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Re: What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing?

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13 Sep 2023 14:45 #340522 by Cappster_
Can we talk about Dominant Species ? I feel like I might be close to crossing the line.

Sag was there, that makes it okay, right?

Anyway, we played and recorded a game of Dominant Species.

I love this game. I hate this game. This game is in serious need of a chess clock. I think that our play (with 4) ended up being just over three hours long. If DS could be played reliably in two hours, I'd call it a perfect game. (To that effect, the next time we play, I think we will remove the three Dominance Cards that give players extra Action Pawns)

Man. For what looks like a dry as dry can be euro, this one was cutthroat AF. There was all kinds of aggression happening on the board, as we jockeyed for the best positions on the board. Glaciers dropped from the heavens to clean out whole biomes full of species. One early Catastrophic Event wiped a dozen cubes right off the board. Diminishing food supplies cornered a couple species, and left them to languish off on their own.

It was tight. It was gritty. And the action selection part of the game was slow.

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13 Sep 2023 15:47 #340523 by Jackwraith

Cappster_ wrote: It was tight. It was gritty. And the action selection part of the game was slow.


Having never played, I'm interested in this part. Is that phase AP-inducing? Is that where most of the time sink happens? You noted that the next time you play you want to take away the ability of people to make yet another decision, so I would guess that's the case. Is it because there are too many good options or that it's difficult to see all of the results of what might be the "best" action?

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13 Sep 2023 21:06 - 13 Sep 2023 21:44 #340528 by Cappster_

Jackwraith wrote:

Cappster_ wrote: It was tight. It was gritty. And the action selection part of the game was slow.


Having never played, I'm interested in this part. Is that phase AP-inducing? Is that where most of the time sink happens? You noted that the next time you play you want to take away the ability of people to make yet another decision, so I would guess that's the case. Is it because there are too many good options or that it's difficult to see all of the results of what might be the "best" action?


This is a really good question and will do my best to answer in a way that makes sense.

There are 41 action spaces available, spread out over 12 actions. Some Actions only have 1 action space, while some have up to 7. In a 4 player game, each player will have 5 action markers. Math then says there will be 20 action markers used (at least!) each round.

The rounds are divided into two phases, Action Selection and then Resolution. Players take turns placing Action Markers until all are placed. THEN they are resolved. This results in a few things:

1) The first markers are easy enough to put out. They are almost immediately placed.

2) As you get to markers 2/3/4, you have to start considering a) how to set yourself up to ensure that your later actions go off the way you want them to. For instance, if you choose a Migrate (Action #10)action, you want to make sure that you have enough cubes on the board to move so you add more with Speciation (Action #8). But you have to make sure your cubes are Adapted (Action #2) or the spaces you moving too have Abundant (Action #4) food so that your newly moved species survive to the next round.

3) As you get to makers 4/5, you start thinking about ways to shore up your plans, muck up your opponents, or sometimes simply try to find something useful.

The powerful actions, Dominance, are the ones that score and give you very powerful action cards. They are the last to resolve. It is very possible that by the time you get to resolving those actions, the board state has changed significantly, and you're giving someone else the big points or the card selection.

It's truly amazing how it all comes together. But, it can be AP-prone as you try to figure out how everyone else's actions will affect yours.
Last edit: 13 Sep 2023 21:44 by Cappster_.
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14 Sep 2023 11:30 #340535 by Shellhead
I went to the Bully Pulpit website to look at Desperation, because it seems like a good potential Halloween game. I tried watching the first playthrough video for The Isabel, but it went on and on for way too long. Anytime a player got to the Speak Your Truth part of the card, they took it as an invitation to ramble on for several minutes. Maybe the Speak Your Truth should be changed to Add A Brief Comment. Anyway, that left me with the impression that this is another fragile game that is very dependent on good players to make or break the experience. This demo group made the game twice as long as it needed to be. Brevity is the essence of wit. Verbal rambling is dull.

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14 Sep 2023 11:35 #340536 by dysjunct
Certainly agree on that. I’ve played four times now, and it’s never gone over 90 minutes. Usually closer to 60.
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14 Sep 2023 12:38 #340537 by Shellhead
The other thing that bothered me about the Desperation playthrough that I (partially) watched was the elaborate system of safety mechanisms to protect any player from getting offended or triggered. It actually disgusts me that we have such fragile young people in this country, because they will be facing serious challenges in the coming decades without any coping mechanisms. However, I concluded that these safe word mechanisms are not part of the actual game, so I won't hold it against Bully Pulpit.

Based on your comment about typical playtime, I plan to buy Desperation. The demo group may have felt pressured to say a lot because they were selected to put on a show, and the coordinator modeled long speeches for them, inviting them to do the same. I will support my local game store by checking there first, then buy directly from Bully Pulpit if necessary.
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14 Sep 2023 13:13 #340538 by Ah_Pook
Yea people with trauma should stop being such pussies, talking about it doesn't bother me why should it bother them.

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14 Sep 2023 13:44 #340539 by Shellhead
It's more reasonable to put on shoes than to expect the entire world to be safe for bare feet. It would be nice to live in that safer world, though.
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14 Sep 2023 14:12 #340540 by dysjunct

Shellhead wrote: The other thing that bothered me about the Desperation playthrough that I (partially) watched was the elaborate system of safety mechanisms to protect any player from getting offended or triggered. It actually disgusts me that we have such fragile young people in this country, because they will be facing serious challenges in the coming decades without any coping mechanisms. However, I concluded that these safe word mechanisms are not part of the actual game, so I won't hold it against Bully Pulpit.


The only safety tools in the Desperation rulebooks are a list of topics and what cards they are on. E.g. if you have an issue with horror stories around pregnancy, remove cards #25, 37, and 52. So on for cruelty to animals, children, emotional abuse, etc. It closes the section by saying that if you remove enough cards that you have fewer than eight cards per deck, then this isn’t the game for you.

I haven’t watched the video in question, so only a general comment around safety tools. I get what you’re saying about resiliency, but I see it from the opposite POV I think. Instead completely sanitizing everything for everyone, safety tools allow for uncomfortable topics to still be present at the table, while allowing for people to make informed decisions. I don’t see that as a bad thing; it certainly beats turning everything into Planet Nerf.

There’s also websites which coordinate online play and pay GMs. Some of them require the GM to incorporate safety tools, as they’re playing with strangers. So it might not be up to the GM.

For myself, I don’t bother when playing with friends, but with strangers I’ll usually tell them they can pause, rewind, or fast-forward anything that isn’t fun for them. Never had any pushback or problems with that.
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14 Sep 2023 15:08 #340546 by DarthJoJo

dysjunct wrote: Instead completely sanitizing everything for everyone, safety tools allow for uncomfortable topics to still be present at the table, while allowing for people to make informed decisions. I don’t see that as a bad thing; it certainly beats turning everything into Planet Nerf.

I used to have time for an open group that ran one-shot RPG’s, stuff like Fiasco and Microscope, and the leaders explained The Veil at the beginning of every session. At any time you could call it to fast forward through a scene or rewind or whatever. No one could argue with your choice or question your reasons or whatever.

The point, like dysjunct says, wasn’t to wrap everything in pillows but give the players the confidence to push boundaries and still give others an out if it went too far. I once narrated a dream scene of people chopping off and eating their own hands that I wouldn’t have done with strangers without The Veil.

The rule was the shoes to go on hard ground.
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14 Sep 2023 15:59 #340551 by n815e
I’m glad that people are feeling confident enough to say they won’t put up with assholes. Nobody should have to accept someone’s shit behavior.
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16 Sep 2023 16:03 #340566 by RobertB

Cappster_ wrote: Can we talk about Dominant Species ? I feel like I might be close to crossing the line.

Sag was there, that makes it okay, right?

Anyway, we played and recorded a game of Dominant Species.

I love this game. I hate this game. This game is in serious need of a chess clock. I think that our play (with 4) ended up being just over three hours long. If DS could be played reliably in two hours, I'd call it a perfect game. (To that effect, the next time we play, I think we will remove the three Dominance Cards that give players extra Action Pawns)

Man. For what looks like a dry as dry can be euro, this one was cutthroat AF. There was all kinds of aggression happening on the board, as we jockeyed for the best positions on the board. Glaciers dropped from the heavens to clean out whole biomes full of species. One early Catastrophic Event wiped a dozen cubes right off the board. Diminishing food supplies cornered a couple species, and left them to languish off on their own.

It was tight. It was gritty. And the action selection part of the game was slow.


You aren't kidding about Dominant Species. It's not an 'everybody frowns at their tableau' sort of game, it's more of 'how bad can I screw the other players' sort of game. Harsh. I need to get it back on the table sometime.
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17 Sep 2023 13:59 #340572 by dysjunct
Mini 2p game day yesterday with a friend:

13 DAYS. I was USSR, he was US. First time for him, umpteenth time for me. He accidentally caused nuclear war on the last round and lost -- ran out of time to deescalate everything and had all three tracks in DEFCON 2. He wants to play again. 5/5 stars.

POCKET PARAGONS. Part of my eternal quest to find the perfect board game that captures the feel of compulsively playing Street Fighter in arcades, 7-11s, and everywhere else during the 90s. Don't remember all the characters; we did Bo3 and he took it 2-1. This is a tight little design that hits a lot of high points. It uses the now-standard pick and simultaneous reveal mechanic. Characters are only 7 cards (plus a character card) and discards are open so their strategic options narrow drastically. You have to play a Rest card to get all your discards back, but if your opponent plays an Execute while you're resting then you auto-lose. Good and fast. Doesn't have any spatial element (I like how corners affect the strategy in video fighting games) and not being able to do any move you want (if something's in the discards) is a bit of a bummer, but it plays real fast and gets the feel right. 4/5 stars.

PUZZLE STRIKE II. He was Rook (defensive rock golem); I was Midori (old kung fu master who can turn into a dragon). I went into dragon form too soon -- it's very offensive but risky as your gem pile will quickly overflow. Which is what happened to me, for the loss. My own fault; if I lose I always appreciate knowing what I should have done differently. 5/5 stars.
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17 Sep 2023 16:15 #340574 by mads b.
NEXUS OPS with the 11yo. He had all the money, but he failed to close the game and I had one great turn that gave me 8 points. So in the end I was one point from winning and he had to have three points or otherwise I would most likely get them the turn after. Of course he got four or five, so maybe it wasn't as close as I thought. Love it, always delivers.
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17 Sep 2023 17:04 - 17 Sep 2023 17:04 #340576 by DarthJoJo
Pretty excited to attend an open game day yesterday, the first in my town since COVID closed our board game store. I played the same game of Machi Koro: Bright Lights, Big City for two hours. And still had to quit before the end because my wife was going to a retirement party. Machi Koro is uninteresting but tolerable at thirty minutes. It’s punishment at two hours. One guy was learning the rules, but no one was slow playing. It tripped up on needing everyone’s constant attention to check if their cards triggered but wasn’t interesting enough to deserve the focus.

Had to wash the taste out with a session of the latest solo expansion to Ashes Reborn. Ran a ceremonial/nature Rin that piled alterations on a few units and pushed extra activations on them. Lost, of course, but it wasn’t a blowout. Deck could use a lot of refinement but was fun. Remain in awe of a bot that tolerates a variety of win conditions and allows me to play my dumb theorycrafts.
Last edit: 17 Sep 2023 17:04 by DarthJoJo.
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