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June 24, 2022
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Turing Board Game Review

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20 Jun 2022 10:39 #333802 by Msample

Sagrilarus wrote: 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.


The other issue is that dead cards are exactly that, dead. At least in TM you can sell them and get a little $$ back. In TM ARES EXPEDITION, cards are worth $3, which makes them almost a secondary income source. In ARK NOVA income is too scarce early on IMO and once you get your Ticket/Income rate high enough, irrelevant in the late game.

The other idea I had was to separate the Sponsor vs Animal cards into separate decks. That would thin the deck somewhat and allow you to at least know what type of card you were drawing.

Whatever, there are too many other games I enjoy more to bother fixing this one.
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20 Jun 2022 11:08 #333806 by WadeMonnig
Pretty cool to see some love for PARKS here. That comes out at least once a month and it's always fun. P.s. hog the camera.
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20 Jun 2022 11:11 #333807 by stormseeker75
The divide between Ark Nova love/hate is strong along the lines of TOS/TWBG. I've always been a Euro-lover so this is right up my alley. It's cool to not like it and I understand why some people wouldn't. I think one thing I've realized about myself is that I'm weird. I prefer multi-player solitaire games, even when I'm with a group. I've just had too many "feels bad" moments in more interactive games so I avoid them.
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20 Jun 2022 11:51 #333811 by Msample
I think for me and ARK NOVA its not so much hate as frustration as to the missed opportunity in the game. Thematically it works and there are times in the game where we'd get a good laugh, like over pandering to kids with a Petting Zoo or how certain animails are expensive/painful to get into play , hungry hungry hippos etc. And I am not necessarily opposed to tableau games/multi player solitaire either.

But the clunky rules, the bloated card deck,, the feast and famine early stages of the game feel like the game was either rushed and/or not evaluated by a developer unafraid to call out stuff to the designer. Really the proof is the supplemental booklet that needs a paragraph to explain certain cards - and there are more than a few that need that paragraph. If that isn't a giant blinking red sign I don't know what is.
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20 Jun 2022 12:32 #333812 by Sagrilarus
Yeah, I'm not a hater either. There's some cool things in this game that I like very much. But I've gotten the chicken card early twice now, so income has not been a problem for me.

I think a refined deck, perhaps two where one is used early game and a second afterwards could put this game into the rare air. Like MSample said above, not playtested enough. Finish the job.
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20 Jun 2022 13:04 #333813 by stormseeker75
Fair points. The inevitable 2nd edition will fix all this, I'm sure. Now the community is involved so there will be a lot of feedback and assistance at fixing things.

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20 Jun 2022 14:56 #333818 by dysjunct
Thanks for taking an okay game and making it good, suckers!

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20 Jun 2022 23:09 #333827 by Jackwraith
Introduced another group to Tiny Epic Kingdoms. It's always enjoyable to see people uncover the little mysteries of this game. Most default to the idea that Research is the best route to victory, because not only is it faster than the other two options (Build, Expand) but it makes your dudes more powerful. Thing is, it also shortens the game and is worth fewer points in the end than the other two options (12(!), 7), as well. So you have to measure just how good your position is before you race to the finish line. It was Polar Kin vs Treants vs Gnomes. We had a set of areas that gave good access to Plains for food, but not so much Mountains for Ore. But the Gnomes took advantage of their ore-gathering abilities and tried to stay competitive in all three victory conditions. The Treants tried to emphasize their Forest bonuses, while the Polar Kin just expanded and expanded, counting on their defensive bonuses to carry them home. It had been a long time since I'd played them and it turned out to be the most passive TEK game I've had in quite a while. I ended up winning 13-12-10 because I had all but one dude out and was highest on the Tower track before the Gnomes ended it by reaching the top of their Research track.

Then we switched up the area cards and it was Centaurs vs Frost Giants vs Death Knights. I picked the latter deliberately to try to make it a more aggressive game, while one player picked the Giants largely because "they sound like total dicks" since their theme is knocking other players' meeples over, which means you have to take two actions to move them anywhere. In true DK style, I started swinging on turn 2 but the other two kept gathering resources to have a stockpile of mana, which meant that I had a hard time actually winning the combats I kept trying to engage in. The other issue was that our collection of areas had a total of three Plains on them, which made gathering food to expand a real issue. In the middle of the game, we had a total of 8 dudes on the board among the three of us. It was a good display of just how different each game can be, based on the combination of the different board setup and different races. The Centaurs ended things on the Research track again, winning 10-8-6. It's still one of my favorite TE's and the subtext of playing tonight was introducing this new group to the basic concepts of it that will make learning Heroes of Land, Air and Sea that much easier...
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23 Jun 2022 08:14 #333862 by Legomancer
I bought a used copy of Moonrakers off someone in the BGG discord, and played it last night.

Moonrakers is a very basic deck-building game. Your deck consists of Thrusters, Reactors, Damage, Shields, and Malfunctions, each of which does a specific thing (draw cards, gain actions, etc.) Crew cards add some special abilities. You are trying to complete missions, which require a certain number of specific cards to be played and hazard dice to be dealt with. Completing missions earns rewards of Prestige (VP), money, or cards. First person to 10 VP wins.

If that were all there was to it, this would be a trite affair, best forgotten among a million other deck-building game. But that's not all there is to it.

The missions usually require a fair number of cards played, more than a single player is likely to have. You'll need help, and this is where Moonrakers flexes. You will need to ask for others to ally with you, and negotiate payment. How much of the card rewards are you willing to give up? An opponent may be able to handle a couple of hazard dice for you, but she wants a VP and 3 coins. That's a lot. Is it worth it?

What's more, there are secret objective cards, each worth a point. In allowing someone to ally with you, are you possibly giving them a bonus VP in addition to their share of the spoils?

And if you're hovering around 8 VP or so, good luck getting allies. You can try to go it alone and solo the mission, and good luck.

The fact that Thrusters and Crew can draw more cards also gives you some possibilities. Do you say you can provide two Reactors for the mission, in the hopes that you draw one?

The negotiation is the key to Moonrakers, and honestly it's what gave me pause about getting it. I don't really like negotiation in games. But because the basic gameplay of Moonrakers is so simple, the negotiation is easier for me to handle. Plus, there are other very subtle elements. A few times I offered to ally for very little payment simply because after the mission, everyone who went on it discards their remaining cards and draws back up, and I wanted better cards. Offering to ally also tempts the current player into doing a mission instead of staying at base, which gives them another secret objective. The very basic rules hide a lot of crafty opportunities (including the fact that allies can just plain lie about what they can and will do, tanking the mission.)

This was a Kickstarter so the production is lavish. Sleeved cards, metal coins, little spaceships that only serve as VP markers, and so on. The art design is great. The box insert actually works. It's a nice job all around.
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23 Jun 2022 09:28 #333863 by Sagrilarus
That is a pretty solid endorsement for Moonrakers. I will give that one a look.

Played Posthuman last night. I would give it a c+ after the first play. There's a lot of good ideas on the table, and a lot of them work very well, but somehow the sum of the parts is less. I am not exactly sure why that is yet need to think about it.

I got this one in trade so I don't have a lot of skin in the game, but I think I will give it one more chance in a Solo play in order to figure out if it's worth keeping. A clunky rule book certainly doesn't help, and I got a fully blinged out Kickstarter version which has lots and lots of extra pieces including some cards that were clearly named after Kickstarter backers, probably as stretch goals or premium purchase options. They stick out like a sore thumb.
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23 Jun 2022 23:31 #333878 by Gary Sax
I taught Roll for the Galaxy to my brother and nephew, both non-gamers for the most part. It was a bit harrowing to start, but that Roll has quite a tight order of play that makes teaching it somewhat straightforward. We played with open rolls to play the first game and by the end of the game they seemed to pretty much have it and also see the guessing/bidding heart of the game. So that was nice!
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25 Jun 2022 13:59 - 25 Jun 2022 13:59 #333900 by san il defanso
Last week for Father's Day I taught my son Modern Art. He dug it! I totally rolled everyone else, which is not an uncommon occurrence when someone is playing Modern Art for the first time.
Last edit: 25 Jun 2022 13:59 by san il defanso.
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26 Jun 2022 17:54 - 26 Jun 2022 18:07 #333915 by Cranberries

Shellhead wrote:

Jackwraith wrote: You're on board with Vysetron there. After YINSH, his favorite is TZAAR.

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.

The only GIPF game I have held onto is TZAAR, although ZERTZ should probably be on the shelf. What I like about TZAAR is building up those powerful stacks and then beating the crap out of each other, or running in fear. To me, it feels like the most thematic of the GIPF games, a claim I will refuse to support if pressed, because I'm just shooting my mouth off.
Last edit: 26 Jun 2022 18:07 by Cranberries.
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27 Jun 2022 10:13 #333923 by Legomancer
Yesterday's games were Ohanami, Cryo, Foundations of Rome (with Monuments) and Underwater Cities (with a little bit from New Discoveries).

Cryo:

A sort of worker placement game in which your colony ship has crash landed on a frozen planet (these things never make it to their destinations safely!) and you have to unfreeze your people and get them safely underground before the sun sets. Yikes! You deploy drones to gather resources, rescue colonists, and shuttle them into caves.

It's fairly straightforward without much new going on, but it brings everything together nicely. I especially like the vivid, day-glo palette and bold artwork. It plays a lot faster than it seems at first.

There are two possible issues. First is, when you recall your drones, you resolve an event token. Some of these tokens grant a boon in the form of some resource, but a large chunk of them are "sabotage" tokens in which a section of a cryogenic chamber is destroyed, dooming any colonists still stuck in there.

The sabotage tokens are a problem for several reasons. First, they're just plain mean. If you personally don't want to play that way, you may have no other choice. But even beyond that, they penalize the person placing them as much as if not more than someone whose colonists just just blown up. Placing a sabotage token means you *don't* get an extra resource. Your resource storage markers only go up to 4, so a single resource isn't trivial. What's more, resource tokens can be worth points at the end of the game, whereas sabotage tokens are not. So if I am recalling my drones and all four events are sabotage, which is not only possible but frequently possible, I'm losing out on a resource and possibly VPs. That just sucks. There just seem to be too many of the sabotage tokens.

The second issue is that on your turn you either deploy a drone if you have one available or recall any deployed drones. You don't have to have them all deployed to recall. However, recalling drones advances the timer for the game. There simply is not sufficient incentive to recall early, making this decision usually not very interesting. It would be better if I really had to consider whether I needed some benefit enough to speed up the endgame. As it is, it's almost always preferable to send out another available drone.

It's possible that repeated play will reveal nuances that we didn't see, which address this issue. It's also possible that the two problems can sometimes cancel each other out: if there's an event chit with a resource you want, maybe it's worth it to recall and grab it and not risk only having sabotage available when you're more ready to recall.

Despite these, I think it's a nifty game and hope to get a few more plays in.
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27 Jun 2022 10:23 #333924 by charlest
I'm definitely only lightly experienced with Cryo, but in a previous play I had an engine going where I was recalling early for strong benefits, as well as to snag a space that another player freed up. I find that tempo very interesting.

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