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Pandemic Legacy S1

 

Well this was fun. Made you destroy things/adapt board pretty early on and has veered away from "A game of Pandemic" pretty quickly. Failed one month once and then aced the second.

Most annoyingly one of the "dossiers" of sealed stickers was printed upside down, so is unusable. That's going to make it very hard (impossible?) to play later on. We had to look up one rule as it wasn't behind the door it should be. 

 

(Jan and Feb spoilers)

Hermes 37, Ms Bland, Dr Candice Kane and Resus Ann tried first.


We got obliterated when the Black Cubes became CoDa. Some back luck and some poor choices saw the entire of western Asia chain outbreak ending our game. And adding so many stickers! Ms Bland got 2 scars! 

Knowing what would happen, and switching out Ms Bland for Captain Kling - we smashed through it, managing to eliminate the red disease...named Bursting Burgandy Boils.

 

For February Hermes' "Auntie No Go" [the quarantine specialist] turned up. They quickly got the Middle East locked down, and the rest pottered about keeping things under control. No diseases were eliminated, but we have 2 more research stations added to the board!

Have to wait for a replacement dossier before starting March


 

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I bought Critical Mass a few weeks ago and finally got round to playing it. I really, really like it. We’re going to try and play a few more games soon and I may post some more impressions afterwards.

 

If you like big stompy mechs, the theming is fantastic.

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Battle for Rokugan

 

Didn't really like this. It's Area Control with an RNG hand management

 

It's far far to RNG. From the viability of your secret objectives (some could be achieved during set up...and ok that would have to be defended...but others you can be locked out of pretty quick), which could be 33%-50% of someone's total to being at the mercy of which 5 tokens you draw (and which your opponents draw) is frustrating.

 

The "clans" are all slightly different, but not in any real way. Thematically it's very light as well (Unicorns can swap two tokens...for some reasons).

 

There's just not enough there for it's playtime. For a 45 minute thing it'd be ok - but for two hours...not a fan. There's far better games of it's type (and as I mentioned not even the theme to draw you in)

 

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Finally got back to the Dunwich Legacy in Arkham Horror. A trip to the Miskatonic Museum!

 

Spoiler

The tone was set pretty early on when the monster popped up in the museum hall on the turn after I got dynamite and 8 resources in my mitts. It was subsequently blasted to chunks, shot to ribbons with a Derringer, and the last time it stupidly stuck its head out of the void, took a flare gun to the face 

 

Proper monster movie stuff.

 

We kept the Necronomnomnomicon. D:

 

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Betrayal: Legacy

 

Huh.  Wasn't a huge fan of this. You are each playing a descendant of a family bloodline. So most games (set 20-30 years apart) are a different member (the last often having died :P) of that family, while some carry over (if you lived).

 

The guy who's game it is is playing with different people each time (sometimes some cross over, sometimes entirely new)

 

But...it's just Betrayal. I played Game 4 (out of 13) and I'd struggle to see what effect the legacy elements are. You'd added more "Omens" (Oh that's the haunted doll from week 3) and items can be "heirloomed" (Oh that's the Crumpet Family Crossbow! Members of the Crumpet family get an additional +1 beyond it's normal bonues). Some tiles have ghosts added to them (where people died) which can enhance card effects - but largely it's a game of Betrayal. Pandemic Legacy after 2 games we'd change diseases, the board, characters etc.

 

I don't think it helped we had a very boring "Betrayal" scenario as the base which ended with a bit of a whimper (other players said other scenarios had been stronger).

 

I enjoyed it because I enjoyed the people I played it with and the talk around the (so-so) game. But it felt like a more structured/defined game of betrayal (since you're not randomly picking one from an option of 20+) that didn't do much to deserve "legacy" idea.

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I think a legacy version of a game like that would benefit more from being app driven, something like the new Mansions of Madness but with the app handling the game state.

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I always find betrayal disappointing - fun buildup then a haunt that is sometimes fun but mostly either awful, unbalanced or just dull. 

 We play it once a year as it was the first game our group got to the table 2 years ago but it’s not something I’d suggest normally. Had hoped somehow the legacy version would maybe improve but it seems not. 

 

 

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Played Risk Legacy with Moose and Donk. It was our tenth game and Donk's sixth win.

 

The initial excitement of all the legacy stuff has kinda gone. I think that, because there's only ever three of us playing, events get triggered less than they perhaps could so they don't offer a massive amount of excitement. The missions feel largely redundant. Donk having so many wins (and therefore missiles) turned the last game into a minor rebellion against an incredible overpowered overlord who denied us continental bonuses a few times on the trot.

 

I've gone all the way from "this is awesome" to "hmmmm it is not" over our past few games, partly as a result of starting the largely superior Pandemic Legacy (superior in what it does with the Legacy stuff anyway).

 

There's definitely an element of sore losership here. I'm aware of that.

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Yeah I definitely think it should have ended at ten games. The wins=rockets hasn't been thought through.

 

Saying that it doesn't help that I missed a shitload of bonuses for conquering because I forget how the game works between plays.

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I think the missiles were only overpowered in that last game because I had a missile power that contributed to the all or nothing strategy I'd taken. If I'd not won that turn it was basically the point of no return, and at least one of you would have flooded the board with figures within another turn or two.

 

All that said, I was quite disappointed to find that we have basically discovered everything at this point with five games still to play. It feels like we've settled into our favourite starting locations and factions, and we've managed to gimp a couple of the factions so that they are largely never a good choice at this point. The only thing left to discover is tied to random event chance and given that we've very rarely chosen to upgrade the resource cards, it's unlikely we'd hit that any time soon.

 

The main issue is that we are not massive Risk fans - we were kinda relying on the excellent Legacy stuff to keep it fresh, because the first 6-7 games were all excellent and the moments where you unlock a thing are genuinely amazing. Now it's "just" Risk on a board that we modified, which in itself is still rad.

 

I feel kinda bad shitting on it at all as it's been a genuine delight to play for much of the time we've played it.

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I think the last 5 games could be interesting because basically Moose and I now have to form an alliance to stop you conquering the world. But that's going to be so uninteresting for you in some ways.

 

The nerfed factions are definitely an issue. 

 

I need to buy some rigged red dice I can use because you clearly have a long and storied history of taking on the Mafia in casinos. 

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I think Legacy only really improves games that are already good. If a game is already flawed it doesn't fix it and suddenly make it much better. That's probably the issue with Risk.

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I've been playing Quarriors with a few guys from work over lunch. Take six of the custom dice from your dice bag and roll them, use currency rolled to summon creatures/cast spells/buy a new die. When you run out of dice in your bag, on your turn return your used dice to the bag and carry on.

 

The idea of "Dominion with dice" is an interesting one, but after 4 games sadly I think this is a bit rubbish. Usually the best move is to buy the most expensive die you can, and there's nothing to really mitigate a bad roll. Combine this with each game being being quite short and it feels as though there's very few interesting decisions or player agency whatsoever. The presentation is also horrendous, favouring a mid-nineties sense of humour and a 10-page rule book filled with bad puns for what is really a very simple game.

Great-premise-but-ultimately-disappointing/10.

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18 minutes ago, Kauwiks said:

I've been playing Quarriors with a few guys from work over lunch. Take six of the custom dice from your dice bag and roll them, use currency rolled to summon creatures/cast spells/buy a new die. When you run out of dice in your bag, on your turn return your used dice to the bag and carry on.

 

The idea of "Dominion with dice" is an interesting one, but after 4 games sadly I think this is a bit rubbish. Usually the best move is to buy the most expensive die you can, and there's nothing to really mitigate a bad roll. Combine this with each game being being quite short and it feels as though there's very few interesting decisions or player agency whatsoever. The presentation is also horrendous, favouring a mid-nineties sense of humour and a 10-page rule book filled with bad puns for what is really a very simple game.

Great-premise-but-ultimately-disappointing/10.

 

 

Right, there's 2 house rules* which make it much better. 1) If you want to score a dice then you have to put it back in the pool in the middle. 2) you can buy 2 dice instead of one in phase 4. If they were in when you were playing then nothing will save the game for you. FWIW I really enjoy it, it's light and daft.


*my first edition didn't have these

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Cheers, I'll give that a try if I can get the gang to give it another play :)

 

@moosegrinder Under those house rules, do used spells/portals also get returned to the pool in the middle, or does that only apply to scorable dice (i.e. creatures)?

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Reef

 

Really like it. It's easy to teach, deep possibilities, looks lovely on the table, over in half an hour, and relatively inexpensive to buy. Pretty much no negatives.

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I managed to get a few games of Lords of Waterdeep in on my phone over the holidays. I enjoyed it, though the app is a bit crap. 

 

I also played through Viticulture against the automata to familiarise myself with the rules. I got 13 points which felt well crap - I didn't even realise the basic plant-harvest-make wine-fulfill order cycle and nor did I realise that grapes and wine get better with age, so I spent my first couple of turns building stuff. I enjoyed it but it felt well, well swingy depending on what cards you pull. My last turn I spent just doing everything I could to draw cards in the hope of swinging a win - with the right wine order I might have swung it. 

I'm honestly suprised by how highly this game is rated. Like I say, I enjoyed it but it felt swingy. When I checked out a thread on BGG about why people enjoy it so much literally everybody's first couple of points were 'theme' and 'quality of pieces' which seem to me slightly underwhelming reasons to rate a game so highly...

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Played Mainframe which is in the works for a tenner. It's a reworking of Bauhaus which I'd never heard of bit is a light area control game by way of Qix. It's light, fast and worth a tenner.

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I've played a few games of Too Many Bones since last posting here, and now I'm well into Act II of Sword & Sorcery.

 

Too Many Bones is a dice based strategy RPG.  2-4 players choose a Gearloc ( a sort of gnome with elf ears) and set off on a quest to beat a boss (Tyrant) after a certain number of days of encounters.  Unlike S&S and Gloomhaven, this is a neat and easy game to set up and play multiple hands solo (there is a solo variant but that is just dullsville).  Chip Theory Games have a trademark design approach and here it works well to identify each party on the 4*4 battle grid, their HP and order of play.

The idea is that completing the daily encounters reward players with training points and loot.  Training points are levelling up points and can be used to improve basic stats or to obtain skills.  One of the interesting aspects of the game is that most encounters offer a choice - an easier or harder option with rewards scaled accordingly.  If you fail the encounter, you march on without any reward for that day's efforts.  The result of this is that each day spent in the field prior to meeting the boss will yield 0-2 training points and you want to aim high if the task looks feasible.  For this reason shorter games can be harder and are not a good place to start (I didn't realise this).  Much depends on the encounters, some of which are fairly or very tricky at low level.  There is typically some condition imposed on the combat scenario for the higher reward, although there are also easy non-combat scenarios  If a player can survive an encounter at full health or thereabouts he can do something useful in the rest period such as scout ahead, exchange loot or start to unlock higher quality loot, so there is an additional incentive to really plan combat carefully.  Baddies have the usual sorts of attributes and you are free to place your team as you wish to try to counter them in an efficient manner.

 

Each player has an indented mat to securely hold their skills and stats dice and also has a reference card which identifies the skills and special talents available to them and how all dice should be placed or used. Dexterity drives the total number of dice - attack, defence and skills which may be rolled each turn. One of the really cool things is that "null results" - the titular bones - are actually really useful because they stack up to yield bonuses and skills such as shield bash.  

 

I found a team of Patches (medic + buff),   Tantrum (ultra damage) and Picket (tank) worked well, and the game was getting too easy by the time I tackled the goblin king because by then I had found the most useful skills, and I probably also had some luck with encounters (19 levels in 11 days) (also in boss encounters you only need to kill the boss although some have other requirements which complicate things).   I'll go back and complete the other Tyrants at some point and might look at the expansion which knits the tyrant fights together into a campaign (although funds for new games this year are to be tightly restricted). 

 

The game is beautifully designed throughout and pretty straightforward, but perhaps a little lacking in soul (see also City Of Kings), which is not a charge which may be levelled against S&S.  That sprawling epic across the acts and expansions is truly the Baldur's Gate of board gaming for better or worse.  Both games get considerably better as you level up and have access to more skills and many more magic items (also some of the supplementary characters are much more interesting than the starting set). Both games make you want to start over with other combinations of characters, although in truth many of their specialist skills don't kick in until LIII or IV.   I understand a final expansion to level VII is scheduled and I've recently backed something else they are doing on Kickstarter so I'm well invested in this now.

 

Photos below

First combat scenario featuring Picket and Boomer - needless to say a disaster since I had no idea what I was doing skills wise and probably hadn't levelled much before meeting the Tyrant who in this case is untouchable until his minions die.  Not a fan of Boomer either.

Second - Picket player mat showing a build up of bones in the back up  plan which will allow him to use shield bash (twice) once he has some more yellow defence dice in place in his active slots.  He also has ongoing benefits in his locked slots - health regeneration and damage reduction.

 

 

2018-12-14_11_07_20.jpg

2018-12-22_18_31_55.jpg

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On 03/01/2019 at 14:55, Tourist said:

I also played through Viticulture against the automata to familiarise myself with the rules. I got 13 points which felt well crap - I didn't even realise the basic plant-harvest-make wine-fulfill order cycle and nor did I realise that grapes and wine get better with age, so I spent my first couple of turns building stuff. I enjoyed it but it felt well, well swingy depending on what cards you pull. My last turn I spent just doing everything I could to draw cards in the hope of swinging a win - with the right wine order I might have swung it. 

I'm honestly suprised by how highly this game is rated. Like I say, I enjoyed it but it felt swingy. When I checked out a thread on BGG about why people enjoy it so much literally everybody's first couple of points were 'theme' and 'quality of pieces' which seem to me slightly underwhelming reasons to rate a game so highly...

 

I would expect you are missing out on a great deal of the game by not playing against over people as it's essentially a race game (first to 20 points) with worker placement. Both those mechanics work great with others but not so great solo. Card draw can be a bit swingy but you do tend to draw a lot which evens out the luck element. You also need to get a worker on the right spot on the board to play them so there's a good balance between collecting cards, playing them and forgoing other actions to do both of those things.

 

FWIW it's one of my favourite games and not because of the theme or quality of the pieces :D

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Yeah, I am sure the solo experience is not as interesting as the multiplayer; though reading online it does seem that games typically end around 7 years - or however many years you get for the solo - so it did feel sort of authentic (the only bit that felt inauthentic was when I drew an automata card on turn/year 1 that placed about 6 workers over the year, which I don't think would be possible in a 2-player game...).

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We've had a nice gaming time recently with some great games getting their first plays. We've really enjoyed Raiders of the North Sea and Architects of the West Kingdom which are both worker placement games although the worker mechanic is quite different in each. I'd say for the base games Architects just edges it but I have two expansions for Raiders which we're aiming to get played soon.

 

We've also played Everdell a few times and really had a good time with that game. This is a lovely mixture of worker placement, hand management and tableau building that just works. The rulebook is surprisingly small while your available choices are surprisingly large. The huge deck of cards allows for various strategies and the variable setup will provide a nice variety to how the economic engine of the games works. On our second game I was really pleased to see that two of us headed off in different directions, I was concentrating on the Production cards to generate lots of resources and one of the other players went into buildings to generate lots of end game points, and we ended up with only 1 point separating us. Of course I was the player who was one point off and lost 51 points to 52. The third player was left in the dust but it was his first game and thankfully he still enjoyed it.

 

We've been so enamoured with this one that we've late pledged for the Everdell expansion which has just finished on Kickstarter.

 

I'd recommend any of these if people are looking for a new game in January.

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