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Push Your Luck Podcast Blog :: Push Your Luck Video #74: Troll

Kai Liang Teo
United States
New York
New York
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I review TROLL by Oink games, published in 2015. This is a revised version of Dragon Teeth Washer, originally published in 2012. This is also a revised review of the game since my previous video I had gotten a rule horribly wrong and that skewed my view of the game! I am truly sorry for my mistake!

Subscribe to this channel and rate and review us so that I can improve. Follow me on twitter @duckizz and visit www.pushurluckpodcast.com for written reviews. I also have a podcast "Push Your Luck Podcast" http://feeds.feedburner.com/PushUrLuckPodcastpulp
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Thu Aug 27, 2015 11:09 pm
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Joe's Gaming Blog :: My Top 100 Games - Year Two Preview

Joseph Peterson
United States
Round Rock
Texas
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If any of you are regular readers of my blog, you may have come across the "My Top 100 Games - Year One" posts from last year. If you haven't, here they are in all their glory:

My Top 100 Games - Year One - #100 - 91
My Top 100 Games - Year One - #90 - 81
My Top 100 Games - Year One - #80 - 71
My Top 100 Games - Year One - #70 - 61
My Top 100 Games - Year One - #60 - 51
My Top 100 Games - Year One - #50 - 41
My Top 100 Games - Year One - #40 - 31
My Top 100 Games - Year One - #30 - 21
My Top 100 Games - Year One - #20 - 11
My Top 100 Games - Year One - #10 - 1

Anyways, it's almost that time again and I'm super excited! I've constantly been messing with my list, adding games, changing games around, etc. Currently, the plan is to start releasing the lists once a week, as I did last year, beginning Monday, September 28th. So that means any new games I play after September 14th will not be making it into the list this year.

As I look back, it's crazy to think I've played around 200 new games since last year's top 100 and in that time, that list has changed considerably. As of right now, more than 2/3rds of last year's list have been replaced by new games. I figured this might occur, but I never imagined that many games would make their way onto the list.

That being said, that has to say something about those remaining games which have stayed on the list since last year. Of course, I still have a couple of weeks until I set the list in stone so, who knows how much more the list will change in that time.

This year, I think that for the final ten games instead of posting one final block of all ten games as my #10 - #1, I'll be posting one game daily sometime shortly after posting the #20 - #11 just to give each one their own moment in the sun.

As well, one week prior to releasing #100 - #91, I'll be posting two lists. One will mark the ten games that just barely missed getting into the top 100. The other will mark the top ten games from last year that didn't make it into this year.

With over 400 games played, there's more than 100 games that I find enjoyable and, as years go by and I play more and more games, I imagine limiting myself to my top 100 favorites will just get harder and harder. I can say this year was much more difficult than last year, that's for sure.

So, anyways, I know this isn't like most of my other posts, and it's a little bit rambly, but I just wanted to update everyone who's interested with what's coming up soon.

As always, thanks for reading and I really hope you all stay tuned and enjoy "My Top 100 Games - Year Two" coming very soon!

Take care!
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Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:59 pm
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Push Your Luck Podcast Blog :: Push Your Luck Video #83: Dragonwood

Kai Liang Teo
United States
New York
New York
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I review Dragonwood, a 2015 release by Gamewright!

Much thanks to Gamewright for this review copy!

Subscribe to this channel and rate and review us so that I can improve. Follow me on twitter @duckizz and visit www.pushurluckpodcast.com for written reviews. I also have a podcast "Push Your Luck Podcast" http://feeds.feedburner.com/PushUrLuckPodcastpulp
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Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:07 pm
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A Gnome's Ponderings :: I am having entirely too much fun with Nations the Dice Game

Lowell Kempf
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Nations the Dice Game was recently added to Yucata. While it hadn't been on my radar, I've really enjoyed it and have been playing the heck out of it.

In Nation the Dice Game, you are nurturing a civilization through four ages. Each successive age gives you ways to improve and better the nation you are building.

Or it's an engine builder that plays out over four rounds. I like the game but the theme really isn't that strong.

At the start of the game, everybody gets their own board with an empty space for a leader, an empty construction site for wonders, the five starter buildings, each of which gives you a white die.

An important part of the game is that those seven spaces are what you have to work with. You can only have one leader at a time. You can upgrade your buildings but you will never have more than five of them. You do get to have any number of finished wonders but you can only work on one at time.

The game revolves around the dice. There are five different pips: gold, stone, book, sword and grain. The starter white die has two gold and one of each of the others on the other four sides. The three upgraded die types focus on certain pips with some sides having up to three of a pip.

Gold lets you by buildings and leaders and wonders. Stone lets you build the wonders you bought. Grain and books help you gain bonus points at the end of rounds. Swords not only help you gain bonus points at the end of the round, they also let you buy provinces in that don't take up space on your player board.

You can also pick up chits over the course of the game. Leaders are your sole source of reroll chits while provinces and wonders may give you chits that serve as pips. The chits reset at the start of each round.

One thing that I have decided is that your biggest priority in the first three rounds is upgrading your buildings. Getting better dice and more dice is crucial. (In the last round or age, the tiles are just about points points points)

There are a lot of ways of earning points in nations the dice game and there's lot of variability in what tiles come out and how much they cost. You have to juggle the resources that you get from your dice and from your chits. Depending on the layout of tiles and the actions of your opponents, you're going to find different decisions in different games.

I don't feel like I'm building up a nation across the centuries in Nations the Dice game. Even the tech tree is just getting better dice. But I do think that it gives me interesting choices to make as I juggle and allocate resources.

I've had a lot of fun with Nations the Dice game. I'm honestly not sure how many games they played so far and I know that I am going to keep on playing it.
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Thu Aug 27, 2015 9:28 pm
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Glass Bead Boardgames :: Only the best games deserve a 10/10

Allen OConnor
United Kingdom
Widnes
Cheshire
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Only the best games deserve a 10/10


Awarding a game the maximum possible score of 10 is not something that I do lightly; I have played hundreds of different games, and have a particular preference when it comes to my favourites. I like games that have variety so that I don’t feel like I’m always playing the same game. I don’t like game with large amounts of luck, or games that encourage spite between players. The best games to me are the kinds of games that you can play over and over again and learn more about the intricacies of the game mechanisms.
So far, I have only have six games in my collection worthy of the highest possible score. Here they are, with the games that I have awarded a 10 most recently at the top.



Snowdonia - 10/10

Snowdonia is the best worker placement game that I have found so far, it has everything that you would want from from a euro game:

1 Variable set ups using different campaigns
2 Resource management / conversion
3 An emphasis on timing and action resolution
4 Little downtime
5 Low luck, high strategy
6 A grumpy white guy on the cover

This is a great game, and one that I don’t think gets enough love on the Geek. It also scales superbly from one to five players. I only live about an hour from mount Snowdon too, which is pretty cool.






Terra Mystica - 10/10

The #2 game on the Geek, or the #1 none-shit game on the Geek. Terra Mystica is a pretty mind blowing game. I give this game a 10/10 only with the inclusion of the Terra Mystica: Fire & Ice expansion, which re-balances the game a little, and adds a few extra mechanisms. Player are essentially trying to build up and expand a set of dwellings by managing four different resource types. What makes the game so interesting is that players have asymmetric powers, and the game itself has a random set up in relation to the way in which players will score points. No two games of Terra Mystica are the same, players will always need to innovate their moves on every turn, which really puts this ahead of other games in it’s category.






Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) - 10/10

This is probably the game that is most detached from the rest of my 10/10s, being heavily thematic and full a big swings of luck. That being said, Descent has a special place for me in my gaming collection. I played a campaign as the overlord, with my partner and two of our friends and it was one of the best gaming experiences so far. We met up for 10 sessions, and the game eventually hung on a one on one fight between my partner Amie, and the boss of the game Zachareth. I had the boss music from Final Fantasy VII playing during the final fight.
And before anyone asks, yes I’ve played Star Wars: Imperial Assault, no I don’t think that it is as good as Descent.

thumbsup Descent - All players take their turns one after another, reminiscent of video games like Final Fantasy Tactics or Disgaea. Players can pull off huge combos of moves, encouraging cooperative play.

thumbsdown Star Wars Imperial Assault - Players take their turns between each of the Empire's actions, encouraging them to play their actions early and take a selfish action. Cooperation is hardly encouraged, everyone is basically Han Solo.






The Castles of Burgundy - 10/10

I have played most of Stefan Feld’s games, he is one of my favourite designers, however Burgundy is probably his best. It has a great dice placement mechanism that drives everyone’s actions that is simple, and clean. The game has a tonne of depth, especially when players play with asymmetric player boards. I’m not overly keen on playing with less than four players, though I am aware that people enjoy this one quite a lot as a two player game.
Castles of Burgundy was actually one of the first heavy euros that entered my collection, which is probably one of the reasons why it has a special place for me.






Among the Stars - 10/10

I consider Among the Stars to be somewhat of a hybrid game for me. It has the drafting mechanism from 7 Wonders, but with four drafts instead of three; and the tile laying mechanism from Alhambra, along with the endless array of modular expansions. Both of those games are a 9/10 for me, but together they make a 10/10 game.
I’m not usually one for getting hung up on theme, but I love the idea of carefully building up a space station at a time of peace. The game has conflict decks in case you want to make it less euro-ey, but I never play with them; I like that I have the option. The game is outstanding, and unlike Alhambra, it keeps getting better with each new expansion. If they keep making more of this game, I will keep buying it!






Android - 10/10

Did I leave the best game for last? probably. Android is the the perfect marriage of gaming subtypes, all wrapped up with a Blade Runner / Ghost in the Shell style noir, dystopian future theme. Here’s a bunch of reasons that make Android my favourite game.

It’s thematic - Player’s each take the role of a different character, each with a back story, two decks of cards, and a different set of strategies. I have read part of the accompanying book series too, which paints a picture of a bleak cyberpunk future, full of sleaze, drugs and corruption.

It tells a story - There are six different campaigns, each with three plot twists to play with. Added to that, every card in the game has a bunch of flavour text on it. If you play with a group of people who are willing to get into their roles and their characters, you can really get the most out of the game. On top of the main murder story in the game, players each have their own backstory to deal with, and a grand conspiracy to attempt to uncover.

Hidden information - Everyone has a different suspect that they believe is guilty and one suspect that they believe is innocent. They will be placing evidence for and against people being guilty. All of this information is hidden from the other players until game end, forcing players to need to deduct what the others are going for.

Under all the glitter, it is essentially a euro - The entire game is actually a complex set of mechanisms to generate points, so the player that finds the guilty suspect will score a large number of points, but will not necessarily win.

There are no dice - Which is so refreshing in a big thematic game.




Please share your 10/10s, either in the comments or in a blog post of your own
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Thu Aug 27, 2015 9:15 pm
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BoardGameGeek News :: Gen Con 2015 XVI: Artifacts, Inc., Above and Below, The Last Spike, Arcadia, Chaos Cove, The Great Dinosaur Rush & Spirits of the Rice Paddy

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
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• One of the many sellout titles at Gen Con 2015 was Ryan Laukat's Artifacts, Inc., published by his own Red Raven Games, and I believe that a second small batch of games was rushed in for the weekend to ensure that as many folks as possible could go home with a copy. Thankfully Laukat stepped away from folks wanting to hand him money long enough to talk about the game in the BGG booth.





• The second title that Laukat presented to us at Gen Con 2015 was Above and Below, which is due out before the end of 2015. This storytelling/town-building game has a sweet look to it, with the storytelling being something along the lines of Tales of the Arabian Nights.





• Tom Dalgliesh's The Last Spike from Columbia Games is a new edition of a game first released nearly four decades earlier from Gamma Two Games. You never know when something's going to return to print...





Arcadia from designers Greg Bush and Phil R. Chase and publisher APE Games is one of several amusement park-themed games to hit the market in recent years. What's going to be the next setting to sweep through the game design community? I'm guessing soft serve ice cream shops.





• And now we enter the preview section of this post, with Spirits of the Rice Paddy from Philip duBarry scheduled to hit stores in September 2015, with players trying to be the best rice farmer they can be.





• Designer Scott Almes has been placing designs all over the place, with The Great Dinosaur Rush due out from APE Games at the end of 2015, giving players the chance to dig up (wooden) bones and assemble dinosaurs from their finds.





• Finally from APE Games is Chaos Cove, a 2016 release from Andrew Federspiel with player mercenaries using special gadgets and their unique skills to complete missions.

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Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:00 pm
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GamesByRich.com: Classic Games Redefined blog :: I am taking a break producing YouTube content (video)

Richard Hutnik
United States
Poughkeepsie
New York
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I figured I would give a plug for my Facebook group. I am currently taking a break from putting up game videos, as I figure what to do with the channel. I have one more video I will be looking to make available over the weekend.

More info in this video...

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Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:50 pm
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小測 XIAO CE :: 20150827 @ SOSO

HUEI-CHIANG TSAI
Taiwan
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與會
Hector / Albert / 東月 / 尚豪 / POKI
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DOMI農 / 金山骰 / 手機大戰

sauronDOMI農 / by me
1. 三人局
2. 只有特定作物會收草,功能單一化,起手7/3

1. 感想: 流暢許多,起手草3,不會有浪費行動的感覺,需要有與草策略更多搭配的牌,才能加強草存在的效果,否則會變成呆板


sauron金山骰 / by me
1. 七人局
2. 加入地點收集的要素,微調部份行動格

1. 感想: 七人局果然還是太多人,可能極限是六人遊戲,雖然遊戲不會太冗長,但人數一多的感覺是競爭失焦了,玩家無法確立自己的分數順位,進而很快地從遊戲的刺激中冷淡;將每個地點設為收集地點牌或是行動,兩種選擇,比較聚焦與有累積的體驗,火車站設為所有玩家蓋完鐵路後,會算分。感覺比較有目標,但又有一種以現在的架構進行就好的想法,可能想要拉遠或是增加層次,反而會破壞目前微妙的狀態。


sauron手機大戰 / by Albert
1. 五人局
2. 採用波多黎各的行動牌,先選擇的玩家有特權;將手機特性改為比較明確的項目,eg,音樂/外型/電池/等等。

1. 感想: 旁觀,波多黎各的重點擺在時機進行行動,但手機大戰中的重點是在搶市,我後來舉大王的例子來解釋,建議所有生產皆為自動生產,簡化遊戲,讓玩家從決定搶哪個市場,決定怎麼進行研發,將部門取消,因為部門跟研發是重疊的概念


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Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:49 pm
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Game Designers Meetup - Cardiff (Playtest UK) :: Games with multiple variants; and some praise for the good manners of publishers.

Adam Porter
Wales
Cardiff
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I haven't been designing much lately. My last couple of weeks have been filled with hours and hours of prototype-construction. I'm preparing for Essen Spiel (6 weeks away!) and there is still much to be done. So I was very happy upon arriving at the game-designers meeting last night to not only find that we had a pretty good turn-out (five of us), but also that Rob and Tom each had something to show.

Tom kicked us off with a swash-buckling pirate card game. It was super-light and very rough-and-ready (hand-scrawled cards) but it had potential. At this stage the discussion revolved around finding the areas that were most interesting about the game and focussing on developing one or two of those areas, with mentions of drafting, bidding, and resource allocation all thrown into the mix. Of course, adding in too much at once could ruin the game - muddy the waters - so Tom's in the early stages (the most fun part...) picking over the various choices of mechanisms, considering which option would best suit his theme, and most importantly establishing which mechanism is going to offer up a wealth of fun decisions.

Rob has been through a similar process with his trick-taking game recently - I have briefly covered it in previous blog-posts. Last week, Rob threw everything at the game turning it into an unwieldy mess (no need to mince my words because it has since improved...) This week, he stripped it back to the absolute basics: the cards were reduced to a single colour and rank; the set collection mechanism was simple; the scoring was intuitive playing a little like Lost Cities with its increasing chains of numbers, and penalties for short chains.



Rob's version of the game last week (above)




Rob's version of the same game this week! (above): Something tells me he took my criticism of his graphic design to heart!


Last week after our game of Uno, I suggested that Rob took a look at Yardmaster (a very simple set-collection card game soon to be reprinted by Iello with some lovely new artwork). While Rob's game doesn't use the same set-collection mechanisms, Yardmaster seems to have inspired something. Rob's simplified game works beautifully. (And Rob has a fabulous theme in mind for it too!)

This all lead us onto another of our trademark debates (or "friendly disagreements"). Rob's instinct is to include in the game a variety of cards which each change the scoring criteria so that every game is slightly different to the last. I argued against this approach (rather hypocritally since my games Thrown, City Rollers, and Make It Snappy all have variable rules). Rob is full of ideas - he can see multiple approaches for scoring his game, and indeed multiple rulesets for playing his game. He feels that offering these up to the players will increase replayability and deepen their experience. I don't disagree. But I feel such an approach would limit marketability and potentially turn-off new players.

Rob's design is akin to the small-box card games of Amigo or NSV - we're in the realms of Sticheln, Habe Fertig, 6 Nimmt here. Most games of this ilk do not feature rules-variants in their instruction sheets; Sticheln, however, does. I remember purchasing Port Royal and finding a variant in the rule-set that was so similar to the basic game that I wondered why the designer hadn't just picked one and presented that to us as the official rule. It smacks of indecisiveness to me and as a purchaser I lose a little confidence: "...but which version should I play for the BEST experience?" Realistically, small card games like these are going to be played sporadically, maybe a few times in a burst, then left on the shelf for a few months, before resurfacing; they are not lifestyle games. I don't think they need rules variants to introduce replayability. A good example of the genre is usually extremely replayable with a single ruleset. When I suggested that such a game might only be played occasionally, rather than constantly by a single group of players, Rob said, "That seems an odd thing to aim for." He has a point, but I didn't mean that as a criticism. I love Habe Fertig, Dicht Dran, Hamsterbacke, Abluxxen, David and Goliath and the like. I have a collection of these games. I don't play any one of them over and over again. I dabble with them; sample one then move on to another. And another. And eventually return to a previous example. Maybe I'm not indicative of the average game-player.

I'd be interested to hear other game-players' thoughts on these small card games:
Do you play one example over and over again?
Do you sample a variety of small card games sporadically, as I describe above?
Sticheln players - do you use the variant rules or stick to one favoured ruleset?

Incidentally, I don't object to such variation when the changing ruleset IS the game. For example, in Dominion the game is really about finding the best strategy within the current card-pool. Likewise in Kingdom Builder and Libertalia. There are a couple of trick-taking games which do precisely this: Stich-meister and On the Cards both make a selling-point of an ever-changing experience. This is the approach I have taken with City Rollers, Thrown, and Make It Snappy: adapting tactics to the changing rules is the whole game. Without that aspect, the games cease to exist. Most trick-taking games don't do this: they feature mechanics representative of the whole genre, but make one or two simple tweaks - presenting a single ruleset. They then package themselves as a new game even though, at their core, they are a variant on the classic Hearts or Trumps model.

Anyway, another interesting discussion and a good meeting.

Before I sign off from this blog post, I wanted to mention something about my recent communications with board-game publishers. I have sent out a lot of emails over recent weeks and I am impressed by the decency and politeness of the company representatives. I have had acceptances from some - rejections from others - but never have the replies been anything other than friendly and encouraging.

"Your game has merit but it wouldn't fit into our line at the moment."
"I think you have come up with something very innovative and interesting, but it is not what I am looking for at the moment" etc.

Lots of publishers have encouraged me to find them at Essen and say Hello, despite rejecting the games. All have suggested that I continue to communicate with them about future designs. Many have made a point of THANKING me for considering them for publication of my prototypes. It is easy to forget that the publishers need designers as much as we need them. It is easy to fall into the pattern of thinking that we are asking the publishers to do us a favour by publishing our games. In truth, what we are doing is building creative relationships, which may develop into mutually beneficial partnerships. I don't know what I expected when I started sending out unsolicited emails - but I have been surprised by the warmth of the responses.
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Thu Aug 27, 2015 5:17 pm
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Holtidő Blog :: Life is like a game of chess...

saabee
Hungary
Atomváros/Budapest
Tolna/Budapest
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Thu Aug 27, 2015 5:00 pm
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