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25 Aug 2021 11:39 #326022 by Gregarius

sornars wrote: Pandemic Legacy Season 1: I’m perplexed by the folks who got invested in this campaign. I’m in June and am so ambivalent about the fate of this earth. Are people role playing these characters? I see each unlocked relationship or scar as a purely mechanical thing and when viewed that way all I see is a bunch of levers to make standard pandemic slightly harder or easier. I cannot wait for my friends to stop being interested in this, I’ve been a trooper so far for the sake of hanging out but I did let them know about my ambivalence last session.

Thank you for this. It was exactly how I felt about the game. I also never understood the narrative logic of resetting the virus/outbreak every game, but I was able to let that go. I deferred to my game group and played the whole legacy through, but it never did anything for me.
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25 Aug 2021 12:04 #326025 by DarthJoJo
Another night of games at the library. I brought my boys along for the first hour. We played some Carcassonne and then got into Loopin’ Chewie and PitchCar when other kids showed up. Loopin’ Chewie (or, as my middle son calls it, Lupa Chalupa), especially, was a hit with the other kids and, as per usual, building the PitchCar tracks was game enough.

On the adult side, I got in another two gams of Melee with an autumn castle capture and a most territory win to balance out the first action win from two weeks past. Also got to teach Kingdomino. Unfortunately he missed that you need at least one crown to score points at all and had at least ten spaces worth zero. Hopefully that doesn’t put him off of future plays.
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25 Aug 2021 16:22 - 25 Aug 2021 17:48 #326032 by sornars

Gregarius wrote:

sornars wrote: Pandemic Legacy Season 1

Thank you for this. It was exactly how I felt about the game. I also never understood the narrative logic of resetting the virus/outbreak every game, but I was able to let that go. I deferred to my game group and played the whole legacy through, but it never did anything for me.


I realise that the legacy format was relatively new when this game came out so I am willing to give it some latitude for forging ahead in the wild while others have since innovated on its structure but everything feels so inconsequential. When I look at the impact of wins in Risk Legacy, which IIRC, predates it, Pandemic Legacy just doesn’t compare. As to the influence of endings on starting positions, that’s a good observation - something like Oath’s chronicle system would have been a cool thing to do (I remind myself again that Pandemic Legacy was released many years earlier but still…).

@mezike and @dragonstout: Unfortunately I have little insight on the comparisons between The Custodian’s Keys and the Exit series having only played a bit of both. I didn’t love the former as I thought it was a bit too puzzley for my tastes whereas my two forays into the Exit series were generally more enjoyable. It may have been the mood I was in when I tackled TCK but I actually appreciated the procedural/linear narrative of the Exit series as described by mezike.
Last edit: 25 Aug 2021 17:48 by sornars.
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26 Aug 2021 20:59 - 26 Aug 2021 22:56 #326048 by Sagrilarus
I am having a blast playing Talon against my buddy Sam on Board Game Arena.

First of all, killer implementation. On the big screen it's superb and I take about half my moves on a tablet where all it's missing is a zoom out feature. But that's not needed all that much.

Where Star Fleet Battles was a zoomy zoom zoom game on a big scale with a zillion boxes to mark off, Talon is more Jack Dempsey, more of a fist-fight in a closet with the door shut and ships are much more fragile. You have to get close to make your precious weapon charges pay, but you have to put yourself in harm's way to do that. Timing is everything and there's plenty of opportunity to work it to your favor.

Just a great game. Criminally underappreciated.

Late edit -- And oh, by the way, I just pulled off the coup of the century. I just destroyed a drednaught off of a combination of two fighter squadrons, a battle cruiser and a carrier managing to land shots all on one shield. One last phaser shot from the carrier of all things to close the deal. I had no business pulling that off.
Last edit: 26 Aug 2021 22:56 by Sagrilarus.
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26 Aug 2021 22:44 #326049 by Jackwraith
Played another couple games of Funkoverse with two of my regulars whom had played once before. We did the Triumph scenario, which is one of the multiplayer scenarios, so we each took teams of two. I had Dr. Finkelstein and Black Widow (with Fog Juice) vs Oogie Boogie and Aggretsuko (with Chainsaw) vs Jaws and Iron Man (with Lasso of Truth.) We played on the Oogie Boogie's Lair board, appropriately. Triumph is basically king-of-the-hill, since you score for having a character on the center square with the Triumph token on it. The scenario is meant to go fast, as the point markers are right next to the starting area and you score points not only for knocking people out, but also for having an ally next to someone who's been knocked out (i.e. if an opponent knocks out another opponent.) But it goes even faster because with only two characters per team, you play to six points, rather than 10. So we played two games, one as kind of a refresher for them and then one where people could really get rolling.

I made good use of Black Widow's excellent Covert Ops ability, where she can trade places with an ally, even if she or they are knocked down, and stand both of them up, if needed. That let me leave one character on the Triumph spot and still swap out for an active character if they got knocked down. Combine with Dr. Finkelstein's It's Alive! ability, which lets him use any token to make a ranged attacked (like, say, the Triumph token that people were trying to stand on) and I had a good thing going. Our Oogie Boogie player had much trouble with the dice, in that she only scored one or two knockdowns over two games and ended up with Aggretsuko knocked out three times. Jaws is difficult because he has to use a regular action to emerge, which often means he can't move and attack unless he has a token to use an ability. So I suggested the Lasso for him because he can use that as a ranged attack. I won the first game quickly, so we played a second and things were much tighter between the Jaws player and I, as we were tied at 5 points each, until he knocked himself down using Iron Man's Overdrive ability and then Oogie cleared him from the Triumph spot and I stepped in with Black Widow with the last action of the round to take the game.

Then we switched to Concordia, which I had never played. I'll play anything Rome at least once, though, because Rome. I felt a little stymied early on because of the lack of wheat in the prefect spaces. IIRC, the only province that had it was Mauretania and you can't produce brick or wheat cities without wheat. I did pick up a Colonist card, though, as my approach in most of this type of game is to have as many dudes roving the board as possible. I also picked up another Architect card because I also felt stymied by not having the ability to build as often as I wanted with the steady supply of bricks and traded silk that I had. Key in getting those cards was a Consul card I picked up early in stage II which lets you get cards for cheaper. I really hadn't even digested the idea of the endgame scoring, but I'd inadvertently picked up enough Jupiter cards and had enough variety in non-brick cities to get 55 points from that, which propelled me to an easy win with 124. I think I might've done worse if I'd paid attention to the suit of cards, rather than their function. I was just trying to build a well-run machine, regardless of how well it scored for me at the end. I'd definitely play that again.
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27 Aug 2021 01:42 #326050 by Dr. Mabuse
Played Cosmic Frog with 3 other buddies last night and wow, what a great game! We had a blast playing it, everything is absolutely stellar. Well done Jim!
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27 Aug 2021 03:38 #326051 by mads b.
Played SLEEPING GODS with the 5-year-old. We play as a team and are one third of the way through our second campaign, and the game is still great. I handle the rules and most of the tactical decisions during combat and when it comes to use of cards, but we talk about where we want to go and what to do when reading from the story book. This time we try to sail to new places, but he also wants to revisit some locations from the first campaign, so it's a bit of both.

I introduced the 12-year-old to REGICIDE which is the hotness right now. It's played with a standard deck of cards, but it's cooperative, so it doesn't feel quite like your standard card game. We easily won our first play, and that felt wrong since everybody's talking about how hard it is. Turns out we forgot the rule about hand size which makes the card economy much, much tighter. I hope the rest of the family will want to try at some point - it could be the perfect game for train trips or for the light filler before bedtime.
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27 Aug 2021 06:35 #326054 by mezike
At the club:

Imperium with four players, which was my first time at seeing the full content in action with maximum player count. Still love this game, however I found four to be more insular than expected. The market became more of a pot-luck where there were fewer guarantees that the things you were interested in would still be there the following round, making it feel less of a tactical battleground than it does at lower player counts. It's weird that it feels increasingly solitaire to me with higher player counts.

Despite this the Minoan player had his pottery engine stymied by the Vikings stealing materials so had to switch into deck-thinning and rushing for Empire, the Romans went heavy on cycling Glory which advanced the endgame but meant that they spent too long in a Barbarian state to their detriment, and my Maurans struggled to get lands into play because of the constant invasions and incursions from the Vikings and the Romans that were sending those cards back into hand and discard. So there was clearly a good amount of mechanical interaction between the factions, it's just that it felt like obstacles interfering with and influencing strategy rather than what I would normally consider as truly connecting and interacting with other people through play.

The Vikings manipulated their nation deck and pulled out their sagas early, then went on a bender of heavy card acquisition which were subsequently garrisoned under the sagas for endgame scoring. My initial plan was to gain as much territory as possible, pinning my deck in garrisons to speed up to Empire (which is the only way to unlock Glory for the Maurans), then to release Prosperity with Glory and to start pinning lands and cycling my deck quickly in order to use Prosperity to pay for developments. This didn't work out so well as although I gained a few lands I couldn't keep them in play and all the abandonment was causing my garrisons to be released which then kludged up my deck and slowed me down. I moved instead to investing in card draw powers and storing cards in history whenever possible to take them permanently out of the game. This enabled me to rush to Empire and with the help of another engine that was cycling and discarding unrest I was able to push out into victory by maintaining a very lean and fast moving deck. What was great to see were different strategies in play with each faction and some mid-game switching of approach, which makes me feel that there there is enough disruption in the game to prevent factions becoming solveable even though there remains some clear best-fit approaches for most if not all of them.


Gravwell with three, which I feel needs at least an extra ship on the board if not an extra player to prevent situations where someone can be locked in the middle and unable to move (which is no fun for anyone). Cards move your spaceship toward or away from the nearest other ship (or the most ships if equidistantly tied for nearest) by varying amounts and have a specific order in which they activate, and the aim is to be the first to get off the edge of the spiral track and to escape the titular gravity well. Secretly play a card, everyone reveals, chaos ensues. There is something of an art to timing when it is safe to play certain cards without inadvertently flinging yourself all the way back down the funnel, especially as there are a couple of obstacles that can anchor you back if you have a wildly problematic round and get separated from the main group. This is one of those games that I always uhm and ahh about but then have a blast playing. Think I need to get a copy to play with the kids as I'm sure they would enjoy it.


Oath again! This time we had three with one veteran from last week and one new player, and the veteran took on the mantle of Chancellor needing to hold the People's Favour. Newbie made an early play to build favour and take the banner away, and given that the Chancellor had foolishly bankrupted himself in order to also secure the Darkest Secret he had his work cut out to rebuild. I was a little adrift without a vision so was happy to let time tick around to Usurper and to encourage the Chancellor to mount a failed attempt to muster and fight to reclaim the banner, with the assumption that he would soften up the usurpers forces in order to make way for my much larger army to seal the deal. Instead I had a better plan of using my secrets to quickly grab enough favour to buy it myself and to then sit in the imperial capital (which I had previously wrested control of while the Chancellor was in a weakened state) where I had installed the Keep to give me a strong defensive position.

Cue the same melodrama again, this time with the other Exile being the heavyweight muscle wooed by the ragged beggar Chancellor. They could not seal a deal, however the Chancellor was sure that he could get enough favour on his turn in order to swipe back the banner just before the 3+ end of the world dice roll. My natural course of action was to step away from my holdfast in order to beat him up and banish him to a place where he would lack the supply to fulfil that plan, allowing me to usurp just before game end - easy enough to do given that I had a significantly stronger retinue than he did. However, I managed to make a hugely catastrophic error in the heat of the moment; a significant location throughout the game had been the Charming Valley out in the Hinterlands and in a rash moment I chose to banish him there where he would be stuck, without stopping to realise that it was literally the only place on the map where he had a matching advisor as well as there being free card slots with which he could very easily get enough favour for the banner after all - whoopsie! So I gifted him a certain victory that was previously guaranteed as my own, but at least we had a good laugh about my impetuous hubris. I get the feeling that I am not very good at this game :laugh:


At the not-a-club game night:

My first game of Underwater Cities for which I have mixed feelings. I was super wary at first sight of all the Euro-glyphs and the initially baffling 'helper' card with the very busy production chart, but the game plays a lot more straightforward than I expected. The one thing that seemed completely pointless to me was the worker placement mechanism which added nothing at all to the party; there was never any risk of not being able to eventually do the things you want or at the very leas having equally useful alternatives, and it was just fostering a min-max mentality where jumping in now would secure a spot but maybe at one less fraction than the optimal path (bleurgh). I also found it a little charmless in that I didn't feel like I was building something with a distinct personality, my cities were just domes that blurted out resources once, twice or thrice rather than having any distinct attachment or meaning. Lots of pausing to count action efficiency as well because you reach a point where doing anything toward the end is costing fractions of a VP in order to earn fractions of a VP, and I wonder if it was a mistake to make everything worth points at the end instead of encouraging more efficient engine building in order to purchase VP scoring objectives. Take out the unnecessary worker placement and the homogenous scoring method and I think I would like this a lot more, otherwise it's okay but not something I'm in a rush to play again.


Planet X again, this time just two players and on the expert side of the board. The expert side feels far more interesting than the standard one, but I'm not sure that lower player count is better as there is less information available as a result through the theories that get put forward and it feels a bit more random as a result as your early theories are less certain. I wonder if at each peer review the app should give you some information to fill this void, like randomly telling you that a certain stellar body is not in a specific sector. My opponent won by taking a 50-50 guess at Planet X which felt like a disappointing way to end things.


Online:

TechnoBowl with Sornars on TTS. We went for 7x7 without skills or McFadden tweaks in order to get through the learning (and re-learning) curve and ended up 12-12 at the end of the first half, where we abandoned play because as much fun as this is to play it is really freaking long-winded unless you are very familiar with the flow of play and it was starting to get into the wee hours. I got turned over in the first play after a hilarious botched pass dropped straight into my opponents hands at the thirty yard line, and there was some good action with a high-pressured goal-line sacking, some misdirection on motion plays, a dummy play that turned into a quarterback sprint for the end zone, and all those fun moments that this game can magically sprout out of nowhere. I just wish it was a bit more straightforward to parse and could play through in less time than a real match takes!

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27 Aug 2021 08:23 #326055 by charlest

mads b. wrote: I introduced the 12-year-old to REGICIDE which is the hotness right now. It's played with a standard deck of cards, but it's cooperative, so it doesn't feel quite like your standard card game. We easily won our first play, and that felt wrong since everybody's talking about how hard it is. Turns out we forgot the rule about hand size which makes the card economy much, much tighter. I hope the rest of the family will want to try at some point - it could be the perfect game for train trips or for the light filler before bedtime.


Regicide deserves every bit of praise it's getting. It's fantastic. We've killed one of the Kings and it felt hurculean.

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27 Aug 2021 08:39 #326056 by Jackwraith

mezike wrote: Take out the unnecessary worker placement and the homogenous scoring method and I think I would like this a lot more, otherwise it's okay but not something I'm in a rush to play again.


That was basically my reaction to it, as well, since I played for the first time a few weeks ago. Everything felt tedious and like it didn't really amount to much. There do seem to be nuances to be explored, but I can't say that I'm in a rush to do so.
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27 Aug 2021 08:41 #326057 by the_jake_1973
Mezike, there is a discord where a number of fans have made tweaks to the game in order to streamline it. I've not tried them, but it may be worth looking into.
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27 Aug 2021 08:56 #326058 by mezike

the_jake_1973 wrote: Mezike, there is a discord where a number of fans have made tweaks to the game in order to streamline it. I've not tried them, but it may be worth looking into.


Thanks buddy! I had seen that as well, there’s also an entire rewrite collated on BGG which I want to try at some point. Right now it was just an exercise in reconnecting with a game that I hadn’t played in a very long time!

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27 Aug 2021 09:52 #326060 by hotseatgames
After a lengthy delay, including a month sitting at the port in California, I received the original Arena: The Contest board game. The second part, Tanares Adventures, is expected to ship a few months from now. This game came out a couple of years ago, and they did a reprint KS in 2019, which is when I jumped on.

The game has several modes: a team vs. team deathmatch, cooperative, and a mode called boss vs. boss, which is similar to the main teams mode except that each team has a giant boss fighting alongside it.

The cooperative mode can be played as one-off missions or as a lengthy campaign. I have so far only played a single mission. It was fun and interesting, and the difficulty was just right. For combat you roll a single d20 and compare the result to the target's defense. In general most attacks hit, and it comes down to a degree of how much they hit. This plays into the key strategic decision in the game, which is the makeup of the team itself. The game features many characters, all of which possess a certain combat role. The role defines their stats, their passive ability, and in general their purpose on the battlefield. From there, all heroes have unique attacks. Again, I have only played a single mission, but it was already apparent that the interaction of the different heroes' abilities, the timing of who goes when, etc. all matter a great deal.

There is a LOT of content in this game. It is one of those "all things to all people" games that you often find does no single part very well, but I am not ready to say that about Arena yet. So far my experience is quite positive and I hope to check out the PvP mode soon.
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27 Aug 2021 10:24 #326061 by the_jake_1973
I am eagerly awaiting my copy of that as well. I have no earthly idea where it will be stored.

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27 Aug 2021 10:48 #326062 by hotseatgames
It does take a lot of space, especially if you bought the ridiculously large dragon. The small good news is that you can throw away the "hero pack 2" box since all of the heroes in it have places in insert in one of the other boxes.

That's another good point: the game has very nice inserts that keep everything orderly. The downside is you really can't consolidate in any meaningful way, so expect this thing to consume a lot of shelf space. But I now have a shit ton of dragons, for those times when you... need a dragon.

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