Halesowen Board Games #19 (25/06/14)

Kickstarter Interesting Projects:
I just wanted to nab an opportunity to draw your attention to a few kickstarter projects running at the moment which may be of interest to you ^^.

Treasure Chest: Realistic Resources
The latest Stonemaier Games project is for a ‘treasure chest’, i.e. box, of nice looking resource pieces to upgrade the quality of your games. For the amount of resources being included in the box the $33 asking price is fantastic, so definitely worth a look if you like premium game pieces.

As a side thing, because the chest doesn’t tie to a specific game, it can’t be put onto boardgamegeek. Someone in the comments suggested a micro-game that uses the resources such that there would be a specific game to link it to. For the hell of it I’m trying to create such a game, which if anyone’s interested in trying out is an 18-card vaguelly cosmic-encounter related game where each player is a kingdom that needs a variety of resources to complete some objective, but only produce one type, hence must trade/fight for the rest. Based on a trial game with a work-mate the idea’s sound, but needs more work/a trial with more players to be sure ^^.

Tiny Epic Defenders
A thematic sequel to another project (Tiny Epic Kingdoms), this game has players cooperatively defending the joint kingdom that was left after TEK. The game is driven by an interesting escalation mechanic, whereby the ‘hoard deck’ drives the enemies (And player turns), with an enemy card added each time it runs out, thinning the frequency of player turns and introducing new foes over the course of the game. The players advantage of this is they can ‘learn’ the hoard deck in a game, and prepare accordingly (I.e. if half the monsters in the deck attack the forest, someone can sit at the forest to defend it for when those monsters are drawn).

The game has variation in the form of dire enemies (Bad guys with special abilities), epic foes (The super-bad-guy you must beat to win the game), locations (2 versions of each of the 6 locations, if a certain stretch goal is reached) and characters (Each with unique abilities). This means that the game, while simple in nature, should be plenty replyable time and time again.

In any case, I just love the escalation mechanic, and that it will be a very small-package making it easily transportable despite the interesting looking gameplay. The fast games should be perfect for travelling as an added bonus ^^.

New Dawn
A thematic sequel (Some might say there’s a theme to projects I’m interested in) to the game ‘Among the Stars’. Among the Stars has players building vast space stations to promote commerce & defense capabilities among an alliance following a great war. In New Dawn, players seek to reclaim parts of the galaxy lost in the war, preparing for a new, unseen threat (Perhaps a 3rd thematic sequel game? ^^).

I’m not 100% on the mechanics here, particularly as they’ve apparently been updated/changed significantly since rahdo did a preview at Essen last year. The gist is that you’re placing stations (colonies?) onto the board to gain their effects, with those effects depending on the facing of the card (Each of the 4 directions has an added effect, variable from game-to-game) and what cards are adjacent. Each player has a number of station miniatures they place out on the cards, so I imagine there’s a considerable area-control aspect to consider as well as the card’s individual vp awards.

In any case, I’m very excited about this campaign, as Artipia Games make very interesting products and I love it’s predecessor game. While this is totally different in mechanics, it retains the nice square-cards and adjacency/placement aspect that I most love about AtS, taking it in a whole new direction and expanding on the story. Also, they dropped the price in response to backer comments which was a nice touch, although why they didn’t start it lower when they knew they could I don’t know (I still trust them to deliver a great product of course, seeing as they have put out a number of other successful releases already). Best of luck to them ^^.

Zombicide Season 3 (Rue Morgue & Angry Neighbours)
A new standalone game and an expansion for the Zombicide series. I sadly can’t afford to back this, but the standalone adds a hospital setting and Zombies that become crawlers when hit, and the expansion adds a beat-up neighbourhood setting with ‘seeker’ zombies that get more bursts of speed than other types. I think anyone interested in Zombicide should back at least 1 campaign (It’s fine to get the rest at retail, but you get considerably more survivor variety by backing one ^^), so here’s an opportunity right now ^^>

Halesowen 25/06/14

we went for a big game this time around, choosing the fantastic worker-placement mining, adventuring and farming game ‘Caverna: The Cave Farmers’.

Caverna: The Cave Farmers

Seeing as I think I’ve talked about it before, I’ll keep explanation short. In Caverna, players take turns to place workers over a fixed number of rounds (12, I think). Placing workers allows you to expand your personal board (Place tunnels/cavern tiles in your cave, and cut down swatches of forest to place fields/meadow tiles to make your farm). On most rounds there is a harvest phase, so you’ll have to work out some method of creating food through cultivating crops, breeding animals or going on adventures (Which you’ll need to arm your dwarves with weapons to do). You’ll also want to ‘furnish caverns’, which is taking various special ability tiles (Paying a cost to construct them) to either boost your resource production or capitalize on what you have for points.

In any case, by the end of a game of Caverna you’ll have a beautiful array of..stuff, on your personal board and a feeling of achievement, while wishing you had just a bit more time to make everything perfect ^^>

Our game consisted of myself, Stan, Ian & Mark R. Initial aims of the game were that Mark R wanted to go for all his workers (Due knowing that it’s important in Agricola), I planned on Adventuring, Stan Adventuring/Mining & I think Ian took a more ‘whatever goes’ approach due not being overly experienced with either Agricola or Caverna (Which is quite a fun way to play actually, you lose a bit of enjoyment when you let yourself fix to a strategy in games ^^).

In the early game, I managed to be first out of the game to get an adventurer, using it to pick up vegetables/wheat to work on having crops to feed my workers. Stan made good work on digging out his cave, getting the second adventurer (Higher level than mine due his ore mines letting him craft better initial weapons), Mark R seemed to tilt towards his Caves also, making little early headway into farming, and I was sort of not paying much attention to what Ian was building up, but I think it was a good balance of both sides. (Sorrrry!!! You were furthest away from me on the table ^^).

As we moved into the mid game, Mark R’s strategy shifted as he seemed to decide the ‘3 Points per armed dwarf’ furnishing was a good plan (Plus having all your dwarves armed gives you more freedom on which adventure spaces you get). I pretty much stopped bothering with the adventuring route, opting to focus on my farm  – This in response to Ian also getting his dwarves armed, and it not being overly-wise to all go for the same thing. Stan stuck with weapons and mines, getting a lot of them over the course of things, 2 times right ahead of when I was planning to build them!

Towards the later game, Mark R’s armed dwarf strategy seemed to be paying off, with him getting plenty of everything, 4 dwarves & having all of them with weapons, while also getting his farm built up a bit and space for a 5th dwarf (Never filled). Stan did pretty well getting to 3 or 4 ore mines with a couple of Ruby mines (Which I mostly found odd as I don’t remember him going to either of the ruby spaces despite them being extremely valuable when you have 2 mines), his farm was a bit behind but he managed to catch up with getting each animal type by the endgame. Due my change to a farm focus, I’d gone for a ton of workers, getting all 5 out before the end of the game. I was using my crops for food (With the 1 Veg/1Wheat = 5 Food furnishing) so picked up the ‘1 Point/3 Animals’ furnishing for points, as well as a couple of others that were less powerful but all I could afford without wasting turns. I managed to fill in every space on my farm & cave (The last 2 spaces in the cave through the power of rubies, as I needed extra caverns for furnishings). Again, I don’t remember too much of Ians, but he still seemed to have a good balance and sustainable setup, but had minimal furnishings (i.e. less points-farming than the rest of us, but I could have just not noticed what he had – Ian if you read this please comment as I’m curious what you built ^^).

When it came down to endgame scores, it was tight, but ultimately had me taking victory with my focus on farming. I think that this was partly due the high competition for adventuring between players, weakening the strategy for all (And the fact I denied the most powerful adventuring space from the players with better weapons by using rubies to place out-of-order). It also hurt things a little as I forgot to put the level-4 adventurer into the placement-spaces deck as the last few times I played were 2 player (Where you remove it), sorry about that!. Mark R came in second, so having lots of armed dwarves seems to be a good idea, Stan in 3rd (I think he could have come first had I not done certain things that interfered with his setup, such as taking ruby spaces before they built up to be worth too much to him) and Ian in 4th but not far behind.

Fantastic game, many thanks for Mark for suggesting we play, as while I totally love Caverna I won’t generally pick it out due the length ^^. It makes me want to play once with every player count though, as the change in spaces when going to a 4-player game from 2-player the last few times was a particularly fun difference…7 would be excessively long though (I’m still up for it, but I have to find 6 other people who’re insane to try it…^^).

Good Night, thanks for reading =-)

3 thoughts on “Halesowen Board Games #19 (25/06/14)

  1. helpme1986

    Haha, the real reason you didn’t notice what I was doing was because I was the least threat and I didn’t have a clue! Certainly another game where u need to play it a few times to understand the mechanics and the impact each move has.

    Only built 1 building wwhich converted coal to points, it was when I already had a ton of coal and the was a nice big pile on the board with my name on it. Unfortunately mark decided it was all his and stole it!

    Kinda enjoyed the game, probably would a lot more 2nd time round

    Thanks for teaching it, yet another great explanation

      1. Smoothsmith Post author

        We’ll have to make it happen next time there’s a games day, I think we *could* fit it into a normal night but a buffer zone’ll be nice ^^.

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