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On 04/01/2018 at 15:52, SimonC said:

I've been playing Charterstone with my regular play group (5 of us) the past couple of months and we've almost got to the end with 10 of the 12 games now played. I was loving it but the last session where we played 2 games left me feeling a bit dissapointed. The early games where you have a drip feed of new mechanics and the game is constantly changing are amazing but it feels like it's run out of steam a little bit now. I'd still recommend it though.

 

My group played our first two games last night. It's good, isn't it? Although I'm wondering whether we're enjoying opening boxes and revealing cards more than actually playing the game.

 

I'm also unsure about this whole idea of teaching a game by playing, or at least, the way Charterstone does it. That the game encourages you to open new stuff on your first turn meant our first round took about half an hour to complete, so those of us last in player order were sat twiddling our thumbs for a good while, watching others get shiny new toys. By the second round we needed a refresher on how to actually play the rest of the game.

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Mansions of Madness: Streets of Arkham

 

(Astral Alchemy)

 

Not sure what to make of this. I blow pretty hot and cold on MoM.

 

The scenario itself is pretty good - some of the new cards and statuses are quite interesting. This xpac also brought in the "improve" mechanic which allows you upgrade your stats (this scenario apparently is to show that off and it happened a lot :P)

 

But it's a difficulty 4/5. Which meant we failed. We had to gather 4 component for someone in a time limit - but we didn't know where in the setting they were.

 

We felt quite efficient (as much as you could be going in blind) but only found 3 (and only got 1 back in time). The game was telling us there's time pressure, we're running out of time etc, but there was nothing we could do to speed up. Even when we found the items we couldn't move them back to to the target any quicker...


And then everyone died in a damp squib of an ending as we ran out of time (we'd have got progress next turn) with nothing we could have done to be quicker (particularly as the games warnings ramped up) - we didn't even get to "phase 2" of the scenario...

 

It's a standard MoM problem that if you don't act efficiently you run out of time - but felt particularly bad here. A second play through with some hints/tips on where to go might help, but feels like you shouldn't need that to have a chance. I've fail others and with hindsight it felt like we made bad choices based on information we had, this was just we didn't pick the right options - with no info to help us make the right choices.


A real sour note to end of decent evening.

 

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26 minutes ago, revlob said:

 

My group played our first two games last night. It's good, isn't it? Although I'm wondering whether we're enjoying opening boxes and revealing cards more than actually playing the game.

 

I think pacing is a real issue in this (Charterstone) - games 2-5 or so were excellent because of continually introducing new variables into play.  Thereafter, not so much perhaps.  I'm up to game 9 (playing a 6H game solo) but haven't opened it up since Xmas.   Having said that the game has charm and is beautifully and compactly designed.  I like the fact that everything is imparted via cards (rather than instruction manuals) and that used ones form a sort of "audit trail" enabling you to check back if you think you made a mistake in scoring etc.  I also like the way the game seems totally symmetrical at first but doesn't have to continue on that way....  

 

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3 hours ago, revlob said:

 

My group played our first two games last night. It's good, isn't it? Although I'm wondering whether we're enjoying opening boxes and revealing cards more than actually playing the game.

 

I'm also unsure about this whole idea of teaching a game by playing, or at least, the way Charterstone does it. That the game encourages you to open new stuff on your first turn meant our first round took about half an hour to complete, so those of us last in player order were sat twiddling our thumbs for a good while, watching others get shiny new toys. By the second round we needed a refresher on how to actually play the rest of the game.

 

It is good, but yes really it's just a competent but not outstanding mid-weight euro and it's the slow reveal of "stuff" that elevates it to something special. I will be interested to see if your games go the same way as ours!

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1 hour ago, SimonC said:

 

It is good, but yes really it's just a competent but not outstanding mid-weight euro and it's the slow reveal of "stuff" that elevates it to something special. I will be interested to see if your games go the same way as ours!

 

Will be interesting to compare notes with both you and @revlob later on when all has been revealed.

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Has anyone played Azul? The hype on this game in the FB groups I'm on is pretty unreal, to the point where it looks manufactured. I've played a friends copy a couple of times and it's pretty much OK. Nothing amazing, but not offensive. I'd put it alongside Splendor for the type of game it is. 

 

If you want to try it and have a copy of TTR you can make your own diy version with a few printed pages and using the train sets. 

 

 

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But a lot of the pleasure of boardgaming is in the physical, nice art, pieces, etc. Go has a similar feel with a nice set. However, Azul is also a very nice game, there is a lot of hidden depth to it which reveals after a few plays. I can see why it would divide opinion though.

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Got Mr Jack to the table last night with my daughter. It had taken me a while to track down a copy of the revised edition, and we really enjoyed it. It's an asymmetrical 2-player game, and we have a rule between us that we never change sides once we've played once, so my daughter will now always play as Mr Jack*. It plays pretty quickly, and she beat me 3 times in a row as we were learning; the first couple of times she was able to escape before I had worked out how to stop her using manhole covers, and the 3rd time I had almost deduced her identity but then made a massive misplay and threw it away! This will get a lot of replay value from us, as we like quick and dirty but reasonably challenging 2-player games.

 

*In Raptor she is always the dinosaur, and in X-Wing always the rebels. I think I must enjoy playing authority figures ;)

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I've got Raptor arriving as a not-so-surprise gift for my birthday this weekend. The idea being me and the new-to-games gf will give it a try. At the mo we've only got a few 2-player games - Port Royal, Portal of Heroes and Cube Quest. On the look out for more 2p stuff, especially ones intended to be played in that way :). Not heard of Mr Jack though - is it a similar sort of game to Raptor? Different enough to warrant a purchase?

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Tried out Deep Sea Adventure with my games club at school today. This will get a lot of play, and the kids will be expert at it by the time I next get to play with them. The rules are pretty badly organised/translated, so we had to bodge it a bit for a first play, but it always amazes me how quickly children see features in new games that I have missed. The way the treasure trail shortens every round in this game is really elegant.

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Clank in Space!

 

(I've never played Clank [or any version] so can't comment on differences).

 

Well this was fun little deck builder with board movement.

 

Lots of mechanics that seem overwhelming at first, but are actually pretty simple.

 

Lots of risk/reward - do you go for more treasure, or more movement spots, do you try and earn money to shop, or focus on buying cards. (And the usually deck builder stuff of how many cards do you buy to maintain deck efficiency)

 

 Also ramps up massively at the end as people escape and trigger extra boss attacks each round)

 

It didn't feel mechanically incredibly spacey (although lots had been renamed) but some of the names of places/characters worked (my Furry Smuggler :P)

 

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Millennium Blades

 

This is insane. If you've never heard of it, Millenium Blades is a CCG simulator. It's a game which encompasses not just the actual duelling gameplay of a CCG, but the trading and collecting aspects too, all inside a single (huge, stuffed with hundreds of cards) box. The game begins with each player given a small nine-card "starter deck", and you're immediately thrown into your first tournament. 

 

Tournament play is about taking your "carefully-crafted" "deck", and playing exactly one card on your turn into a tableau in front of you. Some cards will have an immediate effect, some will provide a single-use action you can perform later, and some might provide a scoring mechanism you can use at the end of a round, if they remain face up. Because one of the chief actions performed in the game is the flipping of cards face down, and once they're down, they stay down. So a large part of your strategy during a tournament is about choosing the right order to play and flip your own cards, whilst finding opportunities to flip other players' cards to interfere with their strategies. Once everyone has played six cards, the round is over and everyone scores points, and VP are awarded according to how well you did.

 

So what's interesting about that? Well, nothing, if that were the only part of the game. But it's really less than half, because after each tournament round is a deckbuilding round!

 

This is where the game really starts to shine. A timer is started, and everyone has a few minutes to build their decks for the next tournament round, in real time. You're given literal stacks of cash, and the shop in the middle of the table is opened. In those seven minutes you can "open a booster pack" by paying cash to purchase a face-down card from the selection in the middle, buy and sell cards face-up from the second-hand aftermarket, trade with other players, and archive sets of cards to your collection for bonus VP, all while trying to pick the eight cards that will synergise the best in your next deck.

 

Some players will hover over the store, wads of notes in hand, waiting for it to open so they can snatch up the booster cards from the less common expansions, some will spend their precious time to carefully curate a set for their collection for bonus victory points, and some will keep an eye on the "metagame", which is represented by two cards that offer additional scoring bonuses if your tableau contains certain types or elements, making those cards highly sought after. When the time is up, you've got to play with whatever cards you've chosen to put in your deck, and those who spent their time wisely will have hopefully forged a bulletproof series of high-scoring combos. Or, if you're like us, you'll be screaming at the countdown and wonder what your actual plan was with this seemingly random collection of terrible cards you call a "deck".

 

It's a real brain-burner, and our first game nearly killed us. With the added pressure of the limited time, trying to hunt for cards that work well together in the deckbuilding round is mentally exhausting. It's definitely not an experience to be entered into lightly, but I really enjoyed myself. Even though you only ever get to play six cards in a tournament, building your deck is a real rush, with the excitement of opening mysterious boosters, occasionally discovering an amazing card, tempered by the realisation that it doesn't work at all in your deck, and then building the whole thing from scratch again, with only a minute to spare. The addictive, candy-shop like-nature of CCGs is well represented here. There's almost too much game in the box, with different expansions that can be thrown into the mix, and special "promo" cards that can change everything, I don't know if we'll ever see it all.

 

Is it a substitute for Magic? Maybe, maybe not. If you enjoy it though, it'll leave you a hell of a lot richer.

 

 

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1 hour ago, SimonC said:

That sounds amazing. How have I not heard of it before? One more for the wishlist...

 

It was a Kickstarter project back in 2015, from Level 99 Games, who have a history of CCG-style card games. If you watch the Dice Tower you may have heard Tom Vasel mention Battlecon, which is another big-box-o'-cards of theirs. They seem to have a talent for doing interesting things with the format, but I suspect these games don't reach as wide an audience as perhaps they should because many people looking to play something like a CCG might just want to play an actual CCG.

 

Another not-CCG I'd like to try is Codex, from Sirlin Games. That one looks like it takes the best part of Mage Wars, Dominion, and Hearthstone, and throws in some RTS-like elements on top.

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Fury of Dracula

 

I've played this 3 times now but held off posting until I got a chance to play Dracula. This is a brilliant game. Eldritch Horror didn't really hold our interest; this feels similar (many of the actions are the same) but the adversarial element is what we like in a game. EH is good but playing against the game and randomly spawned events etc. can get boring in such a long game. Everyone playing against a friend and knowing their meta playstyles, trying to second guess their moves and taunting each other is a lot more fun for us.

 

The hunters win the game by finding Dracula's location and defeating him in combat (this will take multiple hunters or rounds, as Dracula is stronger). Dracula wins by gaining 13 influence (by playing hidden vampire cards which give points when they mature or by biting and defeating hunters). The rounds are broken into day/night phases over a week. At the end of the 3rd week, an ability activates for Dracula which will allow him to win easily unless killed very quickly afterwards.

 

First 2 games I played as a hunter (Dr. John Seward & Lord Godalming). The theme is very well implemented, with all the traditional vampire tropes, quotes from the book on all the cards, a beautiful map and great art (I would like better minis and will probably replace them at some point, something like these). The map is very large and hard to cover efficiently, drawing event cards and using Mina's ability to search a whole region is key to getting a lead on Dracula's position. The trail mechanic is great, it stops Dracula sitting in the same place for the whole game or doubling back on himself (aside from a couple of power cards). Finding the trail for the first time really ups the excitement level and the game becomes a cat and mouse chase (in which the mouse can absolutely turn the hunt around if caught by a lone hunter). First game we managed to uncover the trail at the end of the first week. Dracula evaded well for a while but was eventually cornered and taken down by multiple hunters. Second game he managed to stay hidden until the end of the second week. After dispatching a hunter in combat he was unable to get away and brought down over the next few turns.

 

Account of my Dracula game, including graphic representations of my table presence at each junction:

Spoiler

I played Dracula last night. I started on an island at the southernmost point of the map and played power cards to remain hidden there for 2 turns before making a break via sea up to Ireland. I dropped a vampire in Galway and moved to Britain.

tenor.gif?itemid=5160772

 

The hunters correctly guessed my location at this point (they soon guessed I started on the island by a combination of event cards and knowledge of my play style), although 2 were far off in Eastern Europe. My trail was uncovered at Liverpool by an event card. I anticipated being caught in Edinburgh and ambushed the hunter there, laying fog to delay him while I crossed the sea to Hamburg.

1V3d0.gif

 

I used Wolf Form to flee to Strasbourg (allows Dracula to move multiple times), where I was quickly surrounded and at very low health from moving through the sea (Dracula hates water!). From Strasbourg, there were 7 moves I could make, all of which could be reached by the hunters.

tumblr_lxecxgX3Pi1qav174o1_500.gif

 

I headed north again and the hunters guessed incorrectly (phew!). One of my vampires was slain (I bit down on a garlic wreath), leaving me a few influence short of the win. An unwise nighttime supply gave me the opportunity to make 2 moves and I fled back to sea, summoning storms in my wake. As I landed back in England, the Fury of Dracula ability activated and I was able to take my final move for the win with 1 health reaming and my storms holding the pursuers at bay. Super tense finish!

tumblr_mbfo3z9dlc1qdv0fyo1_500.gif

 

This is a brilliant game and will see many more plays. I bought a cape for the Dracula player to wear, which is an essential upgrade and as a bonus doubles as a DM screen to choose your cards behind.

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On 20/01/2018 at 20:50, Kzo said:

Fury of Dracula

 

I've played this 3 times now but held off posting until I got a chance to play Dracula. This is a brilliant game. Eldritch Horror didn't really hold our interest; this feels similar (many of the actions are the same) but the adversarial element is what we like in a game. EH is good but playing against the game and randomly spawned events etc. can get boring in such a long game. Everyone playing against a friend and knowing their meta playstyles, trying to second guess their moves and taunting each other is a lot more fun for us.

 

The hunters win the game by finding Dracula's location and defeating him in combat (this will take multiple hunters or rounds, as Dracula is stronger). Dracula wins by gaining 13 influence (by playing hidden vampire cards which give points when they mature or by biting and defeating hunters). The rounds are broken into day/night phases over a week. At the end of the 3rd week, an ability activates for Dracula which will allow him to win easily unless killed very quickly afterwards.

 

First 2 games I played as a hunter (Dr. John Seward & Lord Godalming). The theme is very well implemented, with all the traditional vampire tropes, quotes from the book on all the cards, a beautiful map and great art (I would like better minis and will probably replace them at some point, something like these). The map is very large and hard to cover efficiently, drawing event cards and using Mina's ability to search a whole region is key to getting a lead on Dracula's position. The trail mechanic is great, it stops Dracula sitting in the same place for the whole game or doubling back on himself (aside from a couple of power cards). Finding the trail for the first time really ups the excitement level and the game becomes a cat and mouse chase (in which the mouse can absolutely turn the hunt around if caught by a lone hunter). First game we managed to uncover the trail at the end of the first week. Dracula evaded well for a while but was eventually cornered and taken down by multiple hunters. Second game he managed to stay hidden until the end of the second week. After dispatching a hunter in combat he was unable to get away and brought down over the next few turns.

 

Account of my Dracula game, including graphic representations of my table presence at each junction:

  Hide contents

I played Dracula last night. I started on an island at the southernmost point of the map and played power cards to remain hidden there for 2 turns before making a break via sea up to Ireland. I dropped a vampire in Galway and moved to Britain.

tenor.gif?itemid=5160772

 

The hunters correctly guessed my location at this point (they soon guessed I started on the island by a combination of event cards and knowledge of my play style), although 2 were far off in Eastern Europe. My trail was uncovered at Liverpool by an event card. I anticipated being caught in Edinburgh and ambushed the hunter there, laying fog to delay him while I crossed the sea to Hamburg.

1V3d0.gif

 

I used Wolf Form to flee to Strasbourg (allows Dracula to move multiple times), where I was quickly surrounded and at very low health from moving through the sea (Dracula hates water!). From Strasbourg, there were 7 moves I could make, all of which could be reached by the hunters.

tumblr_lxecxgX3Pi1qav174o1_500.gif

 

I headed north again and the hunters guessed incorrectly (phew!). One of my vampires was slain (I bit down on a garlic wreath), leaving me a few influence short of the win. An unwise nighttime supply gave me the opportunity to make 2 moves and I fled back to sea, summoning storms in my wake. As I landed back in England, the Fury of Dracula ability activated and I was able to take my final move for the win with 1 health reaming and my storms holding the pursuers at bay. Super tense finish!

tumblr_mbfo3z9dlc1qdv0fyo1_500.gif

 

This is a brilliant game and will see many more plays. I bought a cape for the Dracula player to wear, which is an essential upgrade and as a bonus doubles as a DM screen to choose your cards behind.

 

I absolutely LOVE FoD... it does a fantastic job of capturing the theme and gets extremely tense when the investigators finally track Dracula down (usually me) and he has to try and shake them and do a runner.  Made all the more handy if you have a wolf form card to play.  It would see the table more often, but it can easily run to 5 hours.

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2 hours ago, scottcr said:

 

I absolutely LOVE FoD... it does a fantastic job of capturing the theme and gets extremely tense when the investigators finally track Dracula down (usually me) and he has to try and shake them and do a runner.  Made all the more handy if you have a wolf form card to play.  It would see the table more often, but it can easily run to 5 hours.

 

Yeah playtime is pretty long, we tend to go at a pretty casual pace while chatting etc. Haven't gone to 5 hours yet but I'd say it could happen!

 

2 hours ago, revlob said:

I wish I'd never used the beginner rules to play my first game of FoD. Dracula is completely pants, stripped of nearly all his powers and the game is very quickly over once you get caught. 

 

We skipped the beginner rules, playing Dracula would be a nightmare without the powers. Are the hunters limited at all?

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1 minute ago, Kzo said:

We skipped the beginner rules, playing Dracula would be a nightmare without the powers. Are the hunters limited at all?

 

Nope! No Lairs, no rumours, and no power cards for Dracula, but there's nothing except inexperience to hinder the hunters in their first game.

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Fury of Dracula looks so much fun, but it is so expensive. There is a single Japanese version available at a semi-reasonable price but I don't know what edition it is based on - and I don't know what edition is the best one to get. 

http://amzn.asia/99coZoO

 

In the meantime, I played Castles of Burgundy against my daughter solo at the weekend. I really enjoy it. I played it before using a solo variant and thought it was super-overwhelming for about two turns (phases? rounds?) before it all clicked. It's a lot of fun, isn't it?

Castles of Burgundy.jpg

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1 hour ago, Tourist said:

Fury of Dracula looks so much fun, but it is so expensive. There is a single Japanese version available at a semi-reasonable price but I don't know what edition it is based on - and I don't know what edition is the best one to get. 

http://amzn.asia/99coZoO

That's the third edition, which is the most recent and generally regarded as the best (I haven't played 1st and 2nd eds, just seems to be the consensus from what I've read).

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