Obsession - it looks interesting, I’ve seen it on a few “best of” lists
Last night at Thirsty Meeples:
Terraforming Mars, yeah, not played it till now. I like the ideas but the core mechanic of having this massive deck of cards seems to make it impossible to have an actual strategy beyond “be good at everything” – for example I built up some handy bonuses to space operations, then didn’t see another space card all game. Unlikely to return to it.
Timeline British History, where we played a perfect base game as usual… so decided to go on with that 13-card layout as the basis for another game, and that was rather more fun.
Similar to my own first impression. It seemed to me to need drafting to shine, because of the random card draw, but the amount you have to play a game before drafting makes sense, and my lack of interest in doing so, put this game firmly in my “only if I have to” category. Maybe lots of practice on the app might redeem it, but apparently the app is wonky, and even then I’m not sure I’d be able to find similarly invested people to play draft games with…
I played TM for the first time a month ago and enjoyed it so much I immediately went home and got the digital edition on Steam and have been playing against AI sort of nonstop. Because digitally you don’t have to futz around with the cards all the time you can get through a game in 15-20 minutes.So I’ve played something like 30-50 games in a month. Good statistical sampling.
And yeah, strategies have to be fluid to a ridiculous degree. If you make the mistake of drafting a card at the start with very high tag requirements, some variant of Murphy’s Law says you’ll never, ever meet it. You can’t just aim to get one or two powerful cards onto the board and then start dominating, because there’s a huge chance you’ll never get them down. Plus you (by which I mean I) get all Ahab about and and lose the bigger picture if I even try for them. Worse, later in the game when cards with “under X heat” or whatever starts popping up in the draw, except you’re desperate for that resource, you have to be on your toes not to waste that buy.
You have to get into that hardore eurogame math to stay on top of it, or in my case I found it reminded me of building a Netrunner deck. Ok, this card will cost me Xc, but over the long term net me Yc, but I need Z turns for Yc > Xc and it will lead to points Tp, or instead I could use Xc to play this other card and earn points Vp, which could be more than Tp if… But you don’t just do this once per card to build a deck and move on. You do it for every last card coming and going throughout the deck over a whole damn game. The equations change every turn but in way larger ways than other stuff I’ve played.
And keeping or losing track of all that can win or lose you the game. I had one round where I’d racked up a good TR score and 21 victory points (when, like, 10 would be really solid), had a few cities out there, etc. Came in 4th out of 5. I’d missed one part of that equation that the AI players hadnt. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I personally still really like it… the fact that I’ve played so many damn rounds is proof of that… but I now see why one of the other players in that first game of mine called it more complicated than Twilight Imperium. It’s a mercurial thing and you’re massively dependent on a good card draw and keeping an absolute focus on every little thing to put in a good showing.
Can’t believe it’s taken me so long to play Adrenaline again. Played it last night at the games cafe with a couple of friends and a guy we’d just met. Many laughs were had.
It’s great how the scoring discourages ganging up on people, and getting hit mostly helps rather than hinders you. So a theme that should result in a horrible adversarial game full of take-that, is instead really friendly and often silly.
You must get Timeline Challenge if you haven’t… really kicks the game up several rungs of enjoyability. Lots of different ways to use the cards.
I only play at the boardgame café, where they don’t generally get expansions. But I might see if I can bodge something.
Just did another round of Champion of the Wild, but a couple of rounds of 3 player. It’s still fun, but it’s just not at all as good as having 6-8. You don’t get that weird variety of animals each round.
Fun fact tho, polar bears swim faster than platypuses. Platypi? Whatever.
So this weekend I’ve played about 2.5 games of Trajan.
I think it’s an extremely well put together game. The action selection combo generator mechanism is actively clever, approachable, intimidating and fun. It’s a weird and somehow magical mix.
Elsewhere the links of each of the mini games are really cool to see. The game (senator) which gives a easiest stream of points works best with the most labourious (ships). The two games which seem sexiest in terms of stomping around have the best links to fundamental negative points mitigation upkeep. The Trajan action is simultaneously the least immidiately rewarding but the one that triggers the most exciting chains of events. It’s like a Swiss clock of a game but one so smooth as well (turns are whip quick, and you sometimes say “is that it?”).
At the end of the game though I don’t feel thrilled or excited, but mostly tired? And I don’t know if that is what I want to feel at the end of a game. I feel satisfied but Its hard to deconstruct what went wrong or right really which is kind of tough.
Usual game of Gloomhaven yesterday, went ok, but went down to the wire (which seems to happen a lot). Lots of monsters being summoned, which can be annoying. And found out that summoned creatures dont drop gold when they die, pretty sure we messed that up.
Men at Work , a new dexterity/stacking game from Essen. The components are excellent, and the little workmen guys are adorable – they even have little hardhats. The game itself is pretty simple. Once you’ve created the worksite (which you can make as simple or complicated as you like), you draw cards from the deck. The back of the card tells you if you’re placing a girder (and which colour), or a workman (and which colour he has to be placed on). The card you’ve just turned over has special instructions for either the girder or the workman. For example, a girder instruction might be “touch a girder of the same colour”. A workman card might say “with one brick”, so you have to place a workman, and then balance a brick on his shoulder. Its great fun, well, if you like stacking/balance games. You have 3 “lives” in the form of safety certificates. After a few turns, the boss card comes out. Now, if you can make your placement the highest on the table, you get an employee of the month award. The object is to get a certain number of awards, but for our game we just ended up losing all our safety certificates. Love it (although I’m a bit crap at it).
Orleans – I’ve played this a couple times, but I’ve only recently bought it (good price, couldn’t resist). I wish the expansion (Invasion) wasn’t so expensive, I’d like to try this game in co-op.
The Estates , another Essen release. This is an auction game where you are property developers. There are 36 floor cubes, 6 each (numbered 1 thru 6) in 6 different colours. When you start the game, only 24 are randomly selected, and arranged in 3 rows of 8 cubes each. The active player can select from either end of the rows, and put that floor cube up for auction. The bidding starts with the player to his left and continues around the table. Everyone (except the auctioneer) makes one bid (or passes). When it comes back to the auctioneer, they can either pay the highest bid to the player and place the cubes themselves, or get the money from the bid, and that player places the cube.
At the start of the game, there are 3 rows of 4 developments. If you’re the first to place a colour, you get the company card of that colour, and you’ll score for that colour building. A building can have multiple cubes, but each cube placed must be less than the one below it. A building has to be finished with a rooftop tile, there are 12 of these (2 of each number from 1 thru 6). When the roof goes on, the owner of the building will be the player who owns the colour of the topmost cube.
As well as the floor cubes and rooftops, you can also choose to auction building permits (these can extend or shorten a development row), a mayor token (doubles the value of a row, which could be negative), and a cancel cube, which allows you to remove a building permit or the mayor token from the game permanently.
The end of the game comes when two complete rows are done (all buildings have rooftops), or when you cant build anymore. Then you add up all the cubes in a stack, and the owner (whoever has the colour of the topmost cube) gets those points. If its in an incomplete row – they get negative points. And if they had a mayor on that row, its double points (positive or negative).
It was all a bit rough to start, we didn’t really know what we were doing. High value floors seem good for points, but its all too easy for someone to take control with a lower cube. Value 1 cubes were highly valued, because you can’t put anymore floors on that stack. We didn’t pay enough attention to the initial colour distribution of cubes, you can be a bit stuffed if you haven’t got any cubes of your colour out there.
Its really, really good (if you like auction games). The cubes are very colourful and chunky, and the money is these very nicely made cheques (although they did stick to each other a bit at first). Its quite quick too, the manual even recommends playing several rounds.
Fast Forward Fortune , yet another game by Friedemann Friese, another Fast Forward game, where the rules are revealed as you play. This one is modelled after a pokie machine, and you’re trying to get the highest score from your three cards. Each round you can draw from the deck, or take a card from the centre of the table. There are bonus cards, which can give you extra points for certain other cards (like duplicates). You also get special rules as you go along, which change the scoring. It was a bit of fun, felt a bit random. You just haven’t got that many choices (draw or take a card from the middle), and the round is over quickly (when 6 cards are in the middle), so not much time to build up a winning hand.
I really want to pick up Men At Work. We just grabbed Junk Art and have been loving it! I got the wood edition on sale, but unfortunately I may try and sell it and grab the plastic version (while its still on sale); apparently the last year or so of runs have had a lot of warped pieces in the wood box . I’m not sure I want to deal with trying to get them all replaced. I may just put it on a local site and be up front about the issues; hopefully if the price is right I’ll find a buyer who doesn’t care.
A couple of my wood bits are warped, just makes it more fun.
One way to keep track of that is to pop a gold under each “real” monster at the start.
We put the coins on the stat sheets (or not, with summons) - when you sweep off the damage tokens, you aren’t going to forget the coin the damage tokens are stacked on.
Have played three games of Morels after receiving it as a gift, and gotten trounced each time. I think I spend too much time faffing around with the low-value shrooms and run out of time in the end to cook anything worthwhile. Still having lots of fun with it though.
On Friday night when some friends came over:
Flamme Rouge, which was game number 4 for me, 2 for one friend, 1 for the other two; and I won handily. Good fun, though, and the first outing for my own copy bought at Essen. Had a couple of weather tiles from Méteo which made the straights a bit more interesting.
Then Star War Risk, aka the cut-down version of Queen’s Gambit; not very Risk-like, but did the core job of a game: constantly presenting interesting and meaningful choices,
I think we’re going to keep it. It does bother me, and I wish I had known about the issue beforehand, but after talking to my son, we both agreed that the money would be better soent on a new game. Like Men At Work!
Also, not sure how much better we would be with perfect pieces!
We had a small birthday party for our youngest. After lunch and presents, the kids (mostly) entertained themselves with toys new and old while the adults played Catacombs. I was the Overseer again. Last time we played, the heroes were victorious over Vasesak the Sorcerer, so I picked the next higher difficulty Catacomb Lord of Shargila the Gorgon. They chose the Elf, the Thief, the Skeleton Explorer and the ever popular Roosan the Chicken Champion.
The players started off well, wreaking havoc and taking out monsters with just a bit of damage going their way, but as they got deeper and deeper into the dungeon, I managed to whittle down a lot of HP. Still, by the time they reached the Catacomb Lord, one player was full health and I’m pretty sure all the others had at least half health. However, Shargila has some tough minions and her petrify power is pretty harsh, so much so I hesitated to use it.
The heroes took out some monsters and wounded others, but had only damaged Shargila for one of her six HP when three of them got killed, one using the petrify, the others just through HP loss. The remaining hero managed to get another hit on Shargila before falling. I think they got too spread out, and I feel like a couple weren’t having that much fun anymore by the time it ended, so it’s probably for the best that it wrapped up relatively quickly at the end.
After people went home and the kids were in bed, my wife, brother-in-law and I played 7 Wonders using the Leaders expansion. We hadn’t played this in a while, and I think Leaders was new to BiL, so it took a little bit longer to start playing than usual, but it went over pretty well. I managed to get a bunch of science, which pretty much netted me the win.
My daughter, A, (who’s nearly 13) visited on Sunday and we thought we’d have a board game day.
First up was Everdell which my fiancée, S, had recently picked up. My daughter had never played before but she picked up the rules really quickly (she has a habit of doing that!) I managed a win with A in second place. I think this is definitely going to get played again!
7 Wonders was up next. A likes this game a lot and it had been a while since she’d played. She concentrated on blue cards while I went for military with a sprinkling of science and S went for pure science. S won this but it was a close game with only a few points between each player.
S then wanted to play Welcome To…. I struggle to like this game. It’s OK but I don’t get very excited by it. Conversely, S seems to love it. I’m not sure what A thought of it but she didn’t list it in her favourite games at the end of the day. Adding up the points at the end felt like a bit of a maths lesson!
We finished with Tulip Bubble which was a recent birthday acquisition for me. I’d played once before but neither A nor S had played before. The rules explanation went well enough the only snag being deciphering what the collectors want. S said she struggled with keeping track of what she’d paid for each tulip so she could work out when to sell. Meanwhile A declared that she was probably taking the game a bit too seriously. Indeed, she looked like she had a spreadsheet going in her head! In the end S won by buying the black tulip with A only 2 gilders behind! Me? I was about 30 gilders behind everyone!
A great day of gaming. Really good to see my daughter enjoying these games so much. Especially the more thinky ones!
I’ve come to the view that enjoying welcome to is a matter of how you approach the game. If you play for safety it’s pretty toothless and boring, if you play like a gambler it’s a lot better. You sort of have to engineer the the race and speed aspects to make the card draws thrilling but it’s not easy for everyone to do.