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Kevin Klemme
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Mycelia Board Game Review

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River Wild Board Game Review

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Outback Crossing Review

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26 Nov 2023 01:02 #341079 by Virabhadra


Introduced my partner's youngest sibling - eight years old - to dungeon-crawling on Thanksgiving. He wants to come over next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, too, because those are the days he doesn't have homework. :laugh:

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26 Nov 2023 09:27 #341081 by Gary Sax
^That's awesome

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26 Nov 2023 17:00 #341084 by Jackwraith
Had my regular Cthulhu Wars crew over today. We usually try to start with something else (we've been playing a fair amount of Tiny Epic Crimes lately) and when talking about a couple other games, I mentioned Tyrants of the Underdark. My friend, Leigh, immediately perked up: "It's been AGES! Let's play that!" So, we did. We don't often play with the Demon half-deck because it brings in the Insane Outcasts, which does slow the pace of the game somewhat. I combined it with the Dragon half-deck because the latter has a lot of double actions and the most resources of any of them, which usually makes up for the inability to pull off as many plays when 2/5s of your hand are unplayable Outcasts. We had one total newb and one who'd only played once, so it might have been a better idea to use the Drow or Elemental decks, but we so rarely get to use either Demons (because of the Outcasts) or Aberrations (because of the discard) that I made an executive decision. It was a solid but slightly longer game and we did get to the point where there were almost no places remaining to deploy and, indeed, almost ran out the Market deck (two cards left), which almost never is what brings our games to an end. I had done my best from the northeast corner and had emphasized both draw (Rath Modar, Night Hags) and spies (Green Wyrmlings, Thayvians) to try to maximize my options. But Leigh ended up dominating Menzoberranzan and another location, racking up a pile of VP tokens, and Travis (her boyfriend) used a White Wyrmling to Devour a few cards on the market, like Demogorgon right before I got to him, which stymied my plans. In the end, I came in second behind Leigh, 95-89-77-62. It was her first time winning, so that was cool.

Then we broke out the Dreamlands with all six Dreamlands monsters (Surface and Underworld.) Leigh was on Crawling Chaos, Travis took Black Goat, Keller randomly ended up with Windwalker, which he's played before, and I picked the evil pink people (Tcho-Tcho), using the new Tribes setup and sticking to what their original set of spellsbooks had been (Tsang Tribe), since I wanted to see how much differently they played than before. As usual with Dreamlands games, the Surface became extremely crowded, as people were hesitant to go downstairs and endure the Bhole and also tried to maneuver away from the Zoogs. The latter were largely absent, since three had rolled a space where no one was inclined to build a gate and two more had done so in another space. I was the only one to eliminate one from one of my gate areas and the rest just sat on the board the whole time. Chaos and Windwalker did eventually move into the Underworld in force and Black Goat not only summoned Shub on turn 1, but also was able to land three spellbooks in one turn. There were red hordes everywhere... but they didn't do anything! I kept initiating combat trying to get Ubbo killed (in the end, Ubbo and Nyarlathotep killed each other, so I doubly earned my spellbook) and maybe grab a gate, but Shub didn't start a single fight. He was the most passive goat player I'd ever seen and he spent so much power on dudes! Windwalker grabbed the Shantak early on so he could have easy access from his base on the Surface to anywhere on the map and, in usual Tcho-Tcho bunkering style, I grabbed the Gnorri so I could sit in my corner and earn +2 Doom in every Doom phase. I did three Rituals because no one was messing with me and Chaos did one and gave me the point. Windwalker did one late and decided to take one less. Of course, if he'd given me the point or I'd drawn anything but a 1 on my Tablets of the Gods ritual, the game would've been over, as I had 23 points and 6 in Elder Signs. But I also pointed out to to Travis that Windwalker had three gates in the Underworld and only needed to build a fourth to win the game instantly. The two of them woke up at that point, but didn't have enough power left to stop him and, for the first time ever in my experience, someone won on the alternate victory condition of the Dreamlands. So, that was kinda cool, too.
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28 Nov 2023 16:09 - 28 Nov 2023 16:11 #341119 by southernman
Having a bit of lighter fun with people at the local club playing Forgotten Waters. The only disappointment is that because there's around 20 people playing different games in a pub's function room it's far too noisey to hear the (apparently) hilarious audio narrative in the app so we have to read (sometimes nearly shout) it all out.
Also introduced a few of them to FFG's extremely punishing Gears of War board game - it took us three attempts to win the first scenario Emergence and then got wiped out twice, once very quickly, doing China Shop ... still great fun though.

The building work to make my small house bigger has finished so I can start weekend gaming again and get some longer campaign games back out (I have a LOT backlogged to play plus more KSers arriving soon) - Betrayal Legacy is first up although that is likely short enough to play on club nights at the pub, so just the big games can come out at home ... and I now have enough room to leave a couple of tables set up for those that are a pain setting and packing up.
Last edit: 28 Nov 2023 16:11 by southernman.
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29 Nov 2023 11:35 #341139 by Gary Sax
On Gears of War (which is an incredible game)---the first scenario is extremely difficult and there's no ramp up in difficulty from there. So if you have trouble with scenario 1, that doesn't really mean anything else is going to be harder or you're in for it or anything.

To me, the first scenario of GoW distills every fun bit of dungeon crawling into a tight package without any of the bullshit. It's infinitely replayable.
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29 Nov 2023 16:15 #341145 by southernman

Gary Sax wrote: ...
To me, the first scenario of GoW distills every fun bit of dungeon crawling into a tight package without any of the bullshit. It's infinitely replayable.

Yep, and the setup mechanic of shuffling the map cards to randomly build the board each time helps with that ... although in their first play last week the first tile had two Boomers facing us COGs as we arrived :pinch:

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04 Dec 2023 09:30 #341196 by DarthJoJo
My old gaming group came out for a visit and a lot of gaming this weekend. Opened the festivities with Harry Potter UNO (at the boys’ request) and Fantasy Realms. I like the latter a little more every time I play. It’s still very luck dependent (I took the victory with big points on high-risk, high-reward cards), but there is some room for good play. I was able to soft block an opponent through inferences without memorizing the card pool. I prefer the Marvel edition, but it’s a pretty reasonable time for the commitment.

Ra was supposed to be the centerpiece of the first night but fell flat. I missed that Ra auctions don’t clear the tile track, so wins brought in a lot less and personal boards ended pretty thin. I liked it, especially the consideration of how much to spend on the bidding tile on top of the points, but it may be a struggle to get it back out with them.

A lot of old favorites the next day. Suhshi Go! Party,Speicherstadt (a balanced approach beat out the guy who tried to buy every ship and trade the cubes for profit), Greed, Bohnanza and the DC Deck-Building Game (the eldest son scored a resounding victory there, and I learned that destroyed weaknesses do not return to the pile which we did empty with five players).

Introduced the group to Seasons. A very modern Euro, there are two phases of drafting. The first is for the cards that will create your engine. The second draft is for the dice that supply and power that engine. I liked it years ago during my first play, but this go around dragged due to my horrendous draft and another player finding a brutal combo requiring us to pay him a point to play any card and a second card that drained our points. By the point the other players managed to start their engines, he was too far ahead to catch. They all liked it more than Ra.

The highlight of the weekend was two games of the incomparable Hansa Teutonica. I took a narrow 41-40-39-36 win on the Eastern map on just two actions by blocking constantly and upgrading my move to get my extra traders into position. On Brittania I stole the win by scoring the leader her 20th point before she could develop her 3x key on her next turn. That move lost her 20 points. That puts me on a three-game win streak in Hansa, so they took my box back with them to work on their won strategies for next time.

At this point I could pretty happy if Hansa were the only game I played the rest of my life. Off the top of my head only Dominion, Race for the Galaxy and Riftforce join it in that pantheon.

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04 Dec 2023 11:02 #341197 by Msample
Played STAR TREK AWAY MISSIONS for the first time. Overall it was....fine. Not great, not terrible. In reading about the game afterwards on BGG, seems like the Borg are very boom or bust. Thematically they feel correct, but with only 3 turns in a game, a shitty draw of cards at the start can really cripple you. Our first game was close but the second one I folded after Locutus was killed before he could even activate and I had accumulated only 5 VP vs my opponent already having racked up like 40-50. The short play time ( probably 60-90 minutes ) is both a plus, but also makes for a bit of min maxing .

The rules while not terrible have some vagueness that seemed like it should have been clarified - like is Engineering the entire board, or just the enclosed room . The designer had a rather vague answer on BGG.

Might try with the expansion factions at some point.
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04 Dec 2023 12:24 #341198 by n815e
I’m finding it fun. The Borg are a challenge, but I like that. They are definitely competitive when you start figuring them out.

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09 Dec 2023 22:25 - 09 Dec 2023 22:35 #341236 by hotseatgames
Three games tonight! First was a four player game of They Live - the card game. Four players is an interesting number for this game, as it is the only combination that can result in 2 humans and 2 aliens. And that is in fact what we had. I was an alien and spent the entire game trying to throw suspicion onto one of the humans. It did not work. I was the first player eliminated, and it was an exciting moment when the remaining humans learned there was still yet another alien among them. A lack of clarification in the rule book led to us playing the rest of the game incorrectly; at the start of each round you draw a number of cards from the main deck equal to 2x the number of players. But what it SHOULD say is 2x the number of LIVING players. This ended up making quite a big difference. Regardless, the remaining alien player did end up eeking out the win for us. Die, Earthlings!

edit- One interesting moment was the first time one of the human players got a chance to use the Hoffman lenses to look at my identity card. They then confirmed I was an alien, but didn't say anything. It left me wondering if they didn't correctly understand the card. They did, they just weren't sure about openly telling the table I was an alien, for some reason. Using the glasses is fun, I'd love to play this one with 6.

Later was a 3 player game of The King is Dead. I love this game although I rarely win. Tonight was no exception, I lost. It was well received.

Ended the night with 3 player Cave Troll. The same player won this too, and again, it was well received. I'd like to try it 4 player some time.
Last edit: 09 Dec 2023 22:35 by hotseatgames.
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10 Dec 2023 09:21 - 10 Dec 2023 09:25 #341239 by Ah_Pook
Taught a bunch of people Hellapagos last. I love teaching that game to receptive groups. Seeing the moment the penny drops and the game turns almost instantly from optimistic co-op "we're all making it out of here!" to real dark negotiations and outright murder is always fun. The look on someones face when you hand them two bullets and say "yknow, we can win right now."

The box says "A cooperative game... Until the food runs out!" but it's hard to know just how nasty that pivot is until you play it :laugh:
Last edit: 10 Dec 2023 09:25 by Ah_Pook.
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10 Dec 2023 10:46 #341240 by hotseatgames
It's always a great moment when someone really SHOULD do one of the normal, boring tasks, and they instead search the wreckage.
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10 Dec 2023 14:45 #341243 by DarthJoJo
How apropos. I just gave away Hellapagos in a gamer’s white elephant yesterday. I can see what it could be, but it fell flat with both the groups I tried it. I think the problem was we tried it took much like a euro and didn’t value our own lives enough. But I got Legend of Drizzt in exchange. Probably a touch too much for the boys, but could be fun in two or three years (like too many of my games).

There were also some game playing before and after the white elephant. My expectations were low when someone pulled out Lying Pirates. It looked like a $20 game with $80 of Kickstarter bling in the form of magnetic tiles, metal coins and custom bamboo cups. Turned out to be pretty decent. Every round begins with a game of Liar’s Dice and then are action cards and different tile powers that steal dice or add custom dice. Could do with 10% less nonsense, but Super Ultra Deluxe Liar’s Dice Enhanced: The Next Generation is good because Liar’s Dice is good.

Also played a game of Millennium Blades at my request. That game is absolute nonsense but kind of amazing. The teacher having only played one game before and trying to figure out the setup on our own was less than ideal, but we got it eventually. I took second, much to my surprise, but even when convinced I was limping along in a distant last, I was having a blast. I loved retooling my first tournament deck (built on misunderstanding the flip rule) into a streamlined clash combo (that took second by a single rp). Trading was mostly to complete sets since we didn’t know the cards well enough to find the right one for our decks. Just a singular experience.
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14 Dec 2023 17:53 - 14 Dec 2023 17:58 #341288 by Jexik
I’ve just been oscillating between Splendor in person and Summoner Wars online. I like 2 of DarthJoJo’s forever games, so maybe I should check HT and Rift force out.

I’ve still been playing Magic too but it’s annoying me.
Last edit: 14 Dec 2023 17:58 by Jexik.
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14 Dec 2023 22:56 #341289 by Jackwraith
Had an old friend over that I used to game quite a bit with, but her schedule became dominated by her two young children and her career (and her, uh, ,divorce...) so we haven't had much opportunity in recent years. But now she lives right down the road, so it should be a lot easier to get together.

I'd been talking her ear off about Cat in the Box, because she likes trick takers, so I knew that would be the start. We sat down to a three-player with my girlfriend. 3 players on CitB is a very different animal from 4 and 5 because you're only using half the board, so it's quite easy to be boxed out of more than one row, rather than the one that usually trips people into paradox. Consequently, if everyone plays wisely, it also seems easier to fill the board and finish a round without a paradox, which we managed once. Both of my opponents aimed high (4 tricks) or low (1 trick) alternately, while I stuck to my 3 because my hands were usually good enough to manage that. In the end, they each paradoxed twice and I didn't at all, so I won 17-10-8.

Then since I know she's usually not as interested in games with a lot of chrome (although she has been playing D&D for the past year...) I pulled a Tiny Epic off the shelf that I hadn't played in years: Tiny Epic Galaxies. It's a more mechanical offering than most of the other TEs but has a lot of little quirks based on the planets you pull that make it interesting. Ours came in waves; first heavy on Economy and then on Diplomacy. In my typical fashion, I was aggressive with Culture use early on, gaining it and spending it as fast as I could to get extra action, so I ended up colonizing the first two planets and elevating my empire before anyone else, as well. That jumped me out to an early lead, which I never relinquished and I won that one, too, 21-15-12. It's still among my least favorite of the series, but still an enjoyable game all the same. Now that she's a genuine RPGer, I'm going to see if I can tempt her into something like Dungeons next time...
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