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OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

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YellowKing
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by YellowKing » Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:00 pm

Guess I'll throw out my recap of what I played at GenCon for those not following that thread:

RENEGADE - This is the Ricky Royal designed co-op game about fighting evil server AI. We had a demo on Friday to learn the game and had a blast. It's got a pretty steep learning curve, but it basically boils down to buying cards and playing them to perform actions to help you achieve a certain number of objectives within three rounds. Whether the team accomplishes these objectives determines the setup of the next phase. It has elements of deck building, Pandemic-style enemy management, and Spirit Island (in the way that playing cards in a certain order can lead to really complex actions). Ton of fun and really high replay value due to the number of enemy AI included which vary in difficulty. Instantly went on my "must buy" list.

THUNDERBIRDS - We checked this out from the library on a whim, only because we were surprised to see Matt Leacock (Pandemic) as the designer. If the game of LIFE ever had a child with Pandemic, it may look something like this. Based on the old 1960s TV show THUNDERBIRDS, the game has you using the team and their vehicles Thunderbird 1-5 to stop disasters breaking out all over the world and completing objectives before The Hood takes over the world. The unique gimmick to this game is the vehicle mechanic. Each plastic car has a varied number of slots that a person "peg" can be placed into. They also have varying movement speeds. Disasters are thwarted by rolling dice, but you can get bonuses to add to the dice by having the right characters and vehicles in the right space. So the game becomes a puzzle of figuring out how to place which characters in which vehicles to move around and improve your chances of rolling high and stopping the disasters. This one was way more fun than we expected. It's similar mechanically to PANDEMIC, but quite a bit more puzzly. The theme was fun too. Not one I'm going out of my way to buy since we already have so many Pandemic-style games, but we had a great time with it.

FORBIDDEN SKY - Speaking of Matt Leacock, we hit the BGG Hot Games room early and snagged a copy of this follow-up to FORBIDDEN ISLAND and FORBIDDEN DESERT. In FORBIDDEN SKY, you are stranded with your team on a sky platform surrounded by storms with no way down. Your only hope is to build an electrical circuit to power a rocket that will allow you to escape. Those who are familiar with Island and Desert will instantly recognize the specialized character and tile-placement mechanics. However, FORBIDDEN SKY increases the complexity quite a bit. Not only do you have to worry about wind pushing you off the platform and causing your support rope to fray, you also have to worry about lightning.

To win, you must incorporate all electrical elements of your chosen difficulty into a complete circuit that will allow the rocket to blast off. To do this, you will be placing tiles so that they share at least one copper wire, and completing circular shapes to build your launch pad and other components. The really cool part, however, is that you have to physically link each component with actual "wires" (long or short blocks with metal conductors on the bottom) so that they complete an actual circuit to make the rocket light up. The interesting part about this is that you have a limited number of wires of the two different lengths, so not only do you have to worry about building the components, you have to build them in such a way that they can all reach each other.

This one was an absolute blast and easily my favorite of the FORBIDDEN series so far. Quite difficult (we lost twice on Novice!), and the whole electronic component to make the rocket actually light up and make sound was super cool. It comes with one of those little 3-volt lithium batteries which last forever, and it can be replaced. We were unable to snag a copy at GenCon, but it should be widely available this week. Highly recommended.

ONE DECK GALAXY - We decided to check this out as it's an unreleased follow-up to the ONE DECK DUNGEON series. The game was still in prototype mode with unfinished artwork and some hastily printed out sketchy rules. However, we were able to get enough of a feel for it to report back. Going in I was really afraid it would be a simple space-themed re-skin of ODD, but fortunately I was wrong.

In ODG, you're no longer fighting a dungeon/boss, but an alien race. This alien race gets more powerful every round, and when it has consumed 6 planets you lose. Your goal is to earn 50 points worth of "stuff" - skills, ships, tech, etc. before that happens. Gameplay is very similar to ODD in terms of rolling dice, placing them to cover blocks, etc. However, they introduced a really cool mechanic that mitigates one of the things I don't like about ODD - bad rolling. In ODG, bad rolls can be used to make Yahtzee style combos (doubles, triples, runs) to gain ships and tech. You'll need to do this some since many skills cost these items, but on the other hand every ship and tech you own is also reducing your deck size and causing the alien to get more powerful quicker. It's a delicate balancing act, but I really enjoyed it.

We won the game (barely - the alien had consumed 5 of 6 planets), so it felt pretty good. We talked to one of the designers and he said they had been steadily trending the difficulty upwards based on playtests, so it may get harder still. At any rate, I personally liked this MORE than ODD, even though I'm not a big sci-fi fan. The ability to convert bad rolls into potentially good stuff was a nifty hook. I believe he said this one should hit Kickstarter in October.

MECH FORCE ..something? - Unfortunately I can't remember the name of this one. Mech Force Assault or something like that. This was part of our "try a game in development" event and we had a blast. Got to sit down with the designer and play an extremely crude prototype of this semi-cooperative mech battle game. I say mechs, but it was more like PACIFIC RIM-style kaiju battle. The goal is to kill all the bad guys before they destroy the world. However, each mech wants the glory, so you have to balance calling on your team for aid with your personal quest to score the most points.

When you fight, you always have the option of going it alone or bringing in your teammates. However, if you die, the entire team loses. Also, the reward split has to be negotiated. A player doesn't HAVE to accept your offer, and this led to some really hilarious bargaining back and forth before battles. Rewards can be spent on upgrading your mech, which is necessary to fight more powerful monsters. So you have to worry about upgrading yourself, but also worry about not letting your teammates fall too far behind even though you're trying to beat them!

There's more mechanically going on here than it's worth getting into right now, but suffice it to say it was quite fun. Unlike a lot of semi-coop games that are just a full co-op game with a slapped on point value at the end, this one is TRUE semi-coop where you're constantly balancing the team's goals vs your own. It can get quite cutthroat.

This one is really early in the development process, but the designer said he hoped to have it on KS by the end of the year. Super nice guy and I wish him a lot of success with this one.

ELDRITCH HORROR - Part of my goal at GenCon was not only to try new games, but try older games on my wish list before I bought them. ELDRITCH HORROR has been on my list for awhile, but I never wanted to commit. Got a chance to play it and see for myself.

While I had a ton of fun with this one, my thought of playing this primarily solo was kind of dashed after our session. Just too many items and things to keep up with for each character. It's a fun game, but I think it would be more fun with more players. Since our group is already filled up with Arkham between ARKHAM HORROR: THE LCG and MANSIONS OF MADNESS, I'm probably going to pass for now.

LEGENDS OF ANDOR - This is another one that has been on my list for quite awhile, but I never pulled the trigger because some people love the puzzly aspect of it and some people hate it. Based on my playthrough, I really loved it. Had a blast with this one.

This one was also a nice end to our GenCon experience because as we were setting it up trying to figure out the rules, this random guy walked by and asked us if we needed some help. We invited him to sit down and he proceeded to teach us the game for over an hour, walking us through the first scenario. After talking to him, we found out that he's a GenCon veteran and after he sees everything he wants to see the first couple of days he just wanders the game hall and helps people learn stuff. I'd heard the feel-good stories of friendly gamers at GenCon, but to have that happen to us right before we left really closed things out on a high note.

I don't regret playing more "new" games at GenCon this year only because I felt like it was a bit of a down year anyway - at least for the co-op games our group is interested in. Also, we didn't know what to expect, so we tried to limit the number of events to give ourselves plenty of time to take it all in. Next time I go back, I'll probably make a more concerted effort to hit demos of newer stuff in the exhibition hall, something we didn't really do a lot of.

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by raydude » Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:44 pm

Cool writeup of Forbidden Sky. My daughter has Forbidden Island which she bought after playing it at school with some of her friends. I'm sure she'll love this one. And her younger sister will love the fact that the rocket lights up and makes sound.

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by coopasonic » Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:50 pm

YellowKing wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:00 pm
FORBIDDEN SKY - Speaking of Matt Leacock, we hit the BGG Hot Games room early and snagged a copy of this follow-up to FORBIDDEN ISLAND and FORBIDDEN DESERT. In FORBIDDEN SKY, you are stranded with your team on a sky platform surrounded by storms with no way down. Your only hope is to build an electrical circuit to power a rocket that will allow you to escape. Those who are familiar with Island and Desert will instantly recognize the specialized character and tile-placement mechanics. However, FORBIDDEN SKY increases the complexity quite a bit. Not only do you have to worry about wind pushing you off the platform and causing your support rope to fray, you also have to worry about lightning.

To win, you must incorporate all electrical elements of your chosen difficulty into a complete circuit that will allow the rocket to blast off. To do this, you will be placing tiles so that they share at least one copper wire, and completing circular shapes to build your launch pad and other components. The really cool part, however, is that you have to physically link each component with actual "wires" (long or short blocks with metal conductors on the bottom) so that they complete an actual circuit to make the rocket light up. The interesting part about this is that you have a limited number of wires of the two different lengths, so not only do you have to worry about building the components, you have to build them in such a way that they can all reach each other.

This one was an absolute blast and easily my favorite of the FORBIDDEN series so far. Quite difficult (we lost twice on Novice!), and the whole electronic component to make the rocket actually light up and make sound was super cool. It comes with one of those little 3-volt lithium batteries which last forever, and it can be replaced. We were unable to snag a copy at GenCon, but it should be widely available this week. Highly recommended.
I hadn't heard of this, but it is def going on my wish list. I think the kids would get a kick out of it. They've liked the other forbidden games, but they don't come out very often.

For the past couple weeks, my 8yo has been begging me to play Meteor with him. It's a cooperative real time card game where meteors are coming and you need to blow them up with rockets. Each player gets a hand of cards with rockets with different launch requirements (colors of fuel) and fuel cards and a launch pad. You play a card (fuel or rocket) to your launch pad and then all players can add cards to get a rocket and the necessary fuel to the launch pad and send it up to possibly destroy a meteor. Meteors can be size 1,2,3,4,5 and rockets can be 1,2,3,4,5, but the meteors are face down and only show the size range small (1-3) or big (3-5). When the rocket goes up you flip the card to see if you failed (rocket < meteor), destroyed it (rocket = meteor), or overkilled it (rocket > meteor). If you overkill, the meteor is destroyed but the round ends and the meteors get closer to earth... oh did I mention each round only lasts up to 1 minute? Did I forget to mention you aren't allowed to talk or show players your cards?

My son and I played the beginner game (talking and no timer). That made it pretty easy, but he still had a lot of fun and I thought it was pretty cool for a game I got for free at a convention. I might bring it in to play with the guys at work just to see how the real game plays out. On the plus side, it can't really take more than 5 minutes.

There are also technologies and things you can do to give you various abilities as we all as boss meteors you can add to increase the challenge... yes, boss meteors.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by hentzau » Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:01 pm

I’m a huge fan of Legends of Andor. Just be prepared to play some scenarios several times until you get lucky with some random item placements. It really makes a huge difference (at least in the first 3 scenarios).
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Punisher » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:06 pm

YellowKing wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:00 pm
Guess I'll throw out my recap of what I played at GenCon for those not following that thread:

MECH FORCE ..something? - Unfortunately I can't remember the name of this one. Mech Force Assault or something like that. This was part of our "try a game in development" event and we had a blast. Got to sit down with the designer and play an extremely crude prototype of this semi-cooperative mech battle game. I say mechs, but it was more like PACIFIC RIM-style kaiju battle. The goal is to kill all the bad guys before they destroy the world. However, each mech wants the glory, so you have to balance calling on your team for aid with your personal quest to score the most points.
If you remember the name of this game, let me know. I'm generally interested in all things Mech..
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by AWS260 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 7:20 am

AWARD-WINNING BOARD GAMER

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by YellowKing » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:00 am

Yes! Thanks AWS, that's it. Definitely a fun little game. Looking forward to seeing the final product.

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Punisher » Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:01 pm

AWS260 wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 7:20 am
Mech Force: International Defense League?
Thanks!
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Century: Eastern Wonders

Post by Moat_Man » Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:14 pm

Can it be? Moat_Girl and Moat_Boy actually agreed to play a game of Century: Eastern Wonders with me this weekend! It was our first play of this game but we'd all played Spice Road enough to grok the concepts pretty quickly. I think we all agreed we liked it more than Spice Road as the map gives the engine building you have to do more dimensions and everyone seemed to like the outpost placement/upgrades subgame quite a bit. Hopefully we can fit another game or two in before Moat_Girl goes off to university. :cry:
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Chrisoc13 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 9:21 pm

Played a ton of games recently, but haven't posted about much recently. One game in particular has been a blast lately though-

Container- This game is totally different then a lot of economic games. Instead of simulating an economy, you actually create an economy during the game. As the game implies it is all about shipping containers. You build containers, and then buy them, and then ship them to an island where you can buy them (in an auction) for your own little section of the island. The trick is you can't buy any of your own stuff at any point of for any of the actions. So you want to price it to make money, but also not too high as your neighbors can undercut you along the way. The game is really simple in terms of rules (only a couple pages of rules), but the economy it creates is really complicated.

I've played it a couple of times now since the kickstarter arrived last week and I love it. The components are truly amazing. Huge resin ships (7 inches long) with these nice resin containers that feel so good to handle. They fit nicely on the boats too. Totally not necessary, but completely awesome at the same time. Love this game. It's simple but so elegant.

Last week we were in Montreal where we found an awesome game store. Now all of their games were in French, so not all that useful to me, but they had a huge collection of games which was fun to look through, even if most of them I wouldn't be able to get. But I did find one game I have been looking for a while that is language independent. The Mind. This game... is almost more of an activity then a game, but it is unique and fun. The game is basically just a deck of cards from 1-100. You have multiple rounds (number is determined by the number of players). Each round each player is dealt the number of cards that the round is (for example 3 cards in round 3). The main rule is you are not allowed to talk, communicate, or signal at all. You have to play your cards in order without talking. If you succeed you move on to the next round. Somehow... it actually works. It's a good time.

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Blackhawk » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:06 pm

hepcat wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:53 pm
I think I mentioned my love of Sword and Sorcery a while ago.
I picked this up at GenCon (thank you, scratch-and-dent shelf!) I had no less than three booth operators afterward stop me and go on about how it was their favorite game (including the guys running Miniature Market and Van Ryder Games - I forget who the other was.)

Quick question for anyone who knows the game: I also grabbed the 'souls' box that gives you a ghostly blue version of each character to use when you're dead. All the character packs apparently come with them now, too.

I have two options with them: I can keep them as they are, maybe ghost them up a bit more, and use them for exactly that, or I can paint them up with the alternate versions of the regular heroes. I don't know the game yet, so I don't know which is the better choice. I could use some input - how much time do you actually spend dead? Is it worth keeping them around for that, or is it a thing that happens for one round once every couple of games?
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Blackhawk » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:18 pm

As an aside, the game seems amazing, but this has to be the worst box insert I've ever come across in a game. Once the pieces are punched, there is honestly no place to fit them into the box.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by hepcat » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:57 pm

Blackhawk wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:06 pm
I could use some input - how much time do you actually spend dead? Is it worth keeping them around for that, or is it a thing that happens for one round once every couple of games?
Not much, if you're smart enough. I'm apparently not as my last attempt at a solo game with 3 characters ended badly and two of my characters became ghosts about two thirds of the way through...and this was the first scenario from the first act. Normally though, you're not going to spend THAT much time dead. It's pure eye candy and doesn't really serve any purpose beyond a visual indicator that you are an icy blue ghost haunting the battlegrounds.
As an aside, the game seems amazing, but this has to be the worst box insert I've ever come across in a game. Once the pieces are punched, there is honestly no place to fit them into the box.
I tucked everything other than figures, cards and dice under the box insert (map tiles, tokens, etc.) and was pleasantly surprised at how it worked out. Of course, I now have 5 new characters and a big box expansion, so I may have to figure out a new method of storage.

Side note: I was annoyed to discover that the Arcane Portal big box expansion that finishes out Act I just contains the summoner/necromancer hero in different colors...including his summoned creatures. It literally is just a duplicate of that hero box when it comes to the baddies.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Blackhawk » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:03 pm

Thanks!

It was one of two games that I went into GenCon with the mindset, "This is this year's splurge." I was either going to get Conan, or this plus extras. I ended up with the base set, the Kurgan clone, the spirits, the doors pack, the coins, and two crit bags (one for the crits, one for the coins.)

It sounds like I will probably paint them as their alternates, then grab some pop rings from my D&D stuff for when they're ghosts (or use some of my transparent miniatures.)
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by YellowKing » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:38 pm

I really need to jump back into it but I've started the campaign three times and never got through Act 1. The learning curve is quite steep and figuring out all the combat modifiers eventually just overwhelms me.

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Blackhawk » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:06 pm

hepcat wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:57 pm

I tucked everything other than figures, cards and dice under the box insert (map tiles, tokens, etc.) and was pleasantly surprised at how it worked out. Of course, I now have 5 new characters and a big box expansion, so I may have to figure out a new method of storage.
I think I'm going to end up making something out of foamcore for the box, and will likely add a separate box for the miniatures, as I don't want to pack them tightly once they're painted.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Smoove_B » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:49 pm

Blackhawk wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:03 pm
I was either going to get Conan, or this plus extras.
Conan was $37.50 yesterday at Miniature Market. I'm still trying to comprehend that.

Either way, I also picked up Swords and Sorcery on the cheap and it just arrived today. I didn't even know about the ghost figures, so thanks for asking a question I didn't even know about yet (and getting an answer).

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Blackhawk » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:32 pm

Smoove_B wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:49 pm
Blackhawk wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:03 pm
I was either going to get Conan, or this plus extras.
Conan was $37.50 yesterday at Miniature Market. I'm still trying to comprehend that.
:shock:

Damn, damn, damn. Even though I blew my game budget, I still would have jumped on that!
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by hepcat » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:42 pm

YellowKing wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:38 pm
I really need to jump back into it but I've started the campaign three times and never got through Act 1. The learning curve is quite steep and figuring out all the combat modifiers eventually just overwhelms me.
It’s definitely not a game you can take long periods away from and then return and pick up where you left off. The learning curve prevents that. But I’ve grown used to such things in this hobby of ours.

It’s best to just buckle down and play it all the way through over the space of a few weeks. Once you get back into the swing of it, the rules are pretty intuitive.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by YellowKing » Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:17 am

I've been messing around with Nemo's War some more. Figured out a few rules I botched the first time around, but it's slowly starting to click. One thing that helped immensely was reading some of the strategy threads over at BGG. Alan (designer of 2nd edition) and Wes (lead playtester) are very active over there and have provided a ton of insight into how to be successful.

I'll spoiler it in case anyone wants to discover this on their own but one of the key bits of advice is:
Spoiler:
Understanding how ship placement works. As Alan pointed out, the only truly mandatory ship placement is the first condition of putting a hidden ship in an empty spot in the ocean you rolled. After that, the player is given choices (hidden ship in this ocean OR an adjacent ocean, reveal a ship in this ocean OR an adjacent ocean).

Utilizing careful ship placement is key in building the board to your advantage, and allowing you to pick off weaker ships one by one instead of being overrun by warships. Because I missed this, I also missed out on the key strategy of not attacking hidden ships if you're Science or Explore. You're exposing yourself to risk for no reason.
Anyway I'm having a ton of fun with the game and I just love the theme. I put on a good nautical soundtrack and go to town. It even inspired me to start re-reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Also, thanks hep on the words of advice for S&S. I may set aside some time this winter when life settles down to just focus on knocking it out.

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by AWS260 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:22 am

YellowKing wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:17 am
It even inspired me to start re-reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Same here! It inspired me to read the real 20,000 Leagues for the first time, since I had only read a children's edition when I was a wee lad.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by hepcat » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:08 pm

FFG and their mysterious "Discover Lands Unknown" page. I wonder if they're trying for a 7th Continent game after it's successful kickstarter runs.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by AWS260 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:35 pm

hepcat wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:08 pm
FFG and their mysterious "Discover Lands Unknown" page. I wonder if they're trying for a 7th Continent game after it's successful kickstarter runs.
Discover: Lands Unknown.
Whether you're playing by yourself or with up to four players, your ultimate goal in Discover: Lands Unknown is to survive—but your adventure holds many of its own secrets. As a Unique Game, every copy of Discover: Lands Unknown is unlike any other in the world. The unique mix of environments, characters, storylines, items, and enemies in each copy of Discover means that your own adventures will play out very differently than your friend's copy of the game. No matter where you find yourself, you'll need to survive and uncover the reasons why you've awoken, trapped in the wilderness. Whether survival means cooperation or competition is completely up to you!
***
While mechanics and some common components like meeples will be the same in every copy of the game, the vast majority of the cards, tiles, and tokens in your box will be randomized, selected from a vast pool of possible components. When you open your copy of Discover: Lands Unknown, you can never be sure what you'll find inside, and the combination will be different from every other copy in the world.
***
Everything that you encounter on your adventure, from your pool of survivors, to the enemies that you encounter, to the tools at your disposal, to the very environment itself, can be changed, with every copy of Discover: Lands Unknown presenting an experience unique to you. While some groups will find themselves marooned on a desolate island with mysterious creatures roaming the night, others may be trapped in the mountains, just trying to stay warm enough to survive.
Hmm.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Smoove_B » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:01 pm

I'm not totally sure about this. While the "unique game" idea sounds interesting, I don't know how it will actually work in practice. How do you balance or play test something with that level of randomness? I'm watching, but it's not an insta-buy for me.

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by hepcat » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:12 pm

I like the concept of it, but the practice of it sounds way too gimmicky. Just my luck the "unique" part of my copy would be that it was missing half the contents. When I bitch about it, FFG would just tell me it's part of the experience.

Or the subject of my game won't be something exciting like surviving against monsters in the dark, but rather a trip to the grocery store where I have to purchase asparagus...with exact change.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by YellowKing » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:56 pm

Yeah, my gut feeling is that the way you balance it is by making each card a Mad Lib.

You've been attacked by <blank>. Take 2 damage and lose 1 stamina.

Yetis!
Lumberjacks!
Killer bees!
Liberals!

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Chrisoc13 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:30 pm

I'm in. Looks interesting enough to be worth trying.

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by AWS260 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:59 pm

Tonight we tried The Metagame, a pop culture party game. It's sort of like Apples to Apples, if you've played that. Players try to match "culture" cards, each with a cultural icon like Beethoven's Fifth or Twister, to an "opinion" card (for example, "Feels like first love"). Other players judge whether or not you've made an acceptable match.

The box includes several different rulesets for different player counts and play styles. We tried Matchmaker, which is the basic game, and ThinkAlike, in which two players try to pick the same matches from a variety of choices.

I don't play many party games, so I'm probably not the best judge, but this was solid fun, and I think it would work well with non-gamers.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by YellowKing » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:38 am

We finished up the third case of DETECTIVE: A MODERN CRIME STORY last night. While we had a blast with it, I do have some thoughts on the final report/scoring section of the game. I'm putting it in spoiler tags below just in case anyone doesn't want to know anything about the scoring, but there are NO plot points or anything about the content of the game in the spoilers.
Spoiler:
So last night we did TERRIBLY (or at least thought we did). We felt like we made absolutely no progress towards the goal of the case. At the end of each case you have to answer a series of multiple choice questions called The Final Report, and you are graded on how many you get correct. Expecting to fail miserably, we were shocked when we wound up getting the highest score we've had to date, solving the case with an EXCELLENT rating.

This brought up an interesting question - did we "deserve" our high score? On one hand the argument could be made that because the questions are multiple choice, lucky guesses could give you a higher score than you actually deserve. One of our group argued that this was the case, as if we had answered truthfully on certain questions (i.e. one of the options on most questions is "I don't know.") then we would have failed the case.

I argued the opposing viewpoint. Part of answering a multiple choice test is being able to eliminate answers you know are wrong. And for many of the questions we could eliminate one or more choices definitively based on clues we had gathered in the case. By that reasoning, even if we guessed at the answer, it was an educated guess based on our investigative efforts, and should therefore be rewarded.

It does seem to me that the designers anticipated this dilemma, because correct answers give you points, incorrect answers SUBTRACT points, and answers of "I don't know" give you zero points. So any time you attempt to answer a question you're not 100% sure of, you are taking a big risk. I feel that this was their way or rewarding educated guesses but punishing random guesses.

At any rate, we were REALLY happy to finally get a decent rating. Win or lose, it was still a fascinating and fun time.

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by YellowKing » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:06 pm

My experience with TOO MANY BONES tonight.

Encounter 1: Success
Encounter 2: Massive success!
Encounter 3: Kickin' ass!
Encounter 4: Luck was on my side!
Encounter 5: I'm unstoppable!
Encounter 6: My skill tree is a thing of beauty!
Encounter 7: I might be a god
Encounter 8: I feel almost embarrassed at how good I am at this game
Encounter 9: Chip Theory would weep tears of joy at seeing how successfully I've mastered their game
Encounter 10: Drellen kills me in two hits. Game over, thanks for playing! :grund:

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by baelthazar » Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:40 pm

I am playing my first round (solo) of Too Many Bones as well. I feel like I am constantly referring to the manual for minutiae and struggle with the layout of the manual. I love the components, I like the concept of the game, and I love the theme of both TMB and Holomachus, but I feel like their rules always leave out or obscure a key point.

For example, in Hoplomachus Origins, you fight over three rounds in three different arenas. The rules say, when a gladiator is killed he is taken out of the game. What is not clear is if they define "game" as the total three rounds (meaning if you lose two gladiators in arena 1, your roster is down two men for arena 2) or if "game" means just that current round (and you are back up to your full roster when you get to the next arena).

Similarly, in TMB, I feel like key stuff is obscured or at least organized strangely. Examples - does locking a defense die remove it from your dice pool (yes, unless it is being used in your backup plan, which is no). Does the "Hardy" trait mean that the baddie can only take 1 point of damage no matter how many attack or skill die you roll, or does it take only 1 damage from each die (I think it only takes 1 damage no matter what)? When I scout during the recovery phase and get to reveal "up to a 5-point baddie" does that mean I can reveal and reorder five 1-point baddies (I think so, but I am not clear)? It is little stuff like this that I had issues with as I played. It also took me some time to grok the lockpicking minigame.

I still think TMB is pretty awesome (although I think I prefer Hoplomachus), but I really need to watch the learn to play videos out there, which irritates me a little (I normally can learn a game from reading the manual).

The good news is, I feel like I can leave my in progress game of TMB out on the table in my gated (from the 2-year old) office. The components are so solid, nothing should hurt them.

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by YellowKing » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:41 pm

baelthazar wrote:When I scout during the recovery phase and get to reveal "up to a 5-point baddie" does that mean I can reveal and reorder five 1-point baddies (I think so, but I am not clear)?
I can at least answer that one. No, you only scout one baddie at a time. So "up to a 5-point baddie" means a 1 point baddie OR a 5 point baddie.

There are many instances where you'd want to scout the lower of the two. Depending on your BQ points, for instance, you may not be seeing a 5 point baddie in the next encounter so it's far better use to scout the 1 point.

I was a little confused as well when I first read through the rulebook, but watching a playthrough helped immensely. I wound up getting hooked on Rolling Solo's solo campaign and watched all 15 or so in the series. By the time I sat down to play, I pretty much knew it backwards and forwards.

The only instances where I've had a bit of confusion is in vague stuff like your "Hardy" example. I've had to look a couple of those up on BGG.

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:40 am

YellowKing wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:06 pm
My experience with TOO MANY BONES tonight.

Encounter 1: Success
Encounter 2: Massive success!
Encounter 3: Kickin' ass!
Encounter 4: Luck was on my side!
Encounter 5: I'm unstoppable!
Encounter 6: My skill tree is a thing of beauty!
Encounter 7: I might be a god
Encounter 8: I feel almost embarrassed at how good I am at this game
Encounter 9: Chip Theory would weep tears of joy at seeing how successfully I've mastered their game
Encounter 10: Drellen kills me in two hits. Game over, thanks for playing! :grund:
I lol'd. I don't know the game, but something tells me there were too many bones. Or not enough. One thing's for sure, bones were your downfall.

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by AWS260 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:33 pm

This weekend I broke out Hands in the Sea, a Kickstarter that arrived on my doorstep last week. It's a card-driven wargame set during the First Punic War between Rome and Carthage, inspired by A Few Acres of Snow but a step or two more complex.

Like A Few Acres of Snow, players have cards that represent specific locations on the board, and other cards that provide resources or special abilities. As you expand your empire, your deck becomes more bloated, and the most useful cards show up less and less frequently.

Hands in the Sea layers on three new mechanics to complicate decision-making:

1. Sea zones and naval combat -- In addition to the land territories, the board has four sea zones, and each player has a single fleet. If you occupy a sea zone unopposed, then you can pillage nearby enemy settlements and potentially cut off their supply lines.

2. Random event cards -- Periodic events will randomly affect one of the players. They're usually bad -- storms devastating your fleet, settlements rebelling, political bureaucracy gumming up your plans.

3. Strategy cards -- Each player can have one Strategy card in play at a time. These grant specific ongoing bonuses. For example, the Celtic Allies card grants a +1 bonus in all land combats, while the Administration card grants actions to help manage your deck.

The net result is a steeper learning curve than Acres. This was evident when I played with my son, who had quickly grasped Acres earlier this year but was frustrated by Hands in the Sea. We ended up cutting our game short (at 6 turns out of 12). At that point, Carthage (son) was leading on victory points, thanks to some rapid early expansion, but Rome (me) had built a lean military machine and was poised to dominate.

Later I played a complete game against myself. It followed a similar trajectory to the first game, with Carthage expanding quickly and Rome focusing on military strength, but this time Rome couldn't catch up, and Carthage won by a large margin.

The overall gameplay is rock-solid and I love the theme, but it will take a few more plays before I really "get" the strategic decision space. There are major strategic options that I haven't explored at all -- for example, I rarely employed my fleets, Rome barely set foot on Corsica and Sardinia, and neither power attempted to take the opponent's home territories.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by AWS260 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:42 pm

Last night I checked our FLGS' weekly open gaming night for the first time. I played an epic 4-player game of Inis, which lasted nearly 4 hours. I didn't win, but had a great time. Will definitely have to go back for more in future weeks.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by YellowKing » Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:03 pm

We finished up the campaign of DETECTIVE: A MODERN CRIME BOARD GAME tonight.

Great campaign and our group really enjoyed it. We wound up solving 4 out of 5 cases, failing only the first case. That was largely due to not knowing how the game really worked. Once we became comfortable with the gameplay we managed to actually improve on our score every single case.

That's not to say the game is easy. Even on the cases we solved there were often aspects of the case we had to take best guesses at and use the process of elimination. But the game is designed to not only reward you for the information you uncover, but also on your ability to rule out wrong answers.

PROS:

- Extremely immersive.

- One of the most cooperative games we've ever played. Literally every decision had to be agreed upon by the group, and those decisions sometimes got contentious. However, time is not on your side in this game, and every move is crucial. Every wasted hour can be devastating. The combination of the stakes being so high but everyone's input being so important really made for one of the most satisfying co-op experiences we've ever had.

- Each case, while tying into a meta-narrative, feels different enough not to get redundant.

- We all agreed that the game never tries to trick you or play unfairly. Yes, there are red herrings. Yes there are leads that are less valuable than others. But ultimately if you use and trust the clues, you will prevail. We hurt ourselves a couple of times by overthinking things, imagining the designers as some nefarious dungeon masters that were trying to screw us over. This isn't the case. All the info is there to solve the case if you use your noggin.

CONS:

- The writing can get a little hokey and over-descriptive. I didn't mind it so much, but I've seen it tossed out there as a complaint. Just roll with it. The overall plot is good enough to outweigh any stilted prose, and it didn't hurt our enjoyment of the game at all.

- This isn't a "con" per se, but I still feel you really need the right group for this one. Look around and think to yourself, "Would these guys have my back in an escape room?" If the answer is yes, then it's probably a good fit. You need people who like puzzles, are good note-takers, pay good attention to detail, etc. You also need people who work well in a group setting - ie, willing to speak up and participate. If you're just being a passive wallflower, you're not going to have nearly as much fun.

As far as campaign length goes, there are 5 cases and each one took us 3-4 hours. YMMV depending on how your group dynamic works, but we took our time, took notes, drew mind maps, discussed, etc. So we got a good 20 hours or so out of it. Here's hoping it does well enough that we get a sequel.

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Blackhawk » Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:11 am

I'm guessing that it doesn't have a lot of replayability. How many 'cases' are there?
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by wonderpug » Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:45 am

YellowKing wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:03 pm
- The writing can get a little hokey and over-descriptive. I didn't mind it so much, but I've seen it tossed out there as a complaint. Just roll with it. The overall plot is good enough to outweigh any stilted prose, and it didn't hurt our enjoyment of the game at all.
I wanted to talk to you about the overdescriptive text, so I sat down at my desk to type. To my right was a paper bag with my lunch in it. From the bag I pulled out a sandwich and a small bag of chips. As I went to open the bag of chips I found that it was upside-down. I turned it right side up before opening it. I wonder how many people make sure their bag of chips is the right way up before opening it? Probably most. Outside the window I could see an argument brewing between two people who in no way relate to any cases I'm working on. But first back to the kind of sandwich I'm eating.

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by YellowKing » Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:56 am

Blackhawk wrote:I'm guessing that it doesn't have a lot of replayability. How many 'cases' are there?
5 main cases and one downloadable "introductory" case. And no, not much replayability. It's best to approach this as a one-shot "legacy" game that is one and done.
wonderpug wrote:I wanted to talk to you about the overdescriptive text, so I sat down at my desk to type.
One of the running jokes was how often our characters "grabbed something to eat" in the middle of chasing a lead. "You wait idly for the lab results to come in, but the techs seem to be in no hurry. You walk downstairs to get a cup of coffee and a sandwich." Cue eye rolls around the table. :D

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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by YellowKing » Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:25 pm

Finally got around to playing one of those EXIT escape-room-in-a-box-type games. This one was "Forgotten Island." Since my wife and I had already successfully done a real escape room, I went with a middle tier difficulty. BIG MISTAKE!

I vastly underestimated how difficult this was going to be. Caveat - we took it over to another couple's house who aren't really big gamers and had never done an escape room, so we did have some newbies in the mix. On the other hand, I consider myself pretty good at puzzles and this one had me stumped on more than one occasion.

The general overview (at least for this one - I'm assuming it's similar for others in the series) is that you're tasked with solving riddles to unlock various objects which in turn give you new riddles and new objects to unlock. This is done through a series of Riddle Cards, Answer Cards, and a decoder wheel. Riddle cards give clues which lead to a 3-symbol code that you put in the decoder wheel. That will take you to an Answer Card that you reveal to see if you were correct. If you get it right, you "unlock" the object and get more Riddle cards and/or other special pieces. There is a clever deck mechanism in play here so that merely guessing isn't a viable option. Also like actual escape rooms, you won't necessarily have all the clues you need for a puzzle, and may have to work on several puzzles at once until you find one that you can complete to give you more clues.

There's also a hint mechanism so that you can get up to two hints and the solution for each puzzle. These do subtract from your score at the end, however. Our final score was pretty much the lowest of the low. Took us 2+ hours and we still wound up using most of the hints. Ouch!

On the plus side, though, most of the puzzles were really clever and we had a good time. This is a one and done game because you will be marking on, folding, and tearing components. However, I think the price point is certainly fair. We got an evening's worth of entertainment out of it for $13, which is far cheaper than an actual escape room.

I would definitely be up for trying another one, but I think I'll leave my over-confidence at home and go with a Novice level. I'm sure as you do more and more of these you start getting in the heads of the designers and get better at them. I'm curious to try one of the Unlocked series next, to see if and how it differs.

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