Front Page

Content

Authors

Game Index

Forums

Site Tools

Submissions

About

J
Jackwraith
December 06, 2021
284 0
O
oliverkinne
December 06, 2021
305 0

Golems Board Game Review

Board Game Reviews
B
BradHB
December 03, 2021
353 0
O
oliverkinne
December 03, 2021
334 0

Rebis Board Game Review

Board Game Reviews
O
oliverkinne
November 30, 2021
474 0

The Metaverse

Essays
O
oliverkinne
November 29, 2021
542 0
O
oliverkinne
November 26, 2021
663 0

Lunar Base Board Game Review

Board Game Reviews
B
BradHB
November 26, 2021
467 0
J
Jackwraith
November 25, 2021
815 0
W
whowhatwhycast
November 24, 2021
398 0
A
adamr
November 24, 2021
821 0
T
thegiantbrain
November 23, 2021
356 0
O
oliverkinne
November 23, 2021
502 0
O
oliverkinne
November 22, 2021
606 0

Tharos Board Game Review

Board Game Reviews
B
BradHB
November 19, 2021
491 0
J
Jackwraith
November 18, 2021
1308 0
×
Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

Recent Topics paging, uploading images and preview bugs require a patch which has not yet been released.

× Use the stickied threads for short updates.

Please consider adding your quick impressions and your rating to the game entry in our Board Game Directory after you post your thoughts so others can find them!

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?

More
31 Mar 2021 17:56 #321531 by Michael Barnes
I just have the base right now, if I get back into it I’ll get both expansions. I had Branch and a law back when I was playing it a few years back.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Gary Sax

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
31 Mar 2021 21:24 #321545 by Sagrilarus
I’ve found Terra Mystica pretty mundane. It seems each faction has a “correct” way to play it and if you deviate you coast to a stop. Variable player powers don’t mean anything if they mean you have a two sentence cheat sheet for each.

Heavy play of Through The Ages right now and still enjoying it. We just had a bone-crushing game where nothing meshed for any of us, cutting all three of us down to size. Our current game is rolling much better. There’s still discoveries in this one for me.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Gary Sax, Nodens, Ah_Pook

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
31 Mar 2021 22:08 - 31 Mar 2021 23:22 #321550 by Andi Lennon
A few good sessions of late. Managed to track down a copy of Chaos in the Old World that wasn't too exorbitant and three sessions in we're starting to have factions other than Khorne get a lick at the brass ring. So far I think it rises above Blood Rage but is hardly the masterpiece that some may claim. Eschaton currently remains my favourite 'Evil Dudes on a Map' game.

Speaking of Brass, Brass Birmingham is so far removed from my usual fare but so widely adored that I simply had to try it. Three games in and I have a very love/hate relationship developing. I loathe the theme and the mathematical focus yet there's something strangely compelling about it that keeps me up at night thinking about it. I need to master it. It taunts me.

Blitz Bowl- Just one throwdown so far, breezy and fun but feels a bit tactically neutered compared to its bigger brother. I'm looking forward to further games though as it hits that sweet spot of fun and agency without being too taxing after a long day.

Blood Bowl Team Manager
- Another OOP title people foamed at the gills over I managed to track down, and one game in, it seems...relatively amusing? I played at two and think it would shine at higher counts.

After falling utterly in love with Pax Pamir 2nd Edition (probably my favourite single game since KD:M) I was super excited to receive Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile. A daunting proposition to be sure, this is bound to be a very vegemite experience for many groups. Our first session was beset by the usual heavyweight bugbears of fudged mechanics and a focus on learning rather than strategy but when it worked, it worked well. Second game was far smoother with a satisfying shift away from 'how do you do that' to ' if do that, then this!' We see the possibilities unfurling. Third session is booked for tonight and we'll hopefully start to see more of how the Chronicle system influences play. It's a commitment I'm not sure we'll see through to get the best of, but with a backstory and rivalries already starting to merge, it's fulfilling its promise of being a 'non-narrative narrative game' with due aplomb. Review to follow
Last edit: 31 Mar 2021 23:22 by Andi Lennon.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Gary Sax, Msample, Jackwraith, mezike, Frohike, sornars, DarthJoJo

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
31 Mar 2021 22:50 #321552 by Jackwraith
On CitOW, I would say there's a certain nostalgia factor at work for some descriptions of it. However, the other side of that coin is that a lot of subsequent games (including, as you note, Blood Rage by the same designer) have drawn from CitOW, so what was innovative a decade ago seems less so now. I wouldn't go so far as to label it a "masterpiece", as it does have flaws, but I would number it among the best games that FFG ever produced, which does still set the bar pretty high. As you mentioned, Khorne with a hot hand can be frustrating/daunting, but part of the deeper strategy of the game is playing around that to some degree and that's when some of the layers start to peel back. If your group is interested, I'd keep at it and always with four players.

Speaking of higher player counts, BB: TM can seem pretty pedestrian at two players. It's better at three and, again, best with four. With the maximum player count, you get into far more difficult choices about which matchups will work best for you, not only with what you have in hand, but in who will be on the other side of the match. I wrote a bit about it a couple years ago: therewillbe.games/articles-analysis/6079...nager-season-preview
The following user(s) said Thank You: Gary Sax, Msample, mezike, Frohike, sornars, Andi Lennon

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
31 Mar 2021 23:24 #321554 by Andi Lennon
Oh wow- that's quite the rundown. I have both the 'Sudden Death' and 'Foul Play' expansions so I'm certain it will get another run once I muster four coaches and will definitely be referring to your piece for insight. Cheers!
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jackwraith

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
31 Mar 2021 23:55 #321555 by Gary Sax
This site has an extremely deep (and surprising!) bench of great reviews of older games.
The following user(s) said Thank You: hotseatgames, Andi Lennon

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Apr 2021 00:46 #321558 by Jackwraith

Gary Sax wrote: This site has an extremely deep (and surprising!) bench of great reviews of older games.


Working on another one of those right now.
The following user(s) said Thank You: mezike

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Apr 2021 03:43 #321559 by mc

Andi Lennon wrote: A few good sessions of late. Managed to track down a copy of Chaos in the Old World that wasn't too exorbitant and three sessions in we're starting to have factions other than Khorne get a lick at the brass ring. So far I think it rises above Blood Rage but is hardly the masterpiece that some may claim. Eschaton currently remains my favourite 'Evil Dudes on a Map' game.

Speaking of Brass, Brass Birmingham is so far removed from my usual fare but so widely adored that I simply had to try it. Three games in and I have a very love/hate relationship developing. I loathe the theme and the mathematical focus yet there's something strangely compelling about it that keeps me up at night thinking about it. I need to master it. It taunts me.

Blitz Bowl- Just one throwdown so far, breezy and fun but feels a bit tactically neutered compared to its bigger brother. I'm looking forward to further games though as it hits that sweet spot of fun and agency without being too taxing after a long day.

Blood Bowl Team Manager
- Another OOP title people foamed at the gills over I managed to track down, and one game in, it seems...relatively amusing? I played at two and think it would shine at higher counts.

After falling utterly in love with Pax Pamir 2nd Edition (probably my favourite single game since KD:M) I was super excited to receive Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile. A daunting proposition to be sure, this is bound to be a very vegemite experience for many groups. Our first session was beset by the usual heavyweight bugbears of fudged mechanics and a focus on learning rather than strategy but when it worked, it worked well. Second game was far smoother with a satisfying shift away from 'how do you do that' to ' if do that, then this!' We see the possibilities unfurling. Third session is booked for tonight and we'll hopefully start to see more of how the Chronicle system influences play. It's a commitment I'm not sure we'll see through to get the best of, but with a backstory and rivalries already starting to merge, it's fulfilling its promise of being a 'non-narrative narrative game' with due aplomb. Review to follow


Dude do you have Ettincon on your calendar? If you happen to make it up pack Pamir and lock me in for a game. I'm probably going to go in on the next round of printing but it might not be here by then.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Andi Lennon

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Apr 2021 07:23 #321560 by mezike
At home:

Lots of Thunderbirds! Both my spawn are big fans of the show (the original as much as the modern reboot) but the game stuttered for us as soon as we added in the expansion content. A few weeks back I rescued this from storage, sold the expansions for a silly amount, and it’s found a new and vibrant lease of life with us - it’s been common over the past few weekends to end up with triple back-to-back plays. The base game by itself is my favourite Leacock design, a tight logistic puzzle where the challenge is how to move the team and their vehicles in an efficient way that maximises your odds at saving the world from disaster. I love the dice rolls, not just for the uncertainty they bring but because they mirror the 1-5 that is such a recognisable element of the show, and having to tangle with the Hood's nefarious schemes adds a secondary pressure as well as a victory goal where you have to divert time and resources from the never-ending litany of peril that requires your attention.

The specific problem for me with the additional content is that it dilutes the International Rescue team with three extra members and two extra vehicles and the whole nature of the game changes to one where the onus is on moving scattered elements to new locations against a time clock. It loses that feeling of individuals having to be in multiple locations at once and stitching together a plan on which order to tackle everything without incidentally stranding a player in a position where they cannot be effective on their turn. Logistics chains have been replaced by pick up and deliver and it’s just less interesting and more procedural as a result. In particular, the addition of Creighton-Ward Manor and Tracey Island are problematic because they allow you to station team members in those locations rather than to keep them moving in various vehicles, so the game can devolve into focussing on using Europe and the South Pacific as warehouses and this further breaks the feel of the team constantly being in motion. In any case the base game in isolation remains a delight – who doesn’t want to save the world with cool futuristic tech whilst battling the secret plots of a shadowy supervillain?


Terraforming Mars I caved in and got the Fanmade board designs on neoprene mats from Deep Cut Studios. I figure that this is a game my son and I are so deeply into that it is worth having nice things for it and these really are excellent, even my gaming-averse spouse commented on how nice they are. The couple of nit-picks that I have are that the colour balance on the designs don’t seem to be optimised for printing because they come out darker and richer than they ought to be, likely an issue with contrast and pantone selection (which I hear is a common mistake for digitally created designs making the transition into print media). I wonder if Deep Cut had to crank up the contrast a bit in order to keep it legible which might also have exacerbated the problem with colour balance. Some of the detail is also a touch too fine, especially for neoprene printing, but in general they still look awesome and are a huge improvement on the scattered setup of multiple boards. Hoping to also receive the official plastic tile set in the next couple of weeks and I’ll take a few pics to share.


Parks. Having cleared out my shelves what better way to celebrate than buying new games eh? I’ve been eyeing this one for a while - family friendly gameplay, real-world setting, beautiful presentation, all of these are high on my radar at the moment and Parks hits every one of those. It’s the kind of game that you can play very casually, just enjoying the satisfaction of collecting those beautiful Parks cards, yet underneath there are levers that you can pull in order to also satisfy those more strategic impulses. I think that I would personally get a bit more out of having the Nightfall expansion added in which puts a more overt layer of strategic play onto the game, however this is working so well with the whole family engaged that it really doesn’t warrant getting it for the space it occupies in our entertainment time. This also looks and feels like a beautiful high-end product in every way, it’s the kind of thing that I could easily see as a curio sitting on a non-hobbyist’s coffee table, and proves that you don’t need a giant hundred bucks ‘collectors edition’ box to deliver a quality product.


On TTS:

A couple of solo games of Kanban EV and one two-player jaunt. I will reassert my previous supposition that the best way to approach this game is to ignore the flavour text in the manual and instead think of it as a simulation of a competitive internship: you and the other players have been hired for a short tenure of a few months after which there is only a single permanent position in the management team, and the most promising (lit. most VP or PP as they are called here) will be the one selected to stay on. Everything you do makes a lot more sense this way, otherwise it has that funky disconnect to reality that factories don’t normally work this way nor does a career otherwise move forward so rapidly in such a short span of time, and also explains why the boss otherwise seems so impatient and judgmental. The personal player boards also do not have any tangible sense of realism unless you think of them more as a tracker of ‘bragging rights’ than of representing anything physically real.

During each week (turn) you spend up to four shifts in one department on the factory floor working towards certification in that area as well as helping the factory to develop and produce vehicles. Not only are you subject to regular appraisals by the boss, you will also be invited to two or three boardroom presentations where you have to speak about what you have learned about the business. The latter is perhaps my favourite part of the game and the most thematic; you collect speech bubble tokens when you gain particular achievements of note which you then put into place on scoring cards to make a silhouetted figure appear to talk about the presentation slide displayed beside them. But the bubbles themselves are not enough, you actually must have done something to match the slide to actually score the points, so it neatly represents not only gathering an understanding of that part of the business but also having some practical experience to draw upon – and anyone who has sat through internship reviews will know that there is a big difference between textbook and practical observation. These review meetings do a brilliant job of tying together the actions and achievements of play and putting them into a thematic context, and after you endure your first review meeting you also get a better idea of what you need to focus on if you want to do well at the next one in order to advance your standing. As Sornars pointed out during our game, they are also a ‘true’ worker placement game hidden within the not-quite worker placement game parent, a fun little Easter Egg.

The complexity of the game comes from its many layers rather than through rules burden. To begin with there is a very dense layer of fog separating action from impact and it takes a few rounds of play before knock-on effects become more apparent and start to reveal opportunities. Pushing a Green car out of the factory gains a quick score as well as the chance of earning some bragging rights, but more opaquely it then sets up opportunities for scoring on Green vehicles that can influence behaviours much later in the game. If you then complete a new technology for Green cars you likewise gain some quick points, however you are also scoring points for everyone who has a Green car in their garage. The presence therefore of various types of car produced and sent to the testing area create direct pressure on the efforts made in design and development and vice-versa. At the same time you are making that particular type of technology more valuable in general and so are creating further growth opportunities for all that aren’t directly linked to the scoring cycle you have created around those green cars.

In this respect it is very much redolent of what you might consider typical Euro-gaming fare, where every tilting action eventually balances out and you operate within a constrained environment that limits the feasibility of outlying strategies; there are only so many car parts and blueprints you can collect before you run out of storage space, only so many cars and upgrades you can produce with those parts and plans, and only so much time you can spend on any one station anyway before being forced to move on. Even if you wanted to push at the edges of the design you will always be roped back into the comfortable middle. It’s a very neatly done eco-system which hides mechanisms for catch-up and escalating rewards under the hood of seemingly innocuous and personal actions.

Overall I enjoyed it but I had a sense afterward that the experience was very thin. Once you start to see the connections you can get tied up in ‘ah but’ conflicting decisions, where doing something to score is also helping an opponent to score and I can see situations in multiplayer games where you will be backtracking through decision trees on which opponent you want to help or hinder the most whilst pursuing personal gain. I now have less trepidation about Lacerda designs but also slightly less enthusiasm for trying any of his others.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Apr 2021 09:50 #321562 by Michael Barnes
That’s as good an assessment of KEV that you’ll likely read anywhere. That is right on point. The layers between procurement, execution, improvement, and result are the “fog” and why the game feels so complex. But that also simulates I think how mass manufacturing works- lots of departments doing one thing that rolls up to another thing that is required by another department. It’s also not clear at all that this is an -investment- game. Think of each car model as a railroad and each completed car in your garage as a stock and it suddenly comes together.

I’m actually not quite sure why the flavor didn’t go with interns because that is exactly what this is simulating.

I love all the specific details, like the reviews and the presentations, working the factory line- that’d where the fun is, I think.

But yeah, I am also with you Mezike that even though I like the game a lot I’ve cooled somewhat on deep-diving into Lacerda. I’m not sure that his design approach is something that would work for other settings and concepts, and looking for example at Dan Thurot’s review of Escape Plan may bear that out.
I think for running a car factory it totally works. But for more typical Eurogame subject matter (Lisboa) or the Terraforming Mars alternative On Mars...I’m concerned about heavy for heavy’s sake. I’ll probably still pick up The Gallerist because I love the look and concept.

WHQ Cursed City showed up yesterday. First impression: Shellhead, get your little pog cutter ready.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Shellhead, themothman421, mezike, hotseatgames, sornars

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Apr 2021 10:06 #321563 by charlest
I finished my first playthrough of Sleeping Gods and it kept me thoroughly entertained throughout. I'd like to play it again (you only see roughly 20-30% of the overall content in a play, even if you are revisiting areas you've already seen), but I don't know when that will happen. Going to write about this soon.

Marvel Crisis Protocol is a very neat miniatures game. It's very simple overall and not innovative, but each character has several abilities and unique attacks. The best parts are that you can manipulate the environment. Standout moments include Spider-Man slinging a car into Baron Zemo, Crossbones repeatedly bashing Black Widow against a wall, and Iron Man firing repulsor shots off Cap's shield and into Doc Oc.

It's just very fun. Putting the minis together was a pain, although they're pretty high quality. Game is so damn expensive though. I'm eyeing a few expansions and The Hulk is $30, and Thanos is $55 (he does come with his throne as a big terrain piece, but yikes).

With all of that being said, the game I'm most focused on at the moment is The Initiative. This is Corey K's newest release, and the first title from his new Asmodee imprint Unpexpected Games.

It's certainly in the escape room genre of tabletop designs. But there's quite a bit going on above that. First off, the game has a relatively strong story. Players take on the role of some teenagers in the 90s who stumble across a board game in a yard sale. You play the kids playing the board game. It's meta and but pretty sly.

The previous owner of the game left clues and weird things in the box. Plus there's some outside story stuff going on with the main characters. The narrative is carried in big booklet that's not full of paragraphs, but actual comic strips. So before you play mission 3 you read page 4 in the book or whatever. After finishing a scenario you may need to read another section of the comic, and it may even (very lightly) branch depending on whether you won or lost.

The puzzles here are mostly ciphers, which is kind of a departure from most escape room games. Also, the framework of the puzzles being side elements of a full cooperative strategy game is kind of interesting. The game itself is decent but nothing crazy. It seems to have rules added over time in the campaign and get more complex.

I think the closest thing to this - at least conceptually - is Raxxon. That was a strategy game with a meta-story that evolved over time. The game itself changed rules just slightly as you went, which was interesting. The puzzles and cryptography here though is more engaging.

The biggest possible issue is that if you don't find the core strategy game fun, all of the other stuff layered on top probably isn't enough on its own. You could fall into this trap - often seen in Legacy games - where you're going through the motions in the main game just waiting to unlock new and interesting content. So far I'm enjoying the strategy game. The overall experience though has certainly been greater than the sum of its parts. I hope it keeps as I have 10 scenarios left.

I'm excited to write about this one, partially because the game itself is kind of wild, but also because it's my first time writing for Polygon. I was stoked when they took my pitch.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Apr 2021 10:22 #321565 by Shellhead

Michael Barnes wrote: WHQ Cursed City showed up yesterday. First impression: Shellhead, get your little pog cutter ready.


I just saw the price and nearly took to my fainting couch. I am definitely going to look for a stripped copy on eBay.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Michael Barnes, Gary Sax

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Apr 2021 10:47 #321566 by Gary Sax
Incredible shit in this thread the last week, thank you all.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Michael Barnes, dysjunct, Sagrilarus, Frohike

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Apr 2021 10:56 #321567 by RobertB
Terraforming Mars - I got a god draw for a space-based engine game, but didn't get a lot more of them as the game went on - we flip a coin to decide whether or not to draft, and this game we didn't draft. My wife didn't get anything but plant cards on her draw, and her philosophy is that plants are nothing but a good way to lose. But the cards went her way after that, and she gave me a terrible beating.

There's been more than one discussion on BGG about what Colonies does to the game, the thought being that for two players Colonies makes the game favor engines over terraforming. My wife is a firm believer in that, not from reading BGG because no way will she read BGG, but from her personal experience. For her it's cards, money, and point engines, or lose. I think they're all right, but I'm stubborn enough to keep trying something else, and losing.
The following user(s) said Thank You: mezike, DarthJoJo

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Apr 2021 11:29 - 01 Apr 2021 11:32 #321568 by mezike
I’d say it depends on what colonies are in play. If it’s Titan and Enceladus then yeah, not much good unless you are building to have floaters and microbes. Ganymede, Io and Callisto are straight up boosting terraforming, although Callisto can be a godsend if you have power hungry projects or multiple trade fleets. The other colonies are supporting card based strategies because steel and titanium only really matter for cards and Pluto is straight card draws. Luna is the only one that is a flat benefit in all situations with hard cash rewards. But then all of that is true regardless of player count.
I would say that Colonies generally supports card based engines because they provide incremental gains that help either directly with drawing and playing cards or with stuff that can otherwise be a struggle with random draws (microbes, floaters, animals). The reason why I like it is exactly that, I believe that it adds agency by mitigates some randomness caused by that huge deck of cards.
Last edit: 01 Apr 2021 11:32 by mezike.
The following user(s) said Thank You: RobertB

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Moderators: Gary Sax
Time to create page: 0.861 seconds