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Re: What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing?

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26 May 2024 12:09 - 26 May 2024 12:09 #342357 by ChristopherMD
I've always liked Strelnikov's armored train. Are there train war games?

www.seanmichaelragan.com/img/strelnikovs_train_04.png
Last edit: 26 May 2024 12:09 by ChristopherMD.
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26 May 2024 12:10 #342358 by ChristopherMD
Also, damn, this thread is 15 years running.
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26 May 2024 14:36 #342359 by dysjunct
Yesterday, 4p game day:

THUNDER ROAD: VENDETTA. Base game only. More of a chaos comedy story generator than a strategy game, but a great time. Very crowded track with the chokepoint on the second one, which just caused massive carnage as cars ping-ponged off each other and into the mountains, exploding in a gout of flame. I had one car remaining as I zipped through the smoke and snuck past the finish line. 8/10.

THAT'S NOT A HAT x2. Kind of reminds me of TRIO, in that the elevator pitch -- "GO FISH plus MEMORY" (for TRIO) and "MEMORY plus BULLSHIT" (for this one) -- make them sound terrible but somehow the design ends up sublime. There's only five cards to keep track of; how hard can it be? Real hard! 8/10.

THROUGH THE DESERT. Venerable Knizia classic, I think this is only my second time playing it. Probably would've blown my mind had I discovered it back in the dark ages, but now it just feels like all the usual Knizia criticisms rolled into one: pasted-on theme over a just-okay abstract. 4/10.

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27 May 2024 12:33 - 27 May 2024 12:34 #342363 by hotseatgames
My friend kickstarted 44 BCE a couple of years back, and it finally delivered, so last night we tried it with 3 players. It plays 3 to 5. It quickly became evident that 5 would be the way to go, ideally.

The setup is that Caesar has died, and you are vying for the throne yourself. Each round you can "build a structure" or whatever term the game uses, but this is really worker placement. The catch is that the worker stays there forever. In practice this is not a big deal because you have way more workers than you will ever use. You collect influence cubes of various colors which are then used to buy cards that give you control over 3 areas of government - military, social, and political.

So far I'm sure it sounds very dry, but it mixes things up like this: each round, one person is currently in charge. They have control over all three of those government aspects. The remaining players (2 to 4) are basically ganging up in order to take over at least 2 of the 3 aspects. They add up their influence together in order to have more military power, for example, than the current leader. At the end of each round, power is tallied up for each player in each of the aspects, and whomever has the most gains that tile which is worth victory points at the end. The people ganging up have to make promises of support to each other, because a lot of a person's power is only accessible if other players pledge their support by throwing cubes your way. The thing is, these promises of support are made in the open, but then screens go up and you can absolutely go back on your word. The reason you might do this is that wresting control away from the current leader is one thing, but you want to do it in such a way that YOU become the next leader, not someone else.

The longer you are the leader, the more VP you will rack up and will be in a good position to win. There are 6 rounds, and the player who was the leader for half of those won the game, by a lot.

I was only leader for one round and came in dead last, by a lot.

The game might have an economy problem, but I am not sure yet as it's possible we were playing wrong. You can't just place a worker for free, you have to also pay money, which is extremely hard to come by. I spent literally half the game flat broke. I hope this was due to fucking up a rule and not the game just being busted.

I'd really like to try it with more players because with 3 there is not a lot of room for backstabbing and the power dynamic is pretty obvious. I really like how you must rely on other players to enable your recruits, and I also like how the "one" in one vs. many changes all the time.

I think the game has potential, but also suffers from Kickstarter disease, having bad graphic design and some questionable design decisions.
Last edit: 27 May 2024 12:34 by hotseatgames.
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27 May 2024 21:06 #342364 by Msample
In actual gaming news, my local opponent Aaron and I have been playing PLANTAGENET the last couple Sundays. In broad strokes, it uses the Levy and Campaign system from Nevsky, but in a more dynamic fashion. There are seasonal turns with ebbs and flows in terms of number of cards, but no movement restrictions like the mud/winter of NEVSKY that bring action to a screeching halt. There is also no sieging - just moving and fighting ( which like NEVSKY will be somewhat infrequent ) . More substantial is the change with the concept of Influence points tracks and political control. During each Levy phase and once per Command in the Campaign season a Lord can shift control of a space. The side with the most cities/towns/fortresses gets bonus Influence at the end of the turn. So Influence is both a currency and a VP track. 




First we played a 7 turn scenario twice to get our feet wet. I was Lancastrian ( rebel ) and Aaron was York. The first game he won; the second game was closer; towards the end I defeated his main Lord, however I left my own on an Exhausted space w/no Coin. So in the ensuiing Pay phase, I was forced to Pillage; the resulting Influence penalty was such that I resigned after.  Early in the game he drew an Art of War ( event card ) that basically cancelled my Levy phase ( he could spend 1 Influence point to cancel a Levy action ) . He drew it two turns in a row; I'd consider the card borderline OP drawn once; twice was bordering on a table flip moment . The interesting thing about the scenario is that there is no Grow phase in Fall - so once a space becomes Exhausted it never comes back. So one interesting element of game play is to trash the countryside so your opponent can't use it. 




We have now started a 15 turn campaign; we are about a third of the way thru it. 




Overall while I like PLANTAGENET more than NEVSKY, the resulting play experience is still not really my cup of tea. The system does offer a wide range of conflicts to be represented - I deliberately didn't use the term simulated because I can't speak to their historical fidelity. I suspect they are better than COIN ( a low bar to be sure ) but other than that I can't say. I tried reading the PLANTAGENET historical notes but they gave me a vague David Glantz vibe as just a shit ton of different lord names strung together. Maybe I'll try again. The game does have a shed load of scenarios, which is a plus. But I think L+C as a whole, while interesting to play a few times each, does not lend themselves to long term repeat play, at least for me. 
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28 May 2024 21:22 #342385 by Cappster_
Earlier this month, my group had its annual gaming retreat. This is the same on you hear Sag mention from time to time. We had a great weekend, and I logged 20 plays of 16 unique games, over the four days.

I think I'm going break this into a day by day post because a) this is taking me a lot longer to write up than I originally planned, and b) I don't want to assault everyone with a wall of text.

Thursday started with Blood Bowl: Team Manager – the Card Game with the Sudden Death Expansion. Nothing starts a gaming weekend quite like a blood bath! I chose the Chaos All-Stars, as they are the only team I haven’t played from the base set. The other players opted for the Sudden Death teams, the Vampires of the Black Fangs, the Dark Elves of the Naggaroth Nightmares, and the Undead Champions of Death. In addition to the three new teams, Sudden Death adds new rewards to matches (a variable 2-5 fans reward) and new enchanted footballs that offer additional bonuses rather than just star power. It was a hard-fought season, and the Vampires ended up winning because the vampire player was able to power up his players by injuring both his players and the opponents to significant effect.

We then turned to Codenames, where we split the game into teams based on age—team 40+ vs. the Youngins. We started with 6, but by the time the game had run its course, the remaining two of the group arrived. Codenames is a fantastic game. It’s not just about giving good clues but also about knowing who you’re giving them to. For example, will your group know that your clue word “European” should include the Agent card “Atlantis”? Or that the clue word “Beach” would include the Agent card “cliff.” And that is the beauty of a game like Codenames: it works perfectly in a super causal situation and with your regular gaming group. For the record, Team Old won the game, taking three games to nil.

Root was the next game up. I’ve wanted to give it another chance for a while. I’ve played it twice before and have always felt a little lost each time because the factions play so vastly differently. It’s almost like playing four different games in the same space. I asked the game owner if we could limit the faction choices to only the base game factions. My understanding is that those four factions work to make a game state that is balanced enough, and it would limit the number of new factions that I’d have to learn. I don’t have the dozens of games he has played, so I hoped I’d better understand what my opponents were trying to accomplish (and how) by limiting the faction pool. Plus, we had one new player at the table. I find that Root can be very overwhelming in the first couple of plays (and that overwhelming feeling can be exacerbated by the more complicated expansion factions). The battle for the forest was fierce. I was the Eyrie Dynasties (my first time playing them) and enjoyed their decree action system. I made a few mistakes early on that led to Turmoil twice. I think that when I play them again, I won’t be as afraid to use the bird cards for flexibility (they are a double edge sword; they act as a wild card - giving you a choice on where to resolve your decree - but they also cost you one point per bird card if you ever fall to Turmoil). Ultimately, it was the closest game of Root I’ve ever seen. The Woodland Alliance held on to victory by meeting the 30-point threshold first, but the vagabond, the eerie dynasty, and the Marquise de Cat all managed to end with 29 points.

The next game up was Unmatched. Unmatched is a game I wish we played more of; there's a depth there ready to be explored. Unfortunately, we don't get many repeat plays of games these days, even ones that play in as little amount of time as Unmatched does. Because the other group was still in a game, we stuck with the same crew that had just played Root. I played the Raptors ( my first time with them ), Sam wanted to try the T-Rex, Ed took Achilles, and Kevin chose Sun Wukong. We play 2v2 teams, with the Raptors and Achilles on one team and the T-Rex and Sun Wukong on the other, on The Hanging Gardens map, because I was interested in trying a map that had favored ground. I was excited to see how the elevation changes affected attacks. However, if you're familiar with unmatched, you'll see no range units in this setup. Additionally, the double-spaced T-Rex created some weird bottlenecks, and I don’t think this match-up represented the hanging gardens map well. I was the first eliminated; the Raptors didn't stand a chance. The Hanging Gardens didn’t seem to have a lot of opportunities to swarm enemies (which is the strength of the Raptors). Sam did work with T-Rex. Once Sam eliminated my Raptors, the T-Rex easily finished off Achelles without pushing too hard. Kevin had difficulty piloting Sun Wukong but was still able to put out some damage. I don’t think that he understood the advantage of the clones. Ed held out as long as he could with Achilles, but he didn’t stand a chance in the end.

We immediately reracked and played a second game of Unmatched. This time, we opted for a Free-For-All match on the Sarpedon map. I took King Arthur this time because he was my least-played character from Legends Vol. 1. I suggested Kevin take Medusa, as she’s a pretty straightforward play, is ranged, and has decent minions. Sam wanted to give Sun Wukong a go, and Ed picked up Sherlock Holmes. This game was much more dynamic. There were some dramatic ebbs and flows, and I feel like everyone at the table had a better grasp of what they were trying to accomplish. Ed loved Holmes - he has some fascinating control abilities (the abilities on Holmes’ or Watson’s cards can’t be negated) and mechanisms that deal with his opponents’ hands.
Sam did a great job grocking out how Sun Wukong’s clones work and used them to significant effect (even though he ended up being the first player eliminated). Kevin did work with Medusa and quickly became a treat to the table after Sam’s demise. Ed and I eliminated him, but at a pretty significant cost. Ultimately, it was Sherlock Holmes and King Authur (who had one remaining health point and a Holy Grail in hand (Holy Grail - After Combat: If King Authur has four or less health but is not defeated, set his health to 8.)). I had two options - I could cheese out a win by fatiguing Holmes to death (running out of range and waiting for him to run out of cards) or go for GLORY and try to resolve the Holy Grail. I set myself in range and let Sherlock close for the attack. I’m not sure what I thought was going to happen. The chances of defending for one and surviving are next to zero. And Zero it was. Ed held a “The Game is Afoot” and promptly beat King Authur with a five-damage attack. What a blast, from start to finish.
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29 May 2024 17:15 #342390 by Sagrilarus

dysjunct wrote: THROUGH THE DESERT. Venerable Knizia classic, I think this is only my second time playing it. Probably would've blown my mind had I discovered it back in the dark ages, but now it just feels like all the usual Knizia criticisms rolled into one: pasted-on theme over a just-okay abstract. 4/10.


For a while this was the game everyone was begging for a remake of. I just couldn't understand it. You can make your own copy for about $5 and frankly, it's just not that stunning or deep of a play. I gave my copy away one night where I said "winner keeps the game." My buddy's daughter got it.
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30 May 2024 13:09 #342392 by southernman
Have organized a small group from the new 'club at the pub' to host for longer games and now house build stuff has all finished and back from my trip I have started some campaign games:
Betrayal Legacy - being played on game night at the pub. Four scenarios in out of fourteen and lots of treacherous deaths, great fun and I'm looking forward to the end when I have a bespoke Betrayal game. And I shocked the others, and me !, last game when I actually tore a card to pieces when instructed to :pinch: .
Sword & Sorcery: Immortal Souls - played this right through a few years back but I loved it and two new guys were keen to try it so no persuading needed on my part.
Tainted Grail: Fall of Avalon - again, played this a couple of years ago but I really want to play it again to see all the rest of the stories I didn't see first time through. I showed it to the new group and they like the look of it so starting next week, it also gets them prepped for me bringing out TG: Kings of Ruin later this year.

Other games that have been dusted off and played in the last couple of months include:
Nemesis
Waste Knights
Fortune and Glory
Lords of Hellas
Homeland
Last Night on Earth


The extra space in my small UK house is going to be well used now as gaming takes off again.

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01 Jun 2024 12:26 #342403 by Msample
Got in a play of STAR WARS REBELLION with the RISE OF THE EMPIRE expansion. My Rebel opponent was quite aggressive; while he didn't score many objectives early on, blunted several of my advances. However he was hamstrung by an opening set up that saw the Imperials control Correllia and start adjacent to Rebel Mon Calamari and an empty Utapu; he was thus unable to build any of his dreadnoughts. I slowly spread out over the board and finally nailed down his base location to one of three locations. I forced him to reveal via a Mission card and the Death Star was next door. He had already played the base relocation mission but he had very few options left. He almost killed the Death Star after first destroying the just deployed Shield Bunker, but Han blew the roll. My next move uncovered the weakly held base and that was it. Fun game, it had been awhile .

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02 Jun 2024 14:01 #342404 by dysjunct
4p game day yesterday at a local brewery. Two new-to-me games:

FARAWAY, two plays. A drafting and set collection game. Great art, gameplay mildly interesting, mostly inoffensive. 4/10.

TRAILBLAZERS. Drafting and tile-laying to make hiking, biking, and kayaking loops. Except not actually tiles, but the slipperiest cards known to man, each about the size of a standard playing card, cut vertically in half. You can overlay cards if you want, so that was kind of interesting. I guess the coating on the cards is so you can take the game hiking and they will resist the elements a bit. This is a questionable decision on two levels: #1, playing cards games in the outdoors is terrible; it's hard enough just with a standard deck and a tray for draw/discard. With a carefully-laid-out tableau, one gust of wind ruins the game. #2, the outdoors is amazing enough that I don't need my nerd hobby to distract me. Anyway, like the previous game, it's inoffensive but not really compelling, 4/10.

Old favorites:

COUNCIL OF VERONA. Highly underrated filler, Romeo and Juliet themed. Nice art and fast play. Feels a bit like slightly advanced Love Letter, as you're manipulating the cards to have the most influence on them, moving people around, etc. With 4p there's only three turns apiece, so it's not a super long or deep game, but there's enough screwage to feel satisfied when you stick the shiv in.

CAT IN THE BOX. I don't know what happened here, but I was on all cylinders. Made all my bids and dominated. A performance for the ages, compared to my normal play. I should retire at this high point, but the game is so good I won't.

Last night (finishing up this morning) I play CLASH OF CULTURES with the kid. Been a year or two since I played it. Great game. Plays quite fast at 2p too. Never enough time to do everything.

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09 Jun 2024 11:28 #342447 by hotseatgames
Last night was a 3 player game of Witcher: Old World, which had not seen the table in a long time. It was fun, and I even won the game, which surprised me, as I never win games. Thoughts:
  1. Never, NEVER play with more than 3. It took us 4 1/2 hours. That said, it did not feel boring, and only towards the very end did it get a bit frustrating.
  2. If you are going to attack another witcher, do it early, and only if you have gained a bit of a power advantage over your target. I made the mistake of attacking a witcher in the late game, and he had acquired so many junk cards in his deck that he had a huge life pool compared to me, with a leaner, stronger deck. He won simply out of attrition even though I was beating him senseless.

This really is a cool adventure game, and as with all adventure games it seems, you have to be in it for the long haul. I would not be surprised if a 3 player game of Relic would have taken the same amount of time. Some of thehighlights from little story bits that took place in our game:

One player struck a deal with an armored bear who had been buying virgins from a nearby village and selling them as slaves. He got paid handsomely.

Another player chose to not help a terrified boy who had been forced into gladiatorial combat, instead choosing to end him.

We played with the "Monster Trail" expansion, which gives each monster a lot more character and special attacks. It increased the time of the game a bit, but it's cool enough to always play with it. I had a vicious battle with a "Rot Fiend" that actually had me lose two fucking attribute points. That hurt, but at least I won.
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09 Jun 2024 14:15 #342448 by n815e
I’ve got my eye on that game, waiting to see when expansions get released i to retail. It looks like a game I would enjoy.

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09 Jun 2024 15:16 #342449 by hotseatgames
I did not pledge for the Skellige or Mages expansions, they didn't seem to bring much to the table, and you can't mix mages and witchers together so why would anyone want them? I have also never tried the co-op Wild Hunt mode.
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09 Jun 2024 15:31 #342450 by n815e
From what I’ve seen, Monster Trail is pretty essential to keep the game interesting. Do you think that is the case?

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09 Jun 2024 16:19 - 09 Jun 2024 16:20 #342451 by hotseatgames
Yes, Monster Trail is worthwhile, and the adventure pack is so essential that it is criminal that it's separate.

Also, I didn't spring for the monster minis, and I don't regret it. It would be nice to more easily see where they are on the board, but fishing around to find the right mini any time a monster spawned would be a pain. The game comes with tokens for them. Standees would be perfect, but whatever.
Last edit: 09 Jun 2024 16:20 by hotseatgames.
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