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

What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 02 Sep 2015 08:04 #209804

Played Inca Empire this weekend. I'd played the original version with the name I'm not going to look up ages ago and didn't remember much about it, so this was pretty much new to me. It's really good and deserves more attention. It's a route-building game that's also about positioning. Building cities and temples and garrisons score you points, but connecting to ones other people built do as well, so you can often get them to do a lot of the leg work for you. In addition, there are rounds where you play hidden event cards on players (including yourself) to help or hinder them, and while it seems obvious to play the bad cards on your opponents, a helpful card at the right time might encourage them to do something that enhances your position. Graphic design is a little odd, but it's a solid game.

Then I played a Kickstarter game I backed way back in Feb 2014 which just arrived, Migration. It's an interesting game of claiming territory, and it does something different. In the basic game, there are five factions, but they're not factions in the usual sense. They're more like five types of units. You select 12 units from among all the factions instead of each player playing a single faction.

Unfortunately this thing has the worst case of Kickstarter Rulebook I have ever seen, and I've seen some absolute clunkers. How many people does this game play? The box doesn't say, and neither does the rulebook up front. In fact, it just starts explaining the game without mentioning it and later on talks about playing with 3-4 players. How long is a game? Box doesn't say, rulebook doesn't say. What's supposed to be in the box? No indication. What are the pieces you're looking at? Eventually sort of revealed, except one important piece is depicted in the rulebook as a drawing that doesn't resemble the actual piece. There's a reason these things are in standard rulebooks, guys.

The rules themselves are trouble as well. Terms are used before they're defined, elements are talked about before you're told what they are. In the basic game you use five of the 12 or so factions. In the regular game you use more. How many? How do you decide which ones to you? It's never said. There are "variants" listed that suggest ways to select the factions, but there's no actual rule for them to be variants to. Everything is handled in this sort of "hey, whatever floats your boat" attitude which is fine for discussions beyond the ruleset, but there should be an actual ruleset. You designed a game, not a lego set.

Once you have it down, it's not a bad game. It's a little dry, and reminds me a lot of Hive, which isn't a game I'm particularly crazy about, but it works. The advanced factions seem like they can mix the game up a bit. With little effort this game could have had a decent rulebook that explained it much better and quicker and actually served to teach the game instead of be a beautiful objet d'art or whatever. Speaking of which, the "exclusive Kickstarter box" is lovely but doesn't hold the game well after it's punched. The designer suggests you hang on to the cardboard frames and push those pieces back into them when packing up the game.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 02 Sep 2015 09:21 #209808

Legomancer wrote:
Speaking of which, the "exclusive Kickstarter box" is lovely but doesn't hold the game well after it's punched. The designer suggests you hang on to the cardboard frames and push those pieces back into them when packing up the game.

Lovely.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 02 Sep 2015 11:36 #209816

Last night had a first game of Cthulhu Wars. I caved and bought it despite some concerns. We had 4 players and I played once before about a year ago. I was Yellow Sign as I've heard thats the oddest faction to play. The rules were very straightforward, and as expected with a game like this there was plenty of ganging up on the leader and people getting offended for being targeted. The game took a lot longer than it should've at around 3 hours, but there was a lot of fantasy football talk going on as well so an average play time should clock at around 2 hours. Final scores were 35-34-31-28 with Yellow Sign taking the win and Cthulhu in last. During the majority of the game I was dead last in gates but was often earning 13-19 power per round, pretty high, due to my desecrations. The last few turns I really caught up big time through the Rituals and drawing elder signs for desecrating. The overall response to the game was maybe a 7 out of 10. Cthulhu felt like his faction was great at first then useless - and I'm almost positive he played it wrong. Black Goat wasn't an aggressive player and came in second simply for having a shit ton of monsters on the map and the most gates. There were surprisingly few battles but I think alot of that is due to the group itself. The factions definitely played different and one of the guys commented that its like Risk with monsters and spells, a comparison I may kind of agree with and disagree with.

With the upcoming round 2 of kickstarter for this game and the expansions I'm still on the fence about spending more money on it. With a group that really enjoys games like this there is a ridiculous amount of replay and for me a 2 to 2.5 hour game is ideal. But with just the base game that I have the replay value is far lower and to understand how the factions optimally play you have to have a basic understanding of each faction at the table, meaning all 6 goals and the spellbooks and the Old Ones. I'd really like to play this against a group that enjoys this style of game more, dudes on a map with unique abilities. I liked the game, although Chaos in the Old World is the deeper game but CW lets each faction feel like Khorne at times, which is good.

Also had a second game of Forbidden Stars. As usual any dudes on a map game will eventually wind up on my shelf. Three players both new except myself and the game took maybe 4-5 hours total. I shouldn't have made one of my friends play this - his ideal game is Settlers of Catan and he rarely plays games. His turns were just agony as he debated infinitely more on placing order tokens. I jumped to an early lead in objectives as I understood the movement more than the others, and half the game the other two players blocked my goals with warpstorms sufficient to prevent me from ever reaching the objectives. Understanding the movement and the planet supply limits I believe is the core of the game. I really like this game but those fucking warp storms are beyond irritating when your faction can't do anything - I was the Orks and they have no way of overcoming them. The other player said the combat was the worst part of the game and is not likely to play again too. I can understand not being involved in the combat as boring since it does take a few minutes, but I really liked the combat choices based on card play and activating units. More concerning I'm not sure how to bring down the play time for this. As a two player game its manageable but with 3 to 4 players I don't know how to end it under 5 hours yet. Supposedly by building the map you can make things faster.

Followed up Forbidden Stars with a first game of Churchill with everyone new except the guy teaching it. I had fun and liked playing the game but the more I think about it the less fun it was in retrospective. We only played a short game of 5 conferences with some starting positions already on the board. Its a very unique game but the main core is simply trick-taking based on a card draw of 7 cards. The end scoring can be a little weird at times with the second player winning if there is a huge point gap. It took about 3 hours and we had the same guy as in Forbidden Stars having ridiculous AP even when he had one card left to play. Somehow I like the idea of the game more than the game itself, there just wasn't enough action in it for me to rave about it. Trick taking is it and then applying your resources to specific fronts. The historical aspect is great and the cards are kinda cool but at the end of the day there are many other games I would've rather played with 3 players, Maria and Fury of Dracula come to mind.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 02 Sep 2015 12:00 #209818

I like Cthulhu Wars and think it's pretty good. However, I'd definitely urge you to be careful about going all in on season 2 until you've played Blood Rage.

Cthulhu Wars is interesting and fun.

Blood Rage cuts off Cthulhu Wars' head and struts around like it owns the place. Much more interesting evolution of Chaos in the Old World. It approaches being my perfect Dudes on a Map/Area Control game. Seriously.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 02 Sep 2015 12:15 #209822

For Cthulhu to come in last, you'd have to play with your head up your ass, seriously.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 04 Sep 2015 09:52 #209948

Legomancer wrote:
Played Inca Empire this weekend. I'd played the original version with the name I'm not going to look up ages ago and didn't remember much about it, so this was pretty much new to me. It's really good and deserves more attention. It's a route-building game that's also about positioning. Building cities and temples and garrisons score you points, but connecting to ones other people built do as well, so you can often get them to do a lot of the leg work for you. In addition, there are rounds where you play hidden event cards on players (including yourself) to help or hinder them, and while it seems obvious to play the bad cards on your opponents, a helpful card at the right time might encourage them to do something that enhances your position. Graphic design is a little odd, but it's a solid game.

The original game was called Tahuantinsuyu. It's identical to Inca Empire, except that the original board is more like a crayon rail map. Like you said, it plays almost the opposite of a crayon rail game, where you want to get next to your neighbor and piggyback on their builds. I like it a lot, but a lot of folks I know don't like that mix of Crayon Rails + hose your neighbor.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 04 Sep 2015 13:26 #209987

RobertB wrote:
Legomancer wrote:
Played Inca Empire this weekend. I'd played the original version with the name I'm not going to look up ages ago and didn't remember much about it, so this was pretty much new to me. It's really good and deserves more attention. It's a route-building game that's also about positioning. Building cities and temples and garrisons score you points, but connecting to ones other people built do as well, so you can often get them to do a lot of the leg work for you. In addition, there are rounds where you play hidden event cards on players (including yourself) to help or hinder them, and while it seems obvious to play the bad cards on your opponents, a helpful card at the right time might encourage them to do something that enhances your position. Graphic design is a little odd, but it's a solid game.

The original game was called Tahuantinsuyu. It's identical to Inca Empire, except that the original board is more like a crayon rail map. Like you said, it plays almost the opposite of a crayon rail game, where you want to get next to your neighbor and piggyback on their builds. I like it a lot, but a lot of folks I know don't like that mix of Crayon Rails + hose your neighbor.

The production level of Tahuantinsuyu was pretty bad. If the new one has addressed some of the issues (mostly things being really hard to see, even with good eyes) it's worth a look.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 04 Sep 2015 14:13 #209991

iguanaDitty wrote:
The production level of Tahuantinsuyu was pretty bad. If the new one has addressed some of the issues (mostly things being really hard to see, even with good eyes) it's worth a look.

For the new game, the board is significantly better. The new cards are printed on smaller cards, with smaller fonts, and are significantly worse. The fiddly bits are a wash. All my personal opinion.

I have a copy of Tahuantinsuyu. By far, the crappiest part of the production was the board, so I had the board laminated. I kept it rolled up a'la a crayon-rail laminated map. My wife decided one day that she liked it better on the game shelf folded, and folded that laminated sheet into quarters. I don't want to get mad at my wife, so I haven't really looked at the damage yet. It's been years, and I still don't want to see it.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 05 Sep 2015 01:13 #210022

RobertB wrote:
The original game was called Tahuantinsuyu.
Holy crap! Blast from the past. That game was great.
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What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? 05 Sep 2015 09:25 #210028

RobertB wrote:
The original game was called Tahuantinsuyu.

We called it "Machu Picchu Choo-Choo"
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