Love ya when I can play ya.

I always enjoy gaming, especially with my Stillwater crew, covid has changed that quite a bit for me. Let's get some use out of my game table, shall we (I)?

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Omega Centauri

Christian Smith
United States
Minnesota
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Like many others, when the Voidfall campaign hit kickstarter, I had to choose between Voidfall and Fractal... I chose Fractal. The art direction looked better, the game looked better and most of all it did not have deterministic combat. Fractal looked much more for my tastes than Voidfall. However, a month or 2 later I had a chance to buy Omega Centauri (the spiritual precursor) to Voidfall. For $50 vs. The $150 ish price range this seemed much more worthwhile of my time and money. Additionally my buddy Paul backed voidfall so I get to play that eventually anyway.

Omega Centari's components won't blow anyone's minds. They work, they are functional, they are totally mediocre. However, as I read through the rules and set the game up I realized there was quite a bit more to it than initially thought. For example, there are all kinds of technologies players can research in order to create a more asynchronous faction for themselves. This was going to be hard to track playing 2 handed solitaire.

One faction was allowed to trade resources in whether they were unique or not, the other would score victory points for conquered sectors instead of looting the planet. They were different enough, but I think one would need to have 3 or 4 of these factions going to really see the differences in them executed to their fullest. I think this would be a better 3 or 4 player game than a 2 player one. I played the factions to their strengths, but wasn't able to focus 100% of my attention on eithers exact abilities.

So I got the game set up, sort of charted each player's path to victory and set off to see what story Mr. Buckle's game could tell.

From gallery of 2TFruitT


Turns out it tells the story of some Rebels fighting an evil Empire!

After a round or 2 I found that the deterministic combat was actually fun, I should not have judged a book by it's cover. I am someone that really likes dice combat or manipulated dice combat so initially i was scared off by this categorization. But it turned out to be quite enjoyable thinking through how these battles would play out. Especially as the two factions and the Void developed competing technologies that affected battle. I often found myself setting up the battles on the side just to see how they'd work through as I'm more of a visual person than not. This was actually quite fun to think thru.

Outside of combat some of these technologies allowed you to erect different buildings that would score victory points or perhaps allow you to complete a couple actions instead of a singular build, assemble or move. These factions really did become quite different.I'm excited to try this with the game group to watch these factions grow a little more organically than I was able to give them life.

The 2 factions beat back the void, shrunk down it's control of the middle of the board and I eventually started thinking about how the 2 factions would actually battle each other. The board necessitates you building out into the middle where the void grips the galaxy and then eventually you get close enough to be able to battle with each other. Nigel must have decided to have the wormhole in the middle to be adjacent to every sector around it to help make more fun end game turns. The Orange faction took advantage of this in their endgame taking a sector away from the purple faction that probably would have surprised a real player quite a bit.

This game almost resolves down to a Risk like quality leaving a lot of controlled sectors with just a singular fleet in them. What I mean by that is you've built up all kinds of fleets send them hurtling towards the void and the void eats them through combat and shrinks them down to often one fleet left in each sector(as you can see in these pictures below). So as you take over territory your fleets are reduced quite a bit and I guess we're lucky that the Void doesn't attack back, because if it did, they could really grind out a lot of your sectors. I wonder if Nigel originally had this in his plans.. It would be really hard to accomplish but I kept wondering why the sector defenses were in the game because they just weren't used or needed in my play.

From gallery of 2TFruitT


There are certainly multiple ways to victory either through technologies or advancing on the era track or just beating down the void and seeing what loot remained. The biggest gripe I have is never really having enough reserve fleets available to do much on the era track or to even do the reserve fleet actions because these fleets were always used against the void out in the universe.

It would be super interesting to watch my friend Adam find some kind of comboriffic-engine with reserve fleets and reserve fleet actions and just keep burning through them and kind of turtling while advancing his technologies. He surely could find a way to score points that way which I'm sure would be competitive as well just not really my playstyle. We often have to destroy his toy before he gets it fully built.

To gain reserve fleets both factions worked towards the mobilization tokens each securing 2 of them and each using using the faction specific end game victory cards to score 30 points off of those mobilization tokens. This feels like one of those games were on the 5th play with the same people playing and everyone knowing all the technologies in their waste and there ways to synchronize with each other that this could be quite fun. My problem is I rarely play a game 5 times these days it's more like 2 or 3. I don't know if I need to get better at playing games more frequently or if these games just are not designed for my demographic.

From gallery of 2TFruitT


A couple other nitpics is that the galaxy is a small chunk of the table space, which is strange. The faction boards and the focus actions probably need better differentiations as I kept trying to take the token above the action that it represented instead of below it.

I feel like I've griped a bit about this game but it kept me on my toes and the puzzle was fun with both factions.

Either way the game was fun. I'm going try to get it to the table a couple times with my game group and see how they like it. The final score ended up being 259 points to 249 points after a fairly point salady finish.

Kudos goes to the 3 focus actions chosen and programmed at the start of every turn. That was really fun trying to guess what the other faction or player was going to do and this would be great in a 4 player game. Where some focus actions that you think are going to be beneficial end up not being able to be even completed. I really enjoy games that make you zig or zag vs. original plans. And the choices wholly man are there a lot of choices in this game!

This was a fun game, a close game and definitely challenged how i should be most efficient with each of my turns. The euro gamer looking for a 4X that fits their euro trash style is really going to enjoy this game.

I wonder what differences Voidfall has versus this... as this is a good, but somewhat dated game. I wonder how they've updated it. Mineclash is certainly good at producing an amazing looking game. I have Anachrony from the 1st kickstarter and really enjoy that. Trickerian has stayed on my shelf out of shrink but not played yet. Let's hope the marriage of this designer and this publisher bears great fruit because the bones of this game are really solid and I'm excited to play it now with my game group.

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From gallery of 2TFruitT


Omega Centauri
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Mon Dec 13, 2021 9:26 pm
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An EPIC series of gaming

Christian Smith
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Minnesota
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And by epic, I mean BIG, LONG games.

Nemesis
Had 3 guys over to the new house to play a round of Nemesis. When teaching this game (we had 2 somewhat experienced players) I struggle to keep it under 5 hours with teach. This one went the solid 5, but it kept us all on our toes the entire time. The teach is about 45 minutes and it just shouldn't take that long, but I can't get it any shorter. Amazing game, worth the length, but I see games of this going 2-3 hours here on the geek and I just don't know how they do it.

Also, I cheated. One of the players was about to die in the 4th turn as the queen somehow popped up on him. I GM'd the deck while half of the table was looking at something else to make sure he wasn't eliminated for the next couple of hours. This was the right thing to do, but no shit, one of the other players had an objective to kill said player... AND this player that I saved was the only one who made it off the ship at the end and won the game. Craziness. His odds of survival were incredibly low as he was infected twice and dueled with the queen. I guess it was his night.

One cinematic moment saw us trap the queen in a yellow room and then space her, that was super cool and relieved the early game pressure we found ourselves under.

My objectives were to kill the queen (check!) and to be the only survivor (not check!). Things were going my way as early on I was able to disable an engine and then run up to the cockpit and change the coordinates to Mars. I was well on my way. However, the game seems to allow you to do pretty much what you want until about the halfway point and then whammy, good luck, try managing during a crisis. This was me. I was ready to bail out an escape pod and call the game when I was attacked twice and became infected both times. I had to buddy up and run to the surgery room to heal... which I did, but ran out of gas one turn short of making her off the ship. It was epic, hilarious and soul crushing!

Luckily, the ship was slowly setting a course for full burn... literally, it went down in a firey blaze of glory. Good times! This game tells GREAT stories. I would play it weekly if I could.

From gallery of 2TFruitT



Time of Legends: Joan of Arc
1. I opened the core box and Reliquary box. Wowsers, lots of plastic and cardboard. You need the reliquary box to have the components to even start the first scenario. That is insane, that needs to be advertised better. But it is not.

I set up the first scenario, England (strong defense with archers) vs. France (mounted, charging cavalry).

This was my first go with this game as I have been waiting for the 1.5 components which still have not made it to me although it was supposed to deliver in October 2020 and they just needed to hit the PRINT button. Well, an intellectual cease and desist later and the world's container issues and maybe it will be here for Christmas.

This game is cool though. You know how Rahdo is always getting grief for thinking everything is great? Well, I have some Rahdo in me too it turns out, because when a game clicks and it is fun, it is a special feeling. This game clicked for me. I enjoy the medieval age and I love dudes on a map. This inserts a bit of Euro influence with management of action cubes and it just works swimmingly. I played both sides and sent the charging cavalry in over and over, but the English ended up sending their mounted bowman charging as well. This turned out to be the difference maker as they had great reach and could constantly pound the incoming cavalry from the infirmary. Lesson learned? Keep a unit back, because if the dice gods are with you, you can keep spawning units. The French lost handily, never even getting a sniff of the town they were trying to claim.

Fun game, excellent dice combat, awesome historical scenarios. I am excited to dig deeper into it. One niggle: every unit has different special powers and these often need to be looked up on the reference card (thank God for that) as it is super hard to keep track of them. This is what has stopped me from investing in Mythic Battles: Pantheon and I hope I get a hang of these shortly.

From gallery of 2TFruitT


Star Wars: Rebellion
Star Wars: Rebellion – Rise of the Empire
Paul was a part of my Nemesis adventure and he came back over a few weeks later for Rebellion. We had played this once before years ago and had a blast. During that game, I was the Empire and somehow ended the game fairly early with a lucky guess and some phenomenal die roles. This time I would find out how hard it is to win as the Rebellion. I made a few crucial errors.
1. Paul had a nice Star Destroyer at the edge of his Empire early in the game and I had a force strong enough to take it down. I attacked with the Rebels, taking down a Star Destroyer, we partied with Ewoks, life was good for a turn or two... until it wasn't.
2. Death Stars take two turns to attack, once to move into a system, another to attack, I didn't realize that.
3. If you are going to move your base, do it early. Paul was baring down on me with a fully functional Death Star, and I chose to move my base with 3 probe cards left. Not optimal. I had a singular option to move my base and Paul was well aware were it sat relatively undefended.
4. When you move your base, the units don't go with you. They plop down on the system that previously had your base. This makes total sense as how could that many troops teleport? but was a surprise I was not expecting. I had build up a couple ion canons and some of those ground guns as well... tough situation as it all would have gone up in smoke with the Death Star. I moved my base, then counter attacked with what was left there.
5. Did you know a Death Star can attack twice? Once with an Advanced Tactic card and then follows that up with a die attack? This doesn't seem right. The Death star took out my Corellian Cruiser with the card and then was able to take out my fighters during the normal combat. I had a good tactic card myself, negating red and black damage. I ultimately needed a singular fighter to make it thru space combat to have a chance at taking down the Death Star. I didn't have that, but rolled just for fun, 2 hits on 3 dice, that Death Star would have blown. I still struggle with how the death star can attack twice, but I guess it isn't my creation.
Even with all my lessons learned, I had a blast. If a story is told and it is worthwhile, the game is worthy. This game may be a perfect ten for me. How much of this is due to the theme? Can't say, I am certainly invested in Star Wars. But this is just a blast. Epic even.

From gallery of 2TFruitT



Games entering collection recently:
Omega Centauri (Paul backed Voidfall, wont be here for over a year, let's play the predecessor in the mean time)
Picture Perfect + 5/6 player Expansion (Wow, this could go over great with the fam, can't wait to give it a go. Delivery came 3 days after our family's Thanksgiving get together.
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Tue Nov 30, 2021 3:39 pm
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Thoughts on Fractal

Christian Smith
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Minnesota
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I don't remember exactly when, but an image for Fractal popped up on BGG and I was immediately drawn to game by the art. I knew it was going to be a 4x game, but knew nothing about it besides that. I subscribed immediately hoping that I wouldn't miss it. Would it be a big kickstarter game? Perhaps a smaller one with attractive art, but gameplay that doesn't capture my attention like Syndicate? Who knows in this age of a new game a day?

Fast forward to the kickstarter launch and like Odysseus to a siren, I fought back the urge to buy yet another game. I already have TI4, Empires of the Void2, Hyperspace may get here someday and my best gaming buddy has all of Eclipse 1E. Surely I couldn't need another 4x game right? Damn you Romain, Yann and Bernard, turns out I do.

I have played thru a couple of games multi-handed solo and thoroughly enjoyed everything about the game.

1. Asymmetry. The races are all different, leading you down a certain style of game play, but not locking you into it. I struggle when games do not allow me to zig when the boardstate tells me to, instead of zagging as my race "instructs" me to do.
2. Action selection/player boards. Limited to 4 actions, each only able to be performed once per turn. Easy to teach, easy to play. The economy of the game is quite interesting though as the 4 main action each come with a cost of a credit each, and the game is tight on money resources. How do you get more money? Drop your production specific colonies on the board! Sounds pretty easy, but in a 2 player game, there are only 4 productive worlds available to you. Money is tight. Not Grand Austria Hotel tight, but tight none-the-less. Each of the actions can be expanded upon by your race taking over the galaxy. Each type of colony creates an added benefit:
Imperial - expands the action cards you can play and amount of troops you can move when taking an Advance action.
Productive - expands your income, which you receive at the start of turns.
Scientific - expands your science points received on Research action and the distance your troops can move on an Advance action.
Military - expands the troops you can launch when taking the Recruit action.
All of these are interconnected and work exceeding well in this game system.

From gallery of 2TFruitT


3. Expansion/Exploration/Exploitation. Building colonies is very cool here. Each planet you expand to will limit what you can build there, sometimes totally restricting it, unless you have a tech upgrade that allows you to build there. This is super fun as players race to colonize certain planets, or stretch to get to the mystery specific planets. Quite a bit of game here. The planets are all face up with the starting game state and this may put some off to the idea of Fractal's exploration, but let me tell you it is here in spades. Bernard has decided to give you information on the layout of the universe, contrary to some other games of this ilk, but what can be found on that planet is hidden. It could be an obstacle which forces you to lose a unit or colony before you can settle this particular planet. Or, it could be a living galaxy that eats your ships, but provides you a science benefit in return, almost like you learned from the universe kicking your butt. This is just enough exploration to quench that thirst in these kind of games. This is not a game that you will feel your opponent got extremely lucky with a tile flip when you didn't, limiting the tiles flips to small hindrances or small benefits really makes a lot of sense while still giving the feeling of exploration.

From gallery of 2TFruitT


4. Extermination. Genius combat here, not deterministic, but sort of? The game gives you just enough information to give you an idea if you can win a battle or not. You are given a starting deck of combat cards, adjusted a bit for your faction and adjusted further by technology purchased from the tech tree. These cards are usually either defensive, with low initiative, allowing them to act first, or "If... Then..." cards of offense that ask what units you brought to the battle and if you brought the right ones, hooray, super big time attack! And often, if you just brought a single one of them? Little attack! Still good! This system is great, are you attacked in an area that is not well defended? try a quick attack with low initiative and then play defensive until you have an opportunity to retreat (there is a retreat card for both players). How does the game deal with dealing damage? Does the defender choose what troops to get hurt or does the attacking player? BOTH! Direct hits let the attacking player choose and indirect let the defender choose. This is amazing to allow both, keeps interaction high and provides another level to combat that these games often streamline down for you. Needing to expand your empire and shrink another player's? Win a battle and then Siege their colony to claim it your own. Siege is a cool mechanic that is a secondary choice to the battle. Will you raze their colony on the planet you just claimed? Burning it to the ground (returning it to their player board) and securing yourself credits or influence? (this can be extremely beneficial to a warlike path of playing this game) OR will you invade and subjugate? Thereby replacing their colony with yours, receiving a siege token (sometimes good for scoring) and a measly one influence? The battles are my favorite part of the game! Quickly played, often a surprise, hard to remember what cards your opponent has upgraded or even HAS at times. I am sure as I master the game, this will get easier, but as is, it takes a battle of getting trounced by a card or two to make you realize what you need to stop an invading force.
5. Tech tree. Here is where players can really separate themselves from others. There are 5 military and 5 civilian techs available per age. Only two copies of each of these are available. These can help narrow in your strategy ad give you additional Asymmetric powers. They can also be a sort of take that on an opponent as if you have your science engine going you can get at techs that other players could really exploit and stop them from doing so. Tech trees/abilities are hard for me as they can sometimes get a little out of control and I can not remember my abilities. So far, so good here, lots of options but not an overwhelming amount of them.
6. Scoring. The designers have said that their scoring system here was influenced by Pax games. I see that clearly. What is nice is that the scoring card is set to exactly midgame and then exactly end game. You don't need to guess when it is going to come out in the deck. Additionally, all scoring objectives are condensed down to symbols for functionality, with a handy table in the back of the rulebook. First round scoring is open information at the start of the game and second round scoring is determined by a card flip and event that happens at midgame. Maximum scores for the first scoring round is 5 points, end game scoring is an additional ten, with most winning scores in the 11-13pt range. This scoring is great fun as it really is hard to be well rounded here and the race's asymmetry will make some objectives easier and some harder.
7. Fun. This game is just fun. It condenses the 4x experience down to a 2 hour playtime (maybe 3 with rules explanation with 4 players), and all of the streamlining feels to be an advancement for the genre. This game doesn't feel lacking to me as a 4x.
8. Kickstarter exclusives. For now, the entire game is Kickstarter exclusive, so there is that. However, I wont back a game that doesn't provide at least something for my investment, and as of yesterday this one does, co-op scenarios, additional cards and acrylic colony tokens. This is now an insta-back if you can afford it and like dudes on a map games. I LOVE dudes on a map games.
The game is available on TTS to play and the implementation is super well done. Even now I am just seeing that there is a button for each phase of the game to help you learn it. Clearly there was and is a lot of love put into this game and it shows in the kickstarter, the TTS mod, and the constant feedback from the designer and publisher both on BGG and KSer. This one is highly recommended.
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Mon Oct 11, 2021 4:19 pm
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September Gaming Recap

Christian Smith
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Minnesota
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Greetings Earthlings,
September turned out to be quite a quiet gaming month for me.

Played only two games:
Lords of Hellas single player fight against the invading Persians. This told a great tale and kept me engaged, but it took forever. Was nice seeing the monuments fully built from the start instead of building them ground up. I see Lords of Ragnarok took this into account. Anyway, won the scenario, but it was tight. The spy mechanic was great and the use of the full board even though playing solo was a lot of fun. It IS a totally different game though, producing quite a fight at times and really stretching you thin. I have seen word that once you play it a singular time that that is enough. I tend to agree with this assessment. Maybe next I will see if I can get the Kronos to the table! (side note: noticed in the Lords Ragnarok preview page that a couple of the units have health spinners built into their base... what's that about???)

Scythe Rise of Fenris scenario 3. 3 player as highlighted in last blog entry.


Keeping me busy outside of gaming is (well, work and) this:

We bought a house and started packing, I will have a mostly dedicated game room, I can't wait. I started to pack up all my games and there is nothing better than that to make you realize you have an hundred too many. I recently found a twin cities dedicated forum here and am excited to toss up a bunch of rarely played games to see if I can sell them without having to run to the post office, that would be huge. Hopefully if I price them cheaply enough I can turn through a bunch of them.
Games not making the packing/movers list because I want to make sure they stay nice:

Black Rose Wars + Sator
Sine Tempore + Black hole
Twilight Imperium and expansion
Kingdom Death Monster + Sunstalker
Anachrony + a few expansions
Lords of Hellas + warlord box
A Study in Emerald E1
Scythe collectors plus all expansions
Nemesis + Aftermath
EndeavoUr
and Western Legends + Ante Up

Pretty sure these will all go over day 1.

Contemplating more storage as the game room is going to be the upstairs bedroom in a story and a half house. So one of the tall bookcases is going to have to go. Planning on short 3 shelf wire racks plus heavy plastic protector sheets to run the length of the room. Ikea has powdered metal wire shelves plus a top bamboo board to class them up, I like that. The Kallax shelves are just not my style no matter how functional.

Kickstarter:
Easily bypassed Voidfall as my buddy is making sure that enters his collection.
Definitely going to back Fractal though, have been playing around on tabletop simulator and it is speaking to me. The action selection is great, reminds me of LOH and Kepler 3042, the unit constraints remind me of Blood Rage, and the battles are something to behold (some compare to Kemet? Never played that one), check them out. I have played this multihanded solo so far, excited to get some buddies interested to try it out. This game is MUCH deeper than first blush will tell you, Voidfall will be heavier, but not by much in my book, plus, deterministic combat? That doesn't happen in the real world. The designer has been INCREDIBLY active here on BGG, so kudos there.

From gallery of 2TFruitT

This is the old Lefty Flanky, Righty Flanky Maneuver.

Steamwatchers has made ground on the west coast, that should be here soon, will probably regret just backing the base game.
Hopefully TOL: Joan of Arc 1.5 update and expansion is not far behind.
Will Darwin's Journey Make it before Christmas?

Here's to a total mediocre move, that's all anyone can ever hope for! HaHa.
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Fri Oct 8, 2021 3:36 am
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Scythe Part Deux

Christian Smith
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Minnesota
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Paul, Adam and I started the Rise of Fenris Campaign in February 2020. We played two scenarios before the invisible enemy came knocking and our campaign collected dust since then. We got it back to the table last night.

Scenario 1: a win for Paul as green
Scenario 2: a win for Adam as purple

I declared at the start of scenario 3 that it would only be fair if the other two let me win. I proceeded to trounce their sorry butts, they didn't see it coming.

Adam led off with an amazing first turn, finding his way to the factory and comboing perhaps the greatest first move in Scythe history, Paul and I figured it may be game over for us.

From gallery of 2TFruitT


However, I was Rusviet with the Agriculture board, we used the fan made encounter cards and everything came up roses for me after that point. I visited quite a few unoccupied villages and returned home with a king's ransom of encounters (including one which awarded me for each encounter). I was looking to complete stars in battles won (I won 2 of them), bugs (I was able to trade in a gold coin for 3 of them) and enlist (I completed this halfway thru the game). Additionally, I was the only one of the three of us to make it to row 2 in popularity.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!!!! Come after me AOC!Scythe

From gallery of 2TFruitT


When this game kicks out combos, it kick outs combos. When it doesn't, it can be a major drag. Last night it was the former.

From gallery of 2TFruitT


I pledged in the collector's kickstarter, sold it early for a good profit and have been wondering about reacquiring it ever since. I have played a few times, and 2 of the 3 times, the combos just weren't jiving for me.

After last nights euphoria of the win, I went searching on ebay and have this coming my way now:

Scythe Collector's w/ board extension, coins and resources
Invaders from Afar
Airships

Perhaps I will get absolutely destroyed when we can finally get together again and this will end up on the sale pile for a second time...
Let's just hope it is less than 20 months from now, cause I had a blast.

Oh, and for those who know the campaign, I wasn't even the player to get the big reward in scenario 3... excited to see that in action!
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Thu Sep 23, 2021 10:57 pm
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August gaming recap

Christian Smith
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Minnesota
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Board Game: Royals
Board Game: A Study in Emerald
Board Game: Pipeline
Board Game: Lords of Hellas
Board Game: Undaunted: Normandy
Board Game: BattleLore: Second Edition
Board Game: Rome & Roll
Board Game: The Manhattan Project


 8   Royals NEW!
 9   A Study in Emerald NEW!
 6.5   Pipeline NEW!
 8.5   Lords of Hellas NEW!
 8   Undaunted: Normandy NEW!
 8   BattleLore: Second Edition NEW!
 7   Rome & Roll NEW!
 7   The Manhattan Project NEW!

Royals - 5 player. Great play, fun area control. Tons of laughs, both game related and conversation.
Dutch Rudder?!? 75-71-65-57-51. I took 4th and still had a blast.

A Study in Emerald - 3 handed solo. Two loyalists, one restorationist. No one did a great job hiding their allegiance. All out sprint, known to authorities right away. Cat and mouse game for the restorationist. Recruit agents as buffers and stay away from the other agents. Got one royal killed in the meantime. The two loyalists ended up trading control of the big cities back and forth to stay in the lead with two of them eventually getting [b]locked down. Eventually the main agent of the restorationists went down to call the game. Fun times. Game group will love this one. Just don't tell them I owned this one, sold it and then recently reacquired it, kind of embarrassed by that.

Pipeline - Major win. This game is one step to far for me, induces AP on about half of my turns and I hate AP!!!! I won focusing on orange pipes as it was an end game multiplier. Barely pulled off the full build on my last turn or two and road on to victory. 320-283-145. We are still working towards getting all the rules correct on this one.

Lords of Hellas - Super well received game, 4 player. This will get played again for sure. Paul won highlighted in previous blog post. Glad this will get more love soon, just sad it changes theme.

Undaunted: Normandy - 2 scenarios, 2 German wins. I was not Germany. Excellent decision space in a small package. Would love to play more. Game group has been singing the praises of this one for a while and I poorly chose to ignore them.

BattleLore: Second Edition - Blue devoured red in a stunning display of military might. Brute force up the left lane, comboed with a couple great rune cards. Awesome win, dragged on a bit long tho as had to destroy all armies due to poor card draws towards endgame. Great game. Much better than Memoir for more tastes, probably due the Lore mechanic. Would love to play this again soon, luckily Paul has it with a bunch of the expansions.

Rome & Roll - Adam wins 56-54-48.
Hard rules teach, fun game when gets going, but perhaps a bit much going on to get this played much.

The Manhattan Project - I struggle getting going in this game. Adam took the lead and then Paul and I jumped him. This led to Paul taking the game 61-26-18. Is it bad when you want a game to end? I wanted this one to end a little quicker. I like the game, really enjoy the bombing aspects to screw with each other, it just isn't a favorite of mine.

Pretty great month of gaming for me. Glad to finally get back to in-person games. Hope it continues.

Just received:
A Distant Plain
Lunarchitects

Just sold:
Barkham Horror for a princely sum.

Excited to receive:
Hyperspace
DEI
Nova Aetas
Darwin's Journey

Eyeing:
Dark Ages Holy Roman Empire
Nanty Narking
The Expanse Expanse(ion) haha.
Eleven Football Manager
CMONs Masters of the Universe
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Mon Sep 6, 2021 2:25 am
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Games that need play over the next few months.

Christian Smith
United States
Minnesota
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Nemesis - 2 of the 5 of the game group didn't enjoy this the first time we played. Cannibget them interested again?
Western Legends - played this with the wife and had a blast with it. Can't wait to get it played with more people. Picked up the ante up expansion as well, cause robbing trains!!!
Argent the Consortium - this game is great fun, have played it a singular time with 4. This will go over great with the game group when I can getvit tabled. Just need to do so.
Trickerion - I have punched and set this up, but that is as far as I have proceeded with this one. I am sure my fellow dorks will get a kick out of this when I can devote the time to learn it.
A Study in Emerald - have played this a singular time in 2014, we fought over cards and locations too much. Need to give it another go. Sold my original copy and just reacquired.
Pax Renaissance - pretty opaque, but I promise myself that I am going to figure it out!
Giant Killer Robots -


From gallery of 2TFruitT
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Sat Aug 28, 2021 4:10 pm
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Lords of Hellas

Christian Smith
United States
Minnesota
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After backing this game in 2017, it took the announcement of the new edition Lords of Ragnarok in order for me to get this to the table.

I backed it, sold off my Warlord box years ago and recently reacquired it back into my collection.

This play was a 4 player game with the usual cadre of my Stillwater buddies Adam, Luke and Paul. I would say that the other players had a small level of comprehension of the game, but not huge. I used a teaching guide found in the file section here to teach and that worked pretty well. The teach took 45 minutes.

Rules that needed clarity:

Glory token control is most recent to kill monster OR complete quest in a Land.

Leadership needs to be watched closely as people will want to move more hoplites than they can.

Heroes only add to battle strength if they are "upgraded".

I would highly recommend that teaching guide, it went over well.



Gameplay took 4 hours...

I was engaged the entire time!

From gallery of 2TFruitT


Every player had an opportunity to win the game towards the end. I probably had the lowest chance to come out on top and I still had a chance in the last throws of the battle. I had killed two monsters, and on last monument build of the game, Athena was built to completion and I needed a monster to come out in the red land. It came out in yellow, where I couldn't quite get to, and there went my chance to win. High drama.

This play had plenty of it.

First push to win the game?? Luke was two regions away from accomplishing the two land game end. He had set himself up in the bottom portion of the board and early action was between the other three of us in the top half of the board leaving Luke to think he was going to roll to an easy win. This always excites me as Luke is a "min-maxer" (by his own definition) and in games like this, they are set up to bash the leader and he hasn't quite came to understand that it doesn't pay to take an early lead in a game such as this. Maybe someday, I hold out hope.

Adam was working towards a giganto artifact engine and had defeated two monsters when he realized that Luke was close to winning. This changed his plan from pushing north to HAVING to push south to have any chance of winning. This lead to the 5 turn war between blue and red. Push and shove, back and forth, AP inducing fun! Red got all his hoplites out and blue just kept chipping away at them 2 hoplites at a time with some special ability blue had to kill two hoplites in the region with his hero when discarding a combat card.

From gallery of 2TFruitT


The eventual winner? Paul. He had built up his hero thru Blessings and Artifacts to actually be a part of the battles with the hoplites. Added to this, he had increased his hero's movement to 3 spaces. This would win him the game.

As blue and red were mired in their back and forth in the southeastern portions of Greece, yellow swooped in across the landbridge. As he moved south, my attention was on his ability to attain 5 temples. I attacked a region of his in the central part of the board to take 2 temples from him crushing his chances at that win. My folly??? His hero who was able to easily transit back north, taking back his yellow territory to secure a 2 land win.

From gallery of 2TFruitT


What a game.

At one point, I took the mic and declared that red had gone thru adversity as he was targeted to stop the win. Blue had to change his plans to do so in his own bout of adversity. I was cornered EARLY which crushed my ability to do much until endgame. The only player to not have to deal with much adversity? Yellow. I should have heeded my own advice.

Blue - 2 monsters killed and controlled a completed monument on countdown. 2 quests completed.
Green - 2 monsters killed, 3rd was 2 territories out of reach. 2 quests completed.
Red - Pushed to end the game early and paid for it, but had a chance! 1 quest completed.
Yellow - 4 temples, 2 lands owned.

Red player loves euros and I thought he would truly enjoy the somewhat deterministic, hard to eliminate the loser battles... he complained at the end about winning battles and only being able to destroy a singular unit. Ha! Gotta love the journey! I will bring dice next time!

Great game, excited to see the new edition, but I am just not attracted to the Norse Mythological realm. I can't need both!?! Right?

From gallery of 2TFruitT
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Wed Aug 18, 2021 6:25 pm
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Hyperspace and Black Rose Wars

Christian Smith
United States
Minnesota
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Black Rose Wars

I have continued on my 3 handed play thru of Black Rose wars, able to commit about an hour of playtime when I am able to sit down. This makes my singular playthru last quite a few sessions, but I have been able to explore the game in detail to teach it.

The game continues to impress me.

The map feels just big enough, you can not fully escape the madness inflicted by others, but there is plenty of planning to tinker with.

The cards you draw provide a crazy amount of options. I only once was fairly limited in what a player could do. She had a nice spell and outside of that, just protection spells. She is one point out of first place with 24 at this point.

Each of my players has activated the Black Rose Room and received a Forgotten Spell. These are crazy fun! Most recently, Geneve was able to destruct Tessa with a single spell as she had at least one damage, what a card and what a game changer.

Tessa has turned herself into an abomination twice so far and it is great fun to have have a mini to represent this (only in SATOR box). We got our first Malacoda out on the board and Nero is causing some major destruction with it. The final game turn or two amps up quite a bit and will be incredibly fun with multiple people around the table.

WINNER - 9/10. No other game that I have played accomplishes what this one does. Area control, programming, combos, chaos, it's great. (Haven't played WizWar)


Hyperspace

I backed this game LONG ago for a whole one George Washington and have been watching from afar. Here is what I assumed:
Too small of board - I like exploration, a LOT!
Too asymmetric - If i can't keep track of all of my special abilities how am I supposed to keep track of mine and 2-3 others?
Too Cthulhu - Just not for me

It is crap or get off the pot time now as the pledge manager closes April 9th. *So do I pay the all in for $375 shipped or do I kind of budget it down to 8 civs or so for ~$200 shipped?*

After a singular game on Tabletop Simulator with two experts and another newbie:

The board is right-sized - Keeps everyone engaged and active. You do focus on (what I would define as) exploration for the first turn, maybe the second and that is it. It is just how the game plays, don't expect any more. It is not bad. I would like more, but it is what it is.
The asymmetry is perfect for this style game - i understood about 50% of what the Old Ones could do by game end. This to me feels like playing a round of golf and you hit two perfect shots out of ~50 of them and they felt so good you want to go and play again cause maybe you can hit another 2 good ones the next time. I have a feeling I would like to play 2 more games as the old ones minimum. Multiply those three games wanted to play by another 26 civs...
Cthulhu is Cthulhu - but it actually works great here as different alien species with asymmetric powers, I actually like it.

***So do I pay the all in for $375 shipped or do I kind of budget it down to 8 civs or so for ~$200 shipped?***

After my play I thought I had better just go all in as the civs are going to be incredibly hard to find as PG seems fairly cash strapped. But maybe there are a lot of folks like me that will help dump a bunch of cash in their coffers at the end here? Would that change anything for their printing plans?

So here is where I sit: I love this game after my first play.

I had done plenty of research, watched a bunch of the boring playthrus that don't show off the game well, and thought I had a handle on it as being a fine game, but not great. I was wrong. It has been refined down really, really well.

After putting the above to paper, I think I should stop looking at this game as an investment because there is NO way I will play this the 3 x 27 = 81 times. I would be happy with 5-10 plays. That means that I am back to the drawing board on what civs I need, I mean want. Wish me luck.


1.Humans
2.Old Ones
3.Yaddith
4.Glazatroq
5.ZepZeg
6.Daldath
7.Urumak
8.Nomia
9.Dacians - OP?
10.Thoth - The art!!!
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Wed Mar 24, 2021 3:42 pm
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Black Rose Wars Round 2

Christian Smith
United States
Minnesota
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We had our first "death" !!!!!!

Geneve bit it at the hands of Nero, her Cerebus was not able to fend off the attack. great cardplay in this round. Tessa activated a room and then turned herself into an Abomination. Seems the Abomination minis are pretty important! I would have been sad to not have them if I had purchased the retail version of the game.

From gallery of 2TFruitT


Tessa is in the lead due to her evocations.
Nero scored first kill.
Geneve has been transporting herself around the board and has caused the most instability in the lodge.

From gallery of 2TFruitT


Each mage is playing a divergent strategy based on spells available to them and board layout when their turn begins. Tessa has held the crown both turns, and Geneve going last has often used spells in a different way than their original intention. I wonder if going last has great benefit that way? However, each room can only be activated once, so that is certainly limiting.

Fun times, fun times!

Differentiating the Black Rose Points the players have is a tad difficult if not right on top of the board... may need to find a different solution than the tokens. The acrylic standees on LMS' website look amazing, may need to invest in them.

From gallery of 2TFruitT
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Sun Mar 21, 2021 7:46 pm
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