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jonnyalpha
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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.

 

 

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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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I've got Everdell as a Christmas present to self since it looks gorgeous and seems great to play too, but have to finish S&S first, having seemingly been put under some sort of compulsive obsessive spell.  (I've also tabulated all character progression and I'm even thinking of turning my hand to writing new a new quest or two, not to mention dreaming up various new party combos (:facepalm:)).

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Played Hunt for the Ring (part 1) last night.  Really enjoyed it.  Scratches the same ultra-thematic hidden movement itch that Fury of Dracula does so brilliantly, but without taking 5 hours to play.  Considering that it was our very first play and we all suffer a bit from analysis paralysis, we still comfortably finished it within 2 hours.  

 

Highly recommended.  Probably my go to hidden movement game of choice now unless I've got the time to play Fury of Dracula, which remains the absolute daddy.  

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Spacehost and his partner kindly gave my wife Salem 1629 for Christmas. It's an accurately-historically-themed Werewolf/hidden role kind of game about the witch trials with some interesting mechanics stirred in to it. From a cold start where none of the seven of us playing knew a thing, it we quickly got the hang of it. (It's one of those games that's far easier to learn by playing than from the rulebook.) It's not as strict a bluffing/logic game as most of the Werewolf variants I've played, because you're gradually inflicting "damage" (accusations) on the other players until they lose a "life" (get given a witch trial) and potentially reveal their secret role, so not every action has to be strategic. You can be quite loose in how you play and still get rewarded. There was a lot of getting spiteful revenge on people in a single turn just because they did something someone didn't like a minute ago.

 

Very thematic, be interested to see how it goes next time we play now we have the basics down.

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37 minutes ago, Alex W. said:

Spacehost and his partner kindly gave my wife Salem 1629 for Christmas. It's an accurately-historically-themed Werewolf/hidden role kind of game about the witch trials with some interesting mechanics stirred in to it. From a cold start where none of the seven of us playing knew a thing, it we quickly got the hang of it. (It's one of those games that's far easier to learn by playing than from the rulebook.) It's not as strict a bluffing/logic game as most of the Werewolf variants I've played, because you're gradually inflicting "damage" (accusations) on the other players until they lose a "life" (get given a witch trial) and potentially reveal their secret role, so not every action has to be strategic. You can be quite loose in how you play and still get rewarded. There was a lot of getting spiteful revenge on people in a single turn just because they did something someone didn't like a minute ago.

 

Very thematic, be interested to see how it goes next time we play now we have the basics down.

 

It's one of a trilogy of games. I've played Deadwood 1876 and that was quite good fun too.

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3 hours ago, Alex W. said:

Spacehost and his partner kindly gave my wife Salem 1629 for Christmas. It's an accurately-historically-themed Werewolf/hidden role kind of game about the witch trials with some interesting mechanics stirred in to it. From a cold start where none of the seven of us playing knew a thing, it we quickly got the hang of it. (It's one of those games that's far easier to learn by playing than from the rulebook.) It's not as strict a bluffing/logic game as most of the Werewolf variants I've played, because you're gradually inflicting "damage" (accusations) on the other players until they lose a "life" (get given a witch trial) and potentially reveal their secret role, so not every action has to be strategic. You can be quite loose in how you play and still get rewarded. There was a lot of getting spiteful revenge on people in a single turn just because they did something someone didn't like a minute ago.

 

Very thematic, be interested to see how it goes next time we play now we have the basics down.

I’ve got all three of them have only so far been able to play Tortuga which we all thought was excellent.

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Got Clans of Caledonia back to the table after a long time sitting on the shelf -  forgot what a brilliant game it is - especially at 4. The mix of economic engine with the ever changing market prices, territorial control and resource management tick so many boxes for me. 

 One I’ll be taking to games days more often in 2019.

 

 Hoping to also get another game of Arkwright soon - it’s not a game you just roll up with though - an hour of rules then a heavy economic management game that runs close to 5 hours at 4 players - the last game I played almost broke one of the new players who I actually thought was about to flip the table at a couple of points. The constant need to adjust strategy because another player messes up the job market, the economy or production cycle for your turn means you can never just sit back and relax between turns. 5 hours vanishes in a heartbeat. 

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Another game of Hunt for the Ring last night - this time just two of us and played both parts 1 and 2.  Excellent game. Still my 2nd favourite hidden movement.

 

I think the game works better as a 2 player as one player controls all the Nazgul and, as a result, has access to all available dice to use as they please, rather than having to negotiate with other Nazgul players.

 

Part 2 is really interesting and we loved it.  It's proven to be controversial but thematically it makes perfect sense and it mixes up the gameplay quite a bit.  The player doesn't control Frodo, rather the game is set up as Strider picking a route to Rivendell and the player is Gandalf jumping about the map trying to fuck the Nazgul's shite right up.  

 

When searching an area, Nazgul can't tell if Gandalf or Frodo or both is in an area.  The Gandalf player knows where frodo is so can use Gandalf to cut the Nazgul off.  At any point, by spending a token, the Gandalf player can 'reveal himself' in a blinding flash and scatter the Nazgul.  This lead to a really tense end game where I managed to work out where Frodo was, and a race between me and Gandalf to get there first.  Gandalf got there and blocked my Nazgul and while one got through - it wasn't enough to corrupt Frodo completely and he won the next round.

 

Hugely recommend this game if you're at all a fan of LotR and hidden movement games... 

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On 08/01/2019 at 15:37, Cosmic_Guru said:

I've got Everdell as a Christmas present to self since it looks gorgeous and seems great to play too, but have to finish S&S first, having seemingly been put under some sort of compulsive obsessive spell.  (I've also tabulated all character progression and I'm even thinking of turning my hand to writing new a new quest or two, not to mention dreaming up various new party combos (:facepalm:)).

 

Well, S&S is finished for now for the time being after some pretty long and exhausting (but hugely enjoyable) Act II quests.  All put away and documented so that a new evil team can be formed if the compulsion to play this again strikes again before the final expansion is out (together with 2 new characters).  I read that the final dragon boss in that expansion might require a 10 character team at LVI/VII to beat, so it may be wise to hang fire a bit to see if that is correct, and anyway I think I have worked out the compulsion for the time being.

 

So I cracked open Everdell for some light relief this afternoon and it's just as good as anticipated.  It really manages that trick of appearing simple and straightforward on the surface so everyone can pick it up quickly, but concealing good depths underneath.  The way in which each successive season offers more opportunities for action and enables synergies and other positive feedback loops to emerge is both pleasing in itself, and supports the overall theme of preparation.

After an initial flail around to learn the mechanics with 2H, I decided to settle down with the solo game where you attempt to defeat a rat over 3 increasingly difficult years.  It's cunning (like a rat) and well designed, and for once doesn't feel like an add-on to attract Kickstarter backers.  It is a good training tool since it forces you to think about what you are doing, principally in maintaining a high average point value for your city cards (the rat acquires one card for each card played by you and his always score at least 2 points), and also trying to achieve at least one of the special events (the rat takes credit for all those you miss).  I achieved a win at the 4th attempt, helped by completing 2 special events which both scored well, keeping the average card value high AND cashing out big in the final journey (possibly this score would have sufficed to win in year 2 also).  In an earlier game I came very close to his score by severely restricting the number of cards I played, so my city was only 7 units large.    

 

A couple of observations:

  • the tree looks pretty but is impracticable for solo play (and I imagine for 3 or 4 P play also) - much better to have it to one side as a reminder of the seasons, and put the special events in the sort of hole in the front of the board where they are much easier to read
  • it seems a strange design choice to have 11 and not 12 forest cards when you use 3 or 4 each game. 
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Had another great time at Beyond Monopoly at the weekend, and got to play quite a few games I'd not played before.

 

First up was Karuba, a fun little tile-laying game. You draw tiles and place them to try and get your explorers across uncharted territory to the temples. Each tile has a different configuration of paths on it, and can be used to either extend your paths on the board or to move your explorers. There are gems to collect on the way and bonus points for being the first explorer to reach the destination. I lost spectacularly, but quite enjoyed it. It has more depth than it first appears.

 

Next came Troyes, a solid Euro game where you use a pool of dice to place workers in different parts of the city, to gain influence and special abilities. Each turn, there's an external threat that you have to join forces to fight against, and these continue to affect each subsequent turn until they're defeated. It took a short while to get the game running smoothly (lots of rules), but after that it was fine. I liked it. Think I came second (four player game).

 

Imhotep was next, a game where you're building structures in ancient Egypt. Each turn you can choose to take stone from your quarry onto your wharf, move stone from the wharf onto a boat, or drive a boat to one of five different locations to contribute to different buildings. Each building scores in a different way, and the trick is to maximise your points and minimise your opponents' (boats will have other people's stones on besides your own). I already own this and always enjoy playing it.

 

Medici: I really enjoyed this a lot, and would say it was my favourite game of the day. It's a deceptively simple auction game where where you're bidding on cargo to load onto your boat. For each consignment that comes up, you only get one bid each, with it then going to the highest bidder. You get points based on the tonnage (each cargo tile has a weight), and on how many of each type of good you have. Money is points and points are money, so you're reducing your final score with higher bids. It makes for a very tight, very tense game. Came second, I think. I think I'll probably get myself a copy of this.

 

Last was Isle of Skye, where you lay tiles to build terrain in a very similar way to Carcassonne. As we were pressed for time, we played a simpler variant where you draft tiles rather than buy them at auction. It was quite good fun, but I think I prefer the elegant simplicity of Carc.

 

Had a lovely time, and look forward to going again. My only regret was not being free at the right time to join in with Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, a game I'd really like to try. Maybe next time.

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Ahhhh! I saw you playing those games! I was the person recruiting everyone to play Murder in Hong Kong- and then kept on saying ‘one more game ‘ for about 2 hours.  Great fun. Tried to play more of it later. I was also the flip chart writer for Detective: A Modern Game (or whatever it’s called).

 

Next time you’re going let me know before and we’ll arrange a game of something- do you fancy Sidereal Confluence?

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Yeah that was fun. Definitely looking forward to getting it to the table again. I really should pay attention to games set up and tear down times though when I look to back/buy them.

 

Also, designers who don't make boxes big enough to hold all the punched components need a very stern talking to.

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I've been lucky enough to have played Wingspan a couple of times in the past week. It's really rather good. The production quality is unbelievable and the artwork is fantastic. If you like birds that is. If you have an irrational fear of birds it's probably not so great. It plays really well. At it's heart it's a engine builder with minimal interaction but the engine building is really satisfying and the action choices all interlock with each other so the choices you are making are always tricky but meaningful. Playing it again tonight and I can't wait to give it another go.

 

Also played the new expansion for Great Western Trail last week. If you like GWT then I think it's a must have expansion. Like all the best expansions it adds depth without significantly increasing the complexity.

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Played Escape the Dark castle wth my son and some pals. Always goes down well and it’s on the right side of gross for 12 year olds particularly when you add on the death book.

 

we then played Adrenaline. Definitely recommend this. A run and gun vs game. Fast and fun. 

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Got in some quality game time with my daughter this weekend. Spread a full-length game of Western Legends across a couple of sessions and had a blast, winning (just) as the outlaw Kit Carson against the marshal Wyatt Earp - I have gone all-out on Kickstarter expansions for this already :unsure:

 

Also pulled out our old fave Castles of Burgundy last night, and got roundly thrashed! Well worth pimping it with some nice tile bags to streamline setup.

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Game of the week at Casa Cosmic has been City Of Kings (Redux).  I really wanted to like this game more first time around but I bounced quite hard away from it after completing the first 2 stories fairly easily through ruthless min/maxing of characters so that one would always be the priority target (highest HP), one the damage dealer and one support.  This time I decided to play more organically and to let things develop as they will (except for still having one dedicated forager character), trying to forge a link with the characters - Jon Snow, Brutius, Vyleria (wagon)woman, and T'Lorra (who has a great passive skill in choosing one of two quests).

 

Having attempted a few of the (easy) short scenarios and also completed stories 3 and most of 4 this time around I now realise I must either have been lucky or missed some aspects of the rules first time around - this game can be very challenging, particularly at the very beginning and in the last, bonus, stages of stories.  The first story is also probably more challenging than the 2nd or 3rd because the density of creature tiles is relatively high and the "3 strikes and fail" rule hangs over like the Sword of Damocles (generally much less of an issue later in the game with higher character stats and the tiles uncovered).  

 

It's all a question of the random tile placement really, and also of enemy abilities, particularly those of bosses.  Some of the placements can make the game impossible to resolve because you can't get your wagons out, or your characters to a position of safety in the first couple of rounds - I guess like some hands of solitaire or other games which you know early doors just won't work out.  No choice then but to start over.  Other key locations which make life a lot easier in a benign configuration are stables, quest tiles and the linen resource tile (I had a couple of games where this last was unreachable for most of the game).  Then the other significant variable - creature abilities.  Static creatures / bosses may be ignored until one is strong enough to confront them, but then again dithering around doing quests and trying to level up by working around them is not always a good thing because of the constant time pressure.  A dynamic enemy which is also in the habit of spewing fire or poison tokens may however be hoist by their own petard to some extent.  Then there are the dreaded hounds, temptation and wildling abilities which suck your wagons inexorably towards danger, or force you to keep characters at safe distance.  It's a really good way of building enemy behaviours.  The enemy designs fit this brilliantly too.

 

Anyway, this makes a pleasing degree of randomness in the way repeated games play out. I also twigged this time around how useful barricades, traps and camps are in the later game, so henceforward one character (of the 3) will always focus on extending wagon range and gathering capability to farm wood and stone in particular.  I really like traps (I always like traps) but came unstuck in story 4 because the final enemy spawn in the last story stage trapped both long range wagons  :(.  A bit more patience required there (but tick-tock watch the clock).  

 

The design of the game is really lovely throughout - the distinctive shades of pink, blue and yellow, the enemy designs, the quality (and number) of inventory and quest cards all make this an attractive and generous package, even at the standard retailer unit level, although anti-knock sheets and wooden resources improve it significantly (not sure about yellow corn like linen though - guess there is no industry standard design for this item).  Not sure the character miniatures are an improvement over the standees either. 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Mortis said:

Depends if you paint them :) and yes I know there are many talented painters here who are probably shuddering at the amateur job I've made of these but I'm happy for my 2nd ever set of painted minis .

IMG_3963.JPG

 

Shut up, those are brill. What game is that? 

Rock guy on the middle is especially good. 

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