The Big Board-Gaming Catch-All

I played about an hour of one of my favorite games of all time, Starbase Jeff, two nights ago. It's a Cheap Ass Game that I picked up a few years ago. Times were good and all the new people I taught it to enjoyed it.

Earlier today, I was poking around Cheap Ass Games' web site and discovered that they've mostly gone to a "Get our games for free, donate what you feel like" model. Including a bunch of easy print-and-play games here and more substantial stuff here. I own a bunch of the major games already and love Agora, Falling, Kill Doctor Lucky, and Unexploded Cow. I will have to print and play a few of the others. I've read that Renfield is a really good one. The easy games page includes a PDF with 14 brand new games using regular decks of cards. Some are poker-themed or related, but all are brand new, and they all seem pretty interesting. Grab some free games and then donate what you like!

My understanding was that CAG had basically folded for the past few years, and only recently re-emerged thanks to Kickstarter (where he redid Unexploded Cow).

It's good to see them back, I hope they start releasing more of their old games.

Finally got around to playing Lords of Waterdeep after having it sit on my shelf since September. We were 4 people all new to the game, but I was just a tad disappointed with it. It was a very solitary experience (meaning.. I wish there was more interaction between players) even with all four of us getting into the game,. Don't get me wrong, we did enjoy ourselves, but I felt that it could have been a bit more cutthroat than what it was. I mean, we all did our quests and such and occasionally there was some contention regarding who would get the first player token so you could grab the best buildings.

There were quite a few intrigue cards played, but most of them were pretty tame, I thought. Get some gold and another player gets gold, remove a cleric from tavern, etc. Nothing that really upset anyone's plans exactly.

Am I missing something or is it a pretty friendly game (which I don't really mind. Sometimes it's nice to not be super competitive)?

Fredrik_S wrote:

Am I missing something or is it a pretty friendly game (which I don't really mind. Sometimes it's nice to not be super competitive)?

No that sounds about right. It's really fun but it's not highly interactive or cutthroat.

The wife and I are pumped about the sometime upcoming expansion for Waterdeep. It's a great game as it, but more interesting lords to manage and a little more meat on the bones and would go a long way.

SixteenBlue wrote:
Fredrik_S wrote:

Am I missing something or is it a pretty friendly game (which I don't really mind. Sometimes it's nice to not be super competitive)?

No that sounds about right. It's really fun but it's not highly interactive or cutthroat.

Allright, at least I know I'm not missing something then. I did like it, and I am looking forward to trying it out with only two players as you get to do more during each round.

Just got in our first game of Elder Sign tonight. 7 people in total, and we just wiped the the whole thing. Only generated 4 Doom tokens by the time we built up the 11 Elder Signs to lock away the ancient one we were fighting.

Definitely a quicker, less fiddly version of Arkham Horror.

For those that have a lot of Waterderp love you should check out Alien Frontiers I have gotten a few games in so far and like the game play quite a bit and who doesn't like a good space theme?

McIrishJihad wrote:

Just got in our first game of Elder Sign tonight. 7 people in total, and we just wiped the the whole thing. Only generated 4 Doom tokens by the time we built up the 11 Elder Signs to lock away the ancient one we were fighting.

Definitely a quicker, less fiddly version of Arkham Horror.

Ugh. That feel when you think the game went too easily, and so it chews at you so bad, and BGG is down for maintenance and it takes watching the episode of Tabletop and pouring over the rule book to see the one paragraph that you missed and your whole group won by ignoring monsters if there wasn't an open task for them to spawn on. That feel, right now.

FFG goes through so much detail on how to handle monster appearances, with all these nice bold sections, and game play pictures, detailing what to do when adventure cards have monster tasks (tasks with white borders). And then a one sentence paragraph, not bolded or otherwise called out as important that states:

Elder Sign Rules wrote:

If no more monster tasks are available, the player chooses an Adventure or Other World card and places the monster at the bottom of the card below all other tasks.

Never even dawned on me for why there's a big note (even in the errata) that explains this placement must be as even as possible, and you can't double up monsters until all cards have a monster.

So we skipped out on 5 or so monsters because we thought there was limited spawn points

Needless to say, that one paragraph now has some nice liner notes in Sharpie to call attention to it in our copy. Hope the wife doesn't mind...

Coop games just always seem to have that question, if you win on your first try, of 'Did I do this right?'. I've been playing a lot of coop games with my wife and friends and the answer is very frequently, "NO!"

Then again, some games are just easy. Castle Panic (without expansion), Escape: The Curse of the Temple, and Elder Sign are some of the easiest I have played. Having optional rules for added difficulty are nice, but its also good when the experience is just plain fun, win or lose, so they still get played.

Its worth ranking the difficulty of the coop games I've played. I'd put it like this.

Easy: Castle Panic (without expansion), Escape: The Curse of the Temple, and Elder Sign

Medium: Pandemic, Expanded Castle Panic, Level 7: Escape, Zombicide (can be easy or hard depending on scenario)

Hard: Ghost Stories

MonoCheli wrote:

For those that have a lot of Waterderp love you should check out Alien Frontiers I have gotten a few games in so far and like the game play quite a bit and who doesn't like a good space theme?

I wholly endorse this endorsement! (There's also an iPad version too)

Yesterday, I finally got to sit down and teach my fiancee War of the Ring. This is one of my favorite games, but it's been a while since I've played it. I'd warned her in advance that it's probably about a four hour game, and that it's hard to learn. I don't think she fully grasped what "hard to learn" means when I say it.

The whole teaching part went about as well as can be expected. As anyone who's played it knows, it's a very intricate game. No one part of it is very complicated, but there are a bunch of exceptions to things. There are also a few different systems going on at the same time, which all tend to affect each other in different ways, and there are cards that can make the whole thing messier.

The most PITA part is that you really can't have a nice, succinct player aid to simplify things, just because there are so many options. There are good ones, but none of them are short.

So I had her play Shadow, since it's more straight forward, and I took the Free Peoples. She muddled through and got pretty frustrated with how unclear she was on what was going on, but I think in the last quarter of the game, she started to get a better handle on what her options were, and felt better about it by the end. It didn't hurt that she won, either. She rolled up Rohan faster than I've ever seen (I got some terrible combat results and couldn't muster a defense in time), which put her in a good position to sweep across the south. Still, it did wind up coming down to the wire, with the fellowship two steps from Mt. Doom when she got her last few victory points.

Hopefully I'll be able to convince her to play again soon, before she forgets all the rules. I had picked up the 2nd edition upgrade kit, and man it was nice playing with the bigger cards. SO much easier to read.

SixteenBlue wrote:

No that sounds about right. It's really fun but it's not highly interactive or cutthroat.

Really? Because I'm sitting on my turn wondering which spots I should grab first based on what my opponent is likely to take.

Maybe I just play all games cutthroat though

The "cutthroat" interactivity element in worker placement games has an odd slant to it in that the person doing the blocking doesn't really feel like they're specifically working against someone...it's not as targeted, they're usually just doing what's best for their strategy, rather than preventing others from their optimum path(though doing both at once is always good).

However the person who has to go with their 5th best option because of everyone else's choices feels pretty throat-cut nonetheless.

polypusher wrote:

Coop games just always seem to have that question, if you win on your first try, of 'Did I do this right?'. I've been playing a lot of coop games with my wife and friends and the answer is very frequently, "NO!"

I downloaded the PDF of the revised rules (we've got the revised edition, screw you year-old errata!), so while everything is still fresh in my mind, I'll be putting together a condensed guide to go in my box.

Its weird, the rulebook for Elder Sign is extremely detailed, but the back page is a "quick reference" that only gets about 2/3rds of what you really need to access quickly.

It's like FFG would have done well just having that back page being a quick decision tree flow of things that can happen at each step, and then have 4 mini-cards as quick reference (high-level turn order & what symbols mean).

Chaz wrote:

Hopefully I'll be able to convince her to play again soon, before she forgets all the rules. I had picked up the 2nd edition upgrade kit, and man it was nice playing with the bigger cards. SO much easier to read.

I picked up those cards and downloaded the 2nd ed. rules, even though it's been years since I last played War of the Ring (and have forgotten all the rules), and will be awhile before I can play it again. I think I've only ever played two full games—but what an awesome game and perfect adaptation of the book.

Gunner wrote:

The wife and I are pumped about the sometime upcoming expansion for Waterdeep. It's a great game as it, but more interesting lords to manage and a little more meat on the bones and would go a long way.

Seconded (and thirded as she's reading this).

(Cross-posting to the Kickstarter thread.)

Formula E, the hand-management elephant racing game designed by André Zatz, Sergio Halaban and Bruno Faidutti.

Obviously the title caught my attention when I saw the ad on BGG, then I saw Bruno Faidutti's name, and finally I started reading about it:

The manner in which the Elephants move along the track is unique among race games. Elephants must move forward if possible and, in doing so, they will push any other Elephants ahead of them in the same lane. If the lane ends, or if a Holy Cow obstacle is in the way, then an Elephant moves sideways, again pushing other Elephants in its path, until forward motion is once again possible. An Elephant cannot move diagonally unless a Mango Juice card has been played to modify its movement. A Magic Carpet card will allow an Elephant to move OVER Elephants in the same lane, and a Charge card will allow an Elephant to push Holy Cows as if they were Elephants. An Elephant can only move backwards if it has been frightened by another player using a Mouse card.

Elephant meeples and deliberately colour-blind friendly design. It's only running for 21 days, with less than two weeks to go now.

Decided to get Flash Point in the end and got to play it tonight with my parents. We had fun, managed to lose the easy family setting though so maybe need to work on that. I also got to play Pandemic last night at a gaming group and I made the right decision. Don't get me wrong, Pandemic is good but the more simple nature and IMO better theme in Flash Point makes it a better fit with us. I also think that Pandemic clearly risks the alpha player problem as it is more complex and could easy turn into one person trying to dominate every decision.

onewild wrote:

Decided to get Flash Point in the end and got to play it tonight with my parents. We had fun, managed to lose the easy family setting though so maybe need to work on that. I also got to play Pandemic last night at a gaming group and I made the right decision. Don't get me wrong, Pandemic is good but the more simple nature and IMO better theme in Flash Point makes it a better fit with us. I also think that Pandemic clearly risks the alpha player problem as it is more complex and could easy turn into one person trying to dominate every decision.

My feelings exactly.

So, thanks directly to MonoCheli, I bought myself Ascension for my birthday. It is a game I found, thanks to my stay at Ravenwood, that I can enjoy with my wife. X-Wing, on the other hand, she will not be as excited about. That one I bought to play with my son.

If she likes Ascension, try Dominion. Ascension was one of the first games I introduced my wife to as well, and she loved it. She jumped right into Dominion as well, and loves it just as much.

Teneman wrote:

If she likes Ascension, try Dominion. Ascension was one of the first games I introduced my wife to as well, and she loved it. She jumped right into Dominion as well, and loves it just as much.

I know there's a lot of Dominion love in this thread, but Ascension for me is a flat-out Dominion-killer. Same with RftG and San Juan, or C&C:A and BattleLore.

But you're lucky...at least your wife will play Ascension.

We're going back and forth between Ascension, Dominion and Penny Arcade Gamers v. Evil. So far we like them all equally, although Ascension and Penny Arcade have an edge as we can play the iPad version and avoid the setup.

We've also both just learned San Juan (iPad again). We enjoy it individually, but haven't had a chance to play it together yet. In fact, I'm only assuming that there's a multiplayer mode in it, haven't checked yet.

Dominion: all the annoying fiddliness of Magic The Gathering but without the feelings of awesomeness. Ascension is far superior.

Counterpoint: Ascension requires knowledge of all the cards in the deck, where Dominion presents all the card available at the beginning. Also, Ascension's central deck makes chance more of an overriding factor. In fact, adapting and reacting to the central deck and cards sharply contrasts to Dominion's predominantly up front strategy.

So basically I don't consider them in the same game space, despite similar strategies. I'll easily play either one.

It's cool if you don't like Dominion but I don't understand how it has all the fiddliness of Magic the Gathering. Each round only requires you to understand ten unique cards, and most of those cards are extremely straightforward. There's only three phases in a person's turn (Action, Buy, Clean-up) and not much in the way of strange interactions.

Insert generic "you guys should totes try the Resident Evil deck building game" from me here.

Demyx wrote:

It's cool if you don't like Dominion but I don't understand how it has all the fiddliness of Magic the Gathering. Each round only requires you to understand ten unique cards, and most of those cards are extremely straightforward. There's only three phases in a person's turn (Action, Buy, Clean-up) and not much in the way of strange interactions.

Haha ya I did a double take on that too... comparing the "fiddliness" of dominion to that of mtg is like saying baking muffins is just as complex as molecular biology =)

GrandmaFunk wrote:
Demyx wrote:

It's cool if you don't like Dominion but I don't understand how it has all the fiddliness of Magic the Gathering. Each round only requires you to understand ten unique cards, and most of those cards are extremely straightforward. There's only three phases in a person's turn (Action, Buy, Clean-up) and not much in the way of strange interactions.

Haha ya I did a double take on that too... comparing the "fiddliness" of dominion to that of mtg is like saying baking muffins is just as complex as molecular biology =)

I'll also jump on the DOMINION love. I own every expansion, and played it often (haven't had a chance to lately). I bought the ASCENSION iOS app, and the actual physical version, and really find it boring. Maybe it's not a fair comparison without factoring the ASCENSION expansions, but alas.

On a different note, the VERY new girlfriend has been extremely open about trying games. We have played LOST CITIES, JAIPUR, TICKET TO RIDE, and CARCASSONNE so far, and she seems willing to try anything else I throw at her. Her willingness to play games might have actually been the deciding factor in pulling the whole "BF/GF" trigger