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Five Underrated Ameritrash +1

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24 Feb 2018 00:57 - 24 Feb 2018 01:02 #263935 by Colorcrayons
I'm not seeing a deluge of trashy games being produced. But no matter, we don't need new games, because we have history to reveal the path through the darkness. And that history can guide us to revisit or play for the first time, titles that we may have forgotten or never even heard of.

It would be great to see what each person views as their list of five underrated/under appreciated trashy games (plus an honorable mention for whatever reason you feel), whether or not they play those frequently or own them. Give me your hungry and your weary games. This is your safe harbor.

Here's me list, and why I chose them:

#1: Okko: Era of the Asagiri (& its three expansions)
A miniature combat game set in feudal japan without the minis. The dice allocation of the inspiration dice allows a bit of chaos, but reserving a die for future use for each character also mitigates the randomness. A good balance there. Movement is akin to space hulk and just like in chess, positioning is crucial. Threat areas, foreseeing your opponent's moves and how they play into your threat areas, all while making sure you complete missions is compelling. Add the great background and artwork from a graphic novel series and a rulebook that should have set standards in how you publish rulebooks, it makes for a deluxe package before you even add anything from the other three expansions. The expansions do add quite a bit of greatness, but I believe just the base game would be enough to last you awhile.
  • Last time I played: 2010 (I was in the middle of a project for making a game board for this, but then my mom died and became depressed. I never revisited the project or the game, to my regret)
  • Do I own this? Yes. Everything made for it, in fact. Tried to sell it all a couple times, but could never bring myself to follow through with the attempt.
#2: Cadwallon: City of Thieves (& King of Ashes expansion)
Press your luck and see how long you can last and how much crap you can steal from a portion of the city before the gates come crashing down and you go to thief jail. Fighting other thief gangs, city guards, and other personalities in each scenario. This was designed by Laurent Pouchain, who also designed Okko above. Except this one is considerably lighter. Very much the beer and pretzels variety. City of Thieves offers a lot of "Take that" back and forth which I enjoy even if it was a dice fest. A game for people who can appreciate the qualities of Wiz-war, but not nearly as good. Still, utterly gorgeous game. For what the game was, it was quite good.
  • Last time I played: 2012
  • Do I own this? No. This went away during the great purge of 2013. I enjoyed it occasionally but with a collection reduced to 20 titles, I'd rather play Wiz-War. However, I think I would own it again, considering the kids would dig it.
#3: Rampage (A.K.A. Terror in Meeple City)
A dexterity game where you play a kaiju terrorizing the citizens by destroying buildings and tossing around crap. This checks off so many boxes for prerequisites of my idea of fun, it's dizzying. It could be more toy than game, and that's ok.
  • Last time I played: 2016, during a kaiju themed game day. This needs to happen again soon.
  • Do I own this? Yes. Original awesome version with meeple stickers.
#4: Room 25
One of the best traitor experiences I've ever had. It delivers consistently as well. It is a faithful homage to the Cube and Running Man movies. The programmed moves add a lot of tension as well, without driving you nuts even if you hate programmed movement as a mechanism.
  • Last time I played: 2017
  • Do I own this? Yes. Original and super portable slim box version.
#5: Black Fleet
Light enough to be easy to learn, yet nasty enough to give Survive! a run for its money. I adore mutually assured schadenfreude. It's as if Merchants and Marauders was made into a game that wasn't weighed down by its own intricacies, and allowed to breathe and be fun. Plus, the production on this is sexy from top to bottom.
  • Last time I played: 2015
  • Do I own this? No. I keep missing the FFG black friday sale and I fear I shall never own this.
    I really want to play this with the family. :(

[edit] I just realized that all of the above are Franco Trash. Ahh well.
Franco Trash toujours. It is the best Trash afterall.
[/edit]

Honorable mention (the obligatory "+1")
Wiz-War (any edition)
If a week goes by and this doesn't get played, that's a subpar week. If a month goes by and this doesn't get played, that's time not well spent. If a year goes by without this hitting the table, you're making very bad life choices and you need to re-evaluate. This is THE game, folks. It doesn't matter which edition, so don't be a snob. That's, like, very unwizardly, man. Sure, we may all recognize its numinous brilliance, but have you played it yet this week? This month? This year?!?
  • Last time I played: 2016... see above. QQ
  • Do I own this? No. I thought I did but it was stolen. So I am now in the middle of creating my own from nearly scratch. Because FFG hasn't reprinted this in a timely manner.
  • Not owning Wiz-War isn't a real option.
Last edit: 24 Feb 2018 01:02 by Colorcrayons.
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24 Feb 2018 01:29 #263936 by hotseatgames
The first under-rated games that came to mind don't feature dice. But they do have themes and heavy player interaction.

1. Theseus: The Dark Orbit - by my favorite designer, Michal Oracz. No one out there does asymmetry as well as he does. This game is Aliens, the board game, if Aliens had 7 factions and burned your brain like a chess game. I don't recommend it with more than 2 players because it's just too much chaos, frankly. But if you are in the mood to really think (and do NOT play this drunk), this game pays off big.

2. Guards of Atlantis - a team-based game (handles up to 10 players, but I have yet to play with more than 4) in the style of a MOBA video game (multiplayer online battle arena) like League of Legends. I have never actually played a MOBA, but I love this game. It's brutal, overly harsh, but when you pull off some quality teamwork, you will instantly love this game.
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24 Feb 2018 07:40 #263938 by Erik Twice
I have always had two questions about Wiz-War since I haven't played it.

1) Doesn't it compete heavily against Cosmic Encounter? I keep thinking that, from what I know of the two, I would rather play Cosmic because it's less silly and more strategic.

2) Does it play well with 3?

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24 Feb 2018 08:04 #263939 by drewcula
There is enough room in a gaming collection for both classics, Cosmic Encounter AND Wiz-War!
I don't see too much similarity.
Cosmic Encounter seems to shine with a high player count, and there's no tactical movement.
Wiz-War is exceptionally awesome with 3, 4, or 5 players (not so much with two), and wizards are running about in a maze.

Get WW. And keep CE.

LONG LIVE WIZ-WAR
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24 Feb 2018 10:56 #263942 by hotseatgames
I think the audience for both games is different. Cosmic is much closer to a "casual" game since it has very few rules; Wiz-War is actually pretty dense as far as rules, despite how crazy it can be. I have both and that will definitely not change.

That said, lately I'm getting my wizard battle fix from Frostgrave.

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24 Feb 2018 11:48 #263943 by Deleted
OKKO is great, especially with the minis.

This is a subject close to my heart. I’ll take a crack:

5: Mission Command: Sea
This is a game of bluffing and grid combat. Lots of dice. One of the best games ever, IMO, and I still have the original copy I bought, which is incredibly rare. I’ll never sell this.

4: Ferox
Card game with dice allocations and crazy setting. It’s like Revolver but much more fun.

3: Space Cadets Away Missions
Dudes in a hallway game. Great production, lots of blood, huge body counts, and lots of surprises. The only people I know who know this game are here.

2: City of Horror
Negotiation game that never fails to deliver fuckery. This out-negotiates Catan and Cosmic Encounter combined. For some reason people never understood the “way” this game is played; they don’t negotiate and play it straight as a move and take kind of game, which is why it’s poorly regarded.

1: Red November
This game bridges the gap between Euro and ‘trash, and is a co-op, but it has gnomes running around putting out fires and drinking grog. Doesn’t get more Trash than midgets drinking on a burning ship. It’s one of my all time favorite and most played games. I’ve played it probably 150 times at this point.
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24 Feb 2018 15:54 #263956 by Shellhead
In no particular order:

1. The Hills Rise Wild - 2 to 4 squads of redneck hillbilly mythos (Lovecraft) cultists are battling to the death to get ahold of the Necronomicon. Every character has a cardboard standup figure, a flat matching corpse marker, and a special ability that can be used once per game. The combat is a clean, simple d20 system with amusing critical hits and fumbles. Movement uses a miniature tape measure that is provided with the game. Unbelievable Ameritrash value for $20, though you will probably pay more since the game had a modest production run and has been out of print for nearly 20 years. Last played: December, 2017. Own: yes.

2. Asteroid - This is the best dungeon crawl game that I have played, except that it is in a near-future sci-fi setting as imagined back in 1980. An AI computer in the asteroid belt has gone rogue, and is launching its asteroid base on a collision course with Earth. A small group of adventurers in the area get a ship and intercept the asteroid, hoping to destroy it in time to save the Earth. One player controls the insane AI and its robot worker minions, while the other players control the heroes. Last played: spring, 2017. Own: yes.

3. Kung Fu 2100 - An artist submitted this picture to Steve Jackson Games way back in the late '70s. They liked the picture so much that they held a contest to see who could design the best game to go with the picture, and Kung Fu 2100 is the result. The heroes must break into the lair of the evil Clonemaster, to kill him, destroy his clone tanks, and wreck the backups of his memory stored on multiple computers. The Clonemaster is defended by a larger number of lesser martial artists, as well as servants and gun-toting guards. Combat favors players who can successfully set up combos of attacks and defenses that don't get interrupted by opponents. Last played: 2015. Own: yes.



4. The Vesuvius Incident - A brutal unlicensed co-op version of Aliens. Players run a team of 12 space marines who are responding to a mysterious distress call from a scientific space vessel in a decaying orbit. The rules are somewhat complex but offer a lot of depth to the simulation. The bodycount tends to be high for the marines and a total party kill is definitely possible. Last played: spring, 2017. Own: both the original from the early '90s and the Kickstarter version with upgraded components.

5. Camp Grizzly - Another co-op game, this time simulating a classic '80s slasher at summer camp scenario. The artwork is slightly amusing in a cartoonish way. The map is well-designed for both chases and deadends. Players are trying to gather a specific set of items for one of the four exit plans, and each exit has two alternative end game scenarios. One neat twist is that the players don't level up but the slasher does. If players don't escape before the body count reaches 13, they must meet the slasher in a final battle at the campfire. Last played: October 2017. Own: yes.
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24 Feb 2018 20:25 #263959 by Da Bid Dabid

hotseatgames wrote: 1. Theseus: The Dark Orbit - by my favorite designer, Michal Oracz. No one out there does asymmetry as well as he does. This game is Aliens, the board game, if Aliens had 7 factions and burned your brain like a chess game. I don't recommend it with more than 2 players because it's just too much chaos, frankly. But if you are in the mood to really think (and do NOT play this drunk), this game pays off big.


If you or anyone else reading this is good at this game, can you teach me how not to suck? I really enjoy playing, but basically always fail at setting up anything and my success I think I can attribute to pure luck. I have a hard time grasping on what to focus on to get better. I try things like, put aggressive cards in the room that causes shooting so if opponent triggers I can hit back to try to mitigate damage. Does anyone have any general tips that might lead to greater long term strategy OR is the game purely a tactical exercise in what I can do best in this current turn looking at the board state? Cause I play it as the latter and would love to be able to do it as the former.
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24 Feb 2018 20:59 #263960 by Gary Sax
Seriously, this game is an all time great but it is brutal. I'm not good at it.

I think it's because the premise of Theseus is way different than most games besides abstracts like chess. It's not about empowerment but about trapping and narrowing your opponent's actions. It's an elaborate game of setting traps and figuring out how to force your opponent to step in them.

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24 Feb 2018 21:35 #263962 by jeb
Replied by jeb on topic Five Underrated Ameritrash +1

Erik Twice wrote: I have always had two questions about Wiz-War since I haven't played it.

1) Doesn't it compete heavily against Cosmic Encounter? I keep thinking that, from what I know of the two, I would rather play Cosmic because it's less silly and more strategic.

2) Does it play well with 3?

  1. No.
  2. Yes.

It's not like COSMIC at all. It's more like MAGIC THE GATHERING without mana and with minis. It's crazy. It has similarities to COSMIC only in their similarly passionate fanbases and over-the-top endless expansions.

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25 Feb 2018 09:38 #263976 by hotseatgames

Gary Sax wrote: Seriously, this game is an all time great but it is brutal. I'm not good at it.

I think it's because the premise of Theseus is way different than most games besides abstracts like chess. It's not about empowerment but about trapping and narrowing your opponent's actions. It's an elaborate game of setting traps and figuring out how to force your opponent to step in them.


Exactly this. It is absolutely true that figuring out the board state is difficult, but it is vital. When I play a turn, I'm not just playing my turn in my head. I'm also plotting what YOUR turn will be, and what MY turn will be after that. Things don't always go your way, of course, but if you continually try to play your opponent's response in your head, you will get better almost immediately.

Playing for an immediate boost is not worth it if it opens you up to a lot of damage, or allows your opponent to get some card on the board.
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26 Feb 2018 08:49 #264009 by charlest

SuperflyTNT wrote: 1: Red November
This game bridges the gap between Euro and ‘trash, and is a co-op, but it has gnomes running around putting out fires and drinking grog. Doesn’t get more Trash than midgets drinking on a burning ship. It’s one of my all time favorite and most played games. I’ve played it probably 150 times at this point.


No, no, no, no. I can't fathom a world where anyone should play Red November over Space Alert.
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26 Feb 2018 09:06 #264011 by Matt Thrower

charlest wrote: No, no, no, no. I can't fathom a world where anyone should play Red November, ever.


FTFY
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26 Feb 2018 09:57 #264017 by Sagrilarus

MattDP wrote:

charlest wrote: No, no, no, no. I can't fathom a world where anyone should play Red November, ever.


FTFY


I'd vote for Sucking Vacuum to replace Red November, a game that invariably ends with a sudden betrayal that gets everyone at the table yelling at each other. Cheesy-ass self-published thin-cardboard pre-kickstarter game where some guy had an idea and blew a roll of bills to get it published on the cheap. I'd love to pick up the rights and redo it, because with a little burnishing it could be a classic.

Red November is a weird-ass retheme of what was supposed to be a more sanguine subject, the loss of the Kursk. As it stands it's like having a slice of cheesecake served on top of a sirloin. Something just ain't right.
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26 Feb 2018 10:15 #264026 by Motorik
1. Flagship (as in the notorious card game that allegedly almost bankrupted GMT) - I still have a fondness for this one. The four decks are ruthlessly unbalanced (in a good way), the game system is sleek and Magic-like without feeling like a ripoff, and the crude CGI card art looks like PS1-era cutscene screenshots from a D-rate science fiction game pasted from a rain-and-cum-drenched issue of EGM circa 1998 (again, I quite genuinely mean that as a compliment). My buddy and I still play this one in 2018, and we've each gone through two or three copies of all four decks. This is a lost, misunderstood classic and a good fucking game, FIGHT ME.

2. Rush N' Crush - yeah yeah yeah, it's French, whatever. It's awesome, especially if you have two or three sets to build really out-there tracks. I think Pete and I are the only people who ever played this.

3. Risk Godstorm - my game group went apeshit for this one when it came out, but I think the response elsewhere was more muted. Still love it.

4. Mage Knight Dungeons - secretly one of the best pure dungeoncrawlers of all time, and the Pyramid setting is especially cool.

5. Conquest of Nerath - our group is still playing this one semi-regularly!
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