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OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

All discussions regarding Board, Card, and RPG Gaming, including industry discussion, that don't belong in one of the other gaming forums.

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Chrisoc13
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Chrisoc13 » Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:41 pm

Haven't posted here much recently but a couple of games I've been playing recently that I've enjoyed.

First up is a reprint via kickstarter of the heavier variety- Container (the 10th anniversary edition). This game is pure economics. First a shout out to the controversial production. It is a beautiful version of the game. The ships are a good 7 inches in length and heavy. Totally unnecessary which of course has turned euro players off to a clearly euro economic game, but I love them. They are just plain fun to play with. Of course they also increase the price of the game as well. But I love them. Controversy aside, I love this game. In it you can never push your own things along. Your goal is to have the most money at the end of the game by adding up the value of your containers on your island (everyone has different container values due to hidden individual goals) and your cash on hand at the end. You produce containers, then price them. You can then purchase these containers from other players and price them for shipping on the dock. Then you can load up your boat at other player's docks with their containers and take them to the island for an auction, where everyone but you bids on the items to get them into their portion of the island. Every step of the way the decisions are driven by if other players will or will not buy your items and move them on. Since you can't buy your own items you want other people to take the things you want to the island. Does that mean that you price things you want low so they make it there? Maybe. But all in all it's a tricky economic game where there isn't a straightforward way to just win. I love that the game doesn't simulate an economy, it actually creates an economy. Played it two times in the last couple of weeks at 4 players and it has been a huge hit. Certainly worthy of a place in my collection.

The other somewhat random game I've recently been playing is somewhat of a surprise... Villainous. This one is a licensed Disney game that kind of came out of nowhere. It's an asymmetric game where each player takes the role of a Disney Villain. The game comes with 6 villains, classic villains from Disney. Captain Hook, Prince Jon, Ursula, Maleficent, Jafar, and the Queen of Hearts. They each have their own player board, their own action deck of cards, and their own "fate deck" which is basically the opposition deck. It's action selection (think Scythe) with a player board with different actions for each player. They also all have different win conditions. The game is very thematic and really fits the villains. For instance Captain Hook wins by defeating Peter Pan at the Jolly Roger. Prince Jon by having the most power. It's very cool. It's simple to learn, and plays in around 40 minutes. I've played it 2 times so far at 2 players. My wife is a huge fan of Disney so I'm not surprised that she loves it. Overall I find the game to be fairly good. I would give it a 7/10 if it didn't have such a great theme. The great theme pushes it a bit over the edge where it is worth keeping. I mostly am looking forward to seeing where they take it in the future. They already have an online poll for who you want the next villain to be. Tons of great choices on there.

Oh and more Splotter games played, especially Food Chain Magnate. Still a top 5 game for me, and for good reason. Last time I played it I was obliterated and I still loved the experience.

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

Post by YellowKing » Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:48 pm

Played a fascinating 4-player game of THE SHIPWRECK ARCANA tonight. In this cooperative deduction game, each person plays the role of a fortune teller attempting to convey their "fate" (a tile numbered 1-7) to the others through a series of clues. If the other players correctly predict the active player's fate, the group as a whole advances. Should they guess wrong, however, a doom track advances. The players win if they correctly predict 7 fates. But they lose if the doom track advances to 7.

Each turn, the active player draws two fate tiles out of a bag (or 1, if they still have one remaining from a previous turn). They must play one of these fate tiles on one of four Arcana cards in an attempt to clue the other players as to what number their hidden fate tile is. An Arcana card, might, for example, say "If the sum of your fates is 7, 8, or 9, play one of them here." If you played a 3 there, then the rest of the group would know your hidden fate has to be a 4, 5, or 6. They can then choose to predict the hidden fate, or wait until they can eliminate some more possibilities.

The brilliance of the game, however, is not in just knowing on what Arcana card to play your fate. It's also using the cards you *didn't* play to help the other players guess. In the example above, suppose one of the Arcana cards said "If your fates are 2 digits apart, play one of them here." The group would know if your hidden fate was a 5 then you would have played the 3 there as it would have narrowed the possibilities to only 2 choices instead of 3. But since you didn't, chances are it's NOT a 5, and they can narrow it down to the 4 or 6.

There is a timing mechanism in play that keeps fresh Arcana cards coming out, and also prevents players from waiting too long to make a prediction. Arcana cards "fade" when a certain amount of fate tiles are played to them (depending on their fade value). When a card fades, the group takes 2 doom - unless they make a correct prediction, in which case they take none. When a card fades, it flips over to reveal a different power that can be used by the entire group. This adds another layer of strategy to the game, as you only want cards to fade when the group has a really good chance at making a correct prediction.

The most fun part of the game was, after playing your fate tile, listening to the other players try to deduce why you played it there. Because the active player is encouraged not to communicate, you can only sit back and grin as the other players try to unravel the logical puzzle you set before them. It's also immensely satisfying when you make a great move and the players are able to follow the logical leaps necessary to narrow the possibilities down to a single number.

This little synopsis really doesn't do the game justice, as the rules and math involved sound a little abstract. But once you get the hang of it, it's a devilishly fun logic puzzle which is made all the better because you get to be both the puzzle master and the puzzle solver all in the same game.

One other important note - the components are really nice. The over-sized cards are reminiscent of Tarot cards, and the game comes with a nicely embroidered cloth draw bag, and individual baggies for all tokens. It's also dirt cheap (I think the guy ordered it for under $20 shipped direct from the publisher). For the component quality and fun, it's a steal.

Terrific little filler game that plays quick (most of our games with 4 players went about 30 minutes), and you can't beat the value. If you have a group of friends that enjoy logical thinking and deduction, it's a really good time.

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

Post by hentzau » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:02 pm

Got in a game of Star Trek Ascendency last week...it was a re-learning game for me, since I had only played once before, and a brand new learning game to my two gaming buddies. Overall, all had a good time, good enough that we are going to give it another try this Thursday. We didn't have time to complete a game, but on the last turn we played Tom's Klingons curb stomped my federation and razed Earth (I was having a ton of really bad luck exploring, so my forces were non-existent at that time.

One thing that I am still somewhat confused about is, why the heck would you ever use impulse engines? I'm trying to figure out what a tactical reason you would use impulse engines and I just can't come up with one.

Did some simple gaming last night. Played a game of Forbidden Island (we won!) and Tiny Epic Galaxies (I lost.)
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by hepcat » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:50 pm

hentzau wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:02 pm
One thing that I am still somewhat confused about is, why the heck would you ever use impulse engines? I'm trying to figure out what a tactical reason you would use impulse engines and I just can't come up with one.
Parking a ship just outside an enemy controlled sector in order to prevent them from advancing is one major reason. You travel sector to sector using warp, you can travel on space lanes using impulse. Multiple ships on multiple space lanes is one hell of a blockade.

Also, it takes two command to travel a minimum of one sector via warp (one to enter, one to exit). If you get a space lane with two or three spaces on it, impulse is the same cost as warping. Of course, with a 2 space lane it takes you to an opponent's system (you have to stop outside a space with enemy ships) with only 1 command. (3 space lane for Feds with advancement).

Edit: This one from BGG I never considered:
Another use is if you want to connect two planets nearby. Spend a Command to impulse and see if you roll the space lane number you need to connect them. Otherwise you would have spent two Commands and get the wrong space lane length and then get confused as to what you need to do now.
I still love this game. Have you picked up the Borg expansion, as well as the new races?

Ask Seppe how effective the Ferengi are in a battle with the Borg, by the way.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by hentzau » Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:50 pm

hepcat wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:50 pm
hentzau wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:02 pm
One thing that I am still somewhat confused about is, why the heck would you ever use impulse engines? I'm trying to figure out what a tactical reason you would use impulse engines and I just can't come up with one.
Parking a ship just outside an enemy controlled sector in order to prevent them from advancing is one major reason. You travel sector to sector using warp, you can travel on space lanes using impulse. Multiple ships on multiple space lanes is one hell of a blockade.

Also, it takes two command to travel a minimum of one sector via warp (one to enter, one to exit). If you get a space lane with two or three spaces on it, impulse is the same cost as warping. Of course, with a 2 space lane it takes you to an opponent's system (you have to stop outside a space with enemy ships) with only 1 command. (3 space lane for Feds with advancement).

Edit: This one from BGG I never considered:
Another use is if you want to connect two planets nearby. Spend a Command to impulse and see if you roll the space lane number you need to connect them. Otherwise you would have spent two Commands and get the wrong space lane length and then get confused as to what you need to do now.
I still love this game. Have you picked up the Borg expansion, as well as the new races?

Ask Seppe how effective the Ferengi are in a battle with the Borg, by the way.
But you can use Warp to exit in a space lane, so...the only time I can see it saving you command actions is if you only wanted to move a ship into a space lane a short distance to blockade. OK, I guess I can see that.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by hepcat » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:08 pm

Is it the optimal movement choice for most of the game? No. But it does have its uses.

I played it at Gencon. The guy across from me thought he'd signed up for a two hour game so he chose the Klingons and made a bee line straight for me (playing Romulans). I had already started expanding away from him in order to avoid initial confrontation until I had a chance to build up my forces. I had to scramble and get ships back to my homeworld to protect it after seeing how aggressive he was going to be. Then he learned just how powerful first strike (from cloaking) is. When he realized the game was actually scheduled for 4 hours and he'd already blown a major amount of time for one attack attempt, you could almost see a tear well up in his eye.

That was also the game where I picked up an advancement from a Borg exploration card that allowed me to one shot a friggin' Borg cube later on. It was glorious. :D

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

Post by Zarathud » Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:00 pm

Maybe you want a ship in a lane to either to make a connection if an opponent explores or block a system at its max lanes.

Or you want to find out the distance of the lane before spawning a system.

Or you have a single action left.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by hepcat » Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:21 pm

Of course a blockade does jack squat when your opponent researches enough Romulan cloaking technology to allow him to slip past any cordoned off areas and head for your juicy production planets. :x
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Zarathud » Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:22 pm

The answer is to tirelessly attack the Romulan bastards. Or they win.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Daveman » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:38 pm

After years of admiring Games Workshop for their aesthetic but shying away because of the actual gameplay and/or expense, I've become a bit of a GW consumer this year with two titles. First was Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire. At a glance this looks like it might be a skirmish-level miniatures game in their Age of Sigmar setting but it's not a miniature game at all, but a card-driven board game that happens to feature their nice miniatures. I could go on about it but I'd rather mention their latest addition, Blitz Bowl.

Of all the GW games, Blood Bowl appealed to me the most. I tried the latest edition of the base game and played a few games with my son but it was just a little too complicated and much longer to play than we wanted. But most of all, as much as we generally like the game system it's clear it really shines in a multi-player persistant league format. Just sitting down one afternoon to play a stand-alone game of Blood Bowl wasn't very satisfying but that's all we really wanted from the game.

GW must have been listening because now there's Blitz Bowl! While it's simpler and faster I wouldn't quite say it's just a streamlined version of Blood Bowl because it introduces some new gameplay to the mix. Thematically, Blitz Bowl is pitched as a sort of draft-day ritual for Blood Bowl. Two teams play a game and scoring touchdowns is certainly part of the game as they're worth 3 points each. But besides touchdowns there are always 3 "challenge" cards in play. These are various things the coaches/recruiters/audience are shouting out that they want to see and if you happen to achieve one of them when you take an action you claim the card and they're worth 1-3 points, depending on the card. Things like making a difficult pass, knocking down a player, injuring a player, etc. The other bonus is that these cards, when claimed, have a bonus action on the reverse side of the card that you add to your hand. Cards might let you reroll a die, move extra spaces when you run, etc. Small little things that also help encourage players to play to the cards and not just focus on touchdowns.

The game ends immediately when one team is beating the other by 10 points or when the challenge deck runs out and then it's simply determined by the score. There's an optional rule which everyone seems to agree is the best way to play (us too!) that adds 6 "endgame challenge" cards to the bottom of the deck. If no one is winning by 10 points by the time one of these cards is revealed the game continues until the deck runs out but the twist is that these endgame cards are very powerful, generally worth 3 points each and they all have very strong bonus effects for whoever claims them. The bottomline is that if a team can't finish off the other with 10+ point advantage there's a good chance the loser might make a comeback at the end and that helps keep the games tight and interesting up until the end.

The gameplay itself is very close to Blood Bowl but simplified. Instead of taking actions with possibly all your players until a turnover happens coaches get a fixed 3 actions per turn (run, throw, block, etc.) and there are no turnovers in Blitz Bowl. A key concept in Blitz Bowl is that your players are generally either open or marked. Open players are those who aren't adjacent to an enemy, marked players are adjacent to an enemy. Open players have several options available to them, while marked players are limited to either sidestepping (moving one space so that they're now open) or blocking (attacking an adjacent enemy). Open players can "run" up to their full movement value but are prohibited from, in Blood Bowl terms, entering "tackle zones". So instead of interrupting movement over and over to check tackle zones and make dodge rolls you simply move but have to avoid the other players.

The game comes with miniatures for 2 6-man teams, another simplification from Blood Bowl. The Humans and Orcs get 3 Linemen, a Blitzer and a Thrower. Humans aleo get a Catcher while the Orcs get a Black Orc Blocker. These are the same push-fit figures in the current release of Blood Bowl, just a single sprue instead of 2, and they come in colored plastic (yellow and red). My Blood Bowl teams were painted so I'm using them instead. Another nice touch and a seemingly surprising one from GW is that they include player stat cards for the other currently available Blood Bowl expansions as well so if you have figures from those sets you can include them in Blitz Bowl too.

Our learning game was maybe an hour, games since have been a lot less. For us, it's definitely scratching the itch to play a silly fantasy-themed "sport" in a single session that doesn't drag on. We've cursed at strings of blocks that fail and laughed when someone has had 3-4 players on their bench (returning players to the field is a guaranteed success but costs one of your 3 actions, if you start a turn with 4 injured players you get to return one for free).

The one odd thing about this game is that GW has a currently exclusive deal with Barnes and Noble and they're the only place you can get it. No stores near me had it but I was able to order it online.

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

Post by Smoove_B » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:35 pm

That's interesting. I didn't realize they did this for Blood Bowl - I ordered Space Marine Adventures: Labyrinth of the Necrons (also only seemingly available from B&N) for the same reasons you mentioend (ideally a shorter, faster, condensed experience). I am totally on board with loving the aesthetic and wanting the game because of the mini sculpts. My interest came from the Dawn of War games, so I'm completely disconnected from the historical (current?) perspective on GW. Shadespire is another one I've looked at for similar reasons. Hadn't heard of Blizt Bowl at all, so now I need to consider that as well. Thanks. :D

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

Post by stessier » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:23 pm

Does anyone have any experience with Keys to the Castle? My wife is wondering if it is any good and Board Gaming Geek is down for maintenance.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by hepcat » Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:32 pm

Will post in the bargain forum, but just wanted to mention that those with a barnes and nobles nearby should check out their clearance tables. I was just at one near my office and they had a lot of great/semi great games at 50 percent off. Off the top of my head, I remember:

Firefly from gale force nine
Mystic Vale
Talisman
Big Book of Magic
Spyfall 2
Century Road
Seafall

I grabbed T.I.M.E. Stories for 25 bucks as it's a game I've always enjoyed at conventions, but didn't want to pay that much for due to it's lack of replayability. But 25 bucks is the sweet spot for me.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Chrisoc13 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:40 am

Some good gaming again...

First up a kickstarter that recently arrived, Root. Not sure if anyone else here backed it, but this game is dang good. It's an asymetrical war game set in the woods. Each player plays a completely unique faction. Cats, birds, woodlands, creatures, river otters, or a racoon, or lizards. ou are battling over the woods. But you all play in COMPLETELY different ways. As in very little if any similarities, yet all of your play overlaps. Completely different ways to score or win. I played as the Eyrie Dynasties, the birds which used to have power and are trying to regain power. They play by selecting a leader and each leader has an agenda. You add to their agenda, and then you have to carry-out the agenda. You end up playing by programming your actions. The trick is if you ever cannot do an action your administration crumbles and you select a new leader. It's incredibly fun. My opponents were the cats, who play action selection and build all over the map like crazy. They are the current ruling party and are simply trying to hold onto their power. The third player in our game played as the woodland alliance. They score by gaining supporters from the other creatures and building up sympathy throughout the map and then leading in open revolts. The game is truly fascinating. I lost, but loved every moment of it, and now I can't stop thinking about wanting to play it again. It plays in 90 minutes but just has this great epic feel to it.

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End of the game when my dynasty had fallen.

The designer is Cole Wherle, who is fast becoming a rising star in my eyes. He also designed John Company which is one of my favorite games from this year. Both games are completely different from each other, including in depth, but really great. He also designed Pax Pamir, the second edition of which is currently up on kickstarter. He's certainly a bit of a rising star right now.

Other board gaming going on... I've been having a blast coming up with a Mario Kart variant for Downforce. I already love Downforce, but when people noticed you could take the mario karts from Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart I couldn't help but pick them up, and then of course you need a variant. There have been some ideas thrown around of how to make a variant, but I decided to try my hand at my own design of it. It required cannibalizing not only a Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart game, but also a deluxe version of Monopoly Gamer, and creating a custom deck as well, but the end result... is so far pretty fun. It keeps the original base rules of Downforce but adds items and a little more mayhem. Only tested it out once so far, but it was a big hit. Going to try it out a few more times but I like where it is going.

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The first race! It went very well, loving the look and feel of it.

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

Post by YellowKing » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:31 am

That Mario Kart variant is super cool, Chrisoc.

I really want ROOT but it's one of those games my group just wouldn't buy into. And I'm not sure it's worth it just for the solo automata.

I played a quick game of THE RECKONERS last night. Just a solo with two characters to get a feel for it.

One the surface, it looks ridiculously easy. You have sooo many dice and so many ways in which to use them that it looks fairly trivial to just keep knocking out epics, whittling away at Steelheart, etc. Then the villain turn comes, and you watch as they basically undo everything you just fixed and then some.

I can tell this is going to be one we're really going to have to spend some time with to get a feel for proper strategy. It's very much one of those games in which you can't contain everything, so learning what is critical to contain and what can be ignored for a turn or two is going to be crucial to success.

I also broke out HOSTAGE NEGOTIATOR for the first time. I think I'm 0-5 at this point. What a tough, tough game. Again, though, it's about learning card management and that's just going to take some time. I bought the Crime Wave box that fits all the expansions and picked up a bunch of promos/boosters at GenCon so I'll probably wind up going all in on this one. It's probably my favorite so far of my "quick play" (< 30 minute) solo games.

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

Post by hentzau » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:59 pm

Torn for Thursday night...learning game of Tiny Epic Zombies, or learning game of Western Legends?
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by hepcat » Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:15 pm

Look at the list of rules questions on BGG for Tiny Epic Zombie. It's daunting. Setting up the damn board alone is a trial in frustration.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by hentzau » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:52 pm

I was watching a bit of the Watch It Played video this morning. It does seem like a complex setup process for a small box game.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Ralph-Wiggum » Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:07 pm

I saw a group playing Root at board game meet up the other day. It looked pretty cool, although I’m generally not a fan of area control games. Of course, that didn’t stop me for buying Game of Thrones this weekend when I found it at 40% off in the ding and dent section of MM....

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

Post by Chaz » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:01 am

I keep being tempted by Root. I'm planning on picking up the reprint of Andean Abyss when it releases in the next few weeks, so I'm tempted to throw Root in the cart along with it. But then I'm thinking that maybe those two are awful similar, and I should just stick with Andean Abyss...
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by hepcat » Mon Oct 01, 2018 10:33 am

Got in a game of Too Many Bones with 3 people and all the new monsters/relevant encounters (the non-Undertow ones), and new characters from Undertow, 40 Days expansion and the Age of Tyranny campaign set. Other than making it a little easy on ourselves in the final tyrant battle after screwing up the tyrant's entry and essentially stealing a turn from him, it was quite fun. The new encounters and wealth of new monsters helps to offset the base games limitations with variety after a few games, especially the 21 new 1 to 3 day starting encounters. It was getting tiresome constantly playing the same ones every single game.

Then we dove back into Gloomhaven (yes, we're still playing). I'm one away from retiring my 6th level cragheart and hopefully unlocking a new character. Another player had an unlock in our last game and he got an interesting one that I wasn't expecting. Still lovin' this one. I'm always amazed at how close every game is. We usually win about one or two turns before we would run out of cards.

Finally, got in a game of Ashes with some new characters I picked up. I now have 16 decks (17 if you count the assassin's deck which is meant as filler for deck building). It's been in my game rotation for about 3 or 4 years and is still my favorite combat card game, hands down. Mage Wars being a close second, then Omen.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by AWS260 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:17 am

I tried Valeria: Card Kingdoms for the first time. It has the same basic gameplay cycle as Machi Koro: roll dice, collect resources based on the dice and your card tableau, spend resources to add more cards to your tableau.

Unlike Machi Koro, Valeria has enough additional wrinkles that it stays interesting. The most important of these is Monsters: these are cards that you "defeat" (buy) by expending the Strength resource. They aren't added to your tableau, but you receive "treasure" (usually more resources) for defeating them, and they are worth victory points at the end of the game.

I currently own Machi Koro, and I wish I owned Valeria instead. It's easy to get the table, plays quickly (~40 minutes), and presents a much more diverse, interesting, and fun set of decisions.

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

Post by Smoove_B » Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:23 am

I picked Valeria up a few weeks ago for solo play, mainly based on similar impressions I'd read/heard regarding the game play. I've never played Machi Koro, but I do like dice and cards.

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

Post by baelthazar » Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:52 pm

Chaz wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:01 am
I keep being tempted by Root. I'm planning on picking up the reprint of Andean Abyss when it releases in the next few weeks, so I'm tempted to throw Root in the cart along with it. But then I'm thinking that maybe those two are awful similar, and I should just stick with Andean Abyss...
Which store has Root in stock? I have not found any that still has it.

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

Post by Chaz » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:29 pm

baelthazar wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:52 pm
Chaz wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:01 am
I keep being tempted by Root. I'm planning on picking up the reprint of Andean Abyss when it releases in the next few weeks, so I'm tempted to throw Root in the cart along with it. But then I'm thinking that maybe those two are awful similar, and I should just stick with Andean Abyss...
Which store has Root in stock? I have not found any that still has it.
I thought I saw it for preorder at Miniature Market, but looks like they got it and are now sold out. That's fine for me, it makes my decision way easier.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by YellowKing » Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:06 pm

Sat down for my first real sessions with THE RECKONERS tonight. Three players. Won the first game (barely) on easy, and lost the second game (barely) on normal.

Quick overview:

Your team of Reckoners is tasked with taking out Steelheart, an evil superhero mastermind. To do this you'll need to research his weakness, then kill him. Standing in your way are Epics, slightly less powerful (but no less dangerous) superheroes who control various districts of the city. You win the game if you manage to defeat Steelheart. You'll lose, however, if the population of the city is reduced to zero.

Each round, your team rolls a pool of action dice three times, choosing dice to keep each roll, Yahtzee style. These dice determine what actions you can do - earn money, contain an Epic's powers, kill Enforcers (evil henchmen), damage an Epic, research Epic weaknesses, or earn plan tokens which can be used as wildcard actions. The trick of the game is figuring out as a team how best to use your available rolled actions to minimize population loss and do the most damage to the Epics and Steelheart.

After your team acts, the Epics and Steelheart take a turn, activating all of their powers at once. This is where you will feel the pain if you didn't do a great job taking out Epics and Enforcers during your turn. Things can get out of hand VERY quickly, making it more difficult to make up ground later.

Thoughts:

I really like the game; I'm not positive I love it yet.

From a rules standpoint, it's really simple, which is a strength. Once you learn the symbols and get the phase order down, it plays very quickly. Only downtime is determining how best to use your available actions, but I believe this process will get faster as we start learning strategy. The vast range of actions you can take from your total dice pool can be overwhelming, even as you know you don't have enough actions to do everything that needs to be done.

The game comes down to prioritizing what Epics to focus on and when, keeping Enforcers manageable, all the while still having something left over to whittle away on Steelheart with. It's a difficult balance, and in both games it came down to the wire - another plus in the game's favor.

My only real negative of the game is that it's extremely expensive for what it is. The game trays are awesome - everything has its place, the components are high quality. However, this game could have been just as playable without those trays and cost half the price. Heck, most of the time we found ourselves not even using the player trays - as we would just toss our spent actions in our dice tray vs. placing them neatly in their little slots.

On top of that, you're not getting something with multiple scenarios or a campaign. While the randomness of the Epics and varying difficulty levels add replayability, you're still playing the same essential game every time. While playing, I couldn't help but think of how you could almost buy two games with much more depth for the price of this one.

Still, if you're a fan of the book series or have the money to burn, it's definitely a good time. If you're on the fence, I'd highly recommend watching some playthroughs and see if it offers enough strategic depth for you for the cost.

We plan on playing it a couple more weeks, so I'll let you know if my opinion changes.

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

Post by AWS260 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:51 pm

I finally won a game of Inis! I never win Inis.

Trickery saw me to victory: while everyone was focused on beating back the clear front-runner, I quietly waited to play the move that took me over the finish line (I took a territory + played the Bard to gain a deed, thus moving from 4 to 6 victory conditions in one swoop). No one had cards left to stop me.

We wrapped up with a silly and fun game of Pitchcar, a dexterity game of flicking cars along a track.

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

Post by hentzau » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:08 am

AWS260 wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:51 pm
I finally won a game of Inis! I never win Inis.

Trickery saw me to victory: while everyone was focused on beating back the clear front-runner, I quietly waited to play the move that took me over the finish line (I took a territory + played the Bard to gain a deed, thus moving from 4 to 6 victory conditions in one swoop). No one had cards left to stop me.

We wrapped up with a silly and fun game of Pitchcar, a dexterity game of flicking cars along a track.
Pitchcar can be a lot of fun. I haven't had mine out in quite a while.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Isgrimnur » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:16 am

It's set up every year at BGGCon.

If I make it to Octocon next year, somebody has to come down to Dallas.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by coopasonic » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:24 am

Isgrimnur wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:16 am
If I make it to Octocon next year, somebody has to come down to Dallas.
I'll come down to Dallas next year. I think next year is when BGG.CON officially moves downtown?
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by Isgrimnur » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:33 am

You don't count. :P
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by hentzau » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:33 am

I'd be down, but I'm not a fan of the BGG.con dates. Always around Thanksgiving, right?
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by coopasonic » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:35 am

hentzau wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:33 am
I'd be down, but I'm not a fan of the BGG.con dates. Always around Thanksgiving, right?
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by YellowKing » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:34 pm

Got three 4-player games of THE RECKONERS in last night, and I have to say that the game has grown on me immensely. I still think it's overpriced/overproduced for what it is, but I'm having a lot of fun with it. We have yet to beat it on Standard difficulty, which is part of the appeal - I love a good challenge.

We're slowly starting to figure out overall strategy, thought we haven't quite cracked the code on beating it on standard. We're close, though. One thing I've really enjoyed as we've gotten more games under our belt is watching us go from total analysis paralysis (OK, we've got 24 actions in our pool we can do in any order.Now what?) to everyone just rolling and setting aside dice with an almost intuitive sense of what we need as a group.

Obviously there is still a lot of discussion among us to figure out how best to maximize our round, and when we figure out some brilliant way to kill three Epics instead of two or end a round having Steelheart and all surviving Epics fully contained, it's extremely rewarding.

I think this is definitely one of those games where experience greatly enhances the fun. The first week we played, we barely got two games in with three players. The second week, we got three games in with four players in the same amount of time. Once you get the feel for it and people know how to play their roles effectively, the whole game engine starts to hum like a well-oiled machine and the game really comes into its own.

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

Post by AWS260 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:29 pm

I just played a very fun game of Pipeline, which is coming to Kickstarter next month. The designer is local and brought a pre-production copy to my FLGS.

Pipeline is a fairly heavy Euro engine-builder about running an oil refinery. The basic economic cycle is straightforward: buy crude oil, upgrade it in your refinery, sell it for a profit, then spend that profit to improve your refinery and buy more crude oil. Within that cycle are many, many variables.

First, your refinery: it is made up of tiles that you arrange Galaxy Trucker-style to make long, twisty pipelines. The longer the pipeline, the higher-grade oil it can produce. At the beginning of the game, you'll barely be able to afford two tiles, but by the end you'll be managing a sprawling complex.

The marketplace(s): This is where you buy crude and sell refined oil. There are three types of oil (grey, blue, and orange, just like in nature), and three marketplaces. Each marketplace will let you buy one type of oil and sell the other two. Bouncing between marketplaces is crucial -- but it also uses up precious actions.

Contracts and orders: These pay better than just selling oil in the marketplace, but each requires a specific combination of oil.

There are also machines that automate refining, tanks for storing your oil, and a modest tech tree.

Everything is bought and sold with dollars, but the most valuable resource in Pipeline is actions. You only have one action per round, and only 18 rounds in the game. There are ways to squeeze in extra actions -- by automating your refinery or paying money for a specific secondary action -- and you have to make the most of them.

I found it all a bit much when I first sat down to play, but everything started making sense pretty quickly. It seems like "multiplayer solitaire" on the surface, but by the end I was seeing multiple ways to block other players' plans -- and had my own master plan blocked, causing me to come in last. (In fairness, I was probably coming in last regardless.)

I'll post in the Kickstarter thread when Pipeline goes live. Definitely worth a look for Euro-lovers.

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

Post by Chrisoc13 » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:32 am

I've been hearing some solid buzz about pipeline and was planning on keeping an eye out for the Kickstarter. Thanks for the heads up!

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

Post by hentzau » Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:14 pm

First chance I've had to post what all I played over the OctoCon weekend. Now, my game load is going to look kind of light here, but I spent quite a bit of time just visiting with friends and getting caught up. But here's what I did get on the table:

Villainous (2x): Man, this is one pretty game. For those not in the know, it's a game where you are playing one of 6 Disney villains (Maleficent, Jafar, Prince John, Captain Hook, Ursula, and the Queen of Hearts.) Completely asymmetrical game, where each Villain has a different set of powers, and a different world to operate in, and a different set of victory conditions that roughly follow the plot of the movie. For example, Captain Hook has to find the map to Hangman's Tree, and then has to have Peter Pan show up, and then you have to get him to show up on the Jolly Roger and defeat him. It was really a lot of fun, and both games were really close, with almost everyone within one or two turns of achieving victory.

Star Trek Ascendency: Finally got a complete game in! And even better, I won as the Federation!

Tiny Epic Galaxies: A favorite filler game.

Gunfighter's Ball: Did something a little different this time around...didn't set up Zenda, but set up a "historical" scenario for the Gunfight at the OK Corral. Basically did a 4x4 table with the historical layout, and started the figures within 2" of each other. It was a bloodbath, with nobody moving more than a few inches and just blazing away with whatever weapons they had in hand. Could have avoided setting up the terrain and just put the figures on a mousepad. :)

Western Legends: Played a 5 player game of Wester Legends. Had a great time with it, in the play, but after review, I think it really needs a bit more meat on the bone. Plus, it seems that the economic model really needs some work. It's relatively easy to earn money, but not a lot to spend it on other than throwing a big party to earn Legend Points. I'm going to keep it, and try it out with the expansions to see if that adds anything to the experience.
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by YellowKing » Thu Oct 18, 2018 4:23 pm

My gaming group buddy felt the same way about Western Legends. Based on his limited playtime, he found that one player could dominate through mining making anything else irrelevant. He admitted though that he hasn't played enough to determine any real strategy.

I wish my group would branch out into some competitive stuff sometime, as there are a lot of great games I'm missing out on. But they're 99% co-op exclusive. I think we've played one competitive game in the 2 years we've been meeting.

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

Post by hentzau » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:21 pm

Let me caveat my review of WL by stating that we did not play with the optional Goal cards, which kind of force players to diversify. And we had almost 0 conflict in the game, pretty much everyone was doing a solitaire run. I was the only one that attacked another player, and that was because one of the players saw me cash in a bunch of cash on LPs by throwing a party, so he made a beeline to the saloon, but didn't have enough actions to throw the party once there. So, my next turn, I jumped him in the saloon, stole half of his money, and then used it to throw another party, getting enough VPs to put us into the end game.

That said, there was no run away winner...I only won by like 2 LPs, and 3 out of 5 folks crossed the 15 mark (we were playing a short game.)
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Re: OO Boardgamers, what did you play this weekend?

Post by YellowKing » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:28 pm

We spent our last hurrah with THE RECKONERS (at least until an expansion comes out), and had a great time tonight.

Four player game, and we finally beat it on Standard difficulty after three previous failed attempts. While the luck of the dice always plays some role, good strategy won the evening for us. Things started clicking and we finally felt like we were playing at a fairly high level.

We moved on to two games of Hard difficulty after that and came within 15 and 12 points of defeating Steelheart. In both games we just happened to not pull a lot of damage-enhancing items, and got some really terrible damage rolls. Had either of those factors been different, we stood a great shot at winning.

I'll have to say that after a dozen plays under my belt the game has grown on me quite a bit. However, I still think it's best with a bigger group. The teamwork involved in figuring out the vast array of actions is a major part of the game, and I felt like that was missing in the solo games I played.

That said, I think the group agreed that with a standard win in the books and two close losses on hard, we were ready to move on to the next thing. We'll be spending the next few weeks doing one-off games in the backlog, then moving on to the MANSIONS OF MADNESS expansions in mid-November.

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