Tag Archives: Paperback

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!

Kickstarters, Life and Apologies for being lazy at Blogging

Lets start on the last thing I mentioned in the subject, er, my bad for being terrible at keeping to a schedule! A few weeks ago I decided to try and post twice/week and haven’t stuck to that at all. Hopefully I’ll be better at keeping to the posting after the following news!

So the good news I mentioned. It seems I will be changing status from ‘looking for job’ to ’employed’ very soon, after an interview that went well on Friday and a followup meet today. This means I’ll be kept occupied in the days and more importantly, feel motivated to actually post things here when I get the opportunity. I have to drive to get there so this week I’ll be trying to get a hold of a car which will be interesting, as I spent all of Uni avoiding having one ^^.

Finally lets get to the first thing in the subject, kickstarters! In this case a quick summary of status of projects I’m following, most which I’m finding myself particularly happy with concerning communication from the project creators!

Zombicide

Ok so this has had not so perfect communication, but I’ve received the 2 base games through (Prison Outbreak and Toxic City mall) from the kickstarter which I’ve played a couple of times now. It’s a shame that the stretch goal content has been split out into a ‘wave 1.5’ which is what I’ll be waiting on next (With Wave 2 early next year), but I’ve gotten to try out and had great fun with what I’ve received. I’ve even got some foamboard and made a custom storage solution for the new boxes so the original game fits in neatly with the new stuff!

Among the Stars: The Ambassadors and Archon: Glory of Machination

I’m getting both of these through my backing of the AtS: Ambassadors pledge, with Archon as an addon. There was an update 5 days ago about the shipping and it looks to be about on track to arrive on time in November. Absolutely can’t wait as the base game is awesome and it’s expansion is looking even more so, with Archon being a nice bonus that I don’t yet know a lot about!

Shadows over the Empire

Another Artipia project! This is a rather interesting game where you try to influence important people in ‘the empire’ to somehow win the game (I don’t really get it, but it looks interesting ^^). This should be set to ship early November and seems on track to reach that goal. I might presume it’ll be included with AtS: The Ambassadors and Archon, but we’ll have to see ^^

Machine of Death

I’m quite happy that we got an update within the past couple of days for this, as it’s a little late (Expected August) and looks like it’s all finalized and in manufacture to ship very soon (November it would seem). Looking forward to finding unique and random ways to kill people off in this little card game!

Gear & Piston and Byzantio/Nekken

These 2 projects by Ludicreations are clearly being organized for shipping together, as updates about shipping are double posted. They apologise a lot for it for people that have backed both, but it’s not something that worries me and I’m happy to see them taking a lot of care to give everyone a chance to correct shipping details before going ahead with it. This looks to be shipped around Essen time and hopefully be delivered late November/early December. Really looking forward to Gear & Piston, with Byzantio being a bit of a wildcard which I’m unsure of, but am excited to try out.

Myth

Another big one, which I spent almost as much on as Zombicide! The wonderful guys at Mercs miniatures post fairly frequent updates on progress, with pictures of what they’ve been up to and plenty of information to keep us backers happy and confident that they’re working to schedule. I think this games going to be an absolute stunner and may even dethrone Zombicide as my monster game of awesome. Should be great, bring it on January!

Euphoria

Looks on track or if not, to be very close to it. This game has be so excited as it’s another game by Jamey Stegmaier, a very interesting person to follow who posts very insightful things about kickstarter projects and how to do well in them. His first game Viticulture is so more more fun that I’d have expected for a game about wine-making, and this time round it’s a theme I find exciting before even trying it out, so looks to be doubly-successful in being fun for me. Roll on December!

DrunkQuest: The 90 Proof Seas

Also looks set to be roughly on track and arrive around when it should. Great to be updated from these guys on what’s going on, and while it’s a shame some ass stole a load of bottle openers which were slated to be included in copies of the game, the creators have gone straight out and found a replacement solution which is even better than the original, absolutely brilliant support for their backers. Getting drunk and playing games is so not going to be a good combination though ^^

Xia

This project seems to be in good shape, with the art looking a lot sexier than during the campaign already. This project is delayed until march by stretch goals, so not much to say on it for the moment except it should be a very interesting project!

Teramyyd: Earthsphere

The beta arrived for this a while back, but I’ve not had much of a chance to try it out unfortunately, and I feel like I shouldn’t really have taken up one of the beta positions (I thought I’d have so much more opportunity to learn it and enjoy it in beta form!). We couldn’t quite work out how it’s supposed to work correctly and didn’t much enjoy the short game we tried, but I still have confidence that the changes that have already been made, and those to come, and the fact we clearly played it ridiculously wrong, mean it’ll be a great project in it’s finished state. It’ll be delayed by a fair bit, but I’m ok with that for the creators to get it right!

Paperback

I don’t really know what to say about this for the moment. There was an update back on the 9th saying it’s been sent to the printers, so guess that means it’s on track and will arrive to create wordy fun for me and my friends in a couple of months ^^

404: Law Not Found

Looks in good shape, with the creator posting regular (1/week) updates through kickstarter on how things are progressing, including a neat breakdown chart of what tasks are getting done. I wish more projects would provide this level of updating, but it’s not really required, just a little extra that I’m sure all the other backers appreciate too. I’ve played the game once in a pre-finished state and found it interesting, so look forward to getting it, or just trying it out sometime in ‘complete’ style (Being as the aforementioned creator lives a whole 10 minutes away ^^)

That turned into a very long post! I was thinking I’d only comment on a couple of projects, but most of them are slated to arrive in the next couple of months and as a result are all ones with a ‘recently posted update’ state! Can’t wait to have them all arrive as I can’t help thinking I’ll feel like it’s Christmas with every parcel.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day/week/month/year/decade! Cheers ^^