Monthly Archives: April 2014

Halesowen Board Gamers #13 (23/04/14)

Euphoria

First game of the evening was by request from Mark – Euphoria. Euphoria has players acting as upper members of a future dystopian society where the remnants of the human race are kept in the dark about how bad the situation is through ‘bliss’ among other methods. The game is a race to gain control of the city, either for players own nefarious reasons or to incite rebellion in the masses, and to do so they must make use of workers in and around the city to gather commodities, trading them up for resources or artifacts & ultimately trading those in to gather influence (I.e. placing their authority tokens on the board, of which each player has 10 – First to run out wins).

I feel I should apologise here, as I was really bad at paying attention this week and just didn’t feel motivated to er, try very hard, getting distracted by my phone a bit too much (Windows Phone 8.1 Update, /geekmode). I’ll try to not do that again, but anyway, the game! From the start we had a bit of an almost ‘2v2′ split, with Mark/James both being Euphoria aligned, while myself and Ian had Wastelanders for initial active recruits. This split got emphasized as Mark used his starting roll – double two’s (Multiple dice of the same value can be placed in one turn) – to get energy, doing a turn 1 push on the allegiance track for Euphoria to the bonus-resource space. This meant James, who’s turn was right after, was getting bonus energy on his placements straight off, while myself/Ian weren’t able to get the bonus till turn 3 or so, ouch. I could have made up for it somewhat, with my recruit having an ability that could have got extra food from the farm, but due my lack of attention, I totally forgot for a good while and missed out on getting lots of commodities early on.

The first 2 markets in the game went to the other 3 players. The first I just missed because I was being dumb, the second I just had no chance at due timing of when it happened – The second being a block from using pairs of artifacts at artifact markets, which was a bit of a pain when I had a convenient pair that I could have used to get rid of any other negative effect. The other players (James, Mark & Ian) got their first 3-4 stars down before I even placed one, so even when I started paying a bit closer attention I’d already ruined my chances of success – plus I got no early doubles, with just 1 in the mid-game and 1 near the end (Which was just because I got a 4th worker as I was losing anyway and figured the risk was the only remote chance I had). The game ran fairly close between Mark/James, but a poor move from Mark on a Subterran market pushed the Subterra allegiance to the end, putting 1 of James’ last 2 stars down, and giving him the easy victory through his ethical dilemma. A nice win for James, who I’m glad had fun and seemed to enjoy the game much more with a second play (I believe he was less than enamoured before, having struggled to get the gist of the game from 1 play). Scores were I think 10-8-6-5 in the end.

Voluspa

We finished with plenty of time to spare, and we could have fit something longer than this choice in, but I wanted to introduce Voluspa to some new people (A game I picked up recently by trading the horrible horrible game Manhattan Project away). Voluspa is a tile-laying game where players vie to score points by placing a tile and having it be the highest numerical value in a row or column, at which point it scores for the number of tiles in that row or column. When the stack of piles runs out, the game ends and whoever has the most points is the victor!

The tiles have values from 1 to 8, with each of the 1-6 tiles having special abilities, and the 7/8 tiles just being a higher number that’s good for scoring purposes. I’ll just briefly mention them all in bullet points as a drawling paragraph doesn’t really suit talking about 6 different tiles ^^.
1 – Loki: All adjacent tiles are worth 0. (So put alongside a lone tile can score despite being worth only 1, as well as having other interesting uses).
2 – Valkyrie: If both ends of a row have a valkyrie tile, the Valkyrie automatically dominate and score, despite their ‘2’ value.
3 – Skadi: You may replace another tile with Skadi, taking the other tile into your hand.
4 – Fenrir: This tile is worth 4 + 4 for each other fenrir in the row or column you’re looking at (As such is the highest potential value of tile).
5 – Dragon: You may place this atop another tile.
6 – Troll: No tiles can be placed adjacent to a troll once it is placed, except for other trolls.

The game plays fairly quick, in 20-60 minutes depending how much people overthink things, so if you’re interested in how it goes the best way to learn about it is just to ask me for a game, but in any case: Our game went by with us all being pretty close knit on scores, Mark fell back a little early, apparently due to having valkyrie’s that he wasn’t sure where to effectively place, but caught up once he just got them placed and stopped worrying about it. The troll tiles seemed to come out fairly thickly in the first half of the game, making for a quite limited playing field (Likely why the game was fairly long, as people spent a long time convinced there’d be a good move when sometimes there simply wasn’t), with no Loki’s coming out till the second half (Which is a pain, as the can be convenient for starting valkyrie sets due to being the one thing that can get a row low enough for a Valkyrie to score without a paired tile on the other end of a line).

As it came to the last few turns, I kept back a Skadi as I knew it would give me one more turn than the others (The game ends when everyone’s out of tiles, so Skadi tiles can net you an extra turn or two) – I could only see one possibility to score enough to not come in last place, which involved taking a dragon out of a row to make it low enough that placing the dragon again would score it, but as it turned out the only other player left, Ian, had a dragon as his last tile anyway, and he swooped in and nabbed the opportunity before I could, leaving me with a useless dragon and in last place again ^^. I think the scores were the same order as Euphoria, but I’m not sure so check Dave’s post when it goes up…^^.

It was a good evening even if I was a bit lazy about my efforts in play (Apologies again). Looking forward to next week for more games, perhaps Caverna if people are interested (Just the basic game, I’m not interested in trying advanced), plus maybe Smash Up if there’s time as I’m excited for trying out the new factions (Me & a friend at work got some decks out at lunch for a quick look…steampunk time-travellers seem less promising than I hoped, with me having a hand with more than 50% ‘take X out of the discard pile into hand’ style cards in the 5-10 minutes we played, could be nice later in the game but useless with an empty discard pile)…aaaaanyway, till next time!

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Easter Weekend Board Games

On Saturday night I invited a friend over to join me, Grace & my housemate Ken to play some board games. It was quite late already, but the only different that made was that we had a few beers over the night ^^. I wanted to introduce people to something new, so while Grace has played it plenty, I went with Ticket To Ride: Europe, as while it’s a very well known gateway game, it’s not one that Ken or Handy had tried yet, and I recently got it in a trade so wanted to give it a play!

Ticket To Ride: Europe

The Ticket To Ride series are set-building route-claiming games, where players vie to fulfill ‘destination tickets’ that are drawn at the start of the game, by drafting sets of coloured train cards to then play in sets of colour to take individual routes on the board. If a player manages to reach the start and end point of a destination ticket, then at the game he/she receives the

number of points shown on the card, if he/she doesn’t fulfill those requirements, then they become negative points against his/her score. Each turn a player can either claim a route by discarding a set and placing his trains on the board (Each player has 44, game ends when someone is down to 2 or less), takes 2 cards from the 5 available face-up, or random from the pile (Or only 1 if it’s a rainbow wildcard faceup) or takes an additional 3 destination tickets, of which he/she must keep at least 1 (Even if they can’t complete it).

I quickly got the game taught and we jumped right in. Then right from the start whatever Ken was trying to do made a big mess of how I planned to do my routes, as he filled 3 of the 4 ways out from Athina, one of the destinations for my longest route (Forcing me to go a longer way around), which had also been a convenient place to go through for a secondary route, which also had to get re-planned. Handy/Grace both had routes along the other side of the map entirely, making a large chunk of the game feel a bit like a pair of 1v1 battles, with it feeling like Grace/Handy had the advantage with their getting in each others way less. To complete my other secondary I’d kept of 3 destination tickets, I had to go across to their side a bit, and found myself blocked twice from the destination of it that end making me need a station to reach the endpoint (Stations are a bit of a get-out-of-jail-free in ticket-to-ride europe, as they count a second of route that you’ve not actually got trains on for destination tickets, but if you don’t use them [You have 3] then area worth 5 points each at the end of the game). My routes overall were so haphazard to get around blocks that I then needed another station to do the other end of that same secondary route.

At the end of the game, I actually got quite a lot of points as while I’d done it in a ridiculously haphazard way, I had more trains down than everyone else and had ended the game too early for at least one person (Handy needed 2-3 more turns to finsh up routes). It wasn’t quite enough though, with Grace taking a tidy lead and victory by completing everything she’d be given, as well as having the longest route (Another TTR:Europe thing, person with the longest continuous track gets +10 points).

Eldritch Horror

After TTR, we jumped into a game that Ken requested to be played – Eldritch Horror. In Eldritch Horror we play a team of investigators travelling the world to find a way to prevent the awakening of one of the great old ones. In some cases it’s possible to still win even if they awaken, but on this occasion we chose to fight Azathoth, which is to say a foe so powerful that his awakening is an instant loss – He’s also the easiest to beat however, as while we would never beat him in combat, he’s easier than the others to prevent from awakening in the first place, at least within this board game he is ^^.

A game of Eldritch Horror is played over a number of rounds, each consisting of 3 phases. The number of rounds is defined by the great old one you’re going up against, both in a strict limit, and with a ‘doom’ track/timer which upon hitting 0, has the old one awaken and probably destroy the world (Some can be beaten still, such as Shub-Niggurath, but the game ramps up in difficulty a ton at that point so unless you were about to win anyway, it’s probably ‘gg’ time ^^). The 3 phases are the action phase, encounter phase and mythos phase. In the action phase each investigator/player takes 2 actions (Rest, Travel, Acquire Assets, Gain Tickets, Other) to get into position and prepare for the encounter phase. The encounter phase is where things happen and dice are rolled, each player in turn draws an encounter card depending on where they are and what’s on their space (Or fights monsters first if there’s any on their space), then reads the text on that card, rolling for any checks as asked for on the card. Finally there’s the Mythos phase, where the game-timer ticks down and some effects happen based on the Mythos card drawn (Such as monsters spawning, clues spawning, epic monsters turning up, ongoing effects, etc) – The lead investigator token (1st player) is then passed to another investigator (Optionally) and the next round begins.

In our game, I was playing Charlie Kane (Asset-Acquiring hacks), Handy played Ronan Dex (Sea Hacks, disclaimer – Ronan is not the characters actual name), Grace played Spell-Person and Ken played a Spy…I’m shocked at that last one, truly. Our team worked well throughout the game, as I was able to get some good items to people (Including the double-barrelled shotgun which is awesome for combat), Grace did a good job of getting clues and working on the mysteries, Handy became artifact-man, getting both a lightning gun and the sword of saint jerome (That luck ^^) from his seafaring adventures and Ken well, played somewhat jack-of-all-trades.

While everything seemed to be going great, halfway to completing the second mystery we had an unfortunate research encounter that got our solved one shuffled back into the deck. This was quite a setback as it was already late (1 or 2am I think at that time). This might have been ok, but Grace’s character ran into a slight utter-lack-of-sanity issue, and we decided to leave it there to go and sleep. I think that if we’d have continued we could have won, so I’m going to call victory on this one. Hopefully next time I decide to hold an impromptu games evening I sort it out at a more reasonable time!

Paperback

The Morning after…Um, well, The Midday after, I sorted out a cooked breakfast for us all (Plus Ruth, another of my housemates), before suggesting another game before people filtered off for the day. My initial suggestion was Voluspa, but I got overruled with a request to play Paperback from Grace, backed up by Ruth who I’d talked to about it too – I’m glad for that as it’s an awesome feeling to have people say what they’d like to play instead of feeling like I’ve forcing games on them ^^. We got it set up, to a few confused looks as to the fact this game is well, a bit outside-the-box, and I explained how it works – which is blissfully simple – to be ready to get started.

My strategy for the game was to um…er…I really can’t seem to work out the best way to play this one to be honest! In the end I went for an attack-card focus, more in response to Handy picking up an attack card first, and partly as I never seemed to get an opportunity to grab card draws. Handy managed to get a lot of card draws on the other hand, having huge hands for a large chunk of the game, Ruth/Ken just did as best as they could with it being their first time (Handy’s first time with it too..but damn he’s lucky ^^), and Grace just did what she could with some words I’d never heard of (Which were still legit…Grace’s knowledge of random words scares me ;D). The game went on a bit longer than it has before, with people not really rushing for victory point cards overly much and long words being fairly few and far between – Ken decided he couldn’t be bothered to play it out and stopped playing because he couldn’t win so we pushed for an end soon after, doing a mild bit of cheating to get a 10-letter word from a large hand he’d managed to get. I left things a bit late to get victory point cards so had very few in my deck, so Handy got victory, Grace in second then I don’t remember the positions of the last 3 of us (Think I might have been 3rd, I did get one of the long words to Handy’s 3 -_-).

I think everyone had fun (Maybe not Ken, who seemed pretty annoyed at not being able to compete for whatever reason :S), which is good overall, as I think it’s a brilliant game I like to play, and in Ruth’s case is one of the few games I have that appeals ^^. I don’t think I’m ever going to win unless I really up my knowledge, but to be honest I’m totally cool with that as it’s an enjoyable experience ^^.

Voluspa

With Ken/Ruth having retreated to their rooms, I suggested one more game while Handy was in earshot – Voluspa. As I mentioned, it was going to be my first suggestion but got overruled, but I wanted to play anyway as it’s a more recent acquisition (Through trade, hooray ^^). Voluspa is a tile-laying game, with each player having a hand of 3 tiles, taking turns to place them adjacent to any already in play to try and score points. Each tile has a number from 1-8, with the 1-6 tiles having special abilities to work with for scoring points. To score, the tile you placed must be the highest in the row/column you’re checking (I.e. the 7/8 tiles don’t need an ability as they can probably score anyway ^^). The game ends when everyone’s tiles and the draw stack runs out, at which point the player with the highest score wins.

I don’t think there’s any way I can really go through how out game went, as it’s very tactical and abstract, but it was fairly close in the last few turns. Unfortunately, the last opportunity I got for enough points to nip into the lead got locked, as my placement to set up for a Loki tile fell through when Grace also turned out to have a Loki tile in hand, (Loki being a 1 value, but who makes all adjacent tiles worth 0). Grace managed to take the win, and on the last turn Handy slipped past me as I just didn’t have the right tiles remaining to get a decent amount of points with the layout of the tiles already out. Fun game, and I look forward to more plays to come, as well as to getting comfortable enough with play to put the included expansion tiles back into the game (We included them in our very first game, but 12 different tiles to think about is a bit much for the first few games I think). Still…looking forward to eventually having them all in play, as well as with the order-of-the-gods expansion and lightning tile promo…I think this game will be worth all the extra stuff ^^.

Right, that’s all I have to talk about for the moment. I had a brilliant easter weekend with my girlfriend & friends, including the games above, lots of League of Legends, a cinema visit to see Amazing Spider Man 2 (Which seemed like an experiment in cramming 4-5 films into 1 film) and Tv/Food/etc besides. Good times!

Halesowen Board Gamers #12 (16/04/14)

It was a fairly short Wednesday this week, with the session ending at 10:30 as everyone seemed to be in games that fit in neatly to that scale. The first game I played (With Mark, Steve W & Andy S) was Kings of Air & Steam.

Kings of Air & Steam

Kings of Air & Steam is a simultaneous, action planning, pick-up and deliver game. Andy mentioned seeing it on the side a couple of the times he’s been along, and seeing as I’ve been bringing it because I really enjoy it and wanted to play, I was happy to oblige by sorting it out as a game to play. Unfortunately the game doesn’t really play too well with 2-3 players (Being either too tight or too loose) but we managed to get 4 eventually (Although I don’t seem to be too good at selling the appeal of this one) to play.

A quick note on setup, is that I actually put out the boards to a custom setup where boards d,e,f,g are used, as the default rules are to use the 5-player setup which gives a similar issue to the lower player-counts where the play is too open, this works quite well as with these boards it keeps a factory-city balance while bringing everyone that little bit closer together. After putting all the bits & pieces out conveniently, I gave each player their ship & character boards (Ignoring the basic rules, variable player powers are way more interesting ^^) and we got to setting starting places. This is done in reverse order of priority (Slowest goes first for placing at the start), although Steve’s power was to place 1st and last (Despite being 1st in priority).

The game itself plays out in 5 rounds, with each round consisting of 4 turns of a move + action. At the start of each round, 3 market tiles are drawn (From a stack of 13) and resources matching the types drawn have their values increased on the market board, making those more valuable than others ($4>$5>$6>$8). Players then plan their 4 moves – Each player has 13 cards with various movements on them, and they choose 4 of these, in order, for the round ahead. The ‘moves/actions’ bit happens next which I’ll expand on next paragraph. After that upkeep happens ($1 to bank for each good kept in cargo of airship or in a train depot). Last, factories produce resources to meet demand (1 each + 1 for each market tile of a matching type to the resource being made) before the market tiles are removed to become a facedown ‘demand’ pile, and the next round commences.

In the ‘move+action’ phase, which happens 4 times (For each planned move), players first flip their next movement card along and move their ship on the board (Which happens simulaneously for the most part, with conflicts resolved on a letter for each movement card, or if tied there on individual players ships). At the end of the move, they get a free load/unload of goods, then an action. Actions are a number of things – Build a Depot (For dropping off goods to then ship to cities by train), Movement adjust (Move 1 space if movement went wrong), Upgrade ship/train (To hold more cargo & have better movement/increase distance respectively), ship goods (Move goods from depot to depot or depot to a city) or to elicit funds (Gain $3).

Airships aren’t permitted to land in cities, so they have to drop the goods off at their depots, using an action to then ship those goods to a city that wants them. When they do, the player immediatey gets payed for the goods. At the end of the game, the player with the most victory points (1:1 money:points + some bonus points for depots & upgraded airship/trains) is the winner.

In our game, I was able to get a very strong starting position away from the other players, where I had 3 factories nearby. One of the cities I needed to deliver to was also close (Each city in the game only wants one type of good at a time), with the others within reach if I used someone elses depots to ship via. For most of the game I was able to stick around this position, but in the last couple of rounds I moved out a couple of times to get different goods to deliver as I had the cities that were easiest for me to deliver to filled up.

I don’t remember how things went other than that unfortunately, but it ended up a very close one with myself on 157 points and Andy in a close second with 155. There was a bigger gap to the other 2 players of around 30 points, but they were close between them also. I think that a game played again could make for tighter-knit scores, with everyone being able to strategize better from the start of the game with their initial depot placement (Taking the nice start position I had for example, or using the 2 depot start to spread out more early on. I had fun as I always do with this one, really love the movement-planning mechanic!

Paperback

As KoAaS is fairly quick, we had plenty of time for another game in the evening. Seeing as I recently received my copy of paperback, which I kickstarted a while back, I was eagar to give it a go, and people seemed ok with giving it a shot.

Paperback is, essentially, deck-building scrabble. Player start with a deck of 10 cards, consisting of 5 wildcards (Worth 1VP each) and 5 letters (T,S,L,R,N). These are shuffled and placed face down as a draw deck. The buy area is then set up, consisting of 7 piles of differently valued letter cards, & 4 piles of wildcards (4VP,7VP,10VP,15VP respectively). Finally, each player draws the top 5 cards of their deck to form a starting hand, first player is chosen, and play begins. Each turn, the active player creates a word using the cards in their hand (And optionally the top of 4 ‘common’ cards, which are usually vowels), then uses the score of that word to buy cards from the buy area. Each letter has a point value, with all wilds being worth 0 (But usable as any letter). The 4 ‘common’ cards I mentioned are on a special card to track towards the games end. When a player first makes a word with 7 letters, they take the top common into their deck, then the first 8 letter word, 9 & 10 – After the 10 letter word has been made the game ends, or when 2 of the wildcard VP piles run out. Players then go through all their cards and count up the victory point values of them, the highest score wins.

I find paperback a very interesting game, as unlike other deck-building games I’ve played, I find it a real challenge to think what cards are best to buy. The higher scoring letters/double-letters (such as ‘ch’, ‘an’, etc) are great for longer/higher-scoring words but get steadily harder to place (With letters such as J & Z being the highest cost/highest scoring letters). This leads to needing either the right vowels to use them, or wildcards to substitute in, which is good for victory points, but are worth nothing towards words on their own. In addition, many of the letters you gain have traditional deck-building abilities (draw cards, trash cards, etc) which add to the complexity further, as well as sometimes having conditions that are hard to fill effectively (‘+1 card next turn if this is the starting letter of your word’ for example).

It was my first game of paperback at this session, and my strategy was to just try and get the highest value letters I could to make high-scoring words. Steve did very well, and I think he was able to get most of the common cards that push towards game end (The 7,8,9,10 length word thing I mentioned, each common is worth 5 points). What I didn’t really consider is that while going for well scoring letters has the potential for great words, it’s very difficult to actually make something of a random assortment of letters without any wildcards. I think if the game was to go on longer I’d have done much better, but I’d only just started getting the low wildcards and wasn’t often able to make full use of my hand (With a few more in my deck I think I’d have had much much better words). As it is, Steve was able to take victory by ending the game with a 10-letter word and trouncing us all on points, 34-20-20-9 (I was the 9, sad times ^^). Very fun, looking forward to more plays of this one!

So that was the mid-april sessions games at halesowen, had a great time as always and looking forwards to tomorrow for another session of games!

International Tabletop Day in Halesowen! (05/04/2014)

At least 3 of the games here are new to me or new to the group, so this is a wall-of-text warning! If you already know a game just skip to the last 2-3 paragraphs for how the game went =)

This last Saturday was international tabletop day. On this day, initiated by Geek & Sundry, gamers & non-gamers alike are invited to lay down whatever else they had to do, and instead play, discover and introduce board gamers at public events around the world. The organiser, Dave, of the weekly board games group I attend was able to set up the normal room we have on Wednesday evenings for the whole of Saturday for an event there, where we could go to spend far longer than usual on gaming and could invite friends who might not be able to make the usual time. There’s no way I’d turn down the opportunity, so I went along, bringing my lovely girlfriend Grace and later going and fetching my friend Chris (Who shall henceforth be referred to as Handy due to the name clash!) to join the other awesome people at the group for a whole day of games.

Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game

On arrival with my slightly-more-than-I-should-have-bought games I was greeted with a wonderful sight of the whole room being full of people playing games, which I’m pretty sure is more than I’ve seen before at the group. Most were in for longer games (As we can’t usually do so easily on Wednesdays) but one pair were in a near-to-end game of Glen-More, so we grabbed drinks and waited the few minutes for them to finish before suggesting and jumping into our first game of the day – Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game.In Legendary, players are pitted against a Mastermind/Scheme combination that is chosen before each play. The objective of the players (usually) is to build up enough fighting power to defeat the mastermind 4 times, before either the hero deck or villain deck run out (considered a draw) or before the ‘Evil Wins’ text on the Scheme card is fulfilled. Players in the game are playing in a sort of battlefield control position as agents of shield, and will be picking up hero cards throughout the game to have them lend their aid to the battle. When the game starts, players have a number of weak Shield Agents & Troopers, and will be using ‘Recruit Points’ generated by this to recruit heroes from the Headquarters area into their decks to gradually build in power over the game. As well as the recruit points (Which is 1/agent) there is also ‘Fight’, (1/trooper) that can be used to attack villains that’re attacking the city and, ultimately, the mastermind himself.

Each turn, the active player draws a villain card from the villain deck and places it in the rightmost space of the city, moving any villains or henchman already there to the left to make space. If any are pushed off the end of the 5-card track, they ‘escape’ and a card is removed from the HQ, reducing the time the heroes have to gain victory. Villains have 3 things that take effect at various times, ‘Ambush’, ‘Fight’ and ‘Escape’, with the former happening right as the card is drawn, Fight happening when a player fights them, and escape happening if they go off the end of the track in addition to the loss of a hero card. There are 3 other card types in the villain deck, Scheme Twists (Which vary in effect based on the scheme in play), Master Strikes (A special effect unique to the mastermind in play) and Bystanders, hapless onlookers who get carried off by villains unless players rescue them.

Next in their turn, a player will play cards (She/He will have 6, which are drawn at the end of each turn after discarding current turns cards) in the order they wish. For the basic cards like troopers & agents, the order doesn’t matter, but the various heroes in the game have effects that are powered only by other cards already played, so it becomes important to work out the optimal way to play (For example there’s a gambit card that lets you reveal the top of your deck and drawn it if its an x-men hero – If you first use another gambit card ‘Stack the Deck’ you can deliberatey put an x-men hero on top for a successful use of the ability). Then, in any order, players can spend their recruit and fight points to gain heroes/fight villains in the city (You can recruit/fight as many things as you wish if you have enough fight/recruit to do so). At the end of their turn, a player discards any cards still in their hand and that they’ve played, then draws a new hand of 6 cards.

Players keep this up until they’ve fought the mastermind 4 times or lost the game due to the evil wins condition (You can always attack the mastermind if you have enough fight on your turn). Presuming they managed to do the former, the game is over and points are added up (Or possible the ‘Final Showdown’ variant occurs, where players duke it out for a few extra points off the mastermind). The points you get are to determine an individual victory, and are picked up by fighting the villains and mastermind – each player maintains their own victory pile of bad guys they’ve personally defeated (And bystanders they’ve saved), making this a semi-cooperative game as players must work together to win, but ultimiately want to nab more points for themselves if possible.

In our game, we were fighting against Dr Doom, against a scheme taken from my custom-schemes deck, which are mostly from boardgamegeek, which has a loss condition of 15 Bystanders KO’d and has twists KO’ing Bystanders directly off the top the deck (+ any in the city). We played reasonably friendly (Generally my preference ^^) and went for unique decks rather than competing for any in particular. The heroes in play were Electra, Punisher, Professor-X, Wolverine & er, one other. I mostly went for Professor-X, which I made use of to get rid of the more competitive punisher cards from the HQ as well as for fighing bad guys, Grace had a Wolverine Focus, and Rachael/Lee mostly went for the other heroes, although we all dabbled outside our core hero when good cards came up.

We were able to defeat the mastermind after 4 twists had come up (The 5th would have KO’d enough Bystanders to end the game). Everyone had managed to take out at least a few enemies over the game and contributed towards out victory, but as is the nature of semi-coops there were still points to be determined. Near the end of the game I’d had a couple of awesome combo’s in taking out a lot of enemies at once as well as the mastermind a couple of times, but Grace did well throughout the whole game and took victory. We played with final showdown rules, and I think it was Lee that just about won that for the final mastermind card for a few points, although it was not enough to catch him up at this stage. I enjoy this game a lot, with it competing with Smash Up for most played for me, and I love having a deck of custom schemes that’s 2-3 times the amount I have of official ones. On the them of L*y: *, we next moved onto Legacy: Gears of Time!

Legacy: Gears of Time

I think I’ve talked about this time-turning game before, so I’ll try to keep this short! In Legacy: Gears of Time, players are ‘antiquitects’, making use of a time-machine artifact to travel through time and ensure the Legacy of our race remains intact with the greatest of inventions. Over the course of 4 rounds, players travel back through time, play technologies, influence technologies and play ‘fate’ card special abilities to vie for points and ultimate prove themselves the greatest timelord (Um…well that’s how I’m choosing to see it ^^).

Each round is played over 4 turns. During the round players may only travel backwards through time, and due to limitations of how many technologies can be invented in each age, players may find themselves stuck too far back to make the impact they need. This creates an interesting headache-inducing puzzle of how to make sure that the Internet you just tried to introduce in recent history actually has electricity and computers to be successful. Placing technologies requires you to discard cards, so to get that high-scoring Flight card played you may have to sacrifice other useful technologies till a later time, making it harder still to ensure it happens.

At the end of each round is a scoring phase. First, any non-influenced or duplicate technology cards are removed. Next, points are calculated. Each card is checked and points are given to the player who influenced it the most, but also to the players who have the most influence over it’s prerequisite technologies – For example Red controls Space Flight & it’s successful, so she scores 12 points, blue created Flight, so he gets 6 points for space flight too, in addition to the points that flight gives already. The result is that despite bigger, better technologies being worth huge chunks of points, controlling the more simple things is important for the extra points gained when they’re used for other things! (Basic tools for example is worth just 1 point, but there’s 3-4 things that require basic tools and each give it 1 more point). Thirdly influence cubes are removed from each technology – Successful technologies return the influence to players ‘influence pools’, while failed ones return to the supply (So having lots of successful ones helps you influence things more in later rounds).

Confused yet? Well you probably should be, because this game gets beautifully complex while maintaining a fairly simple level of mechanics (If you want railroads to happen, you need to create a combustion engine, if you want a combustion engine, you need the wheel and fire) which are fairly intuitive in their tech tree’s. When you add in that there’s a lot of player interaction in the game through being able to infleuence other players technologies and go back before them to invent them earlier (Making theirs obselete) you have one heck of an awesome game.

In our game, I started with Space flight in hand, as well as a few other cards of lower levels to complete. I would probably have gone for the more basic cards first, but after another player put down Flight as their first technology, I jumped at the chance to put a high-scoring card down and tied myself to trying to make sure everything needed for Space Flight would happen throughout the game. Grace got Genetics fairly early in the game also, while Lee & Rachael had a bigger variety of things to go for, as well as filling in the infrastructure for our high scorers which net them plenty of influence for later in the game. The first 2 rounds went by very friendly, and we got the higher technologies working very quickly with everyone having just the right cards to make it happen. I got out into the lead a bit along with Rachael thanks to Space Flight working from early in the game, although it was giving Lee as many points as it was to me ^^. When the 3rd/4 rounds hit, things got tense, as we could no longer just help each other out due to the constraints of what we had left to invent. I invented another high-up technology, the internet, with Rachael discovering an analytical engine that let it work. A number of other technologies changed hands but for the most part everything stayed intact with the big technologies still working. Thanks to multiple counts of technologies being nicked from under me I went into the last round with only 5 cubes to the 7-9 of the others.

In the 4th round, a lot of under-handed control-switching went on! Grace stole Space Flight from me (That I couldn’t really do anything about as I had so few cubes), leading me to put 1 influence cube on her Genetics and use a fate card that made a tech I influenced worth 0, revenge!

San Marco

This was the ‘new game to me’ of the day, so I’m glad to have been able to try something a little different. San Marco is an area control game with players trying to get the most (aristocrats?) down onto the various islands for scoring. Each turn, half of the players draw 5 (action?) cards and 3 limit cards, then split that hand up before offering it to the other half of the players. As the other player gets first choice, you need to find a balance so that you get what you want. Within each round everyone keeps going until someone hits their limit (10), after which all other players get one addition turn before moving the round marker onwards.

Cards have a variety of actions. First is to just place a cube in the shown territory, in order to vie for majority. Second switches out one opponents in any territory for one of your own. Third is to build bridges, which can hop a cube to another island when placed (Making the first cards slightly stronger as you get choices), 4th is an expulsion card, so you can remove other players cube from a selected territoy (2-5 removed, decided by a dice). Finally there’s the ‘Doge’ (Much wow), when you get this card you can move the Doge piece across any number of bridges and then score him based on who has the most/second-most cubes on the island he ends up on. You have to pay points to use other players bridges, or if he’s on an island with no bridges you can just pay 2 points to move him anywhere.

For our game, we had Mike strike out an early lead on points, while Grace kept pace not much behind and me & Handy lagged way back. Despite not getting a scoring card until the last round, I was ahead of Handy for the most part just from other players scoring Islands with my cubes on in second place. As we were quite far behind, myself & Handy generally did a lot to mess with grace & even moreso with Mike, which catapulted Handy up to near Mikes score. Naturally I started plotting with Grace after as the 2 players at the back, which gave her the chance to push back again. When the game came to end-game scoring (All islands are scored instead of just the ones the doge moves too) I was able to net a ton of points as my poor performance over the rest of the game had led to my having more cubes left on the board than anyone else. Myself & Grace ended up on a tie for first, which resolved to Grace being the victor with control of San Marco.

It was quite fun, but I’m not sure how I feel about how strong the king-making aspects of the game are. It was pretty cool to be able to manipulate how well the other players were doing despite being far behind earlier on, but it also resulted in a lot of sling-shotting on the scoring rather than much consistency. Still, I think this would be a great game for introducing new players to games!

Resistance

As a member of the resistance, it’s up to you to perform missions against the evil government and take them down. Between 4 & 9 others will join you to aid you in those missions, but a number of them have loyalties elsewhere!

As a spy, you and your cadre of traitorous kin have infiltrated the resistance and have been assigned to sabotage their raids. Unlike the resistance, you know exactly who’s on your team and you must work with them to keep the resistance in the dark to succeed at your task!

Anywho, this is a bluffing and deception game of 5-10 players and 2 teams. I struggled for a while on how to talk up how this game goes which is why I went outside the walls of text norml for those lines above ^^. There are 5 missions, each with a different #players requirement, and the first team to get 3 missions go their way are the victors. Each turn one player is denoted the teams ‘leader’, and must find a team to go on a mission with you (Of course you could avoid picking yourself, but why wouldn’t you if you’re a good guy..) to hopefully get a success on the mission track for your team. Once you’ve made your selection, all players vote on if they think it should go ahead, if equal or majority reject, the mission doesn’t go ahead and the leader token is passed around for the next player to build a team to do it instead. If 5 rejects happen in a row then the bad guys automatically win, so a team has to be accepted eventually.

If a majority vote for a mission to go ahead however, then the players in that mission get given a pair of cards – a success and a fail – and choose one to put in for the mission. The cards going in are shuffled (And so are the others to obscure who put in what) and then revealed. If even a single failure card makes it into the mission, then the spies win that round, otherwise the resistance are successful. The mission marker is then moved onto the next and the attempts track is reset to 0 ready for the next mission. As mentioned above, as soon as one team gets to 3 missions their way they win! The great bit about this game then is the deception and bluffing each person much manage to ensure victory for their team. The resistance need to try and prove themselves that way so that they’re accepted on missions, while the bad guys want to do the same, while trying to redirect distrust onto the innocent. A very simple game suddenly becomes hugely complex and interesting!

The unfortunate bit about the game being deeply tied into the discussion it invokes is that it’s really hard to talk about it after the fact! In our game, Myself, Suzy, Mike, Handy, Grace & Mark, all playing resistance members of course (Despite their being 2 spies, what) worked to complete the missions. The spies did well, with 1 being in the first round and letting it pass, and both being in the 2nd round and letting it pass threw a huge spanner in the works as it put them in good stead. The 3rd or 4th also had Suzy and failed, so I was somewhat suspicious of her, but I was totally oblivious to Mikes treachureus nature throughout! After those first 2 passes 3 missions in a row failed with us trusting the pair of them far too much, well done spies!

Resistance vs Resistance Avalon
A couple of people have mentioned not being sure what the different is between these 2 games. Well, for the standard game as we played on Saturday, nothing but the theme, the difference comes in with what things can be added to throw various spanners in the works! In resistance, there are a set of ‘Plot’ Cards (I haven’t played with these yet so not 100% on the following), each time a mission is to be made, the leader of that mission draws one plot card and gives it to a player of their choice. Each plot card has a special effect, such as looking at another players allegiance, or forcing them to play their mission cards face up. The effect of this be that individuals get better information over the game, but the spies have more opportunities for deception (People may trust them more as they know they succeeded a mission or two, but they can still fail the next for example!). I really want to try out a game using these to really get a feel for the effect it has on the game.

In Avalon, you instead get ‘roles’. These are similar in that individual players get abilities, but they’re instead tied to the allegiance card players receieve at the start of the game. The main two are Merlin & the Assassin. Merlin is a good guy, but knows who all the bad guys are, and the Assassin is a bad guy that, if he/she can guess who Merlin is at the end of the game can win the game for the bad guys despite what else has happened. This has a huge impact on the game, as the bad guys get a big focus on trying to work out Merlin, Merlin has to do his best to stay hidden while also pushing for good teams for missions, and the other good guys need to try and trick the bad guys that they are in fact the real Merlin players! Those 2 are used pretty much every game, but there’s more such as Percivil (Good, knows who Merlin is), Mordred (Bad guy, hidden from Merlin), Oberon (Bad, knows noone) and Morgana (Bad, Reveals to percivil as Merlin). I think Avalon has the better system, but picked up resistance as I’ve not tried it and Coup is in the same universe ^^.

Smash Up

In Smash Up, players choose 2 factions from a variety of uniquely themed possibilities, then ‘Smash them up’, i.e. shuffle them together to make their deck of cards to play with. In our game on Tabletop Day, Grace had Robot Pirates, Handy had Trickster Plants, I had Steampunk Elder Things & Mike had Alien Zombies to vie for superiority.

The aim is Smash Up is to have the most points, with the end of the game being triggered when one player hits 15 points. Points are gained by placing minions out on various ‘base’ cards that are drawn at random and laid on the table. Each minion has a power rating, and when the power of all minions on a base reaches or exceeds that bases ‘breakpoint’, it will score, giving points to 1st/2nd/3rd more powerful contributor. In addition, each base has a special effect that comes into play, such as ‘Each time you play a minion here, you may play another minion of power 2 or less’, or ‘After this base scores, return the highest power minion for each player to the bottom of its’ owners deck’.

Each turn, a player may play 1 minion and 1 action from their hand in any order. Most cards have instantaneous effects, but some also have ongoing, (Permanently doing something) talent (May use this once on each of your turns) or special abilities (At some specific time, usually ‘Before a base is scored’ or ‘After a base is scored’. Once they’re done with their turn, bases are checked for breaking, with any that have power at their breakpoint triggering to capture (At this point, players can play ‘before this base is scored’ cards – even if this makes the base go under the breakpoint, it will still score now). Scores are then distributed to the players with the most power, in the case of a tie, both players score the higher amount of points.

Some factions (Cthulhu ones) have another mechanic called ‘madness’. Some cards in these decks cause players to draw madness cards into their hand. Each madness card is identical, with the ability ‘Draw 2 cards or return this card to the madness deck’, and are worth -1VP at the end of the game (So even though you ended the game by getting to 15, you might actually have less than that when checking scores), as a result, it’s good to try and spend actions to get rid of madness cards if at all possible – Though the draw 2 cards ability might also be enticing.

As far as our game goes, I’m not sure what to bring up as it’s quite a tactical game with little long terms strategy (Which is fine for a 30-60 minute game ^^). I did very poorly, as I was unable to get enough minions out onto the field to get many points – I did manage to use my Elder Thing twice (10 power minion, unaffected by other players cards), but doing so requires destroying 2 of my other minions which led to the ‘nothing much out there’ situation ^^. I was also only able to get my powerful ‘Everyone else draws 2 madness cards’ near the end of the game so didn’t get much opportunity to spam it (Which I could have done with steampunk). The finally nail in the coffin is that the other players were being frustratingly ‘friendly’ in going for different bases more than competing – Some of my minions have effects such as ‘Each other player at this base draws a madness card’, which is powerful…If I can hit more than one person at a time.

The other players fared somewhat better, with mike picking up on how to effectively use the aliens to farm VP quickly (Place invader for instant VP, retrieve to hand, rinse-repeat), which is strong in that noone can stop you from doing it (Particularly with Zombies where you can retrieve from discard even if it’s killed) – I think his only mistake here was in retrieving it the same turn as placing it, as leaving it out to be killed would actually have been beneficial as Zombies benefit from minions in the discard pile. Handy did reasonably well and I think was roughly on par with Mike for points, while Grace raced into the lead as the ‘friendly’ nature I mentioned of little competition for bases also meant Grace build up powerful robot combo’s over multiple turns, instead of needing to find ways to do it in one. Grace took home a tidy victory by the end of the game.

Among The Stars

Among the Stars is an excellent Card-Drafting game, with mechanics akin to 7-Wonders in choosing cards, but in my opinion going far above-and-beyond with variable setups, variety among cards, and lack of silly icons to represent everything. In this game players are building Space Stations, which they build off of their Main-Reactor that they start with, to vie for the most points and the best station. Each player in the game gets a race that provides some special ability over the course of play and while they have small impact, can help to give some direction in how to build.

Each turn in Among the Stars has players choosing a card from their hand, building it (Or discarding for an action), then passing the rest of their cards onto the next player (Clockwise first year, Anticlockwise second, etc). To build a card, the cost in the top right is paid (Generally just credits, but sometimes power also) is paid to the supply, and the card is placed adjacent to any existing location in their station. Each card has an ability, described on the card, that provides either an instanenous bonus (white background) or delayed bonus (yellow background) as well as a direct point value (Delayed bonuses are calculated at the end of the game). Alternatively they can discard for an action, which is either take 3 coins, or build a power reactor (A cost of 1 coin location that provides 2 power). I should also mention that power is an area-limited resource, in that it can only pass 2 distance by adjacency, so to build power-hungry locations on the edge of a station first requires some power reactors built in the right positions.

Each year, players take 10 credits and 6 new cards from the deck. All 6 cards are used over the year either to build or for actions, which means stations get quite large and complex, making for an interesting puzzle in making best use of the abilities on the cards used. The 10 credits each year are quite tight, so it’s likely played will need to discard for coins a few times in a game if they want to be able to build the higher scoring locations in the game.

In addition to the above are a few extra elements to add in when players know what they’re doing. First is objectives (Which can be added first game really, but we had a high player-count and a time-limit on Saturday ^^), a few of these are drawn at the start of the game and placed face-up in the middle of the table – At the end of the game, these are checked and given to the player that fulfilled the conditions on each (Such as most military locations, or least power reactors). Next is conflict cards, which I still haven’t played with despite playing the game an absolute ton – These provide additional discard-actions that introduce higher levels of player interaction in the game, with the set in the base game letting you take one to compare a specific location type in your station to another players and stealing points off them accordingly (I don’t think they’re hard to use, I just haven’t felt a need for super-heavy player interaction, would be nice to try it though!).

Also not used on Saturday is additions from the Ambassadors expansion. This expansion introduces ‘ambassador’ cards, which also introduce an escalation style akin to 7 wonders ages where ‘1st phase’ cards are used in years 1/2 and ‘2nd phase’ cards in 3/4, with the latter being more tilted towards point scoring and the former towards building an engine (Note that even with the standard cards, the game escalates anyway as the configuration of each players station opens up possibilities for each card built). 3 ambassadors are made available at all times to players, and when discarding for an action a player can ‘buy’ one of the ambassadors, inviting them to their station. To do so they place one of 5 ‘bureau’ cards in their station and then keep the ambassador card in front of them to use over the game (The bureaus are no-effect locations in each of the 5 colours/types, which can be good to complete delayed abilities such as ‘build a 2×2 of purple/recreational locations’). Many ambassadors have player-interaction aspects, and are an awesome addition that I’ve played with a few times and look forward to introducing more frequently as I get more players into knowing the game. (There are also new locations and conflict sets with ambassadors, the former of which I just use in every game for variety).

Our game on Saturday was the last of the evening, with Myself, Grace, Handy, Ian & XYZ(Mark?) playing. After a messy start thanks to the cards not being quite stored properly, I got the game set up (With help for shuffling/sorting ^^) and ready for the 5 player game. One of my favourite parts of Among the Stars is seeing the different configurations people come up with, My station was pretty haphazard, partly thanks to my use of a section seal where I had to split my station in two to most effectively score points, and partly due to tireness ^^. Ians on the other hand was very tight, and revolved around a 4×4 square he’d built for his 2 racetrack locations, with the other 3 being other totally different shapes. Through the game everyone was fairly even (Although Handy dropped back quite far at one point, seemingly to do nothing but get piles and piles of credits, likely as his race let him score 1 point per 2 at the end of stead of 1 point per 3), with everyone having a neat mix of delayed vs immediate abilities (Objectives tend to mix that up more ^^). In the end, Ian struck out into the lead, with myself in second and the others in er..positions that you can see on Dave’s blog ;).

I had an absolutely fantastic day, and I look forward to opportunities to do the same again in times to come. Many thanks go to everyone involved, organizers and the rest of you there to play alike! In fact after playing games all day, myself, Handy & Grace went back to mine and played another game, also getting my housemate Ken involved!

DrunkQuest

Yes, that’s right, we played a drinking game, a gloriously ridiculous and punishing one at that! DrunkQuest is a game that takes very obvious inspiration from Munchkin, but presents it in a format that’s considerably more fun, and that works great for well, consuming large quantities of drink. The game comes with oversized cards that make for each reading, with there being 3 different types – Player cards, Treasure cards & Monster cards.

At the start of each game, each player takes from the player deck a random hero and either a ship to captain or realm to command. Their hero has a +/- ability that they can use as actions in the game to perform a unique effect, and the ship/realm have an ongoing ability of some kind (The ships are slightly more complex, as you have to ‘load’ them with treasures to active the ability, with you also being able to ‘fire’ the cannons with to give people drinks). Each player then draws 5 treasure cards and a first player is chosen, and the game begins.

Each round, a monster is drawn for the active player. A monster will have some effect and a ‘drink’ value required to defeat it. All players then get a chance to modify that value by playing actions – The active player gets an action, then each other player in turn gets an action, and finally the active player gets one more action before the ‘fight’ commences and well…someone drinks copious amounts of alcohol. Also, at any time players can play ‘instant’ cards, such as ‘copper – choose someone to take a drink’, ‘gold – everyone takes 3 drinks’ or other more interesting effects.

It was the second time I’ve played it on Saturday (The first being on my Birthday at the end of last year), and we had an absolutely excellent time with it! Throughout the game, asides from having many, many beers, we had a number of status effects going around (Which we didn’t play with the first time as they were bonus material from the kickstarter that I wasn’t sure about). Highlights being a ‘compliment’ effect that made my housemate compliment how great someone is every time they beat a monster, ‘vampirism’ that I played on him as soon as he cleaned the compliment effec, making him talk like a vampire to avoid drinks, a cat card that requires Handy to meow before and after every sentence and a number of others besides, on top of the standard modify-drinks and fight monsters mechanics. I wasn’t able to do particularly well over the game, only getting to level 3 (6 wins) while the others were on level 5 for a good amount of time before Handy won, but I guess that probably means I had less to drink ^^. Love it!

Halesowen Board Gamers #11 (04/07/2014)

This last weekend was international tabletop day, and the halesowen group had an event for it on Saturday! But…I’ve got to get Wednesdays session out of the way first! I’ll try not to leave it too long before getting the big event done =)

Euphoria

First up on Wednesday we played Euphoria, as I love the game but haven’t bought it along in a while. In this game, players act as higher members of society in a dystopian city, where they vie for ultimate authority over the city in order to advance their own agenda’s. Players gather resources, dig tunnels, build markets and make deals in a race for getting ultimate authority over the course of the game.

In this particular game, I got a pretty cool pair of recruits, with one allowing me to use food instead of bliss (Wastelander), and the other bliss instead of a resource (Icaran) when building a market (Or along those lines). This meant throughout the game I could use all the Icaran markets pretty freely as I needed only a stockpile of food to go there (Replacing the bliss with a second food). I’m not sure who had what, but I think one of the others had icarus/wastelander and the other wastelander/subterran – which also worked in my favour as it meant the allegiance for my recruits got pushed up pretty quick.

My general strategy throughout the game was to grab food and turn it into resources through the Icaran markets. I used the tunnel a couple of times too for some artifacts to cover myself against markets being taken. I did a fairly early ethical dilemma from that as I managed to get the right artifact to do so (netting me a second Icaran with an ability I didn’t really use). Phil went for lots of water for extra workers, while also visiting the cloud mine fairly frequently for bliss to feed workers and for using their markets. Ed’s tactic presumably involved flooding the city, as he got huge quantities of water throughout the game, which he later started churning into stone through the Subterran tunnel.

For markets in the game I got in on (or solo’d in one case) nearly all of them, which had it being Ed & Phil dealing with the most negative effects (Though blocking me from pairs was a pain when I had 2 pairs of artifacts in hand!). After seeing the consequences of missing out on 2+ markets at a time the others soon started joining me or reserving artifacts to place authority on one after building. I tried to make use of the trading rules of the game a couple of times, offering Ed or Phil clay in return for water (as we could have instantly thrown up markets) but both turned me down to stop me from getting ahead – It’s a shame as this is the first time I’ve tried introducing the game and remembering to tell people they can trade…and noone did ^^.

The game ended with my using one of the constructed markets that required a teddy-artifact and a commodity. As I had a pair of teddy’s that I couldn’t use due to the market penalty I was more than happy to take the opportunity to get my last couple of stars with them ^^. Phil was close behind with 2 stars left out of his 10, but despite the extra worker than me didn’t quite get there, and Ed finished further back with 5/10, partly as he had a huge amount of spareĀ  water/stone that he’d taken too long to start capitalizing on for authority. A fair first game for both!

Love Letter

Next up we played Love Letter. This is a very simple deception game where players have to get their letter to the princess to ultimately win her affections. Each player has a hand of one card, a member of the court or guard, and takes turns to draw 1 and play one of their cards. There’s various abilities on the cards that let you manipulate your way to having high numbered cards (Highest number at end of roudn wins) or to eliminate the other players so only your letter is left standing at all.

We played as a filler as we were looking for something fairly straightforward, and finished in I think 5 or 6 rounds, with Phil getting to his 3 tokens and taking victory.

Resistance

For our last game of the day we brought out Resistance: Avalon which Ed had brought along. We first played a standard game of resistance, which has a team of arthurian loyalists trying to complete missions, while a team of evil minions of mordred try to sabotage them without being discovered. The bad guys know who the other bad guys are, but the good guys know nothing (At the start of the game, after being given loyalty cards, all players close their eyes, bad guys open their eyes to see each other, then they close their eyes, then everyone opens and the game starts). The second game we introduced a couple of Avalons roles, Merlin & The Assassin, which I’ll mention later.

 

The first game had myself and Phil as the bad guys, against Mike, Ed & James that were good. Unfortunately for us, that mission happened to have 2 good guys picked (Which we pretty much had to accept as there’d have been no reason to reject it, hence revealing ourselves). Worse still is the second mission was the same two, plus the other good guy selected, and again there was no good reason to argue against the mission going ahead, putting it 2/0 (3 wins). The 3rd round we managed to argue a different team, which got me into the mission which I got to fail. Unfortunatey the 4th we couldn’t find a way to convince people to include me/Phil again with the suggested mission being the same 3 that succeeded the second, ack! (This is one of the things that makes the game better with more players, as it’s less likely to get so lucky on the first 2 missions!).

In the second mission, I got Merlin (With Phil & James being good with me). Now this is a bummer for 2 reasons, first of all because it’s very difficult to hide that you have more information, and secondly because 50% of the time I’ve played this game I’ve been accussed of Merlin despite not having played him yet, eep! Mike was the assasin in this game, a role that means that even if good guys win, the bad guys steal victory if the assassin guesses Merlin correctly. The first 4 missions of the game had the teams 2/2, and into the last mission lots of indecision had the vote failing a few times, with the leader marker ending on me at the point where we had to accept my mission (5 rejects and bad guys win automatically). This turned out to be an impossible situation, because we needed all 3 good guys on the mission, and while I knew who they were, I couldn’t say so outright or the bad guys win anyway. Unfortunately despite a ridiculous amount of time trying to keep things going until the right team was suggested it never happened and I had to give in and just pick all the good guys. It got accepted and we had the 3/5 to win, but it was to obvious that my delaying was due to being Merlin and I got assasinated, giving it to the bad guys. Aaargh impossible situations!

Well that’s all for Wednesday, I’ll try and write up the awesome Tabletop Day from Saturday before too long. I played Legendary, Legacy, San Marco, Resistance, Smash Up and Among the Stars so I’ll be talking about this soon ™

Halesowen Board Gamers #10 (26/03/2014) + Sat 26th Games Day

Bit of a shabby post, & it’s a week late, but er…deal with it ^^. I’ll try and get the 2nd April halesowen writeup done a bit quicker ^^ (Where we played Euphoria, Love Letter & Resistance: Avalon)

Halesowen

Last Wednesday we chose… well, we took turns saying we didn’t want to pick for a while before I decided to go with Viticulture as it was getting the most glances! The players were Steve, Art, Lina & myself, with the addition of James who turned up a few minutes later before we’d started the game. Everyone but James was new to the game so I stuck to the original board and only had Mama’s & Papa’s included from the expansion pack. This module (Which I’ll never play without) provides variable starting conditions from the game, which helps to free up the board a little in the first year.

Now unfortunately I remember little about what people went for specifically in the game, as asides from being quite tired I was teaching and trying to make sure I’d given everyone correct information rather than remembering how they were going out things! Everyone worked out what they were doing alright, although we had a fairly long game of it. Almost everyone followed my lead on buildings in getting a cottage to get a hold of more visitor cards, while also trying to work on their wine orders. I did the same but I tend to try and have lots of variety in grapes/wine so that I will have what I need for future orders as well as current ones.

The game went by fairly straightforward, but finished with quite a spread on points. I think this is down to new players not being sure when to start switching from building up their vineyard to trying to capitalize on it for points. In the end I managed to finish up top with 24, James on second with 20 (Which is nice to see as I get the impression he feels some AP in Viticulture), Steve in 3rd, Art in 4th & Lina in last place, who had plenty of grapes/vine on their way but got cut off from having the time to use it to fill orders. I had fun as always and hope the others did too (Which I believe they did!). Apologies for the lackluster session report here though…

Random Saturday Games Day

On Saturday I planned to meet with a couple of friends for games. Our initial plan was to meet at the Universities guild of students, but we realized upon getting there that it’s shut for the holidays (Or for weekends at holidays at least). We fell back on playing at my house and gathered to start at around 4pm.

The first game of the day was Smash Up, pitting Ghostly Plants (Handy) against Ninja Zombies (Ed) and my Miskatonic University Bear Riding Team. I mostly struggled to keep up, and while I managed to get within a point of the others around midgame (8-9-10) I had no minions out at that point and couldn’t find opportunities to win bases. Picking Miskatonic turned out to be a mistake, as neither of the others were playing a faction that gave out madness cards I had a lot of wasted abilities. Handy used the ghosts well, finding many opportunities to discard himself down to few enough cards to activate special abilities (Something I seem to find nearly impossible with ghosts). Ed’s Ninja Zombies did a good job of being annoying, with constant whittling away of foes while not being able to lose minions himself (Well, not for long anyway). I can’t remember which of them won in the end, but it wasn’t me ^^.

Next up was Cutthroat Caverns, which Ed had brought along. Cutthroat caverns is a rather munchkin-esque game and has you playing characters fighting your way through a dungeon, while being sure to trust no one. The game is semi-coop, with players fighting the same enemies but competing to get the killing blow and steal all the glory (prestige). I don’t really enjoy this kind of game much but it got me to smile a couple of times and I took victory with the ridiculousness of temporary quad-damage (Yay one-shotting things).

I didn’t really want to force games on people, so I asked the room what they’d like to play next. At my reaction to his briefly pointing towards Munchkin Handy suggested that if I don’t want to play that we have to go with Quarriors…I’ll definitely take the dice spamming option! In our game Ed raced out into the lead early on, while I went for a ton of spells and Handy got lots of ghosts, which never seemed to come up on the creature side for him. Ed got very close to victory, but the power of a reroll spell and a death incantation held him one point away for a long while. In that time me & Handy got close (17-18-18 I think) before Ed’s handful of victory spell dice that he’d built up (He had 4 of the 5 available) finally hit the spell side without us having enough reroll spells to prevent it. Funny how I chose this over munchkin then we played stop the leader the entire game =P

The final game of the day was Legendary, as it had been briefly mentioned earlier and I knew Handy would stick around a little longer if I picked it over my other games ^^. We were fighting Kingpin, with a custom scheme of mine ‘Dream Corridor’ where the mastermind first builds in power, then rapidly whittles away the hero deck, killing off the players time to beat him. The heroes in play were Gambit, Wolverine, Nick Fury, Black Widow & er..Electra I think was the last. After the dickery and shenanigans of the last 3 games we played this very cooperatively, with Handy & Ed letting me build a Gambit deck and me leaving them the other’s where they were wanted. They both got a lot of bystanders and had a lot of points from keeping the villains & henchmen at bay, but the awesome deck-cycling built up from gambit meant I was able to win most of the fights against Kingpin and take the most glory home, but more importantly we kicked the bad guys ass ^^.

Cool week =)