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Things done during the summer (and a return to neglected blog) part 2

Ville E
Finland
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Microbadge: Cthulhu fanMicrobadge: Too Many Bones - Gearlocs Rock!Microbadge: Important announcement about BGG communication!Microbadge: D&D fan (5th edition)Microbadge: Level 03 BGG poster
Presenting - the very much not wanted and waited part 2 of the last 2-3 months or so.

I'm been thinking about doing and impressions-type posts about games I have. Not reviews, there's plenty of that. And I don't have the time nor the need to make a proper review anyway. More like a list of things I like and/or dislike, without all the bells and whistles about how to play the game and so on. Lately I've been subjected to suprising amount of new games (new to me), so what would be a better time than this to roll out a few stupid opinions about games?! Answer: nothing would be a better time!



With that, on to my new feature - Impressions:

Impressions on Arkham Horror LCG.
At the time of writing, I'm 6/8 scenarios in fully completed Dunwich Legacy (and I've obviously played the core). That is around 11 scenarios (taking for us 1,5-2 hours min a pop). Added notes; I have no prior experience with LCG and I'm not tired of Cthulhu yet.

In short, the game seems pretty great! I'm really impressed with what you can do with 'just cards'. The amount of thematic feel you can add with just removing or adding locations, giving weaknesses or advancing the agenda/act is astounding to me. The game has some deckbuilding, but not too much to make your head spin (unless you buy everthing ever released at once). You get to upgrade your deck in a pretty meaningful way (and it feels great when your upgraded cards come at the right time). At best times I love how it can tell a story and at the same time have you impact on how that story goes. It can give you really nail-biting moments where it just feels so damn good to succeed due to planning or just sheer luck of the draw.
..but sometimes those things are lacking. When you start a scenario with shit already having gone through the fan and a big truck comes by dumping a literal truckload of shit on to you, with all the shit-valves opening and shit is shooting out of them on high pressure... It can feel pretty bad. Sometimes this is just due to bad luck. Worst encounter cards with useless draws from your own deck and autofails out the wazoo from the chaos bag. But sometimes it feels the scenarios are just a little off balance. Now, it is of course immpossible to balance a game for casuals like me and hardcore AHLCG fans who make an art out of deckbuilding. To me, some of the scenarios feel too tight - you don't have time to ejoy the game 'cause your just rushing to gather clues so you can advance the act before the agenda advances. And there are some scenarios which seem unfair to say the least. I would be ok with that if it was clearly signaled from the start (maybe don't expect to get a win here, aim for half and get out alive -style of thing). Like just a little editorial note for them casual newbs who want it.
But DEM THEMATIC THINGS! My deck was Zoey (the chef, she has a bloody knife on the picture) and my random weakness was a stubborn detective who keeps following me EVERYWHERE convinced I had something to do with some murders or some such. I knocked him out like 3 times and the bastard kept on coming. My gf was playing Daisy, who is a librarian. She is mostly into books, but also somewhat into mysticism (Daisy, not my gf). And her random weakness was a Silver Twilight acolyte, who clearly wants her Necronomicon back and just won't stop trying. Just by getting those two random weaknesses into our decks is already building a juicy narrative into the decks even without the actual game even starting!
At its best, AHLCG is divine. It's a marriage of tough, interesting choices, narrative driven gameplay with thematic incidents springled on top. At it's worst, it's a frustrating slog of stupid mechanisms with shit scenarios topped with rage-inducing overpowered encounter cards which can frankly go fuck themselves.
I think I kinda love it.
And that was my impressions of Arkham Horror: The Card game.

Let's do a double-whammy!
Impressions of Z War One: Exodus. This game is pretty new from the KS being some 10 000 years or so late (estimated deliver Aug '19 and I got it last month. Ouch!).

Z War One is a tactical zombie game. I would quickly characterize it as; "think of zombicide, but more tactical and more complex". Leaning more on the tactical survival than smashing n' bashing, it has option for aimed / snap shots and mechanism for counting bullets and reloading guns to name a few. You can also bang on doors to activate a room (to see how many zombies are inside) without opening the door, making the zombies waste precious AP on the thing. The game can be played in one-offs, but there's a campaign with over arching story and persistent bullets (no spraying in vain please!).

After one game, I can say I like it... at least somewhat. I wanted this game to be my Zombicide killer, as I find it just a tad too simplistic (even though it's great with newer boardgamers!). Jury is still out on that, but it has certain promise. You certainly have to think about your moves and chances of hitting before committing to a plan. You have to think where to funnel the zombies and how to dispatch on the ones you can't outrun.
There are some wonky LOS things, which aren't greatly explained in the rulebook. Or maybe they are, but the rulebook is probably one of the worst things about this game. For example the action 'sweep' isn't found on the hero turn section where actions are explained. It's in the zombies-are-crawling-on-top-of-you sequence (in the zombie turn section), and without any highlight or header at all. It's just a random paragraph saying you can use the sweep action to clear one zombie that is on top of you. The setup takes a while, mostly placing maptiles and bazillion doors. I find it strange that you can move and snap-fire (or melee), but you cannot move and open/close a door.
Oh yeah! The zombies can (and will) pile on on top of you, biting you all the time. I think it's a great and thematic mechanism. Being alone against 3 zombies is almost a certain (slow) death. You can deal with one, even alone. On top of that it's getting very risky very quick. And even the one can infect you with some bad luck.
I liked: the need for tactics and strategy, the need to conserve resources, the added depth to actions, the relatively easy activation of zombies.
I disliked: the rulebook (so very much), the playing time (it seems longish), from a glance many of the scenarios seem to be move-here-then-here.
All in all my impressions are mostly positive. I need to play it again (with definitely more campaign-oriented mindset and not just a test game) to know for sure.
And that was my impressions on Z War One: Exodus.

Triple-homerun-whammy!
As I said in the previous part, I got to play a friend's copy of Kingdomino. I played maybe 6-8 games of it (only 4 players).
I find it a nice filler - quick and low stress. You can play it really thinking and trying to count the probabilities or checking how many scoring tiles are left. Or you can just slap things together hoping for the best. The graphics are nice and the tiles feel great in your hand. I find the cardboard castle redudant, I would have rather had a tile with great picture (since the tile-art is so great!). I really can't find a great fault in the game, except of course that it's a quick and simple game. I'd be happy to play it again after or before a 'proper game'.
And that was my impressions on Kingdomino.

Quad-tastic-whammy-bastic!
I played the same friend's Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps. It's been a few weeks and details are a bit hazy, but... The topmost impression that stuck is that A) it is fiddly and B) it suffers from the same problem as most take-actions-with-a-dude -games. Sure, I've only played once, and we played with 6. The problem is same as with similiar games, like Cthulhu Death May Die, Zombicide etc - if everyone controls just 1 character, there's SOOO MUCH down time and too much things happening before your turn. There's a definite feeling of not having enough impact in the game. I'd say it could be a good 2-3 player game, but definitely not a 5-6 player one. All in all, the feeling the I left with was quite negative but the game probably didn't get to show it's best sides. There was some rules mistakes, too many players, maybe a little bit of AP. The card based stamina mechanism was at the same time neat but freaking fiddly as hell. It was constant put cards on bottom or shuffle the deck. It was so much card shuffling that without much exaggeration one player could just do that and not have a character. It felt clever in the beginning, but after a few turns it started to feel like a chore that you constantly have to do. The alien models are nice, but the alien wound tracking mechanism is horrible. You put a stack of tokens under the alien model which represents how many aliens there are on that spot. Now try this: take 4 models (preferably something with swords/tails/something going way over base), put 4 coins/tokens under them, put all the models right next to each other and then move them one at a time 4 inches or so. It's fine if there's 1, it's fine if there's 2-3. When there's 4+ models with tails sticking in different directions with stacks of tokens under them it turns into a mess. I can't believe they didn't figure out a better way to represent the alien wound tracking. My first impressions are that there might be a good game underneath, but it could have used some serious streamlining. It's not great when the first impressions is 'did they test how this works in practice?'...
And that was my impressions of Aliens: Another Glorious Day In The Corps.

Now, I still have to do the RoSD AAR. Until then!
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