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TOPIC: What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing?

What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 14 Oct 2017 16:43 #255722

My 2 cents on The Expanse...

If you’re a big fan of the GMT CDGs and you’re not familiar with the show/book, I’m not sure this will blow you away. It’s undeniably a rock solid design, it plays fast, seats up to 4, and the scoring is very interesting as it has its own layer of damage control in a game that’s already up to its eyeballs in damage control. But it will seem abstracted without knowledge of the IP and how fast it plays might strike you as strange.

BUT....Here’s a huge point in its favor...appeal outside of the wargaming niche. I love the system that Twilight Struggle runs on but I have absolutely ZERO interest in any historical subject matter as my gaming time is for escapism. I would wager this is true of a huge portion of the hobby and it’s great to see the CDG mechanic finally make its way out of wargame dungeon. As someone who is familiar with The Expanse, I think it did a fine job of nailing of themes it deals in. The resource bit is vague and you do usually end up calling them by color and not by what they are, but it does *feel* like The Expanse, which is more important to me than how abstracted the details may be.

I’m very eager to play it again, I’ve already got another game lined up for Monday.
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Last Edit: 14 Oct 2017 17:44 by Josh Look.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 14 Oct 2017 23:50 #255732

Cool write ups Repo and Josh. I just emailed my store to ask them about my copy of the Expanse. Count me in on a game with you guys at Trashfest.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 15 Oct 2017 18:12 #255746

I've got two others ready to play Tuesday on game night. So I'm hoping to lasso a fourth in to give the expanse a try.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 16 Oct 2017 10:59 #255782

Played a 4P game of PAX RENAISSANCE . Hadn't played in awhile, still really digging the game. Had to shake a few cobwebs , but soon got a decent pile of money, as high as $14 at one point . The game was unusual in that by midgame, a Reformation had started to form. I went on a Bishop buying spree, eventually buying 4 of them ( 2 Reformers, a Catholic and a Muslim ) , killing two via being in the same space. Another beheaded his counterpart on another card. I was aiming for a Muslim victory, however there was only one black bishop, and nary a Jihad card to be found. The eventual winner won on the Republic condition after the second comet.

We then wrapped up teaching TERRAFORMING MARS to two newbs, one of which was Andy, the host. He's pretty sharp, and ended up winning a low scoring game, with scores between 72 and 53, with myself coming in DFL.

Yesterday my local opponent and I cracked open VIKINGS 878. He got most of the KS extras, but we played with just the base game. If you've played 1812,1775 et al the base system is mostly the same with a few important tweaks. First, units that Command out of a battle space can only go to friendly occupied spaces - so no infiltrating. For the Vikings esp this tends to make them fight to the death. Second, the concept of Leaders are introduced. They function as reinforcement spaces but more importantly, can move after battling, forming a sort of overrun rule.

My bloodthirsty savages landed at York, which was in a relatively lightly populated north part of the dank dirty place known as England. I took some cities, but should have gone south, and started shutting down the English cities where reinforcements spawn. The second turn saw no new Viking leader, just more troops which reinforced the original leader as well as secured York.

The mid game saw successive invasions of southeast England and the game ending early, on Turn 5. I was able to take one city with an event that converted two English to Viking units and go on a march to capture two more that were vacant. King Alfred arrived for the English, but was dealt a blood eagle death when his army largely deserted him in combat and he was eliminated. It all came down to the final battle with my depleted Rollo army barely knocking out the garrison of the 9th city needed to claim victory.

This game might be the best of the series that has 1812,1775 etc. Graphically, the map is well done, with natural looking area boundaries vs the numerous straight line boundaries in other games in the series. Minis look better than cubes, although the black color Viking faction figures look a bit tame next to the other 4 factions. And the minis are pretty tiny.

Game play wise, the two sides are very asymmetrical; a classic quality vs quantity. The Viking invasion armies are huge compared to the spread out less powerful English, but attrition as well as the need to garrison towns to maintain control can thin them out in a hurry. The geography offers a lot of choices, and the advanced game ( which we played with ) allows players some limited deck construction, you can choose the 5 events out of a possible dozen or so that go into each faction deck. So game replayability is very high.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 16 Oct 2017 11:35 #255783

This weekend was FalCon in southern CT. I was there for all three days and had a mighty good time. Here's the play list:

Friday

Alien Artifacts - I just got this new Portal game, which I preordered. It's a tableau-builder sort of 4x game, except not a whole lot of PVP (think more along the lines of 51st State or Imperial Settlers). Great design. I got it on Weds before the con and played that night and was unsure about it, but now I'm pretty sold on it. Lots of fun, but it's not TI3.

Die Siedler von Nürnberg - I have no problem with Settlers or its offshoots, so I Was happy to play this uncommon one. It was a cool variant, which we played pretty wrong (making it harder than it should have been). I'd like to play it again correctly.

7 Wonders Duel - I'm a fan of this one over the original.

Shifting Realms - This is a game from Craig and Jeff Van Ness. It's more euro than what you might expect. Game board is created by drawing three of several "realms" and putting them together. You move around between them gaining resources, building buildings, and confronting obstacles. Lighter than it first looks, but still a lot of fun. Coming to KS soon.

Portal of Heroes - Great little set collection filler card game.

Saturday

Ghosts Love Candy - This was an okay little Steve Jackson Games card game, nothing terrible, nothing special. Except two dudes played who made this miserable. They were both far too cool to be playing such a silly game and caring about the outcome and had to make this known loudly and often. They treated us all to edgelord geekbro commentary and jokes, including the ever popular "swishy gay voice". Don't be these guys. (Interestingly, see Dice Town below.)

Cosmic Run: Rapid Fire - A roll-and-write game from Steve Finn, who made the great Biblios and other really good games. This is a lot of silly, light fun, and I bought a copy.

Alien Artifacts - Taught to another group. This time I asked someone to attack me because no one had done it and I Wanted to see how it worked. Again, a really fun play.

Evolution - Played with some FATties in a 6-player game. You wouldn't think it would work well with six but it was great. And you bet some folks got et up.

Downforce - I had Detroit-Cleveland GP years ago but wasn't super crazy about it. Still, was curious about this redo if Top Race, one of the games in that family. I enjoyed it but I'd like to play again since one guy at the table was really just not clicking with the game and what should have been a light, free-wheeling game turned into kind of a slog. Also think the "betting" mechanism might be flawed.

Cosmic Run - The original game that Rapid Fir above was based on. Still a dice game, but with more going on. Nevertheless, I didn't really get a good feel for how it all fit together. He's still working on it, though.

Biblios Dice - A really good Dr Finn game. It's not Biblios, but it's a fun game in its own right.

Sagrada - Another dice placement game. It's pretty, but super light, more of a shared puzzle, and not as good as Roll Player.

Paramedics: Clear! - I am not a fan of real-time games and was skeptical, but this was a lot of fun. Use cards to generate items to stabilize or heal patients in seconds. We only played a partial game but had a lot of fun and I want to try again.

Medici: The Card Game - Medici is a classic Knizia auction game, so how about a card version without an auction? It works surprisingly well, keeping a lot of the same conflict and tension of the board game and turning the auction into a push-your-luck card drawing mechanism. I was really surprised by it.

Alien Artifacts - Again! Taught to another group, who really enjoyed it. Got taught how important the actual Alien Artifacts can be!

Sunday

Dice Town (w Expansion) - I like this game but had never played with the expansion. My fears of it were confirmed. The expansion adds a second place reward to every space, which kind of defeats the point of a lot of the game. I think it would be more interesting to keep the options for the player who wins each area, but not award the second place. The more interesting thing was, one of the players was one of the guys from Ghosts Love Candy above, which I didn't realize until after I'd sat down. I was figuring I Was in for another performance, but he was actually pleasant to game with this time. I don't know if he and his friend were showing off for each other before or what.

Aquileia - Had never heard of this euro. It's Rome, and there's a bunch of things going on. So, it's similar to Trajan. However, it's actually fun and interesting. Really fun, in fact, and a little nasty. There's worker placement (involving one worker who is only used for turn order) but also the arena and horse races, which are really fun. I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this.

Evo - old school first edition. When you play one of these older games you really get reminded of how obnoxiously overdesigned and convoluted so many current games are.

Ascension: Gift of the Elements - My pal is a big Ascension fan. I enjoy it on the iPad but rarely play in real life. I knew he'd wanted to get more plays out of this so I suggested it. Ascension for me is always a good time, and there have been few sets I just plain didn't like. This one has some nifty stuff in it and, unlike other recent sets, can work well mixed in with other sets.

Cosmic Run: Rapid Fire - played while we were waiting for a friend to finish his game.

I had a great time, played a bunch, and met (And saw) some cool people.

Oh, and I unloaded nine items in the auction and brought in only two (plus bought a copy of Cosmic Run: Rapid Fire).
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 16 Oct 2017 11:55 #255784

I played Food Chain Magnate for the first time. Oooof. It was an okay 90-minute game packed into 6 goddamn hours. Part of that was the learning curve, but mostly it's just a long ass game. It's billed as this feisty, mean game where you're constantly fucking with one another, but I think that aspect is highly overrated. It's true that you're all fighting one another for customers in a small map, but it's hard to INTENTIONALLY fuck with someone else. The board state is so hard to predict, that I found it damn near impossible to make a plan that would impact my opponents.

The spatial part of the game, where you trying to get customers to come to your restaurant, was probably the best part of the game, but as I mentioned, I found it hard to parse the messy, cluttered board. You're constantly having to calculate, and re-calculate which restaurant "wins" a customer. By the end of the game, when we had 12 restaurants on the board, and probably fifteen different houses, the game turned into this repetitive grind of counting, re-counting, and re-re-counting who "wins" each customer. It was grueling. It reminded me of Dominant Species, which is another thinky game that requires constant re-calculation of the board state.

I liked some of the ideas here, like different types of marketing campaigns, that impacted different areas (billboards impact one house; a radio commercial impacts all the houses in a 9-tile region, etc.). That was kind of neat at the beginning of the game. But by the end of the game, as everyone's campaigns were overlapping with one another, the board turned into a mess that made it really hard to predict and plan.

The other half of the game is drafting your "staff" of workers. Again, this part started off kind of interesting, but once everyone had 20 or 30 staff cards, it took too long to do every turn (I suppose this would go faster with more experience). It got so unwieldy and complicated by the end, it further dragged the game down.

So, overall, I would say the game is "interesting" more than it is "fun." Mostly though, it's just too long. At a brisk 90 minutes, it might be an okay economic game. At 6 hours, it was too much like actual work.

I should also mention that the '50s style art design is great. Very clean and functional, but also very unique and stylish. I liked that a lot.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 16 Oct 2017 15:04 #255793

Currently in a tight spot in Duel of Ages 2. Early on I lost my dumb alien brute to the Martian big-brain's mind control and subsequently lost my extradimensional alien to him as well. That's really bad, it's now 9-6 combatants and it's looking like a valor loss. Wild Bill got ganked by this Dragon Queen and has 1hp. If he runs he gets op-fired with dragon breath, if he fights... outcome is poor either way. Meanwhile my "glam" rocker got intercepted by this quadrapedal alien who also has a range attack. Same deal, getting shot fleeing to the labyrinth with 1hp is a likely outcome. My only chance is my black panther who's stalking the Martian and is in striking range. He needs to survive potentially two op-fires and kill the Martian which will revert my guys back to my team. Good firearms have been nil in the game but she has a stack of two guys trading between me and the target. A suspenseful next turn.

Played some Runewars as well. Everybody who's played this knows the Elves need to secure food asap. But I'm rusty and stupid and failed to accomplish this. Winter comes quick, who do you think recruited and suffered from starvation two years in a row? Add to this, the rapid expansion of the undead on this very small map. Necromancers foward, reanimating losses on the way manage to set up a stronghold on my border. Undead hero keeps routing a desperately needed unit before the battle even starts. Finally, I get a good season card that lets me recruit a lot of troops so I set up a huge counter attack on her only to have the battle cancelled, her troops retreating to an adjacent space and following up with a counter-counter. I made so many mistakes that I deserved that ass beating. Concede year 6.

Damn, I lost a game of ARMADA as well. Dumb shit, if you want to run heavy bombers you need escorts against fucking swarms of Imperial interceptors. Right?! But nooooo. How to fuck up Rapid Launch Bays strategy in one easy step. I put as much smack down as I could though and it was close at the end.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 16 Oct 2017 15:56 #255801

While doing laundry and ironing, I played a solitaire game of Escape from 1,000,000 B.C. The rules suggest that a solo player run two characters, and I got the investor and the lab assistant. The lab assistant recovers 1 Will at the start of each turn if she is below her maximum of 4, which is great because Will is used for a lot in this game. The investor gets an extra equipment card at the start, and every time he finds equipment, he draws two and buries one of them at the bottom of the equipment deck.

Previous plays of the game have always been close wins or close losses, regardless of player count. This game was actually going very smoothly, and I could have probably safely returned to the future while only halfway in the orange zone of paradox. I told myself that I would try to get to three crates that hadn't been opened yet, and then bail with six fairly safe items left unfound, judging by previous draw/discards by the investor.

Unfortunately, we were low on ammo and willpower and got a little trigger-happy with some dinosaurs, pushing up the paradox. Then one bad turn brought us both Lincoln and Kennedy, who are worth 4 paradox each. By the time we had dealt with the presidents, we edged into the red zone and then castaways were suddenly showing up in pairs nearly every turn. Fortunately, they were all low paradox folks, so when I abruptly ditched them for the future, we scraped by for a narrow win, with two points to spare. Probably would have done a lot better bailing instead of going for those three crates, getting my first final score in the orange zone.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 16 Oct 2017 18:54 #255811

Mini Rails is pretty neat. It will not change the world. Nor will it change the face of train games as we know them. But it's pretty neat.

The pitch is that it condenses train games to their "essence", which to this designer means 1) buying stock and 2) building rails, with the net result of 2) causing 1) to increase in value. There are no deliveries, goods, loans, or complications. On your turn you do 1) or 2). Period. Once everyone is done doing both things in a round, it's over.

The board is a modular deal, each space has a couple of dots on it in white or red that tell you how much a rail's stock will increase (white=up, red=down) if you do 2) on there. If you have stock in that rail, you adjust it accordingly on your board. But actions taken for each of the six rail companies (just colors- it's very abstract) are limited- there are only so many discs of each in the bag, and the assortment is random each turn.

But there are some neat little twists. One is that there is always going to be one disc left in the selection. That rail company is considered to have paid their taxes and are thus free from an end-game reaping where the tax dodgers are rendered valueless. And you can deliberately sabotage other rail companies by building onto red spots. There's some pretty cutthroat action that can go on, including making sure a rail you don't any stock in doesn't pay its taxes. And there are considerations such as the relative growth potential of a rail based on where it is and how close it is to lucrative (or harmful) spaces as well as being mindful of who all you are bringing up with you when you increase a rail's value.

It takes about 30 minutes and it sort of fits into that "superfiller" category. I played with 5 and it was fast, fun, and did not feel like a waste of time at all.

However, it is REALLY abstract. It is just north of Transamerica in that regard. I found myself wishing that the rails at least had names rather than just being colors, because my gang likes to make fun of names and it means a lot more when Shitabrick and Son Railways tanks than when Blue does. And not having goods or deliveries sort of takes away that sense of satisfaction for making a big profit. There are also no majorities, ownerships, or anything like that, so it is easy to start to see the game as a series of -3 to +3 decisions.

But it's brief and easy to play, so it's hard to really bag on it too much. I would not play this over Railways of the World or Chicago Express, but it is also a game that takes a fraction of that time and you can explain it in about 5 minutes. There's a very Winsome quality to it that I think fans of those games will dig, and it is more accessible than some of those titles.

Not bad!
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