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The home of the Cardboard Diogenes Club, in which I consume as little as possible and write as much as possible. Opinions and strong takes abound!

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The Cardboard Diogenes Club - Off the Cube Rails (and also August's game)

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Bit of a different piece this bi-week - I'm going to write about a specific topic. It might end up being sort of a review/reviews? I don't know yet.

I've had a gradual introduction to cube rail games over the last 2-ish years. It began, as I assume many do, with Chicago Express. I haven't spent much time with it since so my memory's a bit foggy, but I remember being impressed far beyond my expectations. Then I played Northern Pacific (my introduction to Tom Russell's games as well) and absolutely fell in love with what the genre could be even at its most distilled. Trains may not do anything in particular for me, but high-interaction spacial knife fights sure do. This "cube rails" thing had my interest.

Since then I've spent time trying trying several others which I won't delve too far into so as to not get lost in the weeds just naming Winsome games over and over. Highlights include the bombastic Irish Gauge and the oddball charms of The Soo Line, lowlights mostly consist of an excruciating 2-hours-and-some-change playthrough of Locomotive Werks so painful that a friend spite-sold his copy of Chicago Express afterwards due to train-induced PTSD. Yes I know it's not cube rails, but it was Winsome! I wanted to believe!

Anyway.

Today I want to focus on two games. They're both by John Bohrer, which should surprise no one familiar with the genre. The reason I've tagged this as a Cardboard Diogenes Club entry, besides it chronicling an acquisition, is that it directly ties back to one of the two preorder games that I specifically set up at the start of the year. As those were the only two I actually planned around it seems right to give them special treatment on the blog. This entry isn't particularly structured, so if you're here for honest to goodness stream of consciousness mind vomit I've got plenty.

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For context: Ride the Rails and Cosmic Frog were the two games I announced at the outset of this year that I would buy, despite not having played either at the time. I've since played both. Cosmic Frog is good, but this is not a post about Cosmic Frog.

Irish Gauge was an absolute sensation with my work group. We played it over 50 times at least. I don't track plays so I don't know the exact number, but based on how many months it hit the table in a row that's a very conservative number. Point is it was a sensation. I was absolutely locked in for Iron Rails 2, knowing full well that it would be a different game, because if it was even mostly as good as IG I figured it'd be worth it.

I was half right. It goes without saying that Ride the Rails is a very different game despite its aesthetic trappings. No auctions, instead focusing on generating victory points (they call it money but it's never spent so it's VPs, fight me) via shared incentives and route creation. Ok! I like those things too. As a matter of fact the game's 3 phases are pretty clearly delineated: get stock (incentives!), lay track (routes!), scoot passengers for points (pick up and deliver!). And this is where I started to lose the thread.

The actual play of Ride the Rails lies in those first two phases. Choosing which companies to go in on and how to spend their very limited cubes (tiny trains but still) is great! I like it in other cube rail games and I like it here. Where RtR loses me, and I really didn't expect this to be a problem, is the actual scoring mechanism. Looking past the weird thematics of passengers wanting to take the longest routes possible (these games are ultra mechanical and that's fine), this part of the game just isn't interesting. It's actually pretty easy to math out which passengers to scoot for the most points, and it only takes slightly longer to find one that's almost as good while avoiding paying your friends quite as much. But - and this is the critical point - that process is not fun. And of all your time spent in a play RtR, over half of it is spent here.

I've seen a few folks voice concerns about analysis paralysis in this phase. I don't have that problem because I'd rather fumble than waste time, and other people taking their time doesn't particularly bother me. But my god it just takes too long to drag a meeple from hex to hex to hex, counting everything it touches, scooting the bits on the calculator time and time again. Even with the adjusted scoring method attributed to Heavy Cardboard this just takes too darn long for how little is actually getting done. I found myself getting impatient, not with the players but with the game itself, and this was true in multiple sessions with different players.

My other problem with RtR is the sheer amount of bits. Many hands make light work here, but compared to the elegance of Irish Gauge almost being devoid of upkeep this was a rough adjustment. Playing a version on Tabletop Simulator only did so much to alleviate this as moving bits on that platform is like playing every game with chopsticks; it's almost surgical. I couldn't help but think that it would be better as an app with a bot managing upkeep, but then you'd sacrifice much of the social element which is the entire point of the thing.

I got the additional maps with RtR and haven't played them. I've been told they're better, and I can kind of see why, but I don't think I want to spend much more time with this system. Other folks I know have this and perhaps I'll play theirs sometime after enough time passes. It isn't a bad game, to be clear. And I'm not mad that one of my two "special games" didn't land for me. I'm just disappointed. I'll still be very interested to see what Iron Rails 3 brings but there'll be a number skip on the shelf if I decide to pick it up next year.

With that said, I've replaced it. With another Bohrer box, even! And now we arrive at August's game:

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I was introduced to GM&O a few weeks ago by some cube rail enthusiasts. Initially I was a bit put off, what with the dozens of card stacks and funky "divide everything you bid by 3" system. Despite tying for a win at the end I never quite felt like I had a handle on what the game was trying to do. It felt weird, especially so. But unlike RtR's milquetoast abacus management, that feeling stuck in my brain afterwards for days. I had to play it again, try some things, pull some levers, see if it worked the way I thought it did. And that was the point where it cracked wide open.

GM&O can easily be described as an auction game because, well, it is. You have to bludgeon each other with bags of money in order to get almost anything done. There are only four possible actions in the game, one of them's a pass, and the other three all cost player-determined dollar amounts. But there's more to it than just auctions here. No one "wins" an auction in GM&O. You pay for the privilege of affecting the game state. You pay to choose when your actual turn is. You pay to force the cube color to change. You pay to leech off your opponents' work. You pay, you pay, you pay, and it's in this cycle of paying into an uncaring bank that's particularly stingy with its dividends that the game lies. Unlike most euro games the "worth" of an action is nigh impossible to ascertain. Oh sure, I can tell you exactly how many points you're getting per dollar, but what's a point worth in this particular game? Is it a high scoring one or a low? The degree to which this system allows players to steer the course of the game is practically unlimited, and it does all of this in under an hour.

Of course, some of this goes away past the halfway point once players are building to cut routes and connect cities for color bonuses before anyone else does. But the game you play from then on is the one your actions have created. I've played 6 games of GM&O at time of writing and not a single one of them has felt remotely the same. An example: in our most recent session someone made a particularly spicy play, spending somewhere in the 20s of dollars (a lot of money!) to completely cut off Atlanta (the most valuable city!) from every direction. Completely surrounded, no way in or out, scorched earth. He ended up losing the game as we managed to create alternate hubs while his expansion efforts couldn't keep up, but the fact that that was even possible and could work blew me away.

I also want to take note of the parasitism. GM&O doesn't opt for the shared incentives that many of these games love to toy with. Instead, buying the second share (which is the ONLY other share) of a company is a purely selfish act. It reduces the original owner's income, allows the buyer to place cubes for their own score exclusively, and makes the buyer money when dividends pay out. There is no "helping" here unless you count capitalizing off the board state at opportune moments as "helpful", which I do not. This is a knock down drag out area control game that's entirely powered by your wallet. It's wonderful, and much unlike any other cube rail game I've played. That isn't to say there aren't others that work this way - I probably just haven't played them yet - but I love what this does from start to finish. So I grabbed it from my FLGS. This is August's game. Yes it's on 8/1, and I'm ok with that. GM&O is worth it, and will be sliding directly into the vacated spot RtR left.

Was this fun for anyone to read? I don't know! I didn't play a super broad spread of games over the last two weeks so I needed to do something different and this seemed more or less in line. Let me know what you thought, maybe I'll shift programming around more often.

Thanks so much for reading! See you all in 14.
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Sat Aug 1, 2020 8:01 pm
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Games of the Moment 44

Demetri
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Got a fair variety of games to cover this bi-week with a spread of opinions! Delicious. Let's dig in.

THE CYCLE CONTINUES




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DTB review is up! I enjoyed the game and all its eccentricities. It won't be for everyone, but maybe it's for you: https://pixeldie.com/2020/07/15/dinosaur-table-battles-revie...



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In summary: Iron Helm is Roguelike con Cardboard. Central mechanism's neat. The actual game I'm meh on. I'll elaborate a bit.

The core premise of Iron Helm is appealing: you're an aging adventurer looking to do One Last Job (tm) before retiring. Your score at the end is based on how well you did, and therefore how comfortable your retirement is. Of course this is assuming you live at all. It also makes the existence of the expansions weird as they seem to just throw this premise out the window, but eh, that's a nitpick at best.

Where IH intrigued me was its core mechanism - the door kick. Every turn you have two doors to choose from. You open the first and then decide: take the primary effect of the door you're looking at, or take the unknown more severe effect behind door number two. Sometimes this works wonderfully, like finding extra food/treasure for example, but more often it'll get you jumped by a baddie who's now EXTRA dangerous. It's an excellent loop that's not so much push your luck as it is risk management, since you learn the odds of the fairly slim dungeon deck fairly quickly but never have full information on what remains as unseen doors are discarded face down. I liked this system in Desolate and it's done even better here.

Unfortunately that is where my praise ends. IH is genuinely compelling initially, but what's actually behinds those doors just never interested me. Combat in this is a stodgy affair of getting bonked over the head, deciding whether or not to spend energy on extra dice, rolling to bonk the enemy, repeat ad-nauseum. I like rolling dice, truly I do, but a game with this much combat needed to have more to consider than "well I guess I'll have one more die". Even in boss fights and near-death battles the tension just isn't there. I understand that solo gaming is a meditative exercise for many and maybe that was the goal here, but that's not what I go to a dungeon crawl roguelike for.

Good news for folks who like what I've described: there is a LOT of it. It appears that Grey Gnome Games is going on a hiatus for a while but there's still a lot of content and expansions to try out at present. Their upcoming solo deckbuilder Gate still has my attention as it's working in a different design space, but after a few losses and a win I'm done here.



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AAA is a wonderful acroynm. "What're you playing?" "AAAAAAAA."

Small box deckbuilders are a space I keep an eye on, which is pretty easy when there are so few. Sometimes you get winners like Valley of the Kings. Sometimes you get weird stuff like Master Merchant. Sometimes you get games like Star Realms that are great fun but completely outmoded by an app. And sometimes you play the vegetable game where you churn and burn until someone wins.

There are so many individual elements I like in AAA - cards have no cost and are taken straight to your hand, the "read 'em and weep" win condition, plenty of direct conflict - but I can't help but feel like it desperately needs more veggies. That's not to say I want the game to be bloated - maybe half as many cards per type and twice as many card effects. I know that'd be a ton of design work, and maybe expansions will get it there over time, but what's there now feels thin. The 10 cards largely feel useful at very set points (eg: Broccoli and Potatoes only work early, Eggplant only matters late) which leaves games feeling a smidge scripted. After 3 plays I have respect for the unconventional elements of the design but no desire to revisit in its current state.

However: I do see the appeal here. Gamewright is marketing AAA as a "my first deckbuilder", and in that regard I could absolutely see it succeeding. If you want a card game for mixed ages that they can eventually teach on their own this seems like it'd be suitable. I was a bit disappointed that this wasn't on the level of some of their other "Food: The Card Game" entries (Sushi Go/Party/Roll, Go Nuts for Donuts) as far as playing with adults go, but folks seem to be reporting AAA as an excellent addition to their kid's shelf. So maybe they really nailed that? My concern as always is long-term replayability, but kids are unpredictable as to what they'll latch onto. Worst case this makes for a far more engaging kids game than most.



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A CDC pick! Praise be. If you've read my stuff before you know I like weird games. Understand then, that when I say Pan Am is strange I truly mean it, though maybe not in ways that are immediately obvious.

The rules of the game, with the exception of claiming routes 4 different ways, don't really demonstrate why the play of Pan Am is bizarre. It's entirely a matter of game feel: the game simultaneously feels random and on rails, deterministic yet wild. The space bidding is pretty straightforward with standard auction surprises, and stealing routes out from under people is as satisfying here as it is elsewhere, but Pan Am's existence as an entity and the directive cards throw a whole toolbox's worth of wrenches into the gears.

Cards allow players to break all kinds of rules and can potentially grant free points at end game. This creates a Catan-adjacent feeling of fear whenever a player goes dumpster diving and doesn't play the thing they found for a few rounds. Pan Am is a capricious mistress, only offering a portion of its endless coffers to routes determined by die rolls. We had greatly varied experiences with the megacorp as well as our income, branching out everywhere while bonking each other over the head, and yet despite all of this crazy stuff scores ended up really tight! It was a bizarre experience.

I certainly enjoyed my time with this but need to play it more in order to figure out how good it actually is. I need to see more events, more combinations of cards, in order to figure out whether these scores were kept close via good play or artificially. Since buying VPs is a choice I'm inclined to think it's the former but I can't say for sure. First impressions: this is a charming thing that bridges the gap between mass appeal Target game and Nerd Box for Nerds, and though it may struggle to quite nail either demographic I quite like it thus far. Optimism reigns!



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Hold on, apparently that's not the final title and cover. Egg on my face really, I'm so embarrassed. Let me issue a correction:



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There we go.

I like cube rails a whole hell of a lot. GMO is the most recent new introduction for me, and unsurprisingly I liked it quite a bit as well. Whether you'll feel similar is entirely dependent on how much you enjoy the most venerable board gaming mechanism - the auction.

I'm not joking when I say "Holy Shit! Auctions!" is an equally if not more valid title. 90%+ of your time here is going to be spent hemming, hawing, and agonizing over whether or not to raise a bid. Thanks to some particularly restrictive placement rules it's essentially an area control game powered by money, and open information (as is the Winsome tradition) means you'll need some serious misdirection and adaptation to pull one over on the other players. It's as good of an economic knife fight as you've come to expect from the genre while feeling quite different in execution.

There are some weird production things here, and no, they aren't RGG's fault this time. Simply put: this game has a shitton of cards that need to be arranged in a spread of 2 card stacks, then scooted around constantly in the early game as new cities make new companies available for auction. That combined with the conga line of cubes that needs to be put together at the start makes it more of a bear to set up than most games of its ilk. This isn't actually that big a deal since you can just huck the cubes at other players and tell them to get to work, but the card thing can be a problem when you need to figure out which rail corresponds to which card, who owns it, how much cash they have, etc. Eventually the game speeds up though, and it seems to be intended to be played by the seat of your pants rather than ultra-tactically, so I can excuse a lot.

This is a big year for cube rail reprints and normally that'd be excellent news, but the CDC means I must be ultra-vigilant. Selective to the point of petty pickiness. I like GMO a bunch and would gladly own/review it, but to buy it now would potentially lock me out of the OTHER Winsome reprints on the way, as well as cool stuff like Leder Games' Fort. So for now I sit, contemplate, and wait to read/try out Trans-Siberian in case that's even more appealing.



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This was another contribution from my friend who likes the miniatures. Before he had me try Crisis Protocol and I was surprised at how tightly wound the system was. This time it was a bigass CMON joint, which I normally don't even glance at, doubly so when their main marketing gimmick was a Cthulhu garden gnome. So imagine my surprise when the game managed to pierce through my preconceptions and I actually enjoyed myself.

It's quite good actually! Very pulpy. The flaws and sanity mechanisms in particular are inspired. Using your character's affliction of short term memory loss to forget your guilty conscience and negate its potential negatives is some fantastic setting integration. For as grim and eldritch as the game likes to present itself in its art it's actually much tonally closer to a parody, and it's just genre aware enough to pull that off. The snippets of writing support that with a consistent tone of exasperation and "aw shit here we go again"-ness. These investigators aren't new to this whole thing, they're just travelling from problem to problem and shooting it in the face. Overall it's a nice refinement of the dungeon crawl that evokes its genre with tongue planted firmly in cheek, and that's a nice change from so many weak attempts at trying to make a board game scary.

And now, a new segment! Working title:

Other things I've played recently but don't have much to say about either because we play them a lot or I recently talked about them, which usually means I just don't mention them, but I thought why not mention them briefly here for a change:


Krass Kariert: ridiculously good, I should really get over my mind goblins and review this one at some point

King of Tokyo Dark Ed.: as enjoyable as I said it was here: https://pixeldie.com/2020/06/26/king-of-tokyo-dark-edition-r...

Innovation: one of my very favorite card games, which I simultaneously play fairly often and yet not enough. Still just base Inno and that'll likely never change after we bounced hard off the Echos exp. Well over 100 plays at this point, a true evergreen

The Captain is Dead: one of the very best "standard" coops, in large part due to masterful thematic integration that makes every decision feel punchy and significant. The role cards are just incredibly well made and the game sings at every player count

Las Vegas: we play Las Vegas all the time but I rarely mention it because what can we even say about it at this point? It is OUR dice game, the true filler, praise be to Vegas, may the house always win

Northern Pacific: an excellent psychological study masquerading as a game, for which Cindy made a fan-board to torture our friends where all the city names are made up and geography doesn't matter

The Last Bit


Been an exhausting bi-week for reasons that have little to do with games. I'm ok though! Just tired. Bit too tired to write a lot here like I do sometimes.

Joshua Buergel very kindly sent me a Foresight deck! Will give that a spin soon, see how much the hints affect games we're used to. I have a feeling it'll be tremendous.

Playing almost everything on TTS has been fine by me, means I get to hang out with a lot of folks. That said I do miss my local hangouts. We even had a friend move across the country during all this and didn't get to see him off. A sadness.

Thanks for reading as always! See you all blah blah blah you know the drill.
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Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:55 pm
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The Cardboard Diogenes Club - July's Game

Demetri
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You click the subscription button on the BGG toolbar, listlessly tapping away just to stave off boredom for a few precious minutes. Another blog entry from that one weird guy who documents his acquisitions loads up, complete with an image. You still aren't sure if he thinks this will help someone or if it's entirely self indulgent, but you're definitely certain that it's of little consequence.

As a group, choose one option:

Skip: There are better things to read. Click the "next" button.
Read: Begin combat...

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This is my shit. Old school GW, Fighting Fantasy, what have you, combined with gorgeous black and white illustrations? And chucking dice? You'd best believe I'm gonna try that out. I've been wanting something extra ameritrashy and narrative focused lately and this is that all the way to its bones. When one of my local stores let me know they got ahold of it I was there within the day.

So far we've had 3 plays (1x 2p, 2x 3p) and the third ended in a climactic victory! This is the point where we're gonna start trickling in expansion content I think. Keep things spicy, unpredictable, add just a smidge more complexity. The goal isn't to make this overwrought - its lean ruleset is one of its greatest strengths - I just want to give it a little push and make the decks bigger. In a game like this more content is pretty much always welcome.

EtDC isn't *for* most people on this website but it's a better version of the games a lot of us loved back when. I'm glad to have been able to get my hands on it.
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Sat Jul 11, 2020 5:12 am
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The Cardboard Diogenes Club - 50%

Demetri
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Bit of a special blog post this bi-week.

I've been doing this Cardboard Diogenes Club business for 6 months now. Time flies when the world is on fire, I suppose. This calls for an audit, an evaluation, a sanity check. I'm going to talk about each game the CDC has selected thus far, how well they've done, and whether or not we'll be keeping them. But first, some reviews I've done recently!

Reviews!


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Of note to folks here are my full reviews of King of Tokyo: Dark Edition (https://pixeldie.com/2020/06/26/king-of-tokyo-dark-edition-r...) and The Field of the Cloth of Gold (https://pixeldie.com/2020/06/30/the-field-of-the-cloth-of-go...). The latter in particular is very much worth your attention both for my attempts at discussing genre and for the game itself, which is excellent.

Enough shilling. On with the aforementioned introspection!

January: Little Town


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Reviewed (https://pixeldie.com/2020/03/06/little-town-review/). We enjoyed LT very much, despite not being quite what it appears to be nor what it was marketed as. Sure this is rules-light, but a nearly perfect information worker placement where you have to feed your people on thin margins gives this game far sharper edges than it initially appears to have. The building of the board over the course of the game gives it that sense of ownership that many euro players like, only better because it's collaborative. We enjoy Ars Alchimia a bit more which may mean it might not stay on our shelf forever, but I'm still confident in recommending it to folks looking for a strong euro-style game with a small form factor that respects its players' time.

February: Krass Kariert/Dealt (???)


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Wait, what? Ok hold on. I need to be grumpy.

"Dealt"? That's the best they could do? I mean I heard that they were going to call it that when it came out in the states, but come on. And they somehow found a way to make it uglier! Calling it "Checkered Combos", or better yet the google translated "Blatantly Checkered", would have given it a bit more oomph than "Dealt". Boo! Boo I say!

All localization gripes aside, KK might be the best game we've acquired for the CDC this year. Every hand's puzzle is a treat to try and solve. No one we've introduced this to hasn't enjoyed it, and it always provides plenty of laughter regardless of how well someone does. Cindy loves this one so it's not going anywhere. So why haven't I reviewed it?

This is kind of a mind goblin scenario. Over the last couple years we've had a lot of fun cards and numbers games that've kinda worn out. Voodoo Prince is an excellent example. There are great ideas there, but eventually the sheen fades and replays just don't deliver on the cleverness that made you excited anymore. Texas Showdown is another one that weakened a bit over time, but less so because it's so chaotic and plays higher counts really well.

The point is I've been afraid to write a full treatment during this game's honeymoon phase, so I put it off. I didn't want to tell people that it was, say, as good as a Startups or Maskmen. But it's been several months now and KK feels no weaker now than it did when we first had it taught to us. If that doesn't secure its spot as an excellent card game I don't know what else it could do to convince me.

March: Ettin


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Oh Ettin. Poor, sweet Ettin.

Ettin has been the victim of some comically unfortunate timing, both for us and presumably for Wizkids. The idea of an 8 player simultaneous lane-control card game was so bonkers that I had to see how it worked. Covid kind of rendered this one unplayable; we've yet to play it with more than 2 and that's clearly not where this game wants to be. As such it's sat there on its little spot on the shelf, starting at me, asking why it hasn't gotten the attention that the other CDC games have. I've actually been debating whether or not I keep it or send it to someone with a group that's able to table it just because looking at it makes me sad. I WANT to see what this box can do, but not knowing when that's even going to be possible again is a heartbreaker.



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Now this one's an oddball. I rate it a 6 on BGG, but that's because BGG's scale has stupid criteria. It isn't that Plunder isn't fun - it is! - it's just the very definition of a "sometimes food", which doesn't gel with BGG asking how much of a frothing desire one has to play something right this very minute.

I realized why this game works so well for us despite not being, shall we say, the most modern of designs. It's actually just that - it induces a kind of nostalgic trip back to when kids/family games were focused on wacky escapism by way of randomness and toys. Forget comparing this to whatever's in the hotness; Plunder is a better take on the likes of a Fireball Island (the old one, not the bad RG revamp), a The White Unicorn, a Mall Madness, etc. If I'd had this growing up I would have played it CONSTANTLY. This isn't a game for people who are all about BGG and the games it centers, it's a better version of the games we remember. I'm glad Plunder exists and look forward to more plays, it just demands that you go in with like-minded folks who engage with it on its terms.

Reviewing it isn't going to happen for a bit. While we dig what it does, I'd need to see its higher player counts before I could give it a proper review and that's unlikely to happen for the foreseeable future. But it's still cute as a button and Cindy has really taken to it (though she's weak for piracy in general), so it stays.



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Reviewed, link's in the first bit. I'll keep this short since I kind of said everything of substance there.

Dark Edition is the King of Tokyo 2.0 that King of New York wasn't. One thing that's surprised me is just how much we've taken to it as a 2p game. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a particularly strategic game at 2, but it's a far better "ascended Yahtzee" game for us than Dice Throne or its ilk. Really excellent stuff here. It stays for sure, and would likely even survive a "we're moving states, board games are going extinct" level cull.

June: Pan Am


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We don't talk about the game that briefly held this slot. The one with the big lizard. Might review that one on its own just to warn folks away. Bleh.

Anyway! Has Pan Am proven itself? Ha! No idea. Hasn't even been a week since it made the cut so this hasn't hit the table yet. I'm optimistic, but of course I am, I selected it. Did run through it in a multi-hand solo to solidify rules, and it very much feels reminiscent of Lords of Waterdeep while offering a bit more crunch with the auction spaces. Peter Lee is a hell of a designer that we typically really enjoy so I think this'll work really well. We just don't know yet.

Vibe Check


Aside from deliberating quite a bit, this project has been great for my brain. You can't have a shelf of shame if you have no shame, but it helps to not buy boxes you're only mildly interested in just because they're on sale or for trade or free. I love playing games, learning games, experiencing games, but I do not love owning them and all the baggage that comes with that. The CDC has served wonderfully as a filter and I look forward to the next 6 months feeling much the same.

I've mentioned this explicitly in various other blog posts, but it is worth noting that these are not the only games that've entered our home. In the interest of full disclosure (and since I called this an audit) here's a list of games that've also shown up. The reasons vary from gifts, to review copies, to expansions, to Kickstarter fulfilments from before this year, to Cindy. Yes, Cindy is a category. These aren't in any kind of order and I'm not geeklinking all this.

Principle Dilemma - my KS, interesting game about moral questions, haven't played
Never Bring a Knife - review copy, got indefinitely blocked by covid
Intrigue - gift
The Isle of Cats - Cindy KS'd, we've enjoyed immensely
Root Underworld - my KS
Bottom of the 9th - sent by GTG as a welcome goodie after they absorbed Cheapass and its demo program, of which I was a member
Dragon Quest: Slime Race - Cindy
Ride the Rails - pre-ordered per my exception rules, arrived mid-plague
Shadowrun Crossfire - gift for Cindy because she loves her some Shadowrun
Nexus Ops - trade with the excellent Mason Weaver that Cindy arranged (we sent him Winner's Circle)
The Minigame Library - gift from the brilliant John Owen
Automata NOIR - Cindy wanted this so she could play Noir and look at robots
Unmatched Cobble & Fog/Jurassic Park - exp for Unmatched
Dinosaur Table Battles - review copy, review upcoming
The Field of the Cloth of Gold - review copy, reviewed

That reads pretty insane looking at it all in one place, but seeing how little of it we actually bought brings me some amount of satisfaction. The goal was to not participate in the consumerism that's so rampant in this hobby and in that regard it's been successful. Some of these have been truly excellent, others are unproven, but none were me clicking on a thing to buy 'em this year so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I do have one minor regret - I've yet to actually skip a month. June would've been a skip has Pan Am not been right there and so promising. February was a skip until the last, like, 2 days, when we were introduced to KK and chose to source a copy from overseas. I have a thing or two I'm still interested in so we'll have to see what happens on that front.

Overall, this has been a good time and I've not regretted it one iota. The only way I could tighten restrictions would be to impose them on other people, and I'm not willing to do that. Refusing to accept the generosity of others is not the Diogenes way. I will continue to filter feed aggressively, playing what's in front of me, experiencing board games through a different lens than the one the publishers tell us we should.

Thanks so much for reading, folks. See you in another bi-week!
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Sat Jul 4, 2020 5:36 pm
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The Cardboard Diogenes Club - The Great June Do-Over

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Bit of a weird one here.

If you read the last hybrid post you'd know that my pick for the month was Godzilla: Tokyo Clash. The intent was to play it with a kaiju-loving friend and possibly give it away. There was just one problem: it was not very good.

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G:TC has a few problems, but I'll narrow them down to pacing and theming. The game's pace is slow. Really slow. Glacial. Doing something as simple as punching another kaiju typically requires discarding/playing several cards in sequence, either by utilizing several momentum effects or over multiple turns, culminating in a limp noodly slap that may or may not be blocked. And damage doesn't get reflected in any tangible way unless a kaiju is thrown into a building; instead you just get to take a card from their deck for some VPs.

This ties into the theming issue. Had the game been about making a Godzilla movie, with rubber suit aesthetics and stage lights around the periphery of the board, I could have excused the stodgy movement and wonky pacing a bit more. It also would have allowed for a lot of creativity in the decks and events. Unfortunately they play it 100% straight and it just doesn't work, doubly so when King of Tokyo does light monster smashing better and several games can out-skirmish G:TC.

So what do you do when even the biggest kaiju fans don't want the thing? You adjust course. One express trip to the Target exchange counter later, we left with a different box to correct our error. This was a tricky decision that wasn't really explainable with the CDC rules as originally laid out. I mentioned that acquiring games included trades so that I couldn't just trade away the old for new, but getting rid of the game and replacing it with another somehow felt fair, especially since it was a 1:1 swap with no additional costs.

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Pan Am has a lot going for it, and not just because several folks I trust have said so. Peter Lee worked on this one - he of Tyrants of the Underdark and Lords of Waterdeep fame. The former is one of our absolute favorite games, period, and the latter is a brilliant light worker placement. If he can bring that energy to a more complex box I'm intrigued to give it a go.

Thanks for reading. I intend to do a halfway-through-the-project state of things post soonish, so be on the lookout for that.
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Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:49 pm
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Games of the Moment 43 and June's Cardboard Diogenes Club Game

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What're we waiting for? There's no time for intros! Only games!

ONLY GAMES




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Stickers have been applied in our physical and digital games, and we're on the cusp of getting bonus cards added to our decks in both. The Prime Runner edition rule that throws a 2 cost card of your choosing into the mix from the start is super exciting. I can't wait to get ahold of another Icon Grab or something, haven't decided yet. What I know is that this system gets better the more time you put in. We're winning Crossfires pretty reliably now, though we haven't taken on all the optional challenges at once yet. Might be something to try.

Really loving this thing, which is such a wild experience for me as most board game coops just don't get the job done. Every target taken out is satisfying, and every milestone passed feels like an achievement. I'm still not sure exactly why this game hits so differently but I'm glad it does.



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After Trawlerman kindly sent me the Minigame Library a few weeks back I did some research as to which of these would work the best for us while also actually being playable under current constraints. Noir was the obvious standout as well as one that I wasn't intimately familiar with. I also learned just how much work Talton has put into Noir as a game system; every release has come with different rulesets, components, and other changes to further hone what's going on here. I'm often a fan of multi-game systems so this made me all the more excited to dig in.

Cindy's generally a fan of hidden movement and deduction so I knew she'd like this, but I didn't predict as enthusiastic of a response as I got. The cat and mouse game of Killer vs Inspector is a ton of fun and won us over effortlessly. The only issue she had was actually with the Minigame Library's deck itself, as she occasionally struggled to identify characters with their weird fonts. And yes, just the fonts. The color palette wasn't the problem. I know, I was confused too. This led to her acquiring the Automata NOIR deck for easier identification and robots. She likes robots more than people it seems. And no, we did not make that a CDC announcement because that was all her. I certainly am not complaining though.

But we've actually played every edition, because we introduced it to folks over TTS and that was using the Black Box edition which appears to be very out of print. As such I can confidently state that every version of Killer VS Inspector, especially the most recent Automata one, is excellent. Maneuvering and narrowing down options while constantly paranoid that your opponent's character might creep up to you is top notch tension. The rule changes in Automata are a bit odd at first and lose a bit of the simplicity but are overall for the better, as they prevent the possibility of the game coming down to disguise card draws towards the end. Spy Tag is similarly tense, but also pretty reliably funny as you can just tag and bag someone out of nowhere and throw the whole game into chaos. We were a bit less impressed with Hitman VS Sleuth as it seemed like a more finicky KvI, but that's easily fixed by just playing KvI instead. We'll be trying more games when able as well as playing more KvI for the foreseeable future. It's a good'un.



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Ah yes, the other 2p game in the ML! Probably the most beloved of the lot long-term if future reprints and releases are a barometer of that. I've actually played Pixel Tactics before and enjoyed it, but it'd been so long that I barely remembered how the game actually worked. And it's good, albeit with some provisos.

The wave-based actions in PT are the star of the show. Positioning is everything, with characters firing off significantly different effects depending on where you stick 'em and their effectiveness varying wildly depending on whether or not they have friends in front or behind them. Once units start going down and your board starts getting cluttered up with corpses you have to make choices as to when to spend actions to free up the space, which is tough. I'm always a fan of multi-use cards and PT uses them in a way that I haven't really seen attempted before or since.

But here comes the aforementioned proviso: Pixel Tactics very clearly wants to be drafted. In our recent game we both revealed the exact same leader (the cool roboknight, which should surprise no one) and just laughed. Obviously that's an edge case of edge cases but removing any similarities between the players while coming up with synergies on the fly is way more appealing. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a great way of drafting the base set, and we're not quite sold on the system enough to embiggen it beyond its lovely little tuckbox. As such PT is in limbo for us. We like it and feel like it's on the cusp of being really cool, but it's stuck on that cusp until we buy more of it which we're hesitant to do, and so the cycle continues.

This isn't really much of a criticism though. I don't normally like to bring up prices in board games unless it's a significant outlier in either direction, so understand I mean it when I say there is a LOT of game in PT. The card format means you can pack in a ton of units that do a wide variety of jobs for a really low price of entry, similar to how Summoner Wars went completely off the rails in terms of possibility with nothing more than card packs. It's an easy game to try out, just not so easy to make into what we'd want it to be.



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TTS means we try things that we normally wouldn't jump to. We enjoy Sushi Go Party immensely, and I've personally racked up a ridiculous amount of plays of the original. Ultra-light drafting is just a sweet spot I guess, or maybe an umami one in this case? Anyway Sushi Roll is nothing like its parent game so I don't know why I'm wasting time with these bona fides.

Well ok, that's a bit much. It obviously bears a resemblance to its parent games, what with the original game's cards all being represented on the dice and the scoring methods being similar or identical in some cases. And the structure is close as well, with 3 rounds of drafting culminating in a check to see who gets zonked on pudding. But the gameplay, the actual decisions, are completely different. Chopsticks and menus let you swap dice with other players and menus let you reroll your current pool, wildly shifting what's available. Couple that with the game being completely open information and turn based and you can start to see why this dice game is a departure from the light and fluffy "pick'n'pass" gameplay of the card game.

I'm conflicted on Sushi Roll. It's fun and fast, certainly, but the end of each round often feels like a basic arithmetic exercise with just a squirt of dice statistics thrown in when the rolls haven't gone your way thus far. This was less of an issue in the card game thanks to the hidden info reducing your decision space, but when you can see everything on the table and have the ability to swap dice around it can slow things down more than I'd like. Is it fun? Certainly. But I feel like we've exhausted it after 3 plays and I'm not overly interested in revisiting, whereas I'd play Sushi Go/Party again right this minute. Basically the game's fine, it's just that Sushi Go is a really hard act to follow.



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This'll be a short one. We play Cursed Court a lot. Like, a loooot. It's a local favorite for our game group to the point where I typically don't note playing it here as this blog isn't just about tracking plays. But we haven't played in months for obvious reasons, so getting a 5p session of it over TTS felt like recapturing a sense of normalcy. I maintain that this was my favorite game of 2017's crop and it doesn't get nearly enough recognition for how strong of a game it is. If there was any justice it'd be a modern classic in the making.

I refuse to let Cursed Court go unrecognized. It's top class.



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The Jurassic Park and Cobble & Fog expansions dropped for the best skirmish system in years, expanding the roster from 7 characters to 13. As you can imagine it's thrown things into the best kind of chaos. I'll be doing a full analysis of all the characters down the road so this'll be a bit shorter, but wow is Cobble & Fog in particular a step up as a self-contained set over Battle of Legends v1.

Some ultra-brief summaries: Raptors are an aggro squad with a big health pool that weaken as they get chipped apart, fighting Muldoon feels like trying to punch a firing squad, Dracula is a skittish glass cannon who can pull your pieces out of position, Invisible Man can walk anywhere and has an amazing mini, Jekyll & Hyde is a next-level stance character with a bisected deck and massive damage potential, and Sherlock Holmes directly converts your game knowledge into damage. The new boards play with new mechanisms too. We've got 1-way paths, secret passageways, and lanes with wonky line of sight. There's so much content packed in here with so many new ideas and yet it's lost none of its approachability in the process.

Overall Unmatched is only getting better with each iteration and I couldn't be happier. It's the only ongoing game system I allow myself to keep up with because it's just that good. Brilliant stuff.

Cardboard Diogenes Club Updates


June's game has been selected, but it's kind of an odd case. How often do you buy a game knowing full well you likely won't keep it?

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Kaiju are awesome, aren't they? So is Prospero Hall. I maintain that How to Rob a Bank is still their best work but their recent stuff has been reliably solid, so them getting ahold of the actual Godzilla license and making a kaiju game in their style was something I had to try out. Running through it to learn rules revealed a lot of interesting inspirations: Cthulhu Wars-ish round structure and VP pulls, Unmatched-ish 30 card character decks, Monsterpocalypse-ish building smashery, etc.

I look forward to tabling it for another reason; we may have a friend over for the first time in ages who is an absolutely massive Godzilla fan. Like, multiple-tattoos level of devoted. If the game goes over particularly well and hits all the kaiju notes there's a very real chance it'll go home with 'em. We have King of Tokyo Dark now (review still forthcoming) and though they don't play alike they might compete? Not sure. But regardless it is a game I chose to purchase, so onto the CDC list it goes. Restrictions apply regardless of intent!

The Last Bit


Review copies! I don't talk about these super often as I don't accept them most of the time, but Hollandspiele sent two games my way that I am very much looking forward to giving The Treatment: Dinosaur Table Battles and The Field of the Cloth of Gold. The former is a draft-n-brawl dice allocation game that riffs on the historical scenario-based system in really interesting ways and notably substituting the troops for DINOSAURS. The latter is a 2p tribute to the golden age (ayyyy) of euro games that has so many fascinating little wrinkles and couldn't be more up my alley. Very Knizian stuff. I'm not quite ready to write about either yet but those'll come along with more plays.

I mentioned in the previous post that I was making donations to causes/orgs that align with black activism. I've now done so, and will continue to do so. The CDC saving me money softened the blow but I dug a bit deeper because circumstances warranted it. These are brutal times and I'll do what I can to ease them, however small.

Thanks so much for reading. See you all in 14!
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Sat Jun 20, 2020 5:52 pm
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Black Lives Matter

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There will be no normal post this bi-week. There are more important issues at hand.

Black lives matter. I'll be taking the money I haven't spent on games thanks to the CDC and donating it to causes that agree.

Take care of yourselves.
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Fri Jun 5, 2020 3:20 pm
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The Cardboard Diogenes Club - Disposal Services and Internet Archaeology

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It's time for some history.

For the unfamiliar, Diogenes (the original, not my pale cardboard-focused imitation) was a beggar. He subsisted off the kindness of friends, strangers, and anyone else who'd listen. He preferred the company of dogs over people, which sometimes complicated things, but the point stands. I bring this up because I have been provided for in a similar manner by a fellow user and friend:

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When John reached out he simply said he had a gift. He did not mention that it was actually six gifts in a single box from a publisher I rather like. He also, per the note, claims that this was a selfish act. I will agree if that is what he would like to believe, because if this is selfish I fear his generosity. He also made me aware of The Legendary Guys, which is an amazing looking RPG with rules that fit on a postcard that they sent as a promo. I wish this was in print in any form because I'd love to share it around.

This also triggered memories long locked away, of an event that took place only a few years ago: the tragedy of the lost Duelist Library. Years ago L99 announced a box of 5 2p games, only a couple of which have seen print since. It seems news on this has been deleted or lost because I swear there was an official mockup that showed what could have been, but I can't find it to save my life. What I did find was this:

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I actually got to play a test version of the Millennium Blades spinoff pictured here a few times and found it very entertaining. If Ballistic Reign was similarly good this is a real loss. I know Sellswords Olympus and Professor Treasure did see the light of day, but 2/5 makes me sad, especially when the final game was this:

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A...a game of whimsical theatre? For two? I am BEYOND INTRIGUED. What were you supposed to be, mysterious box? I would love to know.

But that's just my brain making connections. Let me circle back around to my original point: many thanks to John for a generous gift to an internet weirdo. I will play these to the best of my ability, plague permitting. Fortunately Noir and Pixel Tactics play 2p so that'll be easy, plus I've actually played PT before. Some of these look absolutely nutty. Very excited to try these out.
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Wed Jun 3, 2020 12:13 am
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Games of the Moment 42

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This bi-week featured some old, some new, and most importantly a lot of replays. Games are best played multiple times, lest we be stuck in the first impressions surface-level cycle forever. Also (because I'm writing this intro after everything else), I sort of accidentally wrote a mini-essay about genre and how we're bad at talking about it? You'll see it when you see it.

AND SO, GAMES




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As we've played the Crossfire scenario a few more times we've started to see the variability in difficulty. And yet, crucially, it's yet to be overwhelming to the point where it felt impossible. That isn't to say we haven't lost - our most recent 2p game was a loss in fact - but we could always come up with a way in which we could have handled it had our draws gone differently, or a crossfire hadn't synergised perfectly with the obstacles, or if we hadn't made a particular error earlier that likely weakened us later on. There's always a way, but sometimes that way is far more demanding.

This is a good thing. It's a game that demands you grow into it, and because there's so much variability game to game it forces you to learn more than patterns. Rather you learn how to make value judgements: do we actually need to heal, should you play your entire hand out knowing it'll leave you weak later, do you delay purchasing until you can get one amazing card instead of multiple good ones, target prioritization, and I could go on but I'll spare you.

If I had one complaint, and this is really minor, it's that the game definitely feels harder at 2 than its higher counts. The various delay tactics like pushing/pulling obstacles around are less strong when there's only one other person, and the crossfire cards feel much stronger when they resolve in only 2 turns. That said, it's also quicker with at 2p which means you can get more games in, so I don't count it as a strike.

We're loving this. It's an excellent example of what a coop board game can do if you aren't afraid to have it challenge its players. Highly recommend giving it a shot. Just make sure to throw in High Caliber Ops right away; it really improves the whole experience.



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Nexus Ops' status as a bona fide Ameritrash classic has always been a little strange to me. On the one hand it deserves it, being a dice chucking area control thing with power exceptions aplenty. But on the other...well, lemme dig into that. This is something that's been nagging at me for a bit.

One stereotype of Ameritrash games is that they're complex, rulesy beasts. A lot of people assume that they're in for a several-hour long luckfest and a tome of rules so thick that it's considered a lethal weapon in some states. I have NEVER found that to be the case. Most classic Ameritrash games have some initial rules investment, sure, but we're talking stuff like Talisman/Relic, Axis & Allies, and Arkham Horror here. Sure your Twilight Imperiums are going to add up, but even those aren't nearly as impenetrable as a modern heavy euro or the mathiest economic sims. Why is it that euros are given the consideration of every "game weight" but Ameritrash isn't offered the same courtesy?

I'll even offer an alternative. The true core quality that typifies Ameritrash is wildness. Not randomness, that's different. I mean a willingness to establish rules and then constantly, relentlessly break them in order to keep players on their toes. You need only look at Cosmic Encounter, Wiz War, and the games I already mentioned to see that common thread. This is why Ameritrash games can sometimes take longer than their German brethren, and also why this is acceptable here but not in a dry euro: a long turn is fun for everyone when you're watching your friend break the game over their knee in a completely unique way.

And so, back to Nexus Ops. It's a 90 minute area control game with rules so simple and clean that children can learn it with no issue. Then it proceeds to encourage players to make absurd plays to achieve their secret goals, lean into particular unit types for specialization, and give them energize cards so that absolutely nothing is left un-fuck-withable. It's wonderful, truly. The complete lack of restraint here, the wildness, while still maintaining a lean ruleset is sublime. That's why it's a true Ameritrash classic.



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My oft-mentioned friend who's been introducing me to new games on TTS actually created a mod for this one just so he could play it in the current climate. It's quite new so for the unfamiliar: Cairn is a (mostly) perfect information 2p abstract game that has miniatures for some reason. It takes a page from the likes of Onitama and Kamisado, as players essentially hand their opponent the moves they're allowed to make, but it adds a deep wrinkle that makes it far more challenging: the tiles.

Each game of Cairn sees the board seeded with two tiles that activate an effect when a piece moves onto them. When a player captures an opponent's piece or runs past the opponent's starting line another one is added from the display. All of these break significant rules in ways that mirror my wildness ramble above: you get to move other tiles around, take additional moves, teleport, even take an extra turn. This injects variability into a genre that normally relies on player decisions to achieve it.

The result is strange, and although I'm inclined to say I like it I do have some issues. Abstract games by their very nature tend to have a lot of depth as each move causes a butterfly effect and the game builds to a climactic finish that's a direct result of those choices. Hive is a modern abstact that's good at this. A lot of the more recent ones, like Onitama, don't do this so well. You spend time defending by waffling just to avoid handing good options to the other guy. Cairn sits on the fence, with its early game very much being that and its late game being borderline MtG-level combos with the tiles. It's a strange shift, one that ramps up at a predictable clip but never feels entirely natural. Some of that will go away with familiarity (I'm only 4 plays in so this is more of an impression) but the unholy fusion of power combos and traditional abstract will likely never not feel strange.

That said, I like weird. Cairn is pretty weird. Give it a go, it's neat.



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My recent CDC entry talked Bullet up and I stand by all of it. Between multiplayer and a lot of solo play I've racked up somewhere in the teens of plays over the last few days and I only want to play it more. In traditional L99 fashion the different characters are wildly asymmetrical both in abilities and in complexity. Some folks just aren't going to wrap their heads around how certain characters play, and that's OK! Very few people play every character in comparable video games either.

I think what makes Bullet so effective is that it doesn't actually try to emulate a preexisting puzzle game's mechanisms in terms of how you clear obstacles. Rather, it uses this clever pattern-based cardplay that I've never seen anything like before. At first these can be tricky to read, but with familiarity comes speed. Before you know it the 3 minute timer will feel more like a formality than a limit, even on TTS.

That said, like many games from this publisher you've got serious flexibility. Bullet can be a contemplative, slower game if you don't like the idea of playing on a timer. It can also be played fast and furious and work just as well, albeit for different reasons. The solo/coop stuff is well thought out, finding new ways to twist the mechanics and make you think differently. I haven't even touched the team mode yet but I very much doubt I won't enjoy it given that it's essentially the same as free for all, only not so free.

Nowadays it's rare for a game to feel truly fresh. Innovation seems to often be viewed as a risk in this industry, with publishers churning out a shelf's worth of similar games in order to facilitate the churn that keeps them afloat. Ambition never even enters the equation. Level 99, god bless 'em, has never been afraid to try absolutely wild things and that remains true here. I think Bullet is really something special and I very much look forward to more plays, both with the mod and with the final product.



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IT RETURNS

I said this was one of the best games I played for the first time last year and I MEANT it. TC:WR remains one of the best traditional (think Dominion structure) deckbuilders I've ever played, while also managing to do a lot of really interesting stuff with its romance/couples mechanisms. Yanking a key piece out of an opponents' hand via anime boy seduction remains uniquely, and highly, entertaining.

Our recent rematch had me constantly sending suitors to Cindy's mansion to steal her employees. Meanwhile she pursued only the fanciest lads and finest ladies, essentially going for a more complex version of a big money strategy to steal a Dominion term. By the end of the game we both scored quite high, with me just barely eking out a win. Had I not chosen to end the game exactly when I did she would have had me dead to rights. If that wasn't close I don't know what is.

Deckbuilding fans really need to give this a chance. I refuse to shut up about it until enough people have played it, which means I will likely never shut up about it. If you're looking for a card game that's equal parts well designed and charming, look no further.

THE LAST BIT/CDC UPDATES


Good news: my CDC-authorized copy of Ride the Rails came in! That was one of the two preorders for the year. It's missing the expansion map but I'm sure Capstone will handle that. Not like we're going to be able to easily play it here for a bit anyway, what with the plague. I do rather miss cube rails.

I've also played King of Tokyo: Dark Edition enough times to review it now. Expect to see a full writeup for it sooner than later. I'll link to that when it's done. I was going to do an entry for it in this blog post, but it was one paragraph long and essentially said what I've said here plus "2p variant is surprisingly good". This seemed more efficient.

Video games continue to get played. Most recently I completed Gears Tactics via Xbox game pass (on PC). If you want a tactical solo game that'll give you plenty of spectacle I think it'd appeal to some of the folks here. More info in the review I did on the website: https://pixeldie.com/2020/05/18/gears-tactics-review/

Hope everyone's staying healthy! It seems like boredom has set in to the point where people are disregarding safety for entertainment. Fortunately this is BGG, so I doubt anyone here is too excited to stray from their shelves, but please be careful out there.

Thank you for reading! See you in 14.
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Sat May 23, 2020 6:12 pm
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The Cardboard Diogenes Club - Subclause

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When I wrote the rules for the CDC I figured they were good enough. Didn't need to be bulletproof because I knew what they meant. Outside of some weirdness early on this proved true. Yesterday tested that, but then rendered it irrelevant in short order.

The weirdest ban in my original writeup was this one:

"Backing new Kickstarters unless I personally know someone attached. It’ll come out eventually. If I’m going to commit to buying a game I’d like to receive a game."

I left myself the out of supporting folks I know because that's just a nice thing to do. And then Level 99 comes along and launches a KS for Bullet, which is essentially Puzzle Fighter with a Touhou coat of paint. They couldn't have appealed to my video gamey sensibilities more, but alas, I've only spoken with Brad Talton a couple times and reviewed a thing or two for 'em. But then I saw it: Davy Wagnarok on graphic design! A super cool dude that I've also chatted with a few times.

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So I pondered. Does two folks I only sorta know add up to "someone I know"? But unlike the multi-game pack debate from a few months ago I didn't ponder long. Nah. You can't add relationships up like that. If it's ambiguous it's a no, I said. And despite the TTS implementation of Bullet being an absolute blast (seriously go try it, it's free) I made my peace with waiting.

Enter Cindy.

I've never been a guy who's into celebrating his own birthday. Always had to work. But Cindy wanted to get me something. Problem is, I am hard to shop for. The very existence of a restrictive purchase blog should prove that. So she broke the boundary of KS on my behalf. Bullet will be mine and I am excited.

As a closing note, I really do suggest you check the game out if you have any affection for VS puzzle games. It's probably the most authentic analog-ification of the genre I've seen, even including the likes of Puzzle Strike. PS was always good but a deckbuilder isn't the most 1:1 match mechanically. Bullet is very much a game of dropping problems into your board, finding ways to clear them, and sending garbage to your opponents. It nails the satisfying feeling of burying an opponent with big plays perfectly. Games this mechanically innovative are pretty rare, so seeing something like this work as well as it does is a real treat for my tired critic eyes. Level 99 is good at that.
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Wed May 20, 2020 4:03 pm
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