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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
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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
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thegiantbrain
July 28, 2022
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WadeMonnig
July 27, 2022
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oliverkinne
July 26, 2022
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thegiantbrain
July 25, 2022
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The Split - Review

Board Game Reviews
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thegiantbrain
July 21, 2022
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31 May 2022 11:02 - 31 May 2022 11:03 #333380 by Gary Sax
Five hours is about right for a big afternoon game for Real Boardgame Nerds in my personal experience, ymmv. It can be hard to make Xia a weeknight game though.

I forget, you play with the expansion ice material, Legomancer? I believe you are if you have the M-Comp modules. I think th expansion stuff is such an important addition (and a few fixes) to the game; if you're not I'd play with the expansion market board and non-expansion related rules (lessened death penalties) as well.
Last edit: 31 May 2022 11:03 by Gary Sax.

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31 May 2022 11:15 - 31 May 2022 11:17 #333382 by charlest

Gary Sax wrote: Yes, I still think the Civilization New Dawn action system in that original game and this is destined for even greater things.


It first appeared in Conan as the Overlord's mechanism for activating enemy types.

I'm not sure that purpose can be outdone, as it's perfect as an interface for a constrained decision space in relation to the current board state.

It correlates an emulation of physical real-time movement (enemies all activating roughly the same amount over a time period) with the ability to pay more energy to inefficiently re-activate a particular enemy if you really need something done on a certain section of the board.

There are some interesting options in tbe system too as some enemies have multiple tiles, taking up two spaces in the river and allowing you to active them more freely.

I also dig how if a group is completely wiped out (say a cluster of archers), the tile is dead and eats up space in the river until you spend time clearing it.
Last edit: 31 May 2022 11:17 by charlest.
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31 May 2022 13:11 #333388 by Legomancer
I have a number of different groups that orbit around me. My Sunday group plays from 3-9/10 on Sundays, but multiple games, never an all-day affair. I don't know much that that group would all like that's very long.

There's a Wednesday group that has a lot of people into high-minis games and also things like Here I Stand. Those aren't my jams so I only occasionally drop in for something.

And finally, my friend Matt has co workers who also like doing very aggressive minis slugfests.

This game was made up of people from those two other groups. So they were already amenable to a longer game. We planned in advance to do it for Memorial Day, starting at 10am.

So while my Sunday group regularly plays for longer than 5 hours, they mostly don't have the mindset or interest in that being a single game. That I think is the real difference. It's not the large chunk of time but the focus on a single play versus variety within that time.

Xia in particular is also strange because the way you get points means that if you play to 5 points it could be over in a flash. Play to 10 points and you're talking a lot more time. But 15 doesn't add a whole lot more and 20 is a heartbeat from 15.
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31 May 2022 16:32 #333392 by Rliyen

Gregarius wrote: I got to play Return to Dark Tower last night and had a lot of fun. We played co-op, which allowed us to just explore the game more easily. The game is engaging, the tower is awesome, and the app integration is extremely well done. I can definitely see this being a hit with the younger crowd (10 to 18?), and something that will cause huge nostalgia for them 20 years down the road.

All that said, I have no desire or expectation to ever play it again.

We had the copy on loan from a friend who got the full KS edition for free in order to take photos. So it had all the miniatures and whatnot. As much as we all enjoyed it, not a one of us thought it was worth the enormous price tag. Maybe we're just out of the loop on what things cost these days. When you're competing with video games and similar boardgames, a stack of which would cost half of what this does, you've really got to hit it out of the park. This comes as close as it probably could, but it's just not enough.


That's funny, because on Sunday I had my friend Nathan over for an impromptu Game Day. We played two games of it. Lost the first, won the second. He asked how much it cost and I told him $250. His response? "Worth every penny, in my opinion." Mind you, he's significantly younger than me, and has never played the original.
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01 Jun 2022 06:26 #333400 by mc
Sag you are doing the lords work with some of these descriptions - Ark Nova etc. Thanks.

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01 Jun 2022 09:50 - 01 Jun 2022 09:51 #333402 by Sagrilarus

mc wrote: Sag you are doing the lords work with some of these descriptions - Ark Nova etc. Thanks.


I appreciate the compliment, thanks. But I want to put an appropriate level of footnote onto what I wrote in that over-long post.

I bump into games on a regular basis that are really junk, the kind of stuff only a brand new gamer could find interesting and even then not for very long. You're not going to hear from me on those because they aren't worth the time and frankly the experience drains out of my memory before I get a chance to get to a keyboard. I have games in my played book where I don't recognize the title nor even the description when I look them up.

But Ark Nova is kind of a big title in the developing zeitgeist. And it had an impact on me with the play. So although I point out a fair chunk of flaws in it I still have to give it credit for setting high goals and coming close to achieving them. A game of this size doesn't just fall onto the table without a lot of work being put into it. And it's popular. I'm comfortable with everything I wrote, but I can imagine a lot of rebuttal coming my way if I didn't take the lazy publishing path of dropping it into an eternal thread instead of turning it into a formal review (which I probably should still do.)
Last edit: 01 Jun 2022 09:51 by Sagrilarus.
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01 Jun 2022 11:26 - 01 Jun 2022 11:32 #333407 by Msample

Sagrilarus wrote:

mc wrote: Sag you are doing the lords work with some of these descriptions - Ark Nova etc. Thanks.


I appreciate the compliment, thanks. But I want to put an appropriate level of footnote onto what I wrote in that over-long post.

I bump into games on a regular basis that are really junk, the kind of stuff only a brand new gamer could find interesting and even then not for very long. You're not going to hear from me on those because they aren't worth the time and frankly the experience drains out of my memory before I get a chance to get to a keyboard. I have games in my played book where I don't recognize the title nor even the description when I look them up.

But Ark Nova is kind of a big title in the developing zeitgeist. And it had an impact on me with the play. So although I point out a fair chunk of flaws in it I still have to give it credit for setting high goals and coming close to achieving them. A game of this size doesn't just fall onto the table without a lot of work being put into it. And it's popular. I'm comfortable with everything I wrote, but I can imagine a lot of rebuttal coming my way if I didn't take the lazy publishing path of dropping it into an eternal thread instead of turning it into a formal review (which I probably should still do.)


I think my feelings onARK NOVA are pretty similar to Sags thoughts on the game: I posted a few weeks ago how I sort of had an ephiphany on the game after my third play. In short, the card draw in this game is more crucial than Terraforming Mars ( to which its often compared ) . The difference is that the small hand size limit as well as lack of an outlet to sell cards for money makes a bad draw much more crippling IMO. And to boot, you need to spend actions to draw cards, its not automatic like TM; if you draw shit cards you have to spend even more actions to fish for better ones.

It is an "important" game in that it has managed to stay at the top of rthe BGG Hotness list for awhile recently, no small feat in today's world of new games coming out every hour.
Last edit: 01 Jun 2022 11:32 by Msample.
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01 Jun 2022 12:32 #333409 by Gregarius
My problem is that there are players in my group that are notoriously and painfully slow. So we do play long games, but rarely by design.

For example, we, too, had a full afternoon/evening of gaming on Memorial Day. I was very eager to bring Ankh to the table, which says 90 minutes on the box. Now, I believe that is a flat-out lie, but even still it took us four hours with five new players (which still beat Ark Nova at the other table). If I had told them at the start that it would take that long, none of them would have agreed to play. They all enjoyed the game, but it was clear in the last hour that people were getting impatient.

All that aside, I really liked Ankh. It feels like a refinement and improvement of Blood Rage and Rising Sun. Much more abstract area control than the troops on a map slugfest it looks like.
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01 Jun 2022 12:42 #333410 by dysjunct
3p game day.

Air, Land, and Sea: Critters at War. Air, Land, & Sea with non-generic art. Managed to eke out a win. Mechanically it's identical to the original (I think) but blowing up cute pigs, cats, etc. is more fun. This is probably my favorite of the Battle Line style card games.

Sub Terra. My favorite co-op, got a very bad run of luck though. Five characters went down a tunnel that was about eight tiles long with no branches. Then a horror spawned and blocked us in. Nobody had picked a character that could repel them, or the other character that could use explosive charges to open up new tunnels. The horror killed us all and then the remaining character got caught in an underground flood and drowned. Fun!

The Downfall of Pompeii. Never played this old classic before; it's pretty fun although a little disjointed. The first half, you're populating your city with your family. The second, the city starts flooding with lava as the volcano erupts and you run for the city gates. The weird thing is that people move farther if there's more people in their starting square. I guess they're encouraged by the screams.

Cosmic Run: Regeneration. Nerd Yahtzee with a not-Star Trek theme. There's a lot of explanation about all the different ways you can manipulate your dice to advance your ships on various tracks. A little fiddly but not too bad once it gets going.
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01 Jun 2022 13:39 #333412 by Jackwraith
Yeah, Pompeii meets the definition of "incredibly thematic Euro." You're basically just stacking spaces in a push-your-luck scenario with no discernible reason why having more crowded spaces lets you move farther. Most that have been in crowds would say precisely the opposite. That said, it's one of the games that I've played in public or semi-public spaces that literally never fails to attract attention; not only from the obvious volcano, but what people realize you're doing with said volcano. It's always a good time.
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01 Jun 2022 13:48 #333413 by dysjunct
The volcano really makes it. I suspect no one would care about the game if the pieces were put back into the box, or into a bag with a screen-printed picture of a volcano on it.

But a little paper cone ... funny how it elevates the game several notches above what it would be otherwise.
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01 Jun 2022 14:12 #333414 by Msample

dysjunct wrote: The volcano really makes it. I suspect no one would care about the game if the pieces were put back into the box, or into a bag with a screen-printed picture of a volcano on it.

But a little paper cone ... funny how it elevates the game several notches above what it would be otherwise.


I've purged most of my lighter Euros but this one has survived, albeit unplayed in many years. That volcano cone thingie is pure genius from a table appeal perspective.

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01 Jun 2022 14:54 #333417 by Legomancer

Gregarius wrote: My problem is that there are players in my group that are notoriously and painfully slow. So we do play long games, but rarely by design.


The Wednesday group I mentioned has some players like that. We played Crisis, which is an economic worker placement Euro and for a few players the decision of where to place each worker took agonizingly long. I just don't have the patience for that, which is part of why I don't roll with that group often (they also bend towards types of games I'm not interested in.)

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01 Jun 2022 17:39 #333423 by Jackwraith

dysjunct wrote: The volcano really makes it. I suspect no one would care about the game if the pieces were put back into the box, or into a bag with a screen-printed picture of a volcano on it.

But a little paper cone ... funny how it elevates the game several notches above what it would be otherwise.


Yup. Visual design. This is what Eric Lang meant when he said that one of the first things he considered when designing Blood Rage, Rising Sun, and Ankh was "having something that looks cool on the table." I know Erik Twice has said that he recoils from that statement, but having stuff look cool is the same reason that upgraded components are so popular. It's the same reason that GW's stuff sucks people in. Visuals are part of the board game medium in the same way that video games and films are. No one walking by is going to be drawn in by your wonderfully elegant mechanism. They're going to see something that looks cool and say: "What's that?" (Or, even better: "Can I play?")
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04 Jun 2022 13:14 #333450 by WadeMonnig
The kid/young man down the street who enjoys playing DOAM games with me stopped by to borrow a Xbox one controller. I asked if he had played any boardgames lately, he said no then he showed me what he had been playing... by whipping out pics of his 2000 pt fully painted Ork army for warhammer...and two other armies hes has fully painted but not up to full strength yet.
Somehow, I feel responsible for this.
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