Machi Koro this week was one of those games where everything in the purchase display required two dice at the start except one card, myself being the first player of course pick it up and continued to be about 3 turns ahead of Gabby the entire game just because of how the purchase rows played out. As I have said, only reason it's still around is because Gabby likes it, but after that play I kind of sensed it's hold being weakened on her.
Cardline: Globetrotter, it's Cardline, with countries and it's a good activity/game. Wish the Timeline cards were this size instead of Hobbit-sized.
Arboretum was a lot of fun and plays a lot like a tile laying game, well that's probably because it's a Card laying game. If you like unique card games, give this one a try!
Tajemnicze Domostwo, played a 4 player game late on Saturday night with Kerensa as the ghost, and myself, Gabby and Gabby's cousin as the investigators. All that led to a play on easy level and we won, by the skin of our teeth on the final day. I got hung up on the place and took way too long figuring it out. And at the end of the game the Ghost chastised us for moving cards when she slid them in front of us, apparently she was trying to hide things on the card and show certain things by covering things up, haha. Oops.
Cacao, has a lot of potential around here I think. It's tile laying, it's quick and it's easy to teach. Had a good game with Gabby with me winning 60-47, she threw a bit too much at the Temples instead of using workers elsewhere and I was just churning out Cacao for sale. Really like it.
Deus - My wife and I played a 2 player game of Deus on Monday afternoon. I felt pretty good about my starting hand. I honestly don't know if this was because I randomly got a good draw, or because I'm getting better at the game. I think I'm getting better, though, as I only sacrificed to Minerva once during the game. My wife and I both went pretty aggressively at the Barbarian villages. She did a bit better than I did at that aspect, but I did okay, and I managed to get a couple of Neptune cards out that allowed me to sell resources for points. I think if the game had gone on much longer, I would have been hurting for resources, but the game ended really quickly since we wiped out the Barbarian villages so fast. I ended up winning by 4 or 5 points. Rating: 7.5
Jaipur - After Deus, we wanted to play something else, but we wanted something light and quick. Jaipur hasn't hit the table in a few months, so when my wife saw it on the shelf, it seemed a great choice. Traditionally, she has dominated our series of this game. My starting hand had me focusing on red and golds for the first round. My wife focused more heavily on the more common goods and getting bonuses, and she did very well in that regard, also netting the camel chip. It was close, but I took the lead in a very high scoring round. During the second round, we were both a little more evenly focused. We actually ended the round in a 52 point tie, but I had one more bonus chip than my wife, so I won the game. Rating: 7.5
No Thanks! - We kicked of this week's meetup with a couple of 3 player games of No Thanks. This is becoming one of my favorite fillers. It plays fast and is easy to teach, and it has so much room for fun. There's ways to push your luck and mess with the other players, and anyone can win any given game. I didn't win either of these games. The first game was taken by someone who snagged an early 30ish point card with a lot of chips (one turn before I planned to take it myself). He was able to link up a bunch of cards and held onto a nice supply of chips to bring his score down to the teens. I came in second by only a few points. The third place player was in the 70s. The second game was a littler more up in the air. I think the same guy might have won again, but everyone was in it. Rating: 7
March of the Ants - After No Thanks we ended up having 5 players (it was pouring out, which kept a lot of people from showing up), which limited us to only a few possible games. I keep bringing Strasbourg to the meetups in the hopes of playing it again, and it keeps getting passed over Instead, we played a 5 player game of March of the Ants. I ended up being distracted for much of the game because another person whom I hadn't spoken to in a while showed up after the first round, and my attention was divided between catching up with him and keeping up with the game. I know, I don't much like playing with distracted players either, but I managed to stay on top of when my turn was and made sure no one had to wait for me. I even thought I was doing reasonably well, and going into final scoring I was in 3rd place. March of the Ants doesn't have a ton of end game scoring, but what it had was enough for those other 2 players to pass me by, and I ended up coming in last. I deserved it, though. Rating: 7
Morels - My wife and I played 3 games of Morels after dinner on Friday night. Neither of us had ever played before, but the rules are really pretty simple, so we were up and running very quickly. We both really had a good time with it. I took the first game by one point. I think we both had a little bit of trouble with timing. I ended up with a nice set of mushrooms in my hand, but I couldn't play them because I didn't have a skillet out. We tied the second game, and we both had a better handle on things (we both got skillets out early). In this game, we also discovered some of the player interaction, as we were both paying more attention to what we were each collecting. My wife won the final game by a pretty big margin. It was, by far, the highest scoring game. We both got out at least 4 sets of mushrooms. My wife was able to find all 3 Morels, which made the difference between winning and losing for her. Rating: 7
Phase 10 - On Saturday, my wife and I met up with an acquaintance for lunch, and he had a bunch of games with him, so we agreed to play something. It turns out, he had a bunch of mass market games, so we ended up playing Phase 10. I don't mind Phase 10, really. It's not painful to play. I would generally prefer to play something else, though, because Phase 10 doesn't offer a lot of choices and it goes on way too long for what it is. This game was no different, and we ended up staying about an hour after we finished eating so that we could finish the game (it was okay, the restaurant wasn't busy). Rating: 5
Archaeology: The Card Game - Later on Saturday evening, we met up with one of our game groups for dinner and some gaming. After dinner, while one of us was setting up Battlestar Galactica, we played a game of Archaeology. It's a fun rummy-style card game. I started out with almost complete sets of a Broken Cup and Parchment Scrap. I was able to get the Broken Cup down, but then had someone steal one of my Scraps. I had a very hard time getting anything else out for a while. I was never really in this game. I tried to go for Maps again (someone grabbed the first one early on), but luck didn't swing my way, and I never got close. I think the winner beat me by between 15 and 20 points. Rating: 7
Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game - We finished the night out with a 5 player game of Battlestar Galactica. We had various module from each of the expansions, but I can't really say which ones, as I'm still not familiar with what came in which expansion. We played with the Cylon Fleet board, and the Pegasus. We also used the upgraded Cylon action board, and a bunch of expansion roles, skill cards, and crisis cards. This was the first game I played where execution/air-locking was an option. I decided to play Cally, because I thought her negative ability was interesting (can't contribute a single card to skill checks), and her special abilities seemed really powerful. I didn't end up using any of her special abilities, though. For the first several rounds things went very smoothly, and it didn't feel at all like there was a Cylon in our midst. When we hit the sleeper phase, we were sure that there was at least one, but things continued to go smoothly... Until I gave my wife an Executive Order and she got to use my turn to reveal herself as a Cylon. Then, when that was done, the next player revealed herself as a Cylon, too. It turns out, both of them got their Cylon cards at the sleeper phase, and I think playing the first half of the game with no Cylons gave the humans too much of a buffer for the Cylons to overcome. It came down to the wire (we only had 1 fuel left and population and morale were in the red), but the humans jumped to Kobol to win the game. Rating: 8
Kent had just bought Roll for the Galaxy but Jim wanted to play this first. Karl joined his brothers Keith and Kent and Jim and I and would be at a disadvantage in this game as this was his first play and he had not tried San Juan before. We did our best to bring him up to speed before we were off trying to conquer the galaxy. All of us were basically on par in terms of developing and settling cards (except for Karl of course) but Keith managed to settle several Novelty worlds and soon went into a produce then trade for VP 2x cycle. I went for settling Windfall worlds of different types to grab one of the goals, while Jim had a lock on the most Development goals while Kent went for an Alien world settling spree. All of us (except Karl again) managed to do well with the 6 cost end game bonus developments, so it was Keith's 26 VP chips that made the big difference for the win!
Keith successfully employs a novelty goods production strategy for the win! Keith 53 (Cards 16 VP 26 Bonus 8 Goals 3) Kent 46 (Cards 24 VP 4 Bonus 12 Goals 6) Me 37 (Cards 14 VP 3 Bonus 14 Goals 6) Jim 34 (Cards 13 VP 1 Bonus 15 Goals 5) Karl 20 (Cards 16 VP 4)
Kent then bowed out and observed us remaining 5 as we struggled to build a good display of fireworks.
The first game had us struggle as Jay and Karl had never played before and thus did not yet know the "hidden" signals the rest of us were used to in giving clues. This led to poorly given clues and wasted discards and plays, and we had a large explosion as Karl made the last wrong play and just got 8 tiles right in our display!
Game 1: Jim warnings are not heeded as Karl makes the game ending play which results in a spectacular boom!
Game 2: This was much smoother as Karl and Jay now had an inkling of which hints were actually signals to play or discard. My hand turned out to be a rare "Straight Flush" or reds as I singlehandedly build the entire stack of red fireworks. Poor discards of the 2 3-point white tiles meant we could not finish off the white stack, but the green fireworks managed to be completed before the game end for a respectable score of 17 to be achieved.
Just 2 soloplays while waiting for takeout pizza to be finished!
The first game had the randomized hero be the Alchemist / Thaumaturge. It’s not an easy hero to get a high score with since it is very difficult to get treasures as all chests become potions.
Game 1: Alchemist/Thaumaturge Delve 1 (5 XP) Delve 2 (11 XP 2 Treasure) Delve 3 19 (16 XP 3 Treasure) Village Hero
The second game had me as the Scout / Dungeoneer. This was a nice role where I basically could preprogram my first 3 levels in each delve. I did better with this hero but ended up just 1 point short of being a Seasoned Explorer, drat!
Game 2: Scout/Dungeoneer Delve 1 6 XP 3 Treasure) Delve 2 (12 XP 5 Treasure) Delve 3 23 (17 XP 6 Treasure) Village Hero
So a few games this past week after a week with no games played (I don't remember when that happened last...) but Monday was a public holiday here in Denmark so 6 of us had planned to get together to play our third game of Virgin Queen. One of the players was delayed by 1½ hours due to having to wait for a doctor to look at him - he then came and played even despite of his pneumonia! While waiting we warmed up with some more Catholic vs. Protestant fun:
We played Coup with Coup: Reformation which is an excellent little expansion that I wouldn't play without. Like always, Virgin Queen took a very long time and after one game playing the Campaing scenario and another the Tournament, we decided to start from Turn 1 in this one too. Last time the Protestants won by soaring 5 points ahead at the end of turn 4 but this time the HRE had taken both Buda and Metz which made them unstoppable after just switching to patronage. We need more plays to find out how to counter such (a boring strategy) and perhaps even play a game where we have the right understanding of all the rules... Like always, I ended up continuing my game all night afterwards in my dreams. I love this game.
Saturday I played a game of this with my girlfriend:
It was her first and my second game of it - but the first two-player. I must say I liked it better with two compared to with four. Not a great game but one that is enjoyable and my girlfriend liked it a lot which made it more enjoyable to me. Hopefully, the wooden upgrade set will arrive soon so we can fill out those ridiculously oversized bags.
The week's gaming began and ended with Summoner Wars, in two games using the same decks, but swapping players for the second. I won the first easily with the Cave Goblin deck Tyrant Frick (featuring Cave Filth Taskmasters instead of Runts). The second was much closer, and I had a narrow win with the Sand Cloak deck Marek's Jihad (with Renegades instead of Tinkerers and a crucial Sand Wyrm among the champs).
My daughter and I played a game of Qwirkle where she went out first, but the bonus couldn't nearly catch her up to my score.
I played a couple of games of Onirim during the week. The first used the Book of Steps Lost & Found, plus Crossroads & Dead Ends expansions. It was an incredibly near loss. The last two cards in the deck were a door, then a key. If it had been the other way around, I would have won. In the second game, I played with the same expansions, plus the Glyphs. That one was a win, but not by quite so narrow a margin.
Then we tried out Forbidden Desert, playing a copy from the games library at our new local shop. We had a loss at Novice level even though we accidentally cheated for the first few turns. We never secured a single piece of the machine, and the Archaeologist died of thirst.
I asked my daughter to compare Forbidden Desert to Forbidden Island, and she said the newer game was "cooler because it's steampunk."
Our gaming week started with a game of Castles of Mad King Ludwig on Tuesday night. My castle ended up looking a little bit like a pyramid as I somehow built the entire thing in a rather triangular shape. It somehow ended up paying off for me as I won the game with a final score of 134-115. Little did we know that this would end up being a game that we'd play more later in the week.
We opted to play something a little shorter after with two games of Harbour. My wife ended up triggering the end of the game both times with one game ending 36-31 for me and the other being a bit more lop-sided with a score of 26-37 in the second game. While we enjoy how the game plays overall, the way the game ends irritates us both, though it bugs her more than it does me. Being able to see exactly how far ahead the other player is and knowing full well that even if you build the fourth card to trigger the end of the game means you won't win just doesn't feel right. We tried adding the end of game scoring cards where you can convert one of your leftover goods into points, but they're worth so little that it's almost meaningless. We've only played a couple of games of this so far but the end game is just ruining the experience for us.
Castles of Mad King Ludwig came back out on Wednesday evening. While my wife usually builds big, sprawling castles and I tend to go with compact designs, we seemed to completely switch roles this time as her took up relatively little space and my expanded every which way and crept onto her side of the table on a few occasions. While she was slightly ahead for the better part of the game, I managed to sprint ahead at the very end thanks to my stack of bonus cards. 160-141 would be the final score in my favour.
We played the game twice more on Sunday. The first game was pretty close all the way through as we'd keep hopping over each other on the scoring track. I managed to get the majority on two of the three favour tiles and thought I was going to win as I came out ahead after we scored all of the bonus cards... Right up until I realised that we forgot to score points for each room we had from an exhausted stack. She ended up coming out a mere 2 points ahead after we did that. And then realised that stairs also count since that stack was exhausted (we ran into that so rarely that we forgot to check). Turns out that she had most of them which put the final scores at 188-198 for the Queen of Stairs.
The second game was a little more back-and-forth on the score board. I was able to keep up with her for the entire game, though we found that almost no utility rooms were drawn to let us pick up some bonus cards. She was able to snap up the whole 2 that came out thanks to her mountains of cash while I could only draw one after finishing off a pair of downstairs rooms. Thankfully the cards she drew weren't terribly helpful as they were only worth a few points each. Still, they were enough to push her ahead of me for a final score of 135-153.
Our final game was Takenoko which we hadn't touched in a little more than two years. Thankfully getting back into this game was pretty easy and we were well on our way in just a few minutes. My wife was quick to get a number of lower-point objective cards out on the table while I plodded along behind her, taking my time to score ones that were worth quite a bit more. She triggered the end of the game and got to 2 extra points for doing so, but I was able to put out a 4-point card with my very last action. It was just barely enough to put me in the lead as we finished with scores of 38-35. We really need to get this one out onto the table more often, especially since we have the giant panda statue to sit next to us during the game.
Finished the original campaign I started when I got this game in 1983 or '84.
Jumped by 190s on the way home.
I don't think I'll play this one much, as it's one of those games where you are just along for the ride. The decisions are mostly tactical in dealing with fighters (except making the call to abort). Still, having flown 7 of 25 missions back when I bought it, I wanted to finish the campaign -- one less item on my gaming bucket list.
The Mission Chart for bombing Paris, mission 25.
Rating: 5.9 out of 10.
Also started learning Friday, although I've just scratched the surface. I picked this up after watching Rahdo's video, but I'm not certain yet that it's a keeper. Although I logged two wins, I now realize only one was valid (if you run out of cards on the second pirate, you're dead). Don't know about this one yet, too soon for me to rate.
I'm not a wargamer, and I never will be, but I do enjoy plenty of games with conflict and direct player interaction and I do occasionally enjoy an epically long thematic romp.
My problems with Virgin Queen are simply mechanical.
From my own Comment about the game: "Interesting game, but too too long and prone to wild swings of luck via cards and dice. You don't roll enough dice for the luck to necessarily even out over time, not to mention some die rolls are way, way more important than others and that could be when you hit your 5's and 6's, when you don't desperately need them.
A perfect example of "too long for what it is", about 2-3 hours worth of game drawn out into 10+ hours. And that's the SHORT game. Sheesh."
From someone else who put it much better:
"You have a huge deck that gets reshuffled every turn. Over the course of a game, the luck-of-the-draw is not going to balance out, and wild swings in fortune that have nothing to do with player skill will result. The difference between an average draw (2-3CP cards with events that don't help you) and pulling some of the 5CP events that do help you is massive. If each player had a deck that wasn't reshuffled, at least you would know that a bad turn is probably going to be followed by a good turn. As is, you can draw crap all the way through the 8-16 hour game and never get a great hand of cards.
This is the primary game killer, the main things you do in VQ (besides playing screw-you events on other people that were gifted to you via card draw) are marriages, patronage, assassinations, diplomatic influence, and piracy. These give you VP for essentially zero risk, assuming you can roll dice well. Some players also get VP as a bonus for not doing anything (e.g. French Paris VP, Elizabeth Virgin VP). All of these things are incredibly boring. Military campaigns, while possible, are very rarely going to be worth the effort if you look at VP/risk versus card expenditure. Keep in mind that a military adventure will probably also get you assassinated shortly after you leave your home territory. With military action (and thus war between the major powers) being the least useful thing to do, what real diplomacy is there to have?
So, to summarize: Draw your random cards, play the events that screw other people. Whine/complain/lie to get the other players to screw everyone else instead of you. Marry your royal off, roll dice well. Patronize an artist, roll dice well. Conduct piracy, roll dice well. Drop some points on diplomatic influence, roll dice well. Conduct an assassination, you don't even have to roll well. There are some spins on this for each power (e.g. if France, park 4 guys in Paris so you get your Paris VP, if England, don't get Liz married), but unlike HIS, each power is not all that unique; while the HRE does marriages, the Ottomans do Piracy - call it what you will, but it is still 'spent some CP, rolled the dice for VP')."
And that's pretty much it. It feels like 10 hours (if you're playing the short game!) of a lot of negotiation and downtime and take-that and randomness and it all comes down to hitting some 5's and 6's on a handful of important die rolls.
I still look forward to trying out Here I Stand, which I hear is a bit more mechanically sound, and I'm not against dice in principle but I felt like they are too important in VQ by far.
I also played ZhanGuo which was an interesting game, but I have some balance concerns so I might start houseruling it a bit.
I got three plays in finishing off the initial single sphere decks against the first quest going 1-3 overall but enough errors were made I think I could have gone 2-2. The last one doing that was the only one that felt close though. The others were one sided one way or another. One play was a 4-player game that we easily won. I already have a two sphere deck ready to go for the second quest. I might try some others before moving onto the saga expansions.
Continuing my initial plays of decks after building ones beyond the initial core set and with two cycles with a little bit in the third. This easily goes up 1-2 points in terms of rating after doing so. The main three people who have stuff for it, all are building decks that are all different at least in terms of identities and for the most part playstyles.
Second play with the deluxe edition. This continues to be a hit with people I show it too. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if some people I play with pick up at least the card version of it. We scored 20 which is so far the high playing a clean, aka non deliberate hint heavy, game.
Decent set collection game. It would entice me more to get it if I didn't feel like Parade already covered this for me. I think the resetting between rounds could be done smoother. I won though even with having the most corruption in the final round.
Star Wars: LCG
It had been long enough since my initial plays to where I was messing up more than I should have. I felt hosed by my draw although I'm not 100% sure if part of it was the weakness of the deck or simply the card draw factor. I think I need to sit down and play this more to get a better feel for it. This seems solid even if Netrunner is better.
Hello! As usual not many plays, but the quality was high!
- Lone Wolf Multiplayer Game Book - five players. We continued with our campaign, now the group is backing together after 10 years. I don't particularly like these "prelude" sessions the way I do them, as everyone was apart and, so, all had a lot of time not playing. But from the next session on, I hope this isn't an issue.
- Keyflower - four players. It was more than a year from my last play, but after a brief refresher for the rules (more for the rules for the expansion - Keyflower: The Farmers), everyone was up and going. I did my strategy well, but I found out that it wasn't exactly a winning strategy. Other player, even though he had problems because he bet on cows coming to the game, which they didn't, still was able to score a lot and won handly.
- Elder Sign - three players. We took on Nyarlathotep with Joe Diamond, Amanda Sharpe and Sister Mary. We applied two changes I did to game (took out the easier Mythos cards and the day lasted for three turns, not four). This made for a tense and fun game. Nyarla needed only 1 doom to awake (which, due to the Mythos deck I made, would probably happen at the end of that turn) and we needed 2 elder signs in order to win, and two adventures gave 1 elder sign each when completed. We did both, after failing twice in the most difficult one (one on the prior turn and one in the final turn). Really exciting win!
- Notre Dame - four players. It was an even game, at least for two of the players. I won due to a mistake of other player, that paid for activating one role that gave him 3 points, instead of activating other, that would net him 6 points. So, I finished ahead, with 58 points, against 56 of this player.
- Ouro de Tolo - five players. This is a brazilian game of push your luck, with the players beign miners trying to take the best precious stones/minerals from the mine. It is a really fun game (we even had an audience cheering), but one that I don't play nearly as much as I would want.
- Glen More - four players. Two players were learning the game, and one remembering it. So I had a huge advantage of experience, which counts a lot for this game. I sprint to the win, scoring my highest score ever: 81 points.
The art was a turnoff for me, so I was very hesitant to give this a try, but it turned out to be a very enjoyable quick playing filler game. Players each get a hand of cards from a common deck. The deck has both pirates and merchants. You play merchants in front of you, and other players try to claim them by placing their pirate cards next to your merchant card. At the start of your turn, if you have the most strength next to the card, you can claim it. We enjoyed it enough to play it twice as it had interesting tension and cute player dynamics where people would try to sneak out lower value boats when someone already has a higher value one in play in the hopes it would be ignored.
This is a light game where you brick out these cards into a square. They are placed in alternating coin or faction spots, leaving room for cards between. Players draft character cards representing themselves, all other player's guys and the guys of one unaligned color. Then players play whatever cards they managed to draft into the spots on the wall. At the end of a round, whichever color has the most strength adjacent to a coin or faction spot, gets the reward for that spot. To add interest, there are unaligned guys with special abilities you can buy and place instead of being forced to use that high strength opponent's guy you drafted. It's cute and there are a lot of moving pieces to think about. I feel ambivalent about this game as I never really felt I had a good grasp of what the strategy is and what to be careful about. Our game ended where I wound up handing the victory to someone else out of not seeing the only move that would have stopped him, because I was too focused on setting myself up for a victory on the following turn.
This is another game where the theme turned me off. This is a basic bidding game, where as players pass, you slowly reveal more of the lot of cards players are bidding on. I didn't really connect with this game. I wound up overpaying one round and being broke for more than half the game. Nothing about this game I feel is really enticing.
Another wonderful session of this game. One of the explorers did a good job feeding us to the mummy player while managing to avoid getting caught himself. He won by one artifact just barely. I'm excited to get a chance to play as the mummy player soon.
I don't understand why someone would play this over Bausack. They seem like nearly the same game, but this game has worse shapes and cheesier rules. We got as far as the first round of the first game in the book, where you try to be the first to grab your shape, and then we gave up because it seemed kind of dumb.
This time we played with Zach Moore's ED: Microcosm Rules Rewrite v1.1 and the game went much more smoothly and enjoyably. I do think this game is a keeper, although I don't know how often it will hit the table since It's unusual I get 2 player game time.
I really enjoyed this one player deckbuilder. I played the most basic scenario, but I couldn't help Robinson survive the island as I thought he was ready to face the wild beasts, but he was in no way ready to face the wild beasts. I hope I'll play more, but since I've gotten so few plays out of my other 1 player game Shephy, I'm not optimistic. The draw of video games is just too strong when it's just me. I'm looking at you Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft...
I played this two player, with each of us controlling two characters. This game is a fully co-op dungeon crawler, where there are no minis or board. Everything is abstracted down to stacks of cards and multi-use tokens in a very clever way. This game is everything I thought I wanted from a dungeon crawler. Small footprint, some push your luck, no dice for combat, some resource management, fully co-op with monster AI decks, character leveling... After playing it though, I'm having trouble deciding how I feel about it. I'm left with a sense that something somewhere was lacking, but I'm not sure what exactly. There's a KS campaign for the expansion running right now, so I was hoping I would be able to make a decision about backing it, but I really don't know.
A Fake Artist Goes to New York (6p)- Some crazy ideas and fakes, Dan had the idea he was going to draw a triangle and he was the fake artist but he drew it exactly where a triangle would be and was the last to be suspected of being the fake artist. I won by just one point but still have never had a chance to be the fake artist dag nabbit. We found that instead of keeping score with pen and paper to just use a pile of coins and have the winners grab coins.
Baseball Highlights: 2045 – Deluxe Edition (4p)- We didn't have time for a full series so we played 9 games and counted the manager with the most wins the champ which conveniently was me and no one was more surprised then me as I had some set backs but I'll take it. Goooo TurtleBot!
Dog (6p)- Sort of a meaner version of Sorry but with teams. Was about a half hour longer then I would have liked but still had an end where people where cheering and booing so still worth it. My team was a dog through no fault of my teammate
Witch's Brew (6p)- We played this with the expansion so it went to 6 players. Great fun and I think I won by 1 point just pipping Ian but I could just be making that part up as it's all fuzzy because I played Broom Service a few days later and it's all running together in my head.
Double or Nothing (6p)- A crazy push your luck game that doesn't get enough play. I had fun but came in dead last, I just felt lucky and I was due to have some good luck...
Wednesday A friend had to switch venue at the last second so we went to a cafe near his house and he checked their schedule so saw they had nothing for that night. Things started off good we had a nice table a good waitress then it started a rapid downhill decent with the waitress pawning our table off on one of the laziest waiters I have ever seen, lol he told us we didn't need to wait for him and could just get our own drinks at the bar. Then they started setting up the stage and to our utter horror found out it was pretentious hipster amateur performer night, couldn't end our game fast enough and switch to the cool cafe next door. The horror...the horror...
No Thanks! x2(4p-5p)- Lost the first one but crushed it in round 2.
Rights (4p)- First time played this game with 4 players and it was pretty sweet. 5 players it was a little diluted but so much happening in the little 20 minute card game just be sure to play with adding all cards in hands to your face up cards as that was missed in the Japanese to English rules translation.
Broom Service (5p)- Uses the core mechanics from Witch's Brew but adds more of a game to it, definitely worthy of Alea Large Box series. Dustin had put together a translation rules sheet as he had the German version but the text was sooo small no one at the table could read it but there are only 10 cards you need to know and it didn't take to long to figure them out. The game was a lot of fun can't wait for the English version to come out which I hear is soon.
Sluff Off! (5p)- One of my favorite trick taking games of all time. I have the Die Sieben Siegel version but everyone calls it "Die Steven Seagal" so I ran with that and made a Seagal standie from his sheriff reality show and made a bunch of real life & movie quotes that you have to use if you take him and give away a black token. I managed to do a come from behind win from Dustin who was sooo sure he was going to win I would like to share with you his last two quotes "I know for certain that there is a trump card higher then this out there...hmmm....well I absolutely know there is a higher yellow card left... ::shocked look on face::"
Caverna: The Cave Farmers (4p)- I enjoy playing this game and played the dark side for the first time and it payed off I actually won. Gooo cave donkies! People always say the like it better then Agricola which I just don't understand but it's close enough to Agricola that I'll play it. FYI-Agricola is a better game as it never plays the same way twice if you play the full game and not the babies version made for the family for those that can't read cards
Kanban: Driver's Edition (4p)- Played with mean boss Sandra, and right out of the gate she hits me for -5 points. Even though she had it in for me I managed to produce my cars early and rack up some points that just barely kept me in first place at the end thanks to the training track scoring that I totally forgot about till they where doing it and I'm like yeah it was all part of my master plan.
Unpublished Prototype (4p)- Great game can't wait till it hits the market and buy it and blab about playtesting it.
Felicity: The Cat in the Sack (5p)-Good FF press-your-luck game. It's just important with new players to explain that you don't want to start off by bidding everything as your only income is when you pass so you will be out like 4 rounds of bidding till you get enough money back. It's awesome catch someone bluffing and then dumping the bid on them. Cute cats what's not to love.
2x Ghost Stories including the ellusive win on the thirteenth attempt. Guess we'll have to stop playing on 'initiate' level now...
3x Skull which was well recieved. I liked the pure bluffing game this presented. looking forward to trying it with 6, think it will be a very different game than with 4.
1x Introduced Galaxy Trucker: Anniversary Edition to a couple of newbies and we ended up playing 4 rounds over three hours, with extra components and the massive ships. At the end, the player who ended on 0 credits due to her ship limping into space dock every turn she hadn't been blown out of the sky asked 'Oh, is that it? I wanted one more round!' I think that counts as a success
1x Chinatown, which we may have started playing too late but still enjoyed. Those last couple of rounds, when everyone spends ages figuring out what a fair deal is and then ages waiting whilst the person they offered it to tries to work out if they agree with the definition of 'fair' can get very, very mathy. Not good for tired brains. If you can deal with the maths though, Chinatown offers just about the best pure negotiation game available.
Jaipur - Played game of Jaipur with my wife while waiting for our connecting flight in Houston. I won a close game.
Stone Age - Played a 4p game on BGA. I came in last due a really stupid choice in the final round. I think I would have been 3rd otherwise. Still learning this one, I think I'm overpaying when I buy civilization cards for 4 resources.
Tuesday I made a crack about Eurotrash on the BGG boards and I can only assume that there was a violent uproar about it because the entire website was down for most of the next seven hours. This meant I couldn't really get my gaming fix for the day.
I've got an early shift for the next few weeks, so I thought I'd get in some evening games. I also thought I'd try out my GripMat and see how it worked. I started with the obligatory tossing of cardboard bits on the mat just to watch them stop. My wife also had some fun with that when she got home after work.
We started the real test with Kingdom Builder. This was kind of overkill for testing the GripMat since the game has whopping four pieces that you might worry about slipping. The mat sort of helped with that. It was farmers, workers, and knights for objectives with the map being made of oasis, barn, tavern, and paddock. I started by grabbing the lone island on the oasis sector and then made a grab for the middle. From there I was able to get into two of the other sectors, but I had a hard time moving on to the third. In the end my opponent was able to score a line of 17 for knights and was better at surrounding a lot of the locations.
The next game we tried the GripMat with was naturally Carcassonne. For extra tiles we mixed in Inns and Cathedrals (with the Inns on the Lake and Cathedrals), and tiles from Abbey and Mayor. In this match we saw the farms heavily contested. In the end five farmers were able to take ten cities for thirty points, but not quite enough to win the game.
My verdict for the GripMat is that the grip will help a fair bit in keeping tiles or other pieces from being knocked about wildly, but it doesn't stop movement while deliberately placing more tiles. Pieces will move across the mat, but not nearly as much as on most other surfaces. If the grip was stronger and could stop more movement on the mats I would absolutely love them. I might still love them if they help for picking up unsleeved cards without causing damage, but I'll have to test it a little first.
Thursday I started out with a quick game of Star Realms. I was hoping to go yellow, but my opponent decided to buy my Dreadnaught so I wound up with a little of every colour and little synergy.
Second up was Argent: The Consortium. This was the first time we played with B side mages and candidates. With Sorcery mages providing mana the Natural mage's immune to wounding and Time mages slipping into the shadow plane at every opportunity this was a much less confrontational game than I'm used to. Final score if I remember right was 4-3-2-2-1.
Final game of the night was Biblios. I'm really bad at this game but I do really enjoy playing it.
Saturday started with Lords of Waterdeep. This was my third time playing and first time with one of the regular Lords (i.e. 4 bonus points for certain quests) so it was kind of neat to have the same sort of lords as everyone else for a change.
Next up was Carcassonne with six players. I don't normally play with so many people so I was surprised by the very low scores. I think the winner had about seventy points.
Last 'game' of the night was Geek Out!. I managed to get on the board this time with a single point, which I think put me in the middle of the pack.
x2 Survive - First time playing this classic gem. It has been on my shelf waiting to be played for over 6 months. Tons of fun - I can't wait to play it with a higher player count.
x2 Takenoko - Not a great game mechanically but we still always have fun playing this. The components and theme absolutely elevate this game to a higher class. Introduced this to some new people this weekend and everyone understood the rules and was playing relatively competitively in 5 minutes. The "Pandy" game will always have a place on my shelf.
x1 Agricola - We have not played Agricola in over 6 months and I thought it would be a good idea to play with the "K" Complex Deck. This was a bad idea - game was a slugfest with both of us just struggling to feed our families. I made a bunch of sub optimal moves combined with a few rules mistakes which, when I caught them destroyed any chance of me getting a decent score. Still love this game - just proves you can't jump into playing a game like this after so much time has past.
x1 Bruges w/ Bruges: The City on the Zwin - Love me some Bruges and this 2P game was tight. We were only 3 points apart and both of us went for totally different strategies. Good times.
x1 Imperial Settlers - Really enjoying this one. The more I play the more possibilities I see for new combos.
“Games give you a chance to excel, and if you're playing in good company you don't even mind if you lose because you had the enjoyment of the company during the course of the game.” ― Gary Gygax
Thursday Dice Masters - 10x - Prepping for Worlds. Better results with this team, going 2-1, 3-1, and 2-1 vs my opponents.
Saturday Dice Masters - 4x - Prepping for Worlds. Made a change from Thursday and it performed well. I did get blown out by the team I went 3-1 against on Thursday, but I think I know how to counter it and I have the space in my build for it.
UK Games Expo this week, so I got to try a lot of games.
First up WWE Superstar Showdown I'm partial to watching a little bit of wrestling, most wrestling board games have a terrible reputation so I didn't know what to expect from this. Each wrestler has a deck of cards and draws 5 cards from their deck. They then pick actions that can move, attack or set-up for extra movement or attack points on the next card. They pick 3 actions playing the cards face down on places marked 1-3, they then simultaneously reveal card 1. There is a rock>paper>scissors mechanism to decide which players action is performed, with ties being broken from drawing from the top of the deck until a winning match-up is made. The player then moves their wrestler and can perform attacks which force the opposing player to discard cards from the top of their deck. If you run out of cards in your deck you are pinned and lose.
Although I only played a quick round (Cena won, so maybe the game models reality) the mechanics were quite interesting and the game seemed quite solid, I'm not sure how long the game will last repeated plays, but the possibility of expansions for new wrestlers may help. There are no special moves in the game, but it wouldn't be difficult to work particular moves into the narrative yourself while playing.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised.
Star Wars: Imperial Assault On Friday I played in the Imperial Assault tournament, I only managed 2 wins in 5 matches and came 22nd, but it was fun to get a chance to play the game against a wider range of people. I should try and get a local meta- going to try and get more practice.
After getting knocked out in the tournament I went for a wander around the trade floors, stopping to say hi to the Games Lore guys from my gaming group I sneaked up to the CGE stand since I generally like all their stuff and I'm a massive Vlaada fan boy.
I told Paul how much I enjoy his Podcasts which you can find here: http://gaming-rules.com/category/podcasts/ which are worth it for the occasional Mage Knight expansion news alone. I also tried the prototype of Vlaada's new game, which is an incredibly fun word game
I then continued to meander through the trade halls and tried Clacks: A Discworld Board Game, which was quite interesting, with board manipulation to form desired patterns, but I already own Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends which does pattern forming in a more interesting way so I have no reason or desire to get Clacks (did I mention I'm a Vlaada fan boy?).
I managed to get a quick demo of Dimension which was an interesting little game where you use coloured balls to build pyramids, with 6 rule cards that tell you how the balls must be arranged in the pyramid, which seems simple until you have to build against the clock. The balls and components were a good size and quality, but I felt the price point was a little high for how much game was in the box.
On Saturday I charged to the FFG stall to try and get a demo of Forbidden Stars since my girlfriend has pre-ordered it but was busy demo-ing Omega Centauri all weekend. Unfortunately the first demo of the day was reserved, so I floated around the trade halls until it quietened up enough that I could get a shot. I've played StarCraft: The Board Game and I've been following news of Forbidden Stars so I knew most of the theory about how it played, so in the first round I made sure to build up a force and then wipe someone out of a system so they couldn't use one of their activation tokens (I really just wanted to test the combat, honest ). The game seems interesting and different enough from Starcraft that experience in it wouldn't help too much, apart from planning your turns in reverse. The combat feels really fresh and I'm looking forward to trying a full game.
For the rest of Saturday I demo'd a lot of smaller games:
In Flanders Field Push your luck game, I'm interested in the 2 World Wars as a topic, and the theme did come through. But there wasn't enough meat on the bones to interest me too much, I'd rather just play the completely themeless Can't Stop if I want a push your luck game.
Tinku a fantasy deck-builder, I like Thunderstone, so I'm always happy to give fantasy deck-builders a shot. Rules are quite straight-forward, each player has a hand of 5 cards that they will play on their turn, each card is worth victory points and has a strength, the person with the highest strength each round gets 5 points. There are n+1 cards to draft in the middle (n= no. of players) and cards are drafted by the 2nd player in the round 1st, 3rd drafts 2nd, etc., until each player has drafted a card. That is it, the game plays itself, some cards let you target other players, so you target the player who is in the lead at that moment. When it's your turn to draft you take the most powerful card available. The players are only there to shuffle and draw cards.
Safe Breaker A really light deduction game, 6 colour cards, 6 number cards, each player is dealt 1 of each. The first player asks the player to his left if he's is "colour, number" if the player is either of these he says yes, if he is neither he says no and the questioner asks the next person to the left until someone says yes, or it comes back round to him. If a player answers yes they ask the next question "number, colour". This continues until people think they know what someone is, they then form their fingers into a gun and say "You are number colour" if they are correct the accused is out, if they are wrong the accuser is out. Last man standing wins. Quality of the cards wasn't the best, but I picked up a copy because it was cheap and will be a pleasant enough little filler.
Stak Bots A card battling game, seemed a little too random for me, as with Tinku mostly played itself with no really interesting decisions.
LUGU A story telling game, didn't play a full game, just tried one round to get a feel for it. Really not a game for me, but more creative story tellers may like it.
The Spoils It took me a while to get the mecahnisms, wasn't drawing resources for a while and took a long time to get fully to grips with playing cards face down for resources. Felt a lot like MtG, D&D Dice Masters is scratching my CCG itch at the moment and I have no real desire to get into one. The mechanisms were interesting enough, but not a game for me.
Thunderbirds backed this on Kickstarter and got to see the board at the end of Saturday. The components look gorgeous and the models are a lot bigger than I expected, really looking forward to this now.
Before the games expo I had a usual club night:
Dead Men Tell No Tales Tried this with 4 players, things went wrong rapidly and we lost when we were overwhelmed by deckhands. Still enjoying this little co-op with it's theme and pirate meeples
Betrayal at House on the Hill With indecision of what to play we went for a quick game of this. American John went mad and tried to blow everyone up, fun times.
Tanto Cuore I've been wanting to try this, mostly for the anime style art-work, it's actually a surprisingly good little deck-builder. I enjoy anime maids to the blandness of Dominion.
Gaming highlight this week was definitely those plays of Caverna, my favorite game. I loved Agricola but this one I enjoy more since there is a bit less stress. I lost both games, fairly close. I tried out a strategy where you use the blacksmith to make weapons at a discounted price and the Peaceful Cave where you can trade your weapons for food. I ended up going for 6 Dwarfs. I believe I would have won the game but my opponent stole the Broom Chamber from me (5 points for 5 dwarfs, 10 points for 6 dwarfs).
The other session was a 3 player game, which is much better than the 2 player game. It was a close game with me losing by 3 points. The Writing Chamber in Caverna is really good, although I suspect experienced players will not need it.
As much as I like Caverna, I think that for 2 players, Agricola is a little better, if only because of the tighter game and action spaces.
I ordered the Mini Expansion yesterday, as I realized that you can buy single issues of Game Trade Magazine.