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What's your favorite Board Game? - Page 11

post #501 of 547

Lower your expectations on EXPLODING KITTENS.  It's ok but nothing special.  If you need a quick game that you can burn through in 15-20 minutes, go for it, but don't devote an entire game session to it.

post #502 of 547

Picked up Temple of Elemental Evil from that boardgame store I mentioned a while back. Coulda got it cheaper online, but I feel like I gotta support these guys.


Oh, and also, they seem to be a great bunch.

post #503 of 547

Fantasy Flight Games has purchased the Legend of the Five Rings from AEG.  The current CCG will end, with an LCG version coming in 2017.  This likely extends to RPG and board game properties as well.  With the way FFG has handled Warhammer and Star Wars, this has me prancing around like a schoolboy.  I was convinced Doomtown: Reloaded was AEG's dry run for re-imagining L5R as a non-collectible game, but I had no idea this is how it would happen.

post #504 of 547

This past weekend, five of us took a flier at RISK: Legacy. I was the only person who'd ever heard of it, and I'd been curious to play but had never spoiled myself to its secrets. I won't drop any spoilers here, and we haven't come near to unlocking everything, so please no spoilers. Anyway,  we're all virgins. We loved it. Each of the reveals, when they would get triggered, just blew up the room into OH MY GODs and cracking up. If you've never played RISK: Legacy, even (or maybe especially) if you hate hate hate RISK (which we mostly do), I highly recommend it. With one caveat.


We ran into a printing/production error. In any other game, that's a shrug. Here, that's a massive game changer.


There are two sealed bins in the box that have clearly labeled conditions on them as to when to open them and get into their contents. We triggered one -- it was the 5th game of the weekend, before it goes on the shelf for a long time, so we kinda winked and nodded to engineer the opening (it did make sense to do the thing in context, although maybe a tad excessive) -- and once the OH MY GODs from the initial reveal died down and we started reading the instructions out loud, it became clear that the contents were referring to the conditions that would have triggered opening the other bin.


The box was bugged. We confirmed it by going ahead and opening the other bin; again, it was clear. The bins had been assembled at the factory so that their contents were reversed.


So, fuck. RISK: Legacy's such an awesome concept, and we were digging everything about it. We never even got around to playing Cosmic Encounter, and CE's an annual tradition with this group going back more than a decade. But goddammit, a sloppy production line took a big shit on the end of the session. We ended up putting everything we weren't supposed to have seen yet back in the correct bin and resealing it, agreeing to consider its contents as ridiculous rumors and conspiracy-mongering.


Hasbro will be receiving 5 strongly worded letters this week.

post #505 of 547

RISK: Legacy was a massive hit, but it's on the shelf until next year's cross-country get-together. A few in the same group, though, are all local (and are the more regular gamers), so it's pretty much been decided that Pandemic: Legacy is going to happen as soon as possible around here. Comes out Thursday, but logistics may keep us from getting together this weekend. The anticipation's reaching a fever pitch, though.

post #506 of 547

Tom Vasel on Dice Tower has been raving about Pandemic Legacy for two episodes now.  If I could reliably get the same game group together for the requisite number of sessions, I'd think about it.  Thing is though, Pandemic itself isn't played all that much in my circles; straight up co-ops don't fly all that well, with a preference for many-vs-one (like Letters from White Chapel) or hidden traitor games (like BSG).


We did get a full game of FFG's Merchant of Venus in last week, using the revised classic rules as opposed to FFG's new version.  And it's a damn solid pick-up and deliver game that we're eager to try again.  We're also loving Tiny Epic Galaxies; it's got a very clever mechanic for making sure you have to pay attention to other players' turns (you essentially have a resource whose sole purpose is to let you mimic the action a player takes on their turn).  Lot of game in a very small package.

post #507 of 547

Yep, we haven't played Pandemic in forever, either; it's extremely well made, but when we go co-op, we go FF Big Lovecraft. We enjoy the ridiculous cosmic narrative that gets woven (I personally am a whore for flavor text), whereas Pandemic feels more like a big puzzle to solve, as tense as it gets, than a story being told. Three games into Pandemic: Legacy, though, and man is that fixed in spades. Two wins -- our first win greatly aided by accidentally cheating throughout (misread how a character plays) -- and one brutal loss. We can't wait to take another shot at beating March. I won't spill anything that needs to be unlocked (we've barely scratched that surface, anyway), but I'll go ahead and spoiler text, just in case, my favorite new things that are right in the rule book when you first open the box.


Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Every game has 5 Epidemic cards in the player deck. Oof. We've never gotten to the 5th one before winning or losing, but getting to the 3rd and 4th ones that much sooner can be brutal. [Pause: Actually, just looked it up, and in basic Pandemic, 5 is "standard" -- dammit, thought it was 4. Wow, we suck.] A nice balancing mechanism between games is how many "Funding Event" cards go in the deck, which is determined by how well you're doing from game to game. You start out in game one, "January," with only 4 in there, and that is brutal. You win a game, though, you get 2 fewer in the deck the next game you play (government says, you got this). You lose, you get 2 more for the next game (government's freaking out, throwing you money). Min 0, max 10. To make it easier, the players get to choose which Events go into the deck before the game. (One Quiet Night, always.)


After every game, win or lose, you get to pick two upgrades to apply to future games. That was our first clue that, win or lose, the game's only going to get tougher, if the designers are buffing us after every round. Gulp. Which upgrades you can pick depend somewhat on how your previous game ended, but always include the option to buff a character permanently with an extra minor power (while there's still buffs to choose from).


I love, love, luurv how cities degrade over the course of this year, or "season 1" or whatever. Each time an outbreak occurs, that city gets a permanent sticker added to it on the board with a symbol and a number, higher-numbered stickers overlaying previous ones. 1 = unstable; 2, then 3, are both rioting; 4, collapsing; 5, fallen. The worse a city gets, the more difficult and costly it is to enter. Unstable, there's no change in play, but it's a city on the brink. When riots break out, you can't fly in or out. Any worse, and it'll cost a card(s) just to enter. If a city has a research station when it turns the corner into riots, the station is destroyed and a different sticker's added that prohibits building another one there, ever.


If a character is in a city when it has an outbreak, that character gets a permanent "scar" added to their role card, a debilitating nerf that lasts forever. If there's no more room for another scar, the character's "lost" (aka dead), the role card destroyed to never be played again, and for the rest of that particular game is replaced by a generic non-powered "civilian." If a character is in a city when it Falls, also lost.


We've managed to avoid anyone getting scarred, so far. We have instabilities all over the place. But Bogota, man, that place went from civil to stage 3 riots in that last game. It's making everyone nervous. We're really, really hoping that we'll eventually unlock some means to rehabilitate cities, but no one really believes it.


The first game, January, begins playing exactly like basic Pandemic, other than that stuff above. All the familiar set up and mechanics. It's only maybe halfway through January, though, that it all starts going haywire. "That's a game-changer!" became our running joke, mostly cause it's utterly literal. And then the pace at which the new stuff is doled out -- and finally, some flavor text! -- has so far been fantastic. It really does feel like the beginning of an epic movie or prestige series. After RISK: Legacy and this, I want Rob Daviau to marry my fictitious daughters, all of them.

post #508 of 547

Fantasy Flight's never-ending quest to part me from my money continues...




Two to four players (although the assumption is four-player is merely two-player with teams), 150 plastic miniatures, advertised playing time of three to four hours.  Looks for all the world like a spiritual successor to the PC game of the same name.  AND I WANT IT NOW.

post #509 of 547


post #510 of 547

Reading more on this, it's also looking like it's more than a bit of a nod to the old SPI game Freedom in the Galaxy.  It has the same asymmetrical victory conditions, character and mission cards, and even its galactic map looks a little similar.  It would be a nice full circle, since FitG was clearly modeled on Star Wars.


post #511 of 547

Just got back from a 6-player game of Twilight Imperium.  We started setting up and doing a rules refresher around 10:45 this morning, started actually playing around noon, wrapped up at 7:45 tonight.  The dice absolutely HATED me -- even with lots of +1 and extra dice, I couldn't hit anything -- and I got royally screwed by the retreat rules:  you have to retreat to a space you already activated, which makes no sense; you should be able to retreat to a space, then activate it so you can't use those ships again (which apparently one of the expansions adds to the rules).  I ended up having to stick in a fight I would have run away from and got a ton of my ships whittled down.


I still ended up winning, but mostly because someone played kingmaker when they realized they weren't going to win, so I'm looking it more as I was allowed to win.  Still, the game moved along nicely even at nearly eight hours, and everyone was pretty into it.  Not something I'd do every weekend, but it's perfect for these long holidays.

post #512 of 547

Yeah, Tactical Retreats (the variant rule) are a must when we play. You activate from the Strategy Allocation not the Command Pool, actually, when doing that, which really ups the value of the already precious command counters. After a certain point in the game, you never want to be empty in that slot.


Had a 4-player game the weekend before the holiday. With the absence of our infamous Analysis Paralysis player, we finished in about 4.5 hours, not counting rules review and set up. This despite finally adding in elements (but not many) from the second expansion, so new rules to learn. Helped to have a lot of extra points on the board via Artifacts and Voice of the Council, and with the Bureaucracy strategy card you only play to 9 VPs. Still, it was a house record. AP Boy was made thoroughly aware of what his absence provided. We're making his New Year's Resolution for him.


Loving everything I've seen about SW: Rebellion. Schlobber. I was kinda thinking it looked like what a 2-player Twilight Imperium might look like, then noticed its designer is Corey Konieczka, who co-designed the two TI3 expansions and acts as TI3's lead FAQ man. So now we know what he's been working on instead of a TI3 10th anniversary project. I'll allow it.

post #513 of 547

Yeah, I had someone drop TWO War Suns on me via a wormhole (he had the "control all wormhole systems" objective) and I was like "Eff that, I'm bugging out," but I had no activated systems nearby so I had to sit there and take it.

post #514 of 547

Or as we like to call them, "Diplomacy Suns".


ETA: A week or two ago, the Shut Up & Sit Down guys talked SW: Rebellion on their podcast after having a chance to play it at FF's house convention/whatever. It just sounds like so much fun.

post #515 of 547

Finished Season 1 of Pandemic: Legacy over the holidays, and holy hyperbolic expletive smokes that was flat-out amazing. Ending a session was painful, and scheduling the next one became an immediate imperative. Such a fantastic experience. I am truly baffled as to what could be left for them to do in a Season 2.


For Christmas I went off-script for family wish lists, handing games out all over. Got one of my brothers his own Pandemic: Legacy box; he's got a household right now that'll get way into it. Got my other brother's kids, 8 and 10, Survive! Escape From Atlantis, which is just, so, GOOD. Genuinely awesome for all ages. I want my own copy. This one was a bit selfish, in that now I know what's coming out whenever I get roped into babysitting. And for the 17-year-old niece about to go off to college, I got Exploding Kittens, which was a hit.* Figured she could use a dorm icebreaker. I also let her know on the down low about the NSFW edition, but that she can get that herself after she's out from under my sister's roof and I'm not responsible.


*Definitely fun with funny cards, but I agree it's not something you're going to spend a whole night playing. Unless you're a college freshman and someone inevitably turns it into a drinking game.

post #516 of 547

EXPLODING KITTENS is fun as a time killer game, that's about it.  If you enforce a velocity to the game, it can be quite a lot of fun.


I still stand by RED DRAGON INN as pretty much my game of choice.  I bring it over whenever we play D&D to use as kinda a palette cleanser once the session is done, and we usually end up playing it for 2 hours before everyone finally concedes that they HAVE to get home now.

post #517 of 547

I've picked up some new games recently.  Thus far I find both of them to be far more interesting in concept, than in execution.


The first is Betrayal at the House on the Hill (2nd Edition). The first game we played was pretty fun. It was intimidating at first to learn the basics, but once our haunt started, it became pretty fun. Our first haunt was really a strict survival haunt, and everyone was battling to get out of the house. Every subsequent game has involved a traitor. I'm not sure if any of you have tried playing this yet, but this shit can seriously fuck off. The game is so heavily weighted in the traitor's favor, it's unbelievable to me. It feels like this game was not tested.


The five traitor-based haunts we've played have involved a traitor winning within 3 rounds four of those five times. As we ended each of these games, we've broken down what it would have taken the heroes to win, and it's usually been a good 10-15 rounds (as long as rolls go perfectly) to have the slightest chance. I have read the instructions inside and out, and I've yet to find anything that helps offset this massive imbalance. And don't get me started on the instructions. They are friggin' awfully written.


I love the potential of this game, but so far I am severely disappointed. I had this on my wishlist for a good year before I bought it, and now I'm beginning to wish I hadn't gotten it. It's a shame too because it's made by Wizards of the Coast. Considering how much I adore Lords of Waterdeep, I expected something much better from them.


The second game I got was Mansions of Madness. I've never been so overwhelmed in my life. I've played about a third of a game so far (it took over an hour just to set-up the first game). Its directions are both vague and extremely detailed. Add the fact that they are horribly organized; and you have a game in which more time is spent flipping pages than actually playing it. There are hundreds of pieces in it. I'd wager a guess at somewhere between 200 and 300.


So far, it seems like the logic of this game is already infinitely more sound than the first game, but it's still not perfect. It was definitely tested, but only so far. It was also tested by people that knew what sort of game they wanted to make.


I am eager to continue playing Mansions, but I am at my wit's end with Betrayal. Has anyone played either of these? Tips?

post #518 of 547

Betrayal can be like that; it's terribly swingy, especially if the betrayer happens to be right near where they need to go to win or the other players are too far from where they need to be.  I believe there are lists out there of the haunts less prone to an insta-win scenario.

post #519 of 547
Betrayal is either fun or a cluster and we call it as such.

One of the reasons I picked up Eldritch Horror (basically Mansions but across the world) instead of Mansions of Madness is because Betrayal was already set in a house with Cthulu like events. Also Arkham Horror seemed like one of those games that the rule set could kill a man. I learned Eldritch by watching youtube, then playing two games as multiple characters by myself. That gave me the experience I felt I needed to teach it to others. There are tons of pieces. Literally, metric tonnes. I am at a point with Eldritch Horror expansions that I am not quite sure how to store or how to organize things like spells or items, as their stacks are too thick to ever see some of the things you may want to see. I liked Mansions, as FFG tends to do Cthulu well, but I like Eldritch much better.
post #520 of 547
Fleh, you want insanely complicated and utterly unfair? Try Twilight Imperium. Reduces everyone to sulky children.

I've played maybe a dozen games of Betrayal, and I'd say we've been close to even, though the traitor usually loses. It is, by its very nature, mostly random. You at have just got a series of bad luck situations. But mostly, it's probably just a matter of approach. For that game you need to go in realizing its way more a party game, focused on theme over mechanics. It couldn't matter less who wins.
post #521 of 547

I'll add to the chorus saying Betrayal is really, REALLY hit or miss.  I've had games where the heroes stand no chance, but I've also had games where the heroes won before the traitor even got to take a turn.  But most of the games are fairly even.  I agree with Arjen, you've got to realize going in that it's more of a light-hearted game and it's pretty fun.  If you expect serious balanced strategy, you'll be disappoint.

post #522 of 547
Originally Posted by MrTyres View Post

Also Arkham Horror seemed like one of those games that the rule set could kill a man.


Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post

Fleh, you want insanely complicated and utterly unfair? Try Twilight Imperium. Reduces everyone to sulky children.


My two favorite games! Embrace the fiddly bits! WALLOW in arcane, busy rulesets! ...But I'm perverse like that. I'll usually have more fun playing a single game all day/night then a dozen different ones.


Never played Betrayal, but I've been curious about it forever. The common criticisms as posted here have kept me from pulling the trigger, though. If someone in our group brings it some night, I'll happily give 'er a go. We have Mansions of Madness, which fits my preference for games that produce a narrative to chat and laugh about over math puzzles to pore over, but we all kinda feel it's too clunky, even for us. It's not coming to the table unless the host has everything set up before everyone else arrives.


FFG's been posting daily previews of SW: Rebellion all the past week, and oh my. Can't show up soon enough.

post #523 of 547

Saturday I slipped in to another game day as the friend of a friend, now approaching semi-regular invite status as I always lose but I never bitch -- except at myself [insert Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Boogie Nights sitting in his car gif] -- and who doesn't like having that guy at their table.


First game was Glass Road, and I'm unreasonably proud of my 3rd-place-out-of-54 finish as a rookie. Heavily abstracted resource-accumulation Euros aren't usually my thing, but this wasn't as rough a puzzle as some (god, Trajan, ugh) once I figured out the mechanics. I chalk up the solid showing to not really knowing what was best practices and therefore not having any strategy fall apart toward the end. Anyway, I liked it, would play again.


Next was Ra, which I had played once before, so the re-learning curve was pretty quick. My great weakness is auction-based games, I've learned, and that's pretty much all that Ra is. Somehow, I managed 2nd place (of 5), largely because of other people's bad luck when pressing their luck. I almost cried, I was so happy. Then we played it again with a slight shifting of players (3 in, 3 out), and I was reminded of just how bad I can be with auction mechanics. I was so far in the basement I only bothered to count up the last round's points because my friend insisted, for mockery purposes. Correction: Point. I netted one single point in the last round of Ra. Game total: 17, or roughly half the average of the rest of the table. But, hey, attack my weakness! Someday I will figure out how not to play auctions, and then possibly take the next step, of playing auction games competently.


Last game pulled out was Abyss, and as I saw the gorgeous components and artwork come out of the box I got all excited. Then I started getting the rules explanation and discovered that it had, at its base, another auction component. Sigh. Despite this, I managed a second-out-of-three finish, way ahead of the bottom dweller and just 4 pts behind the winner, who had to come from behind on his last play. I'm also very proud of this one. Would play again -- I am an admitted huckleberry for high-quality components and artwork -- surely to be humiliated.

Edited by Trav McGee - 5/3/16 at 11:57am
post #524 of 547

Abyss is pretty stunning on the artwork level -- on its release, there was a lot of buzz that it was all sizzle and no steak -- but I find the game itself to be pretty good in its own right.


I ended up doing about 12 hours of gaming on Tabletop Day this past Saturday.  Here are the highlights:


  • Steam Time -- Worker placement game with a time travel element:  you can only place a worker ahead of where you placed the last one, i.e. "always moving forward in time," and the rows of actions rotate during the game so there's always a different order to the actions.  You're using crystals to power different parts of your time-travelling zeppelin, with each section giving you a bonus when you take an action that matches it.  One of my favorite new games this year.
  • Planet Steam -- Basically a commodity market manipulation game with a steampunk coat of paint on it.  You use resources to build machines to gather resources to sell for money to buy resources to build machines etc., etc., etc.  Classic buy low/sell high.  Except, being our first time, we didn't know which resources to produce and ended up hamstringing our production capacity.  A little dry, but great components.
  • 7 Wonders: Duel -- The REAL two-player version of 7 Wonders, as opposed to the clumsy version tacked on to the original game.  Instead of drafting from a hand of cards, there's pyramid of cards in alternating rows of face-up and face-down cards that can only be taken if they're uncovered.  Which means taking the card you want might enable your opponent to take one you reallly don't want them to have.  It's a very clever re-imagining of the original into one of the better two-player games I've played.
  • Between Two Cities -- Another drafting game, where you draft buildings to create a city.  The twist here is that you're building two cities, one in cooperation with each of your neighbors.  And your score is based on the lowest score of your two cities, so you can't just beef one city up and leave the other one to suffer.  The various buildings all score differently (some just for how many you have, some for what their adjacent to, etc), and you'll find yourself begging with your neighbor to help your city rather than their other city.  Fun and really quick too; we finished an seven-player game in under 45 minutes.
  • Power Grid -- A classic, although we played with the Russia map, which burns the lowest cost power plant every time someone passes on buying one and which makes the game go very quickly.  This has got auctions, area control, resource management, everything.  Great game.
  • Red Dragon Inn -- A card game that simulates a bunch of D&D tropes sitting around a tavern drinking.  You take actions, hand other players drink cards, then draw a drink card of your own.  If your stamina and alcohol levels ever meet, you pass out and lose.  Totally not for the serious gamer, this was perfect for the late hour in which we played it.
post #525 of 547

RED DRAGON INN is a game that we finish off every D&D session with.  It's a great decompression tool.

post #526 of 547
I also did Tabletop Day last Saturday.

Lords of Waterdeep
Betrayal at the House on the Hill
Legendary Marvel
Seven Wonders
post #527 of 547

Huh, I had no idea -- and am pretty sure no one in that crowd did, either -- that there was such a thing as TableTop Day. I think it was just "the Saturday most people could hang out at Sue's for 9 hours." But good for us, too.


Might be scraping together a Twilight Imperium game Memorial Day weekend. We've now learned to do seating draws and race selections (draw two pick one) via email in advance, so the host can have everyone's stuff out, set up, and organized. Shaved at least an hour off last November's game.

post #528 of 547
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post

I also did Tabletop Day last Saturday.

Lords of Waterdeep
Betrayal at the House on the Hill
Legendary Marvel
Seven Wonders

How was Ghostbusters?  I've heard it's a great theme and components stacked on top of a mediocre ruleset and mechanics.

post #529 of 547
Mediocre is a bit harsh. The theme and components are quite lovely though. It's got a lot in common with Descent, if you're familiar with that. My biggest beef with it is that almost half the content, the really interesting stuff in fact (scenarios and minis based on the cartoon show, a Walter Peck mechanic) were made available only for people who participated in the Kickstarter campaign. I can't even buy them as an expansion. Leaving me with three brief campaigns to play and a few one offs, which are just not as fun.

Tabletop Day is something Wil Wheaton made up. I'm surprised to discover anyone other than my friend who hosted this event was celebrating it. He sure loves Wil Wheaton.
post #530 of 547

It's been my experience that Kickstarter games that boast a lot of miniatures are basically an excuse to buy a lot of miniatures.

post #531 of 547

Guys. Guys. Guys. Why didn't anyone tell me about Ares' Games WAR OF THE RING before. Oh my god, you guys, this game is so good. Epic, sprawling Middle-Earth war game on the one hand; on the other, intimate drama and stressful, tense moments with the (ever-dwindling) Fellowship and each companion. The lazy go-to description is LOTR-in-a-box but holy shit, they really did it.


A two player game (with rules for three or four players, basically team-vs-team sharing duties), the rules are many but the essential gameplay is not complicated. The board is ginormous, and the components are all gorgeous. Art on the character cards (and box) by John freakin' Howe! Literally hundreds of lovely miniatures for the armies and main characters. The cards are a stiff glossy stock and a nonstandard, long size, making them look and feel quite grand. As a presence on the table, the game really is a sight to behold.


So, lots of rules, but its not really complicated. The bad guys win by either smearing the good guys off the map so that the Ring hardly matters (taking 10 pts worth of strongholds and cities) or harassing the Fellowship enough that the ringbearer's "corruption" gets to the end of its track, meaning the Ring'll be coming to Sauron. They have to regularly decide how much they want to commit to which effort, although Sauron's Ring addiction might force the player to Hunt more in a turn instead of move his armies as much as the player'd prefer.


The good guys win by, obv, sneaking the Fellowship into Mordor, Mt. Doom, etc. However, the Fellowship is only ever indicated on the board by "their last known location" and instead have a numbered movement track. When they declare their position, the player moves the marker however many regions across the board that they had gone up on the track, which gets reset to zero. They might want to do this if it'll put the Fellowship in a safe place (and heal some corruption), or to get out of a bad place, or to put themselves on the lip of Mordor. And they remain "hidden." But each time they move on the track, the Shadow gets to Hunt, and the more times they move in a single turn, the easier the hunt gets. If the Fellowship marker's in a space with bad-guy stronghold and/or a Nazgul and/or Enemy army, the easier the hunt gets. And if a hunt's successful, lots of bad things can happen. Maybe corruption -- had to use the Ring to escape trouble. Kill a companion -- heroic sacrifice to mitigate some or all the corruption. Maybe reveal the fellowship -- move the Fellowship marker on the board as above, but never to a friendly place. And he's a lot more vulnerable to fuckery from Sauron until he can flip to hidden again. ...Once the Fellowship is on the Mordor track, however, there's no escaping the Hunt; it's just punishment after punishment for the Fellowship, almost on rails as you enter the end game.


Alternatively, and probably the most rare outcome, the good guys can get a military victory if they take over a mere 4 pts of Enemy's strongholds. The reasoning being that with that kind of outrageous setback, Sauron is far too distracted, allowing the Fellowship to slip into and through Mordor with minimal hassle. However, the Shadows forces are infinite. The Enemy can lose any number of armies and restock. The Free Peoples' forces are finite. He starts with forces on the board and can recruit more, but once the good guys lose an army, it goes back in the box. Not conducive to risky offensive forays -- unless it looks like that may be the only option left.


And there's so much else that can go on. Companions can separate from the Fellowship at any time, moving around the board themselves, strengthening armies, stirring up nations (cripes, there's a whole political track you have to move the nations down before they'll start mustering additional forces!), firing off special events, and risking their lives in battle. And the smaller the Fellowship, the less effort Sauron can purposefully put toward the Hunt. Saruman, the Witch King, and the Mouth of Sauron can (and will) enter play, with their own powerful abilities. Mumakil! Siege rules! When no one's left in the Fellowship except Sam and Frodo (inseparable), Gollum enters the game as their guide, with his own helpful trickses! He knowss ssecret wayss...


Guys. This fucking game. Seriously. Our first, learning game went about 6 hours thanks to lots of rulebook flipping (though the box includes two Player Aid sheets for quick reference, which is SO nice). But the second time we played was maybe 4. (We timed it against the Return of the King extended edition and just beat the movie.) I'm guessing 2-4 hours would be the average. Can't wait til the next game.


Although if there's one big knock on the design, it's that most of the Free Peoples' army pieces, of which there are 5 nations with different molds, are all really hard to tell apart. Well, except the Dwarves. But all the humans are minor variations on man-with-spear or man-on-horse-with-spear, all the same color blue plastic. It can get confusing. Even as the Shadow, it's tough telling apart Saruman's and Sauron's regulars apart. If there's anything that might tempt me into taking up painting miniatures, it might just be this game. Ares also released a deluxe Anniversary edition that among other bonuses included all its miniatures professionally painted, which looks spectacular. Would that I had the casual spending money to blow ~$400 on a single board game. *drool*


ETA: Realizing how much productivity I've lost this week by reading up on "miniature painting for beginners" blog posts and tutorial videos. Someone talk me down.

Edited by Trav McGee - 7/20/16 at 12:17pm
post #532 of 547

So FFG just straight up dropped MANSIONS OF MADNESS 2nd edition on the shelves with practically no warning (and they usually build up months of hype for new stuff). A pretty big overhaul, too, changing the game from one-versus-team to app-driven co-op. It comes with a conversion kit right in the box for 1st edition owners, but I still think I'll wait a while for some strong reviews and WOM before picking it up. Eldritch and Arkham Horror satisfy our big-box Lovecraftian co-op masochism nicely; I can't remember the last time we pulled Mansions of the shelves.


Had the opportunity to play the much-hyped SCYTHE a couple weeks ago. It really is gorgeous, but I stunk because it wasn't the game I thought it was going to be, and despite a solid tutoring (game owner, teaching three newbies), I kept playing it wrong for too long. In my defense, I have very little experience in the heavy Euro resource-aggregation/worker-placement genre (if that's what you call the Agricola-types), so I didn't immediately recognize it as such until halfway through, and then I did a poor job of sorting out the puzzle/mechanics. It's much less area-control/conflict-oriented than it appears, and I put way too much emphasis on my "secret objective" than it warranted, rather than racking up all the other avenues required to score. So when you get past all the gorgeous art, imaginative setting with fun flavor text, and pretty and aggressive-looking plastic, it really does boil down to another "I trade for 2 oil" "I spend 3 wood" "I move my workers here" moving-wood-cubes-around-a-personal-player-board at its heart.


But I'd definitely play it again. With 3/4 newbies, it was certainly slow at the outset. But once we knew what we were doing the game moved at a solid clip. Each player's turn is fast and likely triggers something for other players' economies (or, rarely, instigating combat, and the combat system is fast and elegant), so there's never really much down time. And there's enough variability baked in with the different tribes, variable player boards, and random "encounter" deck that new games shouldn't be too similar.


I also think I'm getting the hang of SPLENDOR, finally. Came in second, and might have won had I remembered how the Nobles work.


In slightly embarrassing War of the Ring news, it seems its first expansion was most recently printed last year and is currently out of stock at the publisher, and not yet on their reprint schedule. On Amazon and ebay it's being listed by the jackals for ~$200+. After calling every game store in an ever-increasing radius from my home to see if anyone had one in a corner gathering dust, I finally hit paydirt. Three hours away. Yes, I made the road trip. I may have a problem.


Second expansion is out next month. I already have my pre-order in. So weak.

Edited by Trav McGee - 8/5/16 at 8:35am
post #533 of 547

We played a LOT of Scythe at Dice Tower Con (as did a bunch of other people; Kickstarter backers got their copies right before the con started and it was EVERYWHERE).  Even though it looks like it's a wargame, it's really not.  I won a game without ever once getting in a fight.  But the beauty of this game is that some games, you WILL have to fight if you want to win (there's one faction whose ability almost demands that they do).  There's not one path to winning, not one single thing to watch out for.  And even if you're the one to end the game, that's not a guarantee of victory.  You've really got to pay attention to what everyone is doing.


As for Mansions of Madness, I have a friend who is a die hard fan of all of FFG's Lovecraft games, and he grabbed the new edition immediately.  His verdict is that it's a very good game that's different enough from the original that he's likely to keep both.  He's also very excited about the new Arkham Horror Living Card Game FFG is producing, a cooperative investigative game that feels like the next step from their Lord of the Rings game.

post #534 of 547

I definitely want another go at Scythe, now that I "get" it. Learning games are rarely all that satisfactory, but it was enough to see there's good bones in there. Our tutor purposefully kept that aggressive tribe off the table for simplicity's sake, so I'd be curious how a game went with someone deliberately mixing it up out there, especially with a full table of all 6 (?) factions, for closer borders.

post #535 of 547
The writing on the wall is now text on the legal document, FFG is cutting ties with Games Workshop. As I contemplated grabbing a copy of Forbidden Stars before it disappears forever, the in-stock notice on Amazon went from 18 to 9 in about 10 minutes. Likely sold out by the time I finish typing this. Surprised and disappointed to see Fury of Dracula on the chopping block, too.

Last weekend I continued my tour of learning games everyone else has been playing for years. I liked Concordia quite a bit, despite not being a big fan of worker placement/point-salad games (and not just because I came in a close second out of four players, woot). This, though, is nicely pared down, with a solid mix of risk/reward and interesting but not overly complicated interlocking systems, and best of all genuine player interaction. Nothing bores me as quickly as staring at a personal player tableau working out a private math problem, largely ignoring the rest of the field and confident my plans are being ignored in return. Concordia, though, thumbs up, will play again.

And then I got smoked in Roll for the Galaxy, by some epic crap luck, everyone agreed. Starting off with a "Doomed Planet" was a sign of things to come. But it was breezy fun, and as frustrated as I was it was a fun and amusing frustration. Again with the thumbs, look forward to the next one.

In honor of DC opening their season on MNF, thereby leaving all of Sunday wide open for pure Red Zone wallowing, having folks over for a noon-to-7:00 game of Twilight Imperium this Sunday. We already did race selections to speed set up, and I'm going with the diplomatic space turtles for the first time. No one ever picks em, as the consensus is they suck, but I'm going for it. Looking forward to playing a more political/defensive game than the aggressive races I've had the past few games. ("Few" being the 2-3 games we've played in the past calendar year.).
post #536 of 547
Originally Posted by Trav McGee View Post

The writing on the wall is now text on the legal document, FFG is cutting ties with Games Workshop. As I contemplated grabbing a copy of Forbidden Stars before it disappears forever, the in-stock notice on Amazon went from 18 to 9 in about 10 minutes. Likely sold out by the time I finish typing this. Surprised and disappointed to see Fury of Dracula on the chopping block, too.


The stock of Forbidden Stars on Cool Stuff Inc. went from 15 to sold out in about an hour.  I grabbed a copy off of Amazon and used a cash back credit I had on my Discover card to get it for $68.  I love the game, but I'm half tempted to leave it wrapped and see how high the prices go.


There's a lot of speculation going around as to who dumped who here.  Some think FFG decided they wanted to focus on their own RuneWars setting and didn't want to subtly promote Warhammer.  Others think GW wasn't happy with FFG being so strong in miniature gaming and only seeming to be taking more strides into that area.  Still others think it was a mutual "Well, we rode this out as long as we could, no hard feelings."  Whatever the case, it's apparently been an open secret for a while; GW was reportedly shopping their licenses around at GAMA.


What's got a lot of people curious is whether FFG will take some of the game concepts they've used on GW stuff and re-theme it for their own purposes.  They own the game mechanics to things like Forbidden Stars and the Warhammer Quest card game.  They could slap a fresh coat of paint on those and re-release them (like they did with Rex when they couldn't get the rights to the Dune IP).

post #537 of 547
Originally Posted by Richard Dickson View Post

We played a LOT of Scythe at Dice Tower Con (as did a bunch of other people; Kickstarter backers got their copies right before the con started and it was EVERYWHERE).  Even though it looks like it's a wargame, it's really not.  I won a game without ever once getting in a fight.  But the beauty of this game is that some games, you WILL have to fight if you want to win (there's one faction whose ability almost demands that they do).  There's not one path to winning, not one single thing to watch out for.  And even if you're the one to end the game, that's not a guarantee of victory.  You've really got to pay attention to what everyone is doing.





I finally played Scythe last night. It is a good game that I thought I had won, but the bonus card jacked me over and I came in second. The art is beautiful, and our host painted the minis which made the experience so much better.  The encounter cards are interesting but seem like a side game. One player rushed the board to get as many as he could, but it didn't help him in the end. Unsure of the combat, I overspent Might in my first battle early in the game and that slowed down my ability to end the game. I was not getting the popularity, and the four turns or so it took me to get my last star off my board allowed the other players to get theirs up to tier 2. If I had not spent so much might, I would have had it before all but one made it to Tier 2 Popularity, ensuring me the game. I would have won the tiebreaker, but the bonus card which none of us remembered until the end threw the fig painter over the top. Fun game. I would honestly love a video game/ MMORPG type thing in this universe.  Long Live the Crimean Khanate!

post #538 of 547

Yeah the encounter cards are the spice in a good meal, not the meal itself.  They can be a great "right thing at the right time" kind of thing, but they're not worth dashing around the board trying to get all of them.

post #539 of 547
Originally Posted by Richard Dickson View Post

There's a lot of speculation going around as to who dumped who here.  Some think FFG decided they wanted to focus on their own RuneWars setting and didn't want to subtly promote Warhammer.  Others think GW wasn't happy with FFG being so strong in miniature gaming and only seeming to be taking more strides into that area.  Still others think it was a mutual "Well, we rode this out as long as we could, no hard feelings."  Whatever the case, it's apparently been an open secret for a while; GW was reportedly shopping their licenses around at GAMA.


Someone on Reddit claiming to have insider knowledge said GW wasn't thrilled with X-Wing and Imperial Assault, and had actually demanded FFG discontinue both games.  FFG laughed and fell back on a giant pile of Star Wars money.


Also heard that Armada apparently began life as a new version of Battlefleet Gothic.

post #540 of 547

So did some epic board gaming the last two days.  Today was a seven-player game of Twilight Imperium.  Took us about seven hours, even using the Simulated Early Turns variant that supposedly speeds things up.  We also used a variant wherein all possible objectives are revealed at the start of the game, and it made things feel a tad predictable; everybody pretty much got all of them, so it boiled the game down to who could complete their secret objective, and the last turn felt kind of anticlimactic and unnecessary.  But it's still such a compelling game.


But Friday night was the real highlight.  We dove into Seafall, the new legacy game from Rob Daviau, the designer behind Risk Legacy and Pandemic Legacy.  This is a brand new game rather than slapping the legacy coat of paint on top of an existing game.  And while the actual game mechanics themselves don't feel particularly revolutionary -- they're solid and enjoyable but nothing incredibly new -- it's the "without a net" feeling of exploring the game that really shines.  We're not just playing a game. we're building it as we go, revealing locations on the various islands we explore, naming ships and characters, unlocking new rules and conditions.  We played two games, going until almost 1 AM, and we're all itching to keep going with it.

post #541 of 547

Seven-player TI in 7 hours is genuinely impressive. I'm direly envious of your apparent lack of AP players. We've tried the Simulated Early Turns, but it never actually seemed to speed anything up. Instead, we stopped using the Distant Suns variant to speed up early exploration, but kept the Final Frontier (rando tokens in empty space, in second expansion) for their to be some unpredictability -- yet it's largely optional risk until you're ready for it, plus those tokens have some pretty big, entertaining swings. For Strategy Cards, if you have access to the first expansion I can't recommend highly enough the alternate Strategy Card set (1) Leadership (3) Assembly (4) Production and (especially) (8) Bureaucracy. (The other 4 SCs are all "II" variants and can be swapped in or out with the originals, but those 4 have to all be used together because of how they interact and what they replace.) Bureaucracy makes the gradual reveal of Objectives a tactical decision and becomes a massively powerful card toward the end game. (Both expansions are nearing a reprint, and IMO Shattered Empire is a must-have.)


I really want to hear how Seafall develops for you guys! We were all geeked up for it, but then came a swath of lukewarm reviews, saying the legacy aspect was the most interesting use of the system yet, but not enough to compensate for the not-so-great basic game mechanics. So, we back-burnered it. What makes Pandemic:Legacy and RISK:Legacy so amazing is that there's already a fun game that you want to play before the legacy aspects start evolving it into something ridiculous. (Well, in RISK's case, out of the box Daviau makes some fundamental changes to RISK -- most importantly, the victory conditions -- that turn the slog that is classic RISK into a far better version of itself, without a single legacy element.) So, it's nice to hear someone getting some pleasure out of the basic Seafall game play. If you can update as you go without spoilers, I'll be all eyes! Hyperbole welcome.


Couple weeks ago I got another shot at Scythe, and immediately made all the same mistakes I made the first time. Got an early jump with a couple stars out there, then spent way too long building my little engine while everyone else steamed past. So dumb. There's no point in getting to a state where you can post a star every turn for several turns in a row if at least two players are there 2 turns ahead of you. NEXT TIME. Someone also pulled out a great garage sale find, Sports Illustrated's SLAPSHOT. A surprisingly pretty-good card-drafting-with-clashes game with some hilariously dated, un-PC player names. Not spectacular, but well worth the $2 he spent, and a silly filler between better stuff. Also learned FLASHPOINT, a solid co-op that's better than its kinda blah components look. Unfortunately, we were just about to get the last victim out when the building collapsed on our heads. At least we saved the pets.

post #542 of 547

How I Got Through The Toxic Silly Season, or: Sports and the zen of miniatures painting. Took about two months of spare time, and big chunks of the occasional weekend, but I finally finished up my first-ever miniatures painting project, self-upgrading my War of the Ring army units. Very basic; minimal detail (except the oliphaunts, because hell, they're oliphaunts!) (and because there's only 6 of em), mostly just wanted to tell the 8 different nations apart by matching them with their regional border colors.


Before (shown, 4 of the 8 nations):








Did my research -- occasionally the Internet is a GOOD thing! -- and after a little trial and error on some never-played game's miniatures, I set about scrubbing, mounting, base painting, washing (self-made washes!), and dry-brushing all nearly 200 rassafrickin pieces. The latter two things (washing, dry-brushing) I didn't even know were things two months ago. Best not to inspect the units too closely, it's a decidedly rookie effort. But I'm damn happy with what I pulled off. And ecstatic to have finally finished.


I didn't do anything with the Character pieces, they're still untouched gray plastic, because functionally they're fine as is. And I really wanted my living room back (and to get to PLAY the damn game again). But maybe over the holidays...

Edited by Trav McGee - 11/8/16 at 10:49am
post #543 of 547

If you're looking to drop some coin on some board game goodness, Fantasy Flight Games (and its parent company Asmodee) are currently having a pretty big sale through Nov. 28.  Depending on where you are, shipping may or may not kill the deal, but I grabbed four games with shipping for under $100.  There are a couple of complete game lines on sale too, like the two Warhammer LCGs that are going out of print, and FFG's Battlelore game (which is likely done in light of the upcoming RuneWars miniatures game).  It's worth a look if you want to add some things to your collection or if you have a gamer on your Christmas list.

post #544 of 547

Anyone get any new toys or games for Xmas?


The big surprise for me was PUSH FIGHT! Given my penchant in the group for the oversized and fanatically elaborate (Twilight Imperium, Arkham/Eldritch Horror, War of the Ring), this was half meant as a gag gift, being an extremely simple abstract game that sets up and plays in no time. But we found out super fast that it's deceptively deep and tactical, and a game can be over in seconds or... never, if both players are careful. Highly recommended, remarkably fun, and this edition (produced by Penny Arcade of all people) is legitimately gorgeous. And everyone loves challenging someone to a PUSH FIGHT!


Back on my current War of the Ring obsession, the expansions are amazing in their scope and balance. Warriors of ME adds so many new elements, but not so much as to change the fundamentals of the game. Like with Lords of ME, the designers managed to augment the game play with new strategic options without altering the underlying mechanics or paths to victory. It is genuinely gobsmacking what these two guys have accomplished.


So imagine my shuddering delight at the news that not only are they producing a completely new game based on the Shire-to-Rivendell part of LOTR (War of the Ring begins with the Fellowship in Rivendell), and not only is it a hidden-movement game a la Fury of Dracula or Letters from Whitechapel -- they went and collaborated with the creator of Letters from Whitechapel to pull it off! This preview of Hunt for the Ring has me doing cartoon wolf whistles and Curly Howard grunts and floorspins.

post #545 of 547
Originally Posted by Trav McGee View Post

So imagine my shuddering delight at the news that not only are they producing a completely new game based on the Shire-to-Rivendell part of LOTR (War of the Ring begins with the Fellowship in Rivendell), and not only is it a hidden-movement game a la Fury of Dracula or Letters from Whitechapel -- they went and collaborated with the creator of Letters from Whitechapel to pull it off! This preview of Hunt for the Ring has me doing cartoon wolf whistles and Curly Howard grunts and floorspins.


So it's basically Letters from Whitechapel with Frodo replacing Jack and the Nazgul replacing the police?  OH HELL YES.

post #546 of 547

I always win at Monopoly simply cause my friends don't have the patience to finish a single game. Go me!

post #547 of 547
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