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  • .e 3:26 pm on October 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

    Small World: Underground 

    We liked the iPad version of Small World enough that we got the Underground spinoff for actual meatspace

    Small World: Underground, small 2 player map

    Small World: Underground, small 2 player map

    If you’re not familiar with the gameplay in the series, you combine 2 racial powers at random to create a series of dungeon dwelling civilizations like “Reborn Gnomes” or “Tomb Will’o’Wisps”, grab a bunch of tokens, and start invading the world. As you spread out, you get less and less tokens, then finally you give up on the race, set them to passive, and start a new one. Repeat until turn 10.

    The Underground spin-off plays very similarly to the original, but with more interesting races and the addition of new artifacts that modify the game a bit each time. Compared to the iPad version it plays about twice as slow just cause of the time it takes to put down tokens and count the coins.

    One small tangent: I very much appreciate the use of the dice on the final attack as a game design decision. Without that little bit of variability, the game would quickly bog down in nothing but cold calculation of the most efficient way to use all tokens without wasting any, but that dice roll at the end allows any “leftover” tokens to still be useful, and moves the game along much faster.

  • .e 3:23 pm on September 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , combat, ,   

    City of Thieves 

    We got this one a few years ago as a Christmas present from my parents: FFG’s City Of Thieves.

    It’s a pretty simple fun game where you control a group of thieves and are attempting to rob a district, then get out with as much loot as you can.

    Emptying streets of City of Thieves' last round

    Emptying streets of City of Thieves’ last round

    The game looks deceptively complicated for how simple it is. I personally think it could have stood to have a bit more player character differentiation in their stats (they’re all 2 strength, 4 movement, 4 mind. All 16 of them), and maybe a bit more juice to the arcana cards that give one-off bonuses. Then again, I might be trying to make it into something it’s not, which is a pretty easy going, chaotic, dice heavy, mass robbery simulator.

    Worth pointing out that FFG also has a sister game in the same setting just called Arcana, where the same characters are fighting for control of the city. I imagine there’s probably a series of novels I’m not familiar with set in the same world.

    Btw, visible on the right of that photo are our very cool metal fantasy coins from Rare Elements. Any game is more satisfying when gaining gold makes that sweet tinkling sound.

  • .e 4:57 pm on September 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , COIN, , war   

    Fire In The Lake 

    Angelica is traveling for work so I tried the single player Fire In The Lake, my first ever GMT game.

    Fire In The Lake. I will not fear, fear is the mind killer

    Fire In The Lake. I will not fear, fear is the mind killer

    It’s weird how intimidating this game feels considering how really not too difficult to either set up, or play it is.

    The entire mechanic is:

    • flip a card
    • in card order if you’re available, make a move
    • repeat until coup card. if coup, check if someone won, then reset

    The moves are very clearly written out on sheets, ditto the coup order. In fact, the main thing about the game that jumps out is how much effort was spent making it playable. There’s flow charts for everything, there’s pages and pages of explanations and tutorials, advice for factions, advice on specific cards…

    In fact, once I got into the flow of the game, what caused me to stop was something completely unexpected: my feet gave out. Not a phrase you often hear about board games. In this case, the actual game board is so large that I had to play standing up to be able to reach the back, and after a day at the standing desk, my feet were hurting enough that I gave up after finishing 1964.

    Looking forward to giving it a hardcore college try on a full Saturday. It looks like a very solid beast.

  • .e 8:11 pm on September 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Arkham Horror vs Eldritch Horror, comparison 

    Over at Aurelia’s and Mike’s we did a playthrough of Eldritch Horror, just to be able to finally compare it to our Arkham Horror.

    Eldritch Horror, almost all of the setup

    Eldritch Horror, almost all of the setup visible

    Short version before getting into details: Eldritch definitely better in every way, but not enough to buy if you have Arkham already.

    The keyword for the changes would be “streamlined”. There’s much less stuff you need to keep track of at any one time, and the game has a convenient symbol that reminds you what to keep track of when time calls for it. So where in Arkham Horror it’s on you to remember the amount of gates open, monsters in city, and monsters in outskirts, in Eldritch Horror you go “We rotated the time counter to red so all the red events go off, let’s look at the board, this, this, and this, ok we’re done”.

    Item purchasing is also much easier, and actually worth an action, vs Arkham Horror where the only time you’d use the shops would be if you were stuck there for some reason. The stories and encounters keep the same mood which is still very good. There’s also a nice effect where you don’t know what the side effects of your debts, curses, blessings, or spells will be, until they’re triggered. The possibility of doom is always scarier than the certainty of it.

    If you love Arkham Horror, Eldritch is definitely comparable and probably a little better. But if you hate it, Eldritch will not make you love it. The things people hate most about Arkham (slow gameplay and long playtimes where not all that much happens) are still there, but just not as annoying as they used to be.

    The shorter rulebook is nice too.

  • .e 3:49 am on September 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply


    Ever buy a game cause it’s on super clearance and the box looks kinda interesting?

    Ladies and gentlemen, Justinian:

    Justinian, at any point

    Justinian, at any point

    Really weird game. It looks like it would be much more complicated than it is based on the components and box, but it’s really more like a Knizia mini-game than a serious ‘big box’ experience.

    You get a bunch of cards. The cards represent who you can score. You then place markers on them as to whether you want them to go up or down. The markers are incredibly limited in supply and you never get them back once they’re spent. If you spend too much in the early game, you won’t have enough to even trigger the last scoring round, meaning the game will be decided in the first 2 rounds only.

    In our playthrough, I dominated the first two rounds but invested most my tokens to do so. Last round I had to pass in first action, after which Angelica triggered scoring in one go and dropped 100+ points in a single go, and that’s all she wrote.

    Not a very deep game, but cute. Worth it at clearance prices.

  • .e 3:44 am on September 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Mottainai mini-review 

    We played Mottainai a few times now and I kept forgetting to grab a photo, so here’s two to make up for it.

    Mottainai, early in game

    Mottainai, early in game

    Mottainai is a remake of the classic “Glory to Rome” card game. The gimmick here is that each card can be played in a whole lot of different ways (depending on your what you consider ‘playing it’, as high as 8), and you’re constantly planning ahead as to how exactly you will do it.

    The items are quite powerful and change the game flow by a lot, and the game is a very interesting balance as to whether you want to push towards a finish and keep your points (and risk your opponent has secret points in hand), or you want to try and build up your engines for a higher score.

    Mottainai, final scoring

    Mottainai, final scoring

    The only downside to the game is the slight learning curve to it. It’s very simple once you learn it, but first getting the hang of actions is a slight pain, followed by scoring rules after. Especially the backorder rules. Very clear if you understand it, very arcane until you do.

    In our plays, we almost always end with the 5 items endgame condition, vs the empty deck endgame condition, but so far we’ve exclusively played with 2 players.

    A really pleasant low-to-mid weight game.

  • .e 9:26 pm on September 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: card game,   

    Epic Card Game 

    Our kickstarter of Epic Card Game arrived, and it got played a good few times.

    Exactly one of which was played with the correct rules.

    Epic Card Game: 4 Moon Moons and a crap hand

    Epic Card Game: 4 Moon Moons and a non-synergic hand

    The rulebook needs help. There’s going to be an improved online one soon, as well as how to play videos, and both will help a lot I’m sure. If nothing else, before playing, make sure you understand how dealing damage works. Oh, and make sure you get that “You can attack multiple times per turn” and “You get mana on your opponent’s turn” are rules. Those two in huge red letters would have saved us a good chunk of time.

    Huge bonus for teaching (and playing, in my opinion), is that there’s no stack, in the MtG sense. Every action always happens as intended, though there might be a reaction after. Reaction though, not interruption. Also, getting rid of mana was a very good decision. The game does not feel more shallow for it, much like I never thought to myself that Hearthstone is poorer for not having to worry about drawing lands.

    The cards themselves are very interesting. The “You win if your deck is empty, but opponents have cards to recycle you graveyard into your deck” is a very interesting mechanic and leads to a lot of hard choices (in a good way).

    Flipside, the default mode of “Pick 30 cards and go!” really doesn’t highlight the strength of the game. Feels very random and would be comparable to just playing Star Realms by drawing random cards until one player wins. I definitely recommend either constructed play, or draft.

    Overall I like it, though word of disclosure, Angelica is not nearly as excited about this one as me, heh.

  • .e 4:24 pm on September 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , zombies   

    Dead Panic 

    Got to play Dead Panic over labor day. It’s definitely more complex than Castle Panic, adding character powers, usable items, and a complicated winning condition involving collecting radio pieces, calling a van, then driving the van to pick up other player characters.

    Dead Panic, very early in game

    Dead Panic, very early in game

    The big change is the winning condition. The zombies come endlessly, and killing them just pushes them back to the edge of the woods. The game is all about getting to the survivors, then collecting the radio pieces.

    We played with 5 people which I think makes the game easier than not. We were completely out of items and using our last clubs by the time the van arrived though.

    Dead Panic, a rather unfortunate survivor

    Dead Panic, a rather unfortunate survivor

    Fun game, I’m just surprised it didn’t come with more scenarios. Feels like it would be better if there were other alternate winning conditions, a la Robinson Crusoe.

  • .e 2:52 pm on September 6, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: , , ,   

    Twilight Imperium 

    Yet another one-image-per-turn Twilight Imperium post. 6 person game, this time using the exploration tokens. Clocked in at 9 hours before a last second push by the L1z1x managed to just barely get past the Nekrovirus and take the win.

    We replaced Logistics with Production which turned out to be a very bad idea the lack of access to more command counters combined with the Virus’ ability to use the Technology Strategy to get command counters gave Nekrovirus a huge early lead. L1z1x managed to overcome them by being the first to get to tech that grants command counters, as well as some massive exploration luck (in particular, getting some Lazax survivors and the accompanying one point.

    I played the Ghosts which ended up being a sub-par race in a map that ended up having a single wormhole.

    Changes for next time: early start, less total turns, and seeing if we can reign this thing in to 6 hours. Maybe leaders. And definitely put Logistics IV strategy card back in, I don’t even know what I was thinking.

    Turn 1

    2015-09-05 14.25.09

    2015-09-05 15.28.29


    2015-09-05 16.15.08


    2015-09-05 17.15.26

    2015-09-05 19.19.30

    2015-09-05 19.44.27

    2015-09-05 20.27.05

    2015-09-05 21.22.35


  • .e 3:49 pm on September 3, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: , ,   

    Hooray For Master 

    Erin brought over Three Cheers For Master. A nice simple card mini where you sort of build these pillars of cards, then hope they don’t attack each other, and that your opponents don’t play cards that will attack you.

    "Hooray For Master", the 3 sad cars on the left? All that's left of my tower

    “Three Cheers For Master”, the 3 sad cars on the left? All that’s left of my tower

    At the end you’re scored for how many cards survived on your side, with a weird bonus based on how high up your foreman monster gets.

    The game is by Atlas Games, makers of Gloom, and there’s definitely a Gloom flavor to the text. It’s sorta a simpler, less violent version of Neuroshima Hex (as the game is mainly about arranging directional monster attacks).

    I invite everyone to try and score lower than my 4 points.

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