The Vagabond ramps up fast and can get a crazy amount of points very quickly in the late-game. More of a problem is how difficult it is to hit the vagabond - it’s a single mobile pawn, with no stationary board presence or territory to protect. So who can actually reach the vagabond to hit them and slow them down is mostly out of the other players’ control. And there’s no reward for doing so (other than preventing the vagabond from winning, of course). So new players fail to do so, and the vagabond wins. Even experienced players often can’t parcel out vagabond hitting duties, it’s difficult to judge if you are hitting the vagabond the “right” amount, and the “right” amount might be enough to make the vagabond player miserable.
Played Lost Cities with my wife yesterday and got trounced. Then we played two games of Kingdomino with each of us taking a win.
That evening, I had another try at the fourth scenario of Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion and lost again. It was much closer this game, though, as there was only one enemy left. Unfortunately, I ran out of cards and got exhausted. So many enemies, plus the actual scenario objectives, makes it pretty tough. Plus, playing the Demolitionist and the Voidwarden may not be the best combo for this scenario, as the Voidwarden is definitely lacking in the direct combat arena. Got a bit more gold and experience, I guess, though not enough to change anything in my next attempt.
Last night at Local Games Group:
- Sentinels of the Multiverse (new player, so Baron Blade, and I still enjoy this setup)
- Splendor (haven’t played this for a while, still rubbish at it)
Broke out 7 Wonders Duel last night, which we haven’t played in a while. My wife beat me down pretty good, 66 - 54. I had only one wood resource, but most of the yellow cards that let me purchase resources for 1 coin each, so I kept needing money to build things, which let her grab a lot of the blue cards, and also hoard a bunch of money.
First play of Spirit Island with my 10 year old daughter!
We played with two easy spirits, and we gave hell to the invaders. She played a Lightning swift strike (although she prefers to call it Thunderhawk) and I played with Rivers Surge. We had the events going on, and she wiped them out from her half of the island in no time.
I admit we were a bit lucky with the invaders cards, we managed to get everybody into the marsh-swamps areas from the very beginning and that was the very last card of level I that appeared. By then, the invaders were doomed. We managed a to up a level of fear and as soon as we did that, we cleared the island of any towns and cities.
She loved it, and I think it was great to play with her (with a little bit of guidance, at some point when she had 6 cards in her hands she was a bit overwhelmed)
That’s a Thunderbirds + Buck Rogers mash-up in my brain. Which is excellent.
Just got my whatever-constitutes-an-ass-for-a-spirit handed to me in Spirit Island. Played two-handed with River Surges in Sunlight and Keeper of the Forbidden Wilds from the Branch and Claw expansion.
Things started off bad from the first event card, requiring me draw the top card off the Minor Powers deck and to either change a Dahan to a town on each board if no sun symbol shown, or push an explorer. OR I could pay 4 energy per spirit to ignore the effect, and could lose or discard sun symbols to help. I chose the latter option, not needine more towns on the board from the get-go, but it did slow down my early turns in the process, so maybe it was a mistake.
In any case, ravages started happening and I was unable to stop them, and it was not long before the blight card flipped, adding a city and town to an inland space on each board. Another event card had me choosing between converting a Dahan on each board to a town, or resisting, weakening towns and cities, but adding blight. Again chose the latter option.
Some cascading blight later, and the game was over, maybe halfway through the level 2 invader deck. I did manage to get to Fear level 2, but I felt like I was having difficulty generating Fear as a whole, and sadly the Fear cards at level 1 did not help out very much. One would have been helpful in preventing a ravage, but I had set it up in a way that I would lose no Dahan, but eliminate a city, a town, and an explorer, so chose to let the ravage happen anyway, despite the blight.
Still fun, and still getting used to the new tokens.
Got to play Spirit Island on TTS with a friend last night Different one from my other Spirit Island playing friend! I had to re-explain the rules which took too long. By the time we got started it was 9pm.
As he is an experienced gamer, I suggested he choose a moderate difficulty spirit. He ended up with Stone’s Unyielding Defiance and I chose Lure of the Deep Wilderness. No opponent. Introducing or re-introducing people to the game I try to keep it simple (which means we play with all the tokens and events, because I can handle all of that for the most part)
And of course my friend didn’t realize the implication of this spirit’s special power in preventing cascades and destruction and so he did not expand into the two lands in the north that you can see are overrun by invaders on the map below.
We got a bit unlucky with events: the bad parts struck and the good parts fizzled or were non-existent. We had so many beasts but only a single time did 1 manage to kill 1 village.
In one event our better choice was to lose 2 invader cards–2 whole turns!
So this was us thinking we were losing badly (no not badly, just losing by running out of time)… upcoming were Level 3 invader cards and we had barely made it to fear-level 1 that turn. We had just flipped the island card due to a double blight cascade that need not have happened, but due to reasons by the time my friend realized he could prevent those, he could not get into those lands on time… and also he threw away his single blight removal power for a major power card early in the game.
But somehow we were able to remove all 4 explorers from the forests that turn and that gave us the much needed break–no build and no ravage… to clean out 2 turns before the end:
As usual: major powers won the day! I drew one that matched perfectly with Lure’s ability to generate tokens and perfect elements that I was able to trigger for an insane amount of fear one time (I think I made it to 10 fear in that one action) and another that allowed me to merge two lands and if I got 4 purple element tokens I was allowed to remove 2 invaders and generate 2 fear and that was the last city and the last fear needed to get to fear level 2 (only cities needed removing).
And my friend wants to play again. The mod I used is pretty good, quite a bit of scripting which helps with setup and turns and powers… you still have to do the book-keeping on the map. But it is nice to have defense tokens that say how much defense they provide.
A friend is over from Norway and got play some games with him and 2 others last night.
While not sure if the Norwegian contingent would make it started a 3 player game of Rome & Roll. First time not using the beginner set up and was impressed with how different the buildings made the game. Maybe the only Turczi I’ve enjoyed. Definitely elevated by the form but a decent enough euro.
Part way through that a viking swaggered in so we switched to Paris Connection which was again pleasingly quick and saw some brutal play to bely the breezy teach and speed of the game.
Lastly we played Callimala which was also real good fun. I suppose my biggest complaint about the game is the way the cards feel a bit swingy. Blind drawing the perfect card got an extra 3 points for the winner out of nowhere and they won by 2 points which would be more irksome in a longer game. That being said the action selection and area majorities remain a delight. Will for sure play again
Ys - Meh area majority game from Ystari. I’m usually fine with blind bidding, but it was just good. I was expecting too much from this as I have been playing some great old school games lately.
Path of Light and Shadow - Awful! You like market rows? Hah! How about you top deck it when you’re adding a card into your deck? Haha! I’m not joking…
The combat is okay, but felt mostly inconsequential. I like that you can upgrade cards here, but the game is just bad that I didn’t care.
Carcassonne: Discovery - better than the original w/out expansions (but then most of them are). But I sold it as I am only keen on keeping Carc:the Castle and Carc: the City. For now.
Karekare - an abstract game of an expanding island from Devir. Your actions are highly depended on what terrain type the hex you are placing is AND what type the adjacent hex tiles are. So water + water will result on an action putting out one of your boats. Water + forest will do something different. The more hex you touch with your placement, the more actions you get. It’s very unique and I really like that.
I’m sure repeated plays we will remember what each action you get from each combo. There are 4 types so there are 16 actions, with some are similar to each other. The X + Hills are all the same so it’s 13 actions at most. I am not sure if I want to keep this. Taluva is just prettier, streamlined, and allows clever moves as well
Power Struggle - do you have a managerial job and found yourself involved in office politics? Say no more! Enter Power Struggle! It’s an area majority game of trying to climb the corporate ladder!
Amusing. Very thematic, but not realistic. I mean, you aren’t gonna be a Department Head just by having the most goons in that department. Good fun.
Startups - still the best Oink. But I haven’t dig deep into Maskmen yet. Scout wasn’t as interesting as I thought, but it’s a quick fire climbing card game, innit?
Chicago Express - Chooo! Choooo! 3 player Chicago Express. One player manage to have two of his companies (ones he has the most shares on) to Chicago and made some bucks. Poor spending decisions in mid game and end game have narrowed the gap but he managed to win.
Tinner’s Trail 1st edition - cute but arbitrary. It was the end of the evening so it’s a game where you don’t have to think much, but still doing some decisions.
Crumples up recruitment plan and chucks it in the bin
Well, that probably depends on how devoted said goons are to you. I mean, look how close our country’s department head got to staying that way after being voted out…
My daughter asked for another game of Spirit Island last night, and even though it was getting close to 7 pm, I conceded. She used Ligthning Swift Strike again (Thunderhawk) and I went with the other spirit from the Branch and Claw expansion that I had not used, Keeper of the Forbidden Wilds. We were really lucky with our first events, and with the wild generation from my spirit we were containing the invaders very well by avoiding their exploring. They did blight our mountains, and we were one blight away from turning the healthy island card, but I managed to clear some blight with Thunderhawk’s Power storm (paying twice for blight clean ups, which I had energy for, luckily).
Then, after a couple of turns we were getting frustrated (specially my daughter) by wave after wave of invaders, but I had stored energy to use two major powers, Sea Monsters and another coastal power that I cannot just recall which I could repeat with enough sun and sea symbols. That turned the tide, as we massacred the invaders main hubs of population. With the sea monsters fear generation, we went to fear level 2, and my daughter finished up the last town on her next fast power turn before they had a chance to build. We didn’t even calculate her growth, we knew she could play her card and banish them from our sacred island.
We were a bit saddened by how few Dahan were left, but at least the island was not blighted (only one in a jungle that I was going to get rid of soon) and our presence was everywhere. And off my daughter went to bed at 8.30 pm just on time, and with a smile on her face.
Played Ethnos with my wife last night and finally broke my losing streak! Played with Dwarves, Merfolk, Trolls, Orcs, and Skeletons, and I managed to win 92 - 80.
Then today, her brother joined us for a game of Lords of Waterdeep. I broke out to an early lead, then her brother completed a big quest to jump ahead of me and stayed there for a while. Then, as usual, my wife seemed to shoot up from behind into the lead, but we passed her again before the end. I just managed to pull ahead of her brother befor the end of the game.
After revealing and scoring our lord cards, I won with 184. My wife was in second with 174, and her brother in third with 171. What was interesting was our lords all overlapped. I needed Commerce and Arcana, my wife needed Commerce and Warfare, and her brother needed Warfare and Arcana. I don’t think that level of overlap has ever happened to us before.
Root, same players and factions as last time. The Cats won again, but the Alliance got into it a bit more, nuked a couple of clearings. Which the Cats player definitely didn’t like. They had a brief discussion about how the Alliance revolts, and things were a bit awkward. I might not bring Root for our next game day, give people a chance to calm down. I played as the Birds again, and again managed to screw up on a regular basis, what you can plan is very dependent on the cards you get. The Cats won by a dominance card, but it took a few turns. Then the Cats made a big move into my starting area, and no one could do much about it.
Deus, always enjoy this. It was a close game, 33, 32, 31, and I managed the win.
Vengeance: Roll & Fight, I am so bad at this. I love the theme, it’s like a John Wick movie.
Ghost Stories, we continue to not win
Break the Code
Subastral, fun little filler
Played a lot more Men at Work I want to love this game because it does everything right except I find it nearly impossible to do one of the actions - specifically placing a brick or beam (or more!) on a man is basically 80% failure rate. It’s so frustrating!
One of the cool things about the game (imo) is that it’s a dexterity game that has potential for nastiness from move one - there’s no messing about with ten minutes of de facto set up with an easy model. Hard stuff can happen at any time but it’s only when it’s a certain amount of harder that you can start getting points.
What I also really dig is that if a player messes up this isn’t game over but gives you this hilarious pass the buck feeling where you give the next player a task of sorting it out. It’s very funny to do this and adds sweetness to a bitter moment.
It’s really good! (Except for my damn clammy hands)
Managed to get in two games of 7 Wonders last weekend, which is usually a game I only get to play at family gatherings for Christmas. I know it’s not everyone’s favourite but I really like it. It is simple enough that a very quick rules refresher is all that is needed even when the majority of our players haven’t played it in a year. Two 4 player games and I finished 10 points behind first and second (who went to the most money tie-breaker) in one and 1 point behind first (which was the player who came last in the first game) in the second.
Then played yet another game of Railroad Ink (green). It is a handily sized box for travelling! The trend continues: this game was with the forest dice, which meant a victory for me. Previous two games were white dice only (wife won on fewest errors tie-breaker) and trail dice (wife won).
I also got to play Spirit Island for the first time. Beginner game with Lightning’s Swift Strike (me) and Vital Strength of Earth (wife). Very enjoyable game, it never felt like we were really in full control but never felt like it was spiralling completely out of control either. We won with a couple of turns to spare by reaching terror level 3 and surgically striking (me) or obliterating everything in the vicinity of (wife) the last two cities.
Played Lords of Vegas with my wife this morning. Very close game that came down to money tie-breaker at 54 points, which I won. Really good game!
After I got the kids to bed, I decided to have another go at Spirit Island, this time pairing up Rampant Spread of Green with Ocean’s Hungry Grasp. This team up worked really well, but I also got lucky with some Fear and Event cards which allowed me to prevent some Ravages from doing any applicable damage, or prevented some Builds by moving or eliminating an explorer. The island did not take a single bit of blight!
Ocean is amazingly powerful, as long as it gets some support for the inland areas. It’s card which gives energy to another spirit and lets it push a town was a perfect fit for Green due to it’s default low energy generation, and Green’s card which lets another spirit place a presence was also perfect for speeding up access to Ocean’s bonus elements and unlocking higher innates.
I won in Terror Level III, when I drowned the last city with Ocean. I was close to having all the towns gone as well thanks to an event card giving -1 to the health of all towns and cities. Really fun game tonight!
Finally got Oceans back to the table. We’ve owned it for a while but my girlfriend couldn’t get her head around it and often (selectively) objects to games that involve reading. We got a good few games out of this and I think she might be warming to it. We’ve barely seen any of the deep deck so would be nice to see get this out more often. We are drawing after a couple of games.
Biggest hit the last week or so has been The Fuzzies. Various different groups have played this, with the highlight being my 3 year old nephew showing that it takes a toddler’s confidence to master the game.
Burgle Bros 2 is the co-op I hoped it would be. We played this with friends at a games night, though I had a feeling a four player version might be too chaotic. I was happy to be proven wrong - great fun, and the couple we played with picked the game up really quickly. It felt silly and intense throughout and we just about made it through the heist, with maybe a little house ruling to ensure a satisfying finale.
Unmatched: Cobble and Fog/Dog had also gone done very well. Invisible Man is probably my favourite to play from this box, but I feel like I might have fallen down another Marvel Champions-like rabbit hole and I’m not sure my wallet (or girlfriend) is pleased about it.
Finally Sub Terra. I’d be interested in this for a while, but was properly sold on it when I saw Trey Parker speak so highly about it. It took a game to fully get where the game in this lies, but once we got that it really played very well. We’ve been looking for some games with very little set up, and this fits the bill for fun and fast co-op experience.
Very happy with the recent haul, and I still have Caper:Europe to try out.