Week 23!!!

Thunder Alley

Thunder Alley

So Monday saw our monthly meetup at Grace Free Church and there were 6 of us who showed up to start the night, myself being the ever so thoughtful person suggested that rather than split up, we should give Thunder Alley another run. Much to my surprise everyone agreed and we sat down to give it another go. When a seventh person showed up we simply reset the track and brought him in since we hadn’t even finished a round yet. I love Thunder Alley, it pretty much encapsulates everything that is good about Stock Car racing and puts it in a box. In a game of Thunder Alley you are the owner of a team of cars, how many cars just depends on how many players are playing, with our 7 we each had 3 cars. While yes, the object of the race is to win the race, the object of the game is to collect as many points as possible from how your team finishes. The team with the highest total points wins the game. This night we were racing on Pullinger’s Pyramid, which is kind of based on the Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania I believe. On this track you are going to run three laps, now, those three laps are like 500 miles all abstracted down into a few hands of cards. As I said with 7 players we each started with 3 cars on the track and at the beginning of each round we are dealt up to 4 cards, so you have one card left over at the end of a turn which you can choose to keep or trash. In a round you are going to go around the table clockwise, each player activating one of their cars, each car on the track can only be activated once per round. So the cards, the cards dictate movement and in Thunder Alley there are 4 different types of movement. There is Solo Movement where the only car moved on the track is the activated card unless you displace other cars. There is a Draft Movement in which the activated car moves all the cars in front of and behind it. They are ‘Linked’. Linking is a very important part of this game, most of the game you are moving cars in a group, even cars of the other teams. Cars are linked together when they share the same line, nose to tail, when they link is different based on which type of card you played, but I won’t go into that in too much depth here, just know that each of the different movements, except solo, involve linking, either before or after a forward movement. The third type of movement is Pursuit, in a pursuit movement the car is linked only with cars in front of it and “pushes” those cars. The fourth and final movement is a Lead Movement, a lead movement pulls the cars behind the activated cars that are linked. Each card also has two sets of numbers on it, the bigger number is the On-Track Speed and the smaller number is the Pit Exit speed. Along with that information on the cards, there may also be a wear indicator, some wear is temporary and can be fixed via pitting, but some wear is permanent, once you reach three wear markers on a car, there is a penalty to speed. Also on the card may be some special text that gives different abilities on that turn. After everyone has activated each of their cars once, the round ends and a series of steps is followed, with the big part being an event card that is flipped. Sometimes nothing happens and the race continues on as normal, other times there are Yellow Flag events that can hurt cars and regroup the field, even rarer is the Red Flag event, if two of those happen the race is called and the racers receive points based on where they are positioned at the time of the second red flag. You do this until a car finishes the race, everyone then completes that round and tallies up their points, with the most points winning. That’s it, that is Thunder Alley in a nutshell, but the game is much bigger than that, I just wanted to kind of give a brief, fairly quick overview.

In Monday night’s race everything was pretty uneventful until I took first and second place at the end of a round and an event card turned out to be a yellow flag and brought the cars back together. This happened right before the second turn on the pyramid on the final lap. Which hurt me horribly, because when I drew my cards, I didn’t get a Draft Card or a lead card, all I had was pursuit and solo movements and I chose horribly. I took off with my car that was in the lead with a huge solo movement, hoping that someone in the field would help out but it never happened, in hindsight I should have used a pursuit movement with my car further back in the field and pushed the line forward a bit and saved that solo movement, it hurt. I went for two cars in the top 2 to finishing 3rd to last in points as everyone went past me and I couldn’t get my other cars grouped back up to work together. Fantastic race though and it left me wanting to play more, but also realizing that this game has been the first game that I can recall that our game group has played on two consecutive meetups, but I sense that a few may not want that to happen next month so I won’t push it, but I may just bring it and let it sit on the side, letting everyone know that I would love to play it again. I haven’t managed to get my family to play it yet, but I think I will sooner or later, it’s really not that difficult as long as you know the basics and someone else can verify all the questions and such. Our 6 and 7 player games took us 2 ½ hours or so I believe, I think with repeated plays it’d shrink that play time down a little bit, but it’s always going to be a longer game. I’ve got a Friday afternoon of Thunder Alley scheduled at Geekway in May and I really can’t wait to give it a whirl, not to mention the fact that I have P500’d the new tracks and the Grand Prix game that is coming from the same designers.

Sudoku The Card Game

 

Sudoku The Card Game

The only other game this week was Sudoku The Card Game. My brother in law and sister in law were in St. Louis over the weekend for a wedding and they picked this up at Miniature Market. When they came back to pick up their dog that we were watching they broke this out and we played it a couple times. This is a different twist on Sudoku by Riener Knizia where you are basically building the Sudoku puzzle in front of you as you play. In the game you have 9 yellow cards numbered from 1-9 and you have 45 blue cards numbered from 1-9 as well. You start the game with a random yellow card in the middle of the table and play proceeds around that card. The blue cards can only be placed in one of the 8 spots around a yellow card and yellow cards creating 3×3 boxes with a yellow card in the middle and just like in Sudoku all the numbers in that 3×3 box must be different, just like all the numbers in each horizontal and vertical lines. Yellow cards may only be placed vertically or horizontally to another yellow card and must have exactly one blue card in between, this creates the new box. Each player has 5 cards in their hand and play one on their turn adhering to those rules. You play a card and then draw a card playing until everyone runs out of cards or no one has a legal move left. If you ever play a card and it is an illegal play and the other players call you on it, you remove that card and place it in your “penalty deck”, unplayed cards also go in that deck. The player with the fewest unplayed cards in their penalty deck wins the game. This turned out to be a fairly interesting little puzzle/pattern building game, something that could be pulled out and played fairly quickly but still offering some thinky situations. Not a bad game at all.

Acquisitions
Well, I didn’t acquire anything this week of my own volition. As a gift for watching their dog, my brother in law and sister in law bought the family an expansion for Dixit called Daydreams. We really haven’t played Dixit in a long time, going to have to try to remedy that this week at some point, but that’s going to be hard to do with Gabby’s birthday this weekend, my brother and his wife moving, my brother in law and his wife moving and we have Little Olympics for Gabby as well. So this week may end up a lot like last week, only fewer games.

Kickstarter
Well, nothing new on Kickstarter this week that I backed except for the quick 3 day Kickstarter for Wild Cats from Jason Tagmire. Wild Cats is just a simple 3 card social game. One person is the good cat, one is the bad cat and one is a Wild Cat. The Good Cat wants the Bad Cat Out, the bad cat wants the good cat out and the wildcat just wants to get out themselves. You deal out the 3 cards randomly and follow the rules on the card and begin the game. Interrogate your opponents, try to figure out what each of them are. As the Good cat you need to figure out who the Bad Cat is and get the Wildcat to also vote for the Bad Cat, if you’re the Bad Cat, you want exactly the opposite, but if you’re the Wild Cat you need someone to vote for you and create a three way tie. When you are ready to vote, count to three and point at the player you want to eliminate. I picked this up mainly because I thought it would be a cute travel game to play in the car or at a dinner or sometime when otherwise the kiddos would be buried into an electronic device or something, and at 5 bucks with a May delivery I figured why not even though you could technically make the game on your own with 3 cards and some sleeves. This one nearly hit $5000 in its three days and had 311 backers.

Surviving: One Month In funded and surpassed its funding goal nicely. Ultimately I backed out and did not back the game as it ultimately wasn’t a game that would interest Gabby or Kerensa, so I backed out and didn’t back it. The game looks really interesting to me though and I hope to someday get a chance to play it.

Podcast News
This week I tried something new and interviewed a fellow gamer, board game geek What Did You Play This Week Geeklister and Board Game Twitter friend, Patrick Hillier. Patrick was kind enough to reach out to me and offer to be the first person interviewed on the podcast and I hope it’s interesting to everyone as I would love to continue doing this on a semi-regular basis, maybe interview someone every other week for the show. I think it’ll be fun to get some gamer interviews out there to go along with all the interviews from publishers, designers, artists, even though they are all gamers as well. So, if you are interested let me know and we’ll make it work, otherwise don’t be surprised if you see an email, geekmail or DM from me asking you to be on the show!

Geeklist and Forums
I managed to keep up with the geeklist and the forums fairly well this week, I still wasn’t as active in them as I would like to be, but I managed to keep up and not have to read them all at the end of the week for the first time in a couple weeks. We’ve seen some plays of Marco Polo sneak in, I’m anxious to hear what everyone thinks of it after more plays, but it’s definitely a game I’m keeping on my radar. Always nice to see Expedition Northwest Passage on there as well, I like to think our geeklist was a bit part of championing that game, it got an awful lot of attention early 2014 from a couple members including Dan Edelen who was the pivotal voice in getting me to pick it up, and I’ve absolutely loved every play. I think we have to give the post of the week to Scott Ferrier who gave us his rundown on all the stuff he played at Gathering of Friends and wow, those were some games. I’m even more excited now for Flick ‘em Up to get here and Deep Sea Adventure has my acquisition disorder in full go mode, Steph has been talking this one up as well. Plays of Star Wars Armada are starting to come in and I’m still not sold that it is completely different enough from X-Wing to really warrant any attention from me. I realize it’s going to sell like hotcakes, but I still am going to chalk that up to the collectible nature of most things Star Wars, although I would try it if it were offered to me. Hoping that Daniel gets that Specter Ops review up so I can decide just how high up my list it should be. Also think this may be the first Hello Kitty mention that I have ever seen on either the Geeklist or the Forum thread so kudos to you Aigars!

Just one thing of note, Joel Eddy and Geoff Gambill are getting together on Tuesday night at 7:30 pm central time to do a live google hangout discussing their top up and coming designers. On Friday of last week Geoff released a special podcast discussing his top 10 designers of all time, so I’m really looking forward to seeing who they add to the up and coming list, should be interesting.

Week 22!!!

Week 22

We crammed all of our gaming into Friday thru Sunday and ended up playing quite a little bit. Was kind of surprised at the amount we got in honestly.

On Friday, Kerensa was out at a fundraiser so Gabriella and I sat down to a game. I had decided earlier in the day that it was going to be Neuroshima Hex. So after bribing Gabby a little bit she agreed and we sat down and learned the game. First game was my Molochs vs her Borgo and we were taking it easy and just playing with the rulebook open, when all of a sudden during my turn, a thud and a rush of water rolled over the board and all the cardboard on it, my Molochs getting the worst of it. Gabby had dropped her 24 oz glass of water on the table. Did my best to not be irritated, and we hurriedly cleaned up the mess. After drying it off, and getting her to laugh a bit about it, because I could tell she felt horrible, I switched out the Moloch to let them dry properly and went with the Hegemony for round two which went much more uneventful. Neuroshima Hex really isn’t a complicated game to learn at all, in fact, it’s quite easy once you get what the iconography on the tiles mean, but wow it’s quite the tactical game. Gabby ended up winning this one, she had 12 health left on her base to my 10 when we were out of tiles, but it was good fun and I think she enjoyed it as well, looking forward to playing this one more.

Neuroshima Hex!!

Saturday Gabby and I got in a two player game of Machi Koro in before they went and hung out with their cousins while I chopped down a small forest in the back yard. I was going to start putting a timer on the game to try to speed it up, because it kind of just drags at times when you get to thinking too much about what you are going to buy, but I haven’t yet. Machi Koro at its heart is a light weight dice rolling game where the dice activate the cards in your tableau, or city. Those cards will make you money or can steal money from other players or make money for everyone. With that money you buy cards from the buy stacks, trying to best synergize your “city”. The cards all have a cost to them in coins but also they have a number or a number range on them that designates which dice rolls will activate them. The object of the game is to be the first to build 4 monuments, if you are playing base only, or 6 monuments if you are playing with The Harbor expansion. First person to build their last monument wins the game. So where it gets bogged down for me at least are the options, there are always 10 different cards in the middle to buy, but with the new rule in The Harbor, those cards can change all the time, so that means everyone has to pay attention and know what those cards are in advance to keep the flow going. Not to mention everyone keeping track of what they have that would steal from everyone else. I don’t mind the game when it’s played fast, when it’s played loose, because ultimately the dice decide everything and if a game is going to let dice decide everything for me, it should be quick. But, Gabby loves the game, so I’ll keep playing it as long as she asks. We also played this again on Sunday and taught it to Kerensa, that game was probably the longest game we’ve ever had, outside the full four player game we had a couple months ago. But that was to be expected as Kerensa did not know what any of the cards did and how they worked together so it moved slow. Gabby won the game on Saturday and Kerensa won the game on Sunday.

Machi Koro with The Harbor

Sunday morning over coffee, Kerensa and I learned Progress:Evolution of Technology. This is the second game from Passport Game Studios that I received for review so I won’t go into it too much, but we did end up playing it twice on Sunday and enjoyed it both times, although we did have one issue and I am waiting to see if that issue rears its ugly head with more than 2 players. Both plays on Sunday were just the two of us, but it seems that the Power Board points may be a bit swingy in a 2 player game, at least that’s what it seems to us. If you win 2 out of 3 of them you end up with a 8-10 point advantage, and from what we can tell in two player, that’s awfully hard to make up for in your tableau or on your player board, but we’ll see. I’m hoping to get a play in of this Monday night at our game meetup with a couple more players and see how it goes. Also of note, we’ve only played through 3 ages, we haven’t added the 4 Age cards in just yet.

Progress:Evolution of Technology

We did play one other game on Sunday, we got in another play of Doodle Quest and I further showed off that my sense of space and where to draw objects is just way off as I was a distant 3rd place to Kerensa and Gabby, but it’s still a fun game to play. Doodle Quest is one of those games where you sit down and play and think to yourself, why didn’t I think of this?!?! In the game each player has a blank transparent Doodle sheet and a dry erase marker. In the game there are six randomly drawn pictures that are placed in the middle. Those pictures have specific instructions on them, like draw a line from one corner of your transparency to the other. But the trick is there is usually something in the picture that you can’t touch with the line or you will lose points. So you draw the line and you take your transparency with what you drew on it and place it on top of the picture and see how you did, if you’re like me, that’s usually fairly bad, but if you have good spatial recognition, you should be just fine. The box comes with 20 of those pictures, each with an A and a B side, with the B side being more difficult than the A side. The game is silly fun and my only worry is how it’ll hold up if you play a lot of it with the same people, as those 40 pictures can be gone through fairly quickly. But I don’t regret picking it up one bit, super fun. Now, the only question I really have about it is, do I pick up Loony Quest as well!!

So that’s all the gaming I did face to face this week. I’ve managed to keep up with Star Realms pretty well with challenges coming from a few different folks. Sarah, kicked my rear end either once or twice, I forget, we have another in progress, but may not be done by recording time. Jflartner and I have been back and forth over a handful of games, and I’m getting good challenges from my brother in law and his wife as well. So Star Realms is still getting quite a few plays. I still haven’t pulled the trigger on Gambits yet, but I am sure I will sooner or later. But for now, I am Gambit-less.

Acquisitions
Nothing, nada, zilch. Nothing was acquired this week game wise, although I did go ahead and pick up a pop filter for recording. I kept listening to myself and every now and then I thought I was bumping the desk, so I am hoping that this pop filter fixes that and muffles my B’s and my P’s a bit.

Kickstarter

Best Treehouse Ever funded yesterday at just over $52k, coming up just short of the final stretch goal but close enough that they decided to include it anyway, which is fantastic. Really well done campaign ran by Jason Kotarski of Green Couch Games. I can’t wait to see what’s next from them as they look to have a good idea of what to do with that 30 minute filler game market.

The Siblings Trouble was backed this week. $30 gets you the game and covers shipping. This one is brought to us by Eduardo Baraf, who last year ran a Kickstarter for Lift Off! Get Me Off This Planet, which I was a backer of but due to unforeseen financial stuff popping up I backed out. I wish I could have stayed in as reviews are good for it as it is being played by everyone who backed it now. But back to The Siblings Trouble. The Siblings Trouble is a card-driven cooperative storytelling game, that really sounds to me like it’s a fantastic jumping in point for younger children interested in role playing games, or families interesting in role playing games but they don’t want to do a full campaign with 2-3 hour sessions just yet. I’ll talk a bit more about it next week as I am going to dive into some of the videos and such, but currently it’s sitting at a little over $12k funding with a goal of $18k with 23 days left on the campaign. Give it a look if it sounds like something that may interest you.

I also backed one other game this week, but I’m not sure I’m going to stay with it. In theory I love the idea of the game, it seems like it may truly be the only Euro Zombie game, and that game is called Surviving: One Month In. This is really the type of game that I should be backing, it’s a small press and it won’t be produced if it doesn’t make its funding, it’s currently sitting at eleven thousand pounds, and needs to get to fourteen thousand pounds to fund. As of recording the campaign has 7 days to go. The price on this one is pretty nice, it’s quite a bit of stuff that comes in the box and it seems like you’d be able to get a lot of variety out of the play as well, with different modes and different board setups. I managed to sneak in and get one of the early bird prices when someone dropped out it seems what would be 30 US dollars, but you can get in now for $37. It has some good enough reviews from some folks who do quite a few reviews so it’s not completely unknown. Give it a look and see what you think, let me know if any of you all end up backing it. I’m staying in for the time being, but I’ll be watching and reading more this week before I make my final decision on it.

Miscellaneous Stuff

Weight loss challenge wise, I’m staying steady, but we’ll see where I sit tomorrow morning, had kind of a so so week food intake wise but I burned off quite a few calories on Saturday in the yard, but then I made up for that by eating like a pig at a party. So I’m kind of nervous about this weigh in tomorrow.

Fantasy baseball league is moving along and it looks like Paul from Cardboard Jungle and I turned around our misfortunes last week and won our matchups this week, Anthony didn’t fare so well though. Early in the season it looks like the cream of the crop may be Dan from Nonsensical gamers as he won again this week, but man, Division 1 looks brutal, I wish I would have been put into a different division, yipes.

Hoping next week to have something new for everyone so be ready for that. Thanks for reading and listening folks, I really do appreciate it!! Have a great week and I’ll see you in the Geeklist and the Forums!

Dungeon Raiders Review


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What kind of game comes in a small box with 110 cards and 50 life tokens? Well, if that box comes from homoludicus and Passport Game Studios, your getting into a game of dungeon delving like you have never tried before, Phil Walker Harding’s Dungeon Raiders. 

Dungeon Raiders is a game for 3-5 players, although there are alternate solo and 2 player rules that I did not get a chance to try before this review, in which the players are taking a trip through five levels of a dungeon looking for fame and fortune. The person who comes out of the dungeon alive with the most treasure is the ultimate winner. The players each take the role of a different Adventurer, either an Explorer, a Warrior, a Knight, a Thief or a Wizard.

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The lineup of heroes in Dungeon Raiders

The game is played over 5 rounds, or rather 5 levels of the dungeon. Each level will contain five rooms that could contain either a Monster, a Trap, Treasure or a Vault. At the beginning of a level the five cards are dealt into a row, some of these rooms will be visible, some will be hidden.

A level laid out with everything revealed for photo, not every room is going to be able to be seen at the beginning of the round.
A level laid out with everything revealed for photo, not every room is going to be able to be seen at the beginning of the round.

In order to maneuver through the dungeon the Adventurers have to have ways to combat what’s hidden away, well that’s done via card play. Each Adventurer at the start of the game is going to have in front of them a hand of power cards numbering from 1-5 and possibly an extra item card or two that add extra “abilities” to the heroes. They also start with an amount of treasure and health as depicted on their starting hero card.

Everything set up for the Wizard and ready to go.
Everything set up for the Wizard and ready to go.

The Adventurers step into the first room and if the card is upside down they reveal what they are going to face. The power cards in the players hands are their “weapons” so to speak. If the heroes reveal a monster, they need to play power cards equaling or greater than the health of the monster as noted on the card, using only the power cards in their hands. The revealing of the player’s power cards is done simultaneously, with each person placing their card face down in front of them until everyone is ready to reveal. When they reveal their Power Cards, they compare the total value of their cards to the monster card where there will be three different numbers, those are the health numbers based on the number of players in the game. If they defeat the monster by having combined power cards equal to or higher than the monster’s health, they move on to the next room, but if they don’t the player who played the lowest power card takes the damage noted on the monster card before proceeding to the next room. If the room card revealed is a vault, the players all pick a power card to play and they receive the treasure based on what power card they played. If the room card is a treasure room, the players all select a power card and play it, the highest card wins the biggest treasure available in the room, if there is a tie, the players all split the treasure rounding down, the next highest card played would get the smaller of the two treasures if there is a second one in the room. Lastly the heroes could reveal a Trap room, these rooms all have varying effects, but they all could be bad for at least one person based on the Power Cards played. For example, if there is a Magnet trap, the player with the most treasure at that time would lose 1, 2 or 3 treasure if the highest power card played is a 3, 4 or 5 respectively. If there is a tie for the most treasure, all Adventurers that are tied lose that amount of treasure. The important thing to know about these power cards is that you can only use them once per level, at the end of the level you refresh your hand with power cards that were previously played.

To help these Adventurers out, there are Item Cards that they can add to their hand to use as they move throughout the dungeon, once these Item Cards are used, they are gone from the player’s hand and back into the item stack. If for some reason, players are receiving an Item Card and there are not enough to go to everyone, no Adventurer receives the Item Card.

Items available to the delving heroes. Each card has a specific use to use at a specific time.
Items available to the delving heroes. Each card has a specific use to use at a specific time.

The game continues on through the five levels, the final card flipped on the fifth level is going to be one final boss. These bosses are stronger than the other monsters and they also have variable powers that take effect and may change the way that the Adventurers approach the fight.

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These are the 11 boss monsters, the Golem has powers that render swords useless, also if the Golem is not defeated the player who played the Highest power card is going to take damage equal the number on that power card.

 

After the heroes have finished the fifth level of the dungeon and dispatched with the final boss monster, the dungeon is complete and the game is over. The surviving heroes check their lives and in a twist, the player with the lowest health left is eliminated, their wounds are too grievous to overcome and they collapse. If there are multiple heroes tied for the least amount of health, they all are eliminated. However, if all heroes are at the same health they all survive, count up the treasure and the player with the highest amount of treasure wins the game.

Dungeon Raiders is a small box game that offers some of that big box feel in 20-30 minutes of play time. In most of the games we’ve played the scores have been tight and the choices of what to do have been interesting and even sometimes a bit tense. There are decision points in just about every level of the dungeon, made all the more agonizing by the fact that some of the rooms are unknown, unless of course you use that Torch card to see ahead and know what’s coming. But do you help the other Adventurers prepare or do you keep all that information to yourself? Do you play that Crystal Ball to see what the other Adventurers are going to use against the monster and try to purposefully tank it so someone takes a bit of damage? The game can be pretty cutthroat, in a good lighthearted way. The elimination of the player or players with the least amount of health at the end of the game, which worked wonderfully in High Society and probably a few other games, adds a bit of a twist to the end game, it gives you something else to watch out for and makes choosing treasure over health in the vaults a little more agonizing at times.

Components wise, the cards do seem a bit fragile. After a handful of plays ours are starting to chip a bit around the edges, now, I don’t think this will ever affect game play in any way, but it should be noted and if folks want to keep their cards in pristine condition they should look into sleeving the cards. Also the health markers seemed to not have been cut away cleanly as there was plastic flashing around the edges of some, once again, no big deal game play wise, just something to note for those who expect everything to be perfect in the box when it arrives. This also could just be an isolated issue as I have not heard from anyone else who had the same component issues.

Dungeon Raiders is available now from Passport Game Studios in North America for a MSRP of $19.99. Online stores seem to be in re-stocking mode, and Passport Game Studios has assured me that it will be in stock again soon. At the time of this review on 4/15/2015, it is available through Amazon.

In our minds Dungeon Raiders is well worth that price if you like the fantasy theme and shorter play time games or if you just need a fun filler to throw on the table on game day that has quite a bit of interactivity among the players and offers a lot of fun in a small box.

This is really how small box games should be, a lot of fun and a lot of game in a little box.

Review copy provided by Passport Game Studios

 

Week 21!!!

Helping with Homework, but all I can think about are the Fields of Arle

Fields of Arle
Uwe’s work has been hit and miss for me, well, nothing has really missed as much as aggravated, I’m looking at you Agricola. But we’ve enjoyed our time with Bohnanza and Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small, and I did enjoy my one play of Caverna so far. Which is why it quite surprised me that when I first started hearing about Fields or Arle, I kind of knew I’d end up picking it up and trying it. Everyone seems to be right about this one so far, it’s a fantastic sandbox. Fields of Arle is a 1-2 player game that is largely biographical based on Uwe Rosbenberg’s life. You are running a farm, but to me, this one owes much more to Caverna as an inspiration as opposed to Agricola. As such this one has a huge table presence, as opposed to the other two player Rosenberg games. And when I say huge, I mean huge, it eats up a table, even as a single player game which is how I played it on Friday night. I managed to score 72.5 points in my first go round and when I was finished, I felt like I worked my butt off for those points, but I also realized there were lots of other ways I could have gone, and I might have managed to score a few more points had I done so. Really hope to get this one to the table again soon and I’m hoping that I can convince Kerensa to try it out but that 2 hour time frame is going to make that a bit difficult, maybe I can convince her to try it out one night and we’ll finish it the next.


Saturday brought us to “International TableTop Day”, which is basically a holiday made up by the fine folks at Geek & Sundry in order to try to get folks out and into their Friendly Local Game Stores, and make Geek & Sundry a little money as well selling promo packs to stores. It’s all fine and good, and who doesn’t love a reason to get out and game, right? So Saturday I hosted a makeshift TableTop day at our local public library where I host our group’s quarterly Saturday meetup and had a fantastic time. We were down a couple regular members as they were out of town and such, but we had a couple new folks come in and join us as well, so I think at the most we ended up with about 12-14 people playing at once. So thank you to everyone who came out, I had a great time!!

We started out our day with a 4 player game of Volt with myself, Mark and his two daughters. Brad taught them as I moved around everything in the room and we sat down to some robot mayhem. Game moved pretty quickly with me ending up winning. For as random as this game can be with the programming actions and such, this one went my way fairly easily, which isn’t the normal case. It helped that we played this one without any of the extra modules since it was their first time playing, I think it made a positive first impression on them and once again, this one really makes me want to break out and play Robo Rally.

After that first game of Volt, we played a couple rounds of One Night Ultimate Werewolf. If we don’t count online plays, One Night Ultimate Werewolf is easily our most played game at around 32 plays that I’ve logged, and I know that with a game like this I’ve missed a few games so it’s probably closer to 40 plays. But my game is so well worn that we can’t use the Seer any more as the card is so marked you can’t help but notice it, so the villagers are usually at a little bit of a disadvantage I think, but this time, they won out both games as the Werewolves just weren’t sneaky enough, with the second game ending because we had a bit of a giggly werewolf. Fun fun game that if you haven’t tried out yet and you enjoy quick deduction type games, you should definitely do so. I need to pick up some opaque backed sleeves for mine though so I don’t have to go out and buy another copy or spend 5 bucks to have Bezier send me another tile.

After our couple rounds of 7 player One Night Ultimate Werewolf the group broke up again and we had another local gamer join us. We had a 4 player game of Spyrium going, a two player game of Rhino Hero that had a spectacular tower going until the last card to win and the whole thing came crashing down and I sat down with Corey and we played Summoner Wars. I played as the Guild Dwarves and he was the Sand Goblins and I was doomed by some of the absolutely worst dice rolling seen this side of the Mississippi river, I could have rolled ones and twos on three 20 sided dice I was rolling so horribly. And thusly the Sand Goblins just swarmed on me and defeated us with little to no issues. It had been about a year and a half since I’d played Summoner Wars, and I am not sure why, it’s went from a game that I request specifically on my birthday to play with Gabby to something that just doesn’t see the table, I need to remedy that. I’ll have to see if I can talk Gabby into sitting down and playing that with me on Sunday mornings if I can get her to get up with me and play before everyone else gets up.

Down goes the Rhino Hero!!!!!

At that point, Mark’s daughters were leaving and his two sons were going to join us but they were eating lunch first so I taught the five of us that were ready to play some Dungeon Raiders. I mentioned Dungeon Raiders last week and I will hope to have a review up for it this week on the blog, and I may have something up in audio as well. I will say this much, I enjoyed the plays with 5 people a lot more than our plays with 3 and 4. It’s a game made for more people as that ups the interactivity between the players and it makes for some interesting choices in the games. Look for the review this week!

Qyhrrae from the library had joined us and played some Dungeon Raiders and Mark’s sons were ready to hop into something so we broke out Bang! The Dice Game. It’d been awhile since we had last played this one so after a quick rules runthrough I taught it and we were ready for some 7 player shoot em up fun. For those that don’t know, Bang! The Dice Game is a dice rolling game where one person is the Sheriff, there are deputies, there are Outlaws and there is a Renegade. All the Renegade wants to do is survive longer than anyone else and make sure that he’s killing the Sheriff last, since if the Sheriff dies the game is over. All the Sheriff wants to do is get rid of all the Outlaws and the Renegade, while the Deputies just want to keep the Sheriff alive long enough to do just that. The outlaws merely want to kill the Sheriff, that’s their sole purpose. So everyone is dealt a role card and the Sheriff reveals himself to the group and the game is off and running. On your turn you roll 5 dice with different varying abilities on the sides. One side allows you to shoot the person immediately to your left or right, one side allows you to shoot the person two spots away from you on your left or right, one side is dynamite, that’s the locking side and if you hit 3 dynamite you take a point of damage and your turn is immediately over, one other side has a beer on it, that allows you to heal anyone at the table, even yourself and the final side is an arrow. If you roll an arrow you take an arrow from the supply in the middle of the table, if the arrow that you take is the last one, everyone with arrows in front of them takes damage up to the amount of arrows in front of them and then discards them back to the middle of the table. First game through I was a deputy and our Sheriff took some early damage and I revealed myself as the deputy a bit too quickly and we were fairly quickly eliminated. Second and final game I was the Renegade and things were going so well, but on my final turn I couldn’t heal the Sheriff enough to survive till it got back around to me so the very next person took him out and the Outlaws won. It seems to me that in each of my five total plays of this game to date that the Outlaws have won each of them, I don’t think I’ve had another role win yet. But it’s definitely a fun game, and from what everyone at the table who had played Bang said, it vastly improves on that game.

So after Bang! The Dice Game, I caved in to Qyhrrae who had brought in Catan in hopes of getting someone to play with her, so myself and Marks youngest son obliged and I played my first ever game of Catan. Yes, I know, it’s weird that I never played Catan, but in my defense, I skipped right past it. I wasn’t board gaming when Catan hit our shores and when I first started up board gaming 3-4 years ago, I picked it up in an auction, from Undead Viking I believe, but I may be mistaken, but moral of the story is that it sat there and never got played. I finally loaned it out to my sister, who’s had it since and I don’t know that it’s even been played by her either. But, I try to make it a point to at least try every game once that’s offered to me and much to my surprise, there really hasn’t been a game that I’ve played that I absolutely hated and never wanted to play again, and that held true with Catan. While, it did seem a bit dated compared to other games that I’ve been playing, it does have it’s value in the board game world. So thank you Qyrhhae for making me sit down and play it, AND for kicking my butt while doing so. While we played that there were three other groups going, one playing Betrayal at House on the Hill, another playing King of Tokyo and the other playing some X-Wing, so we had some variety going at that point.

Last game of the day for me was a game of Deus that I played with Mark’s youngest son and Tim’s son. I was walking around and Tim’s son was looking at games and he had picked that one up, I asked what kind of games he enjoyed playing and he said “Games with lots of Strategy” so I said let’s go, and I sat down and taught it as best I could in the time we had to get a game in and finished. Both of them picked it up pretty well and I was struggling to get any Temples out that would net me any points, so the game kind of stretched out a bit. Mark’s son and I had trapped Tim’s son on his corner of the game board so he basically just milked points through sacrificing as much as he could while producing as many goods as possible to end the game with a good chunk of points. I ended up winning this one in a low scoring battle by 4 points over both of them, so it was really close and I think both of them enjoyed it. Now, if I can just get my family to try it out.

And that wrapped up our TableTop Day at Missouri River Regional Library, thank you to everyone who came out! Mark and his family, Tim and his family, Bern, Brad, Kate, Corey, Qhyrrae and two other gamers who for the life of me I can’t recall their names, but they were at our Millennial game night at MRRL a month or so ago and decided to join us on Saturday as well, so hopefully everyone comes back on June 6th when we host our next quarterly meetup and we get to play some more games!!

I have been continuing to play Star Realms via the app this week, so shoot me a challenge if you feel the need to buff up your record(VacaBCK), and I continue to go along in the Terra Mystica online season. Once again I’m trying to predominately be the Darklings and once again about midway through the game, I am scoring fairly well, but this is just about the time that I always fall apart, so we’ll see what happens. My engines just never seem to be large enough to provide the workers, gold and priests that I need late in the game.

Acquisitions
Absolutely nothing!!! Nothing came in, I didn’t order anything and I wasn’t even tempted by the TableTop Day sales or the Barnes and Noble clearance, well that’s a bit of a stretch, I was tempted but I didn’t bite on anything. I did catch a preview for Barony on BGG from Matagot and it looks really interesting, hoping to get a chance to read the rulebook sometime in the near future. This one is Marc Andre’s follow up to Splendor and this one once again looks like it’s pretty easy to teach game, but this one seems to have a little bit more meat on it’s bones than Splendor, so I’m looking forward to more information on it and reading that rulebook.

Oh, I take that back, I did have one acquisition this week, but it was a contest winning from the Gaming Nonsense Uncensored Podcast, I won a copy of Tiny Epic Defenders which I hope to get to the table soon!

Courtesy of Gaming Nonsense Uncensored!! Thanks!!

Kickstarter
While I didn’t acquire any new games this week I did back a new one on Kickstarter, well it isn’t a new one, it’s an expansion to one that we quite enjoy around here, Evolution. Evolution: Flight Expansion gives you the ability to create avian species, looks like it adds a lot of variability to a game that already had a lot to it. Plus, since the stretch goal was hit, everyone who backs the expansion gets the 2nd edition cards for the base game to go with it. What’s odd to me about this project is just how long it’s running, it’s a 45 day Kickstarter so by the time it’s over, I’ll have forgotten that I backed it quite possibly.

Also of note, Best Treehouse Ever ends its Kickstarter campaign in 5 days. If you haven’t read our review of this one give it a read, we quite enjoyed this lighter weight card drafting game about building the coolest treehouse on the block. Right now it sits at just over $36k and needs a bit of a push to get to that final stretch goal of $37.5 to get unique art for every room card, the art is a huge part of this game, it really fits the theme and brings it out wonderfully, so the more art, the better!

Geeklist & Thread
Everyone brought it to the geeklist and thread on BGG once again, fantastic stuff you all! And I expect even more this week due to TableTop Day and The Gathering of Friends! Tiago wrapped up their Formula Motor Racing season after 18 races and Team Tiago took home the trophy, really makes me want to try something like that, except I’m wanting to try it with Thunder Alley. Saw a mention or two of Mottainai, the new card game from Carl Chudyk, really eager to try that one out, but I think I’ll hold out to get the actual game instead of doing the PnP, but it looks really typical Chudyk, semi difficult rules with cards that do a multitude of different things, which reminds me that I really need to play Uchronia. Kirk is really selling me on picking up a copy of Strat o Matic baseball, I’ve always meant to do it but just never pulled the trigger, but it sounds like he and his son are having a fantastic time with it. Doug had a fantastic session report of USAC Auto Racing, really liked that and it really reminded me of when I used to keep stats on those silly football games I used to play on the Commodore 64, lots of fun and memories. I continue to be impressed by the reaction to Three Kingdoms Redux and I really really want to pull the trigger on it, but that three player only limit is kind of a good and a bad thing. The geeklist even had a Stop Thief mention, which is a game I haven’t seen since I was a kid. Oh, and Kat Tastrophy, I’m still waiting on seeing photos for Dungeoneer! The thread version of What Did You Play Last Week continues to grow. Seems these past couple weeks we’ve started hitting 3 pages of reports and chit chat. Good to see it growing and I try to be over there as well to talk to folks!!

Week 20!!!

Week 20!!!

Doodle Quest
I picked up Doodle Quest on a whim thinking that it would be a game that AnnaBeth, our 5 year old would be interested in playing and I was kind of right. In Doodle Quest 2 to 4 players have a transparent “doodle” sheet and a dry erase marker. In the middle of the table there is going to be a Quest Card. What the players are trying to do is draw on their transparent sheets to complete the challenge listed on the Quest card, this could be drawing a line from one point to another point, or drawing fish on the transparent sheet. But the catch is, you will be drawing on the transparent sheet and then comparing your transparency to the quest card, hoping that your drawings stayed inside the boundaries set on the quest card and then scored. You do this six times and total scores to see who the winner is. Now, why I say I was kind of right is the fact that AnnaBeth didn’t want to finish the game on her own, the last 2 drawings she asked for help with, but even then I think she had a good time playing it, but since then I have caught her with the box and she just wants to draw on the transparent sheets and if I offer to play the game with her she doesn’t want to. Gabby, Kerensa and I had a fantastic time playing it, and I hope that Blue Orange does support it and get some more Quest sheets out to folks as they only give you 20 in the box, but at least they are double sided, with one side being the “easier” side.

Doodle Questing!

Dungeon Raiders
I received Dungeon Raiders for a review, so I am going to keep this brief as we’ve only played it twice so far this week, once with 3 players and once with 4 players and I want to give a full review that folks will want to read in the near future. But Dungeon Raiders is a 3-5 player game where a group of heroes is going into a dungeon to see who comes out the richest. In the dungeon are monsters and traps, but also there are treasures to be found. You play the game over 5 rounds, each round starting with 5 cards of the dungeon floor and 5 cards in your hand numbered from 1-5. Each card can be played exactly one time per floor. End of the game offers a twist, ala High Society where the player with the least amount of health left is eliminated immediately, no matter how much loot treasure they have. As I said, I’ll be doing a review of this one in the near future after a couple more plays, but so far I have enjoyed it, it’s quick and easy to play and does offer some fairly stressful decisions to be made and can definitely be a bit cut throat.

Star Realms
Played a best of 3 series with my Brother in Law while we were sitting around at CogCon in Rolla Missouri on Saturday. He had never played and I had been trying to get him to at least pick up the app to play, but he had managed to not do that yet. Meanwhile, I’ve logged around 400 plays online and only a handful face to face, so on Friday I picked up the Star Realms box that comes with sleeves and a promo along with 3 of the 4 expansion packs, Heroes wasn’t available at the store. I dig this quick head to head deck builder, it’s a lot of fun and I ended up winning the best of three 2 games to 1, so maybe luck of the draw isn’t as bad as I always say it is. On the plus side, he went out and picked up the App as well and has challenged me to a couple games so that’s cool too. He is thexphiler online, so shoot him a challenge if you want, I don’t know if he’ll accept or not, he’s relatively busy through the day and also into the evening with a 10 month old, but it couldn’t hurt to try. Oh, and you can feel free to challenge me as well, I’m VacaBCK on Star Realms as well. I promise to only help your winning percentage. While I have played over 400 games, I’ve never managed to get my level past 8 and I’ve been stuck at Level 5 here recently for a month or so, I can’t string together a streak of wins to save my life. But I’ll keep trying.

Steam Torpedo
Steam Torpedo is a 2 player game of Submarine combat that should be about 30 minutes a game. At the start of the game each player “builds” his submarine using ten tiles that represent different compartments of the sub. They are shield rooms, weapons rooms or engine rooms. During the game the players control 4 crewmen and a captain and they move them around the sub to activate different tiles, kind of in a worker placement style. In between the players is a submarine standee that acts as a model for your ship movement. The player who destroys the other ships control room or eliminates all opposing crew members wins the game. For a simple two player combat game this rule book left me with a bit of a headache, but I think we made it through a game for the most part with Brad winning. The directions gave us a hard time at first but we got used to the fore and aft. I think if we sat down and played it again it would definitely fit in the allotted 30 minutes and I hope I get the chance soon, it has possibilities, but with only the 20 tiles in the base game, you aren’t going to get a whole lot of variety. The game does seem to already have an expansion out, but I couldn’t pick it up when I bought the base game.

Volt
We also played a couple more games of Volt on Saturday while at Cog Con. Sunday also saw us get in a fun filled game of 4 players and introduced it to Gabby and Josh. Everyone was having a fun time destroying each other’s robots and Gabby had the game won when she was the last player on the board and thought she had the movement picked correctly to land on the tile but she miscounted allowing everyone one more round and Josh managed to pull off the victory. Fun game, and I think it’ll keep getting plays around here, especially when we introduce all the extra modules into the game.

Aton
Kerensa and I sat down to our Sunday night two player game and I pulled Aton off the shelf and cleaned all the dust off it, it’d been since August 2013 since we had last played it. Aton is an area control game that uses hand management to drive the game. Each player has a deck of cards in their hand, cards are numbered 1-4. To start a round you each draw 4 of those cards and then assign them to one of four different Cartouches. Each of those cartouches offer different abilities to the players, the first one gives victory points to whoever plays the highest valued card, the second one determines order of play and how many counters are to be removed by the players. The third one determines which temples can have the counters removed from them or placed in them and the fourth cartouche indicates the number of counters the player can place. There are four temples on the board and each one of them scores differently and scoring rounds are triggered when the Kingdom of the Dead is filled with 8 removed counters. The game keeps going until either one player reaches 40 points or own all of any temple or all of yellow or all of green. It’s a quick paced game, and I kind of enjoy it, but given how soundly I was beaten this week, I may not completely understand it, but let’s hope it doesn’t get as much dust on it before plays this next time, it’s a game that deserves to be played a bit more than it has been around here, I believe this one was acquired in May of 2013 off the Geekway trade table if I am not mistaken. If you like games that are strictly two player and enjoy some area control you might give this one a look, especially at the price, if you can find it.

Terra Mystica
This week saw the start of season 6 of the Terra Mystica league in which I am merely a speedbump in the way of other players. I’m trying to figure the game out to score better and maybe be a bit of competition, but it seems that everyone else is figuring it out as well. I still love it though. It’s a perfect maximization game, where you just have to find a way to maximize the value of each play that you get. Rightfully, at least in my mind, the number 2 game on BGG.

Kickstarter News
Nothing new on Kickstarter for me this week again, Mistfall successfully funded and ended up with just shy of $135k. Can’t wait for this one to arrive. Best Treehouse Ever just keeps on chugging along as well, with 12 days left in the campaign it sits at just shy of $32k, we’re still stretching for those new advanced bonus scoring cards which will had a lot of variety to game play, and at $37,500 every room card in the game will be unique. So hopefully we can hit that in the next 12 days, give it a look if you haven’t yet.

Acquisitions
Well, we did get a couple games in the mail to review and I’m really looking forward to doing that, it really is kind of cool to get your first games from a publisher to review and I hope I never lose that enjoyment. That wasn’t what I set out to do with this podcast, but it is a fun idea and I hope it doesn’t become too much for my family when I keep forcing them to replay games that I want to review(it won’t be). In addition to those two games, I did pick up Fields of Arle. The big two player only worker placement game from Uwe Rosenberg. This one has been getting so much love from folks over on Twitter that I trust, that I had to take the dive in and see for myself. Man, this game is heavy, literally it weighs a lot, with lots of wooden bits and tons of cardboard. I’ve read through the rules once, and will be reading them again probably tonight in hopes of throwing it on the table to try out solo this week.

Fields of Arle Bagged and awaiting it’s turn

BGG Weight Loss Challenge
Well, the weight loss challenge started last Monday and I weighed in at a robust 246 lbs. I’ve tried to eat a bit better this week, less crap and I am back on the no calories from drinks, with the exception of booze. I knew that Easter was coming and that means tons of food around here so I wanted to minimize the damage done while still being able to participate in the festivities and eat what I love to eat, so we’ll see where we weigh in tomorrow morning. But I feel fairly confident I dropped a couple, we’ll see. I just need to get up and be more active, but that’s going to be tough this week with Kerensa out of town again, so my walks and such will have to be on my lunch which is also occupied by two puppies at home who aren’t happy if they aren’t causing trouble, but hey, I’ll have to figure something out. It’s hard though, there never seems to be enough time in the day to do everything.

Geeklist and Forum Thread
Once again this week was hectic, I didn’t get a lot of time to do much on Board Game Geek, but I did read everyone’s entries in both the Geeklist and the Thread and you guys continue to make me jealous of some of the games you guys get to play, from Blokus to Napoleon at War, you folks bring it every week, and I love it! And some of you all give some fantastic session reports to boot, it definitely helps the week go faster reading and checking it all out! We had lots of newer folks in the list this week and it’s good to see that it’s still attracting new people, I hope you all manage to find time to stick around and post every week!

Podcast Notes

Two podcast notes for the week. Last week when I mentioned a new podcast called Low Player Count, well their first episode is out and available on their website, which I will link in the show notes. You get a good introduction to Donny, Shawn and Travis and what they are hoping to do with their podcast this week, along with finding out what some of their favorite low player count games are. Give ‘em a listen!!

http://lowplayercount.com/2015/04/05/episode-1-getting-to-know-you-2/

Also this week Rich Sommer has a podcast starting as well. Now, Rich doesn’t need my help to get hits and downloads, he’s got a legion of folks who’ll do that already, but I did listen to the first couple short sampler episodes of Cardboard! And I enjoyed them, especially talking to his daughter about her favorite game, Sorry Sliders. So give him a listen too, you can find him over on iTunes and I’ll go ahead and try to get a link to that in the notes as well.

Cardboard!: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cardboard!/id982094665

Sherriff of Nottingham Contest
Alright, for the moment you’ve all been waiting on, who’s going to be the one to receive a copy of Sheriff of Nottingham, well after some serious contemplation, the winner is the following story, from a game of Bacchus’ Banquet:
I was playing as Caligula. I figured there was at least one assassin on the board because daggers seemed awfully popular. My turn came up and sitting on the table was a 9 poison. My belt was already on 3, so this would be an insta-kill for me I picked it up with a 5 meat dish and a food taster. Everyone had their purple cards and I figured I would try something in case someone really wanted me to have that poison. I trashed the 5 dish, kept the 9 poison, and gifted the food taster. It got passed around and then someone accepted it. And then played his purple card enabling him to swap the gift with the keep.

So, I got the food taster and just waited. He picked up the keep card and the all of the color drained out of his face. Like he couldn’t grasp what just happened. He stuttered for a second and then said “How?!? Why?!?” as he notched his belt past the end and eliminated himself. I almost collapsed to the floor because I was laughing so hard. Everyone else at the table were roaring, as well. It was a very risky gotcha, but one that paid off so, so well.”

So Chris, if you’re reading, shoot me an email with your information and we’ll get a copy of Sheriff of Nottingham on the way so you can enjoy pulling more fast ones over on your so called friends.