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Too Many Games!!!

My wife and I love to play games together. Join us for the journey!

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Gen Con Game Giveaway!

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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It is Gen Con week! This means that it is really all that I can think about. I am really excited about it.

Over the past couple of years, there have been a couple of occasions where someone recognized me from this blog. Each time that happened it made my day. I know that in the grand scheme of things, we are a really small deal. We are not the Dice Tower, or a podcast, or even reviewers in any kind of semi-pro sense. However, we both really love to share our thoughts on games, and it brings us joy to know that people we do not even know read our opinions.

We want to give away some games at Gen Con. I realize this is somewhat self serving, but to get a free game all you have to do is find me and tell me you read this blog (you do not even have to like it!). If you do this then, you get your choice of the following games:


I realize these are not the hottest games in the world, but they are small so I can carry them with me.

I should be easy to find. Here is what I am planning to do: N/A and here is where I will be in the exhibit hall: Gen Con Exhibit Hall Attack Plan!

To make it even easier, here is what I look like:


If you really want to find me you could even track me down by twitter stalking by following @seanxor.

I am really looking forward to the second half of this week, and I hope to see some of you at Gen Con this year!
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Mon Aug 1, 2016 2:33 pm
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End of the Month Recap

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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This month started off slowly for getting games played, but as the month went on we picked up steam and ended up getting a decent number of plays in.

Game Play Statistics


Most Played Game: Penny Arcade: The Game – Gamers vs. Evil
Highest Rated Game This Month: Garden Dice (Combined Rating: 7)
Number of Games Reviewed: 6
Best New to Me Game: Monikers

State of the Collection
New Games Added: 8
Games Removed: 10
Total Number of Games: 213
We participated in a trade table exchange this month that saw a lot of games come and go. We bought a couple of games, but ended up giving them away after playing them.

10x10 Challenge
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 Completed!
Warhammer: InvasionCompleted!
Ticket to Ride Completed!
Fleet Completed!
Tides of Time Completed!
Roll for the Galaxy Completed!
Glory to Rome
Viceroy
Deus
Star Wars: Imperial Assault
Bruges
In August I am doing a full Imperial Assault mini-campaign at Gen Con. We should also be able to finish Glory to Rome, so that we have all but two of our games completed.
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Mon Aug 1, 2016 2:02 pm
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Gen Con Math Trade Results

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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This has kind of become a standardized post at this point. There was some drama this year, but the moderator handled it well and the results appear to be in. As in the past, this post is mostly for the benefit of my wife so she knows what is going and what we are getting. However, we welcome any insights or comments anyone has about the games we are getting.

We give Race to Adventure: The Spirit of the Century Exploration Game and The Princess Bride: A Battle of Wits for Greed. This is a drafting game by the designer of Dominion. I do not know much about the game. However, the few times I have heard it mentioned in board game media it is always in the context of the game being under the radar or underappreciated. We are trading two games we do not care for, so it seems like a chance worth taking.


We are trading City of Remnants and Steam Torpedo: First Contact for Conquest of Planet Earth: The Space Alien Game.
Sadly we owned City of Remnants for over a year and we never played it. This is in part because for some reason I just could not get through the rulebook, and what I did get I was sure you would not like. I am very excited though to be trading this for Conquest of Planet Earth. This is a Flying Frog game that I have played, and I really enjoyed. I think this is going to be a really great trade for us.



We are trading Star Wars: Armada for Mansions of Madness.
I am sure you are thankful we are trading Armada. I was kind of surprised to get it at Geekway to the West, and after playing it decided it was not worth the investment. Mansions of Madness is a game that I have wanted to get in a trade for years now. It is an all versus one game about exploring a haunted house. I have been thinking about it, and I am nor sure will you where end up on this game. I think you will like the exploration aspect, but you will need to remember it is a haunted house so in the game there will be things that jump out to surprise you.

We are trading Roll for the Galaxy for 1944: Race to the Rhine.
Hold on before you freak out. I did not trade Roll for the Galaxy for a war game. Race to the Rhine is a pick up and deliver route building game that just happens to have a WWII theme. This is the trade I am most excited about. This is a game that I have been very interested in, but the high price tag kept me back. I am really glad we traded for it because I think this game will combine mechanisms you really like with a theme I really like.
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Sat Jul 30, 2016 2:39 pm
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Garden Dice (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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At a big gaming get together earlier this month we copied the trade table concept from Geekway to the West. It turned out that one of my offerings was one of the first games to be picked, which meant I got to select next when the selection was the greatest. This game was my first round draft pick. I knew nothing about it, but it had dice in the title and my wife loves dice. So is this a game that is going to grow on us or is it going to wilt?

Game Overview
In this game players are getting points from growing vegetables and collecting sets of vegetables.

The game begins with a blank garden board which is a grid to place tiles on. On a player's turn they are going to roll four dice. The players then use those dice to determine the actions they will take.

A player make take seeds. There are five different types of seeds, corresponding with 1-5. Whatever number die the player spends they may take a bag of seeds equal to that number or lower.

A player may spend two dice to place seeds in the field. This is done by cross referencing the numbers on the die to determine what plot it gets. Once the seeds are on the board the player can spend a die to water a tile and flip it to the vegetable side. The die spent has to be equal to or less than the tile number. When a seed is watered it can chain. Any seeds adjacent to the watered seed might also grow if they are lower than the number of the watered seed. This continues as long as the next tile in the chain is lower.

In the same way players can harvest vegetables by spending a die. Once again harvesting causes a chain in the same way. Harvested plants score points equal to their value. It is possible to harvest other player's vegetables. If this happens the other player still gets the points, but the harvesting player also gets a point.

There are some non-vegetable tiles that can be placed. The sun dial allows for some dice manipulation, and animals can be used to mess with other players stuff.

The game ends when the last seed tile is taken. Players will get extra points for the different types of sets the collected and 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: 3.5 (It's OK)
My Thoughts: It is weird how some games feel like they are played after so many plays and others feel like they can be played over and over again. replayability is a much sought after "x-factor" in board games. My initial impression is that this game has this. The rules are simple but the dice mean that every play is going to be very different. Players should have a strategy but the dice and the actions of other players require this strategy to be flexible. The theme is a little dry, but overall I was pleasantly surprised with this game.

Her Rating: 3.5 (It's OK)
Her Thoughts: This game combines two things I like: set collection and rolling dice. It also combines them extremely well. I feel like this is a game that I should love a lot more. I really enjoyed playing it, but the game did not really excite me. I think the theme of gardening has something to do with it. There is a lot of abstraction in this game as well, so the thematic connection is kind of weak. I am also a little nervous about the potential to be kind of mean in this game.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 7
It turns out at the trade table we chose wisely. This game is a pleasant little addition for us, and we both look forward to playing it more in the future.
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Sat Jul 30, 2016 3:26 am
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Gen Con Exhibit Hall Attack Plan!

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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Gen Con is a week away, and my excitement is reaching fever pitch. 2014 was a bit of a pivot year at Gen Con for me. This was a year when a lot of people began to really complain about the crowds, and it became just about impossible to see everything in the exhibition hall. At the time I got extremely frustrated by this. Last year my solution was to create a list of games that I would check out first, and seeing these would be my priority. I did not get to see and do everything last year, but because I did my list first I got to see what I really wanted and I left feeling really good about that.

At the beginning of the month I made My Gen Con Short List of Games. Over the month that list has changed a bit. For instance, I have dropped Guilds of London. After further review, the game will be too mean for my wife. Plus, I am not running for it, so getting it is am impossibility anyway.

I a week from today around 1:00PM (after a game of Federation Commander) I will be walking into the Exhibit Hall. Here are the first ten booths I am going to and why. While this is the order I plan to weave around the exhibit hall it is not hard and fast. While I am hopping from booth to booth, if I see something that really stands out to me or if there is an open demo I might stop. These are listed in the order I plan to check them out:

1. Booth 243(Rather Dashing Games)
Reason: We Come in Peace is on my short list of games to possibly purchase. I want to try and get a demo of this game in, and ask questions about how the game plays with just two.

2. Booth 809 (general area)- Fantasy Flight Games
Reason: I have never played the FFG Star Wars RPG, but I am very interested in anything set in the Force Awakens time period. I am very tempted by the Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Beginner Game. In the past, FFG has had a demo spot for the RPG in their massive area. I am going to stop by and see if they are demoing this new introductory set. If they are, I will be trying to get in a demo to see if it is worth getting.

3. Booth 1619 (general area)- Asmodee
Reason: I am going to go from one big publisher area to another. Via Nebula is a game that my wife is very interested in. I think that Asmodee is going to be very busy, so I am not sure how easy it will be to get to demo this game. Hopefully I can at least get a good idea about the game by peeking over someone's shoulder. If the opportunity presents itself at Asmodee I would also like the chance to demo HMS Dolores. I really like the idea of turning the prisoner dilemma into a game, and I think it would be fun to play.

4. Booth 2039- Indie Boards & Cards
Reason: The Resistance and Coup are some of my favorite games. While, One Night Revolution was a big misstep for me, I am still very interested in trying Grifters. Bluffing and set collection sounds like a good combination. I want to play this game to see if it is worth picking up.

5. Booth 2304- Renegade Game Studios
Reason: Covert is tied for the top spot of my short buy list. If the game is still in stock and they are offering demos, I am willing to stand and wait up to an hour to play this game.

6. Booth 2323- Stronghold Games
Reason: Covert is tied with City of Spies: Estoril 1942 for my top spot. These two booths are close together, and if this game is available to buy and demo I am willing to wait to play it as well. I am hoping that one of these games just really wows me and after playing both I choose one to purchase.

7. Booth 2657- Red Raven Games
Reason: I am interested in Islebound. The past two years, I have not had any luck playing things at the Red Raven booth. They seem to always be extra busy. I will stop by though this year and see if I have a little luck on my side this year.

8. Booth 3043- Gamelyn Games
Reason: I am stopping by here for two reasons. I want to see whatever they are showing for Tiny Epic Quest. I also missed out on the Tiny Epic Western kickstarter. It is game that I am interested in possibly buying, so I am hoping they are demoing it.

9. Booth 2527- Bézier Games, Inc.
Reason: At this point I would have crossed the entire exhibit hall to look at everything I am most interested in buying, so I will start making my way back to buy whatever I decide on. On my way, I am going to stop buy Bezier games to see if I can demo Colony. I have a feeling the demos for this game are going to be highly sought after, so it may not work out.

10. Booth 1460- ThinkFun
Reason: Stopping by here will get me back on the side of the convention center I started on. To promote their Escape the Room: Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor, ThinkFun has created "Escape the booth" a half an hour Escape the Room scenario. This sounds fun, and extremely unique. Unless my timing is terrible and I just miss a session, I am willing to wait around a few minutes and give this a try.

By this point I would have seen what I most want to see, so I will be able to start on the East side of the exhibit hall and the wander through it taking in whatever is neat or open.

So that is my exhibit hall attack plan. Is there anything that I am really missing?
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Fri Jul 29, 2016 3:48 am
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Operation: Kindergarten (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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Back in September of last year I made a post Gen Con/Pre-Essen list of games I was excited about and this game was on the list. Essen came and went, and I kind of forgot about this game. That was until it popped up in a recent coolstuffinc.com sale. I wanted to buy the new Mysterium expansion anyway, so I got several items from that sale. My wife and I were both really looking forward to trying this game. So did it pass with straight A's or does it need to get sent back a grade?

Game Overview
In this game each player is a teacher who is responsible for keeping the kids under their care safe and getting back to the classroom to be picked up at the end of the day. The game is played over six turns, and each turn has multiple phases.

The board represents a playground with a sandbox in the middle and four play areas on the side (referred to as "danger areas"). For the first three turns there is a special phase, where the playground is populated. In the first round little children come out, then tykes, and finally the older kids.

The major phase of the game is when dice are rolled and assigned. Players will take turns assigning one die to multiple areas. Players can assign dice to determine what direction children will move in and ow many spaces. A die is assigned to move the head teacher, to determine each player's movement, and to select a "routine (a bonus action).

The head teacher then moves. His location determines start player and there is also a risk of losing more evaluation points. Next, the children move according to the assigned dice. The stacking limit is three, and if there are ever more than three children a collision occurs. This creates "boo-hoos" as kids cry and this will lower a player's evaluation.

After the children move in player order, the players take a turn where they can take an action (which includes movement) and take a reaction. Possible actions include ordering an adjacent child to move somewhere, regroup children from any adjacent space to another, clean up chaos markers on the board, remove "boo hoo" discs, or heal (remove) boo-boo cubes. After the first three rounds players are going to want to move their children back into their classroom, and the carry action is helpful for that. It allows a teacher to pick up three kids and then deliver them somewhere. The challenge is that the teacher has to start next to the kids.

After each player has had a turn, there is a chaos phase. During this phase the chaos markers on the board activate. This is stuff like scissors or poop on the playground, or noises like an ice cream truck. These chaos markers can create "boo-hoos". Each turn new chaos markers come out on the board.

Finally, players lose evaluation points for each boo-hoo marker and boo-boo marker they have on the board. If the head teacher is in the sector where the markers are then the player looses additional evaluation points. At the end of the sixth round players lose evaluation points for kids they did not successfully return to the classroom. Each player starts at 100 evaluation points and the player with the most points left at the end of the game is the winner.

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(It's OK)
My Thoughts: I love the theme of this game, and I find the game play to be very unique. If I were to describe this game to someone at my game group I would say it is like a "euro game version of Survive: Escape from Atlantis!." The game has the same vibe as players are trying to manage disaster around them, and get their people to safety. The dice allocation works well, and there is a deceptively high level of messing with each other in this game. I like the game, but I have a big complaint about it. Namely, this is a four player game and it really has no business being played by two. The two player game is a bit boring, and it really feels like half the experience is missing.

Her Rating: 3 (It's OK)
Her Thoughts: This might be one of the most fun themes of any game I have played. I especially liked that the theme really came through. I want to play this game again, but it would have to be with more players. This is not a good two player game.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 6
Publishers, look, I know you want to sell games. I get that. But if your game is not good at a lower player count, then do not put that player count on the box! We both want to play this game again at the full player count, because then we think we will get experience the game as it was meant to be played. We will probably hold onto the game for awhile until that happens, but this will not be a permanent addition to our game collection.
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Thu Jul 28, 2016 3:33 am
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Nox (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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I show a lot more restraint and discretion than I used to, but I am drawn to cheap games like a flame. Nine times out of ten a game is deeply discounted for a reason, but I am always enthralled by the possibility that this might be the time that I find a diamond in the rough for a price that is a steal. Earlier this month I ordered the Mysterium expansion from coolstuffinc. This was during one of their promotional sales, with some deeply discounted games. It included the Machi Koro expansion we did not have and Operation: Kindergarten. They also had this game for 99 cents. I checked and adding it did not change my shipping, so I figured any game is worth a buck. Was I right?

Game Overview
Nox bills itself as a "take that" card game. The game consists of three suits of cards that are numbered 1-15, with multiple copies of each number in each color.

Each player is dealt three cards. On a player's turn they will draw a card and play a card. A card can be played in front of any player. Each player can have up to six stacks in front of them. Cards can create a new stack or they can be added to a stack. To add a card to a stack it must be the same color of the stack. If at any point a player has two stacks with the same color and same number, then the two stacks combined into one.

The round ends when one player has six stacks. As long as a player has at least one stack of each color they score the value of the top card of each stack as points.

Cards are shuffled, the start player passes and the game repeats until someone gets to 150 points and 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: 2 (do not care for)
My Thoughts: This game is fairly simple and easy to play. However, I did not find it very interesting and engaging. There are some "take that" things to do, but every action that hurts someone else is a turn that I do not use to increase my own score. This leads to a "pass the buck" problem, where every player wants someone else to stop the leader, but they do not want to be the one who waste a turn doing it. I am not a big fan of that dynamic.

Her Rating: 3 (it's OK)
Her Thoughts: This feels like it belongs in the same family of games as Skip-bo, UNO, or Phase 10. It has an unique deck of cards but still feels like a traditional card game. I kind of had a soft spot for those kind of games and I did not mind this one. It is a lot of luck. This game did not really excite me, but I will not complain about playing it either.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 5
We both agree this is a game we do not need to own. We played it with my mother-in-law, and she enjoyed it more than we did, so we sent it home with her. So all in all I would say it ended up being worth the 99 cent purchase.
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Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:17 am
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Cold War: CIA vs KGB (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
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We had this game years ago. When we played it then the game really fell flat for us, and we traded it away. However, in the years since then this is a game that I occasionally hear brought up on board game media. Whenever it is talked it about people tend to only have decent things to say about it. I also noticed that this is a game that is kept in print, and it was even given a Star Wars re-theme. I really began to wonder if when we played the game back in 2010, if we just missed something.

Recently at a decent sized gathering of gaming friends, we copied the trade table concept from Geekway to the West as a way to exchange unwanted games. Overall, I was really pleased with all of my picks. However, this was my last one, and I do think it was the best of my remaining options. So were we originally wrong about this game or should it just be permanently classified and buried?

Game Overview

In this game one player is the CIA and the other the KGB as the title implies. Players are competing for influence in countries. Each country has a point value, a target number, and a limit of how many cards can be played.

At the beginning of each round, each player chooses an agent. Both sides have the same agent to start with. Each agent has a special ability. Some of them only happen if a player wins the contest, others happen no matter what, and one only happens if the player loses.

There are cards numbers 1-6 in four different suits. On a player's turn they either draw a new card to play, use a card's ability or pass. The goal of the players is to get as close to the target number without going over. The abilities on the cards can allow players to peak at upcoming cards, discard a card in play from either side, steal a card or give a card, and ready a used card. The population of the country being fought over determines how many cards a player can play.

When both players pass then the player who is closest to the target number without going over places their domination token on the objective card. If there is a tie then it is based on a suit priority that is different for each objective. Players reveal their agents and abilities activate. One of the players (usually whoever was closest without going over) claims the objective card. The agent used is unavailable for a round. If a player causes civil disorder by going over the target number then the other side gets the objective and the agent is out of the game.

Once one player reaches 100 points (typically 7-10 objective cards) they win the game.

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: 2.5 (do not care for)
My Thoughts: I feel like I should like this game more than I do. I like the theme. I feel like I should like the push your luck hit or stand element a lot more than I do. Every now and then, there is that really tense moment to decide to stop or go for it. Those moments are exciting. However, usually the risk of hitting is just not worth it. Also, so there are times where it does not really matter because of the luck of the draw and the way the cards fell one side has it locked up, unless the other side played the Master Spy (which allows the loser to actually win the objective). Playing the Master Spy though is easy, especially if the first card draw is lower than the opponents. I am sure we are just playing it wrong, but I feel like this game should have more bluffing and trying to get in the head of the opponent. As it is, I feel like this game falls flat like a deflated balloon.

Her Rating: 2.5 (do not care for)
Her Thoughts: I do not dislike this game, and I will play it. It is just this game does not excite me. I do not care about the theme and the cards are drab. There is nothing wrong with this game, it is just there are so many other two players games we have that are better games and that I would much rather play.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 5
This game clearly has fans, but we are not among that number. Our initial impressions from about six years ago were about the same as they are now, so even with an evolution in gaming preferences this one is not for us.
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Mon Jul 25, 2016 4:30 am
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T.I.M.E Stories

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
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T.I.M.E Stories is the hot game right now. It seems that just about every game media outlet has nothing but the most exalted of praises to say about this game. Even the criticisms (“the The Marcy Case is not as good as the others”) still come off as glowing (“but the game is still the best thing I have ever played.”) Given how many good things I had heard about this game, I really wanted to play it. However, what I knew about the game made me feel fairly sure my wife would absolutely hate it. Recently my friend,
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, coordinated it so that along with a few other interested gamers we could get experience this current hotness. So did this make for one of my greatest gaming stories ever or is it just out of time?

Game Overview
Before going any further, I should state that everything written here is spoiler free. It should also be stated that I have only played the Asylum adventure included in the base box, and by the very nature of the game I have only played it once. This will be the most basic of overviews.

In this game the players are a group of time travelers, who jump back into the bodies of other people (like Sam Beckett if you are a Quantum Leap fan). Based on the scenario there is some sort of task that has to be done or puzzle that has to be solved. Each player picks the “receptacle” that they enter and then they are off to figure things out. Players have a map of locations they can encounter. When a player enters a location several cards are laid which makes a picture of the location and each card represents a way in which the location can be interacted with. Players will pick which section they will encounter and then they read the card that of that section.

Some cards just have information, and others have challenges. Some challenges are mandatory and others are optional. Whenever players do challenges, it will cost a time unit. To do a challenge, dice are rolled. The number of dice rolled is based off of character stats, and the challenge dictates the number of successes needed. If multiple players are encountering the card then they may all roll for the challenge. If it is a combat challenge, then failing to get a success can cause damage to the player. If they lose their life points, then a player is in some sort of temporal limbo until they can rejoin.
When a player moves from one location to another they will roll a die to determine if 1,2,or 3 time units are spent. For the initial runs, the amount of time is limited. If the players reach zero then it is possible that they are taken out of the run. Everything will be reset and the players will begin again. Items and events that are story essential (or that the player think are story essential) have to be re-done.

Each run through could be considered a single session, but I think the standard way most people play is go through the whole story from start to finish in one run. The game ends when the players complete the story of the scenario they are teaching, and a group score is determined based on what they did and how fast they did it.

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. Of course this time it is just my score, but I am using the same scale for consistency.

My Rating: 2.5 (do not care for)
My Thoughts: When it comes to game play I was a little let down, but I honestly think that has a lot to do with too hyped of expectations. Seriously, a lot of game media as well as people I know have talked this game up to astronomical levels. This game does have some very clever things in it. The way locations are encountered with the display of cards is very innovative and very fun. It delivers the sense of exploring a location and the cards do help create a story. In a lot of ways these cards make the game feel like the analog version of a point and click video game (such as Myst). The use of puzzles that exist outside of the game mechanics is also extremely innovative inside a board game, but they are the kind of things that RPGs have been inserting into their adventures for decades. This game occupies a weird spot for me. It is more open ended and less structured than a thematic game like Touch of Evil, but it is more limited than something more like a traditional RPG. In my play through there was not any kind of roleplaying element and the story honestly took a back seat to the mechanisms. We treated it less like playing a story and more like a co-op game. That is not to say it is bad, it just did not wow me like I thought it would. Part of the issue is that one of the big selling point of this game was the immersive story. However, I have played other very narrative heavy games that I enjoyed more, thought were better games, and told a better story (specifically Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective and Watson & Holmes: From the Diaries of 221B). I did not dislike the experience of playing T.IM.E stories, in fact I had a lot of fun playing it. However, I would rather play one of the games mentioned here or just play a role playing game.

I know that I just said I do not dislike playing the game, but that my rating says that “I do not care for it.” That is in part because I have opinions about the game not related to game play that very much impact my opinion on it. The big debate of this game comes down to is it worth it for one play. Obviously, when it comes to value everything is subjective. However, I do not see this experience as worth the cost of entry. I know the common argument is to compare the cost of going to a movie theater times four to cost of the game. However, that is comparing apples to oranges. I am ok with games having a limited number of plays (such as Pandemic Legacy, Consulting Detective, dungeon crawl campaigns, etc). However, all of those have more plays than a single session of T.I.M.E Stories, for not terribly much more money. When games are compared to games, T.I.M.E stories is not a poor value. It is my opinion that the cost is not worth the experience.


Verdict
My wife did not play it, but if she did (and let’s be clear there is zero chance she ever will) I can just about guarantee her rating would be one, and her comment would be “the artwork is great but I hated everything about the game.” T.I.M.E Stories has its fans, so for many there is clearly something to it. For me, the game is just OK but it has some serious issues with the cost and the one and done nature. If someone wants a deep, story based experience I think there are more fun game options (mentioned above) or better find a role playing group.
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Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:12 pm
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The Purge: Roll for the Galaxy

sean johnson
United States
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. Normally when we do a purge, we play a game that has not been played for a while. Then we use that one play to determine if the game stays or if it gets purged to make room for something else. We have played this game a lot recently, and our opinion on this game has changed dramatically. Will the good times roll or will this game roll on out?

Brief Game Overview
In this game players will be building their space empire by using their citiznery to develop and settle (or conquer) worlds. Everyone begins the game with a starting world, a double tile starting faction (consisting of a development and world), and five dice.

Two of these dice are available to add later, and players begin by rolling three dice. On the face of these dice are symbols representing the various phases in the game. Players roll their available dice and then match them up according to face type. Players can then choose one die of any facing and assign it to the phase they want to ensure happens this turn. Wild dice can be assigned to any phase, and there are ways in the game to reassign dice from the rolled facing to be used in a different phase. All of this rolling and assigning is done in secret.

Players will reveal their dice assignments, and only the chosen phases happen. Anyone who has dice assigned to a phase will get to use them in that phase.

For the explore phase, each die can be used to get new tiles. These tiles are double sided with a world one side and development on the other. The explore die could also be used to gain two money.

In the development phase, dice are assigned to developments under construction. Each development and world has a cost. When there are dice equal to the cost on it, the development is completed and is placed in the tableau. Any ability it grants is now active. Settle is similar, only with worlds instead of developments. Completing new worlds is a player's primary way to get additional dice in a the dice pool.

In the produce phase each die assigned there can be placed on a production world to be a produced good. In the ship phase these dice can be shipped (with one ship action per assigned dice). The goods dice can be traded for money or consumed for points. A consumed die will yield 1 to 3 points, depending on conditions.

After all of the selected phases have been completed in the listed order, players can buy back dice. All used diced go to the citizenry pool. Each die cost $1, and players will always have at least $1 available to them. A new round then begins.

The game continues until the victory point pool is expended or a player completes their 12th tile. Players then count up their points. Each development and world is worth their build cost. This total is added to the number of victory point tokens collected plus any bonus points from six cost developments. The player with the most points wins.

What We Previously Thought
I thought the game was very unique and I liked the dice manipulation. I thought the game had a lot of replayability. My wife loved the combination of dice with Race for the Galaxy, and she thought it would be a game she would be playing a lot.

Verdict
My Verdict: Purge
At this point we have well over 30 plays of this game recorded. I have tried playing a variety of strategies and I have tried to approach this game in multiple ways. This game feels like a set of gears that just do not quite match up, and grind terribly. This is especially true when it comes to doing any kind of consume produce strategy. The expansion fixed this to a degree with the black die (it replaces a starting white die, has more options, and counts as all goods), but in a lot of ways that die feels like a patch. The dice manipulation is neat, but often it feels like a lot of work to get very little done. I think part of the issue for us is the game is just not optimized for two players. The dice can be manipulated, but sometimes a die is just going to get assigned to what it rolled. With more players the odds of more phases getting picked is higher. However with two players, these options dry up. There is a white die rolled to determine a random phase, but it is just that. . random. It does not always help and can not be relied on. Too often to many dice just go back int the cup, and the game feels like it plods and grinds.

Her Verdict: Purge
Her Rationale: Just on principle, I really want to like this game. However, the more I play this game the less I like it. This game is just boring. It is so hard to actually get anything going. This game has the feel of Race for the Galaxy, but none of the fun of putting a strategy together. It is so hard to get tiles to work well together, and it is frustrating when one person draws the perfect starting tile combination and the other player does not. Even though the play time for this game is not that long, it just feels like drags. Playing this game just makes me want to play Race for the Galaxy instead.

Final Verdict
Purge

We had initially said that we thought there was space for both this game and Race for the Galaxy on the same game shelf. There is some truth to that because the games are mechanically different enough. Even though Roll for the Galaxy uses different mechanic to do it, the game does try to capture the same feel and tableau building of the card game. After many plays and trying to convince ourselves we are wrong, we have to conclude that it fails spectacularly at doing that. There are some people who consider this a replacement for Race for the Galaxy, and we disagree with that opinion. We both feel that Race for the Galaxy is the superior game, and we have come to both think there is no reason to have both.
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Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:30 am
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