There was a lot of the last option
Some games played over the last week or so:
Regicide x2, more games of this with my wife - we won once and lost once. Our win rate is decent but yeah, sometimes the deck just doesn’t want to cooperate, and you’ve gotta be okay with that. Good decisions throughout though.
Great Western Trail x3 - 2 solo games and one with 3. All were enjoyable, but played a little weird since I’d missed the rule that you need to deliver a certain total cow value in order to deliver to the further cities (we’d been leaping on New York right from the start!) Definitely prefer the actual rules, and look forward to getting it to the table sometime soon.
Three Sisters, solo game of this, super high scoring - the garden, perennials, fruit and shed all game me heaps of points well over a hundred
HeroQuest, this one was a blast from the past! A friend owns one of the relaunched copies and asked if we could try it. It was decent. Some of the design feels a bit dated and it certainly makes you work hard for rewards. I’m not sure I wouldn’t rather play D&D though…
Fleet: The Dice Game, first game of this with actual humans - went great. Scores were close but i pulled ahead off of focusing on oyster boats and the Captains Club to have heaps of full boats. Lots of fun, and definitely requires keeping an eye on your opponents on occasion - particularly with the king crab license and shrimp dice for players that focus on them. This definitely runs smoother than Three Sisters, but the strategy and dice drafting in the later is probably a bit more interesting, with the rondel and other possibilities beyond just grabbing points available there. They’re both great though.
Saw my sister and her kids for the first time since 2019! They were in town. My nephew is a kindred spirit who is always asking his family to play the board games I gift him but they only do so grudgingly, and never well.
We ran through Barenpark which was new to him. He was starting to get it by the end but I could tell he was hungry for more familiar waters where he could flex his gaming muscles. So we switched to Quest for El Dorado, which he also owns (thanks to me).
We played the fan made maps and they are really good.
First game we uncovered all the rules he’d been getting wrong and I got a chance to see his gameplay. I tried to keep it close, and about halfway through the map we were neck and neck, but in the second half there was just no way to keep my people by him without gratuitously throwing the game so I took the win.
Second game I explained the value of trashing, why (and how) some of the cards he’d been avoiding “worked,” and took a few minutes to parse the map with him and set an overall deck strategy. And he legit won.
It was great to see him grok it and to see how excited he was when his explorer crossed that finish line!
I got to play Spirit Island yesterday!
It had been a while so my friend needed a rules refresher and then she proceeded to pick spirits… as we had won the previous games, she decided we should go with “High” complexity spirits because why not
She then chose Downpour Drenches the World and Foggy also known as “not my favorite spirit” and Shroud of Silent Mist–which of course I ended up with because Downpour is a lot easier to play–I happen disagree with Downpour’s rating as High. She said one of them was offensive (yes, Shroud is definitely offensive to me) and the other defensive and that would combine well. Not so sure…
Once again Brandenburg-Prussia Level 1. And good one we didn’t raise it to 2–we struggled and she kept saying “Oh I can remove that blight. Here let me place my presence there and I’ll do it… soon.” Only she never did. So the island flipped to blighted side sometime in the Level 2 Explore cards.
We got awfully unlucky with events. We had set up a beautiful defense using Downpour’s powers one turn–they can have 2 defense in their lands if they have enough blue plus a bunch of other symbols which is just enough to block the usual explorer+village combo–and got an event that basically said "in every land with a presence invaders do +3 damage on the next ravage. I think that was the turn our island went from healthy to blighted.
So while Downpour poured–she played with maximum growth and a lot of card discarding and repeating of the same powers over and over… Shroud was their usual terrible self: doing nothing but being coarse and rough and getting everywhere… I never got to develop enough presence that I could play three cards and use my powers for better effects. But the “being coarse and rough” damaged enough invaders so at least it generated a steady stream of fear which brought us more and better fear cards that even helped sometimes–until of course another event punished us for being too frightning.
To win we caught 2 lucky breaks: I got a major power that not only generated 4 fear it also prevent a ravage + blight + cascade that would have lost us the game. For some reason, I also had a card that allowed me to keep the beast population strong and in another event those beasts brought in another 4 fear and so along with Shroud’s regular 3-4 fear at the end of a round, the event, the poking of yet another city with my 1 damage power to finish it off and playing the major power again… we jumped to a “win” on the turn where the second Level 3 exploration card would have come up and just before the coastal lands invaders would have destroyed the island. We had 2 blight left on the island card…
(End of game board state when I explained how we would win during the beginning of the next turn)
That’s a fancy pants setup there.
That’s the one Kickstarter I would have spent more money on if I could and never regretted it. This is by far my very favorite game, it ticks all my boxes–I really don’t need to participate in my own thread over there because the perfect game was already made.
One thing though: as fancy as the wooden box is: it is not quite stable when everything is stacked, some of the elements are a bit wobbly and closing it is a puzzle every time. I kind of wish they had made the insert somehow fit in the box and expansion box or just with huge lid lift or something. I don’t need the actual wood exterior… and I previously made a foamcore insert for my old Spirit Island copy (yes, I used to own two of these, one is staying with my cousin now) and I somehow feel that worked better than some of the wooden setup here. I have rarely encountered a pre-made insert that did everything like I wanted to though. I am picky like that.
Not a board game, but I GM’d my first ever RPG this week (thanks @RossM and others for the suggestions). We played a one shot of Mothership, The Haunting of Ypsilon 14.
I really enjoyed it, there was a lot - I had my laptop on roll20 for the map and players, discord for voice, my phone for a timer and dice roller, a note book, the overall player rules and the one shot rules. We had two nights to get it done so I had to make choices about attacks/ npc interaction and allowing the players to solve the puzzle. Horror isn’t my bag and my sci Fi frame of reference is much more Red Dwarf than Alien. That, coupled with low stats making lots of rolls fail meant it went down a more comedy route.
I think it’s designed to be a really punishing system for the players, being a new GM on a timescale meant I didn’t increase stress and then make fear and panic checks against it as often as I could have done. At least 2 players were new to RPGs as well and I was very conscious of letting people play and not just killing them off (although I did create a narrative so new characters could drop in if necessary).
It’s not something I’d want to do all the time but can certainly see myself GMing and playing more frequently.
I finally got to play games again!
Picked up Dungeon Scrawlers to play with the kids, and it was a grand slam. All three kids (5,7,10) can play at about the same level, and it is quick enough that we got three rounds in before the youngest wanted to go do something else, at which point we switched to Railroad Ink until the middle kid was ready to go to build a Lego spaceship, and then the oldest and I played a quick bit of Four Against Darkess for a full evening of maps, monsters and mazes.
Awesome! Comedy mothership is always best mothership!
“I knew the life of a covert agent was hard, but even I never expected to end my days getting eaten by a dinosaur.”
Duck Dealer - a Splotter game. Rules are very straightforward. We didn’t understood what the game is about until half-way. And I find it highly intriguing. I’m not sure if it’s excellent enough to be up there with Splotter’s big titles, but the gameplay is very mind-melting with how the players have absolute control of the pacing and tempo (in the same way 18xx behaves in this manner). It’s a game of producing goods and deliver those goods to planets that demands these goods, and you ship travels all over the map. However, by mid-game, a Eureka moment happened. I’m way on the lead and I can literally waste all the actions of the game to speed it up to the end. One player manage to create their own exploit that is more powerful than mine, but I was ending the game too fast for him to catch up.
Really needs a 2nd play.
Fleet: the Dice Game - I’m glad this one avoids the “elaborate bingo” style that plagues the genre. It kept the spirit of Fleet the card game and added a light engine building. Roll and writes are pretty good at compacting the “light Euro” experience in them. I’m glad they are catching up to this.
Dual Gauge - game have good ideas. Need more plays due to how alien this is compare to other Cube Rails. Very fun.
Fleet the card game - Turns out I really prefer this over Fleet the Dice Game! The auctions and the hand management of launching ships and hiring captains is pretty fun and also hella fast. I still prefer Race for the Galaxy or San Juan 2nd edition (has to be 2nd edition), but I had a good time with this.
Caesar! Seize Rome in 20 Minutes - Very Samurai-esque and different enough from Blitzkrieg that I can keep both. The obvious moves of waiting for the opponent to make an opening for you isn’t a concern due to the suits of your tokens. Not every token can be used anywhere. The spatial position is very fun. Great game!
Valley of the Kings - Very intriguing deck building game. It lacks the common space like The Quest for El Dorado and Trains, but I still enjoy this a lot. Classic deck building of buying cards and using them. But you have to spend effort on entombing your cards. Any card not in your tomb do not score. The tempo handling is fun. Deciding whether to entomb a card to score it and no longer be able to use it is pretty interesting. Because if you don’t, you will definitely won’t have enough time to entomb all your valuable cards.
North Winds - from the designer of Catan. You build an engine and you fulfil contracts. Except your crew doesn’t seem to have any kind of map nor memorised where the ports are! On your turn, you pick 1 out of 3 stacks and you draw random tiles one by one and interact with those locations (or not). The fun is with the push-your-luck with the random reveal of the tiles.
The Hobbit: Das Kartenspiel - heavily reminds me of Samurai and King’s Gate. Nothing original (in relative to the ones I’ve played). Awful theme and art. The cards are literally stills from the movie.
Take it Higher! - one of the few games that Knizia co-designed. As with games that he co-designed, it turns out to be less than I wanted it to be. Take It Higher is, imo, a flip and write before flip & write/roll & write became a thing. Everyone has the same set of tiles, one will pick a tile from their pile at random and call out the number. Everyone has to play with the same number tile and place it on their baord. No interaction. No nothing. It’s literally within that genre except you don’t write on a piece of paper. There are interesting decisions associated with this type of game, but I thought I was done with it after that play.
Had a nice game night with five, including my wife’s old roommate from Madison who just moved to the city!
We played Meeple Circus, where we all did well, Mysterium, where we all did well, and Celestia, where… well…
The best was my wife rolling two pirates in Celestia (the most difficult to overcome) and everyone leaving immediately as she crashed, and then the next time she became captain, the exact same thing happened.
We also recently picked up Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion. Love that stuff. Having the maps in a book is a a goddamn master stroke. I started off with the Hatchet, but it was too much like my character in main Gloomhaven (Brute), so I switched to Voidwarden, and I’m having a lot of fun making enemies whack each other.
Interested in your thoughts on cube rails games, please
Played far too much Marvel Champions recently. Blasted through the core box scenarios, though plenty of combinations yet to try out. Also completed Rise of Red Skull (on standard) with slightly tweaked Hawkeye and Spider-Woman decks. Super impressed by the first campaign box and the way you complete a scenario impacts future scenarios. The second campaign expansion and a few hero packs turned up a few hours ago, but I think I’ll run through the first campaign with a different combo and then try expert before breaking it out.
Last night, my wife and I played a couple of games of Lost Cities. First game was a blowout, as while the first round was very close, in the second round I got 92 to her -2. Third round fared better, but I still doubled her score, giving me the win 227 - 76. Second game was closer, but still a win for me, 198 - 117.
Then, while she and her brother were at the movies, I got my first game in for Unmatched season 2 ladder on UMLeague. Started by fans of the game in Restoration Games Discord server, the UMLeague is starting to run ladders with a limited selection of fighters and maps, which rotates between seasons. There’s also some competitions (Winter of Champions is just wrapping up), and RG has even provided prizes sometimes.
So, I tried out Little Red and the Huntsman against my opponent’s Luke Cage and Misty Knight. Red’s schtick is all of her cards have a symbol on them (pelt, knives, or wolfsbane) and most of her cards have an additional effect if the symbol on the card on top of her discard pile (her basket) matches that by the effect on the card being played. Luke Cage, on the other hand, is hard to damage, always having 2 defense in combat, even if he doesn’t play a card. This does not stop effect damage, though. He can also hit really hard. We played on The Raft map, which comes in the Marvel Redemption Row set (with Luke).
It was a really close game! My Huntsman was taken out very quickly, though he did ding Luke for a little bit of damage. So I had to play sort of hit and run in order to not get penned in. We damaged each other back and forth and I started having to take the fight to Luke more often as my opponent starting having him hang back. Eventually I was whittled down to 2 health, Luke was also at 2, and Misty at 1. I was able to move, then play a scheme which let me move adjacent to Luke and gave me an extra action and used my last attack card in hand. He had no defense cards, but my 2 did not beat his inherent 2, however the after combat effect I was able to trigger did 3 damage to him, giving me the win.
It was a really fun matchup, and I was able to see where I had made some positioning mistakes. I also got really lucky with a defense 2 card which let me discard one of his cards and add the Boost value to my defense, as he had played a 6 and I managed to draw a 3, so I only took 1 damage. If I had drawn a card with a 1, he would have beaten me. So a win for my first time participating in the league.
Shortly before my drive home, an SUV drove into a hydro pole about a block from my house, knocking out power to about 1,700 people… including us. It was out from about 4pm until just after 8pm… and I have learned a few critical lessons.
- We don’t have enough flashlights in this house.
- Without power… my partner will play board games! Yay!
We started by trying the first playthrough of Regicide, and gosh, that’s a juicy little puzzle. We have one of the official decks (the “blue” deck), and the artwork is just delightful… and Andy had such a good time that she suggested that I pick up the other deck (the “red” deck), and it’s cheap enough that I probably will today at work.
(EDIT: Huh. Same cards inside, just different packaging. Well, now I know… that’s too bad)
We lost. By a lot. We managed to get to the first king (Clubs), and he obliterated us instantly. But considering that it was our first stab, I’d say it went over very well. I can see why people rave about the game.
After that we organized my copy of Merchants of the Dark Road and we were going to play it, but it was about 6:30pm at that point and it was just too dark to see. Plus, assembling the stuff into their specific holder-spots was super frustrating… I think I’ll keep the resource-holder part of the insert, that seems clever, but gosh the other half is really, really fiddly. I’ll have to think about just bagging all that stuff. Anyway, we didn’t play it, but Andy is excited because all the bits and bobs seem really neat.
So we went upstairs and played a game of Twice as Clever instead! This gave Andy an excuse to pull out some fancy d6 (which I found distracting but, hey, anything that gets her happy/excited to play a game is good with me!), and after one rules interruption for dinner (homemade chicken burritos… super happy with how the chicken turned out, but I never fry my vegetables long enough so they’re always super wet… oh, and tried frying Lion’s Mane mushrooms for the first time and I wasn’t a big fan but I can see that I was definitely using them in the wrong application… excited to try them again with a better recipe rather than “throw in low heat pan for 15 minutes”).
She beat me by a healthy margin (141 to 116, I think?). She didn’t dislike it, which is critical, since she did dislike “Ganz Schon/That’s Pretty Clever,” but I may have made the mistake of winning that one. Definitely no risk of that on this one… I had basically no idea what I was doing, except the Silver seems like a really interesting section and the yellow is worth a bucket of points that seem basically unobtainable. Anyway, it was good fun.
Power came on shortly before we finished the Clever-game, and after we finished we basically called it a night.
I played Sprawlopolis.
I am currently very bad at Sprawlopolis, and suspect that only practice will improve this.
Just had a learning game of Kingdomino Origins which I acquired to replace my sold Kingdomino.
So I am assuming you already know Kingdomino, if not check it out on BGA it‘s a lovely little domino game where you create your own little Kingdom. However, it is simple and little and then I hear came along Queendomino which I never played and Dragomino which I gifted to my nephew but never played and now there is this one. Stone Age Kingdomino and it feels like a keeper right now.
It has all the goodness and satisfaction from building up your „Kingdom“ but there are two more modes: Totems and Tribes. Besides fires for comfort there are also resources on the tiles and in Totems mode you simply get additional points for majority of resources. But Tribes mode is where the fun begins. So for two different resources you can place a tribes person from an open display on an empty field (empty=no fires, no resources and I assume no volcanoes, not sure about that, my rules reading skills are bad). Tribes people come in a few different flavors most of which give you points for adjacent resources but there are also warriors which can form a horde and score points for size and strength of the horde. It adds some lovely decisions without a big overhead. This is the mode I will play from now on!
PS. Volcanoes are fire starters helping you make areas with few or no fires more habitable but also possibly destroying resources or killing people.
I definitely got this vibe from the SUSD review. Samurai plays differently at different player counts, but I usually play it at 2.
That’s been keeping me from investing, so I appreciate the reinforcement!