So just an ahead note for anyone interested in my thoughts on the Halesowen night for the 18th June (I wasn’t in attendance on the 11th), it’ll be up in a few days as its’ written but feel I shouldn’t clump posts together or they’ll be ignored (Although seeing as I generally don’t expect them to be read anyway that’s a weird idea =P)
On Friday Evening, myself and some friends – Grace, Chris (Harrison) and Arthur – met up for a games night. There wasn’t any particular plans, but Grace has been trying to meet up with friends one last time as she’ll be going on a trip around Europe and after a brief period back here, to China for a year.
The first game of the evening was Smash Up, which marked our first time playing with the official factions (In this case all from Sci-Fi Double-Feature) and the custom-factions I made for Grace (A whole year ago as a birthday present!) together. I played Shapeshifting Bat-Men, Grace played Adventure Time Spies, Arthur as David Lister (Cyborg Apes + Red Dwarf) and Chris played the hugely appropriate pair of Time Travellers and Doctor Who!
It’s hard to talk about how the game went, asides from that I couldn’t keep up at all throughout the game, Arthur wasn’t able to get much ahead of me (He arrived late, although we did give him some catchup VP at the start, 4 to my 3, Chris’s 5 & Grace’s 6 at the time). This left the main battle between Chris & Grace, which actually had them tying on 15 at one point, before the tie-breaking base fell for Grace’s victory (Although it lasted a while, with Chris delaying the defeat with the time-travellers score-locking – Amusingly not long after Grace removed her own adventure-time base-break prevention card).
The most interesting thing for me over the game was seeing how the extra factions I’d created came together with official ones. For starters, there was a bit of overlap in abilities (Not my fault! I created them before SFDF was released!) which felt odd, and some cards have rather ambiguous text (Hard to notice considering I knew how they work anyway). I’ve got some tweaks planned to the cards and will be reprinting them sometime, such as bringing the number of minions/action in line for adventure time (They were a very minion heavy 14/6 whereas official decks are 10/10 on minions/actions), as well as some card numbers and card text to make it clearer or to make it different to official cards (Cybermen were almost identical to shapeshifter copycats, so now they copy ongoing abilities instead of immediate ones).
Space Cadets: Dice Duel
Aaanyway, I’ll save that chatter for the Smash Up variants forum on BGG! I think our next game was Space Cadets: Dice Duel (I honestly have no idea what order we played things in, ^^). This is the first time I’ve gotten this hectic game to the table and it was well…interesting.
In Dice Duel, players split into 2 teams, with each team controlling a space ship flying around a fixed area on the table. There’s a number of different roles with unique dice, which are split between players such that noone has the time to do everything they need to when they need to. Each role/station works slightly differently too – Helm has 3 dice which when all 3 lock immediately move the ship, weapons has 6 dice, to make into 2 3-dice torpedo’s by matching symbols, loading them into either the front of back tubes depending which way they want to fire. Engineering (Split between both players in 2v2) has dice to roll which provide energy to the other stations, hugely important when you realise that you can’t roll any dice at a station unless you get energy!
In any case, being our first game things were a little bit of a shambles, as when you have to control 2/3 stations, in real time, and actually get into decent positions to attack the other ship, well…it’s difficult. I was in control of Helm, Shields & Tractor Beams, with Grace being our Weapons and Sensors, while the other team had Arthur doing Helm/Shields & Tractors and Chris on their Weapons/Sensors. The first half the game was heavily haphazard, as I didn’t do particularly great at avoiding nebula’s and ruining the sensor locks that Grace was trying so hard to build up. Our first couple of missiles missed (I think first randomly into space and the other lost by the dice roll), such that we took a damage or two before we got into our stride. After this I put lots of time into shields to avoid further damage, while also tractor-beaming up some crystals (Taking damage reduces your energy dice pool, crystals get the dice back although you still have the damage taken).
We fought back, and hard, with some silky maneuvring/shields on my behalf (Although constantly moving our ship round led to a few missed shots for Grace, sorry!!). We managed to get the enemy ship to 3 damage (4 to win) before getting into a bit of a stalemate situation for some time with both teams having max shields on the sides we kept towards our opponents. The final blow was dealt (By us, huzzah!) when we looped around the back of their ship and shot ’em from behind where they had no shields, right after taking a hit that removed our own shields (I left us vulnerable such that I could move quicker and get where they had no shields up). Boom! ^^.
With our valiant victory over, we moved away from teams (Temporarily, I think…I really don’t know if I’m getting the order right) to a competitive game of Boss Monster. This 8-bit styled card game has each player building up a dungeon to attract and defeat heroes to harvest their souls, while trying to avoid attracting too much attention such that they don’t take wounds (Take 5 and you lose, whereas 10 souls and you win).
In the early game, I think all 3 of the other players took a few wounds from attracting heroes before they were well enough prepared (I think Arthur had the Mages, Grace the thieves, Chris the Clerics and I just kept tying or getting nothing, aside from ‘the fool’ that I forced to my dungeon with a spell or room ability or something..). Over the course of the game, this mostly continued, with the main source of mirth being that we tied for number of fighters almost the entire game (A tie for most attractive has the adventure stay in town for another round so they build up). With the huge pile of those sitting around doing nothing, the hero deck expired and the epic heroes starting to roll out. I think the penultimate round had a tie for one of the other hero types, followed by a final round where everyone pulled a huge amount (I got all the fighters finally, well needed as I had but 1 soul still while others had ~3-6).
A round of mayhem and destruction later and I think 3 (or all 4, not sure if Arthur got to 10 souls) of us reached the win condition. Unfortuantely for the rest of us, Chris had an extra soul or two and took the victory…I give up being evil, I’m going to just become a teacher or something, humph!
Ticket To Ride: Asia
The final game of the night had us returning to the ‘team vs team’ philosophy, as I not long ago got the ‘team asia’ map expansion for Ticket to Ride. This expansion introduces the concept of team-play to the game, with players splitting into groups of 2 and working with a partner to cover Asia in trains. The main difference from the standard game is that each team has a card-rack which is shared, so one person can put cards there for the other (Although players aren’t allowed to state explicitly…they can hint so heavily that they might as well say it outright what they need..its weird).
All 4 of us, with it being our first game, used our first turns to share what our tickets were with teammates (By standard, only 1 route each gets placed where your teammate can see it, but you can use a turn to place 1 or 2 more of your routes on the rack to make things easier to work out). This meant both teams had 6 tickets visible to go with (Although Chris, who was now on my team, again Grace & Arthur, had another 2 that he kept hidden).
The core of our routes was that we needed to get from the top left to top right of the board. Fortunately we’d got routes that worked well enough together to try and aim to do this as a continuous route, and we planned to go over the top where there’s some long, high-scoring areas. Grace/Arthur seemed to need to get from top left to bottom right (Roughly, I don’t know their destinations of course), and they aimed to go across the middle to achieve it.
Early game, we focused on the left side of the map, getting our small-ish routes over there completed without much issue, then moving to the focus on the right side (Without joining up yet). Grace/Arthur did their bottom right routes as priority, although they got a few trains down in the top left near us too. As Grace/Arthur started moving their right-hand-side routes towards the top left, we used the conveniently opportunity of our heavy density of trains up there (I think more than half our routes were in the area) to block them from being able to join. This didn’t seem to deter them however, and they seemed to start rushing to run out of trains to deny us that way (No idea if that was actually the plan). Fortunately for us, we did have time to link up, just about, although it was across the lower-middle of the map which scored less/train but was easier for us to do at the time. In fact we got all of our routes completed a turn ahead of the Grace/Arthur team ending the game through running out of trains.
Me/Chris had the final pair of goes, and Chris opted (I did egg him on tbf) to try for an extra route, in the hope we’d have one already completed. Nothing quite matched, but one was close and despite my appalling efforts to hint against it (I couldn’t actually see the cards and you aren’t supposed/allowed to be direct), gambled on a high-point option hoping I had a pair of white cards I didn’t have. Adding up points at the end, we had a nice lead until we took away the massive 15 points for the card he chose – Well played Grace/Arthur for not doing random gambles ^^ (We were fine to take routes, but Chris should have taken the 2/3 point one that we definteily couldn’t do instead, as we’d have still won despite the loss of that many points, ack!
It was a fantastic evening, and I’m so happy to have had people around for games right into the early hours of the Morning (I think it was 4am or so when we finished!). I got to try out my newest game and newest expansion, while Grace got to play her personal-Smash Up expansion with the main game. Thanks to all 3 of them for the great time!