Geeklist s for Dark Moon

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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Justin Wawrzonek
United States
Amsterdam
New York
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Only one game this week. My D&D group and I played a quick game of Dark Moon while we were waiting for other players to arrive. The game really didn't seem to click, although I think half of that was the rule book being a little confusing. We missed a few rules that were quite important. Here's hoping the next game goes a bit better, as I really love the idea of a short, streamlined Battlestar Galactica.
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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"Watch, but do not govern; stop war, but do not wage it; protect, but do not control; and first, survive!" - Cordwainer Smith
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Battle Sheep
Sheriff of Nottingham
Dark Moon
Can't Stop x2
Bears!

No new games this week! I did get my copy of Mottainai, and from my futzing around with it I'm super eager to get it to the table. It looks like it's all the fun of Glory to Rome in a very compact package.
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
United States
Davis
California
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Dark Moon

(Image credit: derrickec -- brilliant design work!)

A really fun hidden traitor sci-fi survival game with tight game play and brilliant retro graphic design

You thought the mining gig on Titan would be dull. Turns out, not so much.

A few days ago, two crew members got infected with something and went nuts. The Commander had to shoot them both. But before they died, they managed to disable part of the station's shield generator. The resulting spike in radiation took down a couple of the main control systems. It should have been fairly easy to repair. But new problems keep cropping up and you're starting to wonder whether someone is intentionally interfering with the work. Everyone's on edge. You'll need to watch your back.


I really had a blast playing this game (two times, back-to-back, which is very unusual for my game group). Its mechanics work very well to create a thematic sense of paranoia and suspicion.

Every turn, a player can take an action (e.g., attempt to repair a broken system) and must then confront a task (which provides an opportunity for every player to contribute toward the success or failure of the task). Failed tasks can bring new system malfunctions, sometimes catastrophic ones. Success advances progress on a series of event cards. Uninfected players win if all events are completed without any of the essential station components fully crashing. Infected players win by fully disabling one of the essential systems before the events are completed.

Everything is driven by dice that the players roll behind their screens. Players then choose dice to place in front of their screens, to determine whether some action or task resolution is successful.

When players are called on to contribute dice toward some goal, they choose one from behind the screen. Some die faces are positive (2/6), but most are negative (4/6). If a player consistently puts out negative dice, suspicion will grow. But that could just be a string of bad luck, which is not so improbable given the way the dice are weighted toward negative results. But still...

Players can call a vote to "quarantine" a player that is suspected of being infected. Quarantined players are partially disabled, losing some of their dice and having limits on the actions they can perform.

On their turn, the infected players can choose to reveal their status. Revealing allows the infected player to immediately damage some of the base's system (unless they're quarantined when they reveal, which is why you want to lock them up). It also changes the actions available to the revealed player, providing a new range of things to do to directly harm the station.

The game design is really clever. Everything hangs together tightly and thematically. The kinds of mind games that the game's system produced were hilariously fun and thematic. In our second game, we all (wrongly) suspected one player of being infected and quarantined him. He stayed locked up for the rest of the game, frantically trying to figure out how to convince us that he was on our side and could do much more good if he wasn't tied to the f*cking couch!

[NSFW]



If you like hidden traitor games, I really recommend this. It played in about 90 minutes for our first game and a little less once we knew the rules well. It's got a great physical production, really clever system design, and was a huge amount of fun. We were laughing and arguing almost from the start. Great game!


ZhanGuo

(Image credit: bovbossi)

A smart card-driven, medium-heavy, build-stuff-for-points game, riddled with clever and difficult trade-offs.

It's 230 BC, and players are helping to unify China by placing palaces and governors in the five provinces and by building segments of the Great Wall. All of those things provide victory points in various euro-standard ways (some of which vary from game to game, based on randomized set-up).

The game is driven by a very interesting card play system. On your turn, you must play one card. You can either play it to your personal tableau or use it to take an action.

Playing a card to your tableau gets you some influence of the same color as the card you just played (which is good) and possibly some "unrest" in the region where you played it (which is bad).

Playing a card for an action allows you to perform one one of the basic game actions:

• Place an "official" in your tableau.
• Move officials around within your tableau.
• Install a governor into a province on the board (costs officials but eliminates some unrest).
• Acquire workers (requires that officials be in the dedicated recruitment area of your tableau and creates unrest).
• Build a palace (costs workers; awards VP and influence).
• Build a wall segment (costs workers).

That's all pretty straightforward. But here's where it gets more interesting: whenever you play a card for an action, you might also trigger any related special powers on your tableau cards). In order to trigger them, you must play a card that is either higher or lower than the last card that anyone played to perform an action (each card has a unique number on it, from 1-120). Some actions require that you play a higher card; others require a lower card.

For example, suppose I play a card in order to get workers. For workers, special powers are triggered if I play a higher card than the last played. If so, all of the worker-related special powers in my tableau are triggered.

The powers on these cards are great and you really want to trigger them as often as you can. If you have a strong tableau and you manage it well, you'll get more benefit from the special powers than you will from the base action. It's critical to do this well. Good luck with that.

Once everyone has played all the cards in their hands, there is a tricksy little "rewards" phase, where players have a chance to cash in influence for bonuses (which get stronger each round, becoming critical toward the end of the game). I won't explain all of the ways that this subsystem is clever, but it really is.

After the last round is complete, there's end-game scoring. Most points wins.

This is a brilliantly designed game. It's extremely tight with constant trade-offs. You only get six cards per round, for five rounds, so you'd better hurry up and get stuff done. But you also need to build and manage a strong tableau. And beat your opponents to the best stuff.

My wife and I have played it with two and it works very well. The games are very close, despite the fact that we take different strategic routes (based on how we've built our tableaus).

Components and art are the high quality I expect from What's Your Game.

Great stuff!


Trains: Rising Sun

(Image credit: EndersGame)

Very fun light-medium deck-building game with a meaningful route-building component.

This has been described, somewhat dismissively, as "Dominion with a board." That's apt, as far as it goes, but the intergration between the deck-building and the construction of routes on the maps is extremely well done. My wife and I played this four times in two days and would probably have played again if we didn't have other demands on our time.

Play is brisk, with little down time. The route-building involves terrain costs and soft-blocking (making it more expensive to build in developed spaces), and every action that builds infrastructure requires the player to draw "waste" cards and add them to the deck. These cards do nothing but clutter up your hand. Fortunately, there are some cards that let you dispose of waste in various ways. And if you draw a bunch of waste in your hand, you can choose to spend the whole turn dumping those waste cards back into the supply. The waste-management subsystem adds a lot to the game, making it more than just a race to build VP.

The graphic design is clean and attractive. The game play is surprisingly thematic. And there is another card set and expansion maps to increase the already considerable replayability.

The Rising Sun base set (which we played) includes maps specifically scaled for two-players, which I really appreciated. I've ordered the 2d map set, which also includes 2p maps (including California!).

This is a very good game for the niche that it fills.


Quartermaster General

(Image credit: Mouseketeer)

Light, team-based, card-driven WWII game of grand strategy.

This is high abstraction WWII game with six players on two teams (the Axis, comprised of Germany, Japan, and Italy, and the Allies, made up of the US, the UK, and the Soviet Union).

Each player has a unique deck of cards, with a different mix of eight types of cards:

• Build Army (lets you place an land space adjacent to one of your supplied units.
• Build Navy (same, but for placing a fleet in a sea space)
• Land battle (destroy an enemy army in a land space adjacent to one of your supplied units.
• Sea Battle (same, but destroy a fleet in an adjacent sea space)
• Status (play face up in front of you to acquire an always-on special power).
• Response (play face down to create a "trap" that can be triggered for a one-time effect when a specified condition is met)
• Event (trigger a one-time event)
• Economic Warfare (similar to an event, but with an emphasis on forcing a player to discard cards)

The mix of cards in the players' deck are tailored to their strategic situation and produce a surprisingly thematic play experience. We had the US building industrial infrastructure for the first half of the game and then crossing the seas to launch overwhelming attacks. The UK hung on for dear life, repelling invasions until the US was ready to attack. The Soviets took heavy losses until it got its feet under it, then became a juggernaut. Etc.

I played Italy, which has a reputation for being the least fun position. I did okay, building a fleet in the Med, invading North Africa, and twice assaulting the UK from the Atlantic. The UK had response cards to fend me off. If he hadn't the Axis would likely have had an early and decisive sudden death win. Unfortunately, Germany burned through his deck a little too fast, leaving him exhausted in the late game. And Japan turtled too much (despite a lack of pressure from the US and me repeatedly urging him to take India and press the Soviets from the East). In the end, the Axis ran out of steam, the Yanks invaded Western Europe and rolled over Germany and Italy.

The game's interesting and lively (though we had some APers in the group, making the game drag on about a third longer than it should have). I'm interested to try it again.

Two concerns: (1) We ran into an irritating number of cards that required on-the-fly interpretation of ambiguities. (2) We were impressed by how things played out in very historical ways; but I worry a touch about whether that means the game could become scripted. Neither issue was enough to seriously affect my enjoyment.

Good game!


Trambahn

(Image credit: Andre1975)

A well designed abstract card game for two, with an attractively pasted-on streetcar theme.

There are four streetcar lines in 19th Century Munich (red, yellow, green, and blue), and you're trying to do a better job of managing them than your opponent.

On each turn, you start with a hand of six cards. You can play these cards in a number of ways, in the following order:

(1) You MUST begin your turn by playing one or two cards onto one of the four passenger terminals (one for each line).

(2) Next, you MAY play cards from your hand to color-specific columns in your tableau. These "stations" must be played in increasing numeric value (1-10). You can have more than one column in each color.

(3) Then, you MAY play cards face down to your money pile (each counts as 1,000 Marks).

(4) Finally, you may spend money from your money pile to buy a train and place it at the head of a station column. Each column must have one train (and one only).

Finally, you refill your hand for the next turn.

Whenever someone places the fourth passenger on a terminal, that color immediately scores. Every column of the matching color, for both players, produces VP equal to the multiplier value of its train (2-4) times the total VP value of the cards in the column. After the 10th such scoring, the game ends. Most VP wins.

My wife compared it to Lost Cities, but with more going on (money management, train multipliers, and manipulation of the timing of the scorings).

It's a well designed game, with attractive components. But it didn't blow me away. That may not be the game's fault. I'm a little burnt out on head-to-head two-player card games right now.


Nations

(Image credit: TimarkP)

Did not enjoy this as a two-player game.

This is a very well-put-together card-based civilization game. I suspect it would be a lot of fun with more than two (though I also suspect it would be too long at higher counts). Ultimately, my wife and I really didn't like it as a two-player game. I disliked it enough that I'm not going to bother discussing its mechanisms. Instead, just a quick note on why it didn't work for us:

In my first play, my wife got a solid edge on military superiority. As a result, she had a cake-walk and I was continually struggling to do much of anything. Second game, the exact opposite happened. Neither of us enjoyed being on the short end of the military stick. And it wasn't much fun holding the long end and watching my wife repeatedly stymied.

It seems obvious that "stability" is intended as a counterweight to military dominance (it negates some harmful effects of war and has some effect in end-of-round events). But in our two games, it was insufficient to balance the game. There are too many good things you can do with military that your opponent cannot do (wars, battles, colonies, and dominance of the end-of-round events).

We were especially bothered by the zero-sum nature of the events. Suppose an event says something like: player with most military gets two food, least military loses two food. In a multi-player game, that's not too big a deal. You can try to fall in the middle, or just ride out a loss by doing something else valuable. But in a two-player game that's a mostly unavoidable 4 unit swing. And there's a lot of that kind of stuff. Add in the dominant military's stronger position to take colonies and win battles and wars, and the other player is really hurting.

Not every game plays well with two. This one didn't.
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Marc Baumann
Switzerland
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This one I forgot, I really want to check it out! I like hidden traitor games and if they don't go that long - even better.
 
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Uffe
United Kingdom
Cheadle
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Det ender jeg nok med ikke at tage med da jeg har begrænset plads i kufferten.
 
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
David J. Mortimer
United Kingdom
Melksham
Wiltshire
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Stronghold really go the extra mile on components. Certainly on my check out and possibly buy list.
 
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Rob Pearson
United States
Ankeny
Iowa
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Loves Theme
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Des Moines Area Boardgamer
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GeekList: My Must Own List
Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Nicole Bird
United States
Palmdale
California
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We like hidden traitor games, but don't like super long game play, this one seems like a perfect fit.
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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"Watch, but do not govern; stop war, but do not wage it; protect, but do not control; and first, survive!" - Cordwainer Smith
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...watch how I soar!
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Wizard
BSG Express
Dark Moon NEW!
Spyfall x5
SHH NEW!
OddVille
Glen More
David & Goliath NEW!
Bears!
Bad Beets NEW!

A good week for gaming, between my usual game group and zipping over to Turlock for games with Grace and Travis and Jennifer

I finally got to try one of Chris Handy's Pack-o-game games in SHH (a ridiculous name, especially when you use it in conversation). It's a decent little micro co-op who's challenge lies mostly with the fact that players can't talk to each other: there are 26 cards (one for each letter of the alphabet) and collectively you're trying to build words one letter at a time. Every word you complete adds positively to your score (with vowels scoring only in words of 5 letters or more), and any cards leftover in your hands after you've collectively passed 4 times are negative. It works well for what it is, but the gimmick of it being super-super tiny (in both design and physical size) doesn't do a whole lot for me. Novel, to be certain, but overall eh.

I'd heard a lot about David & Goliath and was happy to sit down for a play of it with Travis and Jennifer at Grace's. I'm of a bit of two minds about it: on the one hand, it does have a clever twist to the usual trick taking formula that shakes up the usual incentive structure and makes what would be automatic plays in any other trick-taker not so automatic. While it was hard to wrap my brain around initially, I was starting to get some of it's nuances after our fifth and final hand. On the other hand, I think it suffered from being only the latest in a long line of trick takers that I've now since played, and as such I don't think it ranks very highly. If I want some laid back play with dramatic twists (and make no mistake, I started enjoying D&G a heck of a lot more when I stopped caring about playing well), I'd play Wizard, and if I wanted something mean and twisty that made me think, I'd play Sticheln. I just don't see a place for this game in the pantheon of trick-takers that I'd want to play, for all its merits.

Bad Beets succeeds in being a kinder, gentler version of Coup, and one that I really like on paper. In play, it's still pretty good! You get the same short term bluffing and speedy game play but with a more Mascarade-y level of gentleness for bluff calling. Since you're dealing with a pile of beets rather than two lonely character cards, it's much less punishing to call people out. It also manages to be a bit more streamlined (calling someone's bluff only ever gives bonuses/maluses to the player doing the calling out, if you try to do an action and have your bluff called, you simply don't do it), but also a bit more twisty (there are interrupt cards that happen even if someone's bluff is called, so for some actions you have to make sure you give enough time both for the reacts AND for the bluff calling).

However, with the edges sanded off, it's also less exciting than Coup, which is something I never thought I'd say. I think I still prefer Bad Beets (both for the re-jiggering and the theme, which is cute as all get out), but it also gave me a bit more appreciation for Coup. Doesn't mean I like it any more than usual, though

And finally, I got an interesting double-header in my usual game group on Tuesday. I'd brought my copy of BSG Express on request since the head of the group had gotten Dark Moon, and I ended up playing both back-to-back at the beginning of the evening. I really like what Evan was going for with the original BSG Express design, as it managed to capture the spirit of the original in a fraction of the playing time. I do have to say, however, that the mechanical changes made in Dark Moon make a lot of sense and in no way diminish the original PnP.

While the double loyalty card mechanic from the original is gone (and I can see why, the play time was just too short for it to really have any impact), the crisis system is still present and just as tense. The "Jump" mechanic now borrows more from the base BSG game (with dynamic events happening after a number of successful "tasks," or crises), and the re-tweak to how voting works for Brigging/Quarantining (it's now a closed fist vote rather than re-using the crisis/task system, which prevents people from using it as an opportunity to sit out and recover dice) really ups the quality of the game.

In short, playing it made me go out and immediately get a copy, despite already owning the PnP. It's that good! I'm eagerly looking forward to playing this one a whole lot more.
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GeekList: Essen 2015 Da2
Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Jesús Gómez-Monedero
Spain
Ocaña
Toledo
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Este es el Galactica de 2 horas y está ya a la venta. También lo era el Dead of Winter. ¿Quién se alzará con la corona?. (Sí, soy un cylon).
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Ingo Immer
Germany
Saterland
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Stronghold Games, Booth 3-M107

BSG Express !!!

 
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Ingo Immer
Germany
Saterland
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BSG Express

but expensive, must playtest before buying.
 
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Thomas Van Assche
Belgium
Bissegem
West Vlaanderen
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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Beautiful production (wooden dice aside!), smooth and intuitive gameplay, great player interaction, and a 60-90-min. playtime - this game has a lot going for it.

I played Specter Ops at TotalCon knowing I was not a fan of deduction games. I played Dark Moon at the WBC this year knowing I am not a fan of hidden traitors. In both cases, each game changed my mind about its corresponding genre.

We played a 6-player game with two infected. And poor Zach came under fire immediately. The two infected did an amazing job convincing the rest of us they were on our side. I never suspected Drew or Joanna and as a result, they won. It was really good fun.

I am actually considering buying this game given its easy rules explanation and playtime. The art design makes it that much more tempting. If only there were sweet, engraved plastic dice. Oh well.
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Kris Ardianto
Indonesia
DKI Jakarta - Jakarta Utara
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BSG Express? Well I hope this could equal or surpass Panic Station for me. I love the feel of Panic Station and wish this could also give the same feel of paranoia. It's a dice game and the Japanese feel of the visual is also unique.

My Interest:

Pros:
+ Dice Game
+ Good theme
+ Good visual presentation
+ Promising traitor game

Cons:
- Bad art cover
- Could be a hit or miss game
- Quite expensive
- prone to dice manipulation
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Simon "that sci-fi guy" AKA tiggers
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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I think I'd really like this. You know I love sci-fi, but I've also been enjoying bluffing games more this past year.
 
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Jack K
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
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Or, even better, BSG Express...
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
André G.
Germany
Braunschweig
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Will take a closer look.
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Daniel Ottey
United States
Royersford
Pennsylvania
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New to me

This is the so-called "BSG Express." It is supposed to have the feeling of Battlestar Galactic, but take a lot less time.

Perhaps it was because most of us were learning the game, but I thought it took too long for what it was. I'd rather have a short game of One Night Ultimate Werewolf or a long game of BSG compared to this "middle-ground."
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GeekList: August gaming
Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Dallan Christenson
United States
Porterville
California
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Lastly we played Dark Moon. Needless to say, the board kicked out heinies. We spend most of the game trying to control the board, and when we had a chance to complete an objective, our dice rolls completely failed! How, then, does this game contain larceny? There are several options to take dice away from other players and/or command! That's how! LARCENY!!!

As it turned out, us uninfected folk we able to guess Steve's treachery. I took away his command by voting him into quaratine...just to let him out later by a flip of a coin. Don't worry! We got him back into quarantine shortly thereafter.

Mark, on the other hand, had us all fooled. I don't think any of us considered him infected, all that is except for our Psychologist, Tony.

Game: 1
Us: 0

Andrew - Sheild Tech (uninfected) 3rd and final commander
Brian - Ops Manager (uninfected)
Dallan - Doctor (uninfected) only one to complete the 2 Lone Wolf objectives - 2nd commander
Mark - Hazard (infected)
Steve - Recon (infected) 1st commander
Tony - Psychologist (uninfected)

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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Willem Verhoef
Netherlands
Weert
Limburg
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Really want this game. Price seems a bit high at 60 euro though
 
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Patrick Dettmar
United States
Ontario
California
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A group of people are trapped together, and some are infected; you need to try to figure out who is and who is not infected.

this is a very unique dice mechanic, you roll them secretly and then use them to vote on crises (like battlestar galactica). very interesting use of dice.
 
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
pacemaker 67
United States
Naperville
Illinois
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Rick Fuss
United States
Illinois
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Played a 5-player game at the Stronghold Booth. Of all the games that I played at GenCon, this was my favorite. Highly atmospheric, great game.

If my friend didn't pick it up I would have.
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Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1238]
Agent Emme
United States
Ohio
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Phelanpt Feb 11, 2:15 PM: evils have mostly stood by and watch goods fall. except for emme. she's spinning them round and round.
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Wednesday:

It took us forever to find a dinner place that could accommodate 7 people because Gen Con is such a success at this point. After dinner I asked Zach if we could play Dark Moon, a game which he bought at Origins. He had it on him, so I summoned Krystin, Greg, and my Gen Con social deduction friends Eric, Ryan, and Amy to join us.


Concept: Each player receives a secret/hidden card that assigns an Infected or Uninfected status. The objective of the Uninfected is to resolve 4 obstacles. The objective of the Infected is to destroy 1 of 3 areas on the board before 4 obstacles are resolved. On a player's turn they can attempt to fix something that's broken, and at the end of the turn they draw a crisis card that provides the opportunity to resolve an obstacle.


This game was originally billed as Battlestar Galactica Express, and I think that's a fairly accurate title. The game's obstacles, mechanics, and goals were very similar to BSG. I personally don't particularly like BSG (5/10 when I'm playing, 2/10 when it comes to getting me to agree to play), so I wasn't a huge fan of Dark Moon. Based on my limited experience I can't recommend one over the other - Dark Moon is faster (about an hour and a half?) but BSG has more tension.

Everything went smoothly for most of the game, and we resolved 3 obstacles without much issue. Then Greg contributed a -2 point die to a crisis card claiming it was the least worst roll behind his screen, but I knew that wasn't true because he had pushed his screen way forward by this point and I could see a +2 die in his area (I wasn't trying to peek - I was sitting 2 seats away and the die was really visible). So I outted him as infected. Eric had the next turn and drew a crisis card that said we could resolve part of an obstacle if a player he named agreed to show Eric their Infection Status card. Eric named Greg, who of course refused. I had the next turn and stuffed Eric in a locker because he had 5 dice instead of 4 and was capable of single-handedly sabotaging the next few crisis cards. Zach failed to fix an area on the board on his turn, and Infected Greg and Krystin were able to damage one of the areas enough to win. Blech.

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