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Fight for the Forest in Root

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06 Apr 2021 13:05 #321721 by Jackwraith
I'm with Gary here. I think there's plenty of narrative power in board games, but most of them depend on having multiple people at the table. I'm not a fan of solo board gaming for that exact reason: if there's a story being told, I'd rather it be something that people can reminisce about together. That's what makes it work in RPGs, as well. No one remembers the last time they went through a choose-your-own-adventure book and a lot of people probably don't have florid memories of playing a video game by themselves. But most of us can get together with friends that we played good games with and do any number of "Remember when...?" moments; board game or RPG.

I don't find myself particularly attracted to games like Kanban, because they tend to resemble more work than is really interesting to me. I remember that Erik is quite a fan of Food Chain Magnate and I'm just repelled by the theme. I've been a bookkeeper before and I really don't want to be involved with anything that resembles looking at spreadsheets. Of course, one of the things I've been looking at closely in the last couple weeks is the 2nd Edition of John Company, which can be seen the same way, but I think involves enough negotiation (Needs more than one at the table!) and thematic perfidy to take it above something that sounds as mechanical as Kanban. Feel free to tell me I'm wrong, though, since I haven't played the latter.

I don't think I've ever had an ardent preference for one kind of game over another. I do like certain themes (mostly post-apocalyptic...) and that's where things like Knizias tend to fall down. I remember that I mostly got involved in the arguments on BGG back in the day not because I thought Ameritrash games were better than Euros, but because there were a lot of assholes in the Euro crowd on that site who were quite good at Internet techniques like baiting aggression and sea lioning that resulted in people like MB and Frank getting suspended while they carried on trumpeting the majesty of Puerto Rico and Catan. It wasn't really about the games and, for me, still isn't. Just looking at my shelf, if someone walked in the room and said: "We have three choices of what to play: Nexus Ops, Taj Mahal, and Cosmic Frog.", I'd just say: "Yes."
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06 Apr 2021 13:10 #321722 by Jexik
For me at least, if I’m gonna play a complicated solo puzzle, it might as well be a video game like Into the Breach or Slay the Spire.

If I’m playing a two player game, I prefer something directly confrontational that you can only play with two, (although I do like super simple games like Kingdomino or That’s Pretty Clever). When it gets to three or more I want some negotiation or conflict that doesn’t work at lower player counts.

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06 Apr 2021 13:22 #321723 by Msample

Ah_Pook wrote: Most Feld games don't have solo modes that I know of. Castles of Burgundy specifically has a really good solo mode that uses it's own board. It may or may not be included in the anniversary edition, I don't know what all is in there tbh.

Carpe Diem is great solo too, using a super simple d4 variant.


To be fair a lot of his designs pre date the recent trend of players shrieking/demanding a solo mode be built into a game.

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06 Apr 2021 15:09 #321725 by ChristopherMD

Msample wrote: To be fair a lot of his designs pre date the recent trend of players shrieking/demanding a solo mode be built into a game.


To be fairer, players shrieking/demanding things from designers and publishers in this hobby is nothing recent and not exclusive to solo. Look at Robinson Crusoe; they're releasing a Collectors Edition of a 10 year old game and the whining about upgrades hasn't stopped and probably won't. Pure entitlement.
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06 Apr 2021 15:19 #321726 by Shellhead

ChristopherMD wrote:

Msample wrote: To be fair a lot of his designs pre date the recent trend of players shrieking/demanding a solo mode be built into a game.


To be fairer, players shrieking/demanding things from designers and publishers in this hobby is nothing recent and not exclusive to solo. Look at Robinson Crusoe; they're releasing a Collectors Edition of a 10 year old game and the whining about upgrades hasn't stopped and probably won't. Pure entitlement.


Such a weird mentality. By contrast, people at F:AT had a thread to brag about the way they pimped out (customized) their favorites games.

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07 Apr 2021 10:37 #321750 by Michael Barnes
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lost Ruins of Arnak listed for Kennerspiel.it’s a smartly designed, smooth playing and great looking game with an appealing concept. It’s not very innovative or progressive but it doesn’t need to be in order to be satisfying and FUN. I played a solo game and reset to play again right away. It’s one of those games that just feels good to play - I’ll probably do a full review on it but it’s a winner for sure. I think it’s a better game than Clank, but maybe not quite as good as Dune Imperium, which is comparable in some ways. This one I wouldn’t mind playing with others, it’s not super competitive but it’s mid-weight and brisk.
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07 Apr 2021 13:23 #321754 by Gregarius

Michael Barnes wrote: Kanban on the other hand is going up.

It is also an absolute delight to put out to play. It is really fucking expensive. I didn’t get comped on it, I was just blowing some Noble Knight bucks and thought why not. But I felt both decadent and stupid buying it...until it arrived and I was like OK, maybe this is actually a $130 game. And it was like Cthulhu Wars or Warhammer where you’re like cool nerd stuff and look at these toys...this was more like wow, I bought a premium, extremely well made and beautifully produced board game. It has a quality that goes beyond miniatures, I think. It’s more like buying a Mac or something.

I'll give you fifty bucks for it next month when you tire of it.
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07 Apr 2021 17:48 #321762 by Michael Barnes
Preorder noted.
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07 Apr 2021 20:01 #321765 by Andi Lennon

mc wrote:

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.


I wasn't aware of Ettincon. The last convention I attended was Draconomicon at Oatley high back in the very early 90's for a 1e session. Looking at it now though I think I might be keen. Would be a good chance to playtest PPBNFDS with a public group, and yeah throw down on some Pax.
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07 Apr 2021 20:45 - 07 Apr 2021 20:46 #321768 by mc
Oh yeah it would be a great environment for that for sure.
Usually by the time it rolls around there are a stack of RPGs scheduled - it's almost the main focus really.
They haven't had much luck over the last few years though, two years ago it was snowing and the highway was blocked. Last year COVID. Fingers crossed no drama this year.
Last edit: 07 Apr 2021 20:46 by mc.
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08 Apr 2021 13:40 #321794 by ratpfink
First face to face gaming in 6 months went very similar to the face to face gaming from 6 months ago: the mighty ANGOLA! It's sooooooooo good.

No solo mode on this one, btw. ;)
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08 Apr 2021 13:42 #321795 by Msample

ratpfink wrote: First face to face gaming in 6 months went very similar to the face to face gaming from 6 months ago: the mighty ANGOLA! It's sooooooooo good.

No solo mode on this one, btw. ;)


Did you play RAW or use the balance provisions to help the Communists ?

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08 Apr 2021 20:28 #321820 by ratpfink

Msample wrote:

ratpfink wrote: First face to face gaming in 6 months went very similar to the face to face gaming from 6 months ago: the mighty ANGOLA! It's sooooooooo good.

No solo mode on this one, btw. ;)


Did you play RAW or use the balance provisions to help the Communists ?

Attempting to play RAW. This is our 4th game with the same group, so we've just been rotating powers while kind of learning and feeling things out. So I'm playing UNITA for the first time. And thinking about it, I'm not sure MPLA/FAPLA are doing recruiting right(both may be dumping into Luanda each turn on set recruitment). So that certainly re-balances things! I'm not 100% sure on this but may explain why we're getting our butt kicked in the central part of the map. All of my setup cities ended up right near south west Africa, so I'm not paying super close attention to the battles around Luanda... so if that's true, we'll probably just play again right away. We played through turn 6 last night, will finish up next week, then I declare misdeal and we start again!
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09 Apr 2021 00:36 - 09 Apr 2021 00:49 #321835 by Kmann
After playing Marvel Champions excessively for the past year I recently branched out into playing the Arkham Horror LCG.

I borrowed the Core box and the Dunwich cycle from a pal and have been playing through the Core box campaign Night of the Zealot for the last 3-4 weeks learning the game. It's all clicked and now the rules have faded so I can concentrate on the story that comes to life during the game. I'll start Dunwich over the weekend.

But I've been having a lot of fun with the game even though it's been brutal. I had a real doh! moment last night after scraping through the Zealot campaign for the second time. I was packing up and for some reason started reading the little intro story blurb on the front of the 'Let’s Play' rulebook.

Just beside that intro text it has the guide on how to set-up the chaos bag and my eye noticed something weird. Closer inspection revealed that I’d been playing on standard difficulty the whole time, not easy... No wonder it had me sweating!

I'd just been thinking, 'well, people said this game was hard..." :laugh:
Last edit: 09 Apr 2021 00:49 by Kmann.
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09 Apr 2021 08:33 #321839 by mezike
Tried Beyond the Sun on BGA, Joel wrote briefly about it a couple of weeks ago in less than glowing terms but a buddy was keen to play so I gave it a shot.

On a fundamental level this is a very procedural affair with a lean on strategic planning so there is something there in terms of offering a rewarding experience if you are prepared to dig through the very bland and unassuming facade. Despite supposedly being a sci-fi 4x it might as well be about tractor repair for all that it matters, a few words on cards is the extent of the thin veneer that sets the scene. The dice are very gimmicky, a neat way to make one token work as one of six different things, but if you replaced them with punchboard tokens it wouldn't make a lick of difference. There is a lot of stuff in this game but it really doesn't seem to be doing much.

As for how it plays, you move your pawn to an action space and do the thing and then collect some resources which are needed to pay for future actions. One of the things you can do is unlock more powerful action spaces which flow up a tech tree into some big VP scoring moments. At the same time there is kind of an area control thing going on in a separate place that increases your resources and VPs and you can occasionally make an indelible claim if you want to prevent the tussle from continuing. In order to work on this you need to grab some tractor parts and hire some engineers then pay to move them out into the fields where the broken machinery is sitting.

It really doesn't matter how many engineers you hire or how many combine harvesters you fix though because the game is just boring to play. The area majority arena is fairly weak because it's either the area you are focussing on, in which case you win, or it's the area you are not focussing on, in which case you won't. You only get one action per turn and often need resources beforehand so turning the ship can be very slow; you simply can't react to big plays from your opponents quickly enough to stop them, and if they already have leverage over you because their engineers are more qualified or they have more parts in their barn or whatever then it's a losing gambit to take them on.

I very much felt that it is bereft of any spark of interest or excitement beyond manipulating the mechanisms of the game, and it really doesn't offer much help to the players in bringing the experience alive. The underlying mechanisms, the way the pieces fit together, do however make sense and demand some strategic planning and ongoing focus so I think there is going to be a core of people who rave about this until the next thing comes along, while everyone else is going to be bewildered by the enthusiasm.
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