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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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D&D Rainbow Draft Breakdown 2: Lessons Learned

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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A couple of weeks ago, my game night group did a Dice Masters draft. I wrote a report about then, and it was a ton of fun. Everyone else agreed, to the point that we did it again! We had even more participation with ten people taking part. We did draft pods of five and then did a three round swiss tournament. One of my friends playing asked if I was going to write about this one as well. Even though things went south for me in a hurry this time, here's what happened:

My Team
My team was a bit of a mess. I had

common Zombie
common Magic Helmet
common half Orc fighter
uncommon Half Dragon
common manticore
common invisible stalker
common green dragon
uncommon red dragon

I noticed that my draft pod had five invisible stalker dice, so I decided that I would build around that. I figured without having to worry about things like the Distraction global ability unblockable attacks would be a good way to go. I picked zombies as my main support because they have shields. I wanted orcs or kobolds for swarm but we only had two or three of both in our pool. I went with the half orc fighter, because I figured equipped with the helmet he would be strong enough to offer defense and keep walls from getting built up. Invisible stalker would be my win condition and manticore would keep the pressure on while the dice cycled. My problem is half way through the first group I got the green dragon. There were only two green dragon dice in the pod. There was nothing else in the cards I was given at that moment so I took it, mostly as a counter draft than anything. However, in the second draft pack, I got passed the second dragon so I took it and the grabbed half dragons to support.

Game #1
In the first game my opponent was all about the magic missiles. I saw this coming from his set up, so I bought one to deny him from getting all three. His plan was simple. He planned on using an umber hulk to keep my NPCs worthless. He then hid behind a wall of elf wizards, and used the red dragon global to ping for one while waiting for magic missiles to cycle. It worked well, and an opportunity attack with a level 3 Umber Hulk hurt a lot. This game came down very close at the end. On my last turn, I had drawn an invisible stalker, and all I needed was for him to attack to win. Of course he rolled energy, and of course my opponent's magic missiles did not on his turn.

Lesson Learned: Pick a strategy and stick with it. As already mentioned, my team was a mess. I had two different ways to victory (invisible stalker and Green dragon) but I did not fully support either of them. In this game I bought both and that was a mistake. I should have focused on the green dragon or the invisible stalker from the beginning.

Game #2
In the second round my opponent took advantage of the fact that the rainbow draft rules allow for any basic actions, and brought some Yu-gi-oh actions to the table. He built his team around the horn of the unicorn basic action, He had several energy characters and he especially liked giving a drow assassin overcrush. My biggest problem in this game is that I could not roll characters for anything. There were multiple turns where I had three character dice to roll and could only get energy. I focused on the invisible stalker this time and when he rolled he did his thing. However, my opponent had drafted more smaller creatures and he was outpacing me. I did get the Green Dragon out but a level one Tarasque had me in a bad spot. I decided that I could not win a cold war against that thing, so I attacked and hoped it would not regenerate. It did. My zombies did not. I lost.

Lesson Learned: Do not bring global abilities because they are convenient. My build and strategy did not really need the red dragon. I brought him along for his global, because I thought I could use him a bit as a ramp by getting cheap action dice to roll for energy. In this match up my opponent was already built for using action dice anyway, and he abused my red dragon global more than I did. Had I not brought that thing, this match up could have gone differently. However, I gave my opponent the exact tool he needed to beat me.

Game #3
So at this point I was in the unfortunate position of playing for not last. My opponent's team was a bit of a mess like mine was. My trouble with rolling characters persisted, and I think I was down to 16 life before I even got something fielded. In this game my zombies were star blockers and proved to be really hard to remove from the field. My manticores did a great job of taking my opponent down, and the invisible stalker rushed in for his attacks. This was a bit of a slog because we had both built up walls, seeing this on one turn I did manage to get the green dragon bought, and his breath weapon opened a hole and allowed me finally claim a win.

Lesson Learned: Take time to set up. In the previous games, I rushed to get my big die bought at the expense of having thing ready to block. In this game, I took my time. I bought zombies first, fielded them, kept NPCs to field to shrink my bag size, and I bought action dice with the red dragon global to get stronger energy options in my bag. By time the Invisible stalker got fielded, I had a solid defense in place.

Final Lessons Learned
The biggest lesson I learned from this is that I need to stay on target. Draft does require flexibility but I lost my way in this one and my record showed that. I also learned a lesson about play, and that is I need to play to my victory condition. I had set out to make the Invisible Stalker my winner. He may not have been the best choice, but I think he could have been somewhat viable. I just played him poorly. My biggest issue was turn over. When he succeeded, I had to wait for the bag to cycle back through. I did a terrible job at mitigating this. First I could have been more strategic when I attacked. If my opponent did not have a sure fire way to get rid of him, I could have left him out to help with blocking until my bag was about to refill. I would have gotten more use instead of attacking immediately and then waiting till my bag emptied out. Worse, I did not take advantage of my resources. I brought the Polymorph basic action for the global so that I could spin my Invisible Stalker up. However, I should have bought the die and used it to get my invisible stalker back to the field quicker. I did not do this correctly until the last game.

Despite losing, I once again had a lot of fun and I feel much better prepared for the next time I give a draft a go.
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Thu May 7, 2015 4:54 am
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Justice League: Axis of Villains (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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We got this game last Fall when it was clearance. We got this game for our son and gave it to him for Christmas, but we waited to play it until recently so that he would get a touch older. We were interested in getting this for him for a couple of reasons. First, the super hero theme was naturally appealing, and second we liked the idea of play a co-op game with our son. Now that we have played the game, is it a hero or a zero?

Game Overview
In this game each player controls one of four heroes (Superman, Batman, Flash, or Green Lantern). Depending on the number of players a set number of villains are put into a common pool, and eight of them are randomly picked to start on the board. The board consist of eight tracks that lead towards the center where the Justice League watchtower is.

On a players turn they are going to roll an eight sided die and a custom D6. This roll will determine what happens. Either villains on the track move closer to the watchtower, a new villain is placed, or the player gets to take their hero turn. Players will roll dice until they roll the symbol indicating they get a turn.

Once a player can activate they move and attack. A player can move spaces equal to the number they rolled and they can attack if in the same space as a villain.

Each player starts with two action cards. These cards can add combat, teleport a player, or activate one of their super powers. The effect of the card is dependent upon the color of area the player is in.

To do combat, each villain has a numerical rating (between 7 and 15 normally). If the villain is part of the hero's rouge gallery (such as Batman vs. Joker) then the players rolls the D8 twice. If not they roll once. Action cards can add extra dice, and if another player is in the same space they may help and add their dice. If the sum of the rolls meets or beats the villain then the villain is defeated.

There are some spaces that cause villain cards to be drawn which have a negative impact and there are some super villains (like Darkseid) who are extra powerful. If a villain ever reaches the center of the board they destroy a section of the watch tower. If all four sections are destroyed the players lose. If the board is cleared of villains, then the players win.

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: It is impossible not to point out that this game is VERY similar to Castle Panic, to the point of feeling derivative. I am not a huge fan of Castle Panic, and mechanically it is probably a better game. That being said, rolling the dice in direct combat was more fun (if not more random). The super hero theme also bumps this up for me just a bit. This is a game that my wife and I will not play together but I am glad we have it as a family game.

Her Rating: 3 (It's OK)
Her Thoughts: I agree with the Castle Panic comparison. I feel like this game is more luck dependent than Castle Panic, but it may also be easier.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 6
This game does not change our opinion on co-op games. They are just not our cup of tea. However, we do think that co-op games are good for our son right now. He is a five year old and he has not learned to lose or win well yet. Hopefully all sharing the victory or loss will help with that. He really enjoyed this game, and since it is his in the first place we will be keeping it.
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Sun May 3, 2015 4:20 am
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End of the Month Recap

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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A very successful tabletop day really bolstered the number of plays this month. April also saw our every other week game night turn into a weekly game night (at a new and better venue).

Game Play Statistics
Number of Recorded Plays: 72
Most Played Game: Coup (8 plays)
Best New to Me Game: Spyfall

New Games to Play
New Games Reviewed in March: 7
New Game Reviews in Progress: 1
Highest Rated Game this Month: La Isla (combined rating of 8)
New Games Left Unplayed: 8

State of the Collection
New Games Added: 3
Games Removed: 1
Total Number of Games: 199
The games we got with the Gamecrafter gift card game in, and I participated in the wargame chain of generosity yet again.

10X10 Challenge Update
Dice Masters Completed!
Star Realms Completed!
My First Carcassonne
Race for the Galaxy
Federation Commander
Ticket to Ride
Among the Stars
King of Tokyo
Trains
Memoir '44
Suburbia

If we slowed down our 10x10 challenge last month we all but stalled out this month. We only got in two plays. We really focused in April on playing new games and games that we have not played for a couple of years because we wanted to know what we might be putting up in the Geekway to the West math trade (going on now). Next month, we will need to be more mindful about getting the 10x10 games to the table.
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Fri May 1, 2015 3:36 am
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Fresco (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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We traded for Fresco earlier this year in a local math trade. I know several people who really like this game, and it seemed to be another euro that was accessible but still offered some depth of decisions. In the past games in those ranges have gone over well with us. Now that we have played this game is it a work of art?

Game Overview
In this game players will be scoring points by painting sections of an elaborate fresco. The game end will be triggered when there are four sections left to paint on the fresco, there will then be one more turn.

Each turn follows the same pattern. In reverse score order, players decided when they wake up. This does three things, first it decides player order for the round, second it determines how much paint will cost the player, and third it impacts worker morale. Waking up earlier ensures going earlier in turn order, but paint will cost more, and the worker morale will drop. If worker morale gets to low, then players have one less worker. If morale is very high they get an extra worker.

After wake up times are figured out, players assign their workers in secret. There are multiple worker phases, and each worker (to a max of 3) assigned to that phase gives the player one of those actions.

After workers are assigned, players will reveal and then in wake up order resolve each type of worker action. First is the market action. Players will pick a market stall claim all of the paint tiles present, and then buy from those tiles the amount of purchase actions they took. Players then get corresponding cubes. Next is the fresco action. This is where players spend paint to build sections of the fresco. Each section has a point value of 3 to 11. There is also a bishop and if players can build what he is adjacent to, then they get extra points. Money can be spent to move the bishop before building.

The next phase is painting portraits, for each of these actions taken the player gets 3 money. Next is paint mixing. Most of the purchased paint will be primary colors, but the fresco needs secondary colors. During the paint mixing is when primary cubes can be turned in for secondary cubes. The final action is theater, where players can send workers to the theater for the day which raises their morale by +2.

On the last turn players flip their worker boards over and the morale action has been replaced by a second fresco action. Unspent money is worth points at a 2:1 rate and whoever gets the most points 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: This game does do a commendable job at being accessible but having depth. Perhaps it is a symptom of playing a lot of games at this point, but it also felt like I had done all of this before. The game feels like a very quintessential euro game, it works well, but it does not stand out. My biggest issue with the game are the two player rules. This is really a 3-4 player game that was made playable with two by adding a robot player. This almost never works out, and in this game his predictable behavior was a bit deflating. The two player game lacks a lot of the tension that a higher player count game has.

Her Rating: 3 (It's OK)
Her Thoughts: This game is fine. Everything works and it is fun. I can say that about a lot of games though, and I am not sure I would rather play this one over several of the other euro games we already have.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 6
This is a good game, at least with higher player counts, with two players it really does fall a little flat and become a bit forgettable. I know this game has its fans, and that is fine. However, this game just does not work for us so it will be going back into a math trade.
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Thu Apr 30, 2015 1:05 pm
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The Purge: Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper

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. 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 late in 2010, and we got it because my wife has long been a fan of rummy games. This game made it to the table semi-regularly for the next year, but the last time we played it until recently was November of 2012. So is this a killer of a game or is there a reason that it escaped our notice?

Brief Game Overview
This is a rummy game that uses basic rummy conventions. Players draw a card and discard a card at the end of a turn. During their turn they can play melds (three of a kind or more) of evidence cards. Each suite represents a potential suspect. They can also play one gavel card a turn. These cards either give more points, protect a suit from being the ripper, give more card draws, or go diving through the discard pile.

During the turn one player has the option of calling a vote at which point all players secretly guess who the ripper will be. There are two ways the round will end, the most common ways is that a player plays their last card. The suit that has the most cards on the table and no alibi card is the ripper. Anyone who guessed that suspect gets 10 points. Players also get points for cards played, and lose points for unplayable cards in their hand.

The second way to end the round is that all five victims are in play, and a player plays the Ripper Escapes card. In this case the person who plays that card gets 35 points. The first player to 100 points wins the game.

What We Previously Thought
I thought the integration of the theme was interesting, but overall I did not care much for the game. My wife liked it because she likes rummy.

Verdict
My Verdict: Purge
My Rationale: One of my absolute most hated mechanism in any game is negative points. Especially in a card game, where because of the deal I am pretty much doomed to lose points because of a bad draw. It frustrates me every time, and that happens in this game. We have other rummy style games we are keeping and I do not want that many games of this style.

Her Verdict: Keep
Her Rationale: I grew up playing rummy, and I like rummy style games. I like this one because the rule of only playing one gavel card a turn means that it is not possible to play out all of the cards in one turn.

Final Judgement
Purge

Usually I am writing it does not make sense to keep a game that I like if my wife will not play it, but this time it is reversed. We have Bonnie and Clyde and Wyatt Earp. If my wife wants to play a rummy game I will prefer either of those over this one every time, so it makes little sense to keep a game that will get regularly passed up.
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Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:09 pm
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The Purge: Thurn and Taxis

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.

We traded for this game, including both expansions, back in 2010. This game saw a lot of play that year, but then how much it got to the table greatly decreased after that. The last time we played this game was a little over three years ago. So does this game deliver or not?

Brief Game Overview
In this game players are earning points by establishing postal routes. On a player's turn they must take a city card and play a card to a route. The cards played must be connected to one of the other cards on either end of the route.

There are special roles that players can use once per turn. They can take two cards, play two cards, or wipe all of the cards in the draw area.

At the end of a player's turn they can close the route if it has at least three cards in it. The player may then put a station in one city of each different section in the route or in all cities one section. In doing so, there is a wide variety of point tiles that players can get for a variety of things.

The game ends when a player places their last station or claims their 7th route carriage. Players get points for the point tokens collected and lose one point for each unplaced station.

What We Previously Thought
We both liked this game. I thought the game had a good mix of strategy and tactics, and my wife liked the experience of trying to optimize the perfect route.

Verdict
My Verdict: Go Either Way
My Rationale: I do not dislike this game. I think it is mechanically good and it is pleasant to play. However, this game also does nothing to stand out.

Her Verdict: Purge
Her Rationale: I do not dislike this game and I think it is fine but it is not very exciting to play. The game has now wow factor and there are other games I would rather play.

Final Judgement
Purge

We have played a lot of good games, but with limited shelf space we only want to keep the great games. While this game is decent it just does not make the cut for us.
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Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:56 am
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D&D Rainbow Draft Breakdown

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
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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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Edinburgh
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
United States
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
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. 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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