The Big Board-Gaming Catch-All

Gearing up for Geekway to the West starting tomorrow and running through Sunday here in St. Louis. I have 23 games on my "to-play" list already. Four solid days of board games have never looked like so little time.

Ugh. I wish I didn’t had to work on this weekend.

Thought some folks might find this video about the process of manufacturing a board game interesting. I did! I got a sort of Reading Rainbow vibe out of it.

It runs like an extended ad for the German manufacturer, LudoFact, but I wasn't too bothered by that.

I ended up sticking with my base pledge for Bloodborne, because I love the theme and I do like that it uses randomized tiles to simulate exploration, which is one of my favorite mechanics in all of boardgaming. The base pledge seemed like a great deal of content, and if I went mental I guess I could add on in the pledge manager, but I really doubt it.

Fedaykin98 wrote:

I ended up sticking with my base pledge for Bloodborne, because I love the theme and I do like that it uses randomized tiles to simulate exploration, which is one of my favorite mechanics in all of boardgaming. The base pledge seemed like a great deal of content, and if I went mental I guess I could add on in the pledge manager, but I really doubt it.

Ya, I was looking around what others were saying and a lot of people are doing base + hunters dream. It seems like it's probably the best expansion.

I'm still figuring out what I want to do. I also want to back Root and Tsukuyumi but I think Bloodborne would get the most plays because it seems most solo friendly and Chalice dungeon seems to be their solution to "one off" games rather playing a full campaigns. Hell, even their campaigns are only 3 scenarios. So I think I will get base and some of the better expansions. The only thing that is really holding me back is the theme is just too dark and gross and I'm not a Bloodborne fan. I even picked up Dark Souls to see if I was into gameplay. I like how the game feels but I wish it wasn't so freaking hard. Good thing with a board game I can just house rule it to make it easier.

So the lady who was looking for a job in my game group finally got a job! I joke with her it's because game night helped get her anxiety down for the interview!

Crockpot wrote:

So the lady who was looking for a job in my game group finally got a job! I joke with her it's because game night helped get her anxiety down for the interview!

That's good news and good on ya, Crockpot. I get the sense that the game group I'm in is a similar boon to several of our members. Boardgaming FTW!

Nice one. I call the one larger open game group try to go to monthly... my anxiety gymnasium.

Increase in physical exercise has helped get to grips with bi polar but joining a few games groups has helped just as much, especially that larger 20-40 folks one, people I've never met, teaching folks the odd game. Good stuff.

Summoner Wars is having big clearance sale on miniature market. One of the best games ever designed. Judging by how Plaid Hat Games has been going lately this may be last time it's in print.

Found a copy of Hoplomachus Origins on eBay at a very reasonable price, arrived today. Those are some weighty chips, a lush production.

I can see why Chip Theory are lauded for their game components. Hope it plays as good as it looks and feels.

If it's good I might have to investigate their games further.

I'm culling some of my lesser-played board games. I'd like to give my fellow goodjers first kick at the can, in case anyone's looking for something I'm letting go of. Is there a buy/sell thread for board games that I can't find, or should I just post here before I list on the Geekmarket?

I find Facebook/Craigslist the easiest and fastest way to sell board games

Feegle wrote:

I'm culling some of my lesser-played board games. I'd like to give my fellow goodjers first kick at the can, in case anyone's looking for something I'm letting go of. Is there a buy/sell thread for board games that I can't find, or should I just post here before I list on the Geekmarket?

Post in The Official Trading Post thread and link to it from here.

Crockpot wrote:

I find Facebook/Craigslist the easiest and fastest way to sell board games

Crock speaks the truth.

-BEP

I revisited Crystal Clans with my cousin who I’ve played Summoner Wars with. I still really love the game but I feel like it’s missing something special that Summoner Wars does for me. Summoner Wars has a great tactical element and I feel like Crystal Clans if you’re guys aren’t sitting on crystals then you’re wasting your time. But everything else is very good. Diceless battles aren’t perfect but they are stlll a lot of fun. The intuitive is brilliant and the more I play the more I realize how much depth it has for how simple it is.

It’s probably one of the few 2 player games worth owning due to limited amount of opportunities two player games has. Sadly the game has been discontinued but 14 Clans are way more enough to keep me busy for years to come.

I got to play Batman Gotham City Chronicles on Sunday. Great game, pretty terrible rules book for learning how to play, though it seems to be an alright reference. Printing off the player aids from Monolith's website are a must. A ton of iconography used for all the various actions that can be performed. Once you learn those, it starts to click and move along. I had played Conan once and liked the game mechanics but hated the misogyny. This theme really clicks and is terrific. They made a very smart decision, IMO, to have a hero and villain pool that are standard, for lack of a better term, meaning they do not fly, have super speed, power ring, etc. This keeps the rule set in the move, melee, ranged categories. So various versions of Batman, Robin, Catwoman, Black Canary, Green Arrow, Huntress, etc. Oh, and Batcow. Didn't know that was a thing, but there is a cow with a mask and cape in the game.

The minis are gorgeous.
IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/jH0RkTb.jpg)
The player trays are so close to being perfect, but are still very acceptable. The Villain Tray is fantastic. It plays 2-4 people, with one playing as the villain and minions in the scenario and the others as the three heroes. I played all three and it was not difficult at all, as it would be with say Gloomhaven or Spirit Island. From what I have read it has a reputation of being well balanced. My one playthrough does nothing to refute that. It came down to one dice roll by the villains on the final turn (he won).

It operates on energy cubes to perform actions. If you are active for your turn, you get 2 energy cubes from your fatigue pool to your active pool on top of any that unused active cubes from last round. If you rest, you get 5 cubes. Resting allows you to defend, but nothing else. If you take damage, you remove cubes from your fatigue pool to a damaged pool, so they act as your actions and your health. The cubes convert into actions that are very well flavored based on the hero or villain, and can be modified by items (Bat Cape, grappling hook, etc.). They all have their own innate abilities as well. Batman is not slowed by difficult terrain and can parkour. If he knocks out an enemy, he gets a free dice to roll to attack a second enemy in the area.

I really like this mechanic. Your first round, you have all these cubes to use and it is tempting to do all these cool things, but then you are stuck recovering only 2 cubes the next round. The heroes can go in any order and even split their actions. The cubes on the board always tell you if you have anything remaining so there is no worry of skipping turns or actions.

There is no ongoing component that I am aware of, but there are 21 Scenarios in the base game. Each scenario has a list of eligible "Hero 1" Hero 2" and "Hero 3" that are available to choose from. I am sure that helped with their balancing. Given how you decide to start from a hero and equipment perspective (you can choose what to carry in your utility belt - smoke bombs, bat-a-rangs, etc.) They will be doing a Kickstarter for Season 2 with access to season 1 as well. The add-ons look really nice by my friend exercised some control. I won't be shocked if he gets them with Season 2, however. Once you know how to play, it really does move along at a nice pace. Set up, as with most mini games, isn't the quickest, but I have played many worse in that regard. I would love to play it again.

A couple other photos:
IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/VoneaN2.jpg)
IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/XMEMlzP.jpg)

Quick overview of Geekway 2019 this past weekend:

Betrayal Legacy - we played through the first two scenarios, and everyone was digging it so far. Will probably continue over the summer and at Gen Con.

Rise of Tribes - solid, but every bit as generic as the title implies.

Decrypto - it took us a few tries to get the hang of, but this is a really clever game. My wife loves word games and quite enjoyed this.

Just One - another word game (kind of) that almost veers into "points don't matter" territory. We just had fun trying to come up with good clues.

Welcome To... - another game my wife and I really enjoyed. I might have to pick this up.

Space Base - fun, but I'm not sure how much longevity is there. It's very tactical and situational.

Wings for the Baron - I heard about this before the con, bought a copy, and brought it with me. You run an aircraft design company in WWI Germany, competing for the best designs to acquire the most contracts. Includes German vs. Allied war morale, corporate espionage, and inflation of the Deutsch Papiermark. I really like this, but I ended a ways behind in points. As an aerospace engineer I took extra scorn for that one.

Noctiluca - fairly simple "choose random dice to fill tableau" game. It's a nice filler, but we screwed up the turn order and gave a huge advantage to two of the players. Have to play again with the correct rules.

Root - I won by a single point as the Vagabond. Two players were new and did really well, the end game was super tight for all four of us.

7 Wonders Duel - perennial favorite that we can pull out and play in 20 minutes.

Res Arcana - I had heard good things about this and was expecting more. It was fun, but I'm not sure what all the fuss I've heard so far is about.

Crusaders: Thy Will be Done - this has a neat rondel system for taking actions, and I ended up winning. Firmly in the Euro camp. Fun to play once but I'm not sure I'd play it repeatedly.

Victorian Masterminds - another cool turn mechanic where players put action tokens face down, with different powers and results. Trying to collect points while also building your evil steampunk machine. Pretty fun, my kids really enjoyed this. Has great table presence with lots of minis.

Swordcrafters - kind of bland. At no time did I feel like I was crafting a sword.

Hellapagos - another game I'd heard a lot about, and we played a big 11 player game with several of my kids. It was very tame until later in the game, when people started turning on each other. Best part was someone trying to shoot my 9-year-old son, who dropped a perfectly-timed steel plate card to save himself.

Wingspan - the game everyone wanted to play. It's alright.

Robin Hood and the Merry Men - I should not have tried to teach this when I did. It's a fun game with a lot of neat mechanics, but it has a LOT going on and really needs better iconography or something. I'm not sure. I constantly have to refer to the rules to see what actions give you VPs vs. reputation.

Pit Crew
To Court the King
Inis
Cyclades: Titans

Above are all great games, not much to say about them.

Treasure Island - last game on Sunday, this was new to me and I really enjoyed it. I thought I had the treasure pinpointed and then my son went to a completely different part of the island and dug it up. I'm not quite sure how I could have done better, so there appears to be maybe some luck here. Still a pretty neat concept.

Boudreaux wrote:

Wingspan - the game everyone wanted to play. It's alright.

I played this last night on TTS. Yeah I have to agree. Its alright. Lots of good choices but very little interactivity between players.

Boudreaux wrote:

Swordcrafters - kind of bland. At no time did I feel like I was crafting a sword.

Wingspan - the game everyone wanted to play. It's alright.

Cyclades: Titans[/b]

Treasure Island - last game on Sunday, this was new to me and I really enjoyed it. I thought I had the treasure pinpointed and then my son went to a completely different part of the island and dug it up. I'm not quite sure how I could have done better, so there appears to be maybe some luck here. Still a pretty neat concept.

Ah, that's too bad about swordcrafters. I even booked a ticket at gencon to try it out because the idea seemed so novel and new. Expectations tempered.

Wingspan: Yea. It's alright.

Tell me more. Cyclades is one of my all time favorites.

Really looking forward to trying Treasure Island out. Thanks for the short insight into it. Do you feel like it was more based on luck than deduction?

On this idea that Wingspan is “alright”: I think I enjoy having this game precisely because of that. It is a pleasant weekend morning game to play with my spouse over a cup of coffee. It’s one of those that allows me to play a game and have a pleasant conversation when otherwise I would laze around the house doing nothing.

MisterStatic wrote:

It’s one of those that allows me to play a game and have a pleasant conversation

This is something I've thought about a bit. Most games dominate your attention in a few different ways. They might be highly competitive, or highly complex, so that when its not your turn, you're thinking about your next turn. Game night with these is almost entirely about THE GAME. I find if we spend too much time just on this sort of game that we haven't really hung out with friends, we've participated in a non-social experience with them, like watching a new movie and parting immediately after.

Other than strictly social/party games (pictionary, cards against humanity) what are some games that are light enough to still be social?

A few I've thought of:
Dice City - You mostly roll your dice and make a decision on the fly. Long term strategy isnt too terribly necessary
Second Chances - Everyone takes their turn simultaneously and as long as no one is champing at the bit and rushing people through their doodling, it can be a pretty light experience, fun, relaxing, and plenty of room for chatting.
Railroad Ink - pretty much the same reasons as Second Chances.
Azul - Similar reasons as Dice City. You may think about your turn a little bit while others are going, mostly hoping they dont take what you want, but there's plenty of room for chatting, still.

What else?

Fredrik_S wrote:

Ah, that's too bad about swordcrafters. I even booked a ticket at gencon to try it out because the idea seemed so novel and new. Expectations tempered.

Wingspan: Yea. It's alright.

Tell me more. Cyclades is one of my all time favorites.

Really looking forward to trying Treasure Island out. Thanks for the short insight into it. Do you feel like it was more based on luck than deduction?

Swordcrafters - the entire concept is that there is a grid of gem tiles laid out, each player takes a turn "slicing" that grid into separate pieces, and then each player takes one of the separated sections. So you will get some chunk of tiles each turn. You're trying to get the tiles that benefit you the most, by building your sword with as many tiles of the same type touching as you can. However, it's almost impossible to see what other players are doing so you basically try to slice something off that benefits you. Whether or not you actually get those tiles seems random. Even when you get the tiles, because of the way you must build your sword you may or may not be able to use them the way you wanted. It would have been more fun if the tiles had some sort of ability, or represented different parts of a sword, or you built different types of swords, or something. I just felt like I was building a cardboard box, not a sword.

Cyclades: Titans is great. If you haven't played it, the map is changed into one big island (no more boat bridges required) and a new god (Khronos) adds titans to your armies, which allow players to move their armies each turn instead of only when you successfully bid on Ares. This makes it much more conflict-heavy, which my group enjoys. In the last turn we had a metropolis change hands twice before ending up with the eventual winner. It seems to make monsters more useful as well, rather than very situational. I like base Cyclades but I like Titans more. We tend to avoid the Hades stuff.

Treasure Island - it's kind of a mix of luck and deduction. You definitely have secret information that you're using to try to figure out where the treasure is. You know other people have received information, and sometimes you find out what that is. In the end, I'm not sure it's possible to completely deduce where the treasure is unless the players really work together and then it just becomes a race to see who actually finds it first (there is only one winner). I had it narrowed down to one 2-mile wide strip of the board, but I didn't know exactly where in that strip it was, and the area was too big to search completely. So I had to guess. It turned out there was one tiny little portion of that strip that was a possibility, but I had discounted that part because it was so small. My son ended up searching there and found the treasure. It was very close to where he started, which is why the LJ Silver player picked that spot. There are a lot of neat concepts in the game. I really like drawing on the board, the different one-use powers are very useful and you really feel like using them at times vs. saving them, and there are real opportunities for the players to share info (we did not do that much). I definitely want to play again, not sure if it's something I'd want to play often enough to own.

MisterStatic wrote:

On this idea that Wingspan is “alright”: I think I enjoy having this game precisely because of that. It is a pleasant weekend morning game to play with my spouse over a cup of coffee. It’s one of those that allows me to play a game and have a pleasant conversation when otherwise I would laze around the house doing nothing.

I don't disagree with this. It's a game that occupies a weird space in my head. I don't think about it much after playing and I don't seek out opportunities to play, but if someone suggests it I'll almost always be "sure, yeah, Wingspan is fun." I know my wife would enjoy it, it has just the right amount of light strategy. I will probably pick it up if it's ever available again.

"Pleasant weekend morning game to play with a cup of coffee" is exactly the right approach for this game.

polypusher wrote:
MisterStatic wrote:

It’s one of those that allows me to play a game and have a pleasant conversation

Other than strictly social/party games (pictionary, cards against humanity) what are some games that are light enough to still be social?
...
What else?

I think most roll and writes are like this as when you are not the active player, you don't really have to pay attention much.

Another couple of games that come to mind are El Dorado and Sagrada.

Boudreaux wrote:

Swordcrafters - the entire concept...

Thanks for the wordier explanations about those games. I think I'll skip the swordcrafter event after your description. I can think of a few different ways to spend a couple of hours at gencon then.

Titans sounds fantastic. I'll have to pick it up.

Had my first play of Batman last night. +1 to everything bhchrist said.

It is a great, cinematic experience, the story it tells in a scenario would make an awesome 10 minute set piece in a Batman movie.

The iconography and rule book were the challenge that had to be overcome, the actual flow of the game when you knew what the different icons meant was crisp and fast and I think this one will definitely benefit from repeated plays and would get playtime down under the hour mark when you're not constantly checking for what each icon on tiles and boards means.

Thoroughly enjoyed it and will be grabbing the 2nd season kickstarter content.

I played....

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Sentinels of the Multiverse was complete trash. It’s literally draw a card and play a card (plus one power that doesn’t really add much). The choices between the cards were incredibly boring. There was, no joke, skip a turn cards. The combination of the villain and environment cards made the game a slog and made nothing happen. We couldn’t even finish game because it was too long. There was too much explaining what cards do for how little there was going on. Art was just awful compare to today’s standards.

Terrible game. I hated it. Never want to play it again. This is probably the worst game I’ve played over the last year. Sorry for the fans out there.

I agree with you, Sentinels is a bad experience in person for all the reasons you outlined. Never understood the love for it. HOWEVER, I did play it solo via the computer adaptation and actually enjoy it since everything was so streamlined. I was shocked.

I agree that it didn't resonate with me. Not sure if I'd call it the worst, but we never gave it a second play.

Crockpot wrote:

I played....
Terrible game. I hated it. Never want to play it again. This is probably the worst game I’ve played over the last year. Sorry for the fans out there.

I enjoy it. It is my wife's favorite game, so I play it more than I wish. We have had games that slogged and games that flow really well. A lot depends on the mix of characters/villain/environment. Sorry to hear your experience was so poor.

I think Sentinels of the Multiverse works best as a video game, though I also think it is pretty fun IRL too. I can definitely see why someone would not like it, but I really enjoy the mechanical theming of each hero, villain, and environment deck. I think the game does a great job of making each deck and its mechanics feel unique and true to what it is emulating. Also the artwork in the base game and first expansion or two is pretty bad, though it does grow on you. The artwork in the later expansions is very much improved, IMO.

I was taken back on how much love this game had back in the day. Not much now, but I remember it had great results with kickstarter and generally well reviewed.

Re: Sentinels: it's a co-op, which is a very divisive category in the first place, and it follows the pattern of most co-ops very closely: it looks hopeless, then it becomes manageable, then it spins out of control. It's very easy to get discouraged and quit when the first round or two is wiped out by a bad draw from the villain. The game also requires a fair amount of book-keeping, which is anathema to most gamers these days. I can't even argue that there isn't too much to keep track of, and too many tokens scattered all over the place, and I love the game. Like everything, it's not for everyone. I do think that the digital version solves the vast majority of the problems with the game, but some of the later heroes require enough data management that trying to play solo is super-difficult. They have it on sale (the base game, at least) pretty often for 2 bucks for phones, I think a lot of people would appreciate playing it in that format.

I finally got in The Gods War from Petersen Games this week. It's basically Blood Rage/Rising Sun with some of the more fiddly bits removed. It's also enormous, in no small part due to the 'minis' that come with it. This is a D&D mini next to one of the biggest:
IMAGE(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-k--euATCkiM/XOSR1IIe-WI/AAAAAAAAHsA/YEGNIseMbYUStQElMQwruJGeh5OH38P6wCK8BGAs/s512/2019-05-21.jpg)
I was shocked that my sons and I got a game finished in roughly an hour and a half, even with going over the rules. It might even play well at 8 players - but I'm extremely tolerant of downtime, so I wouldn't likely complain even if that makes it take a much longer time to play. For a game with 8 factions, and a lot of asymmetry between them, it manages to flow well: you have a 'Power' currency that is used to summon units or move or attack, and on your turn you do 1 thing. Turns go around the table (the first player can choose in which direction), and when everyone is out of Power, you enter an upkeep phase where you all gain power (with a mechanism to prevent someone from being too far behind), then gain points. There are three point-based benchmarks: one that opens a portal to hell, one that enforces a diplomatic push towards end-game and the game ending score check. Combats are dice-based (boooo!!!), but resolved with a single roll, and the factions feel balanced in interesting ways. I'm hopeful to get in a higher player count game soon to see if it scales well.