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Michael Barnes
August 18, 2022
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Godtear Beats the Odds - Review

Board Game Reviews
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thegiantbrain
August 18, 2022
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thegiantbrain
August 11, 2022
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WadeMonnig
August 10, 2022
596 1
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oliverkinne
August 09, 2022
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thegiantbrain
August 04, 2022
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oliverkinne
August 01, 2022
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Scout Board Game Review

Board Game Reviews
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oliverkinne
July 29, 2022
856 0
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thegiantbrain
July 28, 2022
612 0
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WadeMonnig
July 27, 2022
904 1
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oliverkinne
July 26, 2022
1017 0
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thegiantbrain
July 25, 2022
741 0

The Split - Review

Board Game Reviews
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thegiantbrain
July 21, 2022
819 0
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17 May 2022 16:02 #333102 by Legomancer
Created a 5p game that's open to other TWBG group members:
boardgamearena.com/group?id=2971447
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17 May 2022 17:30 #333103 by WadeMonnig
Im Rapier867 if anyone wants to add

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18 May 2022 09:23 #333109 by Legomancer
may have hit the worst game of 2022 last night. Wild: Serengeti

Bear with me, I need to explain how the game works more than I usually do.

The idea behind this game is that you are filming an animal documentary. There's a 7x7 board with different terrains on it, and animals are on it. You're trying to complete scene cards, which require certain animals to be in certain positions and/or on specific terrain. Once you fulfill the requirements, you score the scene card for points or for other things that can help you.

Actions let you put an animal on the board, move an animal, or swap two animals. You can also get meat, which also allows you to move animals as a free action, or VFX, which allows you to ignore a terrain requirement on a scene card.

So, nothing complicated, not too bad. Except holy hell this game takes FOREVER because of some really really bad design decisions.

The heart of the game is completing scene cards. These require up to four animals to be positioned certain ways and possibly also on specific terrain. The board is 7x7, so there are 49 spaces, and I'd say that at least half of them usually have animals on them. So to evaluate any particular scene card requires checking the positions of two dozen animals. Not only where they are, but where they easily could be. This is not quick. The "market" for scene cards has six at a time. Add to that the meat and VFX tokens and it adds to the time.

However, instead of purchasing cards from the market, you can also flush the market and get six brand new cards for exactly the same amount. So on your turn, you can sit and evaluate six brand new cards while everyone else just watches you do it.

It didn't take us long to realize a few things:

1) Why waste three or four actions moving animals into positions (and risk them getting moved away) when you can instead just look for cards that can be more easily fulfilled?

2) Unless you absolutely love a card in the market, there's no reason not to flush. You get first crack at the six cards, you dump something someone else might have wanted, and you can see if any of them are easily doable or fit whatever your goal is.

So our game was: move an animal, FLUSH, move an animal, FLUSH, FLUSH, move an animal, FLUSH, etc. And each of those flushes was someone staring at six cards for several minutes. Eventually we all groaned whenever anyone flushed, but it didn't stop everyone from flushing. It was usually the best move. Oh, and while some actions are limited or get more expensive if other players are on them, flushing is always cheap and available.

If all that weren't enough, in the last three rounds (the second half of the game) about half of the animals are removed from the board at the beginning of the round. So you have to start from near-scratch each round.

We started around 7pm. At 10 pm, beginning round five, I said, "We really need to pick up the pace here." I took my final action 45 minutes later.

It's clear that the designers intended the game to be played a different way, but the "flush and fulfill" strategy was clearly optimal. And honestly, incrementally moving animals into place and having one of them get swapped away just as you're about to succeed seems like it would be tedious and frustrating. And that's without the obvious problem that if I need a zebra here and you move it away, I can just move it right back and we can do this over and over.


Fortunately, tonight I wash out the taste with a game of Xia!
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18 May 2022 10:42 #333114 by sornars
But what are your thoughts on the custom animal meeples?

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18 May 2022 11:41 #333117 by Legomancer

sornars wrote: But what are your thoughts on the custom animal meeples?


They're great! Honestly, they should have shrunk the board, made the scene cards less restrictive, and pruned some of the fluff, and they'd have a decent, quick game. But they decided that more was thinkier, and in doing so completely missed that now it was more attractive to play the game as little as possible.
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18 May 2022 15:34 #333123 by Gregarius
I'm a LLAMA fan, the next time anyone wants to start a game.

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18 May 2022 17:59 #333126 by Msample
Was at a wargame con this past weekend, mainly spent playtesting a new version of HELLS HIGHWAY that is being published by NEW ENGLAND SIMULATIONS as well as testing the newly announced CROWN AND CRESCENT, a design inspired by ANGOLA that is about the American Revolution battles in South Carolina.

In between those I got in a few games of DUNE IMPERIUM ( which I have come to really enjoy ) and the new hotness ARK NOVA. In the second game I ran into something that really soured me on the game. I foolishly held onto two cards that required Africa icons; then over the course of either drawing or seeing about 30 cards via draw or market and failing to find one I gave up. The cards I was seeing were either useless and/or hard to play due to lack of money. By this time I was so far behind the other three I bailed on the game. Its extremely rare that I do this; but I was tired and frustrated. While I'd never make that mistake again, assuming I play the game again it highlighted a key difference between it and TERRAFORMING MARS which is often compared to it. In TM you get money every round; in AN you have to wait a lot longer. And the cards in AN in general have more prerequisites meaning that you are more reliant on the draw . Coupled with a hand limit of only 3 every income phase ( 5 once you upgrade ) it feels more constrained. I'll probably play it again but not as willing to do so.
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18 May 2022 18:09 #333127 by Sagrilarus
I'm eyeballing Crown and Crescent.

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18 May 2022 18:14 #333128 by Gary Sax

Msample wrote: I foolishly held onto two cards that required Africa icons; then over the course of either drawing or seeing about 30 cards via draw or market and failing to find one I gave up. The cards I was seeing were either useless and/or hard to play due to lack of money. By this time I was so far behind the other three I bailed on the game. Its extremely rare that I do this; but I was tired and frustrated. While I'd never make that mistake again, assuming I play the game again it highlighted a key difference between it and TERRAFORMING MARS which is often compared to it. In TM you get money every round; in AN you have to wait a lot longer. And the cards in AN in general have more prerequisites meaning that you are more reliant on the draw . Coupled with a hand limit of only 3 every income phase ( 5 once you upgrade ) it feels more constrained. I'll probably play it again but not as willing to do so.


I had this happen to me in my only game of it. Making big bets on the high requirement stuff is a fools errand unless you see it in the weird card tableau, I think the game makes you think you have a better chance of planning to put out big plays than you actually do.
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18 May 2022 20:56 #333129 by Msample
I'll put down some thoughts on CROWN AND CRESCENT in a few days; need to finish up my playtest feedback for HELLS HIGHWAY to send for the designer.
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18 May 2022 21:03 - 18 May 2022 21:03 #333130 by Sagrilarus

Msample wrote: I'll put down some thoughts on CROWN AND CRESCENT in a few days; need to finish up my playtest feedback for HELLS HIGHWAY to send for the designer.


Four players is nice, easier to queue up. I’m curious about playtime . . . Angola can stretch a bit.

Ark Nova was being punched and bagged while we played a B- Jurassic Park themed game that didn’t get the IP. Ark Nova is likely to be on the table in the next two weeks.
Last edit: 18 May 2022 21:03 by Sagrilarus.

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18 May 2022 21:17 #333132 by Msample
One aspect that is a nice improvement for ANGOLA is that C&C has rules 3 for 2 and 3 players. In a nutshell a player programs cards for one faction, and gets a reduced number of actions for the non player faction - BUT for that faction, he CHOOSES the action card just before its played as opposed to programming in advance. At the end of the turn, when bidding for Foreign Aid the non player faction has a base bid equal to the player, but rolls a die that mean the NPC bids higher or lower than the player which could gain or lose that side a VP. I've played it a few times 2P and 3P and it works fairly well as it exists now. I still think 4P is the sweet spot and the primary goal as far as the design goes.
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18 May 2022 21:32 #333133 by Sagrilarus
Maybe call it “Crown” instead of “C&C”.

Guess at general game length?

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18 May 2022 21:54 #333134 by Msample
Its gonna play similar in length to ANGOLA. Combat is a bit quicker ( no planes, mines, or missiles just artillery and that's rare ) . But the mechanics are pretty similar. Turn length is variable due to seasons, so you are playing less cards in some turns than in ANGOLA. But overall I'd budget similar amounts of time.
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18 May 2022 22:21 - 18 May 2022 22:22 #333135 by Sagrilarus
With my crowd that means a weekend. We ain’t the fastest bunch.

Thanks for the word.
Last edit: 18 May 2022 22:22 by Sagrilarus.

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