Why We're Here in the First Place: Werewolf Gamers (8/19/13)
Greg Wilson
United Kingdom
Bristol
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This is a geeklist for BGG Werewolf players to talk about games other than Werewolf.

Post what you play during the week of Monday 8/19/13 to Sunday 8/25/13.

Post your ratings and/or any thoughts on the games played.
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1. Board Game: Quicksilver [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:7595]
Greg Wilson
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Monday:

Edge of Empire session was cancelled due to lack of players, so we had a five-player Quicksilver race instead. Nobody had played before, so we just went for a simple two checkpoint map with no obstacles. I came in first, with a very close run betwen first and second, and third not far behind.

Fun game. Lots of hand management, plenty of dice-rolling but there are plenty of ways to control the randomness - you vary your speed, you can play cards for special effects or as modifiers, and the dice themselves are numbered 1-2-2-3-3-4 so extreme results are less likely but come out occasionally. Some gank-the-leader, but it's survivable. We did have a few questions about the precise timing of certain cards, but I think it would all have been in the rulebook if we took the time to look it up.

Tuesday:

Six for boardgames, and a late start, so we broke out some big-group fillers.

First up, Kill the Overlord. Minor screw-up at the start, where we handed out income based on starting roles, but by the time we realised that it was too late to fix it. I think this game has a bit of an issue of the rules and card play not being very intuitive, despite being a simple game, but that might just be because we don't play it very often. Not a bad party game, though, if you're okay with luck and take-that being factors. A took the thirty-gold win, with a couple of us close behind.

Then Love Letter, with some cards from the second deck added for six people. For some reason I'm terrible at this game, but it's fun and a round is quick. We only played up to two wins, though; playing to three goes on too long with so many players. K got the win here.

And finally 6 nimmt! due to popular demand. This is a great filler; luck's a factor but you're usually taking educated gambles rather than just being screwed by the draw. I think I'd have won if I'd bitten the bullet earlier and taken a few penalty points deliberately instead of risking it and ending up taking more. K won again in a very close game, with the top three scores being 7-8-8.

Saturday:

Board games in Cardiff!

I was introduced to Archaeology: The Card Game, which is a fun light game of set-collection, indirect trading and push-your-luck. Won the first game 76-58-56 by concentrating on large sets of lower-valued stuff. Second game was much closer but I pulled out the win 62-60-54-26. Luck of the draw is part of this game, but not a huge part since you can usually trade for something worthwhile.

Quick round of Shadow Hunters, with the 'quick start' rule where everyone begins with a hermit card. Not a fan of this, personally; I get why you might want to start with information but I think the hiding and feeling-out is part of the game. Anyway, worked out my prtner early on and started attacking fairly freely, since I knew at least one enemy knew I was a Shadow. Unfortunately the guy I was attacking turned out to be Daniel, and the new player who had viewed his card didn't realise that me killing him would end the game.

Taught people Sushi Go!. Very close game, 47-47-43-41, with me losing the tiebreaker on account of having no desserts. In one round I managed to get three wasabi-nigiri combos. The average points-per-card was only three, but that's still pretty nice across six cards. The game went down well, and I saw other people playing it later.

Got a chance to try Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport. Skullport expansion only, not tried Underdark yet. Five-player game with varying experience, including one new player who became instantly smitten with the game. The corruption mechanic is really neat; early on you'll happily take it as a shortcut for the more powerful spaces and quests, but later on the penalties mount up and you're suddenly depsarate to get rid of it. I bought two buildings which let people get rid of corruption early on for the bonus points, and they saw pretty consant use for the second half of the game. I did wind up with a fairly hefty misplay, gearing up for a quest that had a big reward but three corruption, and not completing it because I didn't quite have the actions to burn away the massive penalty it would have saddled me with. Still, landed in the middle of the pack with the final score at 113-87-82-76-59, which feels okay for a first play. I think we got a bit confused between returning and removing corruption, but it wouldn't have put a dent in that lead.

Quick six-player game of Mascarade before I left. Kind of like Coup, bluffing and using character powers to make money, but faster and sillier and more chaotic, since you don't always know your own character. Oh, and no elimination. Switching your character card seems a weak play at first, but you quickly realise that leaving people with known powers can be a mistake. I won when someone claimed a win as the Cheat, and I countered knowing I was the Cheat and also qualified for the win.

Oh, and a competitive puzzle game called Panic Lab. Basically a test of observation and following a logic chain quicker than everyone else. One of those games that really doesn't work if players are of different skill levels. I sucked at it.

Games I saw other people playing: Snake Oil, Mutants & Masterminds, Fiasco, Anima: Shadow of Omega, Blackbeard (which seemed to last a long while with nothing happening and then ended), Cthulhu Gloom, Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game – Daybreak Expansion (five-player game with everyone on the same side, and the game nearly beating them anyway) and Teletterpy, which doesn't appear to be listed on BGG.

Sunday:

The sproglet is back!

Three-player Sushi Go! after dinner. K pipped me to the win, 50-44-33, thanks yet again to those blasted puddings. There weren't any for two rounds and then a load in the third round, and I started grabbing them too late because I was making a set of dumlpings.

And two-player Dominion before the sproglet went up. Unsurprisingly, he grabbed as many attack cards as he could, something like five Militia and five Witches. That slowed down my already-slow Remodel deck, and the game ended with Estates, Curses and Villages empty. I took the only Province we got between us, and that cancelled out the six Curses I still had. I'd grabbed some Duchies when I realised the game was running out, though, and won 17-7.
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2. Board Game: Railways of the World [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:97] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
Pete Sellers
United States
Franklin
Wisconsin
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This has been a light week for me so far:

d10-9 Railways of the World - I don't care how many times I play this game, it's always going to remain one of my all-time favorites. It's light enough to be enjoyed by anyone, but deep enough to present a valid challenge. By far, one of my favorite train games and while I would love to play more Age of Steam or Steam, this one never gets old.

I finally got my daughter into it, because she's a huge Ticket to Ride fan and WOW did she do well. She sees routes well in advance of playing them and is easily able to swoop in and cut people off if given the chance. She did a great job and came in second in her first game, and first in her second game. It was great seeing her figure out that we needed to use her routes in order to complete large deliveries and did she ever take advantage of it.

d10-8 Takenoko - We've been playing this one ever since I played it online with Irina. I forgot I even owned it and busted it out almost immediately after playing with her and Saber. Again, light, but seriously fun, especially the theme itself.

d10-4 Dungeon Roll - You've seen me harping about this one in the board game thread, but we've been playing it, so I guess I'll post about it here. Theme-wise, I love it and the components themselves are wonderful, but the game... oh, the humanity. Seriously, the more I play of it, the less I like it. When I think of games where you press your luck, I can literally here myself saying "Ok, I'm going to go one more time... just ONE MORE TURN!!!!" and Dungeon Roll doesn't provide that feeling. As you go from level to level of the dungeon, your party is slowly wiped out, which means you'll eventually hit a level and have no real way to move on to the next level...

SURE, you might get a bunch of potions and a chest, but the odds are against you - meaning that if you DO go for one more roll, the chances are that you're going to lose. So honestly, what's missing is that crazy rush where you just want to push ONE more roll just to eek out a few more points. The rush is gone, because you KNOW you can't go on without losing. For me, that's not pressing your luck, it's ending your turn without question and THAT defeats the purpose of the game or at least the ideal they've attempted to create. I'm glad it was cheap and I think a few house rules could make it a better game, but for now, I'd rather see this one auctioned.


ON THAT NOTE - I will be listing an auction near the end of the month. Frankly, my collection of games has gotten to the point where even I don't know why I have so many games, so if anyone is interested, I'd cut you peeps some deals if any game catches your eye. Just let me know.
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3. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:35]
Dr. Urza, PhD of Dungeon Crawl
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
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Robinson Crusoe (Rating ???) Played the Castaways scenario with the GF. Gathered up all the necessary wood, taking lots of wounds along the way. At the start of turn 9, I was ready to win, but I didn't notice that the "bump off the end" effect of the stale event was for everyone to get a wound. I was down to my last HP, and so we lost. :/ Also played once solo (controlling two characters) and won that one.

I'm not sure how to rate this. I enjoy the game, and that's enough for at least a 7, but there's so many bits to sort and cards to shuffle that getting it out almost feels like a chore. This was on Friday evening, and so maybe end of the week fatigue led to laziness. I'll get it out again at some point in the next few weeks, perhaps it's better if I'm fresh and with more experience.

Planet Steam (Rating pending) Finally got to play this for the first time, 2-player against the GF. I won by about $1200 to $900. It definitely has similarities to MULE, but also quite a lot of differences. For one thing, there's no action limits: for one water, you can do as much as you want. (in MULE turns are timed, and so there's a practical limit to how much you can do in a turn, as you have to run to/from the town center -- being short on food will reduce that limit) In another, there's no mountains. Apart from the river that runs down the center, all the terrain is equal. Quartz and ore are equally abundant anywhere on the map.

This was a lot of fun. I love fluctuating commodity markets, and that's pretty much the whole point of this game. One thing I'm not as keen on is the auctions. At the start of each turn, all the leaders (which give the people who buy them special abilities that turn) are auctioned off, and then one leader chooses a plot of land to auction as well. The game seems to fall into that trap that's common in auction games where things are really volatile because people don't know how much things are worth, and therefore how much to bid on them. Every turn someone gets the last leader for $1 and they're all useful, so it would seem foolish to bid much more than that unless you really wanted that specific one. In our game, I saw land going for anywhere from $3 to $25. $3 seems too little, as each plot is worth $25 at the end of the game, but maybe she was really strapped for cash and couldn't afford to bid me up.

I want to get this to the table with more players.

Thunderbolt: Apache Leader (Rating pending) And now after having bitched about the set-up in Crusoe, I bring out this monster game. I got this for Christmas last year, and I'm ashamed to say that between a board that warped and took some time to flatten and a bunch of other games that competed for my solo time (read: Mage Knight) I've yet to complete a full campaign of this. So I decided that now's as good a time as any, since Navajo Wars is shipping soon, and I'm going to want to play that when it gets here.

Wow, the setup for this is extremely involved. After sorting all the counters into their proper places (note: order some Planos after writing this, they'll make the sorting/picking of units and ordinance a whole lot easier) and picking a conflict/scenario, one must choose which aircraft and pilots to use. Except I don't choose, instead using the optional rule that gives them randomly, with a few extra SOs (Special Operation points, used to buy special ordinace or favors from higher HQ) I end up with two Apaches, two Warthogs, and a Harrier with N+1 pilots for each class, also chosen randomly. The game lets you choose which level they all start at, but I randomly bin them along a bell curve (1 Newbie, 2 Green, 3 Average, 2 Skilled, 1 Veteran) and buy a few promotions with the extra SOs.

One of the things I really like about this game, and the Leader series generally, is the sheer quantity of pilots available, all of whom have different stats and all come in each of the six different experience levels. Running this roster of pilots, each with a bevy of stats (close range combat, long range, evasion, ability to handle and recover from stress, and learning ability) feels almost like running a Stratomatic baseball team. Each day, you assign pilots to aircraft, choose which targets you're going to attack (two is typical, but it can be more or less) and load up those aircraft with ordinance. There's a lot of ordinance available: iron bombs, rockets, smart bombs, cluster bombs, various guided missiles, and more. You can also equip ECM pods (helps with defense) and fuel tanks (gives you more "loiter time", time over target before you have to head home). You have to consider the type of target you'll be attacking, which aircraft you want to bring (which have weight limits), the abilities of the pilots you're assigning, how many SOs you can afford to spend on fancy weapons, etc. You really do feel like a squadron leader or a CAG. And then there's the flying of the mission, the map is randomly generated by pulling hex tiles, and the hostile units you have to bomb randomly strewn across. It's a lot of fun.

Speaking of CAG, someone should design Viper Leader. Assign pilots to Vipers and Raptors, defend the colonial fleet, scout neighboring systems, etc. But which of your pilots are secretly Cylons? Wow, that actually sounds really fun. Someone should get on that.
 
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