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  • .e 9:53 pm on February 24, 2016 Permalink
    Tags: , dice   

    Dice City, review 

    David brought Dice City to game night so I got to check it out.

    Dice City player board. The dice land on intersection of number and color

    Dice City player board. The dice land on intersection of number and color

    The game is the exact middle ground of Machi Koro and Imperial Settlers. It takes the dice from Machi Koro and combines it with the resource management of Imperial Settlers.

    You start with a large board in front of you filled with useful but unexciting builds. You roll all your dice and place them in their correct spot (where the color of dice and number rolled meet), and then activate that building. Sometimes you get a resource, sometimes you get an attack point, sometimes a weird power up goes off. You then use those resources and attacks to get new cards and VPs, perhaps attacking and disabling your opponent’s buildings.

    That’s pretty much the entirety of the game mechanically, actually. Get resources, spend resources, hope that the numbers you need roll. This isn’t a criticism, simple mechanics for card building combined with interesting cards is all you need. So let’s talk about the cards.

    Full setup of Dice City

    Full setup of Dice City

    The cards are definitely more Machi Koro than Imperial Settlers. There’s more of simple combos such as “Activate every harvest card in your row”, and very little of the more complex meta-cards of Imperial Settlers, which makes sense as those complicated Settlers engines require colossal hand draw and complete control of what plays when, which is quite literally impossible to set up in Dice City.

    I think Dice City never quite jelled for me because I already played and got familiar with the games at the two extremes of it’s gameplay. It’s a perfectly good game in it’s own right, but for light card building and dice rolling I’d prefer Machi Koro, while for deep card building Imperial Settlers is much more stimulating. I’d recommend this if you have neither of the two above but are interested in the genre, or if you feel that Machi is too light while IS is too heavy, but me personally I feel like the two games on either side are better experiences overall.

  • .e 7:15 pm on December 17, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: , dice, miniatures, scenario driven   

    Ghostbusters the Board Game, review 

    The hugely successful Cryptozoic kickstarter shipped and we got to play it.

    Ghostbusters The Board Game, omw to level 2

    Ghostbusters The Board Game, omw to level 2

    It’s a very ameri-style game, and feels a bit like a very simplified Arkham Horror more than anything else. You get two actions per turn, plus 1 special action. You lose actions by getting slimed, but can’t lose that special action (called a ‘maneuver’, which to paraquote a British philosopher, make it sound a bit like a tank commander game).

    The game is very scenario driven and each scenario makes big changes to how the various rules run (goals, penalties for misses, etc). In general though the game is about moving figurines around, avoiding ghosts and avoiding losing actions to them, and shooting the proton guns which involves rolling dice to verify hits. Each character has a few power ups that add a bit more complexity to it, but the game never gets very complex beyond that.

    Ghostbusters the Board Game, what happens when you miss a gate too many times

    Ghostbusters the Board Game, what happens when you miss a gate too many times

    The figurines are very nice and so is all the art. All of it genuinely reminds me of the old cartoons (not familiar with the new one :P) and feels very thematic.

    The game is strictly coöp with one major exception: it’s possible through your actions to cause other players to get slimed, and there’s an action to de-slime them. That action though doesn’t grant XPs, unlike busting ghosts. Leads to a slight ‘battletoads’-like mentality of “Well, you slimed me once so I get to slime you back” which inevitably escalates up.

    Ghostbusters the Board Game

    Ghostbusters the Board Game. We spent most of this scenario around this car. Nice car though.

    It’s a solid game if you want a dice heavy miniature game, and especially if you have kids/younger cousins who are into the Ghostbusters. There’s a lot of scenarios that offer a lot of play and the miniatures are really quite nice.

  • .e 5:32 pm on October 25, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: dice, monte carlo, ,   

    Dragon Slayer review 


    A kickstarter micro from Joe (thank you Joe), and another fun travel game.


    Dragon Slayer at Tea-n-more

    Roll dice to kill dragons. Blue is easy to kill, green is hard to kill, red is hard to kill. Very push your luck with one minor complication of “challenging” where you can force someone to fight 1 more dragon. I think this is one of those games that I’ve never won against anyone, cause for a mathematician I am surprisingly bad at anything push-your-luck.

    No fear though. I am also a problem solver. I wrote a perl script to try every possible strategy of this game to find the ultimate path: http://www.codesend.com/view/27b4c6737ffb0f258d21f0870ef40f39/ (note, that page apparently stripped the slash from \n turning them into n, putting the slashes back in is left as an ‘exercise to the reader’)

    Ran the above a million times as it plays the game against itself, and dumped out the results split first into 3 bravery strategies, then per line as to what dragons to fight first and when to stop: G is green, B is blue, R is red:

    G: 3.55582724284349
    GB: 4.83913016118448
    GR: 5.93901419466194
    GBR: 5.88304461564739
    GRB: 6.12547757531082
    B: 1.9422564628113
    BR: 5.43162020514388
    BG: 4.73947086902975
    BGR: 5.8079270759356
    BRG: 5.91094849827848
    R: 4.72113197709436
    RB: 5.62512548057186
    RG: 6.04521196103285
    RGB: 6.19196504822949
    RBG: 6.08984259117755
    G: 3.55736209937724
    GB: 4.83183743505442
    GR: 6.01160921057368
    GBR: 6.29789774295348
    GRB: 6.53803741345588
    B: 1.94158197242587
    BR: 5.36629909166177
    BG: 4.64798593695629
    BGR: 6.12940520044637
    BRG: 6.2615042177132
    R: 4.71602131055088
    RB: 5.71132962958519
    RG: 6.22440274061364
    RGB: 6.74595327517729
    RBG: 6.64300027598123
    G: 3.55764476897338
    GB: 4.48069396594449
    GR: 5.52641870440066
    GBR: 5.59525061049419
    GRB: 5.86873999405275
    B: 1.94178904084078
    BR: 4.67586588050834
    BG: 4.05631865243732
    BGR: 5.16761932796078
    BRG: 5.34570040879832
    R: 4.71543010930324
    RB: 5.43283062052642
    RG: 5.88802350064729
    RGB: 6.23849672751084
    RBG: 6.13399333787887

    So the optimal strategy is “Fight Red, then Green, then Blue, stop if you’re ever down to 1 die”. Ready to play this again now 😛


    Someone pointed out that this forgets that it’s possible to start over after killing 3 dragons. Went ahead and wrote a mini script to solve 4+ dragons and dropped it on gist here.

    Chart for the 4+ goes:

    RGBB:2		8.95587161894434
    RGBG:2		8.1855250370825
    RGBB:1		7.83691944708024
    RGBR:2		7.2969944065635
    RGBG:1		6.79607331108854
    RGBGB:1		5.9229677180421
    RGBR:1		5.82409754092746
    RGBBG:1		5.67912411832824
    RGBRB:1		5.56045424181697
    RGBRG:1		5.39682940693488
    RGBBR:1		5.20002033243532
    RGBGR:1		5.10485791835152
    RGBRBG:1	4.27486930828093
    RGBBGR:1	4.1413477013505
    RGBBRG:1	4.07694637988488
    RGBGBR:1	4.00618498734889
    RGBRGB:1	3.99050347932869
    RGBBR:2		3.86899117368152
    RGBGRB:1	3.86877828054299
    RGBBG:2		3.81470911086718
    RGBGR:2		3.58723111077088
    RGBGB:2		3.43148089674771
    RGBRG:2		3.26223520818115
    RGBRB:2		3.07526703651569
    RGBRGBB:1	2.81118143459916
    RGBBGRB:1	2.75342465753425
    RGBGBRB:1	2.73006774361647
    RGBRBGB:1	2.67808219178082
    RGBGRBG:1	2.66980146290491
    RGBRBGG:1	2.61403040810883
    RGBRGBG:1	2.52007347152978
    RGBBRGB:1	2.49118188997104
    RGBBRGG:1	2.47904524007771
    RGBGRBB:1	2.46516500785752
    RGBGBRG:1	2.3903355704698
    RGBGBRR:1	2.3730625334046
    RGBGRBR:1	2.30893433799785
    RGBBGRG:1	2.28329361927456
    RGBRBGR:1	2.27629513343799
    RGBRGBR:1	2.24063009234112
    RGBGBR:2	2.2267829656234
    RGBBGRR:1	2.18224789915966
    RGBBGR:2	2.17974814559255
    RGBBRGR:1	1.96322336398053
    RGBBRG:2	1.89581278579754
    RGBRBG:2	1.87088653119942
    RGBRGB:2	1.74605504587156
    RGBGRB:2	1.67498388730319
    RGBGRBG:2	0.8984375
    RGBRBGR:2	0.89143865842895
    RGBBRGG:2	0.86304158185519
  • .e 3:12 am on August 1, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: , dice, dice builder, facet builder,   

    GenCon: RattleBones review 

    No relationship to Rattle Battle.

    Angelica’s friend Aurelia introduced us to RattleBones. It’s a game in a genre that would be called “dice builder” if that wasn’t already a different thing. You literally build dice in this one, as you pop sides out with a little plastic prong, then add new sides in.

    RattleBones board

    RattleBones board

    See how the dice have little colored circles in them?

    RattleBones, close up

    RattleBones, close up

    The idea is you add new facets to the dice, then when those facets come up, that power triggers.

    Good game for kids since being a dice game you have a pretty good change of winning no matter what you do. Looking forward to what other game styles will come out of that mechanic.

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