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11 Mar 2023 16:45 - 12 Mar 2023 06:11 #338651 by southernman

Msample wrote: If your group likes the game , but is deterred by theme I can highly recommend UNFATHOMABLE. Basicalyl a reskin of BSG, its mechanically cleaned up a bit and while the Cthulu theme is meh for some, the player aids and the various nips/tucks they made to the system make it a worthy alternative .

They may play it but I won't :laugh: - because I'm a fan of the show I just completely rate how it was implemented (rated 10 for all boxes) and I can't think of anything I would change mechanically or to the system overall (OK, the cylon attack cards in the Crisis deck could will kill a game quickly if too many game out early on but the Cyclon Fleet board sorted that).

PS We played it so often in the first five years after it came out that the board has some decent wear on it, but I sent a very suck-up email to FFG support saying how often we played it and wanted to carry on playing it and asked if they could send me a replacement board ... they did. Those were the days when FFG support (with the amazing Thadd) were stupendous - early on playing it (before I got into sleeving cards) I also asked for a replacement set of skill cards because ours were so played with the ends were discoloured so really stood out when the expansion cards were added to it ... yep, they sent me a new set.
Last edit: 12 Mar 2023 06:11 by southernman.
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11 Mar 2023 16:56 #338652 by Msample
Don't get me wrong, I much prefer the theme of BSG, but let's face it, not everyone has seen the show. And the game is basically going for pretty insane prices on the secondary market. Just wanted to say I was pleasantly surprised by UNFATHOMABLE. It does appear to have attracted a fair number of fans who play it a lot, as witnessed by some entertaining play balance debates in the BGG forums.
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19 Mar 2023 18:07 #338709 by Jackwraith
Solid day. We started with a session of Roll, Camera!, which was sent to me by Keen Bean Studio. It's a co-op where everyone is trying to complete a film before either money or time (Budget or Schedule) runs out and ensure that its quality is above (or way below) mediocre. There are different roles for each player (Director, Producer, Editor, etc.) with different abilities, but each player rolls the dice and then assigns them to a variety of tasks (solving problems, building sets, filming scenes, etc.) and everyone tries to coordinate to get five scenes done before the clocks run out. It's a cool concept, a really nice production (main box is like a slate/clapboard, etc.), and is really entertaining, as co-ops go. Going to get in one more play and then a review will be forthcoming.

Then we went into Tiny Epic Vikings. I'm still a little hazy on this one. I've played four times now; twice at 2-player, once at 3-player, and today at 4-player. I think it's solid for what it's trying to do, which is card drafting into a DoaM. If that sounds like it's another version of Blood Rage, you wouldn't be far wrong. Unlike most of the TE series, two of the last three (Vikings and Pirates) have clearly been smaller versions of other games. You can't say the same thing about Tiny Epic Dinosaurs, for example. And you can't really say this is mini-Blood Rage. It does use the same basic mechanisms and that's where it stops. Blood Rage suffuses its mechanisms with acres of chrome. The chrome/theme in TEV is basically absent. This could have had any number of other themes slapped on to it. I think it's helped by the expansion (Ragnarok), which adds things like giants and valkyries, but we haven't played with that yet. I don't think it's a bad game, but it seems lacking in the flavor that many of the rest of the series bring quite powerfully. I ended up winning employing the strategy I'd used in my 3-player win, which is barricading myself in one corner of the board and then trying to manipulate the Fury levels of the appropriate gods as much as possible with Villages. The scores were 30-25-24-24. Review of this is also forthcoming.

Finally, we played Rear Window, by the cool folks at Prospero Hall. This is a deduction game where the Director tries to lead the Watchers into solving a puzzle, just like the film. It's mostly co-op, since you all win if the Watchers can get the people (characters from the film) and traits (The Klutz, The Globetrotters, etc.) right by the end of the fourth day (round) from the window cards that the Director is placing and informing them of how many they've gotten right, day to day. But if there's a Murder token mixed in with the randomized traits that the Watchers hand the Director, then the Director is still trying to lead them into getting as many clues as possible correct, but not the murder. In short, if I could get them to guess 6 or 7 parts (of 8) correct, but still not get the murder right, I would win. If they got that many right and the murder, they'd win. If they couldn't get at least 6 right, we'd all lose. They were stuck on 4 correct answers through Days 1, 2, and 3 and finally got to 6 on Day 4... but put the suspected murder in the wrong place, so Hitchcock (me) walked away with the win again. Couple more plays and then I'll have a review of this one, too.
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20 Mar 2023 13:19 - 20 Mar 2023 13:23 #338715 by dysjunct
Friend drove into town for a gaming weekend.

PUZZLE STRIKE 2. Intro game with the Grand Melee bank. Really shone, with absolutely crazy swings near the end. "Oh man, I'm dead. Wait, I survived! Oh man, he's dead. Wait, he survived, now I'm dead again!" Eventually I was actually dead.

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS. This is the newish one with Pandemic mechanics. I actually enjoyed it much more than I expected, being mostly meh on both Star Wars and Pandemic. But it's a good family-weight coop game, well-designed and (mostly) well-themed. The map is a crowded mess of planets all on top of each other (not to scale, I guess) and your character will go to a planet to kill three droids, then go to the next planet. Maybe each droid represents an army? A plot? Who know. One nice addition is a boss character, who travels around and messes things up. And instead of "find four cures" you have to complete four missions (out of a deck of 24). I wouldn't buy it but I'd play it again.

WAR OF THE RING: THE CARD GAME. 2p, each playing 2-handed. I always forget that there's the official 2p variant where you shuffle everything together. I was Shadow and won by points around path #8.

PANDANTE. This is Sirlin's Texas Holdem variant. Panda + Ante, ha ha. Played 3p with my kid, who has never played poker. I don't recommend playing with people who don't know poker. As a poker variant, it is good -- has kind of a Liar's Dice element of increasing the value of your claimed hand over time, but with an ability to buy new cards and improve your hand. If you get to the showdown, then instead of everyone showing their hands, the person with the highest claimed hand is in the hot seat, and everyone else must decide to call their bluff or not. If you call and they were telling the truth, you pay them a ton of money. Otherwise they pay you a little bit. The asymmetry encourages bluffing, which is appropriate.

Standard Holdem is not too fun, since the optimal strategy is to fold 90% of your hands. A game that you primarily win by not playing seems pretty flawed. But, Pandante reminds me a lot of the people who kickstart RPGs that are essentially all their favorite house rules for D&D plus their pet setting. For people who like D&D, it's not close enough to D&D. For people that dislike D&D, it's too close to D&D. And so with this -- you have to have players who like poker pretty well, but not enough to just want to play poker. For standard gamers, I think Liar's Dice, Skull, or Cockroach Poker are more suitable entries into the pure bluffing genre.

PUZZLE STRIKE 2, this time with the kid. First time playing with more than 2p. Definitely adds a twist, with the scepter-holder getting attacked by twice as many gems. The kid busted, so my buddy and I went to the Grand Finale, where the survivors get one more turn to crash as many gems as possible. I ended up crashing more gems, but I busted. My buddy crashed fewer but didn't bust, so he won. I have mixed feelings about this; it seems very dependent on having a good hand going into the finale, which you don't have a lot of control over. I guess it's an attempt to avoid other players sitting around while everyone else continues trying to win.

WINGS OF GLORY, which I picked up after it received an extremely strong 7 from the crew at Games from the Cellar. I had Wings of War back in the day, when it was just the little box that was all cards. I never got into the minis because I was poor, but now I am less poor so I got a bunch. The minis really do make a difference. Although I made the mistake of getting some planes because they were on sale, without considering if they could easily make for balanced scenarios. Don't do this! The boxed set (the one that comes without minis, just rules and damage decks and scenarios) has a chart of which planes are good matches for each other; I should have read that first. Anyway it's an excuse to get more planes to round things out. We played with two planes each and I ended up winning. Great and simple design.

GLOOM OF KILFORTH. Fantasy adventure game in the mold of Runebound etc. Doesn't especially break new ground. Has really excellent art, hundreds of pieces all by the same artist. They're all kind of dark fantasy but not in the Warhammer style -- less over-the-top, more serious and melancholy. The game itself has your standard stuff of wandering around a map, defeating enemies, trying to level up, and so on. It can be played coop or competitive; we played coop. The game has really tough time pressure, which I didn't realize until too late -- I was playing more of a "wander around a marvelous fantasy adventureland" sandbox game, and I should have been playing a Spirit Island style "squeeze every last efficiency out of your turns with icy ruthlessness" game. Overall I don't especially recommend it.
Last edit: 20 Mar 2023 13:23 by dysjunct.

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20 Mar 2023 16:36 #338716 by Msample

dysjunct wrote: WAR OF THE RING: THE CARD GAME. 2p, each playing 2-handed. I always forget that there's the official 2p variant where you shuffle everything together. I was Shadow and won by points around path #8.



I think you played the better way , each playing 2 hands. Playing 2P with both decks mixed together ( I did this once ) is really suboptimal in that it results in both sides having a harder time putting combos together or even finding cards that can be played on certain battles/paths.
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20 Mar 2023 16:58 - 20 Mar 2023 16:59 #338717 by Gary Sax
Been playing a lot of Arkham Horror LCG. I burned out of it after my first somewhat disappointing Scarlet Keys play for a while, like multiple months. I tried to get back in using TTS solo two handed but wasn't really enjoying myself that much, but then I got out my actual physical copy and it really made all the difference. Doing it with the physical components (of course also with Arkham Cards) made all the difference and put me into relax mode. So I did another playthrough of Scarlet Keys and had a real chill time.

It has me more interested in playing an old campaign again and thinking about deck building. I'll stick with TTS for playing with other players and play solo with my physical set, amazing what a difference it made.
Last edit: 20 Mar 2023 16:59 by Gary Sax.
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20 Mar 2023 17:45 - 20 Mar 2023 17:50 #338718 by Sagrilarus

dysjunct wrote: WINGS OF GLORY, which I picked up after it received an extremely strong 7 from the crew at Games from the Cellar. I had Wings of War back in the day, when it was just the little box that was all cards. I never got into the minis because I was poor, but now I am less poor so I got a bunch. The minis really do make a difference. Although I made the mistake of getting some planes because they were on sale, without considering if they could easily make for balanced scenarios. Don't do this! The boxed set (the one that comes without minis, just rules and damage decks and scenarios) has a chart of which planes are good matches for each other; I should have read that first. Anyway it's an excuse to get more planes to round things out. We played with two planes each and I ended up winning. Great and simple design.


Boo Yaah! Always a great time!

And if you like that, have a listen to our episode (just dropped) on Heat: Pedal to the Metal. It's good, but I think there's a couple of publishing errors that will make it more of a challenge to succeed. That said, push through the learning curve, get a play in if you stumble across a copy. Good race game. Oh, and give us a listen for more detail. gamesfromthecellar.com/episodes/heat-pedal-to-the-metal
Last edit: 20 Mar 2023 17:50 by Sagrilarus.
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20 Mar 2023 18:07 #338719 by dysjunct
Way ahead of you; I just listened to your HEAT episode earlier today. :)

I didn't find the iconography as confusing as y'all, but I'll allow that my enthusiasm (as a big FLAMME ROGUE fanboy) might have made me overlook it and/or power through the learning curve.
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25 Mar 2023 13:03 - 27 Mar 2023 12:37 #338770 by Jackwraith
Played our first session of Twilight Inscription last night. We had three players and were all classic races- Sol, Jol-Nar, Letnev. Right up front: I am not a fan of roll-and-writes, in general. As many of you know, I prize player interaction in most of my games and R&Ws often do not emphasize that and Inscription is no exception to that trend. It's basically a race for points that sees you hovering over your own boards in order to find the optimal path to this or that result. However, the Warfare board CAN have impact, especially when it comes to the Objective cards. You're only going to have four of those, one for each board, and they are a significant source of points, so while you can neglect a particular board, it seems like you really can't ignore it. In the couple playthroughs that I watched in preparation for the game (eases learning time for something this elaborate, I think), I noticed more than one person ignoring Industry and at least one ignoring Warfare to their later detriment, especially Industry, which seems to be the easiest method of obtaining focus dice, which give you more resources to play with. So, while I appreciate their attempt to keep players jostling with each other with cruisers and destroyers and the occasional War Sun, how well it succeeds will have to be seen by later plays.

One thing that I found regretfully hilarious is the diplomacy/voting cards. As any Twilight Imperium veteran will know, the diplomacy in TI2 was an afterthought. And, despite attempts with the base game and BOTH expansions to TI3 to beef it up and make it a serious goal in the game, those attempts came to nothing. It was still a completely shrug-worthy aspect to the whole picture, 90% of the time. I've been told that TI4 has beefed it up yet again, but I have yet to try that version so I can't really say if they succeeded. However, I can say that they have failed yet again to make it worthwhile in Inscription. It's the most irrelevant part of the game, as you build up votes and then spend them at four different times to vote something up or down which has little to no impact on anyone involved. It's just a moment where you're kind of "eh" and then you move on to the next card. I enjoyed the rest of it, though. It's certainly not top tier of the shelf right now, but I thought the varied powers of the factions and the relics and other one-off moments made it something fun to delve into and to go back in to try a different approach. I won as the fascist Letnev, 77-72-68.
Last edit: 27 Mar 2023 12:37 by Jackwraith.
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25 Mar 2023 14:35 #338771 by Cranberries

dysjunct wrote:
WINGS OF GLORY, which I picked up after it received an extremely strong 7 from the crew at Games from the Cellar. I had Wings of War back in the day, when it was just the little box that was all cards. I never got into the minis because I was poor, but now I am less poor so I got a bunch. The minis really do make a difference. Although I made the mistake of getting some planes because they were on sale, without considering if they could easily make for balanced scenarios. Don't do this! The boxed set (the one that comes without minis, just rules and damage decks and scenarios) has a chart of which planes are good matches for each other; I should have read that first. Anyway it's an excuse to get more planes to round things out. We played with two planes each and I ended up winning. Great and simple design.


Oh Wings of War. [reaches for pipe and slippers] I had a lot of minis and decks, and made everyone play it, but it just wasn't quite as fun as I needed it to be. Those minis were so cool, and it was an ingenious game. I made my then-group play it, and the spreadsheet gamer was cognitively unable to try and guess what people would do, so he played random cards while sighing loudly and won. Another time I was going to bring my piles of stuff to a convention and another buddy said he would bring his instead and then didn't. I think the stink of disappointment made me trade this, but I wish I still had it.

I still have Heroscape. I am going to be buried with it.
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25 Mar 2023 19:47 #338772 by Gary Sax

Jackwraith wrote: I've been told that TI4 has beefed it up yet again, but I have yet to try that version so I can't really say if they succeeded. However, I can say that they have failed yet again to make it worthwhile in Inscription. It's the most irrelevant part of the game, as you build up votes and then spend them at four different times to vote something up or down which has little to no impact on anyone involved.


Yeah, in TI:4 the agendas themselves became consequential but in general among tourney style players there are obvious collaborative decisions on many of the agendas that are better for the majority of players than the others, so the outcome is pretty preordained and you rarely see any sort of exciting or tense "vote off" with an unknown outcome. It sounds like it still matters more than previous ones, though.
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25 Mar 2023 20:28 - 25 Mar 2023 23:45 #338775 by Jackwraith
See, I loved the council reps that they added with the second expansion to TI3. Their different abilities (the most hilarious of which was the Nekro Virus' rep who could self-detonate and kill the whole room; probably not the most politically acceptable thing in our modern era, but there it is)) made each race that much more distinct and gave real weight to their decisions... except that most of the actual political cards were either completely obvious decisions (as you say with the new edition) or utterly irrelevant. It's unfortunate that they can't seem to shake that trend and institute something with real impact.
Last edit: 25 Mar 2023 23:45 by Jackwraith.

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26 Mar 2023 21:18 #338781 by Msample
Last spring I played EUROPE IN TURMOIL at a con with a friend and came away with positive impressions; so based on that I both decided to give the same designer ( Kris van Buren ) a try with Barby/Gates. We didn't end up playing at WBC as originally planned, but I managed to get it on the table this afternoon with my local opponent .

The game covers the later decades of the declining Roman empire; one player is the Loyalist Romans and the other controls Usurper forces as well as Barbarian forces. There are a few twists. The Usurper and barbarians, despite being controlled by one player, treat each other as hostile, so they can't cooperate directly. Their goal is to basically destablize the Roman. There are several tools - raids by barbarians, Usurper leaders taking over areas, playing events to make Roman leaders switch sides, etc.

The the other bigger twist is akin to the old Peloponesian War - during the turn, a Roman Loyalist player can discard an OPS card and literally have the Loyalist and Usurper switch places. Basically it represents the Usurper gaining the upper hand to become the majority leader of the empire.

We got thru 4 turns and as the Romans I lost via being reduced to 0 VP. We misplayed one key rule ( a large force of 10 CU enter at the end of turn 2 and depending on what side has an Emperor leader goes in on the other side ) and in my case didn't plan ahead for some of my leaders going over to the other side. We did get far enough to see barbarian tribes become eligible to be basically converted to Roman allies.

We both saw enough promise to reset and start again in a few weeks.

Like Europe in Turmoil, there are several graphics and UX issues that make you look at the credits, see that there is no developer, and shake your head. No show stoppers necessarily but still annoying. Graphically the initial look seems pretty period appropriate - flat, muted colors - but by no means monochromatic. The issue is one of both lack of contrast ( several instances on both map and counters of having text against a background too close in color ) as well as a map that is very hard to read in places - some of the connections are really hard to pick out while playing . Place names are hard to pick out as well; there is a gazeteer in the playbook but rather than list all locations in one giant alphabetical list, there are listed by province. It wouldn't shock me that the game was entirely playtested via VASSAL and not physical components. "Looks good on my screen, print it !" says Bill Thomas.....

The rules for the most part are a mix of Hannibal/Sword of Rome for the base movement / activation . Then sprinkle in situation specific stuff like barbarian migrations, units swtiching sides etc. The rules are a bit wordy, and lack a table of contents . The index is shite. That said we did find answers to the questions we had, although some terminology was a bit ambiguous, like whether barbarian tribal leaders with CU treat other barbarian tribes with different leaders as hostile or not when migrating.

Now to re-read the rules and look at the Q/A on BGG to see what we may have missed.
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27 Mar 2023 11:26 #338786 by Gregarius

Cranberries wrote: I made my then-group play it, and the spreadsheet gamer was cognitively unable to try and guess what people would do, so he played random cards while sighing loudly and won.

I hope for your sake that your now-group does not include this fellow.

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28 Mar 2023 12:39 #338801 by Cappster_

Cranberries wrote:

dysjunct wrote:
WINGS OF GLORY, which I picked up after it received an extremely strong 7 from the crew at Games from the Cellar. I had Wings of War back in the day, when it was just the little box that was all cards. I never got into the minis because I was poor, but now I am less poor so I got a bunch. The minis really do make a difference. Although I made the mistake of getting some planes because they were on sale, without considering if they could easily make for balanced scenarios. Don't do this! The boxed set (the one that comes without minis, just rules and damage decks and scenarios) has a chart of which planes are good matches for each other; I should have read that first. Anyway it's an excuse to get more planes to round things out. We played with two planes each and I ended up winning. Great and simple design.


Oh Wings of War. [reaches for pipe and slippers] I had a lot of minis and decks, and made everyone play it, but it just wasn't quite as fun as I needed it to be. Those minis were so cool, and it was an ingenious game. I made my then-group play it, and the spreadsheet gamer was cognitively unable to try and guess what people would do, so he played random cards while sighing loudly and won. Another time I was going to bring my piles of stuff to a convention and another buddy said he would bring his instead and then didn't. I think the stink of disappointment made me trade this, but I wish I still had it.

I still have Heroscape. I am going to be buried with it.


I feel seen. I said as much in our podcast episode that will be published in a couple of weeks.

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