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International Tabletop Birthday

Posted in Brettspiele

tabletop

This year, International Tabletop Day fell on my birthday. I was pretty stoked, because all I really wanted to do on my birthday was play games anyway. A couple of my local Instagram friends were heading to the Source for the day, so I decided that was where I’d go to start the day. I played five games that morning/afternoon, and had a great time, even if some of the games weren’t my normal fare.

Five Tribes – I played Five Tribes a few months ago and liked it, but wasn’t in love with it. I played it again on Saturday and immediately loved it. Chalk it up to poor rules explantation the first time, I guess. I played two games of it. I came in second after the first play (4-players) and last in the second game (3-players). To be fair, the second game was over much sooner than it had any right to be, so my long-term strategy was never able to pan out.

Dead of Winter – Ugh, zombies. Aside from some of the old Romero zombie films, I’m pretty much anti-zombie in any form. I didn’t see any other games I wanted to play however, so I decided to stick it out and play Dead of Winter. It turned out to be pretty fun, which is why I always say I’ll play any game at least once. It’s a co-op game where things can go from bad to worse extremely fast. I don’t think I’d buy it, but I would definitely play it again.

Sheriff of Nottingham – Having nothing really to do with Robin Hood, Sheriff of Nottingham is a bluffing game where you’re trying to get a number of goods through the checkpoint and into market. The Sheriff is there to determine wether or not you’re trying to smuggle in contraband. He can search any number of player pouches. If he catches you, you have to pay him the fee for the goods not matching what you said was in the pouch, and you don’t get to keep the contraband. If you were telling the truth, he has to pay you an amount determined by the cost of how many goods you had in the pouch. Sheriff of Nottingham is a party game, one where it’s definitely better to have the majority of players. It’s not a game I would usually go for, but I really enjoyed it. I think I’ll be picking this one up for game nights with the guys from work.

Camel Up! – Camel Up! is a fun little betting game where you move camels around the track and try and determine which colors will eventually come in first and last, respectively. The catch is that as camels move, they are placed on top of each other, and one color can move an entire stack. Basically, the odds are never clear until the very last camel gets to move. Camel Up! is another game I like playing, but I probably wouldn’t buy.

I also played a couple of games later Saturday night with a buddy from work. All in all, it was pretty good birthday and a pretty great weekend overall.

April 13, 2015
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There’s a rule for that

Posted in Brettspiele

medici

This is totally a First World problem, but I have developed a huge pet peeve concerning game nights. This pet peeve involves people who suggest playing games they brought, only to find out they don’t know the rules for said game. In most cases they’ve either played the game via someone else and then bought their own copy, or they’ve skimmed the rules shortly before they arrived.

It irritates me when I sit down to play a game someone has suggested, from their own bag, yet they don’t know the rules well enough to adequately explain the game. I get frustrated because we almost always spend the first round or two sussing out the rules, missing important rules, or we find out later in the game we should have been playing a certain way the entire time. It basically saps the enthusiasm out of me.

I generally don’t have a problem with forgetting a rule or two, as long as you can explain the game upfront. I also get the idea of a learning game, where everyone in coming to it cold, but you have to say that before we start. We played what should have been a 30 minute game last night in over an hour because no one knew the rules well enough to teach it or fill in the slack where rules may have been forgotten.

My reason for bringing this up is that the game itself tends to suffer, mainly in my opinion of it. I didn’t put much effort into my play, and my fears were justified late in the game that we had been playing a few parts of it incorrectly. It didn’t necessarily break the game, but I wasn’t looking to play it again any time soon.

Afterward, I started thinking about it. It was actually a pretty decent game, and I would like to play it again someday. It just sucks that I had such a bad first impression because no one knew what was going on.

Listen, I’ve missed rules here and there. With so many games, it happens. However, I always try to sit down and play through at least a two-player game to learn it well enough to be able to teach it to strangers. If I don’t think I can teach it, it generally won’t go in the bag that night. I’ll wait on it until I can. I can only sit for so long with my back the way it is, so I want to maximize my play time when I sit down to the table. If that makes me a dick, then so be it.

End rant.

January 14, 2015
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The Witcher Adventure Game

The Witcher

One of the few board games I’ve been looking forward to is The Witcher Adventure Game. It’s based on the Witcher license, which I became obsessed with earlier this year. In this game, you travel from city to city in order to gain enough clues to finish objectives. Along the way, you have to fight monsters and resolve “foul fate” cards, which basically hamper your progress.

In an unexpected surprise, all of the different formats were released on Thanksgiving. I immediately bought the iOS version while I was in St. Louis, and quickly ran to Fantasy Flight to buy the physical version when I got back up here. I even bought the desktop version on my iMac, in case I wanted to play it there.

My general impression of the game has been fantastic. It’s not a difficult or heavy game, though there’s a lot of moving parts to keep track of. The four characters play pretty differently, so I have to change how I approach objectives when I do play someone other than Geralt. It does feel a bit samey after a while, since all you’re really doing is going from city to city, but the foul fate cards mix things up quite a bit. I played a game last night against the AI where we both kept losing victory points because of failed battles or poor foul fate cards. I only won because I finished my main objective first for eight victory points. Typically players can complete side quests as well, so the scores tend to be much higher (I play to one completed objective).

Both versions, the physical and iOS versions, are gorgeous. Fantasy Flight is known for high quality components. It’s one of the best looking games I own. I don’t know how much I’ll break out the physical copy, but when I do, it will be a sight to behold, lol.

I’m pretty impressed with The Witcher Adventure Game. It’s a race/collection game at its heart, but that’s fine by me. I’d be interested to play it with other people to get their take on it. I wonder if I’m bloating my love for it simply because of the Witcher theme.

December 2, 2014
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Everything is cyclical

Posted in Brettspiele, My Life

circles

My recent addiction to Death Angel has pushed me over the edge into the realm of Warhammer 40k miniatures again. I had been on the fence about starting up again. Games Workshop stuff isn’t cheap, and I’d be spending a lot of money just to get set up again. Well, last Sunday saw me diving off the deep end once again, as I picked up a Tactical Squad of Space Marines. My plan is to assemble and paint them, then maybe try to play them in small point skirmishes at the GW store near work.

It’s been roughly 14 years since I’ve attempted to do anything like this. I don’t remember it lasting very long back then, but I also didn’t have a wealth of information and reference like I do today. The last time I painted with any sort of seriousness was in high school. I don’t know how I’ll fair these days, but I’m excited to try.

This is why I never really get rid of anything. My life is made up entirely of circles. I get into something, then out of it, then back in to it years (decades) later. It happened last year with the Flash. Now it’s happening with WH40k. It’s oddly frustrating to deal with.

July 1, 2014
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Death Angel: The Card Game

Posted in Brettspiele

space hulk

I’m always looking for good solo games. A couple of years aso when I was getting back into board gaming, I found out about Death Angel. The majority of the reviews claimed it was the solo gaming experience. Given it takes place in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, I was pretty much sold. I picked it up one night at a random game night I went to (and had a horrible time at).

My initial plays of Death Angel were pretty frustrating. The rule book was about as unclear as stereo instructions, and I just couldn’t figure out if I was playing the game correctly. Plus, the die rolls were absolutely brutal. So I shelved it for a year or so.

I picked Death Angel up again several months ago after watching a couple of (much clearer) runthroughs online. That’s when the game opened up for me. Everything began to click, and I was focusing more on tactics than if this card should go here or this one there. I still lost a lot, but it was a much more enjoyable experience.

I’ve recently gotten back into Warhammer 40k somehow, and that means I’m playing Death Angel a lot more lately. It’s amazing to think how much trouble I had in learning the game. If only the rule book would have been written better.

death angel

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve won some, and lost many. I have really good starts to games, then the die rolls dry up and my marines are slaughtered. I’m still not convinced a random die roll is the best way to determine hit or misses, but I’m not as bitter about it as I once was.

Death Angel has definitely grown on me. I’ve picked up all of the additional expansion elements recently, including new marines, new enemies and new location cards. They have definitely given the game added longevity as I seek to keep my squad alive. I’m itching to play it with at least one other person to see how it works, but until then, Death Angel has surpassed all of my other solo games to become my favorite.

June 25, 2014
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