The Big Board-Gaming Catch-All

MacBrave wrote:
Scaphism wrote:

Yep. Large cards, more destination tickets (especially shorter ones), a bonus for the person who collects the most destination tickets (globetrotter). I want the larger cards and I have found myself thinking that the game would benefit from more viable strategies. I don't think the base game rewards taking destination tickets enough.

You're right. In the base game I would complete my initial 2-3 tickets then go on a spree to build 6-routes, maybe go for the longest contiguous route bonus, depending on what tickets I had completed. I rarely if ever would use my turn to draw additional tickets.

The original version you only start with 2-3 tickets? The Europe version you start with 4 which is often all I can get done in a single game. I've gone for more before but not the majority of games.

gregrampage wrote:
MacBrave wrote:
Scaphism wrote:

Yep. Large cards, more destination tickets (especially shorter ones), a bonus for the person who collects the most destination tickets (globetrotter). I want the larger cards and I have found myself thinking that the game would benefit from more viable strategies. I don't think the base game rewards taking destination tickets enough.

You're right. In the base game I would complete my initial 2-3 tickets then go on a spree to build 6-routes, maybe go for the longest contiguous route bonus, depending on what tickets I had completed. I rarely if ever would use my turn to draw additional tickets.

The original version you only start with 2-3 tickets? The Europe version you start with 4 which is often all I can get done in a single game. I've gone for more before but not the majority of games.

Yep, Europe is only slightly different rules wise from the original, but the small differences make them play differently enough that I didn't really care for Europe even though I liked the original. The addition of the Big Cities variant made the original even more competitive so that is the way I prefer to play when I still play TtR. (However, I must admit that I haven't played in quite some time.). Too many games and not enough time with opponents to actually play.

The biggest issue with vanilla TTR is that there is essentially one super-route, and if you get it, you can take tickets pretty much at will and be assured that, if you don't already have at least one of them completed, it's just a short hop to finish at least one.

There are ticket generators out there that let you create entirely new sets of tickets; our group has been really happy with some of the sets I whipped up. (For example, to reduce some of the swingyness, I made a set of 60 destinations all valued between 11 and 15. Those games are generally more interesting than using the standard tickets, not least because /all/ the cities are potential destinations.)

I am having a lot of fun exploring the Mage Knight rule set solo. What a wonderfully dynamic system! I am looking forward to getting a real game in soon (start to finish, a little MP, etc.)

I still find it odd when I encounter a 'learn-how-to-play' book that accompanies an overall rule book, but I agree with Rob Daviau's assessment in the latest Three Moves Ahead podcast; that this is a trend that should continue. Vlaada's designs over the last few years align to this belief, but go a step forward by presenting the learning guide in-character. Red Alert, Dungeon Lords and Mage Knight are all great examples of this. Still, the rule book does suffer from some translation issues, but overall, they're thoroughly written, dense but comprehensible.

I never would have believed that some of my favorites of 2011 would have come from Hasbro and WizKids. But there it is.

On a final note, I agree with many of Robert's selection (Rock Paper Shotgun) for board games of 2011. Never played Pret-a-Porter, and have only passing exposure to Ascending Empires. I would also love to throw Risk: Legacy in the mix. I'd also add Battleship Galaxies IF it had shipped with more & better scenarios.

Had a good weekend of board games at my in-laws' with my brothers-in-law and their cousins.

Played a second full game of Lord of the Rings, and I'm really liking it. Still had a couple rules wrong (playing Quest cards like Story tiles), and while it can't match the epic feel of War of the Ring, I can't get mad at a game that lets Fatty Bolger put on the ring to dash into Mount Doom.

A Goodjer tried to teach me Death Angel at PAX last year, and it seemed really convoluted but at least interesting, so I got it for my brothers-in-law at Christmas. They learned it and we played a few rounds over the weekend, and it's really a good game! It had seemed convoluted, but halfway through the first game I understood the actually pretty straightforward rules and had a lot of fun.

The cousins also bought Castle Ravenloft (the idea being that between myself, them, and my brothers-in-law, we now collectively own all the D&D board games) so we taught them how to play. For mostly 1 hp monsters, CR seems harder than the others, but for more interesting abilities and rules I still prefer WoA or Drizzt.

But this is all a preamble to me saying that I finally got a chance to play Dust Tactics. The cousins owned it, and by "it" I mean "conceivably everything available for it":

IMAGE(http://dl.dropbox.com/u/42351335/Dust%20Tactics.jpg)

That's just our basic 3v3 learning game. The 3D buildings and other pieces were still in the half-dozen 2'x2'x2' boxes and carrying cases outside in the hall. Two of them had to drive back to their house to carry it all over. I'm not sure if that picture really does the size justice: those two heavy mechs, if you haven't seen them, are the size of a DVD case, excluding cannons.

Anyway. It's probably the most amazing looking game I've ever seen, though the terrain was really underwhelming. And for as much space as the play area took up, there really wasn't a lot of room to manoeuvre—mostly forward two or three squares, or none at all if Axis. I also have to say that I rolled all blanks for five turns in a row—four dice, six dice, seven dice, didn't matter—so that definitely tainted my experience of the game. I'm glad I got to try it, but I don't think I'd choose to play it again. It reminded me a lot of Battleship Galaxies, and while that's a less crunchy game and I didn't get too deep into DT, to scratch the itch of "build army, transport ships, move around, blow things up" I'd prefer that game instead.

Picked up my fourth Dominion expansion today (Seaside); my kids are utterly obsessed with Dominion. They play it every day, are teaching it to their friends, and I get quizzed every night in bed as to what my favorite cards are. It's good to know my obsessive gene was successfully transmitted one generation down the line.

I love Race for the Galaxy, Dominion, and Ascension, and I've heard of a new game called Core Worlds that is apparently the love child of these games. Has anyone played it? I'm considering picking it up.

Also have been having lots of fun with Quarriors lately, but that's probably partially due to my obsession with pretty dice.

Trying to find good instructions on how to play games online is surprisingly tough. I just bought the Resident Evil Deck Building Card Game this weekend (it was just $30, sue me), but since I don't have much time to read instructions for games I was hoping to find some guides online to help explain it.

That was optimistic of me.

I might try to make a video review of that Halo strategy game in the near future. Maybe I should do videos for board games in general to try and increase some of the how-to's online. But first, I gotta figure out the games in the first place.

Holy Crap Dust Tactis looks awesome!

I need some help from the Goodjers. I bought Small World, 2 Christmases ago, and could never get my kids to the table to play, they didn't want to sit through the rules. My now 10 year old daughter has expressed interest in playing, and her attention span is much better.

Any tips on teaching this to her? It's been a while since I played, but I'd like to make it as painless as possible.

I'm not sure how fun it would be but you could start without the special powers/race abilities. That way you get the basic game mechanics down first and then add the unique rules later.

gregrampage wrote:

I'm not sure how fun it would be but you could start without the special powers/race abilities. That way you get the basic game mechanics down first and then add the unique rules later.

What gregrampage said. The basic mechanics are quite easy. I've taught my 4-yr-old son, but then we have Small World on the iPad to bolster his interest, and he doesn't get all the minutiae. I think SW should be one of the easier games to teach, as the race abilities are simply layered on.

That's actually a really good idea. even a runthrough without, and then add them.

I picked up that kind of teaching from Agricola which actually comes with a simpler variant that teaches the foundations of the game. I wish more games had advice on how to learn/teach games.

shoptroll wrote:

Has anyone here played Panic Station and could give me a verdict on it? The early buzz on it looked attractive, but the BGG ranking is lower than I expected. My board game group tried playing BSG with moderate success so it looked like something we might enjoy without all the lore (I still haven't gotten around to watching it yet) and complexity of BSG.

I bought it based upon this review, but still haven't had a chance to play it. The promo cards that were originally for pre-orders are also available at the Board Game Geek Store.

Haven't had a chance to play it with moving last week and, like a lot of us here, not really having a regular gaming group.

Hoping to play it soon though.

Can anyone give me the quick and dirty on how Math Trades work? Do I simply list the game(s) I have, and which one's I want.. and the system matches it up?

Seems very confusing to me, but I have some games I'd like to get rid of.

El-Producto wrote:

Can anyone give me the quick and dirty on how Math Trades work? Do I simply list the game(s) I have, and which one's I want.. and the system matches it up?

Seems very confusing to me, but I have some games I'd like to get rid of.

I believe that's exactly right.

What are you trying to get rid of?

Not totally sure, but I have a hard time getting my games to the table, so thinking of trying to get some more appropriate games.

San Juan
Runebound

Off the top of my head.

El-Producto wrote:

Holy Crap Dust Tactis looks awesome!

I need some help from the Goodjers. I bought Small World 2 Christmases ago, and could never get my kids to the table to play, they didn't want to sit through the rules. My now 10 year old daughter has expressed interest in playing, and her attention span is much butter.

Any tips on teaching this to her? It's been a while since I played, but I'd like to make it as painless as possible.

The basic rules are dead simple. Only explain the race and attribute abilities as they come up. In fact, I wouldn't even explain that (unless she really wants to know) and just have her pick ones that sound cool (flying dwarves, heroic skeletons). Then you can look up and explain what special things they do.

El-Producto wrote:

Can anyone give me the quick and dirty on how Math Trades work? Do I simply list the game(s) I have, and which one's I want.. and the system matches it up?

Seems very confusing to me, but I have some games I'd like to get rid of.

Yeah, the way it works is you provide a list of all the games you have up for trade. A bunch of other people do the same. Then you go through and for each game on your list, decide which games you feel would be a fair 1-for-1 trade. All of those lists are dumped into an engine that cranks through all the possible trade chains and figures out who gets what.

It's a great system because - assuming you set up your trade list correctly - you will never receive an undesirable trade. The downside is that lack of participation can really muck things up. For example, I did one math trade where the person who submitted the most items never submitted a trade list. That meant there were fewer trade proposals to "grease the wheel", resulting in fewer trades actually happening. The other downside if you do one that requires shipping is you don't know exactly where you'll be shipping to, although the USPS flat rate boxes have helped alleviate that a bit.

I've always only done local math trades and they usually turn out well. Have yet to do one that required actual shipping on my part.

I'd be down for doing a trade, I have a bunch of games collecting dust on my shelf that I'd like to get rid of.

Had a chance last weekend to go bananas for board games, here's some trip reports!

Fortune & Glory: Got this for Christmas based on how much I loved A Touch of Evil, but after a few plays it's starting to wear thin. Roll and move to draw a random danger card and make a random roll to get another random card, and there are far too many duplicate dangers. I'm in love with the theme, but I wish there was more strategy or luck mitigation to it.

Betrayal At The House On The Hill: It's Betrayal, bumble about until the last third of the game where it really gets interesting. Even then it often comes down to a bunch of die rolls, but the game takes 30-45 minutes at most, so I can forgive it. Not something I'd go out of my way to play but you could do worse.

Pandemic: Loss in two turns to the Outbreak track despite us making the best plays we could. I never want to touch this game again.

Forbidden Island: Lost when Fool's Landing sunk while everyone was rushing to escape, but it didn't feel crushing or unfair. Teamwork and planning actually matters (and is necessary) to have a shot at winning.

Arkham Horror: My group has some understandable trepidation when approaching this, it's huge and has loads of fiddly bits and cards, and every loss to the GOO makes subsequent plays even harder to introduce. I try not to captain everyone because I don't want to control their plays, but I think I might need to step in with some strategy if we're going to salvage this one.

SocialChameleon wrote:

Forbidden Island: Lost when Fool's Landing sunk while everyone was rushing to escape, but it didn't feel crushing or unfair. Teamwork and planning actually matters (and is necessary) to have a shot at winning.

Had the same problem in an early game. Protecting Fool's Landing at all costs is a fundamental part of the game.

I've heard of bad games of Pandemic like that before but it's never remotely happened to me. Honestly if you enjoyed Forbidden Island you should give Pandemic another try.

gregrampage wrote:
SocialChameleon wrote:

Forbidden Island: Lost when Fool's Landing sunk while everyone was rushing to escape, but it didn't feel crushing or unfair. Teamwork and planning actually matters (and is necessary) to have a shot at winning.

Had the same problem in an early game. Protecting Fool's Landing at all costs is a fundamental part of the game.

I've heard of bad games of Pandemic like that before but it's never remotely happened to me. Honestly if you enjoyed Forbidden Island you should give Pandemic another try.

Yeah, I used Forbidden Island as a starter drug for Pandemic; my kids got the basics down with FI, then loved Pandemic. As for Pandemic, make sure you're separating the epidemic cards into separate piles, shuffling, then stacking up, so you don't get three epidemics in seven cards like I did the first time I played (it went badly), and also make extensive use of each player's special ability (in particular, the Dispatcher's ability to send any pawn to any other pawn's location is incredibly handy).

The first few times I tried Pandemic I lost badly, but, once I started to understand what was going on, it was much easier.

Pandemic is brutal. I love the concept behind it but it's really hard getting my group to play it because it's such a let down when you lose.

Fortune & Glory is something I'm curious to play, not sure I want to drop $80 on it but the theme is way too attractive to ignore.

EDIT:

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

As for Pandemic, make sure you're separating the epidemic cards into separate piles, shuffling, then stacking up, so you don't get three epidemics in seven cards like I did the first time I played (it went badly).

Oh man, we made this mistake too the first game. Such a bad idea.

SocialChameleon wrote:

Arkham Horror: My group has some understandable trepidation when approaching this, it's huge and has loads of fiddly bits and cards, and every loss to the GOO makes subsequent plays even harder to introduce. I try not to captain everyone because I don't want to control their plays, but I think I might need to step in with some strategy if we're going to salvage this one.

How many do you usually play Arkham Horror with? I've only played a handful of times but found it most enjoyable with three. While it supports a wide range of players, the game is far too slow and chaotic with more players. With fewer you can really coordinate your actions and feel like you are making good decisions instead of being subjected to whatever happens.

Last weekend I got to try out Eclipse, the latest space 4x style game. My initial thoughts are certainly colored by the fact that we played with six and only one of us having played before, and I played poorly and was literally wiped off the map on the final turn of the game. As you can guess, I wasn't overly impressed I actually think the game has some really cool mechanics, especially the ability to outfit your ship classes with different equipment load-outs.

My neighbor got lucky and was able to beef up his dreadnaughts with strong hulls early, which was my undoing. I was able to counter by turning my fighters and cruisers into piles of guns with an engine strapped to the back, but unfortunately got to that point too late. Still, I liked that it was possible to build out a counter to his very powerful build.

I think it may be best with fewer players as it just felt a little long with six. Of course having a group know the rules would help, too, but I still think four might be the sweet spot. All of the mechanics were fine, it just didn't feel particularly compelling. It suffers from the same momentum issues that many other multiplayer combat games do; it's hard to hold that against the game, but it certainly lessened my enjoyment.

That play certainly did cool my enthusiasm for Eclipse. Not sure I'll be getting a copy now. For my money I'd still rather play Runewars as my conquest game of choice, and given enough time I'd rather play Twilight Imperium III.

Pandemic seems to suffer more from Strong Leader Syndrome, where one person essentially plays all the parts. Maybe it's because it feels so much more serious than FI.

Pandemic's difficulty can be lessened if you let players pick their roles. The medic, in particular, is effective.

On another note, has anyone ever actually done a math trade on BGG? I was interested in cycling out some under used games of mine, but wow is that a hard site to use.

Chumpy_McChump wrote:

Pandemic seems to suffer more from Strong Leader Syndrome, where one person essentially plays all the parts. Maybe it's because it feels so much more serious than FI.

Yup. The fact that it's so punishing and needs really effective, coordinated strategy makes it really vulnerable to that when one person sees the possibilities (or thinks he does) more so than others. I have to say I much prefer my coop to be thematic rather than abstract like this. When I play Ravenloft, I'm totally happy just playing my own characters and making the occasional suggestion, but when I play Pandemic, I feel like every single move needs to be agreed upon by everyone. Not a fan.

Stilgar Black wrote:

On another note, has anyone ever actually done a math trade on BGG? I was interested in cycling out some under used games of mine, but wow is that a hard site to use.

I would consider running a GWJ math trade if there's enough interest. I'm not really quite sure what the minimum number of people needed would be for it to be successful, but I could start a thread and see where it goes. The process is actually quite easy once you understand how it all works, but it is pretty foreign-looking when you first get into it.

Dreaded Gazebo wrote:
Stilgar Black wrote:

On another note, has anyone ever actually done a math trade on BGG? I was interested in cycling out some under used games of mine, but wow is that a hard site to use.

I would consider running a GWJ math trade if there's enough interest. I'm not really quite sure what the minimum number of people needed would be for it to be successful, but I could start a thread and see where it goes. The process is actually quite easy once you understand how it all works, but it is pretty foreign-looking when you first get into it.

I'm interested although I don't know how much I have to offer.