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D&D Rainbow Draft Breakdown

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
Indiana
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At our weekly game night recently we did a rainbow draft for Dungeons & Dragons Dice Masters: Battle for Faerûn. It was a lot of fun, and it was my first time to participate in a rainbow draft. Since it was such a great experience, I felt compelled to share it.

The Format
In a rainbow draft everyone will open up twelve packs. This is done in two packs of six. The cards for the two groupings are put together, and all of the dice are put in the center creating the "rainbow". This actually does more than create a pretty visual. It also informs the players how many cards of each die type are available.

It is recommended that draft groups be done in pairings of six. It worked out well for us because we had six people participate. Once everything is opened players take the first set of cards, select one and pass the rest. This is done until the set of cards is expended. The is is then done with the second set as well. At this point everyone should have 24 cards. They then take the corresponding dice.

After the drafting of cards, we did three rounds and used a swiss format for pairing.

My Team
I played the following team:
Common Stirge
Common Skeleton
Common Magic Helmet
Common Magic Sword
Common Human Paladin
Common Green Dragon
Common Purple Worm
Uncommon Red Dragon

My basic actions that I chose were Resurrection and Polymorph.

The basic strategy I was going to go with was to get my skeletons out as blockers, and then use the Paladin to protect them and sidekicks from Magic Missile. I had hoped to use the Red Dragon's global ability to ping my opponents while buying action dice that I would use for the bulk of my energy. I would also be able to use the basic action dice I brought to try and get my big guys to the field quicker. The plan was to get the dragons or the purple worm as my closer and then use the magic helmets on the skeletons so that they soaked up extra blockers (or just got let through).

The Matches
Round 1
In the first round my opponent really built his strategy around the Manticore that would do one damage every time it attacked. He used Resurrection's global to ramp up quickly and buy a manticore on turn two. This seemed like a really strong card for the draft format. The disadvantage he had though is he did not have any smaller cheaper dice, so he could not build a bigger bag or get anything more than sidekicks out quickly. He attacked aggressively with the manticores, and I had to face the decision to block it (and get pinged next turn again when it attacks) or to let it through so it cycles back in the bag. I timed that decision based on how full his used pile was. If it was empty I took the extra damage and was then free of the hassle for a while. He was getting my life down a lot faster than I got his, but then I got a level 3 purple worm out at a time he was without blockers. Attacking with everything turned the tide and I won.

Round 2
In the second I found myself in a bit of a rough spot because my opponent had drafted the Dwarf Cleric which not only killed my skeletons when fielded, but gained experience in the process. He also drafted a super rare Mind Flayer, so he treated that as his star. He relied heavily on side kicks as blockers, so in this case the green dragon was my star. I was able to use polymorph to get in him to play more than once. Our scores were close for a bit, but he had a bad dice draw and could not get any blockers. On my next turn, I managed to roll my green dragon on level 3 and I attacked for the win.

Round 3
The third round put me against the one other person who had not yet lost. This match turned out it to be Umber Hulk vs. Green Dragon. The Umber Hulk has really good stats, especially at level 3. My opponent made a good decision at one point to take the hit from my green dragon and let it through. He did this as my used pile was full, so it went back into my bag. I got him down to three life but I did not have enough to finish the job. The Umber Hulk made it so I could not field side kicks, and I needed blockers badly. I drew a skeleton and three sidekicks. My skeleton only rolled energy and of course I rolled useless side kicks. I just did not have enough blockers to stop the new monsters he fielded so I lost, and finished second over all for the night.

Final Thoughts
This was a lot of fun, and I really liked the draft format. In fact, I think I liked this format a lot more than constructed. I think when the Official Play Kit for D&D comes out we are going to do it again, and I am really looking forward to that! Dungeons & Dragons Dice Masters: Battle for Faerûn
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Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:40 am
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KIckstarter After Action Report

sean johnson
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Indiana
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My wife has declared multiple times that she is done with kickstarter. Despite that, we backed a game a couple of weeks ago: Wizards of the Wild. Now granted there were some mitigating factors. First, we know the designer and I have played games with him on several occasions. Second, I have played an early version of this game, and I thought that the basic idea is something my wife will enjoy.

I know that my wife is not alone in her general dislike of Kickstarter. There is a lot of skepticism about the site. I think in the past couple of years that has diminished, but it seems for some gamers there is still a difference between a "kickstarter" game and a real game.

I looked and I do not think I have ever done a retrospective of our kickstarter history. So to see how "kickstarter" games fare, I am going to go through our backing history and see what our overall opinions have been on the games that came from kickstarter.

I will mention that we are very selective on kickstarter. In 4 1/2 years we have only pledged to games 19 times (two did not fund). So here is our backing history in chronological order:

Eminent Domain
Date Backed: November 15th, 2010
Reason for Backing: This really looked like the kind of game that does well for us. Also, at the time there general feeling was this was the "next big thing" and we did not want to miss out.
Thoughts on the Game: We thought this game was OK. This game had elements similar to a lot of other games we like. However, we found we preferred those other games and after several plays we found the game lacked variety.
Regrets?: Not really. Chances are this is a game we would have bought anyway. It was only after several plays that we decided this was not a keeper. However, the delivery of the game was just shy of a year and there was the whole fiasco of selling games at Gen Con when backers did not have the game yet. Those two elements combined really soured my wife on kickstarter as a platform.

Kamakura
Date Backed: May 6th 2011
Reason for Backing: It was cheap (the price was $15 including shipping) and the game had great artwork.
Thoughts on the Game: The game is terrible. Our combined rating of the game was a two.
Regrets?: Yes. Very much so. To credit the publishers the realized the game was garbage, listened to feedback (including mine!) and they made a second edition with several rule tweaks. They even sent the second edition to backers free of charge. That being said, the second edition while more playable is still not a great game.

Divided Republic
Date Backed: October 1st, 2011
Reason for Backing: I really liked the theme, and the gameplay video came across as something that I would really enjoy. I was on the fence, but in the last few days they looked in danger of not making it. I wanted to see this game made, and decided to prove that.
Thoughts on the Game: I like this game. It can be a very brutal game though. The rules as written can result in a tie that causes everyone to lose. The designer said this was rare, but it has happened in half the games I have played. However, an added tie breaker (while ahistorical) fixed that problem.
Regrets?: No, as stated I do like the game. My only regret is that I do not play this game enough and it has been over two years since it last got on the table.

Empires of the Void
Date Backed: October 1st, 2011
Reason for Backing: I had a conversation with my wife about the kind of game I wanted to see while playing Race for the Galaxy. Essentially I said I wanted a board game where I could add planets through conquest or diplomacy, develop technology, built a space empire, fight other players, and be done in less than two hours. The next day, I saw the kickstarter page for this game and it seemed to be EXACTLY what I said I had wanted. This was our biggest kickstarter risk to this point, but I just could not say no.
Thought on the Game: I love this game, and it is on my favorites game list. Every time I have played, it has been a blast. My wife liked the mechanics but did not like me messing with her stuff.
Regrets: None in the least. This is probably the kickstarter project I am most pleased with.

D-Day Dice
Date Backed: December 6th, 2011
Reason for Backing: The stretch goals. At this time stretch goals for a newer concept, and this game went bananas with them. We were interested anyway, and then they added so much to this game that it felt like we could not say no.
Thoughts on the Game: This is the game that proved we do not like co-ops. It is a dice game with a WWII theme. It had big time appeal to both of us, but we did not find it fun.
Regrets: Yeah, probably. But it is us not the game. I know for my wife this game is what made her see stretch goals specifically and kickstarter in general as a "hype machine gimmick"

For The Win
Date Backed: January 14th, 2012
Reason for backing: I saw someone share this on facebook and I followed the link. The game had early bird pledge tiers, and the $5 one has just been snatched up but the $10 one was still open so without thinking I jumped on it. Of course, towards the end of the campaign they said that for everyone who pledged $15 they would get the 3-4 player extra tile stretch goal. I upped my pledge to $15 shake
Thoughts on the Game: This is similar to Hive, but I think I liked this a bit more and thought the length was just right. My wife really did not care for it.
Regrets: I guess, if I could do it over I would not back this game. I kind of liked it, and I made a decent trade after the fact so I feel like I got my money out of it. I do regret jumping up to $15, and I do regret getting caught up in the early bird silliness. I still really dislike when campaigns do that.

Impact City Roller Derby
Date Backed: May 24th, 2012
Reason for Backing: This is a game we were both excited about. We knew it was coming out before the campaign and we were both eagerly anticipating it. This is the last time that my wife was excited about and eagerly participated in a kickstarter project.
Thoughts on the Game: We both like this game, but we both think it goes a touch long.
Regrets: No. This is a game we wanted and it delivered. However, it took a year to deliver. Maybe it is the long waits after pledging money that my wife dislikes about kickstarter because it bothered her here too.

Do Move Say
Date Backed: July 28th, 2012
Reason for Backing: I am always looking for large group games to use in a church youth group setting. This met the large group criteria, but I was not sold on the gameplay videos. However, they had a $5 print and play level. I thought it was worth that risk.
Thoughts on the Game: This is barely a game and honestly is not that great. It really needs a group of at least 15 to even function. However, it works wonderfully with 20-30 Jr. High kids.
Regrets: No. I do not like the game but I have used it at church camp where it was a HUGE success. For that reason alone it was worth my $5 pledge.

The Resistance: Avalon
Date Backed: August 14th 2012
Reason for Backing: I love the Resistance and by August of 2012 my first edition set was about worn out.
Thoughts on the Game: I still love the Resistance. My favorite way to play is probably a 8-10 player game with Morgana and Percival mixed in with the Assassin and Merlin.
Regrets: None at all.

Marauders
Date Backed: October 5th 2012
Reason for Backing: The price. This was a full game for $15. It was a bit weird. They decided to print the game before kickstarter, then kickstarted the game for a little over shipping cost and essentially treated it like a "beta test" for the game.
Thoughts on the Game: It felt kind of like playing a beta version of a video game. There were some decent ideas, but it was clear there was still some work to do for it to be done right.
Regrets: No? I did not care for the game, but I kind of liked the concept. The price was right, and if there were a similar situation I would probably do it again.

Up Front
Date Backed: November 24th 2012
Reason for Backing: Because this is THE World War 2 card game. It had been out of print for year and the only thing people said about it were how great it is. This seemed like a no brainer at the time.
Thoughts on the Game: I don't know, and I probably never will.
Regrets: Yes, so much yes. This is the first time we got burned on kickstater (sadly not the last). I am extremely grateful that my wife talked me down from the $125 pledge level to only the $40 base game level.

Guilds of Cadwallon
Date Backed: December 20th 2012
Reason for Backing: The stretch goals got me again. I liked the look of this game, and followed the project. At the 48 hour mark I looked back into it. The stretch goals essentially doubled the content. It was crazy how much was coming for the pledge price of $25. Since I was already interested in the game, I went for it.
Thoughts on the Game: We recently wrote about this game. We still like it and will be keeping it.
Regrets: We do not regret getting this game. However, I kind of do regret not pledging more for the bigger box. Not everything will fit in the base game box and I would prefer to have everything stored together.

Two Rooms and a Boom
Date Backed: November 26th, 2013
Reason for Backing: Like Do Move Say, this is another large group game.
Thoughts on the Game: Even though it has been a year and a half, I still do not have the game. The project has been plagued by production issues. I am thankful though that the designers have been very forthcoming and send updates regularly.
Regrets: While I wish it would have been already, I currently do not regret backing this.

Where Art Thou Romeo?
Date Backed: December 19th, 2013
Reason for Backing: It was $1
Thoughts on the Game: It was as good as you could expect a game for a $1 being. I was impressed that I got the game in the mail less than a week after backing it.
Regrets: Since it was $1 I do not really regret it, but I would not do it over again either.

Tiny Epic Kingdoms
Date Backed: February 7th, 2014
Reason for Backing: Because the game looked so good. I really liked the idea of capturing a 4X game in a small package, and this seemed to do it right.
Thoughts on the Game: This game delivered exactly what I wanted and it makes me happy that we got it in a timely matter. They missed their projected delivery date by only a month.
Regrets: We have no regrets on this game. However, I should mention it was a very heated discussion about backing it. After the Up Front Fiasco my wife was really against backing an unknown game. Luckily this one panned out, which did warm my wife up to back the next game. . .

Chroma Cubes
Date Backed: October 5th, 2014
Reason for Backing: This looked like such a great family game. We all love rolling dice, our son likes to color. It was all combined and being published by an established company.
Thoughts on the Game: Have not played it. We will probably get around to making the print and play some time.
Regrets: Yes, afraid so. This is the second time we have been burned on a kickstater project. The company, 5th Street Games, went belly up. This one really frustrates me because of gross mismanagement. Essentially, the money I paid for this game was being used to pay for one of their other games, which was being used for something else, and so. This kind of felt like getting caught in a gaming ponzi scheme. After this, my wife has all but sworn off kickstarter (with VERY specific exceptions like Wizards of the Wild). I am also a bit hesitant to get involved with any company whose business model is entirely kickstater driven now, because I am afraid they be working the same way.

Closing Thoughts
Of these backed games, I have regrets about seven of them and no regrets for nine. That honestly is not a great track record. However, a lot of these were impulse purchases within the impulse purchase price range. For example, there is a decent chance I would have bought For the Win for $15 if I saw it in a game store. We have gotten lucky with most of the bigger box games (Empires of the Void, Divided Republic, Impact City Roller Derby), but at this point I am a bit hesitant to back a game with a higher price point on kickstarter. I am still fine with getting lower priced games ($25 or less) because again that is a price that I would blind purchase a game off a shelf if it looked interesting. However, for more expensive games it just is not worth the risk. If it is a good game I can get it when it gets published. If that means I pay a bit more, then that is the price of caution. If I miss out on kickstarter exclusives that is annoying, but OK. If a game needs the exclusives to be fun, then it probably is not a good game anyway.

I have a sense that this is where a lot of people are at with kickstarter right now. What are your feelings now, and how have they changed?
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Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:57 pm
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Omen: A Reign of War (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
Indiana
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I played this game at the tail end of last year and I really liked what I played. I was thrilled last month when I managed to get the game in a math trade. Card games with interesting choices tend to get a lot of mileage with us, and after one play I thought this would be a game that we would both enjoy. However, I have been wrong in the past-especially about games that have a conflict component. So did getting this game in the trade turn out to be a good omen or a bad one?

Game Overview
This player has a Greek mythology theme, and players compete for points by earning favor of deities and winning wars in wartorn cities.

On a player's turn they first get to take wealth actions. This is get coins or draw cards. Players get three of these actions, but if they do all of the same one they get a bonus (so four cards instead of three for instance).

Then players can spend their coins to play cards. There are five types of cards. Soldiers get played to cities and have an ability that activates when played. Oracles get played to cities and activate during the portent step. Beasts can be played to cities or they can be played for their ability but not both. Spirits can be played to cities and they then pick an ability or for a higher cost both abilities can be activated but the card is not played to the city. Finally, heroes can be be played to cities, discarded for powerful effects, or kept in hand because each hero in hand is one point at the end of the game.

After a player has played cards, they move to the portent step and oracles activate. Often oracles give coins or cards and then they have a card flip where if an oracle is revealed something else happens. Next players see what feats they have accomplished. Each player has the same six feats to achieve. These are things like have a solider in each city (there are three cities) or draw five cards in one turn. If a player has met the feat they flip it over.

The next step is war. If a city has five total units (beasts count as two) or the opponent has three at a city there is a fight. Both players add up their strength. The highest total wins. The winner discards down to one card in play at the city and claims a reward card. The loser discards down to two (again beast count as two). Reward cards are very powerful abilities. If played they are worth one point, and if held in the hand they are worth two.

Finally players can make an offering. Each unit card has an offering value that can be taken in drawing cards or collecting money. Players also have to discard down to 7 cards and 10 money at this point.

Play continues until a game end condition is triggered which is one player accomplishes five feats or two cities re depleted of reward cards (three per city). At that point the player with the most points wins.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 4.5 (like it)
My Thoughts: I really, really like this game. For me this game delivers the interesting decisions and feel of a CCG without being a CCG. Every turn offers extremely interesting decisions, and there is a lot of back and forth. The fact that this is played from a common deck means this does not have the problem of a CCG where one deck fires off and wins in like turn three. This game has a good mix of a race and a conflict. To top it all off the artwork is incredible.

Her Rating: 3.5 (It's OK)
Her Thoughts: What I like about this game is that it feels like it has depth but it is also manageable. There is a lot to keep track of and figure out, but I can decide to go for a feat and for a couple of turns that becomes my main goal before I move on to something else. I also really like the fact it has real coins and not cardboard tokens.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 8
This game is published by Small Box game's who has the motto "Big games. Small boxes". Omen fits that description really well. There is a lot of game with great components in this small box. This is a very replayable game, and one I hope we find ourselves returning to often.
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Sat Apr 18, 2015 4:35 am
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The Purge: The Hobbit Card Game

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
Indiana
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We have too many games. There are some games that sit on the shelf unplayed for a while, sometimes years. We plan on playing every game we have not played for two years or more, and that one play will determine if the game stays or if it gets purged to make room for something else.

This was an impulse purchase back in February 2013. In the first couple of months of getting the game it got played a decent amount, and then it didn't it. The last time we played the game together until recently was March 19th, 2013 (about one month after the initial acquisition). So is this a great game set in middle earth or just a middling game?

Brief Game Overview
This is a trick taking game for 2-5 players. The players will be divided into good or evil sides and dealt out cards. As in many trick taking games a card is led and everyone else has to follow suit. If they can not follow suit they can trump (which is a specific suit in this game) or they can throw off.

The winning trick is the high card or if there is a trump involved the high trump card. The winner will then pass out cards based on their unique role's ability. There are three different symbols in the game. There is a pipe which gives extra cards in round two. There is an evil symbol which heals bad guys and hurts good guys. There is then an opposing good symbol that hurts bad guys and heals good guys.

After every card has been played it is possible that a player may have too many of the opposing symbols assigned to them and they are eliminated. If the victory conditions have not been met (determined by number of players) a second round is played, and then who ever meets victory conditions on that round wins.

What We Previously Thought
We both thought the game was OK. I thought that luck played too huge of a role, but that it the game length was short enough to make that not an issue. My wife did not like the game with two players but thought it worked better with more.

Verdict
My Verdict: Purge
My Rationale: I had originally thought this would be a good game night opener/closer, and indeed many of the game plays recorded were that. However, there are better games that fill that same niche. In the end this game feels like it is more clever than it actually is and a heavy dose of luck plays too much of a factor in the game. Unfortunately, I think there is a reason this has set unplayed for two years.

Her Verdict: Purge
Her Rationale: This is a silly game. It feels like a much more complicated game than it actually is. It feels like depending on the cards dealt one side has no chance to actually win, which makes the whole think kind of pointless.

Final Judgement
Purge

At this point I think I could make an entire top ten list of Lord of the Rings games we have played and then traded away. My wife does not care much for the theme and we have not found one where the mechanics shine enough to get over that. This little card game becomes another entry on to that list.
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Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:09 pm
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Sentinel Tactics (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
Indiana
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My family is big on Christmas list, and my list tends to be small so I tend to pad it with games that look interesting. This was one such game. I like super heroes and I like scenario based games, so this seemed like it could be a good fit. Now that we have played this game does this capture reach Batman levels of awesomeness or is it more like matter eating lad?

Game Overview
This game can be played as a skirmish or as a scenario. Obviously, if playing a scenario there are specific victory conditions. However, the general breakdown of a turn is the same.

Players will begin the turn with a movement value that was determined on a previous turn. Each character has a movement rating and they will roll that many dice. One of those numbers rolled will be their movement for the turn.

Next players move to the power up phase. Each hero and villain has a small hand of power cards, and two of these will be in play. During the power up phase these cards can be switched out with other super powers.

There is then phase where certain super hero abilities might activate. Next a player takes the main phase where they can take actions. Each character usually has between two and three actions.

Movement is an action. Each hex requires a movement, and switching elevation takes another one (unless the character has mobility). A character can also take a surge action which allows them two additional moves that ignore elevation changes. Players can also take an aim action or a dodge action which will modify attack or defense rolls.

Players can also take an attack action. The attacker must have line of sight and if they are a melee attacker they must be adjacent. The attack will indicate how many dice to roll. Each attack has certain numbers that are auto misses. Once those are removed any successful rolls that have a number below the range are also removed. The defender then rolls their defense dice and they match up their roll with the attacker. Each defender die can cancel an attack die that it is equal to higher than. Any attack dice left result in a hit.

Many of the characters have super powers that provide special attacks that can do area attacks or cause negative modifiers. Other powers can provide other actions like healing or give buffs to team mates. Each action can only be used once per turn. After the activations there are some clean up steps and players will roll for their new movement. The next player then takes their turn.

There are some other details such as hazardous terrain and scenario specific rules, but this is the basic idea.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 3.5 (It's OK)
My Thoughts: I do like this game. I think the dice system is unique and I love the way that different powers can be switched out. I appreciate their attempts to capture the verticality of a city, but the movement and line of sight rules can be very finicky. How much mileage one gets out of the theme depends on how much one loves the sentinels theme. I like superheroes, but these are not Marvel/DC and that does make a bit of a difference.

Her Rating: 3 (It's OK)
Her Thoughts: I thought the system of this game was decent, and I liked that it had a lot of dice rolling. I did not care much for the theme though. I am not a huge fan of super heroes, and the fact that these heroes only exist in the game do not help. The movement and line of sight rules took some getting used to. When it comes to this kind of game I would rather just play Imperial Assault.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 6.5
While I think this is a decent game, I probably agree with my wife. I would prefer to play Imperial Assault. I think I like the scenario structure and flow more Imperial Assault. This is true for the skirmish games as well. If my wife would rather play Imperial Assault, then that is the game we will keep and we will probably look to trade Sentinel Tactics.
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Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:41 am
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The Purge: Rack-O

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
Indiana
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We have too many games. There are some games that sit on the shelf unplayed for a while, sometimes years. We plan on playing every game we have not played for two years or more, and that one play will determine if the game stays or if it gets purged to make room for something else.

This was a childhood favorite of my wife's growing up. Late in 2011 we inherited a copy from 1962. Despite having it for over three years, this game has barely been played. The last time we broke it out was in February of 2013. Is this game an old school classic or has it racked up its last play from us?

Brief Game Overview
In Rack-O each player has a rack that 10 cards will be randomly put on. The goal is to get 10 cards in an ascending order, and when playing with just two players there must be a run of at least three sequential numbers to call "Rack-O". On a player's turn, they will draw a card from either the top of a draw deck or the top card of the discard pile. They will then add the card to the rack, by replacing one of the existing cards, or discard it. This continues until one player gets cards in a numeric order and calls "rack-o". The winner will get at least 75 points and other players will get points for how many cards they got in order (this starts at the bottom and goes up until the order is broken. There are some ways to get bonus points, but a new round begins and play repeats until one player reaches 500 points.

What We Previously Thought
I thought the game was horrible and boring. My wife recognized there are better games but liked this one for nostalgic reasons.

Verdict
My Verdict: Purge
My Rationale: I still think this game is boring and horrible. No matter what it devolve into needing just one specific card. The trick is to keep the range of cards needed open, but no matter what the game will reduce to draw a card and then discard it because it is not the one needed. Also, rounds are often open before they start since one person got a much better random draw than the other and they need less steps to finish the task at hand.

Her Veridct: Purge
Her Rationale: This just is not a great game, and it gets very boring very quickly. When I get right down to it, I am perfectly fine with never playing this game again. This is especially true when I think of all the good games we have too play. There just is not time to spend playing not good games.

Final Judgement
Keep


Here's the deal. I mentioned we inherited the game in 2012. The copy we have belonged to my wife's step father who died that year. It was one of his favorite games, and he is the person who taught my wife how to play it. For that reason alone, we are never getting rid of this copy of the game. My wife also thinks that this is a good game to play with our son as it will help him with number recognition and sequencing skills. We will keep this game forever, but it will probably get stored with other keepsake items and not on our game shelves.
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Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:49 pm
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The Best Games I Do Not Own

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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A few weeks ago, I posted Favorite Games of All Time list for the year. With one notable exception, all of these games have one thing in common. That is we own them, and they are on our shelves waiting to be played at any time. It makes sense that if I like a game, then I should own it. However, that is not always the case and I do not own every game I enjoy. As we will get to there are several reasons for that.

This is a list of the games that I like the most but do not own for various reasons. While a couple made it onto the list, I tried to avoid games I have only played once because it is hard to tell if I had a really good play of the game or I just really like the game. I will give why I like these games as well as why we do not have them, and as always the list is descending order for dramatic effect.

10. Wizard Kings
I really like the Columbia Games block system. It is a versatile system that can be adapted well to a lot of settings. Wizard Kings takes this system and puts it in a fantasy setting. However, this is much more open than the historical games. Instead of simulating a specific battle or campaign, this game is scenario based. Scenarios can be linked into campaigns and forces are customizable. For me this is all like taking a great thing and then doubling down on greatness.

Why I Don't Own It: Because the last thing I need is another open ended, scenario based game that really rewards repeated plays and familiarity with the system. I fear this game would not get played enough to justify having it.

9. Pixel Tactics
A while ago we got the Level 99 Games Minigame Library. For the most part the collection was a bit of a bust for us. However, we both did really like Pixel Tactics. Despite liking the game, we both agreed that keeping the whole box for one game was not a good use of space so we traded it. However, Pixel Tactics is regularly available.

Why I Don't Own It: I don't apathy I guess? This game can be easily bought, but we have not done so.

8. 7 Wonders

I remember the first time I played 7 Wonders. The first game was the first game for everyone. The first age was definitely trying to figure it all out. However, by the second age it was starting to click with everyone. As soon as the game ended, everyone wanted to play it again because we all realized things we could have done better. We then played it a third time in a row after that. When my wife played the game her first time later, she had the same kind of "wow" reaction as well. Up to that point the only drafting game we had played was Fairy Tale and 7 Wonders was like a big step up.

Why I Don't Own It: There are two reasons why we do not own this game. First, we tried the two player rules at a convention a few years ago and we thought they were terrible. Second, for both of us Among the Stars kind of replaces 7 Wonders. We find the spatial element of building a station a bit more fun than collecting sets of stuff.

7. 1960: The Making of the President
The first time I played 1960, I really enjoyed it. I loved the tough decisions, the back and forth struggle, and the great historical flavor. I liked the game so much that I traded for it. Then my wife and I played it, and she did not care much for it. Actually, she kind of hated it. She found the tough decisions overwhelming, the back and forth annoying, and she could care less about the historical detail. We ended up trading it fairly quickly.

Why I Don't Own It: Even though I like the game, it does not make sense to keep a two player game if the main person I play games with does not like it (With the big caveat, unless I absolutly love the game. See: Federation Commander)

6. One Night Ultimate Werewolf
I really like social deduction games. The first time I played this game I was only so-so on it. However, adding the app helped a lot, and I really warmed up on this game and enjoy it a good deal. The Resistance is still my favorite game of this nature, but this delivers a unique experience in the same vein.

Why I Don't Own It: The only place I could envision playing this was at game nights, and several people in the group already owned it. However, I have had a lot of luck at introducing games to teens in the church youth group, and they tend to favor games with a strong social element. The kickstarter for One Night Resistance just went up, and I think backing it is a must for me.

5. Agricola

When we first got this game in 2010, we played it a lot. However, after about ten plays or so my wife's opinion really started to sour. She can be a bit of a perfectionist, so once she knew the game it became stressful for her when she could not get her plans to work and harvest was coming. Instead of finding this game fun she found it stressful. Now she is one of the people who refers to the game as "misery farm". I still like the game. It is stressful, but it a journey. I have not really found a game that is so satisfying at the end. By the end of the game I do not care if I won, I am usually just happy I survived and that my little farm is actually working and starting to thrive.

Why I Don't Own It: Like 1960, it does not make sense to keep games that will not get played. I bought the app, but I do not find myself playing iOS board games very much. I really do want to try Caverna: The Cave Farmers and see if that game delivers the same magic minus the stress.

4. King's Forge
This is one of two games that I have only played once on this list, but I really did enjoy this game the one time I played it. I also thought that my wife would really enjoy this game. She loves dice games, and this game uses dice in unique ways. I think this would be a great game for the two of us.

Why I Don't Own It: Well for one reason the game is between printings and not readily available. However, even if it was available, I am not sure if we would get it right now. I think we are both kind of suffering from new game fatigue, and like the idea of playing the games we have a bit more than acquiring new games. We still have a list of games (mostly from math trades) that are unplayed, and I really want to get through those before we consider new games (now expanding games we already have is a different story)

3. A Study in Emerald

This is the other game that I have only played once, but I loved this game. I have already scheduled another play of this at Geekway to the West next month. This game has so much that I like. It uses deckbuilding in an interesting way, and cards have multiple uses. I especially love the way teams work and the victory conditions. Everyone is on a team, but no one knows who is with them. There is only a single winner though. At the end of the game, whoever is in last causes everyone on their team to lose. This means if the leader is on the losing the team they do not actually win. This adds a deduction element which creates a great experience.

Why I Don't Own This: The biggest issue is price. Right now the game is out of print with a high price. Even when it was available though it was like $70-80. There is a second edition incoming, and if that edition got a direct US release it could have a lower price point. In that case I might consider it. This is not my wife's kind of game. However, I do not know anyone else who has it.

2. Mysterium
As a general rule, I do not like co-op games, but I adore this one. I love the mystery of this game, the deduction/puzzle element, and trying to figure out how someone else is thinking. I have only played this twice (one as the ghost and once as an investigator) and I loved both experiences.

Why I Don't Own This: Right now it does not have a US release, but one is coming. I am not sure if the two player game will be very good or if my wife would like this one. However, I think this could easily become one of my favorite games. Right now, it is probably my most desired new game of this year.

1. Cyclades

This is the game that I do not own that made my favorites game list. What I like most about this game is the way the auctions work. I think it makes for a really exciting game. This is a conflict based game, but most of the conflict and fighting takes place during the auction not during actual combat.

Why I Don't Own This: Because my wife hated, hated, hated it. Back when we did own this game I wrote about why she dislikes it. At the time I did not have a regular game group, so there was chance of the game getting played. I know people who own and like this game, so I should probably request to play it more.
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Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:05 pm
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The Purge: Australian Rails

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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We have too many games. Due to that fact there are some games that sit on the shelf unplayed for a while, sometimes years. We plan on playing every game we have not played for two years or more, and that one play will determine if the game stays or if it gets purged to make room for something else.

After discovering that we liked the Crayon Rails games in 2011, we started getting more of them. We started with British Rails and by 2013 we had Nippon Rails, Empire Builder, and of course Australian Rails. We traded for this game in 2012, but that was also the last year we played it. So now that we have played it again do we say "good game, mate!" or do we throw this one on the barbie?

Brief Game Overview
This is like all of the games in the series. It just happens to take place on an Australian map. After a couple of initial building turns, players will have cards that show three options of goods to deliver to cities. Players will move their trains on the rails they have built to pick up goods and then drop them off. When a good is dropped of the player collects money and gets a new card. After moving players can spend up to $20 million a turn building track. Track is built by drawing lines from dot to dot and connecting into cities. Players build their rail networks, pick up goods, deliver good, and make money. This happens until a player has connected to the prerequisite number of major cities and reaches a certain money threshold. Most money is the winner.

What We Previously Thought
We both liked the game because we like the system. While I recognized the map was different I did not find the experience much different than other crayon rails games, and my wife was happy not getting any other crayon rails games (and then she gets two more a few months later!)

Verdict
My Verdict: Purge
My Rationale: I am much more casual crayon rails player. I like the games, but I am happy playing one of the games just once or twice a year. I do not play the game enough to appreciate the subtle nuances between the maps. I am glad we have the US map, and I like having British Rails because it is the on we have played the most. With the frequency we play these games, this one will always get passed over. That is until it has been 2 1/2 years and we think, we should play it.

Her Verdict: Purge
Her Rationale: In 2012 when we first wrote about this game, I said I am happy with having two crayon rails games. I still am. We have three, and this is the odd one out.

Final Judgement
Purge

While we enjoy this game, it is too similar to us to other games in the series, and we just do not play this specific map enough to justify owning it.
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Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:47 am
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The Purge: Wrasslin'

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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We have too many games. Due to that fact there are some games that sit on the shelf unplayed for a while, sometimes years. We plan on playing every game we have not played for two years or more, and that one play will determine if the game stays or if it gets purged to make room for something else.

We traded for this game all the way back in 2010. I traded for this game because it is one that I had growing up, and I had warm feelings of nostalgia. Those feelings did not translate to many plays though. I played the game once in 2013, but the last time we played together was over three years ago. Now that this game got some more ring time is it a face or a heel?

Brief Game Overview
Wrasslin' is a card game about wrestling entertainment. Players pick a wrestler. Each wrestler has different stats in various areas such as Strength, Agility, Skill, Etc. Each wrestler also has a different number of hit points, and an unique special move. Player's are dealt seven cards, and they can play a card on their turn. Most cards are attacks of some sort such as kicks, elbows, chops, piledrivers, and other standard wrestling fare. The player targeted with the attack can then play a response card such a block or reversal. If the attack does not have a response played against it then it goes through and does damage equal to what is printed on the card. The hit player then uses the track on their card to lose that many hit points.

One of the neat things about this game is that as a player is hit, their stats are reduced and they get weaker. A hit player keeps all of the cards played against them by their card, because another card a player can play is a recovery card which allows them to remove these previous hit cards and regain strength. A player can use their turn to discard and draw a new card. At the end of a player's turn they draw back up to seven cards and the next player gets a turn. The game goes on until one player pins the other or causes a submission. There are some rules about manager interference, being incapacitated, and special matches but this should get the basic idea.

What We Previously Thought
I thought the game had a couple of neat ideas, but mostly I liked the way that it channeled the feel of 90's era Hulkmania WWF. My wife was glad the game was quick, but she did not care much for it.

Verdict
My Verdict: Purge
My Rationale: The last time we wrote about this game, the only reason for keeping it was the nostalgia factor. There are too many good games and not enough shelf space to tie it up with a childhood favorite. In the end this is not a good game for us now, and it is not one we will play.

Her Verdict: Purge
Her Rationale: This is not a very good game, I do not think it is fun, and I do not want to play it again.

Final Judgement
Purge

Back in 2010 when we traded for this game having too many games was not yet a problem (I think around that time we had about 90ish games). However, we are not game collectors we are game players. Keeping a game for collection reasons, not play reason just does not fit us so this is a game we will seek to part with.
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Wed Apr 8, 2015 2:31 am
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La Isla (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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My wife gave me this game for my birthday. I wanted this game for a couple of reasons. First, I have liked more games in the Alea Medium Box series than I disliked. I also tend to like the weight, feel, and play time of this game family. I also wanted this game because it was supposed to be a lighter Stefan Feld game, and thus far we have liked all of the lighter Feld games we have played. So does La Isla break that streak?

Game Overview
In La Isla, player control a team of scientists collecting specimens of extinct animals. The game is divided up into rounds, and in each round there are five phases. First there is a card phase, where each player will get three cards and then decide in which phase they are going to use that card.

All cards can be used in three different ways. In phase A, players will reveal the card assigned there. Each card can provide a special ability. Most of these abilities are specific to certain situations, and as long as the ability is active it will happen when that situation occurs (such as place in a certain area, collect a certain cube, etc). Each player can have up to three of these cards active at a time, so each turn after the third they will be replaying one ability with another.

In phase B, players reveal the card assigned there and collect the shown resource cube. Phase C does not have a card assigned to it, but during this phase players can move their scientist. Scientist can move to certain hex faces. To place or move a scientist a player must spend two resources of the same color. if all of the spaces around a hex are full by the scientist of one player then that player gets the animal tile in the hex. When a player gets an animal tile, they will score points.

Finally in phase D players reveal their played card, and they will move the marker for the pictured animal up a track. When they do, a player will score one point for each tile of that animal they have. This track has a multiplier number for end game scoring that will increase as the animal tracks are moved up each round.

After phase D, a new round begins. This will continue until the sum of the multiplier for all players equals a certain number. At the end of the game players get 10 points for each set of five animals they ave. They also get points per animal type. This is done by counting the number of animal tokens of a certain type a player has and then checking for the multiplier on the animal track. The player with the most points wins.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 4 (like it)
My Thoughts: I really like it when cards have multiple uses in a game. That mechanism is done well in this game. Having to assign three cards creates some really great tactical options. Often there are hard choices about where the best place to put a card is. This makes the game really fun to play.

Her Rating: 4
Her Thoughts: I feel like this game has a lot of replayability. I tend to like games that are all about making the most of your luck each turn, and this is a really fun game that does that.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 8
We have liked every single Feld game we have played, and this one is no different. I am not sure where this will rank for us when it comes to his games, but this is one we are looking forward to playing more.
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Tue Apr 7, 2015 4:34 am
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