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

What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 08 Jan 2018 04:39 #260484

A few games I've been playing which I'm unlikely to review.

Tao Long: got this on a kickstarter. It's an intriguing game which uses a Mancala style mechanism to power what's essentially a tabletop version of Nokia snake. Except the snakes are dragons and they're trying to kill each other. Looks lovely, highly innovative and very deep from simple rules. Unfortunately, it's also super dry and it might not make the long-term cut for that reason.

Colt Express: Love this so far, a lunatic combination of pre-programmed actions and wild-west confusion. The cardboard train is a delight and it's great they've included more cardboard scenery just for extra visual pop. Doesn't play that well with 2, and the marshal card seems overpowered when you're lucky enough to draw it.

Takenoko: I'm confused by this. Another fine-looking game with some fun cut and thrust and a nice balance of hidden information and open strategy. At first, it seemed to have a lot of moving parts to manipulate but after a number of plays I'm starting to wonder if most of the game doesn't come down to the luck of objective cards: whether you get good points, and whether they're ones you can realistically complete. Not sure.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 08 Jan 2018 09:01 #260495

Played more Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower on Saturday night. Same four players, except that one bailed early, so one of our remaining three took over his character and then arbitrarily swapped him out for the warpriest/gryphhound combo of the base set. We completed two more quests, for a total of six out of eight.

The first quest was moderately challenging until the final room with the arena, but by that point we really had our tactics down. My slaughterpriest and the Sigmarite rushed in to block the stairs on the first round, leaving us with only one melee opponent each plus potential ranged attacks from above. Aside from frequent healing, our warpriest had often been useless due to really tight quarters plus the crowding created by the gryph-hound and two skeletons. But the warpriest rolled a six on his action dice, and rushed in to deliver the Light of Sigmar to our enemies, dealing a point of damage to seven out of eight of them. The necromancer took a couple of shots from the door, but the fighters did most of the cleanup. I was rolling better for damage in that quest, delivering seven or eight points of damage some rounds.

We could have lost that first quest, because we got a juncture tile early on, and one of the two paths was effectively a one-way trip. Moving too far from the juncture in either direction would cause the remaining rooms to vanish. We went the other way first, and after clearing two room, we decided that we better go the other way, because 60% of the undiscovered rooms were in that direction. It was the right choice, as the arena was at the end of that path.

The second quest was light on opponents, as we managed to get to the final room fifth out of eight possible rooms. The vacant rooms were still challenging, with one room that required each player to pass a dice-stacking challenge or take one damage, while another required a die roll to bypass some significant damage. The guy playing the necromancer and the warpriest practiced the dice-stacking a few times, but still couldn't do it, so his characters took damage. The final room was too easy, as we rolled low for number of opponents, and some of our opponents fled on their first turn.

But it turned out that we were only halfway through the quest, as time reversed. First we had to fight some Horrors which went in the opposite direction of their usual life cycle. So first we fought Brimstone Horrors, which turned into Blue Horrors and finally Pink Horrors. That was neat, and gave me new appreciation for my least favorite monsters in Silver Tower. Then we needed to race back out the way we came as each room behind us crumbled to nothingness. The vacant rooms that caused damage now became a more serious threat, because the damage took away action dice we could use for movement. Still, we made it out with everybody except for the gryph-hound and the skeletons.

We're having so much fun with Silver Tower that we will probably keep going and play through Hammerhal next, though that will require a lot of painting by Delobius in the near future. He does have a four-day weekend coming up, so maybe he can make some progress then.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 08 Jan 2018 09:03 #260496

MattDP wrote:
A few games I've been playing which I'm unlikely to review.

Tao Long: got this on a kickstarter. It's an intriguing game which uses a Mancala style mechanism to power what's essentially a tabletop version of Nokia snake. Except the snakes are dragons and they're trying to kill each other. Looks lovely, highly innovative and very deep from simple rules. Unfortunately, it's also super dry and it might not make the long-term cut for that reason.

Colt Express: Love this so far, a lunatic combination of pre-programmed actions and wild-west confusion. The cardboard train is a delight and it's great they've included more cardboard scenery just for extra visual pop. Doesn't play that well with 2, and the marshal card seems overpowered when you're lucky enough to draw it.

Takenoko: I'm confused by this. Another fine-looking game with some fun cut and thrust and a nice balance of hidden information and open strategy. At first, it seemed to have a lot of moving parts to manipulate but after a number of plays I'm starting to wonder if most of the game doesn't come down to the luck of objective cards: whether you get good points, and whether they're ones you can realistically complete. Not sure.

Yes, Takenoko comes down to simply drawing tons of objective cards. Not a great game from a balance perspective.

Colt Express is good but a little samey and boring after a few plays. The first expansion livens things up a bit with a stagecoach you can jump onto.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 08 Jan 2018 09:06 #260497

That night, I actually dreamed of playing more Silver Tower. The weirdness of the encounters and events are fairly compatible with dream logic, so the dream felt very real. I rarely remember my dreams, and my dreams rarely involve gaming. I did dream about a vampire larp a couple of times during the first year when I was completely immersed in that game. And I dreamed about Strategic Legend of the Five Rings after playing in a major game at GenCon in 2002.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 08 Jan 2018 10:45 #260502

We played Exit: The Game - The Forgotten Island this weekend. This was my least favorite of the Exit series, but it was still fun. The second wave is very focused on making sure the game is unplayable after one game, whereas the first wave could usually be solved without destruction (though certainly easier with destruction). The first 6-7 puzzles were relatively easy and we breezed through them before hitting the last three, which were much tougher.

Only one left out of the big box'o'escape game we purchased last year. Hopefully the next Unlock! and Exit waves come soon.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 08 Jan 2018 11:04 #260504

This weekend I played Tiny Epic Quest twice.

Love the game.

Maybe I shouldn’t....twice we tied around the same-ish score and it went to a tiebreaker. The second tiebreaker we had to drill down to the third tiebreaker tier to break it.

Thinking it’s not great with 2 as far as competitiveness.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 08 Jan 2018 11:40 #260507

You know what's terrible? Coaster Park.

What a great concept - building 3D roller coasters and rolling marbles down them. What a great failure in implementation.

I thought maybe, just maybe, people were wrong. In Vasel's video review he has the coasters set up incorrectly, so I thought maybe that's what's going on with all of the naysayers. No, this one just doesn't work well enough.

It's simply not very fun. It's pretty difficult to build an actual working coaster unless you want a boring medium hill leading to a small hill. The game really should hold your hand a little better. It would be a much better game if it was easy to build a simple working coaster, but integrating just a few challenging builds was where the depth was. Most people's coasters don't even work when playing.

Also, you only spend about 10% of the game time actually rolling marbles down coasters. The majority is in the dull once around fixed price auction.

Finally, the fact that you add to your coaster during the game and not at the end once you've acquired all of your hills means that you can get stuck and your coaster simply doesn't work. Annoying.

I will say that it's fun when your coaster works, although those moments are few and far between. It's just too damn finicky and the dexterity element too damn challenging for the marriage of theme to game. I have no idea how this game worked in prototype form and how the development process worked, but I feel like there's a story there.

For the record, we spent 30 minutes after our game just messing with coaster builds to test some of our analysis. This confirmed much and we even found two particular hills that were nearly impossible to overcome, no matter the setup.

T.I.M.E Stories - Estrella Drive
This game's really on fire the last couple of expansions. The stories are excellent and the system is mostly working to its strengths. I did get bored slightly with having to repeat a jump in this one, but the rest was fantastic. The setting here is really engaging and I don't want to ruin it. Very dark.

Only disappointment was the lack of meta-story progression.

To counter Coaster Park, I played two back to back games of the pretty damn good Lords of Hellas. It reminds me of the popular hybrid Euro/AT designs of recent years (Cyclades/Kemet/Inis) in spirit, with an additional layer of Ameritrash spread. So you have a simple core system of performing movement with all of your stuff, and then choosing one special action. You can't perform the same special action twice in the same round (you mark it as used), which kind of feels like the Kemet/Game of Thrones Battle card system. The trick is that the round ends by a player choosing to perform the Build Monument special action, so rounds are extremely variable in length. At that point, all of your special action availability resets. This volatility and tension in planning is pretty interesting.

Building Monuments is awesome because you physically assemble these large 3D miniatures in chunks throughout play. This has a mechanical effect on a couple of different aspects in play, and it's one of several victory conditions.

I really enjoy how there's four distinct paths to victory and none of them rely on victory points. I'm not sure they're all perfectly balanced but we saw different routes in both games.

The fact that players are controlling mainly a hero, with legions of hoplites following them, really makes it feel like a slightly more Euro Runewars. The hero integration here is much more interesting though as you gain stats throughout play and can hunt monsters like a cybernetic Cyclops or half robot Cerberus. Killing 3 monsters is one of the conditions to win and it's very interesting and challenging.

Really fascinating game whose only fault is that it's a little complicated for its weight. After a play though we all had the rules internalized and it went pretty well. Teaching was just a bit sluggish.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 08 Jan 2018 12:03 #260509

Charlie,
I know you have only played Lords of Hellas a couple of times, but do you have an impression on how viable a "changing" strategy is? Do you think you have to head down a path early on and stick to it?
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 08 Jan 2018 12:31 #260512

hotseatgames wrote:
Charlie,
I know you have only played Lords of Hellas a couple of times, but do you have an impression on how viable a "changing" strategy is? Do you think you have to head down a path early on and stick to it?

Strategy is pretty flexible, at least to a degree. The victory condition of building a monument kicks off a 3 turn countdown once it's built. Whoever controls the space the monument is built in actually wins the game. You can totally steal this from someone who turtles on the space if you put a little bit of effort into it.

The monster strategy can be slightly difficult to pivot towards late game, mainly because you want your hero to have a high Strength (which is the only stat used against monsters and allows you to draw combat cards before fighting them), and you'd likely ignore increasing their strength if you are avoiding the monster killing strategy. With that being said, some weaker monsters you can kill with a low strength if you have a nice combat card selection going into battle.

The victory condition of controlling five regions that have a temple seems a difficult one to attain no matter what. You'd need to control multiple spaces on the board that aren't clustered together and are spread out. I think this one is not one you'd likely head towards unless you found yourself setup for it due to circumstance.

That's not to say temples are a part of the game that's extraneous as players tend to build them for the more common benefit of gaining priests. Priests are necessary because sending them to pray increases the stats of your hero.

The area control victory condition is a difficult one, but it's certainly possible. I won our three player game that way, although I see it being a little more difficult with four as more people can stop you from controlling the needed regions.

The game feels more like you need to be able to adapt and pursue a couple of victory conditions as opposed to heading down a long line towards a single one. It's a pretty short game at 60-90 minutes which was accurate in my two plays, and it can seem to ramp up a tiny bit slowly, but the middle of the arc is very abbreviated. This means the end game can sneak up on you if you're not prepared. It feels like someone's kind of far from reaching their objective but you can push down those victory paths very quickly if you desire. It's more about setting yourself up to hold the victory condition and finish the last leg.

I think what we liked the most about it was that it felt somewhat different than its influences. I prefer dice combat usually but I even dig the card play here as it kind of has a push your luck aspect to it where players alternate playing cards publicly to add to their army strength. It can feel a bit dramatic while still being more of a Euro battle mechanic.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 08 Jan 2018 13:13 #260515

Shellhead wrote:
That night, I actually dreamed of playing more Silver Tower. The weirdness of the encounters and events are fairly compatible with dream logic, so the dream felt very real. I rarely remember my dreams, and my dreams rarely involve gaming. I did dream about a vampire larp a couple of times during the first year when I was completely immersed in that game. And I dreamed about Strategic Legend of the Five Rings after playing in a major game at GenCon in 2002.

"I am Tzeentch and you are the puppet that dances to my tune..." You're dreaming about a game involving the God of Chaos, the Lord of Change, Tzeentch? Time to report yourself to the nearest Inquisitor.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 08 Jan 2018 14:58 #260534

charlest wrote:
T.I.M.E Stories - Estrella Drive
This game's really on fire the last couple of expansions. The stories are excellent and the system is mostly working to its strengths. I did get bored slightly with having to repeat a jump in this one, but the rest was fantastic. The setting here is really engaging and I don't want to ruin it. Very dark.

Only disappointment was the lack of meta-story progression.

We have been playing and enjoying TS. Lumen Fidei is next up for us and I also have Estrella Drive. What, briefly IS the meta-story? I have noticed what I guess are nods to it, but I can't say that anything resembling some narrative has become apparent. I'm not necessarily complaining; meta-story in pop culture is something I'm exceedingly tired of. I just know people have mentioned this and I have no idea where it supposedly is.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 08 Jan 2018 16:31 #260538

Legomancer wrote:
charlest wrote:
T.I.M.E Stories - Estrella Drive
This game's really on fire the last couple of expansions. The stories are excellent and the system is mostly working to its strengths. I did get bored slightly with having to repeat a jump in this one, but the rest was fantastic. The setting here is really engaging and I don't want to ruin it. Very dark.

Only disappointment was the lack of meta-story progression.

We have been playing and enjoying TS. Lumen Fidei is next up for us and I also have Estrella Drive. What, briefly IS the meta-story? I have noticed what I guess are nods to it, but I can't say that anything resembling some narrative has become apparent. I'm not necessarily complaining; meta-story in pop culture is something I'm exceedingly tired of. I just know people have mentioned this and I have no idea where it supposedly is.

I'm not trying to drive you elsewhere to kill the conversation, but this is the best answer I can give: boardgamegeek.com/thread/1608156/putting...ether-again-time-sto

It's evolved quite a bit past this. Lumen Fidei had something huge happen in it, in particular.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 08 Jan 2018 18:43 #260543

Hello FAT.
I have not checked this site out in a long time, years probably. I decided to stop in and see what is being said about my favorite Christmas present this year and was surprised to see nothing. I searched but came up empty. So I will tell you what board game I have been playing lately:

Escape from 100 Million B.C. by Kevin Wilson and I am having a blast. It's pure Ameritrash which is why I'm kinda shocked to see nothing here.

It's time traveling with dinosaurs, what's not to love. The difficulty is purely random as is most of the game but the exploration, the simplistic combat and the ability to play solo (sadly my basic options these days) makes this a big winner in my book.

SOMEBODY DO A REVIEW! Unless of course you already have and in that case.....never mind.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 08 Jan 2018 18:55 #260545

jphien wrote:
Hello FAT.
I have not checked this site out in a long time, years probably. I decided to stop in and see what is being said about my favorite Christmas present this year and was surprised to see nothing. I searched but came up empty. So I will tell you what board game I have been playing lately:

Escape from 100 Million B.C. by Kevin Wilson and I am having a blast. It's pure Ameritrash which is why I'm kinda shocked to see nothing here.

It's time traveling with dinosaurs, what's not to love. The difficulty is purely random as is most of the game but the exploration, the simplistic combat and the ability to play solo (sadly my basic options these days) makes this a big winner in my book.

SOMEBODY DO A REVIEW! Unless of course you already have and in that case.....never mind.

Several people at F:AT were talking about Escape last May or June. I picked it up and enjoyed it, but my friends have been slightly less enthusiastic about it. I don't think anybody has a specific objection, but I bought Saltlands around the same time and that's the game my friends keep requesting to play.

In recent months, I have played a few solo games of Escape, and I noticed that the tight design seems to deliver the same overall narrative each game, like a story in three acts:

1. Slow exploration, with lots of encounters and adventures but not much progress at moving around the map.
2. More movement plus more combat forced by wandering dinosaurs.
3. Frantic movement across a mostly explored map, rushing to get the last couple of pieces to the time machine as paradox mounts.

The game has decent replay value due to the variability of the map and encounter decks, but ultimately tells a similar story from game to game. I feel like a card expansion might make me like the game more than I do.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 08 Jan 2018 19:01 #260546

jphien wrote:
Hello FAT.
I have not checked this site out in a long time, years probably. I decided to stop in and see what is being said about my favorite Christmas present this year and was surprised to see nothing. I searched but came up empty. So I will tell you what board game I have been playing lately:

Escape from 100 Million B.C. by Kevin Wilson and I am having a blast. It's pure Ameritrash which is why I'm kinda shocked to see nothing here.

It's time traveling with dinosaurs, what's not to love. The difficulty is purely random as is most of the game but the exploration, the simplistic combat and the ability to play solo (sadly my basic options these days) makes this a big winner in my book.

SOMEBODY DO A REVIEW! Unless of course you already have and in that case.....never mind.
The most beautiful thing about this is that he hasn't been here in years but still felt like he needed to come here to tell us. Thanks, man! I haven't even heard of this game. Kevin Wilson is cool, though, so tell me more.

I played AGRICOLA with the family this weekend and we looked through the scoresheets that are piling up in there. I have never won. I tied once, but my wife is some kind of farming savant. I missed by ONE POINT this last time. I had no sheep, sadly, and just clobbered her with bonus points. But she had no empty plots and a smattering of everything (this was Family play). We both crushed the kids; so, all is right with the world.
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