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OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

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

Post by Zarathud »

Car Wars is on the truck to me. Oooh yea.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by hepcat »

The guy running our demo at origins was the main designer behind this sixth edition of Car Wars. It was interesting hearing him explain design decisions while we played. I will say I hope they release a mall map at some point. That was our favorite back in the day.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Skinypupy »

Got a couple friends coming over tonight, and they want to play Star Wars Outer Rim. Looking forward to it, as I've really only played solo (which is meh).

I was reviewing the rules and realized I have been playing Reputation completely wrong in this game. When a card said to gain or lose reputation with a faction, I thought that meant the slider moved up or down only one of the tiny green or red notches. Just realized that there are only three zones on the slider: top (positive), middle (neutral), and bottom (negative). You move it all the way into one of those zones each time the game tells you to change reputation. I was only moving it up or down one tiny notch, which meant it rarely ever moved into a different zone.

I was wondering why reputation so seldom had any impact in my solo games. Makes so much more sense now!
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Daveman »

I still enjoy Pandemic now and then. It's a good solo game and a neat little tactical puzzle to figure out. I like Fall of Rome better but haven't tried any other versions.

I picked up Wrath of the Lich King the other day. I don't know why Target is selling it for $10 over the MSRP but I got Target to price match it so I only paid $56 factoring in their Red Card bonus.

So far I like it a lot. They've nailed the WoW theme and WotLK was my favorite expansion so that was an easy sell. It plays a lot differently than normal Pandemic. The biggest 2 changes are:

1. Players have hit points and the crucial actions you take (Fighting and Questing) often involve taking damage. The penalty for dying is pretty harsh overall (although you do respawning at full health) so there's an ebb and flow to the game as you have to use actions to heal now and then, and heals can fizzle and do very little.

2. The core victory mechanic of Pandemic (get players to amass enough matching cards so they can turn them in to cure diseases/ally with tribes, etc.) is replaced with a questing system. It's very different, semi-dice/luck driven but there's some card play and chances for players to team up. Overall I like it.

There's only 1 loss condition, the Despair track. If it reaches the end, game over. Players dying advances the track, having to add a 4th Ghoul to a location advances the track... but so far for us the killer has been that if you have to spawn a Ghoul or an Abomonation and there are none in the supply, you advance the track.

The catch is there are only 3 Abomonations, and they're relatively hard to kill... so you really need to keep them at bay.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by YellowKing »

Having played every iteration of Pandemic so far, I'm looking forward to trying that one out!

Tonight I finally got in a 3-player game of HORRIFIED: AMERICAN MONSTERS. Being veteran HORRIFIED players, we decided to go standard 3 monsters with 3 random players. We wound up defeating Mothman but ran out of time trying to take out the Chupacabra and Jersey Devil.

Gameplay-wise, there's not much new here - the same basic rules apply. However, there are a few key differences overall:

- Monsters, on the whole, are a bit more complex. Chupacabra, for instance, despite being one of the lowest complexity monsters, still makes you collect 6 specific goat tokens on the board (that come out randomly) and "save" them by returning them to the farm. Compare that to the lowest complexity monster in base HORRIFIED (Dracula), in which you just had to go to four locations and smash a coffin. Mothman was a bit easier in that you only had to arm four traps and then lure him into one - however it still required some manipulation of monster movement. Jersey Devil was by far the most complex (and frustrating), as you had to take actions at City Hall to get citizens on the board. Once you got a citizen "home" you got to uncover a clue. Uncover three clues, and you can determine who the Jersey Devil is disguising himself as. THEN you have to get to that citizen's location, lure the Jersey Devil there, and defeat him. All the while, the Jersey Devil can potentially remove clues that you've uncovered. He was TOUGH.

- Components are a bit different. The item tokens are much larger now, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Cards in general are still pretty flimsy, but that was an issue in the first game as well. They include a new velcro-closable plastic draw bag, but I prefer the cloth bag in the original. The minis are nicer, however.

- The map is a bit more complex. While it has some of the same general layout, there are more locations, and more dead end spots where you can get stuck. It's neither better or worse, just different, and it was a pleasant surprise that they didn't just reskin the original game board exactly.

Overall I really enjoyed it, and look forward to seeing the other monsters. Do you need this one if you own HORRIFIED? Well, no, unless the theme appeals to you more OR (like me), you've played HORRIFIED so much that you want new content. I would still definitely recommend base HORRIFIED over this one for new players. Not only is it a bit simpler, the rulebook is MUCH better in the base game. I don't know who proofread the rules for American Monsters, but the rulebook is filled with typos, isn't laid out as nicely as the original, and uses an annoying font that is boring and hard to read. If you can get past that, though, it's just as much fun as the original with maybe a slight increase in difficulty.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Skinypupy »

Wow, Outer Rim is a completely different game with a group than it is solo. I got really bored of it solo, but it was an absolute blast playing with a group. The dynamics of dealing, scheming, and working against other players is completely missing in the solo version, and it feels very stale and dull as a result. Playing in a group was fan-damn-tastic.

Both guys I played with had ordered it off Amazon by the time they left. :lol:
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by AWS260 »

Is there a way to make Cosmic Encounter less like Munchkin? I just wrapped up a game, and while it was bonkers and fun, the last 90 minutes felt like an endless carousel of bash-the-leader.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Blackhawk »

*Quietly removes Cosmic Encounter from his wishlist*
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by baelthazar »

Blackhawk wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 9:17 am *Quietly removes Cosmic Encounter from his wishlist*
I feel like I know you well enough to say, absolutely you wouldn't like Cosmic Encounter. My dad once played it with my group of guys and said "This is a game where you have to embrace the chaos."

Literally no plans go unscathed. The alien powers create havoc with every rule in the game (you learn the rules solely so you know how the alien powers are going to break them). You absolutely have to gang up on the leader, if you can (where you can attack is often random, but that is also highly variable). I've gone from the brink of victory to last place in a round (and vice-versa). I love the game, with the right group, but it is another one of those "loved it then but likely not as much after seeing new game mechanics" types.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by LordMortis »

AWS260 wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:14 am Is there a way to make Cosmic Encounter less like Munchkin? I just wrapped up a game, and while it was bonkers and fun, the last 90 minutes felt like an endless carousel of bash-the-leader.
Don't play with more than 4 people and don't play with a gazillion rules. I've been in never ending six player games. As a result, I haven't played in well over 20 years and am not likely to play again for much the same reason as you describe. I'd get distracted two hours into an 8 player game full of everything cosmic and I wouldn't want to throw the game and ruin other's fun. So I just quit playing. "Oh it's a Cosmic night? Cool. Have fun. I'm off to something else."
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by coopasonic »

This is the big departure point between Tom Vasel and I. He is generally a really good predictor of what I will like but this was his #1 (last time I watched his best of all time videos, which was years ago). Cosmic Encounter is on the list of games that would likely have me walk out of a game night. Games where I murder prostitutes? No problem. Games where I run a Nazi POW camp? Sure thing. Games with politics? GTFO.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Zarathud »

Cutthroat games like Cosmic need a group dynamic that works. You’re going to see the game end because of emotions to dogpile more than is needed, so a group that plays into that is more fun. Even if you’re the usual target.

One friend who hasn’t played in a while is perfect in those chaotic games — he plays to impact the game not to win. He’s like a walking time bomb. And you never know who he’ll explode on, but he will implode to do something interesting.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by LordMortis »

coopasonic wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 3:35 pm Games with politics? GTFO.
Zarathud wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:20 pm . Even if you’re the usual target.
Raises hand.

Also our group who previously played way too much CE to eventually burn me out for life will often move to become too competitive to "embrace the chaos" which is often an approach I like in gaming. Simply loving to watch a game play out irrespective of the winner. CE is made for that dynamic but competition takes over aided politics.

In that vein a chunk of our gaming group of days gone by loved Diplomacy. A great big GTFO to that one.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Smoove_B »

Zarathud wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:20 pm One friend who hasn’t played in a while is perfect in those chaotic games — he plays to impact the game not to win. He’s like a walking time bomb. And you never know who he’ll explode on, but he will implode to do something interesting.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by baelthazar »

LordMortis wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:26 pm In that vein a chunk of our gaming group of days gone by loved Diplomacy. A great big GTFO to that one.
I won't likely ever play Diplomacy again. I used to love it in college. But it takes 9 hours and everyone goes home mad. I have only seen one game of it actually END.

I don't think of Cosmic Encounters as a "politics" game though. You have painfully few options on making deals (unless you use Negotiate cards). You don't even get to decide who you attack (normally). It is more of, as said above, a "spoiler" game - where the fun comes from throwing grenades at other players' plans in interesting ways.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by wonderpug »

Well there's a Thunder Road Kickstarter up and running. I have really fond memories of playing the original when I was a kid... but that got me into the Fireball Island Kickstarter, which I found to be a resounding 'just ok'. I found myself more interested in replaying the original than the remake.

But on the other hand, new Thunder Road is new and shiny.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Isgrimnur »

baelthazar wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:39 pm
LordMortis wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:26 pm In that vein a chunk of our gaming group of days gone by loved Diplomacy. A great big GTFO to that one.
I won't likely ever play Diplomacy again. I used to love it in college. But it takes 9 hours and everyone goes home mad. I have only seen one game of it actually END.
There are so many stalemate lines to grind it to a halt.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Blackhawk »

baelthazar wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 3:08 pm
Blackhawk wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 9:17 am *Quietly removes Cosmic Encounter from his wishlist*
I feel like I know you well enough to say, absolutely you wouldn't like Cosmic Encounter. My dad once played it with my group of guys and said "This is a game where you have to embrace the chaos."
To be fair, I like some games like that. Fluxx. Galaxy Trucker. They're designed around embracing chaos and having your plans ruined. What you described, though, is the reason I won't touch Munchkin with a ten-foot pole anymore. It's the reason that I put my copy on the highest shelf at the back, where nobody whose turn it was to pick a game would notice it (I'd still play it if they asked because courtesy, but I didn't have to remind them of it...) I just had one too many games go on for tedious hour after hour because it reached a point where nobody could win, where every time someone got to level 8, they'd get knocked back down, over and over, endlessly.

There are two kinds of games I really dislike, those which drag on until everyone agrees that [whoever] won just so they can stop playing, and long games where the winner is determined in the first quarter of the game and the rest is just going through the motions. An honorable mention for long games where you can be eliminated early, causing one player to have to sit out the evening's entertainment.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by hentzau »

wonderpug wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:49 pm Well there's a Thunder Road Kickstarter up and running. I have really fond memories of playing the original when I was a kid... but that got me into the Fireball Island Kickstarter, which I found to be a resounding 'just ok'. I found myself more interested in replaying the original than the remake.

But on the other hand, new Thunder Road is new and shiny.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Anonymous Bosch »

AWS260 wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:14 am Is there a way to make Cosmic Encounter less like Munchkin? I just wrapped up a game, and while it was bonkers and fun, the last 90 minutes felt like an endless carousel of bash-the-leader.
Granted, there are some 'gotcha' mechanics. But unlike Munchkin, if you negotiate and learn how to play Cosmic Encounter well, better players can and do rise to the top over multiple plays. Sure, some aliens are outright better, and some hands of cards will be outright better than others. But you begin to develop a feel for the intense negotiation, bluffing and, more often than not, comical chicanery Cosmic Encounter inspires. This is what makes it much more amusing and entertaining to play than Munchkin. I've heard it described as the board game equivalent of a game of chaotic space poker with a mind-boggling array of deliberately-unbalanced alien races/powers, all with a wicked sense of humour. Sometimes you get a bad beat, sometimes you got the nuts. But with experience, better players will triumph. Also, by virtue of the Destiny Deck, you cannot choose who you are having an encounter with, which helps significantly diminish the lingering "gang up" resentment of other free-for-all style games.

The key to Cosmic Encounter is that it's a game played 'above the table,' so to speak, akin to Werewolf and the like. Most of the game is really being played through the table-talk you have with the others at your table:

"Trust me, I want to be peaceful with you. Let's negotiate."

"Nah, I'm really not winning here, it only looks that way -- see, if you look at Bob over there, he's going to do x or y, and win like the sneaky Filch that he is."

"Lend me your support here, and I'll give you x, y, or z in the future. Last time I was stuck with a terrible hand of cards, and needs must when the Warp drives."


If hollering deceptive table-talk bluffs like those above at your friends sounds like fun, then stick with it and you can absolutely learn to enjoy playing the game, and learn to play it well.

For me, Cosmic Encounter is fun whether I win or lose -- not because I don't care about winning, but because so much of the game is about capitalizing upon the hand you've been dealt. I think some people often do not focus sufficiently on how much Cosmic Encounter uses its hand management and card drawing system to inspire tension and creative play. Because your randomly dealt hand of cards is unchangeable until you run out of encounter cards, which could be the entire game. Once you grok that there are attack cards ranging anywhere from 0 to 40 strength, you realise that it's really not a numbers game. It doesn't matter what strength you have, it matters what strength everyone thinks you have.

This creates other interesting problems. For example, say I have two attack cards left in my hand, a 0 and a 40. I can choose to use the 40, and attempt to simply force a win all by myself. I won't invite any allies to join in my attack because I may be able to win without them, and I don't want to help other players score easy foreign colonies (Victory Points). But what if my opponent gets allies, and plays a Morph card? Then they will outnumber me. So, maybe I'd better get some allies, more than them at least. Or I could save the 40, and play the 0 instead. But then I'm sure to lose. Or perhaps I could cozy up to the other player, and convince them I'm going to try to negotiate. An attack card, no matter how small, always beats a Negotiate. That would be a crafty way of flushing the 0 out of my hand. To support this lie, I'll only put forth one ship into the encounter, as a sign of good faith on the proposed -- yet deceitful -- negotiation. And so on, and so forth…

So, that's a simple example of how hand management and the card drawing system can help inspire imaginative above the table play. But the hand management aspect goes deeper than many give it credit for, especially when playing with full Flares and Artifacts. Because then each hand also becomes a mini puzzle. Unless you're dealt ALL encounter cards, there's almost always a little trick you can pull off with card combos and card/alien combos that the game does not explicitly state. No two games are ever the same, so you feel clever sussing those out, and it's very satisfying to win encounters with them.

The point being, the whole system is designed to inspire hilarious (yet often clever and amusingly devious) tactics of posturing, table-talk, and negotiation. That said, getting into the game can be awkward for some. The first game can often also go quite slowly, as you get used to the game mechanics. So, if this was your first attempt at playing Cosmic Encounter, you may find it useful to watch the SU&SD playthrough or No Rolls Barred playthrough of the game to help develop a better sense of how it's done.
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