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July 29, 2021
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Fight for the Forest in Root

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18 Jul 2021 16:17 #324773 by southernman
We tried Imperium: Classics for the first time today, a 3-player game where we randomly chose one of the 2-star Civs.
The other two got the Carthaginians and Scythians and worked out their properties quickly, with the Scythians getting large numbers of cards on the table and drawing a lot so had a lot of bonuses and was getting through his deck quickly. I got the Celts and struggled to work out what they could do apart from attack, maybe that is all they are meant to do (I never worked out how to play them) and my playing differently was the problem. Anyway the Scythians romped away with it although because he had drawn the only two 11pt Fame cards his margin over the Carthaginians could have been a lot closer. I was a distant third.

Also had plays of Legendary Encounters: Aliens and Sub Terra.
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18 Jul 2021 21:39 #324779 by DarthJoJo
To necro that soft serve vs. hard pack discussion a few pages back, I don’t remember who pointed it out, but homemade is absolutely the way to go. Our neighbor offered to lend us her ice cream maker and a Ben and Jerry’s recipe book earlier this week, and I leapt at the chance. We went with a chocolate ice cream with semisweet morsels mixed in. It was fantastic. Probably could have let it stir another five or ten but great flavor and great texture. Beside the pile of dishes it created, no complaints whatsoever.
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19 Jul 2021 00:42 #324787 by n815e
Oh, yeah. My wife makes fantastic ice cream.

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19 Jul 2021 05:27 - 19 Jul 2021 05:54 #324789 by Ah_Pook
My wife had some friends from Portland in town for the weekend, and they were both boardgame fanatics so we played a bunch of boardgames.

1x Faiyum
1x Hallertau
1x Northern Pacific
1x High Society
1x Adel Verplichtet
2x Wolf & Hound
7x The Crew

Faiyum is just a great euro game. The shared incentives/opportunities of the communally owned board combined with the radically different ways games will play out based on the order cards come out makes for a super interesting puzzle to chew on each time your play. To say nothing of the turn to turn tactical puzzle of which cards to play when so you can cycle your deck back into your hand efficiently, and how much of your deck you actually want to play it before retrieving your cards, etc etc. Strong recommend on this one from me.

Hallertau I'm still kind of conflicted on. It's got a lot of fun Uwe worker placement stuff, and fun twists on the formula (crop rotation, how you're community center scores, the increasing cost of the either placement spots, etc). The cards provide a lot of feel bad moments though. My friend who is extremely good at games and has played Hallertau much more than I have currently swears up and down that the cards aren't swingy enough to determine the winner, and that solid play will net you around the same score range game to game regardless of what you draw. I believe him, but they still FEEL swingy as hell. And regardless of how swingy they actually are in the grand scheme of your score, it certainly provides feel bad moments when you take an action and draw a card that is nothing, and the player to your left draws a card that they play for free which let's them play two more cards for free and draw 2 more cards and they play one of them for free too etc.
Last edit: 19 Jul 2021 05:54 by Ah_Pook.
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19 Jul 2021 09:18 #324790 by the_jake_1973
Went to small meetup hosted by a person on a local Discord group. They were playing Obscurio when I arrived and two social deduction games came to the table after that, Avalon and One Night Werewolf. I realize that I hate social deduction games. It is just arguing for way too long. I will concede that Avalon was the better of the two. There was a game of Red Dragon Inn at the end with 6 people - 2 too many IMO - that went over long.

The host had invited too many people and with only one table, made it tough to split into multiple games. It was still nice to get out an see people.
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20 Jul 2021 20:48 #324816 by Gary Sax
Played Petrichor, which is an area majority game vaguely themed after clouds. It's fine? Seems fine. We'll probably play it more but my generic simple attractive euro enjoyment is exceptionally lower than many people here. It was better and meaner than wingspan, at least.

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22 Jul 2021 16:37 - 23 Jul 2021 06:35 #324834 by sornars
Despite being solidly in my wheelhouse, I've managed to avoid playing Eldritch Horror for the last 8 years. Now with the game being more or less complete and a job lot with all expansions passing my way I managed to pick this up and give this a go solo. I read that the game doesn't really scale well so I opted to play four-handed and I had a complete blast! It had some great narrative beats that I managed to stitch together into a fun and semi-coherent story. The (corrupt?) politician lead a team involving a bootlegger, a writer and a mobster. With the aid of the Scales of Thoth, the mobster turned out to not just be a hired gun but an observant and intelligent all rounder who spent the game closing gates and gunning down monsters across Europe and Africa. When the bootlegger and politician died on the same turn after losing their minds facing the corruption of Azathoth in Tokyo; the butler and a magician stood in to take their place (and items!). They ended up solving the final mystery one turn before they would've doomed out. The tension of flipping over cards without knowing their effects is a great mechanic for generating uncertainty and builds tension over multiple turns.

There are some obvious shortcomings of the game, it's a table hog and involves a lot of tracking which was exacerbated by playing four characters solo. In the end I developed a layout and flow which made it easier to check for reckoning effects and just generally miss fewer rules but there were still a lot of cards to track. The ending is also a bit anticlimatic, a resolution paragraph for each old one wouldn't have added much overhead and would've tied the ending together when you succeed. I was worried about content repetition but I love how the expansions were structured such that loads of generic stuff was added into each deck without requiring me to commit to all of the expansion bits and rules. The difficulty seemed hard but enjoyable enough; if I end up finding the random spikes in difficulty aggravating I'll use the staged mythos deck to generate a more consistent arc. I also had to do a fair amount of research to figure out how to effectively sort this game to make it manageable to store and play. I looked up old comments on the game on the forum and it seems like folks were hot for this when it came out but it doesn't get much talk now.

Prior to playing, I would have generally preferred the more local scope of Arkham Horror but I'm coming to realise that the Arkham Files is different (almost intentionally so) from its HPL origins and I'm okay with the global scope presented by this game. This game does miss a bit of session zero in terms of narrative as there's no meaningful explanation for why these folks know each other and are working together. I was going to go with the explanation that they may not know each other and are working independently but the politician's ability of drop shipping items around the world kind of counters that.
Last edit: 23 Jul 2021 06:35 by sornars.
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22 Jul 2021 16:47 - 22 Jul 2021 16:49 #324835 by Gary Sax
I found that Arkham Horror created more fun and weird situations so I kept that one, Eldritch was very action limited like Arkham LCG is but without the amazing deck construction elements of the LCG. No question Eldritch is a more coherent and tight design than Arkham, maybe even moreso than the Arkham LCG.

I think Eldritch and LCG are actually closer at their core than other people think they are despite the scope differences---the core tension is being in an absolute action straightjacket under a very tight time limit. The limits on travel distance in Eldritch can be overwhelming---I didn't love that since spending an entire turn traveling feels just as unfun as losing a turn to me.
Last edit: 22 Jul 2021 16:49 by Gary Sax.
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22 Jul 2021 17:16 #324837 by sornars
The LCG is an obvious but interesting comparison. I'm likely to play both of these solo but I'd be far more tempted to bring out Eldritch Horror for a game night. In terms of which I'd prefer to play solo? I think the LCG but only by a hair. They overlap a lot in terms of feel but I'm happy to own both even if I wouldn't necessarily recommend the same to someone else.

re: Delayed effects and slow travel. I feel like turns move quickly enough that I'm never too bummed out by those effects and travel being difficult seems reasonable enough (how the heck do the investigators have so much money for travel expenses?!). Playing solo may have warped that perception as I was always occupied but even with other people I wouldn't want people to be taking ages with their turn and we'd be using the Tales of Arabian Nights rule of reading someone else's encounter cards so you'd still be involved with the game.
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22 Jul 2021 18:28 #324839 by DukeofChutney
Been playing quite a lot of Go. I have got proper into it since writing about, improved from ~20kyu to around 14kyu. At the moment im fairly addicted.

Also played Yokohama. Its an ok euro game. Liked it, but nothing that remained with me.
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23 Jul 2021 16:19 #324874 by Kmann
My kids (3 & 6) had been loving playing their own made-up game with my old Magic cards recently so I figured it was time to get them some cards of their own.

Enter the Pokemon Battle Arena Academy box which basically turns the Pokemon TCG into a boardgame. It comes in a boardgame-sized box with a best-in-class insert, three constructed decks (Pikachu, Charizard and Mewtwo), the tokens you need, an oversized Pokemon coin (there's a lot of coin flipping in the game) and a proper hardback gameboard. Similarly to FFG there's a Let's Play rulebook guiding you through the first few turns and a second advanced rule book. It's a really great package and fairly cheap. I found it onsale for NZD$35.

It's been a total hit. The 3-year-old likes playing with the cards and the 6-year-old quickly grasped the basic game, so we've been playing a lot. It's ​been great for her reading and using real world math. Both kids also earn themselves a booster pack each Saturday if they eat a week's worth of dinners without complaint. A small miracle.

I've also been learning the Flesh & Blood TCG on felttable.com . This is an unofficial web-browser implementation that you play against an AI. The game's a cool slugfest with a lot of decisions to make each turn but still plays quick using the Blitz format (smaller decks and less starting HP).

Back in the real world my second run through the Dunwich campaign cycle in Arkham Horror LCG came to a deadly finish one scenario away from the end when Rex the unlucky journo and Zoey the murderous chef both met grizzly fates beyond the veil in a game that came right down to the wire. They'd been on borrowed time for a while so it wasn't unexpected. While they were unsuccessful it was still an incredibly exciting finish as they almost pulled off the win. RIP.

After Dunwich was done I returned to Marvel Champions after a small hiatus. Captain America and Captain Marvel took on Ultron (expert difficulty with the Masters of Evil modular added in). It'd been a long time since I used either Captain so they were a lot of fun to bring out of the box again.
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23 Jul 2021 17:15 - 23 Jul 2021 17:16 #324875 by Jexik
Saw a close friend for the first time in like 18 months. Brought Bullet, Abandon all Artichokes, and Summoner Wars. Played and enjoyed all three.
Last edit: 23 Jul 2021 17:16 by Jexik.
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23 Jul 2021 20:00 - 23 Jul 2021 20:00 #324885 by Gary Sax
Playing the shit out of arkham lcg solo but Arkham Horror 2nd edition revival continues with another dramatic last turn ending (win this time). I used the dude with the gate box and the cultists. The cultist starts with an absolute garbage initial item setup but her power to be constantly healing and gather clues passively is very good.
Last edit: 23 Jul 2021 20:00 by Gary Sax.
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26 Jul 2021 11:02 #324932 by Shellhead
My old friend is visiting for a week and staying at my house, so we have been gaming nearly every day. On Saturday, he invited over a couple of his long-term gaming buddies (who are both fully vaccinated) so I could finally give Mansions of Madness (2nd) a try.

I was very disappointed with MoM (1st), and actually sold it this last spring for $30 to a local gamer who spent the pandemic playing 2nd edition with her four gamer housemates. First edition had an unbalanced conflict between a gamemaster player and the investigator players, plus a tedious setup time where even a single setup mistake could mess up a scenario. The adventures were too linear and on a painfully tight time table, but the gm could play a certain card (3 per deck) that would completely undo an investigator's turn. The puzzles were a cool idea, but most players found them too easy while a few players found them impossible to solve. My buyer wanted it anyway because the 2nd edition app made it possible to use the 1st edition materials for 2nd edition play.

Until now, I never tried 2nd edition, because I don't like the idea of a game that requires an app to play. I loved playing Stop Thief! when I was a teenager, but when the dedicated handheld app device for that game broke, the game was suddenly worthless.

To avoid spoilers for the scenario that we played, I won't name the scenario or even the expansion set that it came from. We did run into some minor issues with the app, because the player who ran the app on his laptop mistakenly included a couple of expansions that we didn't actually have on hand. So occasionally, we would find a piece of equipment that we didn't have a card for, and would need to look it up online and then write down the stats on a small piece of scratch paper as a proxy for the card.

Other than that, the app was excellent. It didn't closely police our turns, but it otherwise deftly handled the gm duties in a complex scenario. We were exploring an unstable location that was possibly right on a gate, so rooms kept moving around or even imploding. This kept splitting our group up and increasing the tension. Then a fire broke out, and soon raged out of control, but we found ourselves abruptly transported to the creepy basement. We faced several monstrous humanoids, so my old lady character whipped out a powerful area of effect spell, killing one and weakening the other two. We managed to defeat the other two after some additional combat, but the ambiguous ending suggested that we were momentarily safe but probably trapped in a time loop at that location. Two of us declared victory, while the other two players felt that we had actually lost or at best only achieved a marginal victory.

Then I brought out Camp Grizzly for a couple of plays. The other two guys had never even heard of it, but quickly got immersed in the game. The first game featured a great deal of Tempting Fate, usually involving two specific female characters, turning into a running joke. With great difficulty, we all managed to escape and survive our endgame scenario. One guy had to leave, so the three of us played one more game. This game went more smoothly, and we escaped again to an endgame scenario. But since things were moving more quickly, we had gathered less gear, leaving my character with a shotgun and an axe while the other two players had crappy weapons. This became crucial because our endgame involved facing 13 days of potential starvation or cannibalism. Our third player hated the idea of this so much that he wanted to just stop and put the game away, but I came up with a way to liven up the resolution of this end game.

Each day, each player had to choose to either Starve or Snap. Starve meant rolling a die and possibly taking 1 or 2 points of damage. Snap meant either eating one of your own campers (kid rescued during the game) or fighting another counselor (player) to the death. After the meal, players could completely heal and skip past the next four days before deciding to Starve or Snap again. I gave each of us a white poker chip and a red poker chip. Each day, we would each secretly choose a chip and then simultaneously reveal, with white meaning Starve and red meaning Snap.

I had one camper, as did the third player. My friend had three campers. We were all injured and I was close to death, so I Snapped on Day One and served up my camper as a meal. We all chose to Starve on Day Five and Day Six, but I took some starvation damage and got near death. I felt bad about cannibalizing my camper, so I chose Starve again on Day Seven and died. My alternative would have been to shoot one of the other two players with my shotgun. The other two players chose Snap on Day Eight and again near the end, so they managed to leave Camp Grizzly with a total of two counselors and two campers still alive.
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26 Jul 2021 13:50 #324935 by jason10mm
Got in a few games with the kids. Mancala is an abstract about moving piles of stones from little wells on this folding tray thing, supposedly one of the oldest known games. Only has like 3 rules and is pretty deep for all that, at least early on when we are still figuring out strategies. I'm sure there are many versions since ours came with multi-colored stones but there doesn't seem to be any reason for it. Anyway, easy enough for 8 year olds to grasp with a little prodding to stay on task.

Clue needs no introduction here. The latest version has clue cards you can get that help accelerate the game, which is a good thing. It was very fun to see the boys figure out the base strategy (hide your knowledge and deliberately mislead other players) as we went along, getting more and more secretive with their cards and devious about what they asked.

I bought Clue after playing Clue Mysteries at a pub. My son had a blast trying to read the red filter writing (while I was reliving countless video game 'security code wheels' and hidden text CYOA style books) but it is just too busy IMHO. Regular Clue isn't very complex and is really more of a bluffing game than pure deduction.

Got me looking at other simple, but not simplistic, games since "the classics" of Chute and Ladders, Candyland, Life, Sorry, etc are just not what I want to play. Ordered a copy of "Shut the Box" and will look around for some more abstracts that can be quickly explained and quickly played. One of my son's friends has played Risk so that's a definite contender if it can play quickly enough. Will dust off the DnD adventure games again, after a year haitus those should be a hit again.
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