ones upon a game

I am almost exclusively a solo gamer and look at the gaming scene seen through those eyes. I also literally like alliteration. TWITTER: @onesuponagame

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Everdell: Resource Storage Crates and Tree Surgery

Kevin L. Kitchens
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UPDATE: Starling Games contacted me and didn't like my use of the name and logo on the crates themselves, so I have re-editto remoe the logo. Fortunately someone else was interested in them without branding already so it might work out for the best all the same.

First off, have to say, Everdell is an absolute gem (or resin?) of a game. Designed by James A. Wilson, published by Starling Games (II) and beautifully illustrated by Andrew Bosley, Everdell is a breath of fresh air. Quick to play, easy rules, but medium complexity, the game will thrill soloists, groups, and families alike.

Resource Storage Crates

One thing I noticed during my playing the game though was the piles of resources (twigs, resin, pebbles, and berries) that sit in designated spots on the board tend to roll and shift around as fat fingers try to pick one up. I wanted a solution to this problem that would be thematic as well as provide storage for the resources in the game box.



You've probably noticed by now that I like to design custom boxes for various games (like for Too Many Bones and others)... but I've never delved into designing a box with full graphics. Thinking on the theme, I decided on a shipping crate motif that would look good on the board, keeping the resources in place as well as have a lid so they could go right into the game box.




This pattern is available now on Etsy for $2.49. You get two full crates from a single sheet of 65# or 110# cardstock, so you only need to print two copies. Full instructions with photos included.


Tree Surgery

Surgery of more the cosmetic variety. The Evertree included with the game is quite lovely. Made of five pieces of coated chipboard, it adds a wonderful 3D element to the game and thematically your little critters are waiting in the tree to help in later seasons (a turtle up the tree???).

However, being chipboard, I was worried the assembly/disassembly would eventually create too much wear and softness on the pieces. Also, being chipboard, it has the ugly raw edges for such a beautiful component.

First thing, I used dry erase markers (with a bit of help from Mr. Sharpie and yellow highlighter) to color the edges of the boards. For the tree I simply used black as that blends well with the brown and looks like shadows of bark lines. For the spring/summer areas of the tree, green was used and yellow highlighter on the autumn area. As groovy as the tree is shaped, it was a little challenging to get into some of the nooks, but patience and a little "bending" remedied that.



Next for protection, I wanted to seal the edges to prevent them from fraying, but also give a protective coat for the faces of the pieces. For this I turned to a wonderful product called "Right Step" (https://jwetc.com/products) which is a clear varnish. It's "self levelling" so you put it on thin and brush strokes should disappear. I used a Satin finish (between matte and gloss) and turned out great. Downside I didn't plan for was the varnish dripped over the edge and puddled on the reverse side, creating some interesting textures on that side, but nothing too bad. Looking back, I'd rest them on dice or something to keep them lifted off the wax paper when drying.




In the end though, the effect worked perfectly. The edges are mostly colored and the tree components have a nice sheen to them and fit together smoothly.

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Mon Aug 6, 2018 4:59 pm
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We're Getting the Band (of Brothers) Back Together

Kevin L. Kitchens
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So it only took two years, but I finally got around to organizing my revised editions of the Band of Brothers series. After some illness related confusion as to why I had Texas Arrows countersheets in my Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles box. I knew TA included errata SE counters, just not that it simply replaced ALL of them! Of course labeling them as "Countersheet #2" and "Countersheet #3" when there is no corresponding #1 didn't help break through the Dayquil induced delirium either.

Anyone looking to upgrade their version one copy of Screaming Eagles, check out the BGG Marketplace for my extra set of counters.


Developing the storage plan and lining up for a quick round of rounding.


But once I was set aright on my thinking, I set myself to punching and sorting and rounding the little furry nibs. I took the same tact with BoB that I did with Combat Commander: Europe and its expansions; that is to just group all the counters for each force together instead of trying to keep SE separate from Band of Brothers: Ghost Panzer. This just makes it easier to have everything in a single location than it is to open boxes and fetch counters and make sure they go back where they belong. Plus the TA scenarios (and possibly the KS bonus ones) introduce some overlap as well.

Previously I had designed organizers (Band of Brothers Counter Tray Insert by Ones Upon a Game) to go into the provided storage trays of the Kickstarter. These are some very nice trays too, but they seemed to be more of an afterthought as they didn't provide a good means for functionally storing an using the counters. My solution was to create racks to hold the counters vertically, ala Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Operation Barbarossa 1941 (second edition) and while that will work, it was one of my earlier design attempts and I prefer the counters to be flat and more "sorted".

Since the counters are nice and large (albeit a little thick) it was evident that only two stacks (of seven) would fit in a single GMT sized tray well. So began the process of sorting them to determine the best arrangement of counters and what size and how many of my modular trays (Modular GMT Compatible Game Storage Tray -- Patterns and Instructions...) would be needed. Since the Germans are included in both games, it was clear they'd spill over from a regular four module (GMT equivalent) tray, so I decided to split them into two three module versions. One for Armor and the other for the remaining squads, planes, etc. The Soviet forces aren't as numerable, but they have more variety, so they got a full four-module tray. Three module trays were all that were needed for the Americans (just fit!) as well as the "on-table" counters and markers needed to play any scenario. So in total this meant cutting and folding and combining 16 modules into the five necessary trays.



Counters all sorted and in their own spaces.


I did "cheat" just a bit in that I didn't punch the duplicate set of markers and counters from GP (identical to the ones in SE) and bagged up a few foxhole counters that would overflow their section. Doubt I'd need that many anyway, but they are there if I do.

I put together some quick labels for each box and voila!


Storage complete. Now time to play!


Previously, I'd use my half-sheet mailing labels for boxes, but those are more valuable to me shipping than for this and I'd either have to peel them to cut them or sacrifice the other half of the sheet. My new solution is Avery 6427 labels which are 2"x4" and come 10 to a page. The pack I got for under $9 at Walmart held 25 sheets, so I've got labels for quite some time. I design the labels individually in Photoshop, then based on what labels I still have on the sheet, can place them onto a full sheet template, then when I print, it only prints on the labels required (and available), I can peel them off and save the rest for later.


Using Avery 6427 as on as-needed basis.


Now I need to get a notebook and sleeves for the awesome cardstock scenarios cards and this will be able to fit mostly in a single box (I tend to leave these in a closed cupboard with the lid off anyway). The extras counters, rules, player cards, and now superfluous storage trays are all combined into the TA and GP boxes.


Map boards, rules, counters all stacked into the open-faced Screaming Eagles box.
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Thu Jul 5, 2018 4:17 pm
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Taking it to the Street (Masters)

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Pattern files: https://www.etsy.com/listing/674875029/game-component-storag...


There's a lot to like about the new Street Masters game from Adam Sadler and Brady Sadler of Blacklist Games (and a few things I don't care for but those are easily mitigated). It's a clever blend of card play, miniatures, and fast action that doesn't take up a lot of table space. And as it's a cooperative game, that means it's perfectly soloable and scales from one to four seamlessly so whether you prefer true-solo with four hands or one, it's definitely manageable for everyone.

Unfortunately, as with many Kickstarters, the contents get delivered in several large boxes. I bought my copy second hands (in all the original packaging however) and was able to separate the already mixed contents back to their original sources. But still, organization was going to be a challenge. Just like Mechs vs. Minions, the custom plastic trays were great for shipping and initial presentation, but inefficient for storing and playing the game. In the case of Street Masters, this might require opening all the big boxes to find all you need.

After I got everything re-sorted, I pulled out all the components I would want to play with and started trying to figure out how to store them. First the plastic trays for the miniatures had to go. They simply take up too much space. Fortunately these were nice but not so nice as the Mechs ones, so it didn't really hurt to say goodbye. For some reason I keep buying these latch down plastic containers whenever they are on sale at Joann. They are designed to hold a box of crayons I believe, but they are a great 4x3x1 or so for storage game components. However, being plastic with thick walls, etc, they too have a larger footprint than the storage gained. But I tried. I piled all the minis into those (one set per container), the defense tokens each went in smaller plastic boxes and the dice and the rest of the counters/tokens in a small Plano box. But then with the provided holder for the cards, all of that wasn't going to fit into the base game box.

I'd been considering making some sort of generic box, like I've done with the modular GMT trays... and since I had an affinity for the 4x3" box, decided to use that as my model. Except in the case of the miniatures, the box was a little short and I had to make sure all the minis were lying down so the lid would clamp down. So I made mine a little taller at 35mm in height. As I always work in millimeters for accuracy, the box is actually 100x73x35. I designed these in my "Sure Cuts a Lot" design software along with a lid (15mm in height) and cut boxes for each of the factions as well as one for the fighters and one for the allies/rivals.

Then I turned my attention to the defense counters. a 35mm box was just a little too large and making one for each of the three types would again bump up against the amount of space I had left in the game box. I decided to copy the 35mm box and then make adjustments to bring it to about 2/3 that height or 24mm. Since I kept the length and width the same, the same lid would work on it as well. (I also intend to make a pattern for a 16mm high box for smaller component sets). Both the 35mm and 24mm box cut from a single sheet of cardstock. The lids I can get two to a page, but may have to rework them to less than 15mm tall if I distribute the pattern as they are very close to 11 inches wide and printers have a .25" non-print area, so I need to get them to 10.5" total...

I made three of these boxes to hold the defense counters and planned to just leave the wound tokens in a bag (since the Plano box had to go). But that felt lazy. So two more 24mm boxes later (as well as some "space as you like" dividers) and these counters also had a home.



Made some labels to stick on the lids and I'm happy to report that everything stacks neatly in the base game box with potentially room for a few more factions should they be released. The dice, color rings, and objective counters are just bagged as they would come out to the table with each mission. But I can just grab out the wound, defense, and faction boxes and be ready to play fairly quick.





I might swap out the card holder for tuck boxes or even make a better foam core deck box at some point. But for now, I'll leave it as is and get to playing some more.
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Wed Jun 27, 2018 8:35 pm
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Star Wars: The Dark Side and the Light Side of Recent Releases

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Been an eventful past several weeks in the world of Star Wars. We've had the movie, a video game, and a companion app all released -- but sadly no novelization.

The Last Jedi

First off, since it's the most recent, the movie The Last Jedi opened this weekend. I saw an early show on Thursday night and overall it was a good movie. Not Empire Strikes Back greatness, but not Jar Jar Binks painful. Though there were a few dreadful aspects and it was too long (one section could have been completely cut or reduced easily), in total it did what it was supposed to do. Oddly it resolves a couple of questions in ways that were pleasing and displeasing at the same time.

As for plotholes, my son pointed out something truly flawed:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
During the slow motion fleet chase (ugh), why didn't a few of the Star Destroyers light speed in front and to the side of the Rebels to cut them off? I expect "How It Should Have Ended" (HISHE) on YouTube to catch this for sure.

Also, rather than let all the ships die, transfer everyone and the fuel to the main ship so they could stay around longer.


Probably worth seeing again just to catch some of the things that went by too fast for analysis.

Downside for me is that Disney in their lunacy blocked the novelization of the book from being released. Since Empire Strikes Back, I've read every movie book (of the main storyline) before seeing the film. In the pre-internet-mania days the books were out a week or two early. With The Force Awakens, then released it digitally at midnight (with the hard copy to follow the next month). This was to prevent spoilers before the film was released. Getting books into stores for the same day requires they actually be in stores weeks before (in the backroom) where stock clerks would sneak read and release spoilers way early. So that plan made sense. This time around Disney has held the digital AND physical copies until March 2018. This clearly isn't related to spoilers as the film is out and you can if you choose (or via rude folks) find out everything online.

Reading a book is a more engaging and savoring journey through the story. It's like studying a roller coaster before you ride it. You'll still ride it, but the anticipation is so much stronger seeing that which you've read and imagined. I'd planned to wait until March to see the movie and keep my streak alive, but in the end I gave in and saw it. Now I'll probably never read the book (the book never ruins the movie, the movie ruins the book), but alas...

Another note is that I saw in the 3D, my first full length foray into modern 3D presentation (I'd seen some test Tron: Legacy footage years ago). Have to say it was amazingly good. I liked that most of the previews were also in 3D. Gone are the too obvious IN YOUR FACE 3D moments of the past and it is simply a realistic depth of field presentation. Very nice. My wife was bugged more by wearing the glasses, but as I wear them anyway, I didn't notice the discomfort. Highly recommended.


Battlefront II

One reason I gave in and saw the movie prematurely was that I'd picked up Electronic Arts Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017) and already played through the pretty good single-player mission. They just released content related to The Last Jedi (somewhat) and I figured I wouldn't avoid that content for long.

The game itself is excellent and the dogfights are everything we filled in the blanks for with Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter back in the day. I'd love to see more Wing Commander (1990) type campaigns with that engine though. Some odd choices however. I understand some people like 3rd person views and were happy they weren't completely replaced with first person. But since the game has first person characters, it seems odd they chose not to allow all characters to be played first person. It's a bit (jar)jarring to play a feature character (Han, Leia, etc.) and be forced into 3rd person for no real reason, when the other main characters give you a choice.


Legends of the Force

The companion app for Star Wars: Imperial Assault was finally released last month and despite not fulfilling implied promises to let you play the real game coop/solo, I've been pleased with what they do offer. Not being a fan of the fantasy title on which SW:IA is based, I had no experience with that app and that it too failed to allow the base game campaigns to be played. So when Fantasy Flight Games announced they were releasing an app to allow SW:IA to be played cooperatively, I (to my shame) took them literally.

So while the base game campaign is not compatible with the app (yet, one can hope), it does allow you to use the components and play a third variation of the game. In addition to skirmish mode and physical campaign mode, you can play special Legends of the Force missions that are mostly the same rules as campaign mode, but with some necessary modifications to let the AI control the Imperials.

And it does that well!

Not since Too Many Bones have I been so hesitant to remove a game from my table. I'm having that much fun with it. Of course some of it has to do with owning it for three years and buying expansions galore (in hopes of using them with the app) and finally getting to play it.



Fortunately too for those who want to play the base game campaigns solo, there are a few different options.

Redjaks' Automated Emperor Variant (v2): RedJak's Automated Emperor Variant V2 (no longer being updated)

Redjaks' Automated Imperial Variant: RedJak's Automated Imperial Variant (RAIV) V1 - Under new management (more streamlined, still being updated)

Imperial Directive app: Imperial Directive, a solo/co-op campaign web app

So lots of Star Wars lightness (amid a little darkness) for fans of the franchise.
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Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:32 pm
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The Index is a door to finding treasure in the dark...

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Over the past nearly three years, lots of articles, reviews, tips, images, etc. have appears on this blog... I was starting myself to get lost trying to find something!

So to remedy that I've created a new geeklist: Ones Upon A Game: Reviews, Mods, Images and Videos Index to refer to find the potentially helpful diamond in the rough.

I welcome you to subscribe to the list as a whole or just to games that are of interest to you... if such a thing is of interest to you.
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Thu Nov 9, 2017 3:24 pm
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Make Time For Sergeants

Kevin L. Kitchens
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As noted in my previous post (Lost Battalion's Sergeants First Class Customer Service), the customer service at Lost Battalion Games is aces. But as I also noted, while the Sergeants Miniatures Game: Day of Days is awesome with all the pre-painted miniatures, the measuring and table space was just a bit cumbersome for my tastes.

So I sold that game, and bought the (even better) Sergeants D-Day "board game" version. It takes up 1/4 the table space (so you can easily play on larger maps, sacrifices the "squares or inches" hybrid for a more "hip to be square" method, and trades the painted miniatures for laser cut standees. But otherwise the game play is 99.99999% the same.

And it's great!

I recently did an unboxing of the awesome content (and you get a lot more) in the base set as well as a gameplay brief video showing the game in action.

Take a look and see if this WW2 tactical card driven game appeals to you. If it does, then pick up a copy of either version and spread the word.





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Web: https://onesuponagame.com
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Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:38 pm
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Lost Battalion's Sergeants First Class Customer Service

Kevin L. Kitchens
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In light of my recent customer service debacle (in resolution as we speak, I should add), I was pleasantly surprised that my next encounter with a group of front line folks went so smoothly.

I recently picked up in trade a copy of Sergeants Miniatures Game: Day of Days, a tactical, card-driven, minis game that I'd been eyeing for some time. It was a first edition copy from 2011 though (fair enough since I traded a first edition of D-Day at Tarawa, without the cool new mounted board). In 2013, the game was updated with a new rulebook, smaller borders for housing the puzzle piece style map, and included two additional miniatures (now 10 vs. 8). In order to protect customers who bought the game previously, Lost Battalion Games offered a free upgrade kit to bring your 1.0 to 2.0. You simply needed to ask when you placed or order, or order the kit directly and pay the shipping.

But that was in 2013 and surely four years later that offer would no longer be available, right?

Wrong.

I emailed their customer service, explained I'd gotten the game used and it had never been upgraded and would like to make sure I was getting the full current experience before buying any additional expansions.

Did they say "Go away!" "You're not our customer!"

Nope. They very kindly replied that while no one had asked for an upgrade in some time, they would get one assembled right away and sent out to me for the cost of shipping. And they did. And 2-3 days later I had everything I needed to bring the game up to date.

NICELY DONE LOST BATTALION!

That kind of positive customer service goes a long way toward building brand and company loyalty.

So how's the game?

In the middle of playing the first scenario. The starter kit is made easier since there are fewer soldiers to choose from. So like playing the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game starter kit, you have decisions on building your squad, but at the same time it will make you hungry for more.



But so far, I have to say I'm really enjoying it. It's a diceless system, everything is resolved through decks of action cards and a story deck that can produce some interesting events. The miniatures game uses a hybrid of true measuring (closer range) and estimating "squares" (longer range) between units. But it works pretty seamlessly.

While not designed for solo play, it's definitely soloable. You lose some hidden and surprise information, but the experience without those factors is still one worth playing.

The downside of the Miniatures game is the cost. While it's definitely a value for what you get in the fully painted pewter miniatures and nice laser cut counters (though unlike my VPG experience, I did find these sooty and in need of wiping), like X-Wing you can sink a bundle into building up armies. For a solo player that cost would double.

Fortunately, Lost Battalion offers Sergeants D-Day as well, which is the "board game" version of the same system. While you lose the pewter miniatures, they are replaced by nice laser cut standees. The board also gets reduced in size, thus requiring far less table space. Distance measurement solely becomes square counting instead of inches, so there is no toggle between the two systems. But even better, you get more bang for your buck. The same great gameplay, but you get over twice as many soldiers included at a much reduced price.

I hope to get a copy of this version soon and do a full unboxing video and review, but until then... battle on!
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Tue May 30, 2017 5:48 pm
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First Thoughts: Mechs vs. Minions

Kevin L. Kitchens
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I know the second wave of Mechs vs. Minions appears to be hitting homes this week, but I picked up a decent deal on a first wave copy a few months ago. I finally took a moment to pry the lid off the HUGE box and setup the tutorial. Finished that and here's my initial thoughts.

I don't hate it.

Seriously, it's a pretty cool system of "programming" and "overriding" commands to complete a mission. You draft cards from a set of five and them place them on your program board. You can also discard them to swap program slots or repair damage. The system works very well with simple rules, an alphabetical help booklet (that most games should have). Lots of fun.

It's also quite beautifully made and there is a WOW factor when you open that HUGE box and see all the organized trays of minions and mechs and components. Very nice. You can tell a lot of love went into the design and the bang for the buck is one of the best values in all of gaming.

However...

It's way overproduced and that is a big strike, IMO. I didn't realize until I actually started playing that ALL the minions were the same (correction: they aren't the same). While some missions may alter their stats (don't know still early playing), they all die on one hit. The poses are the same (correction: no you idiot, I just told you they ARE different). Helps on production to have a single mold, but the practical side of me is like... "Why minis?" Why not just simple counters. The minis last on the board (so far) a very short period of time, so the "bling" of them being identical minis is very short lived.

Plus they take up a ton of space in the box -- each mini-on has its own slot in the stacking plastic trays. Even with keeping them as miniatures, it would be much easier to just store them all in a box or other container (organization is for separating different things to make them easier to find after all). Since there are FOUR layers of these large trays to sift through, plus a large lid, the box itself + the lid + removing three of the trays to access the bottom takes up a load of table space. Even if you stay the removed trays into the upside down lid as you remove them, wowza.

It doesn't help that the vital components (boards, cards, programming tracks) are all on the bottom level either. Once that wow factor wears off, there will definitely be some annoyance at the setup shuffle each time you want to play.

Unlike most games where they come disorganized and require a foam core insert or Plano boxes to improve them. MvM is overorganized and would require a downgrade just to make it a little more functional. But in this case, I think getting rid of the provided inserts/trays would reduce the value of the game in the eyes of a potential buyer.

Don't get me wrong, the gameplay itself is a blast and I look forward to the first mission (NO SPOILERS PLEASE!!! NONE!). But I may have to buy a second table to set the box on while I try to play the game.

It plays quite well solo too, but the program strips do take up a bit of space (being long for six stacks of cards). Mats in a two rows of three cards might function a little better, especially for someone playing multiple characters. I played two in the demo. Not sure how I'd fit three strips or even four without having to walk around to literally different seats.

The painted minis for the mech are cute and each come with their own programming strip which details their special ability. A bit large and chunky though... the whole game could have been scaled down by 1/3 or 1/2 and been a much less cumbersome beast.

More to come, but those are my initial thoughts on this hot newish title.
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Fri May 12, 2017 8:40 pm
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Can't Get There From Here? Au contraire mon frère!

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Vacation is over I'm sad to say, but amid the two weeks of working, sightseeing, and strutting along the beach, I did manage to get some gaming sessions in. As usual, I took far more than I needed, but it gave me a nice assortment to choose from.

Here's what took place and my general thoughts on the ones played.

Agricola, Master of Britain - Leading the way was this one from Hollandspiele. I lost poorly in the second turn. There is some randomness to it, but you control which actions you take. You lose if at the end of each turn you don't have a certain number of victory points as well, so it keeps you focused. Also if you get eliminated in a battle, so it keeps you in check aggressively. Definitely one I will play again.


Brutal end in turn two. Got too aggressive!



Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Operation Barbarossa 1941 (second edition) - Brought the base game and the Conflict of Heroes: Eastern Front – Solo Expansion, but decided to just play a base scenario schizolo to refresh the rules AND try out the spent check system in a solo game. Pleased to say it works beautifully. The 7 APs (or 3d6 method) are a complete thing of the past as far as I'm concerned in any of the Conflict of Heroes series by Academy Games, Inc.. It just moves so smooth and the risk of any action perhaps being the last add a variable of tenseness. Plus being able to use any unspent unit at any time keeps your options wide open.


The palm trees are a nice backdrop and the solo spent check counters are a very nice upgrade.

FILE: Unit Spent Check Counters by Ones Upon A Game


Flip City - Bombed for me. Set it up for solo and started to play and it was just boring and confusion. Multiplayer may be better, but I stuck this in the game cabinet at the rental house for a family to perhaps enjoy more. Pay it forward and all that.


Hapsburg Eclipse - I love the Victory Point Games States of Siege Series series. I'd heard such good things about this and it's sister game Ottoman Sunset: The Great War in the Near East 1914-1918. Sadly, this one just didn't work for me. My fault really, I should have done a little more research on the theme. While I have no issue playing "the bad guys" in a war game -- which can easily be imagined to be a true military war game or scrimmage, exploring this WWI historical narrative from the side of the Axis just didn't thrill me. Just like I enjoy the GMT COIN Series, the theme of the much lauded Cuba Libre leaves me cold. But I pushed through to try it anyway and see if it stuck with me. Sadly it did not. Lost after only a few cards because of bad die rolls for some offboard battles put me quickly at -6 National Will and out of the game. I know some don't like the die-influence in other titles, but here it really was apparent and in a negative way. Add in the theme and this and it's collaborator are on the trade pile. I was starting to get a good sized collection of these too, darn it.


National Will quickly became National Won't




Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game - To be sure I ended things on a positive note, I broke out the absolute best of all the games with the word "Legendary" in the title. Used some of the cards from the Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game Expansion, but still played it two-handed (Gunner and DAE-128 clone) and used the new drone chart for adding them to the scenario decks. Did not use the new soldier cards or hard level locations, but look forward to trying those as well. We survived* and won the first movie scenario -- but I had a screw up at the end when the Hive deck was depleted, I failed to reshuffle the defeated enemies back into a new pile and didn't realize it until it was too far to roll back.

*Objectively, I probably would have lost since I would not have had an open complex space to relocate a double strike alien, but we'll just not be objective about that, ok?

But still, the game is amazingly good. Legendary Encounters: A Firefly Deck Building Game is pretty close and some of its new features influenced the Alien expansion.


I wanted to fire up another game, but got too close to the return trip and didn't want something to be unfinished due to time constraints. So I kept amused with some PC games and the excellent Race for the Galaxy app for iOS.



If you're needing inspiration, Philomath is where I go...

Oh yeah, R.E.M. was wrong... you CAN get there from here. A little diversion on the pilgrimage home. Mini dream of mine for several years to get a photo with the town sign. Now back in Rockville, wasting another year.
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Mon May 8, 2017 5:58 pm
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Foreign Wars, Zombie Hordes, AEO for I without U, and a Kickstarter Comes In From the Cold

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Gainesville
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Just a quick overview of what I've been playing recently. Been down with back pain, cold, and allergies of late, but still managing to get some time on the solo table.




'65: Squad-Level Combat in the Jungles of Vietnam - Great Vietnam War based game from Flying Pig Games LLC. Card driven, easy to solo (even without the solo system which I will be trying. Built on the Night of Man system and improves on it in many ways.




Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game - Received this in a math trade several months ago and was a little skeptical even trying for it. But had heard good things and it's got a great presentation. So I set it up in cooperative mode and played solo (as all cooperative games inherently are soloable, it was a piece of cake). Using the crossroads cards application on my phone instead of having to look at the cards directly makes it even easier. Have to say, so far this is the best Zombie-themed game I've played (Dead Reckoning by Tiny Battle Publishing being a close second, but it's more of a wargame). Dawn of the Zeds (Third edition) didn't click with me, having been spoiled on the far better historical titles in the Victory Point Games States of Siege Series. Zombicide was pure tedium. But Dead of Winter is just an excellent game with an infected zombie theme. Don't care about losing the traitor mechanic either as the coop game works so well. I love how the Zombies never "attack" per se, they just represent an impediment to what you're trying to do. And the standees are a brilliant touch! More games should offer them in lieu of or in addition to miniatures.




Lock 'n Load Tactical: Solo - Took this preview copy out of a spin with one of the missions from Lock 'n Load Tactical: Heroes of Normandy. Had a few questions for Lock 'n Load Publishing, LLC. and set it aside while I got clarifications. But hope to get it back out again soon. As for how it compares with its older cousin Conflict of Heroes: Eastern Front – Solo Expansion for Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Operation Barbarossa 1941 (second edition): In general they are similar -- draw a card for the AI and work down a list of choices based on the game situation. However, since both games are completely unique systems, they have to accomplish completely different strategies. No easy feat. The LnL version comes with many more flowcharts for directing the AEO (Artificial Enemy Opponent) actions and you may have to fall back on the common sense rule 42 a little faster, but since you get to play so many more scenarios vs. the 10 canned ones for CoH, it's a worthwhile trade off. More to come and a gameplay brief video too soon.




Raid on St. Nazaire - This is the one currently on the table and wow...what an EXCELLENT game. This is how you do narrative games... with meaningful actions and decisions and an ever changing situation. Just brilliant in the design. Seems like every turn I'm marvelling at this design choice or the other. Wonderful. Man I hate it, can't you tell? No idea what legal nonsense is keeping this game from getting the update that it deserves, but it has to be something like that, because there is no logical reason this property and design is not getting more exposure.




High Frontier (Third Edition) - It's only 16 months or so late (like I really believed the October 2015 delivery date -- it didn't fund until August 2015!), but tomorrow my copy of the Phil Eklund space exploration classic will arrive. First I'll do an unboxing video tomorrow night and then attempt to experience this one (and my first P.E. game) for myself. Hopefully it's not too much above my head!
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Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:37 pm
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