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12 May 2014 11:18 #177908 by SuperflyPete
Finally cut and sleeved 200 Heroquest cards. The new "Evil Wizard Card" mechanic that the guy that made the cards came up with is brilliant. It allows the baddie player to draw and play a card from the Evil Wizard Deck(hand max: 3) provided there are no active monsters on the board.

It really changes the game and makes the heroes have to fight.

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12 May 2014 11:32 - 12 May 2014 11:33 #177910 by Bull Nakano
I played a bunch of games over the weekend.

First was Dungeon Petz, which is a thematic prequel to Dungeon Lords, which I've never played. There was a lot of cool stuff happening in this game, the cool stuff was how you bid for turn order, the way you dealt with your pet's upkeep and how you attracted buyers. Like a lot of "heavy euro" designs though, there was a lot more to it and most of the more wasn't interesting to play with and/or felt like loose ends. I'll play it again, I'll request it, I'll recommend it, but it'll probably never make my shelf.

Next was The Bucket King. I played this a few weeks ago with the rules as written and it was mostly just ok and heading for the trade pile. But I read on BGG there were two common house rules, so I thought I'd give it a try with them, and it bumped the game up considerably. I think 3 rounds is the sweet spot for this game, I dig it, I just wish the box was smaller or a more standard shape. Keeper.

We finished off Friday night with a game of Hanabi. This game is memorable because a player started the game with three 5's in his hand, which is a pretty big hurdle. we ended up getting 22/25 points, a good showing. I think this game is great and am happy to play a round or two each game night.

Saturday was a meeting of my gaming club, The Gamers Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania. It started with a 3p game of one of my very favourite games, Race for the Galaxy (with Gathering Storm). I had a nut draw for a military strategy, and went deep, it paid off as I won by about 10 points. I ended up getting a dev that game me a card for every military world every phase 5, so I got a ton of card advantage off my opponents production strategies.

Next was a game called Farmageddon. This was a really boring take-that card game, there was nothing interesting or fun and I'm sure I jovially complained a lot. Never playing again.

After this I semi-insisted on the next game being Frank's Zoo. This is a deceptively deep ladder climbing game, it looks like a children's game, and it can be played as such, but it's got a lot more going on. I enjoy this game but a few of the players didn't get the strategy and felt it was devoid of choices (something I always hear from at least 1 player in a trick-style game), but I like this game a lot and am glad to have it in my collection.

Next was a round of Bang The Dice Game. I initially really enjoyed this game months ago, but the more plays I get into it the less I'm enamored with it. It avoids the pitfalls I often fall into with dice games, which is the game system giving the dice too much flexibility, but it's hard to bluff in this game, and it's probably just got too little going on for me. But that said it's fast and somewhat interesting, so I'll keep it for now still, but it's not near as interesting as King of Tokyo's card drafting.

Next we played a new Kramer/Kiesling card game called Abluxxen. I'd played this once before but spent much of the game trying to grasp the intuitive interactions and strategies. This time I just flat out enjoyed it. It's sort of like combat rummy. It's hard to put into words because it's very different than anything I've played, but I like it a lot. I'll pick up a copy once it gets a US release.

After this was a 3p game of an older Colovini game, Masons. This game was pretty interesting, and a fantastic production. It had elements of Kingdom Builder and Acquire to it, but being aa first play I couldn't grasp a strategy. I feel like the strategy is to just do whatever is best for the scoring cards in your hand at that moment. Oddly, the game never seemed to end. Not that it want on too long, but it kept looking like the game would end soon, but then something would happen and the game would keep going, but that could have been the dice. It was cool, I'm undecided if it's a keeper but I'm going to give it a few more plays for sure.

Following Masons was a recent Knizia tile-laying abstract, Rondo. This game feels like a family game from the 70's it's straight forward and not without strategy, but it wasn't very fun. I would enjoy this one more as a digital game.

Bohnanza was up next, and as much as I love this game, for the 4p game to work, everyone has to be really into trading. There're too few bean fields out there so no one really competes much. Much better with 5-7, I've had good games with 4, but only with fellow bean sharks.

Wrapping up the weekend was a session of Dungeon Crawl Classics. This session was kind of disjointed from the previous session because so many folks are ducking in and out of this campaign we continued a storyline I wasn't there for the first part of. We were exploring some space ship, I was a conman and hit every backstab attempt, we 'broke the game' by all teleporting out of the universe and the GM was like "ok, you weren't ALL supposed to do that, it's ok, but now we're winging it", awesome! We went to a jungle that had a pyramid, camped, did our bookkeeping and kind of got clues for what'll be next. I really enjoy this game and how much freedom the players have.
Last edit: 12 May 2014 11:33 by Bull Nakano.
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12 May 2014 11:56 #177912 by Gregarius

Bull Nakano wrote: Next was The Bucket King. I played this a few weeks ago with the rules as written and it was mostly just ok and heading for the trade pile. But I read on BGG there were two common house rules, so I thought I'd give it a try with them, and it bumped the game up considerably. I think 3 rounds is the sweet spot for this game, I dig it, I just wish the box was smaller or a more standard shape. Keeper.

I never really cared for this one; I'd love to know what the rules changes were that brought you around.

After this I semi-insisted on the next game being Frank's Zoo. This is a deceptively deep ladder climbing game, it looks like a children's game, and it can be played as such, but it's got a lot more going on. I enjoy this game but a few of the players didn't get the strategy and felt it was devoid of choices (something I always hear from at least 1 player in a trick-style game), but I like this game a lot and am glad to have it in my collection.

No choices? That's crazy talk. I like this one a lot as well. It's the only ladder game I know of where the ladder forks. Don't you also have varying partnerships as well? Your friends don't know what they're missing.

Nice write up.

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12 May 2014 12:10 #177913 by Bull Nakano

Gregarius wrote:

Bull Nakano wrote: Next was The Bucket King. I played this a few weeks ago with the rules as written and it was mostly just ok and heading for the trade pile. But I read on BGG there were two common house rules, so I thought I'd give it a try with them, and it bumped the game up considerably. I think 3 rounds is the sweet spot for this game, I dig it, I just wish the box was smaller or a more standard shape. Keeper.

I never really cared for this one; I'd love to know what the rules changes were that brought you around.

After this I semi-insisted on the next game being Frank's Zoo. This is a deceptively deep ladder climbing game, it looks like a children's game, and it can be played as such, but it's got a lot more going on. I enjoy this game but a few of the players didn't get the strategy and felt it was devoid of choices (something I always hear from at least 1 player in a trick-style game), but I like this game a lot and am glad to have it in my collection.

No choices? That's crazy talk. I like this one a lot as well. It's the only ladder game I know of where the ladder forks. Don't you also have varying partnerships as well? Your friends don't know what they're missing.

Nice write up.


The house rules for Bucket king are "the player that leads chooses if the play goes clockwise or counter-clockwise" and "if you play cards equal to the previously played value, play reverses direction (clockwise or counter)". I feel these add tension, decisions, and a bit more of an opportunity to bluff.

I just don't understand some of my gaming partners. One of them is a (video) game designer and disliked Kingdom Builder because it was "devoid of choices". I think people who don't understand the hand management aspects of trick-style games feel on rails, but often it's just a better player is taking them to the cleaners. I love the cyclical hierarchy of Frank's Zoo, and the tiny push your luck aspect of passing on a play and hoping it tables to something better for you. The rotating partnerships is great, they all at least thought that was cool.
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12 May 2014 17:12 #177928 by wkover
Bucket King is a great game with the two house rules. (Never played without them, actually.) One of my favorites.

The most important rule in the game is that if you don't draw a card before the next player draws (i.e., if you forget to draw), TOO BAD. You lose the draw. (This is an actual rule.)

We spend most of our time in Bucket King mocking people for forgetting to draw, which reduces their hand size permanently and makes them much more likely to lose.
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12 May 2014 18:20 #177930 by Bull Nakano

wkover wrote: Bucket King is a great game with the two house rules. (Never played without them, actually.) One of my favorites.

The most important rule in the game is that if you don't draw a card before the next player draws (i.e., if you forget to draw), TOO BAD. You lose the draw. (This is an actual rule.)

We spend most of our time in Bucket King mocking people for forgetting to draw, which reduces their hand size permanently and makes them much more likely to lose.

Love that rule. One player got so mad when I told him he couldn't draw because he forgot, the worst part about this rule is you're somehow always the first person to notice and you feel like a dope when you realise.

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14 May 2014 07:57 #178020 by hotseatgames
I got to try KaosBall last night. We only got to play the first half since it was getting late, but the short version is that I like it and definitely want to play it again. And my friend went nuts and has 11 teams (4 come in the box and they released tons of extra teams, all at once as opposed to trickling them out)

It plays nothing like Blood Bowl, and is much more like rugby. It uses card combat and there are lots of cards that mix things up. It is lavishly / over produced thanks to all that Kickstarter money, which explains the huge number of teams.

Based on our 2 player game, I'm guessing a 3 or 4 player match is very chaotic and would be fun to try.

The player mats are fantastic. They clearly explain your team's stats / special power, have dials to track things that would normally require tokens, and have a magnetic area for upgrades. The upgrades are essentially kitchen magnets.

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14 May 2014 12:05 #178048 by VonTush
So, last night was the last game night with my buddy Joe who is moving to Denver...So an era of about five years is coming to an end.

To mark the occasion the night started with my coming into to watch Joe and Nick finish up a game of Smash Up. Joe's Super-Gorilla with four or five modifications started pounding the locations closing a point gap and then blowing past for the win. I need to catch up on a few expansions for this one.

Then as Joe, Nick and myself setup Tumblin' Dice Sam showed up rounding out our foursome. Such a fantastic game that should be in print still. Sam won with everyone enjoying themselves.

Then Carolin (who was previously nursing a roller derby knee injury on the couch) rolled up to the table and we played three rounds of Bang: The Dice Game. I sat to the right of the sheriff two times, and both of those I think I died before my second roll. The third game I once again was the first to die. The Sheriff team won all three games. Still a lot of fun was had in that game.

Carolin then got a call from another roller derby to discuss the injury and Dan and Russell showed up. Which led to a six player game of Plague and Pestilence. I forget just how fun and mean that game is. Joe has a tendency to make rule changes that he thinks sounds fun, but usually ends up throwing things out of balance...And that's what happened last night. "Dicey Doubles" was in play which doubled gains or loses on the Plague Roll. And the first turn it was in play I rolled box-cars giving me a 40 population gain. Supplemented by three cards that gained me population (at the expense of other players) saw my kingdom untouched by plague with close to 100 at the end while everyone else was dead and buried.

We then closed the night with Mystery of the Abby. This was the first time playing for everyone and the reaction around the table was mixed. A lot enjoyed it early on, some excitement was calmed a bit by the end. The person that won I don't think was into it...But maybe he was.

Overall I think everyone liked the theme, the mechanics were easy...But everyone was lost as to what makes an effective question to ask. No one could figure out what to ask that would be effective unless it was such a narrow question that the answer would give everyone at the table information.

I just wish I had a better understanding of the game so I could have gotten everyone off to a better start.

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14 May 2014 12:12 #178049 by san il defanso

VonTush wrote: We then closed the night with Mystery of the Abby. This was the first time playing for everyone and the reaction around the table was mixed. A lot enjoyed it early on, some excitement was calmed a bit by the end. The person that won I don't think was into it...But maybe he was.

Overall I think everyone liked the theme, the mechanics were easy...But everyone was lost as to what makes an effective question to ask. No one could figure out what to ask that would be effective unless it was such a narrow question that the answer would give everyone at the table information.

I just wish I had a better understanding of the game so I could have gotten everyone off to a better start.


Mystery of the Abbey has to be the most fragile game I've ever played. You have to take endless notes on every little thing, and if one person answers one question incorrectly (because they didn't understand it or weren't paying attention) the whole thing just cascades and screws up EVERYONE'S notes. This happened the last time I played, and we actually had to stop the game because everyone's notes were too borked to actually solve anything.

It's cool in theory, but invariably was an enormous headache in practice.

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14 May 2014 12:25 #178050 by charlest
I love Mystery of the Abbey. It's like a gamer's version of Clue. Definitely agree it is fragile though.

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14 May 2014 12:31 #178053 by VonTush
I also think playing with the full six for our first game was a mistake.

Is it a problem/fragile because you're taking too many notes? Wouldn't that be part of the risk of trying to record too much info? When you build a giant house of cards one broken piece could cause a catastrophic failure after all.

I do have to say that I am still excited to play again...What's a good number of players?

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14 May 2014 12:34 #178054 by san il defanso

VonTush wrote: I also think playing with the full six for our first game was a mistake.

Is it a problem/fragile because you're taking too many notes? Wouldn't that be part of the risk of trying to record too much info? When you build a giant house of cards one broken piece could cause a catastrophic failure after all.

I do have to say that I am still excited to play again...What's a good number of players?


It's possible that was our problem. But then again, I'm not sure how else to solve anything there.

Now's a good time to say that I have yet to find a deduction game that doesn't feel like homework. The extent of note-taking that I want to do in a game is limited to tracking cards as the Atreides in Dune.

Actually, Ima go start a thread about this...
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14 May 2014 13:44 #178067 by Legomancer
Played another 3-player game of Nations last night. As you have probably guessed, this one is rocketing up the charts. I'm eager to try it with two, and also to start using the B-sides of the boards.

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14 May 2014 14:41 #178084 by RobertB
Sam Il Defanso wrote:

Mystery of the Abbey has to be the most fragile game I've ever played. You have to take endless notes on every little thing, and if one person answers one question incorrectly (because they didn't understand it or weren't paying attention) the whole thing just cascades and screws up EVERYONE'S notes. This happened the last time I played, and we actually had to stop the game because everyone's notes were too borked to actually solve anything.

It's cool in theory, but invariably was an enormous headache in practice.


The last time I played, we had screwed up the answers to the point where we all had eliminated every friar. I think it was because we allowed questions like, "Do you have Friar Funbag crossed off on your sheet?" Like you said, pretty soon all of our sheets were pure garbage.

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14 May 2014 15:26 #178092 by charlest

RobertB wrote: Sam Il Defanso wrote:

Mystery of the Abbey has to be the most fragile game I've ever played. You have to take endless notes on every little thing, and if one person answers one question incorrectly (because they didn't understand it or weren't paying attention) the whole thing just cascades and screws up EVERYONE'S notes. This happened the last time I played, and we actually had to stop the game because everyone's notes were too borked to actually solve anything.

It's cool in theory, but invariably was an enormous headache in practice.


The last time I played, we had screwed up the answers to the point where we all had eliminated every friar. I think it was because we allowed questions like, "Do you have Friar Funbag crossed off on your sheet?" Like you said, pretty soon all of our sheets were pure garbage.


Yes, I've always told people to ask what people have "seen" not what they have crossed off. We typically play where we mark it differently if you've seen it or if you've crossed it off from deduction. This makes it hold together well.

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