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August 11, 2022
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Scout Board Game Review

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The Split - Review

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16 Jun 2022 18:09 #333752 by Jackwraith
That's a good point. I've considered storing all of my GIPF Project stuff in one box and using one board for all of them except DVONN (which has a different one) and ZERTZ is one step ahead of that in that there is no board and, like you say, you can drop it pretty much anywhere and, since it's all plastic, don't even have to worry about drink condensation on tables or whatever (it's currently 92 degrees and typically humid here in Michigan.) But I also really enjoy it because I think it's the most confrontational of the GIPF games. While none of them are non-confrontational, per se, the fact that you can force your opponent to take moves they don't want to (and not because you've cornered them and will win if they don't do something appropriate) means that it's a bit more of a test of wills than the others, while still being as much of a test of ingenuity as the rest of them are.
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16 Jun 2022 22:07 #333755 by Shellhead

Jackwraith wrote: You're on board with Vysetron there. After YINSH, his favorite is TZAAR. At the moment, my ranking is:
1. YINSH
2. PUNCT
3. ZERTZ
4. GIPF
5. TZAAR
6. DVONN

Although, honestly, DVONN may be moving up after the last couple plays, now that we've become better at placing the red discs in some kind of strategic fashion. Whether it actually makes a difference is anyone's guess. Haven't played LYNGK yet, but scored a relatively cheap copy recently and it's en route.


If not for the fact that I have actually seen people playing GIPF, I would assume that this entire post was a parody about board games.
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17 Jun 2022 08:00 #333759 by Legomancer
Another game of Pax Transhumanity. I really like it but the complexity is daunting. Not really the rules -- they're not any more complex than a mid-weight game, despite being presented in a poor manner -- but the difficulty in figuring out how to achieve your goals.

Ideas have two sides to them, each of which can be one of four colors (disciplines). There's a line of cards called the Splay (Human Progress Splay) which consists of a sequence of those colors. So the Splay may look like: orange, orange, blue, green, orange, yellow. Each pair of colors in the Splay is important. Also, the final two or three colors in the Splay (the Cutting Edge) determine the Regime, which not only has a global effect but determines endgame scoring. When you commercialize an idea it goes at the end of the Splay, which can change the Cutting Edge and the Regime.

It's clear that a big part of the game is manipulating the Splay. You want to make it easier for you to make ideas viable, but not your opponent. You want to concentrate on a Sphere and work to keep the Regime favorable to it. But manipulating the Splay is tricky, even in 2p. For example, My opponent desperately wanted an orange-green pair in the Splay and each time he was close I commercialized a blue, breaking them up. With more players it seems like it would be nearly impossible.

The other thing is, when you syndicate an idea, you gain the benefit of its ability, if it has one. These abilities can be pretty powerful. It's clear that you often want to syndicate something and keep it there for the ability, but we haven't been doing that. We've been syndicating strictly as a step towards commercialization. Keeping your cube on the idea is costly -- that's a cube you can't use for something else -- but in theory the ability of the idea is worth it.

So we're at that familiar place of knowing how to play the game mechanically, but not strategically. And I worry that unless we say "We're gonna play this X times in the next couple weeks, come hell or high water" we'll always be at that level. I suppose I should see if there's a Vassal module for it.
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17 Jun 2022 09:16 - 17 Jun 2022 09:17 #333762 by Sagrilarus

Virabhadra wrote: Sag, is that The Decembrists' Illimat? I was a huge fan of the band back in the day and I've seen them a bunch of times but I was always a little skeptical that Illimat would more a piece of memorabilia than a fun game to play. Sounds like it deserves a spot next to The Quest for Shangri-La.


It is, yes.

We really enjoyed it until we got good at it! It's transformed into a hate-play, which on occasion can be hilarious.
Last edit: 17 Jun 2022 09:17 by Sagrilarus.

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17 Jun 2022 09:29 - 17 Jun 2022 09:30 #333763 by Sagrilarus
Got to game with this guy last night and three of his friends.

Last edit: 17 Jun 2022 09:30 by Sagrilarus.
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19 Jun 2022 04:00 #333782 by KingPut
Ti4 Wednesday night. Only the 2nd time playing Ti4 since the pandemic. Mike B. Malloc dealed out the races online Saturday before the game which was super helpful to plan out the a little strategy for the first few turns. Unfortunately for me I was at the Dewey Beach, Delaware drinking Orange Crushes when Malloc sent out the races to choose so I picked race I was the most familiar with from Ti3 or XXCHA or better known as the Turtles.
So Wednesday night we had 6 players. I think 3 very experienced players (me. Malloc and Dr. Tom) and 3 players who had played before but less experienced.
The game started at about 6:00 pm. I was 3 in the Strategy order and shockingly took the Warfare action. The Warfare Strategy pushed me 1 sector away MRex which seemed to piss off Mike B. Malloc
Malloc was playing the Plants and I knew if he took M.Rex it was game over, we might as well pack it up now so on turn 2 I took M.Rex even though I knew Malloc or the plant people were going to fuck with the Turtles XXCHA the rest of the Game. Well sure enough on took M.Rex and received a VP but on turn 2, Malloc and the plant people fucked me up and took M.Rex from me. But at least I knew I took away 1 VP from Malloc.
When we were picking Strategy Counters on turn 3 , I picked 1st and Malloc picked 2nd. So picked Imperial so Malloc wouldn't get an easy VP. Unfortunately in turn 3 nobody took Assembly so the Speaker token stayed with me. So it ended up for 3 turns in row I was Speaker and I had to take Imperial to prevent the Malloc and the Plant People from getting an easy VP for controlling Rex. Having the Speaker for 3 turns in the a row was fun, I played it up a little being the Turtle Speaker of the House. Me and Malloc were tied for 1st most turns of the game.
Finally I had it with everyone else not trying to prevent Malloc from running away the game so I said I'm not taking Imperial, I'm letting Mike take it, Fuck you all.
Well it ended up I had a chance to win the game but ended up 1 fleet or 1 Strategy token short to win the game. It ended up with Malloc winning with 10 VP and me with 9 VP. The other players were at 6 or 7 VPs. We finished at 11:30 or about 5 1/2 hours Ti4 seems to go a little faster then Ti3. I can't wait to play it again. It's such a great experience.

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19 Jun 2022 09:49 #333785 by Sagrilarus

Unfortunately for me I was at the Dewey Beach, Delaware drinking Orange Crushes . . .


Sir, you need to reassess your priorities.
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19 Jun 2022 14:02 - 19 Jun 2022 14:03 #333788 by dysjunct
IT'S A WONDERFUL WORLD with the Corruption and Ascension expansion. 2p. A great little drafting/engine game, and the expansion is seamless. I drew the capitol that gives bonuses for materials buildings. They are plentiful, but additional bonuses to ramp up to 2x, 3x, and beyond are few and far between. I realized early on that I'd need another source of points and pivoted to science buildings. A. grew the capitol that gave bonuses for exploration buildings, and started going hard into military/exploration. The drafting hands the last two turns were just weird -- randomly ended up with one hand being all cards I wanted, and the other hand being no cards I wanted (and vice versa for A.). So half the time I was hate-drafting. I'm not proud. On the second-to-last turn I lucked out and drew an expansion building that gave 6 points for every material/science building pair. Ditched my vanity project of building an artificial sun once I realized I wasn't going to get there. Final score was 50 for me, and 49 for A. *chef's kiss*

THE BLOODY INN. Also 2p with A. I really like the dark theme in this (murder visitors to your inn for money!) and the art, and I think I like the game, but I always feel super incompetent at it. The action economy is so tight, and there's very few ways to be more efficient. A. made the mistake of building an annex which did not have room to bury any victims under it. That ended up cascading into a bunch of mitigating moves (bribe a policeman to avoid discovery of the bodies, bribe other people to help build, then finally build another annex with room for burial). Meanwhile I was just merrily murdering away. Bagged a duke for 26 francs, which sealed the deal. Final score was 53-30 or something. I have the expansion but have never felt the need to shuffle it in. Partially it's because it doesn't have the seamless quality of "more stuff, more variety, but not more rules." But mostly because I still feel like I am bad enough at the base game that I shouldn't be making things more complex for me.

BEAR RAID. J. showed up and we got in a 3p version of this new joint. It's very close to a pure stock manipulation game, but with a clever twist of also being able to manipulate rumors and media hype. You have companies equal to the number of players -- we had the tech companies "Banana," "Edison," and "Gazillion," ha ha -- and start with four shares of stock (randomly) and $100. Each company has a stock price tracker. Buying makes the price go up, selling makes it go down. You are able to sell shares you don't own (shorting) but will lose money at the end of the game if you still have a short position.

There's a deck of rumor cards that is split between the three companies. Each rumor card has a bunch of d6s in the company color next to it, indicating the buzz the rumor is getting. At the end of a round, you cross-reference the sum of a company's dice, with the rumor card, to see how the stock price is affected. If the stock price goes above a certain price, it splits. If it drops to $0, then the company is bankrupt but never fear! -- all shares (owned or shorted) are discarded and then the company gets a bailout and returns to the game at the default price.

One of the options on your turn is to take dice away from a company (quelling the rumors) or adding dice to the rumor mill (a bag). At the end of the round you draw dice until you have 3x the number of players, then roll them and put them on their respective companies. Then you resolve the rumors.

So the game is very tight. You get two actions per turn, two turns per round. If you choose to fiddle with the rumors then that's an action you're doing other than buying or selling stock. The rumors are often very funny and tongue-in-cheek. "Company Lawyers Hire Lawyers," "CEO Tweets," "CEO Hires Incompetent Son," etc.

I almost faced disaster when I had shorted Banana and then its stock split. I was able to hype up some bad rumors, and with a little luck on the dice, Banana went into bankruptcy and I didn't have to pay anything back. J. ended with negative money, A. ended with $150ish, and I had over $300. Fun game, would play again. Plays up to six but that might get too long.
Last edit: 19 Jun 2022 14:03 by dysjunct.

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19 Jun 2022 15:44 #333790 by KingPut

Sagrilarus wrote:

Unfortunately for me I was at the Dewey Beach, Delaware drinking Orange Crushes . . .


Sir, you need to reassess your priorities.


You are so so correct. My priorities were absolutely on the Orange Crushes and sites of Dewey Beach, Delaware.
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19 Jun 2022 18:25 #333791 by DukeofChutney
Played a couple of games new to me at friends places.

Escape the Cursed Temple - An older real time coop. This was good fun, very simple, very quick. Manically throw dice to draw and explore room times. Its a bit push your luck and risk reward, asking you to split up but potentially punishing you to do so.

PARKS - a cute, feel good euro about visting national parks. Very twee, not too much going on but quite endearing, largely due to the presentation. I think if i tried to get good at this id probably dislike it but I had fun today.
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19 Jun 2022 19:48 #333792 by charlest
Escape is a great, nearly forgotten game. One of the best real-time designs.

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20 Jun 2022 08:54 #333795 by Legomancer
Another play of Ark Nova:

Second play and while there's a lot here, there may be too much. The complaint seems to be that it's very hard to focus in the game. It's really easy to do something which will be great for all cards of a type and then never see any cards of that type. I and another player built large bird aviaries, mine pretty early, and at the end of the game we had only 3 or 4 birds in them between the two of us. Diversity in goals seems to be key, but that can be really expensive. It's a shaky 8, but I'm not convinced it's any worse off in this regard than Terraforming Mars, in which I very often play a Corporation with a particular ability and then spend the rest of the game never seeing any cards that actually trigger it. Besides, I won. So Ark Nova is still fine in my book.

and Azul: Queen's Garden:

The third game in the Azul series that I've played. They seem to increase in complexity and this one is immensely fiddly in regards to number of limitations and restrictions you have to juggle. So far of this series I think the original recipe is the best one, as I think its relative simplicity of design conquers its weight class. That said, even original Azul isn't one I get really excited about playing. There are a lot of games in this space and while they're all fine, none of them really jump out at me demanding play.
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20 Jun 2022 09:16 #333797 by stormseeker75
Now that I'm finally feeling mostly human again, I'm playing games! We had our nerd friends over on Saturday and played:

Rolling Realms - an overwrought and fiddly roll and write. In my estimation, Bravo and Encore are the two best R&W games ever so anything else needs to measure up to those. This one doesn't. You have a different set of three cards each round which just makes you take on new rules. They're tiny and they add up to a mess.

Parks - My friend Bob is one of the smartest people I've ever met. Incredibly intelligent and really good at games. He was the last player in round 1 and decided he was screwed so he didn't have any fun. He ended up coming in second and if he had played better in the first round he would have won. That was kind of a bummer because I've determined that I really like this game. It's a touch too long which hurts it's score, but I will play it any time.

Half Truth - this is my favorite trivia game besides Wits & Wagers. Just a really great system. These designers, Richard Garfield and Ken Jennings, may have a future in this business.

On Sunday, it was just my illustrious wife and I.

Ark Nova - We had played half a learning game about two weeks ago so this is the first one we finished. I love this. Its like Terraforming Mars but better. Big, meaty, and satisfying. Plus the game moves pretty quickly which I like. The downtime is minimal.

Battle Line - a top 3 all-timer for me. This game is brilliant and if you don't think so, you're wrong. So simple, so sleek, full of decisions. When I play this with my mom we omit the Tactics cards and basically play Schotten Totten. Here we used the Tactics which makes for a very different game. The pure math is gone and with it, the game changes for the better. This is a perfect 10 in my book.
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20 Jun 2022 10:14 #333798 by Msample
Played my last game of ARK NOVA today. My opponent got stuck in sort of an early game feedback loop, as did I to a lesser extent while we both spun our wheels waiting to get more cash. The icon overload and poorly organized rules were the straw that breaks the camels back. An index would have helped. And to be clear, this was my fourth play of the game. When you are still looking up stuff at that point, that's not a good thing IMO. When a game needs 6-7 pages of extended explanations of certain card's effects, you know ( or the developer should have known ) that Houston, we have a problem. While many compare this to Terraforming Mars, its nowhere near as good a game IMO. Plays slower ( I've played four, would not advise ) than TM , I think max 3 players would be my recommendation . The sporadic timing of Income makes for a slow early game, as does the need to go fishing for cards that may or may not help you. Too many have pre requisites and unlike TM you can't sell them back for cash.

I rated it a 5 on TOS and for some reason my rating/comments doesn't show up. Must be some secret BGG algorithm that filters out anything that slows down the hype train .
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20 Jun 2022 10:18 #333799 by Sagrilarus
Ark Nova — my buddy and I got together and had another discussion on the game and came to a conclusion — the big deck is a detriment. They’d have done better to be more focused, and I think it would be quite a task for us lowly endusers to cull it down to a smaller set.

But,

I could see a chance for follow-on sales from the publisher, special decks that replace that big one and provide a play more focused on particular animal types or strategies. You could release one a year and likely produce a significantly different play out of the same ruleset. It would put the players in more contention with each other in the center of the board. Tightening up the play might turn away some, but they could just run with the original deck.
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