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Cosmic_Guru

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Everything posted by Cosmic_Guru

  1. U wot mate? There is a dedicated thread with lots of rats in the title thereof...... Seriously, brilliant news, don't expect revelatory game play, just a great story and a really satisfying mechanical progression.
  2. Good news in some ways - always nice to have a HUGE autumn game. Still Pillars 2, Wasteland 3 and, hopefully, Disco Elysium for console RPG fans in the interim.
  3. Some random thoughts (apologies if already known) There are two types of scenario - those which require you to kill every monster and those which have specific objectives. Most if not all of the early ones are kill everything and these tend to take longer (in my experience). I would say allow 3 hours for one of these including set up and take down (assuming some basic prior organisation of components) because as a soloist you need to work through each move. The later ones might take much less time. You are probably running a single party of mercs ("the Gloomy Gooners" in my case) all through the game, but the composition of the party will change a lot. You may swap characters in or out of this party whenever in town between scenarios, so you can get friends to join (they won't really have missed much story wise). If playing solo that's a bit fiddly because of swapping out combat decks and equipment - it's better to stick with the same ones as they pursue a specific unique career objective, unless you really can't abide them. The career objective might be doing scenarios in a certain location, killing a number of specified enemies, collecting gold or equipment etc - once these have been completed that character formally retires and you may open a tuck box containing a new character type, or start a character of that class or of an already open class. As a soloist (or game owner for MP) you need to assign a number to each character position i.e. 1,2,3 and 4 for a 4 character party (the effect of this will become clear in due course) - I used colour coding to remember this - red, yellow, mauve and green (I don't have the skill to paint so just used some post it tabs to cover the base of the figures). The level of your characters is related to the prosperity of the city of Gloomhaven - initially you may only start new ones at level 1, but as the city prospers that level increases in tandem (you don't have to create higher level characters and in fact I preferred not to for most of the time since you need to get a feel for how to play some of the more specialist characters before knowing which higher level cards would be better). You get a certain amount of cash when you start a new character for spending on items (the number and variety of available items also increase as the town prospers). The level of the scenario is then related to the average character level divided by 2 rounded up - so you stay at level 1 until someone reaches L3. Set up time is going to be influenced by degree of organisation of the components and also gets quicker with more familiarity. I've got a bunch of nestable food containers from Morrisons and used those to separate enemy standees into broad categories and also to hold the dungeon tile overlays, enemy stands and tokens / coins. I also repurposed the main Charterstone box and Charterstone Index box to hold the dungeon tiles and small card decks (inventory, battle cards etc) respectively. You could take this further and separate everything in more detail using an appropriate container if you wanted but it's not really necessary. The fiddliest things are the enemy AI cards, 8 for each type, which tend to get mixed up if they slip out of order and that's a real pain - eventually I left them laid out around the map for my marathon session and that was ideal. I think you need to read or at least scan carefully the rules before starting out since they take you through what you need to know to play a scenario and to understand the Campaign / Casual differential (there is however lots of stuff at the back you can ignore for the moment). This is because there isn't really a tutorial mission. I think they made the first scenario fairly tricky just to get people properly awake (a bit like dying to a wolf or to the mage ambush in Baldur's gate). I know I failed it simply by burning through the more powerful one-use cards too quickly and/or getting too exposed to enemies. The best experience to carry over into this may well be from CRPGs where you encounter the same sorts of situations and the same tricks may be used. In this the enemy AI always takes them toward the nearest character, so use this to your advantage, also use the environment as best you can. There aren't any fiddly rules about damage type, line of sight, movement, inconsistent statuses etc, all of which helps a great deal (even though at times it's illogical - this is probably the only game in which you may kill a flame demon using a fireball spell) The same team roles as for CRPGs are evident here - tank, damage dealer both melee and ranged, healer, buffer and de-buffer (although not all are available initially).
  4. The Isle of Cats has turned up - very impressed by Frank West's communication and project management. Let's see what sort of a game we have here. Anyone interested in Black Sonata, winner of a prestigious Cosmic Black Hole award for solo play, there is a reprint and expansion up now https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sideroomgames/black-sonata-the-fair-youth?ref=nav_search&result=project&term=black sonata
  5. Ooze are a pain. Unfortunately you can't just ignore them in that scenario. Well, I'm done and dusted for a good long while (I do have the expansion which I will treat like an entirely new game, maybe in the summer if we have a really hot spell - for now its been packed away into the main box). My stats: 76 unique scenarios completed (80%) 7 scenarios blocked via story progression 4 scenarios blocked via event cards or reputation 5 scenarios playable in casual mode 3 scenarios playable but not attempted total 95 56/74 treasures obtained 23/24 characters retired 9/13 bosses fought. Goodness knows how many hours spent - this last manic session has seen average scenario time reduce since everything has been left ready to pick up (coffee table is the right size for the map and all the enemy cards, with the tiles and shop inventory underneath (cheers Jamie for the Charterhouse index box which houses all the small card sets), main table just right for the scenario, and player mats on chairs. Weirdly, I often dream about this game! The L3 final boss fight was fine but I made life easy by selecting a special team for the run in and the final fight, having done everything I wanted to do with careers beforehand. The brute, sun keeper, scoundrel and medic are probably the easiest characters to play in any damage dealing scenario mind. One of the sub-bosses was much more intriguing to fight than the final one since you had to bait him to move to a certain spot and then hope you could get in early enough in initiative order to land a hit before he did (because he then vanished). As it happened, they all contributed to damaging the G--- and only the medic was exhausted. Just a wonderful experience - working through the specialist class unlocks, figuring out the puzzle scenarios, working out house rules for the party (wish I had included a rest / ambush one for working off adverse road card conditions), upgrading cards, creating an efficient way to complete careers. The only weakness is the story and I've long forgotten how I came to end up with a set of rather dull global achievements. Favourite (non starter) classes, items, career and cards: I found one of the stamina based classes rather a dull dog but that was the only one, not bad going really. Would like more variation in colour of cards, plain backs for combat cards and some shield tokens included (but can nab some from S&S), but that's about all. Next up I suppose will be the Frosthaven campaign and details of content which will carry over.
  6. I seem to recall being able to play individual chapters of this - does this only unlock on completion?
  7. The third item of feedback suggests this is a fake version of the game. You could argue that so long as it is functionally complete that doesnt really matter at the price. Edit. It looks as if Gloomhaven is now available for less than £90 although I've never used or heard of the retailer (Titan games), so maybe save the £20 and put it into a GH fund? There is going to be a lite version of GH (Jaws of the Lion) released at some point this year which will be a smaller box product not using dungeon tiles at all and with 4 (I think) classes only, so as to give folk a taster of the mechanics without having all the material included in the original. However, I doubt it will retail for less than £40, such are board game prices.
  8. I reckon the humble cloak of invisibility takes the nod as the single most useful item in the game. It's certainly been used often enough by various party members, particularly when opening doors. I would also nominate the rings of power and speed. Lots of tasty one off treasure items too which have their uses depending on context . Been rereading this thread in anticipation of meeting the final boss tomorrow. My thoughts on this haven't fundamentally changed from earlier much longer posts - in comparison with other dungeon crawlers it is a role model of clarity and gameplay simplicity, and almost all the characters are interesting to play with their powers coming to life vividly via their card decks. The scenarios numbered 52 onward are worth doing because they are more puzzle orientated and all the better for that. The main weakness is definitely the story and lack of consequences to anything you did or didn't do along the way, and hopefully that will be addressed in Frost haven. Anyway, final thoughts and stats tomorrow.
  9. Yes, April or so. Pleasantly surprised to see it included here.
  10. Fables 1 and 2 are great games, really interesting ideas and bucketfuls of charm. It felt so good at the time playing something not US or Japanese centred. Also, there still aren't too many games where your character morphs appearance and prompts different reactions from the crowd depending what he/she has been up to. Both are recommended, albeit making allowances for age. 3 had some good ideas but, as is well known, development time was severely curtailed which leads to odd pacing and the BC version at least has a load of technical problems.
  11. in the middle of an up to 8 day Gloomhaven marathon - i'll post in that thread when I surface.....
  12. That new stand looks the biz. 11k attendence too. Only one to go down this year from L2 but Stevenage could be that one. You are welcome to receive Yeovil Town in exchange, but it could be Barrow or several others, impossible to predict National League results.
  13. One of those years when pretty much everything played gets on the list. GotD are rock solid and only include games finished, usually multiple times. I put Prey as number one because it is probably the single most enjoyable and clever game I've played, at least for ages. All the others have their moments too, particularly playing the great Infinite Engine RPGs on your favourite console and the novelty of having a 5 CD game downloaded onto a tablet is something I still have to pinch myself about from time to time (but apparently it's not allowed to include Baldur's gate on iOS which is odd given it's a revised version). The vote for Witcher 3 is as much for the world as the quests and story line - there is nothing which comes close to replicating the detailed activity and the inclusion of children helps greatly too with this. Game of the Year A1. A Plague Tale: Innocence A2. Greedfall A3. Control A4. Outward A5. The Outer Worlds Biggest Disappointment of the Year (game, hardware, or anything else) Z1. Anthem Z2. Z3. Z4. Z5. Sound Design of the Year S1. A Plague Tale: Innocence S2. Control S3. Greedfall Visual Design of the Year V1. Greedfall V2. V3. Writing of the Year W1. Greedfall W2. W3. Gaming Format (System) of the Year F1. Xbox Publisher or Developer of the Year P1. Focus Home Interactive Best Supported Game (released pre 2019) of the Year B1. Sea of Thieves Your game of the year that didn't come out this year (basically what is your favourite game you played this year that came out in 2018 or earlier) X1. Sniper Elite 4 Best game character of the year C1. Amicia de Rune C2. de Sardet C3. Jesse Faden And the big one: Game of the Decade D1. Prey D2. Witcher 3 D3. Skyrim D4. Mass Effect 2 D5. Dishonored 2 D6. Assassins Creed Odyssey D7. Forza Horizon 3 D8. Divinity Original Sin enhanced edition D9. Inside D10. Dragon Age Inquiisition
  14. Sutton Utd 3: Yeovil Town 2 Don't know how this came across on the box but very pleasing indeed on the ground. Both Yeovil fans and players were well mouthy. Team of giants playing industrial football, frankly the Fl are welcome if they are successful. Time wasting cheats. We on the other hand are on something of a roll at the moment - I make it 7 undefeated in the league. Also in that run at least a couple of GOTY contenders in recent matches - check out Bugiel's volley from outside the area in the first minute v Woking on Boxing day as well as the flowing team move v Wrexham. Nothing special about our goals today though. I think there were even a few ground hopping neutrals there today - not a common sighting - I stood next to a man with a decoy duck for a time. Next up the return v Woking and then a long gap before the next home game.
  15. I'm not sure, partly because segregation was dropped and many of the reduced Wrexham contingent retreated to the bar before full time. However, we played extremely well for once - you helped us to do so by also playing or trying to play good football and not disrupting play with industrial tackles and feigning injury, and we didn't concede that all important first goal. We lost Harry Beautyman and our skipper to the aftereffects of a mid week car crash (not serious thankfully) but we seem to have found a good upfront combination at long last in Omar Bugiel and Tommy Wright. It was an open game and easy on the eye. Our second goal was a real team one and needs to be seen again - from defending we made 5 or 6 passes upfield and scored. The penalty was a bit rash and it perhaps put a gloss to the score, although in the first half your keeper kept you in it with several good saves.
  16. Sutton Utd v @Fatsam 's Wrexham today. SU could have done without playing extra time and losing in the FAT replay midweek. Both teams will doubtless scrap away for the much needed 3 points in this true "6 pointer", but with our abysmal home record the first to score will have a huge advantage.
  17. 01 - Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars 02 - Nick Cave - Ghosteen 03 - Tangerine Dream - In search of Hades (Virgin years boxset)
  18. Yep, Mage Knight is a work of genius, both for the soloist and, i'm sure, for groups where there would be a different dynamic depending on whether co-operative or fully competitive (sack all the monasteries!). For the soloist it's simply one of the most intense experiences there is. Far more so than Gloomhaven to which I've seen this compared here - not to denigrate that game in any way but it includes a number of stodgy scenarios as well as those which are really clever puzzles to solve. With MK, everything is a puzzle and it will change every game. Pouring over your hand, trying to make the impossible work somehow.... It makes a nice contrast to the dice-chucking-skill-checking of so many games I like (and it's much less sprawly and dry than Hex-explore). I've now completed 3 games getting, I believe, fully rule compliant by today (pretty certain on Tuesday I was moving after interacting which is strictly verboten and which contributed to racing through the deck, and I used incorrect enemy types in the green city yesterday). Needless to say, none of these 3 games have resulted in conquering 2 cities at the required level, but progress is being made. Today I defeated a L5 city for the first time, but ran out of time before attempting the L3 one (both cities being inaccessible and guarded by those vicious fire dragons) I learned from yesterday's game that mobility is essential late game and here the spell "wings of wind" did the trick - literally flying over the hexes . I was playing the green lizard guy Goldyx and he has some very nifty skills, including using crystals as influence points, as well as a sort of free evade move, all very handy. With reputation sky high it was a breeze to purchase deed offerings and units from monasteries. Getting some powerful de-buff spells is also very helpful (probably essential). But how do you optimise? and of course even if you get lots of goodies they aren't always available to play when needed. I'm pretty certain I play too cautiously and should take a few more wounds just to move on in the early game, just not to the extent of being K'Od. Yesterday I played Tovak as an ice cool specialist, and that was great against said dragons but ultimately I didn't have the mobility to go and recruit more units or get more spells late on (he has a fantastic skill though whereby sideways cards may be +2 or even +3). Norowas is obviously a unit specialist, as I guessed on Tuesday. That just leaves the fire and night loving female to play, but I need to stop playing for now or I'll achieve nothing this week!
  19. Mage Knight. Finally, finally, finally. A bit of fumbling about yesterday to get back into things, and I've had a full game this afternoon where any snooping microphones directed towards Chez Cosmic would have been rewarded only by a series of delighted yelps and squeals with just a few curses thrown in now and then. I was trying to do the solo city conquest scenario but ended up dialling the difficulty of the first city down to 3 (from 5) just to get one city conquest under my belt. It's so clever in a number of ways the variety of tile set ups and the juxta-positioning of hexes within tiles (only one monastery ever revealed in this run for example), the dummy player turn is as simple as it gets and you don't have to learn another entire set of rules as is so often the case with solo mode in modern games, the knights themselves are slightly asymmetric (I was playing Norowas who seemed a little skewed toward recruiting or powering up units), and above all the way to get the most of any given hand of cards (i've got a huge amount to learn, I always seemed to finish way before the dummy - I also indulged in getting a couple of advanced skills which required trashing some cards to get powerful actions, not necessarily the best approach). In short - sheer genius. It also doesn't take a lot of space (I can get the levelling up board and the various offerings on a chair to one side). On the other hand the game does show it's age in some ways (2011). The rule book is small print and has to be read because the teaching scenario doesn't cover nearly enough (not sure if this has been rewritten in the ultimate edition). There are some instances where more tokens would be helpful (e.g. to distinguish mana crystals and tokens). The levelling up board isn't even labelled! I really recommend creating some achievements for this to ease yourself in and feel you are achieving things and moving forward. You can reach a decent level by doing ruins etc but still feel woefully underprepared. I decided to dial down the difficulty of the city I assaulted because it seemed absolutely impossible at the suggested level (it was the blue city so all the fire / ice attacks were +2). Having done this, with all my units knackered, in the final night I sacked my first monastery and called it a day (so to speak)! Cosmic Black Hole award for solo play incoming.
  20. One of the two women over on dice tower is a big fan - there was a nice little bit of coverage on their most recent podcast.
  21. Agreed, as is This War of Mine. Both need more plays though to really firm up my thoughts on them.
  22. From this year's gaming I would add Burgle Bros and Legends Untold to my list of solo game recommendations - just a reminder the current criteria for this are: Either designed specifically for, or equally good when played solo; Offers re-playability potential one way or another; Has good quality design and manufacture; and Includes a high degree of randomness (more a personal preference I suppose - it's what makes S&S so enjoyable) Possibly also the games in the Hexx-explore series although those games are very niche. Legends untold is incredibly neat and portable dungeon crawler which is really atmospheric and chewy, and offers a lot of character customisation. You are always balancing the need to push on with further exploration and combat can be punishing. I've finished the sewers campaign and looking up the score table I'm informed I failed since I was pushing through too quickly in places, so if the next level packs are ever produced I would need to play through again (I probably would anyway). Burgle Bros is just incredibly neat and tense and offers loads of different layouts. Looking at my earlier post in April I would remove Folklore (just too much bookkeeping), Queensdale probably does not quality strictly speaking although I had great fun with it (as I currently am with The King's dilemma). So the list at present is Gloomhaven Sword & Sorcery (just allow a lot of space) Black Sonata (don't care for Marquis their next game) Nemo's War Gloom of Kilforth (although it boils down to resolving the puzzle of achieving the first couple of level ups within a reasonable timeframe) Legends Untold Burgle Bros Adventuria is really solid. Unbroken is very ingenious. 7th continent was fun when the map was being revealed but I'm in no rush to get it out again. I really need to get Mage Knight out (I said this in April), because I'm sure it should be included - I just got hold of Shadows of Malice which looks like a super stripped down dice-rolling version of it in some respects (you can also see the legacy in Hex-explore. Other highlights of the year which aren't solo experiences Snowdonia - the KS deluxe box which is simply wonderful Dark Domains - really nice take-that dungeon keeper type experience with everyone trying to create the most evil patch of the world, and resist the forces of light (and other players) (now spotted in retail if anyone is interested) Vindication - great game although including unnecessary miniatures and (maybe) too many bells and whistles play variants.
  23. Yes. Played 3 games so far. It's very interesting but also (as you might expect) pretty niche. Something I didn't realise is that games vary quite a bit in terms of duration - if a few dilemma cards turn up which (a) don't prompt extensive debate within the group and which (b) cause large movements in one or more of the 5 "state of the nation" indicators, a game can end very quickly via abdication - there is a counter which moves up and down in tandem and if it reaches either end it's game over. If the indicators instead bobble around and go up and down then it is more likely the game ends via death of the king, and that takes a little longer (but still not terribly long). Each player chooses a house and these houses have their own backgrounds, priorities and agendas, as outlined in your card. In my game I have O'Donnells, Rockerfellas, Castros, Erickssons and Torquemadas in play - I think if you are playing this in a group each player should introduce themselves and their house at the outset so others can appreciate where they are coming from. Your house should influence the stance you take over each dilemma, but cleverly there is also a short term secret game-by-game objective in play. You will be continually balancing your role playing with more cynical considerations over short term gains because end of game scoring is based on these short term objectives (this takes a game or two to make itself clear). You have to consider what happens to each 'state of the nation" indicator as a result of each dilemma vote (there is an indication on the card to help you) and then compare this with your goals (you may want a big spread, clustered at the top, at the bottom etc). Sometimes though there are consequences which are harder to anticipate. It appears there are 6 story lines to be initiated by opening numbered envelopes. Most envelopes contain an event card either starting or relating to one of these stories, and 3 dilemma cards which are shuffled into a deck (there are exceptions to this). The conclusion of each of these stories will lead to a big reveal and you stick one of two large stickers into your book (this is by deduction - i haven't finished any individual story yet). Gameplay is through resolving dilemmas, as drawn from the deck. The dilemmas vary from simple go this way or that, hold another [redacted] or not, to more subtle issues such as interactions with neighbouring states, taxation etc. Voting is public and may often go on for several rounds - putting down the largest numbers of tokens on one side or the other assigns you the leadership role and potentially gives other players additional actions because voting continues round the table until it reaches the leader again. If you don't care about the issue, or want to build your power for future votes you may abstain (and gain a share of power expended in the previous vote). If you don't care about the issue and instead want to create mischief you can solicit bribes from your fellow players (relative cash is also scored). You can attempt to bribe everything other than the leadership role and the direct transfer of power tokens. It's excellent if players really engage, role play and think beyond the superficial consequences. However, I can also see players zoning out if a couple of dilemmas come up which they can't match up with their characters motives, and which don't appear to help their short term goals. Once the vote has been taken, the current leader (the one who has invested most power on that issue) has to take responsibility by signing any new "state of the nation" sticker which is placed. This is very interesting idea since you could have opposed the motion in question, plunked down a stack of power, but been outvoted by others voting in concert. Fortunately these "significant event" stickers get overlaid pretty quickly. Design wise the game grows on you - no need after all to have high quality components for something disposable, but the white, beige, and brown scheme and card art are nice. The idea is that a new player may join the game by selecting an unused house (there are 12 supplied with a max of 5 at the table at once) but after a few games have been played it's not obvious to me that such a new player would be able to catch up.
  24. Maybe you could get Descent and have your older child play DM v you and the younger one - they might enjoy getting the better of you, and you could help your teammate with their character(s). Or maybe one of the D&D boardgames?
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