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

What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 11 Feb 2018 12:02 #263385

Last night we got to play my buddy's Kickstarter edition of Rising Sun. We had 4 players, with the intent that we would play 2 games back to back. That's exactly what we did, and it took about 5 1/2 hours. I'd say the first game was 3 hours and the second was probably 2 hours. I didn't check exact times though. Regardless, it was a longer game than I expected. We all really liked it and I'm sure it will see the table a lot in the coming months. But the good news is that I don't see it replacing any of the myriad DoaMs that my group plays. It really provides a unique experience, at least compared to Cthulhu Wars, Blood Rage, etc. Okay... I have a lot to say about this one.

Components
This game is stretch-goaled to the Nth degree and it shows. Lots of cool plastic component upgrades that you wouldn't find in the retail edition. The board is gorgeous and everything is easy to see. Most of the symbols make sense quickly. Surprise, the minis are cool!

Gameplay
I don't know why people keep calling this the spiritual successor to Blood Rage. They are nothing alike, and this doesn't make you want to never play Blood Rage again. For starters, this is WAY more cerebral than I was expecting. It's very hard to wrap your head around what the board state will be in the near future, exactly when you should try a certain move, etc. This game's longer duration and increased brain burning over your standard DoaM will restrict its appeal a bit, perhaps. The mood that has you bring out Cthulhu Wars is very different than the mood that will bring out this game. My personal taste leans more Cthulhu Wars, but I am eager to play this one more.

Combat
While this does slightly seem to draw its combat inspiration from Cry Havoc, they aren't alike in practice. Combat here really comes down to who has the most money and who can bluff the best. You have to try to remember how much money your opponent(s) have, and you can readily see how many other combats they will be in after the current conflict. The way the combat locations are pre-determined at the beginning of the round is slightly reminiscent of Blood Rage but is blown out to be considerably more impactful on the game. I don't think I've played a game that so smoothly handles multi-party conflicts, either. Overall, I think the way this game handles conflicts is incredible.

Variable Player Powers
Each clan, of the 8 available, has its own unique power, starting honor level (used to determine ties and some game effects) and per round income. We all switched clans for the second game so we got to see 6 different clans in the 2 games. You really just have to remember one ability and try to capitalize on it; it is nothing like Cthulhu Wars, in which every faction plays like its own game. I have to say that based on 2 plays, the powers are wildly variable in just how useful they are. In my first game I was the Lotus clan, and I think they have one of the most powerful abilities in the game. Each turn, a player will choose an action to occur, such as hiring troops or moving troops. All players get to benefit from this in some way (except in the case of betrayal), with the active player and any ally getting a better benefit. However, you are limited in your action choice by what 4 action tiles you draw. The Lotus clan, however, gets to choose whatever action is desired, regardless of tile draw. This is really powerful. Another clan can move to any space desired, instead of only adjacent spaces. Again, super powerful, since you can never feel safe from them.

My second game was the Fox clan. They can put a soldier in any space(s) at the start of the war phase (the end of the round is when battles occur) as long as they don't already have soldiers there. I thought this sounded useful, but over the course of the game I ended up having all of my units already fielded, so I only used it one time. If this clan actually came with extra guys, it would have been much more useful.

Monsters
While all of the monster sculpts are cool, their powers are decidedly less so. Some of them are terrifyingly powerful, while others are very underwhelming. Some of them are only great if you have low honor, so you almost have to deliberately spec your clan to keep your honor low, which comes with its own problems since you will lose any ties that come up. Sometimes your honor status is not in your hands anyway, which can throw further monkey wrenches. One combo that came out in the first game almost seemed broken; a player was able to repeatedly get an ability to move twice, and he had a monster that stole VP from a player every time it moved into his space. He kept doing this over and over, and ended up stealing about 10 VP which gave him the victory.

Scoring
This is one of those games in which it can be hard to figure out (sometimes) who has the best shot at winning. A runaway leader can definitely be a thing here, and it happened in our second game. You can get clan upgrade cards that only trigger at the end of the game scoring; they don't do anything at all during the course of the actual game. The winner of our second game dedicated his strategy to obtaining cards; he had tons of them and won by 30 points.

You can also get HUGE point bonuses if you win battles in DIFFERENT territories over the course of the game. This is a hard task to accomplish, so I won't say the rewards are too great, but they are drastic. I was losing for most of the first game, and due to being the only one to get a 20 point bonus at the end, came within 1 point of victory. In the second game, I made a tragic error in a key combat which cost me 10 bonus points, and I came in last. The strategy prevents turtling, so it's all good.

Final Thoughts
I really like Rising Sun, and look forward to playing it many more times. I like that it is unique enough to not kick anything else out of the rotation. Slight negatives are that it's a bit longer than I'd like and also a bit heavier than I'd normally want on a game night. For my friend's Kickstarter money, I'd reach for Cthulhu Wars more than I would reach for this game. But I'd choose this over Blood Rage, which I find a bit boring. This game is NOT boring. I'd recommend it, but after seeing the Kickstarter upgraded components, I wouldn't want a retail copy.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 11 Feb 2018 12:33 #263386

I just can’t bring myself to care one bit about that game...hearing that the retail version is so hobbled pretty much puts me completely off it.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 11 Feb 2018 15:15 #263396

I don't know if it is appropriate to post this here, so I'll let the mods ax the post if not. I've just wrapped up a few months of play testing my new game Dȗhr: The Lesser Houses. There are a few groups still play testing, and I look forward to their feedback. Here are the box designs for anyone interested:

DuhrCover1.png


DuhrBack3.png
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 11 Feb 2018 15:36 #263397

Coolness. Sounds like a heavily interactive game, somewhat like Diplomacy and/or Dune?
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 11 Feb 2018 15:39 #263398

Michael Barnes wrote:
I just can’t bring myself to care one bit about that game...hearing that the retail version is so hobbled pretty much puts me completely off it.

Yeah, that's kinda putting me off, too. I love the sound of it. I love Lang's designs (including The Others, which most around here didn't care for) and I'm really fond of "thinking" DOAMs, like Dune. I have a feeling that I'd love this. But not if I feel like I'm only playing half the game because I didn't get into the Kickstarter.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 11 Feb 2018 16:54 #263401

Went to a cluub to met theem and played a few games:

1775: Rebellion. This is a highly abstracted wargame, to the point it can be defined as an euro area control game with slighty assymetric factions and cards. The thing that defines it, on my mind is that no matter how many units you attack with, the number of dice is limited so you have a strong incentive not to attack with everything.

It was good, but I don't see a particular reason to play it over your favourite area control game. I can see this being "pushed out" out of a crowded genre.

Tulip Bubble. I really like this kind of speculative games with auctions where you try to buy low and sell high. However, I think there are games that do exactly what this game does without as many random factors, as much counting or any trackable hidden information. It sucks to spend so much time thinking about how much to bid only for chance to have three times the effect your decisions did. I won and noted that if instead of a good market I had gotten a crash, the difference would have been of more than 50 credits. Given the game is won if you buy a card worth 120 credits this seems wrong.

Lovely art, though!

Then we played some random game with a court theme. It's one of those games that technically might have some decisions like whether to switch cards with another player or playing this or that other card first but which pale in comparison to the effect of chaos, random card draws and the like. It's rather incredible how the player's core moved so in lockstop with slight differences to account for standard deviation. It felt like a fourth-rate Burno Faidutti knockoff, but without the skill or fun.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 11 Feb 2018 17:11 #263402

Undeterred by the unplayed copy of Cave Evil: Warcults sitting on my shelf, I decided to pick up Dungeon Degenerates (w/ character expansion) based on both the praise it received here and my desire to support small-press games with zany art. Just got done playing a 2-player attempt at the introductory mission that ended in a failed mission by TPK.

The soldier of fortune and the shapeshifting alley cat had picked up the soothsayer's head and, on my wife's insistence that the head "seemed nice," we decided to take it to the stone circle via the lake. When we got off the boat at the lake, we ran into a few of monsters, including the bloated Bullscrog Croaker, which summoned an ally to the battle. Unfortunately, that monster ALSO summoned an ally, and we were overwhelmed.

There are enough rules that appear haphazardly in the book that I don't quite know if we played everything right. But I still had a god damn blast. I LOVED the choose-your-own-adventure feeling of the mission book. I really liked that a full round of combat is resolved with a single dice throw. It gave me the same feeling I got as when I was playing Arkham Horror in college for the first time, having no idea what to expect and loving every minute of it. My wife generally plays adventure or fantasy-themed games politely because she knows how much I like them, but she was really loving all the art and the goofy flavor text. This game is a definite win for me.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 11 Feb 2018 21:15 #263417

Played Robinson Crusoe. We won the Swiss Family Robinson scenario for the first time (we use easy mode dog and Friday). A lot of things came together, this is a hard scenario even with the aids. It's one of my favorite ones, though, as few of the other scenarios insist that you develop your camp up so high and invent so many things.

I know it's not in the zeitgeist but I *love* Robinson Crusoe. I still haven't found a game like this where the investments you make create things that make you feel so smart when they pay off (inventions).
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 12 Feb 2018 10:26 #263429

Here's what I just wrote elsewhere about Sidereal Confluence

I have no idea how to talk about this.

First of all, just going in, it's a game in which there are two primary components. One is negotiation, and one is resource engine building. I hate negotiation as a game element. It's a perfectly valid one, but negotiation is, to me, the opposite of fun. It's stressful, it's frustrating, and it's unpleasant. I wasn't built for it and I don't suffer it well. So I knew right up front I'd have issues.

I went with a race that as advertised as fairly straight-forward, and it was, and I appreciated that. Knowing what my focus was helped me deal with other things.

The other part of the game, the resource engine part, was where a lot of it fell apart to me. This game needs an editor, badly. There are multiple resources in multiple sizes worth multiple values; far more technologies than most people can parse (in the final production round I rediscovered a tech that should have been giving me a free resource all along, that I'd forgotten about), with upgrade paths; we wheel in an auction for colonies and research teams; and then there are special faction powers laid on top of everything. As a result, no one is ever quite sure of anything they're doing. Thus, as it is with so many euros these days, the winner is likely to be the person who "solved" the game first.

And then there's the endgame scoring. We used to joke here about Tigris & Euphrates' odd (at the time) endgame scoring, but that is positively quaint now.


DVzJkBTVAAAftam.jpg


Here's my final holdings at the end. Consensus seems to be that I scored 28.5 points, but I don't think anyone is 100% sure about that. Each type of resource is scored as some fraction of a point, up to half points. Except you can't mix equivalent different types of resources to make half points, except for ships, which are the same as cubes (the small cubes, not the big cubes.) That made it past a publisher.

Final word is, there's a not bad game in there, even if it involves a mechanism I don't personally care for. But it's so swamped with unnecessary cruft that it's difficult to get to. It reminds me of Argent -- a game I like more -- in that even just the base game feels like you're playing with about six different expansions and promos, some of which are not that great and some of which weren't tested against the others.

Oh, and what's more, the designer also decided that the game should go up to nine players, which would require a playing area roughly the size of a soccer pitch to accommodate. Again, a ridiculous imposition of "more" over "better".

How eager am I to play again? I can't say I'd clamor for it, but I'd play without grousing

Is this something I'd like to own? Heavens no

Rating after first play? I feel like it's a 5 game hidden in a sack made of 4s
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 12 Feb 2018 10:58 #263433

RE: Small press with funky art/theme, if you haven’t tried Craft Fair Games, you have failed. Ferox is fucking rad in every way.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 12 Feb 2018 20:30 #263477

I’ve played 2 games of Space Freaks now. I know the response from our resident critics might speak to the contrary to what I’m about to say, but this is a game that, if published 15, 10, maybe even as little as 5 years ago, it would be a mandatory inclusion on the shelf of ever card carrying F:AT member. Given that this place is overrun by grumpy old fucks that are still playing games from 25 years ago even though there’s stuff out there that does the same thing but better, that caveat might not really apply. Yeah, it’s weird, it’s chaotic, it’s garishlied colored, but when has that not been what this site is founded upon? No, it doesn’t have dice rolling, but neither does Wiz-War, unquestionably its closest brethren. Even with its diceless (yet lightning fast) combat and it’s VP bonanza, Space Freaks is the most concentrated dose of classic AT gaming I’ve played since Gorechosen, and it towers over that vastly overhyped title.

So I know what you’re thinking: “Josh, if it’s so close to Wiz-War, unquestionably one of the greatest games ever published, why would I play Space Freaks?” Alright, fair point, and I’ll be upfront, it isn’t as good as Wiz-War. But let me break down some points about Space Freaks that I like better than that hallowed entry in the Halls of Gaming.

- It’s in space and everyone knows that space stuff is better than wizard stuff. Simple logic, really.

- In Wiz-War, you could be playing where everyone decides which schools of magic you’ll be playing with and everyone is using that stuff. In Space Freaks, *you* design your own horrific monstrosity that, most likely, is yours and yours alone. Ownership, folks, that’s what it gives you and there aren’t many games that evoke that feeling, and it’s wonderful, even if it is ugly. It’s your baby and you’re going to love it regardless.

-Space Freaks plays SUPER well with 2. Wiz-War with 2 is pointless.

-I love the mission system in Space Freaks. I wish some of the missions were more interesting, but they get the job done and even the ones that seem uninteresting still put your Freaks in danger. It’s really slick when you play a couple times and that becomes apparent. It’s only a small variety in your path to victory, but it’s still variety and I like that.

-It’s in space.

No, the sum of its parts do not put it above Wiz-War, but it’s different and fun enough that it earns a place on my shelf regardless, especially with the 2 player game being so damned good. Love this game, hope it gets an expansion that has nothing but more body parts and weapon cards.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 12 Feb 2018 20:38 #263478

xthexlo wrote:
I don't know if it is appropriate to post this here, so I'll let the mods ax the post if not. I've just wrapped up a few months of play testing my new game Dȗhr: The Lesser Houses. There are a few groups still play testing, and I look forward to their feedback. Here are the box designs for anyone interested:

DuhrCover1.png


DuhrBack3.png

Cool artwork on the box!
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 12 Feb 2018 21:37 #263482

Josh Look wrote:
...Space Freaks is the most concentrated dose of classic AT gaming I’ve played since Gorechosen

???
What?!? Tell me more about this wondrous thing.

Josh Look wrote:
...and it towers over that

Yes? Go on...

Josh Look wrote:
...vastly overhyped title.

Aaaaand... you lost me. I was on the verge of climax before you threw that cold bucket of clam chowder on me. You suck at foreplay.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 12 Feb 2018 21:46 #263483

Colorcrayons wrote:
Josh Look wrote:
...Space Freaks is the most concentrated dose of classic AT gaming I’ve played since Gorechosen

???
What?!? Tell me more about this wondrous thing.

Josh Look wrote:
...and it towers over that

Yes? Go on...

Josh Look wrote:
...vastly overhyped title.

Aaaaand... you lost me. I was on the verge of climax before you threw that cold bucket of clam chowder on me. You suck at foreplay.

FWIW, I do like Gorechosen. Quite a bit, even, but I never quite fell into that camp that loves it.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 13 Feb 2018 07:20 #263491

Josh Look wrote:
I’ve played 2 games of Space Freaks now. I know the response from our resident critics might speak to the contrary to what I’m about to say, but this is a game that, if published 15, 10, maybe even as little as 5 years ago, it would be a mandatory inclusion on the shelf of ever card carrying F:AT member. Given that this place is overrun by grumpy old fucks that are still playing games from 25 years ago even though there’s stuff out there that does the same thing but better.

How DARE you sully the name of SPI


IMG_1515.jpg
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