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DavidNorris
October 21, 2021
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October 20, 2021
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K2 Review - Digital Eyes

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Sprawlopolis Review

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21 Apr 2021 14:09 #322396 by Shellhead
I was fascinated by my grandfather's cribbage board when I was a kid. It was neat the way it had a little sliding compartment door in the back to store the pegs. He finally taught me how to play when I was a teenager, and I didn't like the game. It was fiddly with exceptions, and felt more procedural than fun.

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21 Apr 2021 14:54 #322402 by RobertB

jeb wrote: I think CRIBBAGE was designed by some inveterate gentleman gamblers as a consummate test of skill constrained by still using a standard lower tarot. Especially in the long run, the more skilled player will win more, and even in a single game, the first-player luck is minimized by all those dumb rules. Knobs, Heels, cribbed flush only counts if 5 cards, 1-for-go-but-2-for-31, &c. It's annoyingly detailed.

Those rules were probably awesome back in the 17th Century or whenever, when everyone was drunk all the time.
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21 Apr 2021 17:18 - 21 Apr 2021 17:20 #322413 by Disgustipater
I’ve never played actual Cribbage but we play a version of Cribbage using a grid board that you play the cards onto to make the scoring hands. Based on the weird terms you guys are using, our way is much simpler and easier to understand than actual Cribbage.
Last edit: 21 Apr 2021 17:20 by Disgustipater.

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21 Apr 2021 18:24 #322415 by DukeofChutney
I play quite a bit of Cribbage and like it a lot. Right now Sixty Six might be edging it out as my favourite two hander. I consider cribbage to be both high luck and high skill. You are dealt 6(7) cards from the a 52 card deck so there will be a high degree of randomness but the game offers quite a few ways to exercise judgement. A lot of points can be drawn out from the other player in the play phase, but a lot of this is learning their tendencies in how they play. Some people i play against i can regularly get the 31, others regularly 31 me or get triples off my pairs etc. It seems like a few points compared with what you get from hand and crib score at the end but they add up and often decide the winner.

I've moved back and forth on the 1st player advantage. It is there, but i think its only about 5 points. All things being equal the first player should win more often, but in reality with a slight skill differential it can be regularly over turned. If you play to 121 points the game gives you enough opportunities to outplay your opponent to compensate for their head start. You can always give player 2 a few points to compensate if this bothers you.

The jack rule i often don't bother with if teaching new players. Its a traditional nonsense rule that adds to the folk nature of the game, so I am not opposed to it but doesn't gel with modern sensibilities. I think previous generations enjoyed randomness a lot more. Many older card games are fully of random draws for points and people seemed to love that. Gambling was perhaps more valued than skilled game play. All Fours/Seven up, another traditional 4 hander from the ~1700s gives out points based on the deal, as does Piquet, Jass etc. Cribbage is actually fairly restrained with its jack turn point and heels. Most of these games also have their set of antiquated terminology, though i rarely use it. I have learned how to talk cribbage properly but I am to lazy to use the terminology most of the time.
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21 Apr 2021 19:13 #322417 by birdman37

RobertB wrote: Those rules were probably awesome back in the 17th Century or whenever, when everyone was drunk all the time.

And hence the Muggins rule. :)
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22 Apr 2021 10:53 #322431 by Ah_Pook
Played a few more rounds of Hallertau, this time using a house rule where every time you get cards your get double the cards and keep half of them. You start with 5 cards, so you get 10 and keep 5, etc. It's a band aid solution, but it made it feel less bad anyway. The marriage of a pretty crunchy resource conversion points optimization euro game with a strong reliance on top decking good cards to excel just feels off to me I dunno. I mean it's not not fun to play, but that fundamental disconnect/friction will probably keep it from being in my top Rosenberg games. At least in Agricola you can draft the cards, and in Feast For Odin there's a lot more going on than the cards (though I do remember being annoyed by the cards in that game too, since you draw weapons and occupations blind).
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22 Apr 2021 16:23 #322445 by Greg Aleknevicus
I've been playing "golden-era" German games on Yucata.de with strangers: El Grande, Torres, San Juan, Attika, Thurn & Taxis. These are damn fine games -- they feel like you're actually playing a game rather than a spreadsheet.

There's no social interaction at all which is the reason it took so long for me to embrace online boardgaming. On the plus side, the presentation of information is (in most cases) so much better that I doubt I'll go back to playing with a physical copy. The most obvious example of this is seeing your opponents' board, tableau, pieces, etc. but even your own information can be easier to parse. Take Attika, for example. I find it hard to determine what tiles I have left to draw, but this is obvious with the online implementation. (Kudos to the developer!)

At first I was annoyed by the glacial pace (days can elapse between turns) but that can be turned into a strength. I now spend far more time analysing my moves than I'd feel comfortable in a live game and this is a process I really enjoy. And those "damn fine games" reward this effort despite the simplicity of their rules.
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23 Apr 2021 09:42 #322457 by Jackwraith
Played a couple more games of Tiny Epic Pirates (review incoming.) This is the first time I've run across a game in this series that feels like just a smaller version of another already extant game.

Then played a couple Tiny Epic Dinosaurs. My opinion on this one has actually improved over time, but I'm not quite sure where the best player count is. Four players is certainly more dynamic and competitive, but it also feels like you're fighting with the game, rather than playing it. Two players is much better in that regard but the choices/decisions aren't quite as difficult and, thus, are mildly less interesting. Still, I'm enjoying the games of it more than I did when it first arrived.
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23 Apr 2021 10:51 - 23 Apr 2021 10:52 #322460 by JoelCFC25
After powering through a couple YouTube instructionals, a friend and I had our first outing with Pax Renaissance 2nd Edition yesterday on TTS. I think a recent thread somewhere hinted at the idea that this has a learning process that's multiple times longer than most games take, which is almost true! I'm pretty sure we got everything right procedurally, but the craft of assessing the available cards in the market and current board state and having those inform your choices is going to take awhile. We didn't see a single queen come out, which of course can happen when you are only getting a small subset of the card pool in a given game. Apparently some people like to play 2P with 3P deck setup to stretch the game out a bit. Too soon to know what I really think, other than that I didn't hate it--it'll get some more plays I'm sure, but unclear where it'll settle in my personal Pax series pantheon.

I'd also echo a thought I came across that speculated this game might have had its graphic design done purely on the basis of digital play--font sizes and clarity of symbols make it a challenge to see card details in another player's tableau across a table. It looks like there's a decent amount of players preferring the 1st edition style in that regard. I can pretty easily imagine having difficulty distinguishing some of the prestige icons or the unit type on a Repress op from a distance.
Last edit: 23 Apr 2021 10:52 by JoelCFC25.
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23 Apr 2021 12:49 - 23 Apr 2021 12:50 #322465 by Michael Barnes
Lisboa is kind of mind blowing. It may be the best example of nested complexity in a board game design I’ve ever seen. The core process is the easiest out of the Lacerdas I’ve tried- play a card, take an action, draft a new card. There are only six core actions.

But man, this shit is WILD. Everything is connected. Everything requires a multi-step process to accomplish. If you want to build a store (which you need to make goods to sell in ships and trade with nobles) you have to have the money to clear the rubble, which you use as construction material to build warehouses that house goods and open new slots in your portfolio. But those buildings don’t score Wigs (points) unless you have built on streets with Public buildings relevant to the shop you are building but to do that you have to go the builder, which you have to send officials to the leaders and procure plans that then release your officials to be rehired. There’s a market that impacts costs for everything that is impacted by good sales, which require ships that also increase the treasury value as trade expands. And the whole thing is about getting rich enough to buy as many Wigs as possible.

It’s wild and maybe brilliant- I think it’s a little easier to grasp, despite the complexity, than Kanban or The Gallerist. I really like that it comes with some “beginner” cars that give you some simple and direct goals to get you started.

But it is like the other Lacerdas in that there are TONS of options for each of then actions and that is where the nested complexity is really felt. When you play a card for example; you can tuck in over or under your portfolio and there are choices to be made about benefits or penalties there and then for whatever you actually do, which then has a chain effect either elsewhere or potentially in a future action.

Whew.

It’s a -beautiful- game too, Ian O’Toole and so forth.

And here I am thinking about it constantly, which may be my favorite thing about these games. They stick with you. It’s like how you play something like Here In Stand and afterwards you are still just kind of wrapped up in the decision space. That is real depth that is worth complexity, I think.
Last edit: 23 Apr 2021 12:50 by Michael Barnes.

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23 Apr 2021 13:45 #322466 by bendgar

JoelCFC25 wrote: After powering through a couple YouTube instructionals, a friend and I had our first outing with Pax Renaissance 2nd Edition yesterday on TTS. I think a recent thread somewhere hinted at the idea that this has a learning process that's multiple times longer than most games take, which is almost true! I'm pretty sure we got everything right procedurally, but the craft of assessing the available cards in the market and current board state and having those inform your choices is going to take awhile. We didn't see a single queen come out, which of course can happen when you are only getting a small subset of the card pool in a given game. Apparently some people like to play 2P with 3P deck setup to stretch the game out a bit. Too soon to know what I really think, other than that I didn't hate it--it'll get some more plays I'm sure, but unclear where it'll settle in my personal Pax series pantheon.

I'd also echo a thought I came across that speculated this game might have had its graphic design done purely on the basis of digital play--font sizes and clarity of symbols make it a challenge to see card details in another player's tableau across a table. It looks like there's a decent amount of players preferring the 1st edition style in that regard. I can pretty easily imagine having difficulty distinguishing some of the prestige icons or the unit type on a Repress op from a distance.


I greatly prefer the older edition's graphic style too. I recently found someone selling the 1st Edition + expansions for $50 on ebay and grabbed them. I still haven't had a chance to play. First read through of the rules left me confused, but I never understood Porfiriana until I had a chance to work through it solo and then again with an opponent.

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23 Apr 2021 15:46 - 23 Apr 2021 15:47 #322470 by Msample

bendgar wrote:

JoelCFC25 wrote: After powering through a couple YouTube instructionals, a friend and I had our first outing with Pax Renaissance 2nd Edition yesterday on TTS. I think a recent thread somewhere hinted at the idea that this has a learning process that's multiple times longer than most games take, which is almost true! I'm pretty sure we got everything right procedurally, but the craft of assessing the available cards in the market and current board state and having those inform your choices is going to take awhile. We didn't see a single queen come out, which of course can happen when you are only getting a small subset of the card pool in a given game. Apparently some people like to play 2P with 3P deck setup to stretch the game out a bit. Too soon to know what I really think, other than that I didn't hate it--it'll get some more plays I'm sure, but unclear where it'll settle in my personal Pax series pantheon.

I'd also echo a thought I came across that speculated this game might have had its graphic design done purely on the basis of digital play--font sizes and clarity of symbols make it a challenge to see card details in another player's tableau across a table. It looks like there's a decent amount of players preferring the 1st edition style in that regard. I can pretty easily imagine having difficulty distinguishing some of the prestige icons or the unit type on a Repress op from a distance.


I greatly prefer the older edition's graphic style too. I recently found someone selling the 1st Edition + expansions for $50 on ebay and grabbed them. I still haven't had a chance to play. First read through of the rules left me confused, but I never understood Porfiriana until I had a chance to work through it solo and then again with an opponent.


I have no idea why they changed the color scheme of the pawns from red/black/white to teal/shit brown/magenta. And while I haven't played 2nd edition yet, as of now I prefer the 1st edition card layouts as well. After I tackle PAX VIKING this weekend I am going to lay the two editions next to one another and see what changed. This is why I didn't dump my 1st edition. Not to mention the box and physical footprint are much bigger as well. I kind like the ultra compact form factor of the early SMG stuff - its part of their charm, tiny ass rulebook font notwithstanding.
Last edit: 23 Apr 2021 15:47 by Msample.
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23 Apr 2021 17:32 - 23 Apr 2021 17:34 #322476 by Not Sure

Msample wrote: I have no idea why they changed the color scheme of the pawns from red/black/white to teal/shit brown/magenta. And while I haven't played 2nd edition yet, as of now I prefer the 1st edition card layouts as well. After I tackle PAX VIKING this weekend I am going to lay the two editions next to one another and see what changed. This is why I didn't dump my 1st edition. Not to mention the box and physical footprint are much bigger as well. I kind like the ultra compact form factor of the early SMG stuff - its part of their charm, tiny ass rulebook font notwithstanding.


There's some handwavy historical rationalization about the colors better representing the religions, but that brown is not very "gold", and I agree the new ones look pretty wonky. There was definitely an aspect of "white good guys, black bad guys" that they needed to step away from, though.

As far as what's actually changed, I went through the rules and didn't find a lot. Each region has all three religions possible now, and the deck got tweaked a bit to account for that. Regions that become uncontrolled keep all their repressed pieces, which makes some uprisings easier and votes harder in general.

The biggest change I saw is that "torches" appear to be just gone. I haven't dug in to verify this, but they aren't in the rules anymore, so I assume they just got dropped. They only ever existed in the expansion anyway, so I think many previous players won't miss them (I've never played an expansion game).

But overall, this edition has the expansion stuff included so the card count is, about double what the old base game was. I don't know if it's "better" or not. I might do a deep-dive on the decks to see what's really changed there.

Inflation in board games, a brief study:
Last edit: 23 Apr 2021 17:34 by Not Sure.
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23 Apr 2021 18:13 #322479 by Gary Sax
Also, to be clear from my post, it is fine if cost is the BIGGEST issue for you. I was there for a long time. I just push back on the idea that a reviewer could tell you anything about what cost means to you relative to... what? The reviewer's own cost assessment? I don't totally get it.

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23 Apr 2021 22:44 #322487 by san il defanso
My son spent birthday money at Wal-Mart on Disney Villainous and the Evil Comes Prepared expansion. We've already played two games. I can see us playing a LOT more of them.

So nice to get into the games I missed while living abroad.
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