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Barnes on Games- Pixel Tactics in Review, Armada AAR, Archipelago, Chateau Roquefort

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11 Feb 2016 17:17 #222272 by Michael Barnes
The following user(s) said Thank You: Columbob

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11 Feb 2016 18:33 #222273 by Gary Sax
Archipelago is staying on my shelf just due to me reading the rules. I may never play it, but I cannot get rid of it because of how stupid the thing is (in a good way).

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11 Feb 2016 19:13 #222274 by wadenels
Glad you like Roquefort! I was hoping your kids would dig it while I was boxing it up.

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11 Feb 2016 20:37 #222275 by hotseatgames

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11 Feb 2016 21:58 #222276 by Da Bid Dabid
Calling me out by name forces me to reply. The game is just too awkward to love. Could I play it with 3 clones of myself and have a good time? Sure. Can I teach it to people who aren't into board game culture who don't appreciate the so called "weird, wild" aspect and actually get the f'er played? Maybe not so much.

Who do the board gamers deem more foolish... the man trading away Archipelago or the man selling off Clash of Cultures with its impossible to find expansion? ;)
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12 Feb 2016 04:30 - 12 Feb 2016 04:33 #222279 by SuperFlySwatter
Interesting description of Pixel Tactics, it reminds me a bit of that japanese micro game R / RRR - have you played those? that works as a 3 x 3 grid with cards, having special attacks based on various chess like geometrical links and adjancies, PT sounds like a similar idea

I guess Battle for Hill 218 revolved around a similar idea as well,
Last edit: 12 Feb 2016 04:33 by SuperFlySwatter.

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12 Feb 2016 09:30 #222285 by Columbob
Arkham with no expansion is a fairly quick setup and fun on its own. It just becomes a bit too easy when you know which are the high traffic gate locations, so sealing those block many more from opening in general.

I've been playing a bit of Archipelago with the solo expansion to become more at ease with its heavy ruleset, as teaching it is a daunting task and learning it as well, my group hasn't really felt like it.

Solo expansion is made up of a bunch of different scenario cards with bronze/silver/gold success objectives, such as try to accumulate X number of food cubes before Y happens. There are many difficulties, foremost is the absolute need to buy a development card every turn, so you need to save cash for that. Second, you have a very small population to start (especially the Robinson Crusoe scenario), so the native uprising is a very real preoccupation early on, and sometimes you can crash and burn on turn 1 through no fault of your own. Third, reaching gold or even silver levels of success is sometimes entirely dependent on getting a specific development card, which is just totally random. So the expansion is very puzzly, different from the multiplayer game for sure, but still using the same ruleset. At something like $10 for 30 cards or so it's not a big investment either.

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12 Feb 2016 09:34 #222287 by Black Barney
Pixel Tactics sounds like Eye of Judgment. Is it a video game? I'm honestly confused.

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12 Feb 2016 09:35 #222288 by Jexik
I don't like Pixel Tactics. Every time I've played it, it feels like there are serious balance issues. If you get a leader that grants you bonus actions in some way, you just steam roll your opponent. One game I remember, my opponent picked the guy where I couldn't clear my corpses, or something like that- he thought he'd be able to win the long game. I picked the guy that made it so when you played a guy, you could immediately attack with him. Since you can't attack in the first round anyway, I spent the entire first round drawing cards, and then did a series of surprise attacks in the second round. He only killed one or two of my guys before losing. A lot of other cards give you non-choices, where putting them in a certain rank or using them for their sorcery effect is the best way to use the card.

Maybe I need to play it more or see some of the new releases, but in my 5-7ish plays of it, something always felt off or obvious.

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12 Feb 2016 11:25 #222299 by Michael Barnes
Oh yeah man, the balance is NUTS. I mentioned that in the review. And I do agree that there are some cards that are totally out of whack in some positions- resulting in no-brainer choices for them. But I think it works really well with the low card draw (it takes an action), the variety of action options available and the multiple uses for each card. You can get stuck with a crap leader, but if you can make it up in the card play then it's not an issue. But I have seen games where it was just a blowout one way or the other. There are a couple of factors there, one is that some of the synergies between cards/actions/player choices can result in situations like where your opponent had a very specific ability...that is really only any good if you leverage that against playing a bunch of aggressive killers to actually put those corpses in the other player's ranks. If you can't do that AND hit the leader, you're making bad choices or aren't familiar enough with the game to make that leader strategy work.

But definitely, yes, you can wind up in these games where it seems like a particular leader is far more powerful. The one ("Banyon Rucksack" or something like that?) that lets you play heroes as a free action is just totally OP if you combine that with heroes that have spells or effects that give you lots of card draws.

Da Bid sent the solo expansion with Archipelago, so I have it too...looking forward to playing the "Donald Trompe" scenario...I guess!

Clash of Cultures is going to be back before long...so it wasn't a major loss...and that $$$ went into Armada, so that was a net gain for me across the board.

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12 Feb 2016 11:36 - 12 Feb 2016 11:51 #222300 by Grudunza
Michael, please check your messages. I need to know where you sent (or if you sent) the package from the last math trade.


The last several times I've played AH (about twice a year at this point), it's been base game plus just one expansion (pref. Innsmouth). That's the right measure of the game, I think. Way too bloated, otherwise. Granted, I do have all of the items and characters and stuff from other expansions (no way I'm ever taking the time to filter all of that out), and the Injury/Madness cards from Dunwich.

Or, perhaps better yet, base game only plus one of the small expansions (pref. the new version of Curse of the Dark Pharaoh). That simplifies things even more, but still puts a little edge into the base game and adds a little more variety. As Columbob mentioned, base game only AH can get too easy with some of the gate patterns.
Last edit: 12 Feb 2016 11:51 by Grudunza.

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12 Feb 2016 13:31 #222307 by Columbob

Michael Barnes wrote: Da Bid sent the solo expansion with Archipelago, so I have it too...looking forward to playing the "Donald Trompe" scenario...I guess!


Many of those names are french play on words or puns that most non-francos wouldn't even guess were there.

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12 Feb 2016 17:06 #222335 by Michael Barnes
Wanted to comment some more on what Da Bid said about Archipelago...you are right on the money, it is an AWKWARD game. From the rules to the process to even the components...it's just so...singular. And I totally hear what you are saying, is it a game worth playing with a group that doesn't "get" the assumed satire or that the design is much more "crazy" than "bad"? It's like an art film in a lot of was...it's not for general audiences, and it's not really a game that you'd want to spring on people coming over looking for a light, fun time. It's complicated and strangely detailed...yet if you peel back the complexity, it's actually not that different than other Eurogames. It's just that it skews more toward detail than abstraction and it does unexpected things like having a really dense economic system that accounts for supply, demand, surplus, crisis-level shortages, monopolies, production and it even impacts things like worker population and political stability. Which in turn affects how some players win the game and influences the matrix of cooperation, and can impact things like religious development (Temple building). And then all of that stuff affects not only what players can or should build, but also the evolution cards- who picks what, which gets left behind, which ones increase in price.

It's really a spectacularly layered game, essentially using Eurogame techniques to present an unusual level of specificity. It's more like a Splotter game in a lot of ways than a Uwe Rosenberg or Martin Wallace one. In fact, it really makes me think of how Splotter games are different than the usual Eurogames fare.

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