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Your Last Played Game

Tried this out at Expo, and I have to agree; it’s fine for what it does but it does nothing particularly innovative.

I like Sushi Go but Sushi Roll looks terrible to me thanks to the pick a dice then roll. One random step too far in a game like this.

The difficulty with Root is each faction is difficult to understand until you play it yourself. Each faction has a simple play style, but using the survival point engine efficiently within the ecosystem of the game is much more difficult. When you’re playing one faction you feel like every other faction is really strong while you’re walking a tightrope trying to keep it together. Then you play another faction and realise their faction is the same tightrope in a different part of the game.

In Root, the points don’t often directly correlate with the area control on the main board, so the main board isn’t really an indication of who is going to win. The biggest issue I’ve had with new players is the innate desire to destroy an opponent in board presence rather than targeting their point engine to efficiently knock them down a peg and then move on with the game. It’s so difficult to turn that off. If you repeatedly beat on one player they won’t have a chance of winning, but you’ll probably let someone else have an easy win. You never want to wipe another player out, but you do want to keep everyone in check. To me it feels like a Reservoir Dogs style anti-coop. You’re all almost helping each other in untrusting ways that helps yourself, out of fear of someone else trying to take it all, with the knowledge that anyone who gets too far in the lead will be a major target.

Then at some point someone will realise they can bolt for the win and all hell breaks loose.

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We got our first non-learning game of Space Gate Odyssey in last night and while we had a good time and were generally quite pleased with the gameplay, I couldn’t help shake the feeling that it needed a little more attention paid to the 2P experience.

While the developers went out of their way to make 2- and 3-player specific versions of the planets, the 2-player rules feel like they could have used a scoring tweak (and frankly probably a few further tweaks to the planets for that specific player count). All in all, however, it still played rather well and we made a great, close competition out of it. I got off to an early lead, but overcommitted my population to too many contested planets at once, leaving me sorely short of resources for a good portion of the back half of the game, and letting my partner catch up in the process. She stole the win in a tie-breaker scenario.

With that out of the way, holy crap is this an enjoyable, unusual game! All in all, I’d consider it a light- to medium-weight game (emphasis on the light) and yet the crunch factor is pretty high. My partner is the personification of analysis paralysis, and this game triggers hers hard. We both suspect this is a rare case of the 2P game taking quite a bit longer to play than in multiplayer due to the more careful nature of the pace.

Space Gate Odyssey seems quite comfortable being a few things at once, and I think that has a lot to do with why an otherwise light game ends up being such a brain burner. At once you need to juggle action selection and denial, a spacial puzzle and tile-laying, area control, engine-building, and resource management! Again, each of these mechanisms is very light, but making your brain focus in so many directions can be a lot to take in.

This game was a total “on a whim” purchase after catching wind of it late last year and then (unexpectedly) seeing it on a store shelf last month. I had no real expectations going in, yet I came out impressed and eager to play more. I suspect it’ll stay in my collection for a long time as the combination of familiar gameplay mechanics actually ends up feeling like its own beast, playing a little differently than anything else I currently own. My closest parallel is Teotihuacan, since it has it’s own weird little amalgamation of mechanisms, yet that one still feels like “worker placement” at its core.

We’ll see how it holds up over time, but as it stands I’m quite pleased with this one.

Theoretically I thought this mechanism would reduce one of the bugs I have with cyclical drafting which is you spend time just handling repeatedly rejected garbage.

The openness and the fact someone make give you something better than they rejected feels like it could cancel some of that bug but obviously brings its own issues such as person A might have literally a better set to select of the same class of dice and this can only be reduced as a problem if you play dozens of games.

Played Terraforming Mars for the first time. Made the mistake (I think) of buying too many cards to keep in my hands so didn’t have enough money to do much early on. Still, I came 2nd (the player who came first has played MANY times before so pretty expected that he won against three novices!) albeit only 1 point ahead of 3rd and 2 points ahead of 4th!

I can see why there is lots of love for this game. I’m pondering getting it but not sure how many times I’d play it as those I play with most often wouldn’t be interested in the complexity of the game.

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Played Ticket to Ride: London twice. I prefer this slightly better than New York. The score track is better than the scoring pad. I mean, seriously. 20 min game that has 3 ways of scoring needs a scoring pad? Anyway, I prefer London because it’s “efffing London, innit blad!?”. The scoring of New York where making a route on this location will give you a point is pretty much an afterthought for the players. They don’t really care. But in London, if you connect all ‘4 pt’ locations, then you score 4 points. It’s a rewarding avenue for players to try and score once they are done with their ticket objectives.

I’m still enjoying Tiny Towns after many plays, but it starts feels like it’s getting a bit samey. Maybe it’s just me.

Fable Fruit - a fantastic fun fluffy Friedman Fresse game. Your friends frantically collect a flock of fruits to turn into fun-coctions of fruit juice that will leave you flustered. I like this set collecting game. There’s nothing special about it. It’s just wholesome and colourful and I’m happy to play it again.

Another Friedman Fresse game of Power Grid: the Card Game. Strangely, I prefer this over original Power Grid! The random resource draws makes the market more dynamic. The choice of which power plants to go for becomes more interesting than the original’s super predictable respawning of resources. The game also cuts out the thing I find the weakest about Power Grid - the map. Cutting that out made the card game waaay less mathsy. Also, Power Grid the board game competes with other more interesting mid-weight Euros (to me, of course) in my shelf - Concordia, Keyflower, Village, Orleans, Dice Hospital. But Power Grid the card game easily gets a spot with my smaller shorter games Race for the Galaxy. Medici, Fields of Green.

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No RPG this week, so those of us who could make it played a game of Scoville. Its a solid euro with some nice bits. Not super exciting - more mellow but enjoyable which is not terribly thematic but still… I do wonder what its like with higher player-counts: I don’t think I’ve ever played it with more than 4.

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Last night I made another solo attempt with Batman: Gotham City Chronicles. I did much better with the heroes than my first attempt, but still lost, having only defused 3 of the needed 4 bombs in the To Sink a City scenario, one of which happened on the very last action of the game (which would have been thrilling had it been the game winning bomb).

It still appears that the villain player needs to act more like GM than adversary if the heroes are to have a real chance at winning. I had the chance to incapacitate Nightwing with Bane, but thinking how that would suck for a player, I went after Batman instead (and hit him for 3 damage, which is a pretty good chunk of his 11 cubes). I made a daring move to disarm a bomb with Catwoman, dashing across the map, taking out a defender and using four dice and then two re-rolls of a die to try to roll a total of 5 successes to disarm only to fail (these particular dice have three sides with one success, one side with two, one side with three and one blank side). Which just goes to show that if the dice gods are against you, there is nothing you can do to win here.

The game is an interesting puzzle, making the players really think about the economy of their actions, as if tou get too low on cubes, you will likely need to rest on your next turn, but that means you can’t DO anything for that round. I had two rounds where all three heroes needed to rest because they were completely out of cubes. Part of that is on me for spending them all, but another is just on the swinginess of the dice forcing me to make multiple attempts at things. I really like the system, but I feel the scenarios (at least the first, but BGG comments support the all claim) are designed with a razor thin possibility for a hero victory, and I would really like to see a run through with the designers to see how they play and if they can counter that conclusion.

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According to BGG, the optimal player count for this is now ‘2’, even for Adventure mode.

In discussing the game with people, it’s primarily due to the concerns you mentioned about Hero balance; having one player control the heroes means they always having something to do, even if one gets knocked out,or has to rest (if the scenario has more than 1 hero of course). It seems like many people are treating the game as something more akin to Claustrophobia than a typical 1 vs All game.

This works for me, as i generally game at 2 (sometimes 3), and is the only reason I’m still thinking of picking up a copy.

As far as the scenarios go, I expect this Batman GCC to have a similar community to Conan, which means a large number of well regarded Scenarios will be developed (especially as Batman is getting an actual scenario generator within the next few weeks).

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Yep, I fully expect a slew of fan-made scenarios that do not require perfect rolling by the heroes in order for them to win.

That situation with Catwoman I described above is not a good feeling. If you spend 6 of her total of 10 cubes on a single action, that action should pretty much be guaranteed to succeed. Instead, it failed, it made Catwoman run out of cubes, and her entire turn felt wasted.

Alternately, on the seventh and last hero turn, Batman and Nightwing were in a room with a bomb, Bane, and a mook, and both heroes has rested the previous turn, so each had number of cubes to work with. Nightwing took out the mook then negated Bane’s hindering so Batman could attempt to disarm the bomb without penalty. He failed, so he negated Bane’s hindering so Nightwing could give it a go, and after some rerolls, he succeeded! That felt amazing and if one more bomb had already been disarmed, the heroes would have won. That’s the feeling I want players to get out of the game when I introduce it to them, not the feeling of wasting their turn.

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For sure, i completely get that.

I’ve seen a few people recommend either adding a round to the tracker, to give the heroes some leeway, or allowing the heroes to keep a portion of success (for high difficulty tests) so that less dice are needed in following turns.

I generally don’t like the idea of buying game, knowing I may have to house rule it to really enjoy it, but the theme, and core system of the game are so good, I’m willing to make an exception. Especially since, as you said, future fan made scenarios will likely be more forgiving.

Played The Climbers for the first time last night. After some initial snorts round the table of it looking like a kids toy, 40 tense minutes later the competitive frenzy left everyone looking forward to the next game. With it’s latest rerelease being by Simply Complex it oddly reminds me of the Estates/Neue Heimat. For all the difference in game play it shares some light rule set brutality and strong potential for king making and effective player elimination. Despite these flaws, it was really fun and nice to do something a little different.

Next up saw 2 new players inducted in to the world of Food Chain Magnate. One of the new players is really enthused and very excited to learn the strategies. I’m over the moon. With more people in to it, I’ll play more. The second successful intro game of that in reent weeks. Hopefully that means I’ll be able to play it lots.

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If you’re going to play Root with friends, I adore playing the Riverfolk. Their dependence on trade - actively collecting opponent warriors in exchange for services - can get a good deal of table negotiation going.

I think you can still pre-order the game and expansions via the Underworld expansion Kickstarter page. If your FLGS doesn’t have a copy, that’s an option. There’s also an official PnP version, if you’re up for that level of crafting.

Yeah, that. I also have the trouble where others assume that I - as the game-owner and rules-'splainer - am bound to win (ha!) and pummel me into the dirt while inadvertently assisting someone else to victory. You’d think they’d notice that I never win a game. Well, once. Almost never.

The board presence issue is tough, but the tendency for factions to score points at varying speeds is a sometimes difficult point to grasp, too. The Woodland Alliance and the Riverfolk can seem to lag behind for a long time before suddenly picking up the scoring pace. I’ve yet to try out the Lizard Cult, but I understand they can be even more extreme, potentially picking up 15 points (half the game’s win condition!) in a single good late-game turn.

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I was about to answer this with “no you dont”, but I looked up the rules and found you were correct

(I havent played the game yet, just gave the rules a squiz last night)

I keep forgetting to post in here, but at this point I’ll just say I’ve played a few games of Wildlands over the last week. I’ve only played 2P so far and in spite of that, I love it. I love it I love it I love it. I want to play more of it. Juicy choices, quick-n-dirty gameplay.

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Wildlands is great!!!

Out of curiosity, have you been playing with a full board?

We found strategically removing a section of location cards from the deck, really tighted it up.

Played my fortnightly game of Mouse Guard last night.

The system is really quite good, character generation is rather fun, you get to build in a lot of meaningful character depth via your abilities which is really cool.
Also being such a squishy thing makes combat harrowing to say the least. My mouse has seen some shit.

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I’m not seeing this in the rules. It looks like you roll all your dice, choose one without changing the face, then pass all the dice to the next player, who will reroll them. So you don’t know exactly what you’re passing, but you do know exactly what you’re picking.

We have just been playing straight up so far. I’m honestly pretty eager to shake it up with a restricted board, popping in the Adventurers as encounters, etc. but I’m going slow. This is a new type of game for my partner and she’s been enjoying it as-is so far, so I don’t want to jinx it. That said, she’s been getting the hang of the rhythm of the game and getting a little scrappier as a result, so it may be time to tighten it up.

I have to say though that even with a full board, going in knowing it’ll be a bit of a gem chase at 2P, it’s a riot. Once those gems go down at the beginning and the reveals start to happen, the mad dash is on and by the end of the game we’ve both had harrowing engagements, great escapes, huge ambushes and surprise plays, usually at least a few KOs and plenty of wound cubes across our characters.

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