A december that has been quite interesting in terms of boardgaming. I could try my new copy of It's a Wonderful Kingdom, I received and offered a few boardgames as gifts (I did not tried all of them) and I played a bunch of party/light games with the family.
N/A It's a Wonderful Kingdom x5 NEW!
This is one of the few kickstarters I have get into and the first one I have received. IWK has been designed by Frédéric Guérard, with art by Anthony Wolff and published by La boite de jeu.
Taking into account that it's a wonderful world is one of my favourites games ever and one I have really squeezed (32 plays logged!). Getting this was a no brainer. Moreover as it is though exclusively for two players, count I play more lately. Indeed, I was quite excited to get this one.IWK comes with a lot of stuff...
The game has many similarities with IWW, being divided in three phases where two of them: the planification and production ones are practically the same. The main differences are that the draft mechanic has been replaced by a "I cut, you choose" mechanic and the inclusion of different modules (gameplay variants).
I cut, you choose
I did not have anything with this mechanic before IWK. Basically each player draw 7 cards and add a calamity card to get a hand of eight (The calamity card provides negative victory points). There are two selection zones with one card face up already on each one. One player takes two cards from its hand and put them on the selection piles (it is possible to put two cards in one selection zone and nothing in the other), the other player selects one of the selection zones and after they exchange roles. This continues until both players do not have more cards in hand.
One important thing is that the player which puts cards on the selection zones can put two cards per round hidden. Potentially to hide a calamity card, or to bluff and try to trick your opponent making him pass on a good card you would like to get when it will be your turn.KS legendary pledge comes with an oversized board that I am not sure if it is useful
The game has a lot of variability through the modules with some having more interaction than others. The financial/military tokens that are victory points in IWW, here are replaced by soldiers that allow to do different actions in the different modules. I will not extent myself by there are four:
The quest module adds a personal board with some condition you have to fulfil (usually involving soldiers) to allow you to opt to win and with some effects that you can apply if the necessary resources are spent. The advisors module adds some cards with special effects that you can activate with the soldiers. The menace modules replaces the standard calamity cards with others (usually more annoying, that could be cancelled usually through the use of the soldiers). The conquest module adds a map where you can place and move some dudes in order to activate effects, get production or victory points (I have not tried this one yet).Quest module and calamity cards
Something strange going on…
The production of this game is superb (even though a few things could be improved), the art is good, it does not have a campaign mode as IWW but it has a lot of variability through the modules (I will talk about this later), there are some nice solo scenarios, the game is similar enough to something I already love but still it has some differences that made it worth to add to the collection…
…if everything is so wonderful, why there is something still bugging me about this game?
The decision space has changed
I have tried to rationalise what's going on with IWK, as many people, me included, have the feeling that the game flow is odd and very different to what makes IWW so appreciated. Up to the point of even make some home variant.
After thinking a lot, I get to the conclusion that the "problem" is with the "I cut you chose mechanic": basically the decision space moves completely from the person choosing to the person offering. I will try to explain myself.
In IWW, the pure draft mechanic implies that you receive the hand of cards and you select one. Usually you take the best card for your strategy and, time to time, once you master the game, you do some hate drafting. The weight of the decision is in what you keep and not in what you pass. Interaction is indirect and not too negative. Focus is in building your nice wonderful world.
In IWK the "I cut, you choose" mechanic puts the decision weight in what you offer to your opponent.Trying to "trap" my opponent
Think about it. You start with eight cards and this implies to think in the order you will be offering them. Also you have to think in a strategy that minimizes someway the options of your opponent. Maybe by splitting two good fitting cards for him in different piles, or maybe by throwing some calamity at the same time of a "good" card to minimise how is going to score or by hiding them. Only time to time you will try to someway get pass through one of the cards you really need to your turn, maybe by throwing an excellent one in the "bad" pile or hiding it. You are more focus in what your opponent wants and needs. The game proposes much more interaction than IWW but in some way, … a negative one. You are actively hate drafting Every Single Turn.
On the other hand, at the moment of choosing a pile in IWK, the decision space is limited to… two options. Which pile will you take, left or right? The "trapped" (face down) cards could be an additional random effect here. It is a good card or a calamity? Make your best guess, calculate what you can gain with the faced up ones and go ahead. Roughly half of the times the decision here is very obvious and has been done by your opponent in advance.
Indeed, there is an interesting psychological effect here and probably the basic problem of the game: you don't see to be in control in which seems the "active" phase of the game. Contrary to IWW, a IWK play does not feel to be win by you, but lost by your opponent through your actions limiting his choices.
After a round of "I cut you choose", you start the plan phase and the production one, which could be frustrating if your opponent played well, leading to suboptimal choices here. Forget about the satisfaction of building all your cards. More often than not, it will be as if half of your rounds you have been hate drafted.Let's keep it simple
It is a wonderful kingdom?
Prior comments could look negative but they are not. The game has been designed this way, it is just a feature of the game. It really feels very different to IWW even if we find some common ground. It implies much more interaction than in IWW and a different way of approaching the game. This game is less "familiar" and it is more "punishing": it is less about building and it is more about destroying your opponent plan.
Is this game better or worse than IWW? Moreover, it is a good or a bad game? I am still struggling to make an opinion on it. What I am sure is that many people will feel disappointed with it for the reasons above. I find it an interesting proposal. I am not a veteran gamer but I haven't seen too much games around with this mechanic . Also, it is not a "clone" of IWW with a medieval theme, it is something different that, if you enjoy it, can cohabitate with IWW in your collection.Where I put the advisors module? Insert for the cards could have been improved. Moreover in a so modular game
Just a few things more I would like to share.
First, a great job from la boite de jeu that have succeed to get this game to the backers on time and price where many others kickstarters have failed to due to the transport crisis.
The solo mode and scenarios feels similar to IWW, so excellent. I was worried that, by losing the "cut" actions, the solo game would not be interesting. Indeed it is more close to the "old" IWW mode, where you were given 5 random cards. In IWK the cards in both selections zones are someway randomised, but you keep the additional interest of using different modules in the scenarios.
I have said I still trying to figure out an opinion on this game, but I have to say that I have already played it five times in a month and I am still want to keep exploring it (trying different modules and menaces). So there is something interesting definitively there. If I get ten or fifteen plays from a bad game, would be still a bad game? Half of my collection have not seen so many times the table…There are never enough cards built in a game of IWW... even less in IWK
N/A Paris Connection NEW!:
I love Chicago express, however it is in the limit of complexity for Sylvie and Xavier, so we do not play it very often. Neither it is a game easy to play with beginners: being investors and not running one single company, the auctions and the differentiation between company cash and "personal" cash is mind-blowing for many of them. Usually you realise this suddenly when somebody says "I am the color X!" and you have to explain that this game does not work like this. Said this, the simplicity of the actions available to the players with an extremely rich deep game is what makes Chicago express so special.
So Paris connections looked like a much simple option that I can take out with everybody. The game is extremely simple, rules fit in one page! Also it allows up to six players and it is based in France, where I live, so it is helpful to teach some geography to Xavier.Xavier won this one with me second!
There are six train companies starting in Paris and each player starts with a random hand of locomotives (shares) hidden. In your turn, you can just build lines or exchange one of the trains you have for one or two of a different colour. Train companies get more valuable as they connect cities and you score based on the value of the company times the number of shares (trains of that colour you have). The game plays really quick and finish when there are only trains of one company left or when one company connect Paris with Marseille.Quote:It is not probably the best train game out there in the market, but there is a good ratio of strategy versus simplicity on this cube rail game. It is light economic game, quick to play that have some depth and I am happy to have it finally. The only annoying thing of the game is the set-up. First each player has to take the trains randomly and hidden from a bag and, the trains that are left, have to be separated after by company which takes some time. Indeed, I did it at the same time we starting playing.
10 Arkham Horror: The Card Game x12 (86 all-time): I finished the Marie Lambeau deck and I am quite happy of it. Well, all the happy I can be with a deck for this investigator, as by nature it will be always a risky and swingy one.
I tried it in true solo standard in Notz, the two initial scenarios in Dunwich and hearth of the elders in forgotten age. This one is not the best scenario for testing, but I wanted to check the 20 something xp upgrades I had and reviewing the last campaign, it was around here when I reached that xp level.Testing Marie
I even played with my nephew and brother at Malaga! My brother has a core box, Stella deck and Dunwich campaign, so we played extracurricular activity with Roland, Stella and Marie. We did it really well getting 4xp on this scenario (you probably know what I mean). I was surprised by Marie's deck in multiplayer as support role: it cleaned clues up various locations, help to take out arcane barriers for the team and killed a few enemies (and contributed to the final! ).
I think I will write a short post about this deck, I found it deck and I am proud of it .
8.5 Marvel Champions: The Card Game x3 (130 all-time): after a November where I played this game up to extenuation, I decided to give it a rest. Just a couple of plays with Scarlet Witch precon deck and Venom. The first has an interesting mechanic manipulating the encounter deck and looked powerful and easy to play. Venom precon on the other hand, was difficult to understand and I had a hard time trying to survive in my first play with it.
7.5 Friday x5 (56 all-time): and that's it for the playing Friday every Friday of 2020 challenge. I finished December without a win in level 5, but I am still happy to have done it. Now, I will put this game on rest for a while .
7 Wild Space (15 all-time): one day I was looking at the shelves trying to decide myself what to play after a long day of work and I remember that the solo of wild space is quite relaxing. It took me sometime to remember the rules, but once I got them refreshed the game moved really smoothly.
The solo mode makes you play against a bot that it is quite easy to follow. Basically it discard and take cards for its crew and score depending on some parameters, so it creates some interaction with you. Beating the different levels is not easy and requires paying attention to what would maximize the score of the bot to actively take it out from the market.Struggling against the bot
8 Cartographers (10 all-time): the regular play to the monthly solo challenge and a mistake seen to late again (a monster designed using the wrong "entry"), I should be more attentive. Even if a bit disappointed, it is still funny and relaxing to play this game time to time.
9 It's a Wonderful World (32 all-time): I was busy preparing things for our trip to my hometown when Xavier surprised me wanting to play this solo (I am doing something wrong here?). I explained him how it worked, but I finished helping him at the same time I was doing what I have to!
9 Res Arcana x2 (22 all-time): a couple of plays with Xavier who is starting to get it. In the first one he figured out by himself a good strategy through discarding initial cards. He got the catacombs quite early and was close to a win, but I had already played this game quite a few times, so I dragged him to an additional round where my engine was more efficient. Still I am very proud of Xavier, as this is a proof he has understood the game.
The second play was more open and for one moment I thought he could have an opportunity to win, but in the third / four round he lost focus and tried to diversify, which make him lose tempo and allow me to win the race for the 10 victory points.
Xavier is improving very quickly in this game and I have the feeling that there is something going on in his head when playing RA that does not happen with other games. However, I have the feeling that could be a bit frustrating losing so often, so I think I will let him score a win the next time (even potentially it will not be necessary!).
6 Fast Forward: FORTRESS x5 (14 all-time): I took this game to play with Xavier on the trip. We started the deck again, hopefully a last time. There is something odd on this game, the idea is nice, but it does not finish to work with us. Probably playing at two does not help. Anyway, it plays quickly and I have curiosity to see what it does offer at the end, so I believe we will finish the deck eventually.Xavier beating me hard on this game...
7 Dragomino (13 all-time)
6 King of Tokyo (9 all-time)
7 Time's Up! Kids (7 all-time)
Playing with Sophie a few times when she was at home due to school closing. The usual suspects this month (I forgot to log some of them probably). It was very funny to play time's up kids with her! It is interesting what concepts she used to explain the cards. I have to figure out more games like this one, I think it is the ideal age for these kind of games.
When we went to Malaga to visit the family and friends, covid times forced us to avoid to go out to crowded places and visit less friends than usual. So we spent a lot of time with the family, which I have the luck they love board gaming too. So we played quite a bunch of small games:
7 Citadels (19 all-time): the traditional 7 count, 2 hours backstabbing on Christmas day. You know traditions are traditions . I haven't seen so efficiently bashing the leader as playing this game with my family.Quote:Highlight moment: my niece, who is absurdly good at this game, was leading with six buildings and almost celebrating the victory as the assassin and the thief had missed the character she had chosen. She forgot about the magician (me), who exchanged her cards for… nothing . I do not remember to have laugh so much in a long time. She did not wait even a round to make me pay, even if that costed her the victory… and mine!By the way, curiosity took me to check the eco stats of this game in BGSstats, which give me an absurd cost of 0.29€ per player/hour. I think it would be difficult to beat!
6 Rhino Hero x4 (7 all-time): The real winner of these holidays. A small and cheap dexterity game based on cards. By turns every player build the next stage walls based on the picture on the previous roof and puts a roof himself from his hand (which could have different effects). The one who finish all his "roof" cards, or have less when the building collapses, wins.
It was a Christmas present for Sophie but everybody in the family played it. Myself, I played four times, but Xavier, Sophie, my younger nephew… probably played it ten or twenty times. I think that the following picture says everything:Finishing all box cards!
8 Codenames x4 NEW!: Now I understand why so many people talk good about this game. I am not really sure if I have to say how do we play and what is about this geniality of Vlaada Chvatil, do I? In summary: two teams and a grid of words of 5 x 5. The leader of the team has to make guess the rest of the team some of the words on the grid, but avoiding make them mistakenly chose one of the words of the other team or, even worse, the "assassin" word that make the team lose the game. For doing this, he can only say as clue a word and a number (which implies how many words are related to the clue word).
Said like this does not look particularly exciting. On the table, on the right party mode that works extremely well. What this games proposes, it successfully deliver. We played at eight, kids included, and everybody enjoyed and where engaged. As the hardcore gamer you are probably are just by reading this and having a BGG profile, it is not the game that will change your life, but it is probably something you will like to have in your collection, as it works really well with all ages, all type of gamers and you can play with a lot of people!
7 For Sale x2 (7 all-time): our travel auction game. Xavier loves it, so I just put this in a zip bag whenever we take a plane or train. It plays fast and proposes interesting choices. A good game, low priced, in a small box with some "weight" but really easy to learn rules. Ideal for newcomers to the hobby.
My brother and my sister won the two times I played, with me close to them, which is not usual, because I am not really good to it. Xavier convinced others to play this with him at least two or three times more, I should start to log plays in his profile, he is starting to play more and more without me, which is not bad at all!
6 Colt Super Express (17 all-time): Did I already said that my family likes backstabbing? Well, another game done for us. It takes out the essence of the big brother, mainly its chaotic nature, and minimizes it in a bunch of cards and 15 minutes play. However, not a round game, it creates sometimes situations where a player can do nothing and there is player elimination. We forgive these issues at home because is short, fast paced and it really funny to see other players to jump off the train by mistake (which happens strangely often!).
7.5 Fool! (9 all-time): This is another game that I appreciate a lot. A really simple trick-taking game that has more depth that what it looks. We have played it already many times: the 9 plays I logged are "full games", so more than one hour by play which probably imply around 8 "rounds" each one. Now, that we have interiorized how many numbers have each colour, how to use the ones, etc. we can see the strategic nuances the game proposes. Not too many, but enough to put it above other card party games for no gamers. Indeed, which this game proposes is similar to take 6, another game I enjoy a lot on higher counts: An extremely simple card game but that require some brain to win and with very low downtime.
Xavier, I am not really sure why, is extremely good at it. I looked at the stats and he has won 5 of 9 times. Taking into account that we have played with 16 different people, adults and kids, it is not a coincidence and implies that there is some strategy that he has figured out naturally. Another game from which I extracted a lot of value. Bought on sale for 4€, this is the most amortised game in my collection with 0,05€ per player/hour!!
Not everything can be board gaming in this life…
Christmas time! And snow!!! I love to ski and I could ski a couple of days which felt... wonderful. Xavier and Sophie stayed with Sylvie's parents on the station and get some courses. Sophie was her first time! She loved it, and I am not surprised. As his brother, it is extremely physical in everything she does. Xavier got two starts in a row in just five days of courses, as the ski monitors felt that he could already a superior course. Well, not surprised about this one either, he is already going with us to red slopes.
Our trip to Malaga, as we transfer through Lisboa, was a bit of a headache: queues, show your vaccination, pcrs, fill documentation... and delays. Travelling It takes more time and money now than before, but I was really happy of be there. In Malaga we spent almost all of the time with the family and taking some fresh air as the weather was excellent (20 degrees!).Exhusting but worthy trip
And that's all for now! I wish you a lot of plays to your favorites games!
This is a blog of a father of two in his forties, who re-discovered his old passion for boardgames in 2020, in the middle of Covid-19 Pandemic. I talk about the discovery of the hobby by me and my family.
- [+] Dice rolls
The 28th December in Spain is similar to the April's fool date. So doing a report of November the 28th December could look like a joke, but it is real! Consquence of my absurd busy life lately.
In this pandemic era, normality looked to come back in November, where I could visit a board gaming club and when we received some really good old friends for a weekend at home after what it looked years (well, it was more than a year and a half that we did not meet physically!). They are no gamers, but still we played a few party games with the kids on one night after doing some tourism around.
But finally, "new reality" kicked back with this damn omicron variant. Various positive cases appeared in Sophie and Xavier's classrooms and both of them have been going in and out of school during November and December as being close contacts. A real nightmare to explain at office in a period that is extremely busy. Hopefully, this never ending history will finish in 2022.
So, here it is, late, more than as usual, what I played in November!
N/A Bosk x2 NEW!
One very well-known French store did some sale and I got a few games at really ridiculous prices. I still have to play the others but I have the feeling that this abstract game is probably the best one of these. Or at least the best for my group.
Bosk is played in four "seasons". In the first one (spring), you place your trees that have different values from 1 to 4 on the board intersections. In the second one (summer), you score depending on the value of your trees on the row and column . This could look simplistic but it is not so when you take into account the third session. In Autumn, your trees start losing leafs that you will place on the board with the objective of having the majority on the different zones we have on it, which will allow us to score in the last winter phase.
However how do you place leafs is limited: it depends on the wind, which will blow from one side to another of the board, how did you placed your trees in the first phase, and if there are other leafs in the case you want to put yours (which will make to place a leaf more expensive). Each player have 8 tokens with values from 1 to 7 (and a squirrel!) and choose one each turn how many leafs will place by "spending" one of these tokens
We played a couple of times at two, not its best number, and still was very enjoyable as the board is adapted to the number of players, reducing it consequently. The spring phase looked vanilla at first, just controlling carefully where your opponent is placing the trees to avoid giving him easy points. However, then we quickly realised in the autumn phase how important it was in reality, as we were able to place leafs depending on where your trees are.Quote:I really liked the game in this first approach. It is really simple to explain and play but much more crunchy that what I expected. I like the aspect of potentially sacrificing some points in Spring to be better placed to score in Autumn. Theme and art of this game are beautiful to be an abstract. It is probably better played at 3 or 4, so waiting to have an opportunity to play this with Sylvie and Xavier together. I am really surprised is sold at so a huge discount right now.
N/A Cartaventura: Lhassa x3 NEW!
This is another iteration of the cartaventura "system". Well let's be clear, the "system" is something we have already seen in "chose your own adventure" books but implement through cards. So basically a flow diagram with different outcomes (in this case, five different finals).
What saves this game is the narrative, the story it develops. It is based on historical facts and in this case you are a reporter in India after the world war following the footsteps of Alexandra David-Neel, the first occidental woman who put her feet in Tibet.
I liked this one more than Vinland. I felt the story more interesting, you get a good grasp of what was going in India on that period, and the choices to be taken are more coherent with the narrative (which on the other hand, they looked much more straigh forward). Still, not my cup of tea. I need more game when playing solo, this is closest to read a book, but I can understand the appeal of this to some people.
8 Paleo (7 all-time)
We played the second scenario against the wolf pack and we beat it on our first try! Still we sweat to do it really a lot: on our first night phase we got four skulls and after that we were able to change the situation. We realised how important is to increase the tribu early in the game and we got lucky a couple of times.Quote:I really like to play this game with Xavier. We take decisions together for once, there is no leader effect here and he plays really smart, sometimes taking risks when it is necessary. Looking forward for the next scenario. I already talked a lot about this game, I am not going to repeat myself. Anyway, if case you arrive late to the party: If you like cooperative games, go ahead and try paleo asap!
N/A Boggle NEW!
This was a gift that Xavier received on his birthday and that made me think that we do not have games that are based on "words", probably because I do not like them too much ( I have the feeling neither does him).
The game is a set of dices, with different letters in each side. They are stored inside a transparent box together with a sand timer that are ultra portable. Playing is very simple. You roll the dice inside the box changing the faces of the dice each time you play. Then, you have to write down as many words as possible, by using letters on connected dices before timer ends. You score depending on the length of the words.
I felt the game really difficult. I struggled trying to figure out words (Also because I had to do it in French). For Xavier was kind of frustrating, the timer adding stress.We can almost see smoke going out from Xavier and Sylvie ears on this picture
This is a game that probably requires to recall a very different zone of the brain to what Xavier and me are used to. Once we decided to do not use the timer and just try to write down words, the stress for Xavier disappeared and it became just an interesting exercise.
This is probably something that would allow us to improve our linguistic skills, but it was not really funny. It just felt like ... Homework?!
9 Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure (55 all-time)
We continue to explore the adventue pack through the assimetry of the characters.
This time I took the dwarf and Xavier the elf. The first is heavily based on allies in your deck, which I felt a bit too much guided strategy (through still funny). The case of the elf, which get bonuses depending on the treasures taken is more interesting, as choices are less clear and requires reading the state of the game.
N/A Marvel United (2 all-time)
I gave a second chance to this game and I played again with Xavier. Unfortunately, we played wrong. I forgot to apply the rule where the villain starts adding a card after two of the heroes, which leaded to a game that was impossible to win (there were not enough civils to save). Stupid me, I played correctly the first time!
Neither of us really enjoyed the game and I do not think it was the mistake on the rules. I am not sure this game will have a third chance. Xavier does not know too much about marvel universe, so theme is not appealing to him. Neither I feel really excited when playing.Quote:On my eyes, it looks quite abstract and an optimization puzzle closer to pandemic than to a thematic game. Indeed, mechanically and thematically I would prefer to play Paleo before this, just to give an example. And I have very clear that I would play many other games in solo, even if looking for an abstract puzzle.
7.5 Stellar (17 all-time): so many plays to this one and I still enjoy it, reason why I increased my rate to it. I already reviewed it (in spanish) here. In my opinion, there is a lot of game in a small priced box, which only flaws for me are that it takes a lot of table space and have a bit of set up for a 30 minutes game.
7 Abyss (23 all-time)
Each time I play this game, I see a little bit more its flaws. For example, the push your luck element when you look for allies, could be frustrating. Sometimes you are just giving your opponent exactly what he needed without nothing you can do about it. I realise that in some situations during the game, the decision space is limited and that there is too much luck involved. Also, it is a big points salad.Quote:Let's be clear, it is a light family game at the end, so these flaws could be forgiven, and each time I play, it is fun enough to come back to abyss next time. By the way, we play with the kraken extension, that spices up the game through the nebuli.We played with Sylvie and this time Xavier won, which I did not expect, as I thought I was ahead him...
9 It's a Wonderful World (31 all-time)
After we pick up my KS pledge of it's a wonderful kingdom, Xavier wanted to come back to this one.
I like a lot this game. It is a really smart implementation of the draft, where you have many interesting decisions like: should you keep that scoring card for later? or you should take that card that will allow to start your engine? Or let pass that card that will allow the next player to maximize its score?... Everything at the same time you keep an eye on the planification you have to do to maximize the cards you want to build (which leads to other interesting choices: do I burn the card for the ressource or do I try to build it?).
Sylvie won this time by hate drafting me heavily. My exploration engine could not target any scoring blue card in the late game! Xavier and me were very close on score.Quote:If you like draft mechanic, you have to try this one if you have not done yet. I will talk next month about it's a wonderful kingdom, the 2 players spin-off of this game, but I advance already that it feels very different on my first plays!
5 Cockroach Salad NEW!
7 Fool! (8 all-time)
N/A Spot it! 1,2,3 (2 all-time)
These are the games we played when our friends visited us. I don't like to play games with people that usually are no gamers, I feel myself pushing the hobby to others and I believe we have usually better things to do with them. However, but having them all over the weekend with their daughters, we have a moment to fill and they were eager to play something after looking at my collection.
I took out a few simple clasic games to play all together. Spot it! because they already knew how to play and liked it. Cockroach salad, which time to time is funny, with all that spelling mistakes and fool! because it is really simple to explain and still a bit crunchy. We spend a good moment together. Still, I realised that I need a couple of "real" party games in my collection.
7 Welcome To... (25 all-time)
A game to the eastern eggs expansion with Sylvie. She is so tired lately, that on weekdays only this kind of games, that requires not to overthink too much are possible. The expansion adds and additional track to score depending on how many eggs from the streets do you get. The twist is these eggs can only be collected by circling them using 0, 6, 8, 9, 10, 16. The eggs are in some positions where using these numbers can mess up a little bit the sequence on the street, so some additional decisions are there to be taken.
8.5 Marvel Champions: The Card Game x19 (126 all-time)
I played a lot this month of marvel champions. First with Gamora, trying to make a good deck based on events, and later with Drax. I also tried Risky business scenario from the green goblin pack for first time.
Drax is a very difficult hero to play in my opinion. Building up your engine requires be able to be targeted by attacks and more often than less, to take damage, so protection is the natural choice. The problem is that managing threat at the same time you try to minimise the damage taken with a 4 cards hand it is very difficult. Indeed, I feel that protection decks are kind of "slow", which in this case is even more annoying, as changing to alter ego forces you to start again from scratch.
Still, a fun hero to play and its mechanic is kind of thematic, which has lead me to think about playing two heroes in solo.
I tried for first time also the green goblin risky business scenario, which I found quite fun as you have to manage the villain changing from businessman to maniac goblin. I do not like to "break" games, but I asked myself if this mechanic in the scenario can be exploited through dedicated decks (more than usual, I mean ). I beat it with Gamora and Star-lord and, it is a must, spider-man justice. Traditions are traditions...
10 Arkham Horror: The Card Game x8 (72 all-time)
The catastrophe finally happened in the last scénario of the forgotten age. I just run out of time...Spoiler (click to reveal)I just focus into defeat Alejandro, which probably was a poor choice. He hunting me through the different locations was a headache that did not allowed me to get enough clues to beat the scenario. So I was defeated, which is a bit disappointing but will allow me to revisit it again.
Looking back, I believe that my main mistake has been not to think in 30-40xp decks and roll it back to 0xp. The campaign history line is really cool and replayable, even though I hardly understood what was happening. Nevertheless, I understand the complains about this campaign: forgotten age is hard, really hard, punishing, and could be swingy with that exploration mechanic.Trying to escape to the monstruosity appearing on the nexus... with a huge set-up that was not enough
After the disappointing, I decided to play around with deck-building a bit on core scenarios. Marie Lambeau take my attention, as it is a mainly solo investigator (I wanted to play it true solo) and there were not too many in ArkhamDb. I felt myself with some envy to innovate . I will give you some feedback later, once I will improve it more.
7.5 Friday x4 (51 all-time): getting to the end of the challenge!
8 Cartographers (9 all-time): another play to November solo challenge and another mistake that stop me of publishing my result. Probably better, as my score was -3! Anyway, I am starting to doubt if I have played it correctly at least once.
7 Dragomino x3 (12 all-time)
6 King of Tokyo (8 all-time)
Dragomino is becoming a classic! This game has two big advantages today. First that we can play all together, including Sophie (4yo). Kind of the same for king of Tokyo, except that in this one we should help Sophie with the power cards effects and some key decisions. Secondly, this is a game that Xavier can play alone with no matter who of his friends, as it is extremely easy to teach, so it has seen more table that the plays I have recorded.
6 Unicorn Glitterluck: Cloud Crystals x2 (24 all-time)
5.5 3 Little Pigs (14 all-time)
6.5 Hedgehog Roll (11 all-time)
6 Koboldbande (5 all-time)
N/A Kullerhexe (5 all-time)
5 Mistigri (4 all-time)
6 Monster Chase (19 all-time)
6 The Little Orchard (7 all-time)
I will have to renew a little bit the games I have for Sophie (4 years old). Still it is fun to see how she improves in some of them over time. In hedgehog roll and Kullerhexe, two dextery games, she manages now to target and control the trajectories. In koboldbande, she starts to understand what is the optimal path. She enjoys a lot playing and I am quite proud of her progress!Playing our favourite memory.
5 Splendor NEW!
Tried online in BGA as it is one of these games that iswell ranked in BGG. My first impression: it is long and it is really dry, at least to my taste. I realise that there is probably a great balanced and thinky game behind probably, but I felt it a bit boring to be honest. I am not sure if I will give it a second opportunity.
So that's it for boardgaming! In order of things, these are challenging times, I am really tired of covid related problems as probably many of you. Hopefully it will be finish sooner than later (or at least mitigated). I also hope you have received the gifts you asked for to Santa. Last time I visit him, he had a few letters to read yet, as you can see in below pictures.
We wish you a very happy new year!!
- [+] Dice rolls
Many things happened this month! So let's make two post instead of one
I had to go to Annecy to collect my It's a wonderful kingdom pledge and it was one the days where Annecy Ludique organised a gaming afternoon. I already wanted to check this association, as board gaming community in Annecy looks very active. I have the impression that they hold many board gaming events before the pandemic and there are many specialised stores than you can expect for which is a middle size city in France (around 125k population). I decided to check it out by myself, so I took Xavier with me and we went to a gaming afternoon where we were warmly welcome by its members.
There were a few tables. In a big one, there were six persons playing The hunger, which looked interesting. I have been following this new game from Richard Garfield which looks like it has some similarities with Clank!, a game that my family loves. Still some differences arise clearly from the short time I watched them playing. The most obvious: there was a fixed number of rounds to come back to the castle, the humans "digestion" mechanic and the "dynamic" market. I looked a bit more crunchy that clank!At six, this game was taking a couple of tables
Interesting enough to add it to my collection when I have so much Clank! to play yet? I am not really sure, but I would love to give it a try.
Other people were playing the king is dead, recently edited in French, which looked a nice majority area game, and our main hosts were in the middle of playing Shards of infinity at three count when we arrived, which looked to me as a Star Realms on steroids: it has a few additional mechanics: the allies/champions (well this look similar to the bases to be honest), the mercenaries and the mastery. This make the game a little more interesting to my view.The theme selected is... strange. Picture thanks Daniel Thurot @The Innocent
There were a few people coming and going, but no kids . My hosts were very kind and did not say nothing, but it was clear that games available were for an adult audience and the majority of people there were probably hardcore gamers with thousands of plays behind them. Still, looking at some of the games available, I assessed that there were a few that probably Xavier would be able to play without help, so I still pushed my luck: Xavier is eight years old but have played quite a lot and, taking into account how many questions he was asking, he was as excited as me to try something new and play with new people (or probably more!). Worst case, I propose to play as a team if things looked too complex.
Our hosts asked us if there were one game we preferred above another on the ones available on the shelf. One of the games attired me, as I have read/heard about it and I have a hunch that probably it was in the sweet spot of complexity where our hosts will not get bored while allowing Xavier to play by himself on a first play.
N/A Nidavellir NEW!: this is a game that did some noise in France when appeared in 2020. This design of Serge Laget has been nominated to a few prizes and was awarded by the Tric Trac d'Or.
The explanation of the game rules was excellent, quick but still detailed. The theme fit, you are recruiting dwarfs in the tavern to fight a dragon, could really have been anything else in my opinion. The game is a mix of auction with set-collection: you start with five coins from 0 to 5 (there is no 1) that allow you to bid for different type of dwarves in the taverns. The dwarfs are part of guilds (explorers, fighters, hunters…), which in game translates to different ways of scoring. If you diversify a bit and you do a complete row of the six types of dwarfs, you can recruit a hero that have special effects (from direct scoring, to sum up a few levels in one of the sets). Middle game there is a moment where majorities by set are verified and you can get some advantage if you have the head on one.Nice components on this game. Picture credit: Ilya Ushakov @kovray
The twist on this game is the "coin building" mechanic. You bid three times in each round and if you put the zero coin in a bid, it allows to "merge" the two coins you have no used into a better one, discarding the higher of the two used. For example, you bid using the zero coin and you did not use in the round bidding the 3 and the 4 one. Then you get a 7 coin and you discard the highest one.Coin stand is nice
My first impression is that the game is quite good. As many auction games, the game flows nicely as there is simultaneous action resolution, there is interaction through competition on bids and even some "hate" drafting. It plays fast also, four count and including rules explanation, it took around 1 hour. The coin building allow to which look some interesting strategic choices, mostly at the beginning, through sacrificing some bids in order to get and advantage later. However, I am not really sure if this is really a choice, as you score also for the coins you have at the end of the game, you are kind of forced to upgrade your coins to do not fall behind (Do not repeat my mistakes!).
Even though I can see all the good points, it fall a bit flat to me. I am not really sure why. Maybe because it is a victory points salad at the end (Well, this was something I expected anyway as it is innate to set collection mechanic). Or maybe because, even though there are many ways to score, strategies looked a bit straight forward. Even, I asked myself if, once you will know how to maximise score, things will get a bit obvious and/or repetitive over time affecting replayability, which is maybe the main issue I could foresee. I did have the feeling I had seen more or less everything in this game. Yes, we can add a few heroes here and there and potentially expansion will add some variability, but I am not sure it will add replayability value. This game is in boardgamearena, so I think I will try it there a bit more to see if I am right or not.Some heroes choice. Picture credit: Ilya Ushakov @kovray
In summary a good game, well balanced with an interesting twist, but I did not fell in love enough to add it to my collection. I think I would prefer to play Rainstead which, even though it is much more simple, as it has a little bit more of chaos, tension and even some epic moments due to the push your luck involved.
Anyway, we enjoyed a lot to play with the people from the association. I tried to go for the orange dwarfs, that basically multiplies their total value by the number of dwarfs you have, but I completely missed that one of my opponents hired the "orange" hero and took from me the mid-game reward (as it is linked to "levels" and not to the number of dwarfs you have, something I did not realise). This took me out of the game early so I tried the odd strategy of not upgrading the coins and bid hard at the beginning of the second round, just to see if that could be a viable strategy (spoiler: it is not!). Xavier on the other hand fought to the very end for the victory, just losing the second place for a few points and he was not far from the first.Playing Nidavellir in the club. Not my best picture!
By the way, Xavier was close to do a huge kingmaking! One of the players was clearly going for a strategy of red cards and coin upgrading. Then there is a hero that scores as much as your highest coin. We make a couple of jokes about how evident (but effective) was he pursuing this strategy, but it was less funny when Xavier just completed a row and said, "give me that hero please!" and all the rest looked puzzled to him. I had to introduce the concept to him and explain that, it was ok to do that if it was part of his strategy, but just taking the hero would lead to that player losing along himself (as Xavier did not have a big coin to score through), so giving the victory to another player. Frankly, Xavier understood quickly and changed his mind without any complain. He learns fast!
I think I will look for an association closer but, if there is not, I will join this association and try to go once a month at least. If it is a bit far away from my home (around 35-40 minutes) but anyway, I love Annecy! There many things to do in this city. We can go cycling in the 30 km something dedicated path the city has, visit one of the museums (there are a few) or even skiing half day in one of the stations that are quite close and go to play in the afternoon! (Could be a better plan than this one?)Some pictures I took from Annecy
I will try to update about the rest of games I played in November next week if my job allows me
I wish you a lot of play to your favorites games!
- [+] Dice rolls
Another month, another birthday! This time was little princess Sophie's turn to become 4th.
No board game offered this time though. I already have more than enough, so I will wait for a deal or in the second hand market in something I know she will like. Anyway, at this moment, she prefers unicorns, princesses, legos, creative games, etc. Indeed, among other things, I offered her an orange ball, because there was too much "pink & blue" to my test offered by the rest
Concerning boardgaming, we replayed a lot to games already in our collection, which I am really happy about. However, there is not too much new I can talk about, except just some new sensations on "old" games after get them explored a little further.
9 Res Arcana x2 (20 all-time): One play with Sylvie and one with Xavier that were really different. I really love this game, even over my beloved Race for the galaxy. Not sure the reason why, probably because I love more the puzzle proposed: the fact of getting the overall picture at the beginning of the game, but still have to adapt as the game moves on: as cards appear in different order and the subtle and indirect interactions between players can alter your plan. By the way, lately we play without draft. Why? I am convinced that this game is quite well balanced does not matter what do you get in hand and I do not want to extend too much the game time with Sylvie and Xavier with Res Arcana.
Xavier and Sylvie enjoy it a lot also, but at the same time they often get frustrated when playing. In the play with Sylvie, she tried to use the athanor and at the same time try to buy and score through a place of power. Logically this did not work, not enough essences for both, and was quite frustrated when realising the mistake. Even though she scored fairly, which imply probably that I did not play optimally either and she could have win.
In the play with Xavier, I was quite pleased. I advised him at the beginning of the game with a simple "how to" address the game:
1.- take a look at your eight cards and your two mages in hand.
2.- Take a look at the places of power and monuments on the table.
3.- Define a plan on how you expect to score.
4.- Verify you will have enough essences (or how do you expect to get them) and how long it will take.
5.- Make your mage choice and try to draft a plan B in case your artefacts cards do not come in order.
For my surprise, he listen to me and draw a nice plan to score. Still not fully optimal, just a round short to win, but really good for a 8th years old!
N/A Fabled Fruit x2 (8 all-time): we are not playing Xavier, Sylvie and me together too much lately. This time we continue our way on this game. Xavier was not happy about the choice, but Sylvie and me were too tired to go for something heavier. Still, we got all engaged. The good thing about fabled fruit is that new cards arrive all the time, which forces you to analyse and adapt to the new situation all the time. After eight plays, the cards are becoming much heavy in interaction, which we like in our family.
Light, fast and funny. It looks like it is never our first choice, but we always enjoy it (Xavier not so much, as he lost twice this time )
N/A Paleo x3 (7 all-time): it was the game I wanted to play after summer break and finally I could take it to the table with Xavier. A really solid game this Paleo.
Nice cooperative that mitigates the alpha player effect quite smartly.
Multiple scenarios that provide replayability.
In the difficult side to play with a kid, but this make him enjoy it and engages him, as it is a real challenge.
You can even see a small story through the gameplay if you have some imagination.
Paleo ticks many boxes for us. We played three times the first scenario again in one night, as we did not remember the rules after a couple of months. The first two we lost (one very quickly) and we finally won on the third one. Xavier was sooo happy of finally beating it! (I have to recognise that I was also ).
7 Santorini x3 (19 all-time): this well-known abstract game changes a bit every time you take a different role. This time we tried Hypnos, Zeus, Chaos and Hestia. I liked a lot Zeus, which power allows you to build in the case your worker is, as it is quite straight forward. This time Xavier did not so well with Hypnos, lesson learned by me!
7 Schotten Totten x3 (8 all-time): Rainer Knizia has a well-known reputation for designing elegant games, and this reimplementation of battle line is a really good exponent of it. The hand management allows for a lot of strategy and even some bluffing (for example, by keeping a card that your opponent is waiting for or keeping a card in hand that makes you win a stone).
We tried the tactics cards variant, which Xavier was dying for. He quickly regretted when I won by using the traitor in the last disputed stone! He asked for a rematch with the original version, that felt provides more control. I expect to try the variant again to verify if it is really the case, or just a feeling.
I realised that Xavier and me love to play this kind of games that are simple, short but still a little bit deep. Stellar, even though main mechanic is the draft, gives me a similar sensation to ST and is one of the most played in our collection.
6.5 Mice and Mystics (4 all-time): It is a nice dungeon crawler to play with a kid, however I do not like too much the genre. The story proposed by M&M is quite enjoyable, however I find it very difficult to put it in the table: too much set-up and a bit too long gameplay. This is what I feel more annoying, because we play it again too apart in time. Each time we play, I have forgotten a few rules that I have to check and we have to get a quick remind of the story. Indeed, we have started the campaign a few times already and we have 3-4 plays more than the logged ones.
Alas, I played the second scenario with Xavier. I already said he loves this game? We saved Lilly from the mousetrap
N/A Skyjo NEW!: This was a Xavier's birhtday present and we quickly tried a few rounds to see what it looks like. My first impression was neutral, looked a bit random and a bit too long for what it offered.
Indeed first thing coming to my mind was: "if I have 30 minutes and have to play with Sylvie/Xavier, would I propose toplay this or Schotten totten/Stellar?" "If we are three or four, with some newcomers to boardgaming, and we have 45 minutes, would we play this or something like fabled fruit, for sale, oriflamme, citadels, cubirds or the crew?" (Just to say a few of the games in my collection).
I will still give it a try on a full game. Potentially I missed something in the few rounds we played.
8.5 Marvel Champions: The Card Game x24 (110 all-time): played really a lot of MC this month. I even introduced it to Sylvie which did not like it too much. I was not really surprised, I do enjoy this game because the theme, the deckbuilding and the mechanic puzzle it proposes. Neither of this attire Sylvie which does not know too much about marvel superheros, never has seh done deckbuilding and she likes more the competitive side of boardgaming.
I have been testing three heros I did not test before and playing modifying their decks.
Spiderwoman: the best part of SW is the possibility of deckbuilding using two aspects, which is quite fun. For first time I felt that protection could work (in true solo, I feel that pure protection decks are quite weak). However, I finally built a Justice + Aggression deck finally that worked really well. By the way, I think that Pheromones is probably one of the best cards (or the best indeed): Pheromones.
Gamora: I tried it quickly with Sylvie, and Gamora surprised me as it is so event heavy and much less about tableau building. I did not expect a so good hero from the very beginning, but it really felt strong and flexible.
Star-lord: I loved star-lord hero pack and I have a lot of fun with it! Star-lord special ability of decreasing the cost of playing a card by three and get an encounter cards really felt thematic. The cards that imply bonuses based on how many encounter cards do you have in front of you, are crazy effective if your timing playing them is the good one. The different plays were a roller coaster, sometimes getting further and further into trouble to just get a win from what looked a sure defeat.
Gliding through the masters of evil henchmen for doing a big 15 damage to Klaw and win the play when everything looked lost!
N/A Arkham Horror: The Card Game x8 (65 all-time): I kept playing the forgotten age campaign with Finn and Stella, usually replaying scenarios twice as usual to make sure I played them correctly.
I think I have mess up with the experience choices I have done which have led to scenarios getting more and more difficult. The boundary beyond scenario was hard and I felt it a bit swingy, but I still did more or less well and I did really well in the next one. Nevertheless the one that I felt really crazy difficult was the city of archives. First play through was a really nice surprise, I really loved what the scenario proposed and the history/background, but then it start the s***show…Spoiler (click to reveal)Becoming a Yithian was bluffing. Losing the text of my investigators was a really bad surprise. I did my best, but at the end the process did not go very well. I was extremely lucky with the post scenario though. This luck gave me an opportunity to survive the depths of Yoth and I even get quite deep! Still I has reached the end of the campaign full of traumas, poisoned, without supplies and in total darkness. This is not looking good for the end...
7.5 Friday x5 (48 all-time): I still have to update the solo challenge in boardgamegeek list . I am happy, this month I beat a couple of times the level 5!
I forced myself to play a little more with Sophie. Logically, I prefer to play with Xavier, things start to get meaty and we are both enjoying boardgaming together at last. Nevertheless Sophie needs and wants to pass time with me and she enjoys board games also (even if board gaming is not her first choice activity!). The best is when we can play the three together. Nevertheless, it is very difficult to find games that fits Sophie (4yo, too young) and Xavier (8yo but hundreds of plays already at his count). If you know some, I accept suggestions. For the moment, only two games make this possible at home:
7 Dragomino x2 (10 all-time): This works perfectly with both of them. As there is no text or difficult calculations to do, Sophie can play it without help. She even starts to optimize the tile she takes in order to connect multiple borders (still far away of preparing the future or hate drafting, but step by step ). On the other hand Xavier play to win and he already realised by himself the probability of the empty egg shelfs by color. Reason why I place myself always before him to hate draft whenever possible and balance a little bit the game. The slight randomness of the game, makes the rest to allow enjoyable games with Sophie's 4yo.
6 King of Tokyo x2 (7 all-time): logically she does not understand many thing or play optimally. Neither can she read cards. But she throws dices, more or less understands what to keep and what to reroll. She also realises that getting to 0HP is bad and getting 20 starts is good, even though I have to move the tracks for her. Also, she buys cards completely randomly and based on the art on them (I have to follow the effects for her).
The most important: she loves the game and starts to understand it (replaying makes miracles with kids). For us, Sophie adds chaos and Xavier at last can play something with her that he likes even though sometimes he gets angry because I help her "too much".
7 Zombie Kidz Evolution (34 all-time): Xavier wanted to play and Sophie was around. He prepared this game by himself and when I arrived I saw it on the table. It is not at all adapted to Sophie, more now that we have finish the campaign and everything is there. We just played and told Sophie what to do each time, that just enjoyed to be playing a game for "olders".
To be honest, once the campaign is finished, the game loss a lot of interest. Still, one of the games more amortised in my collection.
5 Rory's Story Cubes: Voyages (5 all-time): Do you want to have a memorable moment with your 4yo kid? Play this, roll the dice first and tell a story. Then let your kid do the same and listen to the history your son/daughter will tell to you. Bonus points if you film it!
And the usual suspects. To be honest, getting tired of all of them (not the case for Sophie!), I will have to include something new…
5.5 Au feu les pompiers (16 all-time)
6 The Little Orchard (7 all-time)
6 Unicorn Glitterluck: Cloud Crystals (23 all-time)
And that's all for board gaming. Outside the hobby, I have been extremely busy in my job, but this month I had a couple of days off... and without kids! They stay with the grandparents and we did some hiking in Chartrouse and we visit a couple of villages in Ardeche: Balazuc and Vogüé. Hope you enjoy some of my (bad) pictures.
And finally, I found one comic in the mediatheque that I would like to share, about the first german unified rowing team. As an old rower, it made smile:
And that is all for October. I have to confess that it is more and more difficult to find time to write this blog, but I will do my best to keep going. At worst, it will just a bit less often.
I wish you a lot of good plays to wonderful games!
- [+] Dice rolls
I have been collecting Arkham Horror lcg since it appeared and I have almost everything at this point except the last campaign. However I did not played campaigns until this year as I was getting quite a lot of fun dying again an again with the core box, its investigators and the deckbuilding. This year I am catching up. I have played return to the night of the zealot a few times, alone and with friends, we are mid-way through Dunwich legacyand I started playing solo two handed the forgotten age.
For this campaign, I built what I believe are two generalists decks that are working very well together in Standard difficulty in my first blind play through and I wanted to share them. Note that I try my decks to be "good but not broken". I have seen a few of excellent decks in Arkhamdb that I feel they are "broken" in the sense that they try to beat the game hard and push the limits of deckbuilding and combinations (getting extremely high stats, a lot of actions by turn, unlimited generation of ressources, etc.), but that I feel them unthematic for a first run. Maybe for hardest difficulty levels will be nice once I have beaten the campaign...
I read this excellent post about FA and I understood that in this campaign you have many agility tests and it is the only one where evading is more interesting than fighting. Taking into account this, I decided to take Stella and Finn (see the original decks here and here).
Two generalist decks?
Basically neither of both are excelling in an area, but they are extremely flexible. The main ideas I had in head when building these decks:
To get high agility stats for both, allowing to evade efficiently, which is key in this campaign.
- Stella leaning over the track shoes and Peter Sylvester to get to a 6 agility
- Finn looking for cards that allow the combination of his great agility/combat/intellect stats and evading like Cheap shot or Slip Away
Both can investigate and gather clues. Finn thanks to his 4 intellect, lockpicks and intelligence report. whereas Stella will have to use look what I found! the old keyring and her extra action in case of failure.
Both can combat quite efficiently, even though Finn is the more combat oriented as he has four weapons (two .25 Automatic, his trusty .38 and the .45 thomson) and sleight of hand for economy of actions, ressources and ammunition. In addition he has smuggled goods and one copy of scrouge for supplies which can help him to find/recover a weapon if necessary. Stella has different ways to manage enemies, being the more straight forward to use her .18 derringers. However, she can also use her agility to waylay them.
Treacheries: I hope that Stella's average sanity of 3 will be enough to survive the campaign once it will be improved through Peter Sylvester**. However the low sanity stat of Finn is an issue. I will try to limit the damage through logical reasoning (to discard treacheries) or clearly take advantage of it with fight or run once horror kicks in. Stella's role is to help him survive on this, as we will see later.
Resource engine: Stella's deck is not very expensive in resources and any need can be covered by take heart. Finn case is more tricky, as the deck is much more expensive and the main resource engine is pickpocketing** which is a 2xp card that I will expect to get after the second scenario. To cover the gap, I have two copies of watch this! that I expect will be easy to use with the cards that allow stats combinations.
To add flexibility to both decks, Stella has two copies of resourceful. Also, Stella has one copy of scrouge for supplies and Finn the other. With this I expect to cover for any gap during mid scenario that I can face. These cards will be replaced as the campaign advance, as they can only be used to recover level 0 cards (and signature cards do not apply).
Some nice combos between the two investigators
As Stella has a high agility, she can evade quite efficiently. This allows Finn to use efficently his .25 Automatic and trusty .38 even if the enemy is not engaged with him directly.
Finn free evading a monster, can leave Stella to finish him using waylay or moving it to the encounter deck later with Close call**.
Stella will make sure that Finn survives the horror through the use of no rain nor snow (to avoid the failure effects) or a test of will(to take the test herself with better stats).
The experience path…
For Finn, the first upgrades I had in mind were:
To replace Leo de Luca, quite expensive, by Delilah to boost his combat and agility stats, which will improve the possibilities to manage enemies.
Upgrade pickpocketing**, in order to get the resources engine flowing, as his deck is quite expensive.
Improve to .25 automatics** to get advantage of the action compression allowed by his free evasion.
Get the upgraded lockpicks*, to avoid losing my main investigation tool with a bad chaos token pick.
And after that, I did not have too much idea of how to progress and in which order. I had in mind to get the Lupara to replace the Thomson (as I need both hands), but the low ammunition make me doubt. Also getting some amulet (as I have the place empty)? The upgraded versions of evasion? Ideas here are welcome!
For Stella, the experience path pass through upgrading Peter Sylvester** first to improve her willpower stat and her ability to survive nasty encounter cards (as she will have to manage hers and potentially Finn' ones!). Then upgrades go through:
Rabbit's feet***: to improve the cards engine.
Derringers**: to improve her ability to manage enemies. The extra ammunition and the +1 on the next attack has saved me many times already.
Look what I found!**: for improving her ability to gather clues in difficult or enemies populated locations.
Close call**: sending back an enemy without fight and for no action. This can be used on free Finn's evade actions. So basically for no action, you send back an enemy to the deck. Note that dumb luck** is less interesting here, as it is rare to fail an evade test with agility boosted at 6, there are many alert enemies on this campaign and cannot be used when Finn evades.
First impressions on the FA campagin
Concerning the campaign, without getting into too much detail, I can understand some of the complains about it. The exploration mechanism does not look so bad as I though after reading about it. Nevertheless, it is true that involves luck and potentially can get very nasty.
In my case, I am more annoyed by the supplies mechanism. I was lucky or had the intuition to take what I think was a good choice, which by the way, mitigated the exploration randomness. However, the supplies have impacts quite unbalanced from my point of view: a supply can allow you to avoid a trauma whereas other supply just allow to heal one additional health point in a scenario... A bad choice and you will be impacted all the campaign. Moreover, it is difficult to erase from your mind what was the "good" supply for next runs, which will be much easier.
Still, comparing with core box campaign, its return box and what I have seen from Dunwich until now, this campaign is a blast. I loved threats of fate and the boundary beyond scenarios, the first because it has really a lot of options, the second because I felt it really thematic (and difficult by the way). The second scenario was quite fun also.
These two decks, did they worked?
At the point I started writing this, I had already played the first four scenarios of the forgotten age campaign. It is a first time blind play through and both decks are working very well. I just suffered on the boundary beyond, but I have the feeling this scenario difficulty is higher than the others I tried. I use to play scenarios twice: to take advantage of the set-up, which is already done, and to make sure that I have played by the book and I have not misunderstood any rule. In any case, I take always the worst of the resolutions, that until now has been always the first logically.
Two highlights moment until now (spoilers)Spoiler (click to reveal)
I had this post prepared since a couple of weeks, just waiting to add links and photos. Since I have played a couple of scenarios more... which I will talk about in my next post.
Hope you found this funny!
- [+] Dice rolls
Late as usual. Well, this what happens when you have 70+ hours working week like the last one. Hopefully this will get calmer forward on, otherwise I will have to start thinking in something else…
Anyway, the event of the month is Xavier's 8th birthday! He is already a little man I am proud of, and my best board game partner (well, until video games will kidnap him, I am not naïve!). He is already getting quite a lot of experience in board gaming also: more than 400 plays logged (and many others plays not logged!). Happy birthday t to my little big man (hopefully one day he will read this blog).
So what do we played this month interesting enough to write a little about it? Indeed, we did not play too much all of us together, but we still play quite a good bunch of games this month.,,
6 Cartaventura: Vinland x6 NEW!:
This is a game published by Blam! And designed by Thomas Dupont and Arnaud Ladagnous. I do not have the pleasure to know them, but we are almost neighbours, as we live in the same region in France (Haute Savoie).
I enjoyed quite a lot playing 7th continent, its exploration mechanic and the adventure feeling so this game attired my attention a lot as it looked inspired by it and quite similar in components and visual aspect. It is not a fair comparison though, whereas 7th continent is a full game with a focus in exploration and survival, Cartaventura is one of these "one shot" games produced in a small box and with a low price tag. Different to escape games, that are more focused on puzzles, Cartaventura leans more on the narrative side (which is what I was looking forward).
To summary the game feeling, this is a "choose your own adventure" but using cards instead of a book. This is an advantage in some way, as you it provides more options, is more visual and it is a bit less linear than the book equivalent.
For example, when doing a choice, others cards on the table giving options potentially disappear, moving the history through a different path. Also, you have the "God's favors" that allow you to unblock some options or save you from adverse outcomes. There are three Gods you can have favors, and you chose one of them at the beginning of the game. These favors could be used/expensed and recovered back along the history. Additionally, some outcomes provide you objects you can keep on the inventory and, as the favors, unblock options and more favorable outcomes.
Replayability is an issue, as could be expected in a narrative game, moreover in a "one shot" like this game. Indeed it looks like as the designers are aware of this and they have tried to address it: there are five possible finals, though one is dying. To find all of them is a challenge, though not always a funny one: sometimes is more close to a trial and error method than taking what looks like a good decision.
The game could feel linear, more once after the second/third play. Again, designers have tried to do something about it. For example, after one game, when you put the cards back in order, sometimes there is one that the game request you to turn and changes the possible paths you can take (an even the start point) for the next game. Still the game lose some interest, as you know part of the path and outcomes.
By the way, I checked my ratio cost/hours of play for this game for getting a reference. In my case, I played 3 hours and a half, so around 3.4€/hour, which is in line with the rest of my solo gaming.[/COLOR] However, I played it quite slowly, I think that this could be played through completely in around 2 to 3 hours (so between 6€ to 4€ / hour), which is a bit higher than other games in my collection. Nevertheless, that is less an issue than the fact that the latest plays lose interest.
What saved the game for me, is the historical background it has. In this case you are the son of Erik "the red" and you try to clean his name. During the game you have some hints of what happened during this period and on how vikings' life was. Indeed, the game does not have any rules, you just turn the first card and you start playing (like Friedman friesse fast forward games), but it brings a small booklet explaining the historical context in which the game develops.Quote:What I liked:Indeed, I learnt playing this game something about me. I do not really like anymore these kind of narrative games unless they have something "else". The "choose your own adventure" was good enough when I was a kid, but not anymore. 7th continent or Arkham Horror lcg have additional different games mechanics that make me to engage more and be willing to replay them, even though I already know part or all of the narrative side of the game.
+ Historic flavour and narrative
+ There is no set-up / simple rules
+ nice art and card quality
+ Low price tag
What I did not like so much
- Feels linear
- Low replayability
Said this, I do not regret to have played this. It is an interesting proposal at a really affordable price. Nevertheless, this is really a game that I will play only when I am in the "mood": when I do not too much time, not willing to think too much.
9 Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure (54 all-time)
N/A Clank!: Adventuring Party NEW!:
My mother wanted to offer something to Xavier as present for his birthday and give him some money as she cannot accompany him herself (she is quite old). So we went to our closest boardgame store and we take a look around. Xavier saw it and his decision was taken very quickly, as he loves Clank! I was not so excited about it, as I had read already a bit about clank adventuring party and the principal addition, allowing to play at 5-6, does not interest me.
However, I was surprised by this expansion. I was expecting something overpriced and simple, the usual add a few more tokens, a couple of rules to allow 5-6 players and a simple asymmetry. And well, let's be honest, it is kind of. Nevertheless, my first impression with one game, I recognize that they tried hard to do something interesting and worthy of throwing your money to.
First, the asymmetry . Xavier played the orc and me D'allan (the elf?). I was just expecting a couple of new cards in the initial hand but I was surprised by a mini personal board for both. In the case of the orc, you have a new initial card to fight from the very beginning and a small round in his personal board that allows to get some rewards each time you kill a monster. This leaded to some interesting timing choices.
In my case, I did have a personal board where I put some of the artifacts/secrets I collected. Then, some of the cards of my specific deck allowed me to use powers associated to them. At the beginning it looked like a "slow" deck, but it was interesting to play and quite powerful by the end of the game.
Second, the additions to allow 5/6 players. This is additional clank cubes, gold, artifacts/secrets tokens, etc. as well as a few rules to modify the set-up that allows a fifth and an even a sixth player. To be honest I would never play a game of clank with so many players. We have more than 50 plays logged and still the last rounds of the game are quite slow, with all the combos you are probably having to take into account. The downtime at five / six players will be too much, so this is an addition not very interesting from my point of view.
Third, the "reaction" cards, are a nice surprise. I had already read about it before, and I was not impressed as it just looked like a patch to get people engaged in the huge downtime you have in the 5th / 6th player games. Basically, now you have some cards that, if some conditions are met, you can play during the turn of other players: you play it on the table and you draw an additional card (so when your turn arrives, you will play 5 + 1 = 6 cards). The specific decks of each character already have a few reaction cards on them and the expansion brings you additional cards to shuffle and use for the market (As usual… should we take out some "old" ones to avoid "dilution" of the new and be able to see them appear more often?).
I must recognize that it works quite well in practice and it improves the flow of the game for people who already knows how to play. It forces the players to draw their five cards in advance quickly and start thinking about what they are going to do next, while keeping an eye on what the others are doing, as react conditions are dependent on others gameplay. For example, in the case of Xavier's orc, one react card can be used if somebody else kills the last monster in the market row.Quote:I don't know if it was due to the low expectations, but I enjoyed quite a lot this expansion. It is not something that blows your mind, but the asymmetry is interesting enough to give envy to explore the different characters gameplay. I am not sure it is fully balanced, we will see, but I do not really care. It is quite fun. In addition, the reaction cards are a good idea and improves the flow of the game for experienced players.
I just found it a bit overpriced just for these two additions, as I disregard the 5/6 player one (even though it is a nice to have feature). My opinion is that it is still worthy to take a look at it, if you enjoy Clank! In our case, I believe that from now on, we will play always with this extension.
9 Chicago Express (5 all-time):
I proposed Xavier to play something together a Saturday afternoon and I was quite surprised by his choice of Chicago Express. I know that two is not the best number for this game, as at the end this game main mechanic is the auction, but I cannot resist to play this game when I have an opportunity.
This is a game that is "easy to learn, hard to master" and probably a bit too deep for a 8 years old. My problem is that I often underestimate Xavier. With this one is the fifth time he plays this game and he is starting to grasp it and the auction mechanic (probably this summer's plays to For Sale! Increased his awareness on this).
Playing at two, it is easier to keep an eye on the biddings "right" value. So the game, at least this play, turned more on how to develop the line and block your opponent. I played loosely the two first turns and suddenly I found myself behind and in a bad position for the middle/late game. I had slightly overbid on two of the companies, but not enough to develop them enough to get a good inflow of dividends later. Xavier on the other hand had a good position on the yellow company. I did the mistake of trying to lay a trap to him, forcing a bidding for a yellow share, and I found myself overbidding again for a minority stake, just to give the company a good overflow of income that will allow it to develop enough to reach Chicago.
At this point I realized that it was going to be very hard to win, so I tried the dirtiest tricks to try to come back. With my minority stake I succeed in developing yellow company in the middle of nowhere and avoid it reaching Chicago hoping for a mistake from Xavier. He did a couple of minor mistakes, but it was not enough, and the time wasted in disturbing his plans made the difference. He won me 182 - 172 but we both enjoyed a lot the play. Quite proud of Xavier. I have to start leveling up the bar in the competitive games when playing with him, things are getting interesting.
9 Res Arcana (18 all-time): Xavier requested to play this game also and I was quite surprised. I believe that he is tired of playing quick/short games (even though Res Arcana is not too long…). Lately he is looking for deeper games, even if he does not grasp their strategy too much.
In this game he is far away of being a challenge to me (for the moment!). I am quite used to engine building games and combos. Still I enjoy playing it with him, as he is really progressing a lot: we played without draft and he figure out an engine to produce essences and score, which I can assure you it is not easy even for adults (Remember he is 8 years old, quite proud of him). He just didn't realise that the card he needed potentially to start his strategy was not going to be in the initial hand. At this moment he looked with despair at the game (this is funny, my wife had exactly the same look the first time she played).
I gave him a hint of how to find it quickly (he tends to oversee the divination), even though not really sure that it was the most optimal strategy for him (neither I wanted to make him unveil all his plan. This little man has a little ego and does not want to be guided more than the necessary). Anyway, the time he lost gave me enough space to win for a close 10 to 9.
Indeed, this made me think about this game. Occasional players or players not used to engine building games are really frustrated when approaching this game for first time. Indeed, Sylvie and Xavier heads' almost exploded on the first game, and were not even capable of drafting an overall strategy. In their case, they wanted to try again, at the end of the first play they catch up the idea and liked the challenge, but I can imagine than many people will not want to hear about this game again.
N/A Marvel United NEW!: On my first impression I was a bit disappointed by this game even though I had already read and heard quite a lot about it.
The game rules are straight forward. You select six locations, you select a villain and his deck and you select your hero (who has also an unique deck of cards). You draw an initial hand of your deck and the heroes play cards in order. Very briefly, these cards allow you to move between locations, damage/defeat minions (or the villain) and save civilians. When resolving a card, you resolve its effect and the one of the previous player. When some cards have been played, the villain plays one of his cards, that usually has nasty effects (adding minions/civilians, causing damage/discard cards, advancing evil plan, etc.)
I knew it was light. I knew that the base game was kind of short in content (so in replayability) as the complete game was the KickStarter edition with all that stretch goals adding heroes and villains. I knew that, already having marvel champions, probably it was redundant in my collection… but I saw it for 12€ and curiosity took over. I tried it solo just once, so take what I am going to say with caution. Indeed, remember that I am not an expert gamer anyway, so whatever I say on board games you should take it with caution, they are just random opinions!Quote:What I liked:I do not feel this game interesting enough to play it solo, at this point I would always play Marvel Champions lcg before this. However, I will give it another try with Xavier to see if it engage us more playing it as cooperative or if still falls flat.
- Components, insert, art, minis
- Light, short game and cooperative game. Usually the sweet spot for playing with children
- The mechanic related to the use of the previous card played. It is a small one, but
What I did not like so much
- Felt quite mechanical for me. I did not felt the theme
- Heroes did not feel different enough. Their decks share quite a lot of the cards, having just a few with effects that differentiate from others heroes.
- I believe there is low replayability for the base game. As the heroes do not differentiate enough, the game in standard difficulty is easy and the plays are very fast, you will quickly see everything the game can offer as soon as you have played the three villains.
6.5 Small World Underground (5 all-time): the only time that we played together Sylvie, Xavier and me, we chose Smallworld and I have to recognise that this game is quite fun.
I think that this game's imperfections make it a good fit at this moment. It allows Xavier to enjoy and get a fair challenge without the frustration of being unable to beat the adults. The two main issues of the game, make it good for playing with him:
It is a game where you try to "bash the leader" constantly. At three count, where one is a kid, this allowed adults to enjoy where Xavier was the chaotic element.
The randomness linked to artifacts and power places: something that you do not have in the "normal" Smallworld and that adds a lot of chaos. This can potentially ruin the experience and make the game to be felt as too much luck involved. Again, when playing with a kid, this is not an issue per se.Is this Xavier's first wargame? It has "counters"
One good thing is that finally Xavier starts to read the board and understand the race/trait combinations that could be powerful on the moment. So, as he improves playing the two points above are starting to get a bit more relevant. For example, Xavier won by a smart use of one of the races and by keeping a low profile, as Sylvie and me are used to battle ruthlessly. This made me be the last, even though I catch up a lot in the last rounds when I realised that Xavier was effectively playing well.
Now we are in a sweet spot with this game, but I ask myself for how long. Xavier improves really fast on it.Why other games do not have so a nice insert?
Other games I played...
6.5 Conspiracy: Abyss Universe (65 all-time): short two players 15 minutes game. Not the best balanced game in the world, but interesting enough to keep us engaged. Still, it lost interest to me after I figure out that location strategy is slightly better than others.
7.5 Friday x4 (44 all-time): the usual games for the solo challenge playing "Friday on Friday". I do not forget to play, but I use to forget to add the results in the challenge itself…
8 Cartographers (8 all-time): Playing the solo challenge of August, again, I make I mistake so I did not submit my sheet. I enjoyed playing it though .
7.5 Little Town (13 all-time): a play at two with Sylvie. I do not like it at this count, too much space, but Sylvie looks to like worker placement mechanic. I have to find something short (under 1h) that works well at two.
N/A San Juan (Second Edition) (3 all-time): after I burnt race for the galaxy playing online, this is the replacement to play time to time with Sylvie. Still learning the cards and understanding the strategy, it is deep enough to keep us engaged for long time.
8.5 Marvel Champions: The Card Game x10 (85 all-time)
N/A Marvel Champions: The Card Game – Black Widow Hero Pack NEW!
I bought and tested this month the Black Widow hero pack with her pre-built deck. Sincerely it felt like playing in easy!
Once you have your engine down with things like bracalets, Quinsport and the different preparation cards, things go smoothly. It is easy to put down your engine, as there are multiple ways to control the threat in hero and alter-ego, which allows you to take your time before going for the villain.
Indeed, after five easy straight forwards wins, I was overconfident when fighting Ultron expert (II & III). A really bad choice deciding when to pass the villain stage (used a Black Widow reaction for it) and I found myself with two drones plus the side scheme which gave me an additional encounter deck that was resolved straight forward. Even though, I managed the situation just to found myself losing when he was 2hp left! Anyway, I tried again and demolished Ultron expert the following play.Quote:Black widow is other of these MC heros that needs to put the engine in place before it is really effective, like Iron Man or Black Panther, but in a different way. Interesting, funny and powerful, one of the best pre-cons decks I have tried until now.
N/A Arkham Horror: The Card Game x7 (57 all-time)
N/A Arkham Horror: The Card Game – The Forgotten Age: Expansion NEW!
N/A Arkham Horror: The Card Game – Threads of Fate: Mythos Pack NEW!
N/A Arkham Horror: The Card Game – Miskatonic MuseumNEW!
N/A Arkham Horror: The Card Game – The Essex County Express: Mythos PackNEW!
I am playing two campaigns in parallel. Dunwich with my friend Antoine and Forgotten age alone. This last, I usually play each scenario twice: first the blind run and the second to verify that I understood the scenario and played by the rules correctly. Each time I take the worst of both resolutions, just in case . Dunwich essex county express was a lot of fun!
I will discuss a little bit more deeply my impression on these plays in a separate post. Maybe I will even write one history as I did for one of our summer plays.
Other plays with Sophie (My three years old daughter)
6 Koboldbande x3 (4 all-time): This is a game that I played a lot with Xavier when he was younger and I kept it for her. The game is basically taking tiles and try to draw a path to the dragon's treasury chest before it arrives, collecting three keys on the way. It is perfect for Sophie's age, as she struggles to draw an optimal pace. It is cooperative, so really good to improve her tolerance to frustration, as losing is "shared".
7 Dragomino x2 (7 all-time): played with Sophie (3yo) and Xavier (8yo). I already talked about it, but one of the features I like about this game is that we can play all together.
6 King of Tokyo (6 all-time): another game that I can play with both of them. Sophie loves it. Usually appears with the box in her hands saying "let's play with the monsters!". She is starting to understand what each dice face does and what she wants to keep. Of course she has no strategy or optimal playing, but it is quite impressive anyway. Replaying makes miracles. Funny to see Xavier getting angry because I help her sister.
Indeed, I realised that I played a lot with Sophie this month…
6 Spot it! x2 (9 all-time)
5.5 3 Little Pigs (13 all-time)
6 Monster Chase (18 all-time)
6 Unicorn Glitterluck: Cloud Crystals (21 all-time)
The usual suspects. For these games I don't even note all the plays we do. I just note one, even though we play two or three times, as they are quite fast. But I do not want them to pollute too much my statistics .
So it was just a quickly update for this month. I go back to work
- [+] Dice rolls
I really love Arkham Horror lcg.
One aspect of this game that I appreciate a lot is that I can build an history from what is happening on the table. For me, this game provides some epic moments, at least in my imagination. In July I played the return to the night of the Zealot with my friends Antoine and Arnaud and the campaign had plenty of them, some of them really memorable.
If you want to see what happens in my head while playing Ahlcg, take a quick read at the short story I wrote below. It is based on what happened in one of our games. Please, be indulgent! I am not a writer, and English is not my native language, so probably there are a lot of grammar mistakes.
Will you be able to guess what happened in the table just by reading the history?
Beware, full of spoilers ahead on the Rtnz…Spoiler (click to reveal)"How we did reach this situation?" Jacqueline asked herself.
A few minutes ago she and Nathaniel were interrogating Drew "the werewolf". He had escaped from the asylum and he was wandering on the streets of the riverside. Drew was giving incoherent answers about the cult to an entity called "Umordhoth" and the imminent arrival into our dimension, before passing out, with his broken mask besides him. Probably Nathaniel punched him too hard. Anyway, situation looked under control at that moment… but it was not anymore.
"Come on! I can spent all night with you!" Nathaniel shouted to the figure under the mask. It answered coughing and spiting a large amount of blood into the floor. What was it? Even though it was humanoid it was clearly not human. The big sharp teeth under the mask, the claws, that unnatural way of moving and specially that beyond human resilience, betrayed it and implied something more sinister. Jacqueline never saw anybody endure so many and so hard from Nathaniel and still stand up.
Things got even worse when a winged figure land in front of her. That creature, was beyond any rational explanation. The faceless monster didn't attack her. It just mirrored her movements, making clear that she had no escape. Maybe just enjoying the moment before tearing its prey into one thousand pieces. At least Harvey was not there, he was following some lead that take him to the Easttown.
They were tracking us from the very beginning she realised. They knew and they have waited for the best moment to fall over us. How I did not see this coming?
She took a moment to analyse the situation at the other side of the street. Narôgath, as the beast called itself, someway she knew, was not in a good shape. Neither was Nathaniel. His cord was standing from a fiber… He had deep cuts in different places where Narôgath clawed him and he was bleeding really profusely from a wound close to his neck, where it has been bite by the monster.
However, Nathanael didn't care, he was completely out of his mind. Finally his self-destructive nature had surfaced, and he was going to fight to the end unless…
"Run! Run away!" Jacqueline shouted to him.
"No way! I'm going to explode his h…" started to murmur Nathanael when he took a quick look to Jacqueline across the street. A winged monster was cornering her? What the hell was that? They make eye contact for a brief moment and he saw Jacqueline eyes were completely white, was she having a vision again? Has she seen my destiny? Was I going to die here?
Randall always said he was going to get killed, that he should follow advice from the people who care for him. That he has to think before acting. "I cannot leave you with THAT" shouted back. "Remember that I can take care of myself", answered Jacqueline.
Suddenly he realised who much he was bleeding. He had to think quickly and act even quicker. He needed some stitching and the hospital was not far away. But he needed to give an opportunity to Jacqueline, how was she going to take care of that winged beast?
Narôgath growled, showed its teeth and advanced slowly, ready for another round. There was no more time to think. "Damn it Jacqueline, I hope that you know what you are doing. I will try to give you some time before this f***r realise you are also here. But the other one, it will be fully up to you…"
Nathaniel sprinted against the beast, taking it by surprise. He hit Narôgath with his shoulder and pushed it with all his forces against the floor. A huge amount of pain crossed his body on the impact, but the beast took the worst. The sound that its body and head make when hitting the pavement was gruesome, but Nathaniel knew that it would be necessary more than that to finish it. He just hope that it was stunned enough to give him and Jaqueline, in case she can manage that winged aberration, some time to flee. It took a huge willpower to ignore the pain and stand up, but he managed to stumble as fast as possible in direction to the St. Mary's hospital without looking back.
The eyeless winged creature moved its head as it was looking at Jacqueline and start approaching slowly at its four legs, ignoring everything that was happening in the other side of the street. She realised that she had only one opportunity. There were power words that she had used before, but her energy was really low. Anyway, just one chance is what she needed: she murmured an Ineffable Truth and canalized what was left of her energy into it, just before the abomination jumped over where she was one second ago.
Harvey Walters was rushing through the downtown direction to the northside of Arkham. He had no idea of where the others were, but he was anxious to tell them about the important discovery he had done. He stop for a moment, should he do a detour through the rivertown and try to find them? He looked at his clock, it was almost midnight, and there was no time to waste. Alas, he was going to pursue his way, when he saw Jacqueline appearing at the end of the street. She looked exhausted.
- "Jacqueline! Here! It's me, Harvey. What has happened to you? Where is Nathaniel? We have to hurry, you cannot imagine what I have discovered… "
- "We have to leave, Harvey. It's too dangerous and too late. Let it go" answered Jacqueline.
- "No! I know the address of one of the members, it is not far away… what happens to you?" Jacqueline was not listening, she was in trance, looking for the different outcomes that the future could bring. Suddenly, she awakes and pushed roughly Harvey against a doorstep, "Jacqueline?". She closed his mouth with her hand and make him a sign to be silent. A creature and its sound of battling wings crossed above the street. Only after a few minutes passed Jacqueline, took off her hand and allowed him to talk.
- "What the hell was that?" whispered Harvey. "It has been tracking you, probably it was going to take you to the riverside… with the others…" Answered Jacqueline. Harvey shiver. "Our lives are in danger, we must leave, we are pushing our destiny too much…" said Jacqueline taking Harvey by the arm and pulling him.
- "No, Jacqueline. We don't know enough, if we leave now, everything is lost." said stubbornly Harvey refusing to walk. "I know where is one of the cultist and I know what to do to get the information we need. We must go to the northside".
Jacqueline looked quietly Harvey, then looked at the clock at the church tower. It was close to midnight. She sighed and search in her purse for what looked like a fine rope in form of web with a myriad of small strange objects in the intersection. She closed her eyes, focused and started to manipulate it under the puzzled look of Harvey. The near future showed a double fate before her which implied that nothing was written. She couldn't change the future, but she could avoid to fall in the pitfalls of the worst, now she knew what they were facing.
- "All right Harvey, let's go find your woman. We have a small opportunity, but we have to move very fast".
- "I never said it was a woman…" mumbled Harvey.
From his dark corner Nathaniel observed the abomination that he baptised as the corpse-taker moving slowly across the street. He called it this way after it appeared dragging two bloody corpses in front of the Miskatonic university. The corps-taker stop for a moment, did some strange horrible sounds, as if he was grumbling about how heavy the bodies he was carrying were. After a moment, he turned direction to rivertown, leaving behind him a trace of fresh blood on the pavement.
- "Are all these monsters attending a party there?" Though Nathaniel. "Anyway, you are lucky that you are not the one I am looking for…" Nathaniel felt confident. At least he was able to keep his temper this time, even though what he had seen tonight was pushing him to the limits of insanity. He forced himself to be calm. If he wanted to survive and defend Arkham from whatever forces were falling over it.
Suddenly, he saw who he was waiting for. Narôgath appeared at the other side of the street. Nathaniel decided that this time he was going to play it smart. The visit to the hospital have been like a rest between rounds, he felt better, but still in pain. Randall's friend did the best he could with the short time Nathaniel gave to him, and best of all, without questions. At least he was not bleeding anymore…
Narôgath was hunting him down, but this time Nathaniel was going to be the predator and not the prey. The way Narôgath moved and breathed showed clearly that it was wounded. Good, it meant it was vulnerable. Nathaniel waited in the shadows of the doorstep where he was hiding, until the monstrous figure passed by.
- "Hey you, do you remember me?" said Nathaniel and as Narôgath turned on his feet, he launched a punch with all his forces taking advantage of the surprise. It was like hitting a wall. Narôgath's neck made a terrible sound at the same time it broke and felt face down to the floor. Nathaniel approached slowly at the same time he rubbed his fist. He turned it with the feet. The mask was broken showing partly the horrible dead face of a daemonic half-human, half-beast. He removed the animal mask from his face. Fresh flesh, that was not Narôgath's, was still stuck to it.
Nathaniel studied it closely. "I know where you come from monster, so I suppose that I know where I have to go now…" He looked at the church clock. Soon it was going to be midnight. "I hope Jacqueline and Harvey will figure it also" mumbled to himself as he headed towards Arkham's forest.
Victoria Devereux was admiring the horrendous and beautiful mask in her desk. Was she supposed to wear that tonight to the ceremony? She was completely in panic. "It has gone too far" though. Suddenly, the door of her office opened and an old bearded men appeared followed by a middle age strangely unsettling woman. She knew the man, he was Harvey Walter, another soul obsessed by the occultism like her.
- "What are you doing in my house" said with a trembling voice at the same time her hand slowly looked for her derringer she kept attached below her desk. After she joined the cult, she felt an urge to protect herself. Harvey advanced - "Veronica, we know you have been playing with forces you cannot control. We need to know what is happening tonight and where."
- "I don't know what you are talking about" suddenly she realised that the hideous mask was still over her desk and how it looked in front of the trespassers. "Anyway, why should I help you?" Her hand reached the derringer.
- "Because you have been years searching to take a look to its pages, am I wrong?" Said Harvey at the same time he put a book besides her mask. Victoria's eyes wide open and instantly forgot about the derringer or the trespassers. She couldn't believe it. It was not just a book, it was THE book. There is only one book who had human flesh as cover…
As you can see, I am fully into the narrative that this game provides. I know that sometimes there could be things a bit odd and unthematic, but a little bit of imagination usually closes the gap. This narrative created through the "variable" parts of the game like the investigators and their decks, the locations, the encounter deck, etc. is usually overview / disregarded by many AH players who focus more on mechanics and scenario beating. Also there are many who do not find any theme on this, and it often used as an argument for many players who didn't like it. I heard somebody describing it as "just a set of random chained encounters…".
I fully understand these point of views, they have certainly thruth, it is just a game and you can abstract it to a point that narrative doesn't matter. However, I am happy of being able to enjoy AHlcg they way I do.
I just hope you too!
- [+] Dice rolls
It was August holidays! And finally I could get to my hometown, Malaga, for two weeks. Priority was family, friends, rest, beach/pool and trying to disconnect (even though I easily worked more than 20 hours the first of the two weeks ).
As we flied there and couldn't carry with me too much weight, so I just took a bunch of card/party games. Anyway, I did not expect to have too much time to play and my family have a few games themselves, so it was an opportunity to try some games I do not have.
Played with family!
6.5 Citadels (18 all-time): playing this game on holidays with my sister/brother and nephews is a family tradition. In citadels your objective is to build the best city. The "sauce" and most interesting decision in this game is the hidden role selection. You can select among 8 roles that give you some kind of advantage during your turn and there are a lot of interactions among them.
Citadels is a game designed by Bruno Faidutti and it was a runner up for the Spiel de Jahres 2000. I understand it, this game does a lot of things well: it is simple, it is portable and cheap, it has some depth/complexity and it has some interaction between players.
However, at least for me, it has some issues:
First is that at high counts, five plus, the downtime could be huge and you will be playing for more than one hour.
Also, the interaction sometimes can be very frustrating. The combo is when you get assassinated in a seven player citadels game: You could have dinner before it is your turn again (well, I exaggerate a bit, but not so much).
In addition, when everybody knows to play, you will be trying to bash the leader all the time. This is more a feature than a problem, but I realised that some people do not like it.
In my case, I fully embrace these problems and I don't mind them when playing with my family. Who really cares? Could we be playing something better? Maybe, it is not that it is a bad game. but this is the "tradition" game in our family, with full of inside jokes, laughs and mockery, so I have no problem accepting downtime.
7.0 Fool! x6 (7 all-time): the game of the summer! We already tried fool! in July and liked this simple trick track game with a few smart twists a lot. These holidays we played it a lot at 6 to 8 players. And when I say that we played a lot, I really meant it. Even though the box says that games last around 15 minutes, this is one round. However you play rounds until a player reach minus 80 points or there are six "+10" wins. Indeed we have played around eight hours on holidays! If you are interested, my mini-review here.Fool! In French was translated as Fou! (Crazy!!)
7.0 For Sale x5 NEW!: I bought this game just for holidays. A micro portable box, cheap, quick game that allows up to six players. It looked like something that I can take in the luggage and a good choice to play with my family during vacation. Moreover, it is a pure auction game, and apart from Ra, I do not have others with this mechanic, so it was a good fit for the collection. I said to myself that a game that has been around since 97 should have something good.
The components are just 30 house cards numbered from 1 to 30, some cash (1,000 bills) and 30 checks with value going from 15 to 0 (refused). In the first phaes, the players in order have two options: to bid, with the only condition that the bid has to be higher than the previous one. To pass, in this case they take the lower house available recovering half of the money used for bidding, except for the last player standing on the bid, which spent all the money used for bidding. In the second phase you use the houses acquired in the first phase to bid for the checks in rounds, the one bidding with the most valuable house taking the most valuable check. At the end, the winner is the one with more money, summing up the value of the checks and any left cash not used in the first phase.
That's all. Simple, isn't it? Xavier was really hooked for this game and requested to play it many times. We tried at 3, 4 and 5 players and it was always fun, even though it is better with more players. In the first phase, I found myself often struggling with the decision of bidding or not, as it is kind of punishing to win some auctions, as you lose all the money bid (compared to half of it when you are not the winner), but in some rounds it is also punishing to pass first, getting a very low value house. The second phase it is also interesting and different, being more opportunistic, and depending on the hand of houses you got from the first one.Quote:Stefan Dorra for sale's simplicity makes it a very elegant auction game that concentrates a good level of tension in less than 30 minutes. In summary: a fun and straightforward introductory auction game that can be played with no gamers. And for less than 15€? Sold!8.0 The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine x7 (29 all-time): I don't know how many times I have started this quick cooperative trick-track game. I believe that I have already tried with four different "set" of players. This time we played at three count with my nephew and Xavier, when the others were busy.
Even though I have not get far yet, I can see that the different missions, and the goals requested, get more interesting and challenging, providing replayability to the game. Everything in a micro box and a very low price. Unfortunately for me, this is a game that Xavier and Sylvie do not like too much, so I believe we will not play it at home.
6.0 Spot it! x4 (7 all-time): an all-time classic, you have to be fast to be the first to recognise the drawing that is in your card and in the one that is common to everybody. I got demolished by my son and nephews, age is punishing on this kind of games!
N/A Exploding Kittens x3 NEW!: My nephew & brother has this game. As curiosity this game set a record (still there?) as the most backed board game in the history of kickstarter.
Exploding kittens is a card (party?) game with a quite straight forward mechanic: you play as many cards as you want from your hand and after that you draw. The objective is to be the last player standing. Whenever you draw a card and it is an exploding kitten, you lose unless you have a disarming card (you start always with one), which allow to put it back into the drawing pile at the place of your choice (potentially in the top, so the next player will draw it).Credit: Wizzy Parkerir @Wizzy Parkerir
The cards allow you to do a few tricks, like stealing cards from others, pass your turn or make next player to draw twice for example. The starting hand of eight implies that at the beginning you have some options. The tension of the game rises as the drawing pile gets microer, so the probability of drawing a kitten bomb (there are one less than players) is higher. The player elimination is not a big issue, as the game is quite short.
To be honest, I did not like it too much. The game is successful in building up tension, however my feeling is that there is too much luck involved. At one point, the lack of cards implies that you do not have any "action" besides drawing and prying not to draw the bomb. This would not be bad if it was consequence of your actions, but my feeling on the last play was that I could not have done better.Credit: Jem Bantola@jemione
I logged three plays but I played a few more not logged. Also I saw Xavier playing it with my brother and nephew and the game had kind of a "trend". By the end of the game, everybody is drawing from a micro deck of cards with some bombs in it and with just a few of cards in hand, the majority of them useless. And the one who managed or was lucky enough to keep a deactivation card was almost sure of winning.Quote:I need a few plays more, but this game is more "party" that I realised when my brother was explaining the rules. This is not bad per se, it is just my expectations were probably not in line. Note that we already included one of the expansions, so I am not really sure of the replayability of the game. It miss the strategic aspect that something like take 6 or even fool! Has, and that allows to keep the interest when playing it often. In the upside, I recognise that the first play was a blast and the art is really funny. For the moment I will be happy to try it again with somebody's else copy, but I really doubt that playing it more will not change my mind.N/A Throw Throw Burrito NEW!
One of my nephews loves Exploding kittens and was his birthday, so we went to a comic & board games store and I let him chose something. He quickly found this game that has been done by the same designers and which packaging and theme attired his attention.
This is a really and truly party game. The players have a hand of five cards and they discard one and draw one in real time trying to get three of the same in order to score. But well, all that is accessory to the real mechanic here: throwing foam burritos to each other.
At one point, somebody will have three special cards and will shout: burrito's war! (or burrito's fight! or burrito's duel!) and you will run to take one the foam burritos that are on the table and throw it to one of the other players. In theory, the one declaring the war, could not be targeted, but this did not stop me of throwing the burrito to my brother's nose and laughing uncontrollably after realising the mistake and looking at his surprised face.Quote:A really dumb dextery game, but I recognise that it gave us a few priceless moments during holidays. That's all about in a party game, isn't it?
10 Arkham Horror: The Card Game x7 (49 all-time): I could not resist but to introduce this game to my nephew (my brother has a copy of the core). We played the gathering scenario with Stella and Finn, maybe a strange pair to test the game for first time, but it is what I had handy.
Played with Sylvie, my wife, and Xavier (7yo)
N/A Fast Forward: FORTRESS x2 (9 all-time): Xavier likes this game a lot and Sylvie enjoyed when she tried, se we said that we will try to do the full deck from the very beginning. I'm happy with it, as I haven't go further than half of it, so I believe there are still a few surprises concerning rules evolution. As I said previous month, I do not think it is the best balanced game, but I am curious and it is played quickly.
8.0 Carnival of Monsters (11 all-time): I like this game by Richard Garfield, It is always fun, however I start to see a optimization scoring pattern on the game. I tried it and the last game I won by quite a lot, maybe it is the moment to put it to rest in the shelf for some time.
Played with Xavier, my seven years old son
7.0 Star Realms (12 all-time): what can we play in a plane? Yep, at least this deck building. Xavier has a win rate of 63% against me on this game. It is funny because I have played this game virtually before having it physically and I am not a better player than him. Or maybe I am unlucky? This time, I was the first player and the first two rounds there were 4 points cards in the market that I could not buy and I was lagging behind all the time.Micro enough to be played in the plane
7.5 Stellar (16 all-time): Spanish review here.
Played with Sophie, my 3 years old daughter
I did not play too much with Sophie this month, or I think so. Lately I just log one play on the game even if we play three or four times in a row, what is usual.
N/A Dragomino (5 all-time): she loves it, but logically does not play at all optimally and it is a bit long for her age, at which I am more than happy that she manages to match the images.
6.0 Monster Chase (17 all-time): just a memory, but at least it is beautiful. The use of the box as wardrobe is a small smart feature of this game.
N/A Arkham Horror: The Card Game x7 (49 all-time): I have been thinking on starting one of the cycles on my own and I finally I have decided to go for forgotten age as it has the reputation of being tough and I have it in Spanish and I prefer to keep the French ones to play with my friends here.
I am going to use Finn and Stella. With Finn I did not have experience so I played with him solo through the three scenarios of the night of the zealot to "distille" his deck (what a nice pun here!) and after with Stella through all the scenarios of Rtnz. I am ready for the jungle! .
8.5 Marvel Champions: The Card Game (73 all-time): I played again with Quicksilver and defense aspect against Klaw expert and I was very close to win finally, but failed again… I guess is time to try something else, maybe I do not have enough card pool. Also defense aspect increase the length and lately I have less time.
Not everything can be board gaming in this life…
I rented a house in a small "white" village close to my hometown. I love the view, landscape and people here... guys, if you have the opportunity, visit Andalucia!
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Late as usual! But better late than never . Anyway, this time I had a good excuse...
So we finally moved to our new house! It has been a crazy month, there are still plenty of boxes everywhere and we are exhausted but extremely happy and settled. As additional advantage I have a small room to store my board games, among other stuff, and fit a table of 150x90 (even though I put a smaller one temporally). What does it mean? Now I can leave games displayed!
Played in family
N/A Paleo x3 NEW!: I got Paleo for my birthday, but I did not have an opportunity to play it until early July. I am very wary of crunchy cooperative games when played with Xavier, my eight years old, as I struggle to avoid the leader effect. It is difficult to see him make mistakes, even though I now it is necessary!Picture credit to Eric @kalchio
Anyway, this game is not only won the kennerspiel des Jahres and it was also recommended by a few people I know I have similar tastes in board gaming. Once played, I understood why. Paleo is a really good cooperative game and resolves the leader effect quite smartly and in an innovative way, reason why I believe it deserves the prize. I forgot to take pictures of my game, so I will just put here some of the wonderful ones Eric @kalchio took. Greate reviewer, his blog is quite interesting and I recommend to take a look at it.Picture credit to Eric @kalchio
My first impression is very good, there are a few things that I liked a lot:
The card selection mechanic: the game is divided in two phases. The day one, your tribe explore the surroundings, trying to gather resources you will need for your objective or for the night phase, when you will have to feed the tribe among other requirements. The exploration is abstracted by an interesting mechanic. Each player has a deck and take the three first cards from the top and, without revealing them, chose one. The card back gives a clue of what you can find, some river/forest (food & wood), mountain (stone), campsite (build tools), etc. Nevertheless, you are not really sure what you can find really when revealed. Once revealed the cards, they have a few actions on them. Some of them, can only be done if your tribe, sometimes with the help of other player's tribe, have the requirements in terms of skills/tools.
This simple mechanic is quite new (at least for me) and:
* Stimulates player interaction ("What do we need? Wood? Let's go for the forest, but let's keep the campsite so we can build a torch later…")
* It gives some room to surprises ("Ups, we did not find any wood, this is a boar…")
* Mitigates the leader effect ("Finally, you were right, it would have be better if we took the risk to go to…")
Difficulty: the game has some learning curve. It is not complex to learn but the first feeling is that the difficulty is in the "tough" side. We needed three tries to win the first scenario. The challenge that the game offers is interesting.
Theme and variability: don't get me wrong, the game is not narrative, this is an euro. However, through the cards and the different modules (which come along with specific decks of cards and objectives for them) you can see an history unfold. You can even feel a little bit of struggle of these Palaeolithic tribe. The different modules give variability to the game, you have easily more than ten plays (probably much more).
Components: the game production is really good. Components are really nice, with a podium for cards that, for once, it makes sense. The illustrations are good, a lot of personality on them, and help to immerse you in the theme.Picture credit to Eric @kalchio
And just a couple of minor things that I did not like so much:
Set-up: it takes time to prepare the deck, place the board, select the tokens for the module selected, etc. Nothing serious, but it is something a bit longer that what I am used for these kind of games. Also it takes a lot of place in the table (though, it looks fantastic).
Objective: the first game could be confusing. You know how to win (complete the rupestre picture), but you have no idea of how to do it. In some way is interesting, the discovery element is there, but our first playthrough we were completely loss.
In summary, we liked a lot. I do not think I will have time to play Paleo this summer, but it will be my first choice when I will come back.
7 Carcassonne (20 all-time): and old Carcassone is always welcome, isn't it? One day I will visit the real city
Played on holidays!
And just after moving, we went on holidays for one week to the wonderful Gorges du Verdon with our friends and the kids on the last week of July. Among sightseeing, barbacue, lake baths, hiking, canyoning, etc. we had time to play a few games.
Sometimes we played all together. As we were six or seven, I had to struggle to bring games in my collection that allow that count. So a few of party games over here:
6.5 Colt Express (6 all-time): one of the games I played quite a lot before I knew about BGG and starting adding my collection and plays. Now it see table once or twice a year, but it is always a safe value. With the Marshal & Prisoners extension you can play up to eight.
It is really easy to explain and it is family friendly, which is excellent with non-usual boardgamers. Components and theme is great. Most important of all, this game is extremely fun. It is also a very chaotic game, which I do not mind in familiar games, as this provides opportunities to win to young and not so used to board games players.Quote:Which I appreciate of this game is that at high counts it does not drag. You have just to select a card from your hand or take three. As it is a programming game, everyone puts a card in turn and they are resolved in order. Newcomers sometimes struggle trying to anticipate what is going to happen. However, I usually just ask them to play as they feel it: there so much chaos, hidden cards sometimes, etc. than it is better just to play and enjoy instead of trying to plan something that is probably not going to happen.Not a game to play every day but fully recommend for family gaming.
6 Colt Super Express x2 (16 all-time): the little brother of Colt Express gives a quite different experience. The same game mechanics are there: programmed movement, action queue and hand management, but they have been straight-lined to provide 10 minutes games in a small box of around 15€.
One big difference is that now the game is kind of a battle royal: the objective is to be the last standing in the train. Bandits can be thrown out of the train by being shoot (they are pushed when hit), by being in the last wagon at the end of the round (which is separated from the rest of the train) or just by moving outside the train by mistake (kind of jumping off the train, the funniest for the rest of the players). If at the end, when the locomotive is the only part of the train left, there are more than one player on it, whoever has recovered more money is the winner (money is recovered by taking risk: the wagon separated has some money behind, it is given to the player who is closer to the queue of the train).Quote:This is a nice party game, which is fun, but it can be burnt very quickly as it is quite simple and decisions are limited. It shares the chaotic nature of the big brother and adds player elimination, which sometimes can lead to frustrating games. Nevertheless, it is played so quickly, that you are soon looking for revenge. Anyway, be careful with those player who cannot accept the omnipresent "take that" essence of this game. I almost forget, a nice feature of the game is that you can play at 7!6 One Night Ultimate Werewolf (2 all-time): Xavier love this game and he wants to play it as soon as we are enough to make it interesting. I do not like it too much, deduction is not my cup of tea and social deduction even less. However, I recognise that this game is an all-time classic that gamers and no-gamers use to love (Actually I played two Christmas ago with my 82 years old mother!)
As usual, I played a villager and I was eaten at first sight by a werewolf. Maybe that is the reason I do not like it too much…
8 6 nimmt! x2 (12 all-time): I love this game. It is so simple, but still so engaging (and strategic if you use the advanced rules). I
You have a deck of cards from 1 to 104 and you distribute ten to each player. Four cards are put on the table and will be the rows where cards will be placed. Simultaneously, players select a card and, by ascending order, they are put in the row where they would follow an ascending numeration. If you put the sixth card in a row, you take the previous five and left yours. Once there are not more cards to play, we count the points ("beef heads" on each card) on the cards you got. We play rounds until somebody get 66 points, when the player with less points wins.Quote:This game is fun, simple (can be explained in less than five minutes) but still requires to break your head to play optimally. The fact that cards are played simultaneously implies no downtime, so it is a game that works extremely well with higher player counts. It is difficult to do more with just a deck of cards. Indeed, it is the most profitable game in my collection!
N/A Fool! NEW!: a well know French online store is liquidating some Friedemann Friese games and having played and liked Fridayand Fabulosa Fructus, I decided to grab the opportunity and try a few more from him.
I was surprised by fool! A simple trick track game that could be played from four up to eight players, so it was a perfect game for the occasion. The objective is to be the first to discard all your cards. It has a couple of twists that makes it interesting: first each colour have different numeration, which lead to a bit more depth strategy thinking of what to play. Secondly, and much more fun, the the player who discard the worst card, becomes the fool and does not plays the next round (usually this is follow by a lot of laughter and finger pointing from the rest of players).Quote:We liked it a lot and I left it to my friends as a gift (I will buy another copy for me). Taking into account the price, if you are looking and simple game that works well at high counts and with non-usual gamers, I strongly recommend it. By the way, Pardillo! Is one of the best translations I have seen in Spanish (even if it does not start by F…).In other occasions, I just sat with the kids to play a few other short games at lower count
N/A Fast Forward: FORTRESS x7 NEW!: another friedman friesse game. This one is quite innovative. The first surprise is that you do not have any rules, just a deck that you start drawing and naturally the game unfolds its mechanics.
The game has a similar system to the one used in Fabulosa Fructus: you play a (short) game and after you a few cards that potentially add new twists to the rules. One interesting point here is (at least as we played) that the new cards are shuffled and you do not know what they do, so potentially you get one surprise from your opponent. Without making any spoiler, the game is a mix of bluffing, hand management and set collection mainly.Quote:Even though it was interesting as game experience, I prefer by far fabulosa fructus implementation of this system. Do not missinterpret me, I do not regret at all and it is a nice game, but I found fortress quite swingy and luck dependant on the draw.7.5 Oriflamme (17 all-time): my friends had this game, but they had never played it. I quickly explained it to the kids and played one game that they enjoyed a lot! I did a review (in spanish) here.
N/A Zombie Life NEW!: this is a game that an online shop offered me along another order I did. It is a set collection/push your luck game based on a small deck of cards. I played it once and I found it a bit boring, but the kids played it quite a lot alone during holidays, so at least they enjoyed it.
And, as every holiday with my friends, we played dominoes.
6.5 Dominoes x4 (8 all-time): My friend is from Venezuela and Dominoes is a religion there (well, in Spain it is kind of also in rural areas among old people). We play at four, in teams of two (there is other way to play it?). My friends are really expert on dominoes, and have explained me a lot of the strategy involved in the game. This game, played well, requires a lot of memory and perspicacity. You must be aware of what is happening around the table and what is the gameplay your team member.
I love the small in game jokes of dominoes: from smashing the table with one of the stones ("piedras"), the puns, the pressure to your adversaries, to spin on the table one of the stones while other is thinking what to play, as if you were completely sure of what you are going to do…
Played with friends
10 Arkham Horror: The Card Game x4 (42 all-time): I played with Antoine and Arnaud the last scenario of the return to the night of the zealot. I am not really sure how this game has been balanced, but with relatively good decks on standard, we won on the last round! It feels so epic each time we play. I really love this game! I am already planning which will be the next campaign, probably Innsmouth.
Played with Xavier, my seven years old son
N/A Schotten Totten x2 (5 all-time): nice Knizia card 20 minutes two players game. You have to manage the cards you have in hand and play them optimally to win the different borders in play. I have to play it a bit more, but my first impressions is that this game is quite enjoyable and balanced.
10 Chess (14 all-time): Xavier is interested in the chess book I offered him and time to time wants to practice what he has learnt with me.
Played with Sophie, my 3 years old daughter
N/A Dragomino x4 NEW!: and I found myself buying another prized game, the kinderspiel des Jahres (the kid's one). Our friends have a daughter of almost five and I said to myself that it would be nice to have something to play with her and Sophie different to the typical memory. I tried my luck with it and I kind of blindly bought this game, as it was prized and I had a really good memory of kingdomino (one of the first real games I played with Xavier).
The game is very simple. You start with a domino tile showing two different terrains and in your turn, you have to choice one of the four available and put it besides one of the tiles you already have. If the terrain pictures match, you take an egg of that colour and you put it in the border. Some will have a dragon, some will show an eggshell and get the dragon mum, which basically allow you to be the first player the next round. The player with more dragons at the end of the game (when there are no more tiles) wins.
My first impression with this game is that it is really good for ages going from mid 4 to 6 (Maybe even a bit more if the kid is not used to board gaming). For kids of this age, dragomino is interesting and you will see them to scratch their head trying to optimize the choice and position of the domino piece taken (as if you matches landscapes on multiple borders, you take as many eggs as borders matched). For older kids, I would say, go for kingdomino instead, as it is more interesting (and will improve your kid's calculation skills!). Still, I believe dragomino will keep some interest for them, as there is some probability involved that younger kids do not see (there are the same number of dragons by colour, but some has more empty eggshells) and a variant that slightly increase choices. This make one of these rare games where kids of different ages can play and be engaged if the youngers does not mind to lose.
Production is wonderful: the components are good quality and artwork is beautiful. It is a real catch for kids that all dragons are different and this makes the young kids to look in detail each one (do you spot the "pikachu" one?).
In summary, recommended for young kids!
N/A Kullerhexe (4 all-time)
N/A Arkham Horror: The Card Game x4 (42 all-time): I tried to build a Stella deck for solo. It was based, of course, around failing test, but I included also some agility boosting/using cards like track shoes, Peter Sylvester and waylay. I know evading is not the most efficient action in the game, but I am expecting to use her in the Forgotten Age.
I tested this deck on the whole campaign of the night of the zealot and it was surprisingly efficient, even though sometimes it was difficult to gather clues of high shroud locations without the correct combination of cards. Anyway, I even succeed in the last scenario, when I thought it was lost:Spoiler (click to reveal)I was in an Arkham forest location, with Peter Warren and Victoria Devereux waiting for me in the main path. I was quite late in the agenda, without weapons (I spent all ammunition of both derringers), quite crazy/wounded and with just a couple of cards in my hand. However, I was well equipped with my track shoes, rabbit's foot and accompanied by Peter.
I sprinted through Peter & Victoria thanks to the track shoes, to find that in the ritual site there was just an acolyte waiting. Quite lucky, I take care of him thanks to neither rain or snow, Stella is quite rough when necessary! I imagine that she ran into the cavern taking by surprise the cultist and pushing him hard against the wall, knocking him off. After, she frenetically looked how to stop the ritual (I investigated and failed miserably), but did not found anything. For a moment she though what to do while holding her rabbit's feet amulet, when she realised the strange design in the floor covered in dust (the failure allowed me to draw a card… I was extremely lucky again! look what I found! I investigated with my extra action due to previous failure and it provided me the two clues I needed!). She quickly erased the drawing, which stop the ritual (the high agility allowed me to use the two clues to stop the ritual).
8.5 Marvel Champions: The Card Game x9 (72 all-time)
N/A Marvel Champions: The Card Game – Quicksilver Hero Pack NEW!: I have been trying to adapt myself to Quicksilver pre-built defense deck, but I do not get it. I understand the logic of Quicksilver, trying to build your improvements, combining with the temporal power ups card that you might have and ready Quicksilver multiple times during the round to take advantage of them. However, it looks like I am always short of something to really take advantage of the combo.
7.5 Friday x4 (33 all-time): stuck in level 5. No idea of how to beat this level (probably I was lucky with the level 4). Let's see in August if I reach the pirates at least.
8 Cartographers (7 all-time): one game to the July challenge.
Not everything can be board gaming in this life…
We visit the gorges du verdon, a natural wonder!
Taking advantage of holidays, I started my documentation for the next Arkham campaign:
Also, in a lavanda fair, there were some external board games exposed. Does this hobby follow me everywhere? Anyway, it was quite interesting!
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If you are expecting a review, you will be probably disappointed. These will be just some random thoughts about AH:lcg that you can find interesting (or not!).
Arkham horror LCG is a solid 10 for me. And I don't use to give this rate. So what implies a 10 in the BGG scale? Following the BGG description of a ten rating: an outstanding game that you will always want to play and you expect this will never changes. Well, I sincerely think this is true for me. For the record, the only other one game with a 10 in my collection is Chess: I was a club player and it gave me life moments. And as for Arkham, I will never refuse to play it.
However, Arkham Horror, The Card Game is far from being perfect. It has evident issues, the main one in my case is... to be a living card game: So an awful pit of money and a headache to storage.I use classifiers. Yes, I know, I should be using one of that fancy boxes, shouldn't I?
This was worsened by the FFG (old?) distribution model. There are many examples of what I think were bad decisions on this game. From small annoying things like not providing a chaos bag in the old core box (Really?), the usual thin carton box full of air with an awful insert, the need for two cores to make viable decks (unless you proxy? heresy!), the gross mistakes in some cards of the Spanish translations...Are we buying a "deluxe" expansion or air? I know that what we are paying here is intellectual property, design and play testing. Still, I feel a little bit bad whenever I open one of these boxes…
But let's talk about the elephant in the room. What could be argued as the worst decision: the mythos packs model. And I will be clear, I do not believe that this model is bad per se, but requires excellence in forecasting demand, production and inventories.
Maybe due to success, pandemic and its disruption in supply lines, speculation (some packs are priced at 45€ in second hand markets) mismanagement or, most probably, a combination of many factors, many packs in Spanish are impossible to find now.
This has had as result a lot of unhappy players (at least in Spain) with incomplete cycles, just missing a few mythos packs, who were waiting reprints.Hopefully, the new core box and policy solves above problems… leaving behind some "old" players?
By the way, there are as well a lot of local stores with unsold mythos packs, some where the availability was better, missing the rest of the cycle (Yes it looks like as for the same cycle, some mythos packs had more quantities than others!). I ask myself what do they think about it.
With the "new" model there was a question that old players have concerning old expansions cycles: if they reprint the full cycle in just a box, what will happen with players that are only missing one or two mythos packs? They will do a last reprint of mythos pack? Well, when FFG Spain was asked, the first answer was that they will not reprint mythos packs . A second answer was that they have some reprints already in progress (which ones? When they will arrive? Surprise!).
Indeed, this has been probably a difficult business decision here for FFG/Asmodee and I can understand that it will be very costly these reprints. Even though I am not affected directly, I can only empathise with whoever has an incomplete cycle for any reason (some were optimistic enough to buy part of it expecting the reprint).
In my case, I decided to buy the last material in French, as the availability is much better in this language and this way I can play with my friends here. So, at this moment, I have half of my collection in Spanish and half in French. Only possible for people without OCD like me, which is not the norm in boardgaming…The mythos packs model, or how I became polyglot in order to be able to play a full cycle
The other issue is the huge difficulty. Damn this game is punishing… you are always short of everything: time, actions, health, sanity… This is a game that is always pressing you. This was even more true when it appeared for first time, card pool was low and people used the core predefined decks, which are completely s**t and not at all adapted to what you are going to face in the first campaign proposed.
Of course difficulty could be adapted, indeed it is very smart the use of the chaos bag and the tokens for this, but which real gamer wants to play in easy and still suffer? Hey FFG, everybody has a little ego to feed! I ask myself how many players did sold this game after playing solo using Roland Banks in "standard" difficulty with that useless initial deck and getting crazy just by facing a rotten corpse…Photo credit: Stephan Beal (@sgbeal). To put the hand in the chaos bag and taking out the tentacle token again is one of the worst experiences in this game. And yes, I advise to protect the tokens in capsules… because they use to fall apart after some use!
And that take me to the last "entry barrier" (and the big plus!) of this game, at least for some newcomers: the deckbuilding. Usually a newcomer is attired for this game as he has been advised by a veteran, a podcast, blog, etc. as the definitive narrative experience. Then the newcomer realises that he/she has no idea how to manage deckbuilding and that this aspect of the game takes a lot of time (as well as the set-up of the scenario). Moreover, the "old" core alone did not have two copies of many cards that are absolutely necessary to do a working deck, which added a bit to the frustration.
Due to limited experience with deckbuilding, or just by not having time or envy for it, I have seen a few people abandoning the game. This has been solved with a few investigator packs. These have a real useful prebuilt deck (big difference with the "old" core ones…) and already include some future experience upgrades (just add 15€ more by investigator to the bill please!). By the way, I find the one of Jacqueline Fine and Stella Clarkbalanced enough for solo play if you are interested.
Once again, it looks like that this has been solved with the new core set, which includes double copies of popular cards and a few of the cards that were in the expansions in the "old" model.You suck at deckbuilding? You want just to enjoy the history? The investigators prebuilt-decks are here for you!
Said all this, it is still a 10? Absolutely. It is the Best. Money. Invested. Ever. (at least for me).
First, The replayability value is huge. We could think that a narrative game should not have too much replayability once you have gone through the history. It is not the case. When you play a cycle, around eight scenarios, the history could have different resolutions and could be interesting to play it again to see a different one (Or just to replay as you have failed on the way!). Also you will not see every event, location, etc. in the scenarios, as some could be randomised or you just don't go through all the encounter deck. (Even the "feeling" of the scenario could be different depending on the order of appearance!).
The deckbuilding element is the star of this replayability. The "puzzle" looks very different depending on the investigator used and the deck you have built around.Will you play with the tough guy? the obsessed professor expert in occultism? the psychic? The pilot? Somebody who was in the wrong place at the wrong time?
And this brings me to another good point of this game: it is solid and interesting mechanically. Do not take for granted a good design in narrative games like this. Moreover, designers have added some interesting twists on every cycle (expansions). It is true that sometimes designers had to backpedal and correct a few things (hello taboo list! Hello exploration mechanic of FA!), but let's give them the credit they deserve: it is almost impossible to anticipate all the potential interactions of including new cards / mechanics in the game while keeping it balanced. Anyway, this is a cooperative game, if you consider something is broken, just ignore it or play without it!An example of the wonderful job from user Long Hin Man (which visualizes the taboo list) can be found here
Finally, the real strong point of Arkham Horror LCG is the narrative of the game. As an old RPG player who does not have enough time anymore for long sessions, I really appreciate a board game that allows me to get again some of that flavour. The fact that it is full cooperative, so there is no need for a "gamemaster" (really important, as in our game sessions are maximum three players) and it could be played solo, it is really a big plus for me.
In my opinion, the narrative of Arkham Horror LCG can be analysed through two points of view:
- First, the narrative that is developed explicitly through the scenario introduction, set-up, act, agenda, resolution and decisions between games. These components develop the history itself and it is the "frame" for it.
- Second, the narrative that it is developed through the variable/randomised side of the game, the "in-play" game: investigators, decks, encounters, etc. which implies some imagination from players to develop and make sense of it. This one could lead to really memorable moments and memories.
Even though, this narrative side of the game could be criticised, and I have seen this done very often: somebody could see the first narrative (the "explicit" one - the history-driven) as dry, simple, linear and/or generic (the core campaign is kind of, to be honest), while the second narrative, the in-play one, could be seen as just a succession of random events without interconnection between them, resolved mechanically through the optimization of player cards, sometimes making no sense from a context/history point of view .Hey Randall! Let's go to the jungle, it will be fun!
Indeed, I believe there are to two type of players. Are you the kind of person who imagine somebody pushing Randall's wheelchair through the jungle? Or the kind of person who imagines Nathaniel remembering the good advices of his brother when he was in Arkham? "Do not forget your gloves Nathaniel!").
A soulless euro gamer will see just stats, icons, combos, events, action compression strategies… somebody like me, who allows imagination to fly, will build a history in his head around what it is happening in the table. If you are the second type of player, give a try to Arkham Horror lcg, you will not regret it. Even if you are the first player, probably you can still enjoy the mechanics and replayibility of this game. However, maybe you have other options cheaper.
In summary, Arkham Horror LCG is a great game, with its flaws and it looks like as it is a good moment to come into it. For me is a 10 because it is totally different to any other game I have tried, and after 41 plays logged and much more not logged, I still cannot get enough of it. I have yet to find a game that provides me a similar game experience and I love the incomparable narrative side of AHlcg. Kudos to the designers Nate French and MJ Newman that have given me so many days of enjoyment.
And now, excuse me, but Stella has to save Arkham.Time to deliver a letter
- [+] Dice rolls