259! My best is a paltry 167 (but I have only played it twice).
I think the cubes are just limited. If there aren’t any more then you simply can’t take the incite action.
259! My best is a paltry 167 (but I have only played it twice).
This was my 5th game - once with each motive plus the initial game as suggested with explorer (so, twice now with that one). My first game was in full “Sailor” mode, and each game since I’ve taken away some of the easy mode modifiers, with this last one in proper “Officer” (normal) mode. Despite not sticking to any one motive while learning, and in spite of the difficulty hikes, my scores have consistently gotten better. My first game was a brutal, no-score defeat (imperialist victory), two failures (the second just on the threshold of the next tier), an inconsequential and now my success.
The first thing to understand and try to nail down, based on my results anyway, is that you will be a murdering bastard no matter your goal. Taming those seas is paramount to anything else.
Which is not to say that the motives aren’t incredibly important! I’m finding that warring will set your baseline score (and fend off defeat), and so spending what precious few actions you have left wisely (i.e. getting those bonuses by following your motive) really means everything for end game success.
It’s kind of a brilliant design that really enhances the roleplay, though it does mean you have to be on board (sorry) with the core mechanism. Which, when you get right down to it, is sort of Pandemic with boats.
Anyway, going long here but if you’re enjoying the crushing defeats, do push on! Each play has been more enjoyable than the last for me, playing more smoothly and (importantly) getting far closer to the 90-120 minute playtime. I still think I’m going to have to grab Robinson Crusoe to satisfy a desire to tackle a less familiar set of mechanisms, but Nemo has been a hugely fulfilling acquisition and I’m finding myself eager to bring it out.
I’m pretty sure you’re right and I’m almost sure I’m just missing a line in the manual somewhere stating that pieces are hard limited.
Yeah - I have found that those seas fill up with ships far too easily! I might be trying to be too nice. Need to sort that in future plays. I think it’s a brilliant game; I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my crushing defeats so far!
Robinson Crusoe is one of my very favourite games ever - I highly recommend! Very different in the mechanics, but a similar overall feel. And a similar ‘this game is probably going to destroy you’ vibe…
Agreed, Castles usually has a clear winner after the fourth era/phase/round or whatever 5 turns are called. If you are last in turn order usually there’s not much to do near the end.
Played my second game of Wingspan with my wife and stepdaughter (her first time) and now that we’re much more familiar with the rules it went a lot smoother. My only complaint is that we didn’t shuffle the cards enough and ended up a lot of similar birds that messed with my ability to fulfill the bonus card objectives.
Played a game of The Deep Forest, which is free to download from the publisher here:
And a review here:
Highly recommended, didn’t think it would work half as well as it did, and our varied community of blood-suckers (from wererats to a midge hive mind which had a symbiotic relationship with carnivorous plants) ended up being backstabbed by the ghost of a human prince who we had brought back to life using the Ghostlight atop the human edifice left behind after the occupation.
For Valentines Day, I played some 2 player Quoridor. It’s a simple game where the goal is to get your pawn to the other end of the board, and each turn you can either move or place a fence to block your opponent and force them to take a longer path.
It’s a nice puzzle for 2 players and can often be quite intense. I still haven’t figured out any “good” tactics which means I’m always trying to learn from each time we play.
Last night we played out first 2 games of Paper Tales. We played at 2 (as usual) but did not use the 2 player specific rules, as the rule book says to play a few games with the standard rules first. We enjoyed it, though it does feel like it ends maybe 1 (or 2) rounds sooner than I would like? Though more rounds could mess with the scoring of some cards pretty severly.
We followed that up with a game of Raiders of the North Sea. My gf took a solid win. I don’t remember the exact score, but she had around 75-80 to my 60ish. She went hard on the Offerings, and I just couldn’t compete. Still really enjoying this one. I think I may grab the Hall of Heroes expansion. It comes with player boards!
I just got finished the tutorial and first chapter of the Armistice Edition of The Grizzled. I’m playing this solo (just blind playing a 4 player setup) for the experience of it all, as I don’t expect this to get played much, certainly not enough to run the campaign. Naturally this isn’t especially fulfilling as a gameplay experience.
That said, I picked this up as a collector’s piece - a memento for the Centenary (not to mention to Tignous’ memory), so I’m happy to just go through the motions here and see the campaign through. This is a really lovely package and I’m happy to have it in my collection - the only one here just to be here.
Tried Tiny Epic Galaxies for the first time, via the pre-Kickstarter print and play, and it was surprisingly good! Played two games with my wife, and for want of a tie breaker, we gave her the first game because she hit 24 points and then I only managed to tie, not beat her score. I focused on upgrading my home world, while she focused on getting planets, so I’m pleased with the balance and different strategies. Second game she beat me quite bad due to scooping some high-value planets out from under me, and we both had a lot of fun.
Playing with a couple coworkers proved a little less successful. I realized that two ships on culture worlds, I could generate extra culture by following any time anyone else generated culture. Nobody seemed to like that at all. So while the mechanic for following anyone else’s action is pretty cool, following to get more follows seems very easily abused.
My wife and I also wrapped up Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger. It was an interesting novelty experience, but I would hardly call it a game, and my fate was not determined by the choices I had made in the end, but but the count of cards I had been told to keep for later. Left a pretty bad taste after investing five sessions into the game, and before that, it was only OK because I was doing a dramatic reading to get into the incredibly random plot. It fails as a game because it’s less predictable than Farkle and it fails as a CYOA because lots of dice rolling ultimately determined my fate more than my choices.
It looks like there’s not much money in reselling a like new copy of the game, so I will probably re-gift it to some friends.
That’s an unfortunate quirk of the game. My “fix” has been to simply let everyone at the table know about it up front and that helps level the playing field, at least.
We did the first two eras of SpaceCorp (GMT Games) yesterday, and it’s a great game. Playing the full three eras would probably take about 5 hours, or longer with learning the game, so we thought we’d play the first two and learn all of the basics.
Then, we can play the full game while only having to learn the new rules for the 3rd era.
It was really fun! Though I could see how some people could find it a bit dry. I didn’t, though.
We played Fog of Love this afternoon. It was a bit of a frustrating game, with traits changing all over the place (I hate that this is so frequent). But we caught some nastiness at the end which, thanks to some big destiny swaps and some very close relationship meters, actually ended up helping us and we both barely managed a victory (both self-realized, stayed together).
In the end, I guess we were still able to figure out how to eke out a working relationship, since our mutual, pathological character changes made scoring difficult and it really limited our choices! Still, it seems weird to have both succeeded through self-realization… by constantly changing ourselves in hopes of better matching our partners.
This weekend I visited my sister in Brantford Ont. and we played a couple of games I brought.
The second night we played Isle of Skye. This one was fun but didn’t have the laughter of the previous night. The night before we played Sheriff of Nottingham and boy did we have fun with this one. My sister could not bring herself to take a bribe she just couldn’t not know what was being brought to market. We learned very quickly to just tell the truth. She even looked in when my brother-in-law said “One Chicken”. We had many laughs during this game and my sister bought it the next day with the Merry Men expansion.
That seems like a decent fix. Alternatively, I would rule that you can’t gain more resources by following than the player leading, whether it’s energy or culture… A minor cap, but in theory, nothing game breaking. Of course, house rules should only be approached with the utmost caution, as saying something is broken after three plays (in theory less than 1% of the designer’s plays before release) is a pretty bad idea.
Amid the cacophony of heavy, diesel engines and the warning klaxon of construction vehicles in reverse, a man comes running up to you holding a hard hat. “What are you doing here? Well, never mind… wear this and follow me,” he says as he plops the hard hat on top of your head and walks off towards the quintessential construction site office: a dingy trailer situated in, as if by design, the exact center of an enormous muddy pool. Once inside the flimsy trailer, the thin walls hardly capable of muffling the monstrous racket of the construction, ostensibly, taking place outside. You notice the large damaged section of the trailer in one of the corners that has been hastily covered with duct tape and plastic sheeting. The windows of the trailer have long since been replaced with acrylic. Through the cloudy panes of plastic, you can see an alarming over-abundance of workers standing aimlessly on the steel beams, protruding erratically in a variety of angles except for parallel to the ground, of the building-to-be. Some of them hold bricks; others hold large beams of timber; others yet appear to be permanently doomed to hold the end of a huge steel I-Beam. This is not a safe place to be.
My weekly gaming group is at a critical time in its short existence: a weekly regular is moving next week and, afterwards, our regular attendee count will be down to: two. In the best way we can think, we are doing whatever we can to send off our friend with as many victory points as he can cram into his remaining boxes and bags (assuming he earns them, of course).
In an attempt to squeeze two gaming nights into this week, despite the impending precipitation-based doom that the “weather” men and women are fear-mongering on the local news channels, we decided to meet both Monday night and Wednesday night (assuming we all survive the fatal quantity of snow that will fall tonight; currently predicted at 2-6 inches; for those of you of the metric persuasion, that’s approximately hahaha, are you serious? centimeters).
We began the night in our hosts’ basement marveling at the vast array of games on his
Altar Kallax, i.e. the natural habitat for several species of boardgamer. I’ve previously mentioned that, as though taken by a fit of madness, our friend-who-will-abandon-us, let’s call him D, preemptively packed all of his games into moving boxes weeks before actually moving; he arrived sine ludos which we will forgive him (yes, we will! Put down your pitchforks. Yes, even you in the back. Is that a torch? Where did you get that? Put that out right now!) Our host for the evening was in the middle of hand selecting a portion of the evening’s cardboardy menu when we arrived. After a bit of light conversation and a couple of quick prayers of those beholden to Kallax, the mighty Swedish God of Board Game Hoarding, we all ventured upstairs.
For a number of weeks, whenever we would arrive at our hosts’ home for a game night, a recurring box would appear, as though from the place of spells and fairies, on the table silently screaming to be opened. On its outward surfaces, an arcane message was scrawled in a lithe, mid-century font: Planetarium. Despite having seen it on multiple occasions, I knew nothing of what it might contain. Having subjected our host, for the purposes of discussion we shall call him B, to a game that we, all three of us, knew he would dislike last week, (see here, re: The Estates), it seemed the appropriate time to see what he had in store for us.
Planetarium is a highly thematic game about competing… uhh, forces? Deities? Cosmic Roulette players? Well, nevermind; competing entities vying to turn 4 planetoids into full-blown planets. Each player will hold a hand of 5 cards and, by colliding planetoids into chunks of water, oxygen, metal and rock, or colliding those chunks into the planetoids, accumulate the necessary resources on their… instance (?) of that planetoid to enact a card from their hand, granting both Space Victory Points as well as a chance in the end-game to enact even more cards. Setup was fairly easy if tasks were delegated. The card system is overwhelming at first but even the new players were up to speed after a couple of turns. I do not yet have a strong opinion on the game one way or another; I think D may have felt similar in that we were both frustrated by limited choices at the end of the game and, perhaps, a second play with the lessons learned from the first would result in a less frustrating end-game. I believe B already had played the game several times, but likely mostly solo; he won by a wide margin and certainly demonstrated his appreciation of the design despite the grumbling and excuses emitted by myself and D. So, at the end of the cosmic section of our game-night, B was in the lead with one win (B: 56, D: 34, pillbox: 33).
During the preparation work during the day, I had requested if D had any requests for me to bring along from my collection. He did, so among the other titles I carried with me, I had brought, specifically by request: Wingspan. This was the 3rd play that we had as a group for Wingspan and our appreciation for the simplicity of gameplay yielding a nuanced experience has not waned. D started the game with a gamble, accepting no cards from his initial hand of 5 birds (which is worth a bush of 10 birds). He also, apparently (!?), forgot about his Bonus card until over halfway through the game; needless to say, it struggled to get anything going through the early game. Our host, B, quietly (in that way that he does) began meticulously building his engine, connecting bird to bird with the most supple of cogs and sprockets you could imagine. I began the game with, what I originally though, were great birds; it turns out that, no, they were not great birds for early game. I had chosen to keep two birds that both could only live in wooded areas (my bonus objective was birds who exclusively lived in trees), but neither bird contributed to an engine sufficiently (neither of them knew how to, for instance, provide a spark if properly connected to a 12v battery).
It was a slow start but, before long, both B and D had built out tableaus that were generous. “Everybody gets a worm!”, “Everybody gets a food from the birdhouse!”, “You get a card, you get a card!”, etc… I joined the charity game late, but by the end of the game, we had all begun to flounder in our overabundance of resources. At one point I accidentally had eight food; rather than tuck that 9-point card I decided, “Oh, well, I’ll just play it instead” simply because I could. Wingspan is a game that I enjoy greatly but I do not excel at, so it was a little surprising that I didn’t come in last place. B and D had been trading back and forth on taking first place in each of the round-end scores, though I was able to tie for second more often than I came in 3rd. B, in the end, won almost entirely due to birdpoints (they are like Space Points, but feathery). Final scores were B: 93 (his best score yet, I believe), pillbox: 79, D: 75; giving B his second win of the evening.
After our wings had spun, we had about 40 minutes remaining before we all turned into a variety of autumnal fruits so I pulled out, from deep within my Grocery Bag of Holding, Men At Work. I had shown it to both of them last week when we opted to play The Estates instead (at the time, I amused myself by imagining a gamenight where the two games were glued together as though it were some sort of yellow-and-black-striped Voltron); all three of us had watched SUSD’s Livestream play-through of the game and so we were all both aware of and somewhat familiar with the game. As I performed the extremely simple initial setup and explained the actual rules of the game (I don’t recall for certain, but I think the The Teach was a little flimsy on SUSD’s lets play), it was easy to see the excellent “toy factor” that meant that none of us were capable of not smiling as we toyed with the tiny bricks and the wonderful be-hatted workers.
As the youngest of the group, I began and revealed one of my many deep, dark secrets: I am the theoretical opposite of a surgeon, i.e. among other things, I have unbelievably shaky hands. The first few turns went quickly and without any OSHA violations. However, it wasn’t long before I was expected to do normal things that you would certainly assume a person could handle and I failed miserably. In quick succession, the game went from no workplace accidents to me being down by 2 certificates while both of my opponents retained all of theirs. Shortly after that, and certainly goaded by the presence of Rita, I promptly surrendered my final safety certificate, no doubt having been sent back to corporate to try not to hurt myself sitting at a desk. Now, head-to-head, B and D battled it out, with D expertly gaining 3 Employee of the Month awards before finally, and with much drama, knocking himself out of the game with yet another attempt to catch Rita’s attention. After our initial Men At Work game, the tally for the evening was B with three wins to D and my zeros.
The first game of Men At Work took, with setup and instruction, about 20 minutes, so we determined that it would be foolish to not set it up again. This time, B offered me another couple of fingers of whisky to calm my hand and, whiskey in hand, I started us off again, this time beginning from the “intermediate” setup. I was fairly lucky and pulled easy tasks; most notably, the “second worker” card. We had discovered in the previous game that beams were D Achilles Heel and he pulled several in a row, quickly depleting his safety notes. B was perhaps a bit too keen to impress Rita and, somehow, after the dust cleared and the casualties were hooked-and-dragged clear of the rubble, I remained the sole holder of a safety certificate, robbing B of a clean sweep at the very end of the night.
A sudden commotion outside the construction office catches your attention. The man sitting at the desk, telling you about his cardboard adventures sits up and peers through the scratched plastic windows and jumps up from his chair in a panic. “Crap, Rita’s here… We need to go… now!” he says, pulling you out the door with him. As you fall face-first into the mud, the screeching sound of steel-on-steel can be heard; men all over the site, looking down from their stationary perches on the skeleton of a building, scream out a warning as a huge steel girder lands with a thud atop the trailer office, crushing it as though it were a tin can and sending a huge dust cloud into the air. Once the dust clears and you wipe the mud from your eyes, you can see Rita, standing at the entrance to the construction site, with her face buried in the palm of her hand.
Yesterday afternoon (Family Day in Canada), we played three games of Sushi Go, of which i lost all three! We followed that up with about an hour of 5 Minute Dungeon. My son and I introduced it to his mom, and after one round she was really into it. We got to the second boss, gave it 2 (or 3) tries before putting it away. We were getting hungry and wanted to watch a movie (Goblet of Fire; my sons first viewibg!).
Tonight my son and I had a go at Dead Men Tell No Tales. We were one turn away from winning (on easy), but a Skellit’s Revenge card set off a barrel explosion, that started a chain reaction takibg us from 0 explosions, right to the ship sinking in one go!!! We really need to watch the board state more closely .
Tomorrow we’ll try and get Tiny Epic Zombies to the table (if I have a chance to read the instructions).
I just got my new best score in Railroad Ink (55), two games in a row. Second game only had two strikes against me and only two of the special intersections got used, so I’ll definitely consider that the new best in the tiebreaker. Just so much satisfaction to be had from this little game. Maybe I’ll play with others some time.
[EDIT] My girl got home and promptly landed a 55 for herself. Grumble Grumble
Consolation: I managed a 61 with a big 18-point railway.
My attendance at games night has taken a nose dive thanks to the shuffling of other commitments in the raged_norm family calendar. Taking the advantage of my wife’s Tuesday commitment not being on thanks to half term I scuttled off to the Tues meet.
Conquest of Paradise came out and I was beaten badly. Villanous was played and it’s pretty cool. Ended with Istanbul which I wasn’t efficient enough with my actions to win.
Yesterday, I gave Arkham Horror: The Card Game another try. Last year I played if for the first time but didn’t like it at all. But with Quinns, Matt and this forum raving about it continously I couldn’t resist to revisit Arkham.
And something clicked, I enjoyed it so much more than I did on my first playthrough. I think I had really bad luck the first time around because I remember that I couldn’t even beat the first scenario. I guess I was in the right mindset this time because I didn’t mind losing horribly in the last scenario.
Well, with having the rest of the week off I am going to my FLGS right now and buy Path to Carcosa