add more SM chapters. But probably worth getting, and likely to be scarce in the future.
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17 Feb 2020 11:29 #307187 by Michael Barnes
Heads up- B&N has a 15% Presidents Day thing...I just picked up the SMA expansions. They add missions/challenges and three models each. There is also a starter paint set that looks pretty neat for kids.
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17 Feb 2020 19:21 - 17 Feb 2020 19:21 #307193 by Frohike

Finished up our session of Freedom: The Underground Railroad solo and “won” with 23 freed, all support cleared, but 15 lost. It became critical to get out of the 1840-59 period by making some sacrificial moves for fundraising. Once the 1860-65 period began, I still needed to spend an entire round just moving people into the major Northern cities to maximize the effect of fundraising , thereby clearing the rest of the support hurdles and using excess funds to capitalize on some very strong Abolitionist cards. Using the Anna Elizabeth Dickinson card allowed everyone a token purchase at a $2 discount, which was effectively the game-winning moment, along with some movement boosts from other Abolitionist cards. This was a somewhat satisfying win, though it certainly required some cold decisions to see to the finish.
Last edit: 17 Feb 2020 19:21 by Frohike.
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20 Feb 2020 14:01 #307300 by DarthJoJo
My Kickstarter copy of Rallyman GT finally arrived, so I cracked it last night for some time trials. I'm surprised by how much it feels like Formula De. That's not a bad thing. I do still have a special place in my heart for that old thing. Turns just took a little too long for a furious car race and too often you could tell whom would win halfway through the race. Rallyman does decrease the amount of square counting you'll need to do but also gives you a little more control over your results. Save a little time on counting, spend more time being thoughtful about your turn. A difference in styles but not in time, so I can't say I wholeheartedly love it yet.

Still, I'm excited for a proper race. The time trial is definitely more of a puzzle of finding the fastest lines while there's more tactical play in blocking squares during a multiplayer race. Doesn't hurt that it's a very handsome production.
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20 Feb 2020 14:13 - 20 Feb 2020 14:18 #307301 by charlest
Yeah I have the base game of Rallyman GT but haven't played it yet. Overall, it's supposed to be faster and less random than Formula D. The faster quality is probably assuming you're running multiple laps in Formula D.

It's a great production and I'm excited to play it. The mechanisms seem to mostly encourage realistic tactical considerations for closer circuit racing.

What I have been playing:

The new TMNT is just fantastic. Still love this game and already hit 7 plays with the new core sets.

Catacombs Cubes is pretty solid as a medium weight spatial city builder. Would rather play this than Tiny Towns or Sorcerer City.

Got a game in of Modern Art last night that went extremely well. Such a brilliant design.

Oceans is still excelling.

My opinion on Mezo hasn't shifted - it's very good but I don't think I'd ever choose it over my genre favorites.

Still craving more Nemesis. And Root.
Last edit: 20 Feb 2020 14:18 by charlest.
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20 Feb 2020 15:05 #307306 by Jackwraith

charlest wrote: The new TMNT is just fantastic. Still love this game and already hit 7 plays with the new core sets.


What is this? Adventures?

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20 Feb 2020 15:59 #307307 by DarthJoJo

Jackwraith wrote:

charlest wrote: The new TMNT is just fantastic. Still love this game and already hit 7 plays with the new core sets.


What is this? Adventures?

And how different is this edition from the original? I was really excited for it, but I just liked Imperial Assault more on basically every level.

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20 Feb 2020 16:08 #307308 by charlest
Yes TMNT Adventures which is now two box sets - Change is Constant and City Fall.

It's the same exact system as Shadows of the Past but the components, presentation, and general feel is simply cleaned up.

There's a new very simple AI system so you can play cooperatively or solo, but it's nothing to write home about. It functions well enough, but the game is simply better as a one v many.

What I particularly enjoy, beyond the better components and feel, is the entirely new scenarios that follow the comic series more closely.

I dig Imperial Assault but definitely prefer TMNT. I think the overlord system is better and the dice sharing mechanism really captured the thematic elements of the IP. It feels more strategic and interesting to me.

The big downside of this system is that downtime can be a bit high, particularly if you're just running a single turtle. It's also expensive if you buy both sets, which you will likely want to do.
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20 Feb 2020 17:21 #307309 by Josh Look
I waffled on the new TMNT stuff and I’m kind of glad I did now that they’re doing Batman: The Animated Series. I *love* that first TMNT game, it’s my favorite between it, Imperial Assault and Conan. Such a fun system.
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20 Feb 2020 19:05 #307317 by DarthJoJo

Josh Look wrote: I waffled on the new TMNT stuff and I’m kind of glad I did now that they’re doing Batman: The Animated Series. I *love* that first TMNT game, it’s my favorite between it, Imperial Assault and Conan. Such a fun system.

But just imagine teaming Batman and the Turtles and recreating their crossover comic! (I have no idea if you can, but it seems like you should.)

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20 Feb 2020 19:23 #307318 by allismom3

Josh Look wrote: I waffled on the new TMNT stuff and I’m kind of glad I did now that they’re doing Batman: The Animated Series. I *love* that first TMNT game, it’s my favorite between it, Imperial Assault and Conan. Such a fun system.


That Batman game does look pretty cool. $125 or $225 seems steep. But I guess that's the going rate for these type of Kickstarter games. I may wait for the retail version after seeing/ watching reviews. I thought I read that it was possible to do a TMNT/ Batman crossover.

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