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December 03, 2021
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Rebis Board Game Review

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November 30, 2021
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November 29, 2021
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November 26, 2021
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Lunar Base Board Game Review

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November 26, 2021
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November 25, 2021
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November 23, 2021
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November 22, 2021
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Tharos Board Game Review

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November 19, 2021
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06 Sep 2021 02:16 #326279 by trif
The annoying thing is we're in lockdown and BGA doesn't have the partnership option.
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06 Sep 2021 06:55 #326281 by mezike

Erik Twice wrote: Imperium ... (is) the kind of game I would prefer to play solo but I'm told you have to keep a bot or something.


The bot is super easy, I've easily clocked over a hundred plays of this now with most against the bot. It's fun with the caveat that I have both boxes and I strongly believe that Legends is much better than Classics and both sets together is so much more complete that I seriously wonder why they chose to break them up in the first place. Choose a civ for the bot, deal out five cards, roll a dice that will block one of those cards unless it's a six, then each card triggers an effect on a short table that evolves once the civ hits empire. Every time you empty the bot's deck you add a random nation card. Real quick and each opposing bot has a distinct personality depending on the civ, and it does enough to feel like someone is messing with your game and setting the pace for you. Just one important errata where they forgot to add a line explaining that the bot discards revealed unrest cards back to the draw pile instead of resolving the table.

Regarding the chatter about Classics - yes, those civs feel simplistic and that's because the basic civs are... basic. I mentioned in the dedicated thread that my recommendation would be Legends all the way as it has by far the more interesting decks and there really isn't a particularly huge gulf in complexity. I've played enough now to feel that the simpler civs do have a core strategy that you can run fairly rigidly but it is by no means a fixed solution unless you are playing the long odds. You do need to be somewhat malleable in your approach as the market cards you choose to buy and the ones you leave open for your opponents change the way your civ will play, and I guarantee that an experienced player with an adaptive approach will consistently beat an opponent with a singular mindset. Having the alternative general and fame decks from Legends also makes a difference as the composition of both of those is different from Classics and it changes the external pressures on running those core strategies with Rome etc.

I do agree that it is a very mechanical game but I'm fine with that, most engine/tableau builders are that way. I enjoy the subtlety of giving each civ a different lean on deck-building tropes and I've enjoyed exploring those nuances. I've tried it at various player counts and my preference would be either two-player or solo, the interactive elements such as they are largely extending to burning something out of your opponent's tableau or handing them unrest cards, so frustrating disruption rather than real interaction. The main combative arena in my view is battling over the market and the careful placement of progress tokens given that you can swag ten to twenty percent of a winning score just from collecting them from on top of card purchases.
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06 Sep 2021 10:58 #326282 by Gary Sax
I've only played 4-5 times, but my sense was the basic civs I played were pretty canned in your *strategy* but that the tactics really mattered based on what was in the offer tableau. There's also the unrest game end which you can use pretty aggressively against someone who is pushing too hard.

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07 Sep 2021 16:54 #326333 by DukeofChutney
I probably should have searched for the dedicated thread. I mostly went for Classics on thematic grounds as I prefer historical factions.

I agree the bot runs pretty easily and as far as solo games go, it is pretty fun. Its low effort and a bit more interesting than a game clock / target score. You do need the rules errata though.

On tactics vs strategy. I tend to agree this game is more tactical so far. But i coming around to the view that this is just normal in lower player interaction games period. either the game will be balanced around one or two stronger strategies or perhaps equally balanced amongst many so your decision to go this way or that may actually be arbitrary anyway. The game is in the market management assuming you know your deck and the correct counters for your opponents.

Whilst I am enjoying it, im not sure i love it enough to double down and get both sets. I do with that rather than having three one star factions that had but two in the Classics box and done something a little weirder with one though.
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07 Sep 2021 21:12 #326346 by san il defanso
My son bought himself Marvel United. It's okay.
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08 Sep 2021 00:06 - 08 Sep 2021 00:06 #326357 by ZeeAyKay
I've been dabbling in Ashes ever since they launched Ashes Reborn, mostly just preconstructed play with the SO and online with some friends on ashteki.net. After enjoying our preconstructed games on Ashteki, 3 of us agreed to try our hands at constructing our own decks and I have to say it just takes the game to a whole new level.

I've never been into anything with customization like this - stuff like magic the gathering or Warhammer - but there's a special kind of satisfaction of pulling off the deck you way you envisioned it (more or less). None of this would have been possible without Ashes.live, which is an incredibly well done website that makes it super easy to build a deck.

Between this, Summoner Wars and Forgotten Waters, Plaid Hat has been knocking it out of the park lately. It doesn't hurt that their art is incredible and it seems like they've been leading the industry in terms of diversity and inclusion in their games. Not to mention the art is top-notch across the board.

If you haven't tried Ashes and have any interest in dipping your toes into a LCG, I'd give it a shot. They have a very active discord with regular events during the week, and the online tools make it super easy to get started.
Last edit: 08 Sep 2021 00:06 by ZeeAyKay.
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09 Sep 2021 23:01 #326393 by Jackwraith
Played another game of Ankh. This time I left god selection open and we ended up with Horus (me), Sobek, Hathor, and Isis (which is cool, since she's the one base god who didn't get picked in our first game.) But I stuck to the rest of the base Guardians, using Cat-Mummy, Mummy, and Giant Scorpion. We played Middle Kingdom again, as we had one new player (Isis) and because it was still only our second game and it's a good way to get everyone situated right away, since each player starts in their own region. Unlike last game, which ended at the 4th conflict event, this one went the distance, finishing halfway through the 5th conflict, when Sobek used Worshipful to spend Followers and get to the top of the Devotion track after the fight in the second region. As with the first game, I had ended up in the bottom two after the 3rd conflict and merged with Isis. Because of the Cat-Mummies (every time one dies, everyone loses Devotion except the owner), we were all lagging on the track and Isis and I were only 4 or 5 spots from the bottom. Just as with the first game, as well, we rocketed up the track in the 4th event and were contending for the win. Everyone selected Bountiful as kind of a counter to the Cats and that meant no one got eliminated after the 4th conflict, either. In fact, we were in the last space of the red zone during one fight and, thus, got the Bountiful bonus while moving into the blue (safe) zone.

I think I did better with Horus than I did with Amun, despite still ending up as part of the merge. Horus' ability to lock out cards in particular regions is great if you're good at reading other players' intentions and I successfully called the intended card in multiple battles, forcing opponents to do something different. But I also couldn't get unstuck on the Action track, which meant that I didn't get a Control Monument event until very late in the game, which also meant that there was a neutral pyramid in my starting region that didn't get controlled until quite late, which meant that a couple Control Monument events that other players activated were useless, because you can't claim opponents' monuments until all of the neutrals have been claimed. As someone who normally picks up games really quickly, I'm not sure why it is that I seem to be struggling with this one or if it's just random results in a small sample size (two games.) It felt like the Guardians had much more impact in this game than in our first, as noted about the Cats, but the Scorpions also had significant impact on the map, changing easy monument majorities in the 4th conflict. Plus, everyone learned the proper placement of Mummies (e.g. in the early conflict regions so they can then be teleported to your god in a later region when they die.) We learned a lot more about card play in this one, as well (when to Plague and when not to Plague; how the tiny edge of Drought can pay off to win and, thus, gain significant Devotion; the combo effects of Miracle with Magnanimous; etc.); something that I think the presence of Horus had a hand in. A lot of people have talked down Isis' ability on BGG, but this game is all about proper placement and being able to take advantage of gaining Devotion for losing battles but NOT losing figures can be really significant. I will say, though, that Obelisk Attuned has been perhaps the least exploitable for the various level 2 powers so far. Each of the others has been quite significant, but no one has been able to make Obelisk pay off so far.

I'm still pretty fascinated by this one and am looking forward to different Guardians and gods, as well as adding in the special Guardian, Petsuchos, in our next game. I think we'll stick with the Middle Kingdom scenario for at least a couple more games, though. I am trying to get a 2-player in, not only for review purposes, but because unlike Blood Rage and Rising Sun which are subpar and impossible to play with 2, respectively, Ankh is supposed to excel at that player count, according to many opinions on BGG and elsewhere. Still lots to think about.
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10 Sep 2021 00:16 #326397 by charlest
I've heard very positive comments on Ankh at 2 player.

Funny reading your experience and comparing it to my one play. I won as Isis (although merged), and one player really did well using Obelisk attuned (he lost by one point).

I can't recall what the god's name was, but he was the one that steals warriors to his three spaces on his player board (similar to capturing Cultists in Cthulhu Wars), and gains strength for each. He combined that with +3 strength from one of the Ankh powers and was teleporting around battle to battle with his god. Kind of crazy.
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10 Sep 2021 00:37 #326398 by Jackwraith

charlest wrote: I can't recall what the god's name was, but he was the one that steals warriors to his three spaces on his player board (similar to capturing Cultists in Cthulhu Wars), and gains strength for each. He combined that with +3 strength from one of the Ankh powers and was teleporting around battle to battle with his god. Kind of crazy.


That's Anubis. Yeah, I can see where him combined with Resplendent (the strength of 3 power) and having enough warriors around the map to make Obelisk Attuned work could be kind of amazing. I was thinking of trying either Anubis or Ptah next, in fact, and partially because I wanted to see how well I could exploit the former's god ability.

In thinking about it later, I think our Hathor player's strategy, which was to confine herself to two or three regions and really make an effort to keep monument majorities and victories there while ignoring the rest, might have been counterproductive to her ability, which seems to enable the spreading wide and far approach. That's largely what Sobek did, even though he basically forgot about Sobek's god ability for the first couple conflicts of the game, by not moving into the central water space and not putting down water tiles to disrupt others. When he finally did do that, along with Resplendent, it was a challenge to put up with someone automatically having 3 strength, minimum, in 3 or 4 regions, but it was just another puzzle to solve in some cases. I think that's a real strength of the card play approach, as opposed to something like dice, because you can often predict what cards are going to be played (since the ones that have been and are out of player are public knowledge) and respond appropriately, even if your opponent has a significant strength edge.
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11 Sep 2021 16:34 #326439 by Sagrilarus
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11 Sep 2021 17:27 #326443 by hotseatgames
In preparation for doing demos at Gen Con, I have been playing Phantom Division non-stop. I prepared a demo scenario that is shorter and easier than the real game. I have pre-spec'd characters and for the most part the only variable I've been changing is the accessory attached to the drone. Public demos are stressful, so I like to be as prepared as possible. I want to know all of the angles and everything that could happen. Interestingly enough, every session I have played has gone differently. Sometimes I steamroll, other times the defenses are strong. In this demo, victory is pretty much assured and that is as intended.

The drone is controlled by one player. It works like this: before the game you select an accessory. There are currently 6 choices, and depending on what you want to do, some are definitely better than others. For this demo, the Optical Scanner is the STAR of the show. It is like the door scanner from STF but you can do it anywhere on the wall. The Phantom controlling the drone gets to flick it one time at the beginning of their activation. They can then take standard actions either as normal or as the drone. The drone only has one hit point and is easily destroyed, so you have to use it quickly since it won't be around long.
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11 Sep 2021 23:29 #326452 by Gary Sax
We played a 3p John Company 2nd edition. One of those games where you get impressions but are hesitant to say anything strongly because who knows on your first play of a complex mechanical game.
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12 Sep 2021 06:27 #326454 by mezike

Gary Sax wrote: We played a 3p John Company 2nd edition. One of those games where you get impressions but are hesitant to say anything strongly because who knows on your first play of a complex mechanical game.


I am prepared to say that I felt it much more accessible and faster moving than 1e despite us having to stop a few times in this particular play to figure out what had changed due to us second guessing some things that are now more straight-forward. I enjoyed the way that local armies and governors work, it also slightly reduces the power of presidents; along with the change to attrition it makes offices in general feel more balanced in what they offer, and there's less of a scramble to push writers through the company to more senior positions. I'm still working through if that is an improvement or not, but it certainly takes away a huge chunk of the learning curve of 1e.

I could feel a definite strategy on my part where I wanted to load up the armies and stymie any efforts to complete shipments despite my starting position and prestige cards encouraging me to be a supporter rather than an enemy of the company. Ultimately the thirst for Power for an endgame bonus and the accumulation of cash for a final big retirement were more vital to my chances of a good score so the penalties for burning down the house were more than mitigated. It was still a huge risk for me and filling an order in the penultimate round (which saved the company from failure) actually turned out to be the most pivotal thing that I did as it allowed me to fulfil both of those strategies in the final round when the company inevitably collapsed. Plenty to think about.

One super uncomfortable moment for me was around one of the secret prestige cards where I had seen that NotSure needed to have the most promises in order to score 3VP. The only logical response to that was for me to give away a couple of my promises to Gary Sax purely to peg down our mutual foe but it felt like such an ugly thing to do that I talked about it openly and decided not to. I think it is less of an issue with some of the other secret cards where you have to make a financial investment (e.g. most workshops), but this one particular card is just a bit sour for me. I suppose that I was feeling the difference between acting without principles within the game and playing without principles as a player, which I doubt is an intentional irony.

My feelings have improved a lot since the earlier 2e designs, I've even made peace with the rondel. Love the window tax, it's probably my most favourite thing out of what has been added in.
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12 Sep 2021 10:31 - 12 Sep 2021 10:39 #326455 by Gary Sax
I'm kind of mixed on the hidden scoring prestige cards in general. *Hidden* scoring for most of X is always a little dicey in games imo. And the promises one just gets dumb.
Last edit: 12 Sep 2021 10:39 by Gary Sax.

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12 Sep 2021 12:08 #326456 by dustdevl
Fertility
Fairy Tale Inn
Bunny Kingdom

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