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Boardgames & Cardgames, oh my!


dogbert
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Yeah i remember hearing about those character packs and the rumored Sinister Six expansion. Did not know about Red Hood which should make an  interesting scenario pack. According to the list they dropped the scenario pack down $5 from normal.

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So we beat Pandemic Legacy season 0 yesterday.  Final scoring was 800+ for the "best" ending, and we were at 1200 or so.  Spoiler-free thoughts: it's better than S2 in a lot of ways, and it's another great co-op experience.  There's more variety in the objectives, and I think more chances for branching story and lasting impact.  There's a few things along the way that seem a little arbitrary, but they change up the gameplay in some interesting ways. 

 

Spoilers for those that have played it (or don't care about spoilers):

Spoiler

We ended up finishing in 13 games, so we only had to repeat one month.  The first 2 upgrades we bought were permanent safehouses in Moscow and Sao Paulo, which meant we never had to discard to build a safehouse to form teams.  We also picked some upgrades that I think really helped us in the later months:

-One character had abilities that let them build a team with 4 cards, draw their current city from the discard, and visas for Moscow and Sao Paulo.  This meant being able to travel instantly to 2/3 affiliations' safehouses, and build teams much more quickly

-The other had an ability that said "while in Washington, give another player any card in your hand", as well as a Washington Visa.  This meant that this character could feed the Team builder cards to make sets.  This character also had the "move a team or another pawn up to 3 spaces as an action", which meant getting teams into position was much easier/faster, as well as moving the other character around if necessary. 

 

Once you start getting into multiple aliases, things get a little more complicated, but we managed to finish the infiltration objectives for Pearl with a character that had these:

-Bypass doors with +-1 number

-Visa for Novasibirsk

-Ability that said starting in Novasibirsk gave 2 action tokens

 

Another fun combination we had was that on my soviet alias, I had an ability that said "when you enter a soviet city, take all the agents off the board".  We combined this with the "move another character's pawn" ability so that on my wife's turn, she could move me around the board and clear off agents if they happened to be on soviet cities.  Only came in handy a few times, but it was a neat rule hack. 

 

We also got lucky in that the bet we took early on for the disrupt trial objectives paid off.  I figured that failing any of the cities would be bad, so we prioritized those over everything else.  The one month we failed, we still got 4/4 cities disrupted, so we had 0 infected cities at the end.  It sounds like the game was balanced to let you deal with infected cities, and that it might spread out the agents a little more (keeps agents from spreading as fast), but I'm glad that we managed to control at least one extra variable. 

 

The other thing that's a welcome change was that the funding level never goes to 0, so we always had at least one event card.  The Diversion card ended up saving our ass a few times (sort of), because it let you move 3 incident tokens.  That usually got used at either the end of the game, or mid-escalation to keep something from exploding or getting surveillance.  Move them to Moscow (which had 3 eyes anyway), and they have no effect end game.  Of course, the endgame scoring didn't really make surveillance matter much, but it did help us not lose any aliases along the way. 

 

November was probably the biggest swerve in the game, with a whole new legacy deck depending on a decision.  We ended up siding with Sabik, because the CIA had just screwed us over multiple times with restrictions.  The "only acquire targets from Washington" wasn't that bad because we had a character with a DC visa, the "extra card for identify target city" was OK because we never used that, but it was the "only move teams from a safehouse" one that was a real FU (we had another one in play that I can't recall).  I looked afterwards, and both November paths resulted in removing all restrictions, but we would have lost a bunch of cover had we taken the CIA route.  The objectives are similar in both cases, but with different flavour text. 

 

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First big game day done. About 12 people, all vaccinated, 3 tables. Was great to see a bunch of people for the first time in a year. We had lunch at a fantastic hole in the wall cafe with some of the best chicken fried steaks and pies in the state. 

 

Played 3 games including 2 new. 

Faiyum - Egyptian themed mix of area control/deckbuilding/engine building but where there's one shared board, no real ownership of any of the pieces on it. And the deckbuilding has some interesting twists where you typically get the last 3 cards you played back, not all of them in a shuffle. Definitely quirky + dependent on what cards come up in the market, and likely needs a second play to really judge, but didn't mind it. A bit of an old school euro in feel. 

 

Ethnos - played before, but we all needed a refresher. For some reason, I did really well, picking the right regions to dominate in early, got a bunch of lucky draws, and dominated across the ages. Fun as always. 

 

Cubitos - Push your luck Dice/bag builder that takes a lot of inspiration from Quarriors for its dice/power setup, but wraps it around a racing game on a board. Roll dice, use the money to buy more dice, use the movement to race forward on the board, with a bunch of special powers to roll for to boost your movement/dice selection etc. Fun, even if I bombed horribly at it. I'm White in the pic, with Yellow just won.... Fun, if a little swingey. I'd play again, but no rush to buy.


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I love Ethnos. It had a lot of chatter at launch and then slowly went off the radar. Always hoped they would release some new cards types, but CMON pretty much cleared the game out, Actually they have been clearing out pretty much any game they have done lately.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tonight's game: Merv. Worker placement, point salad, lots of potential action paths, etc. I joked this could be a Feld. Looks nice on table though. Was okay - I won, but couldn't say I played better than anyone else, and it was harder to grok than I'd have liked, but that might have been down to the teacher. I'd play it again, but this kind of euro is a dime a dozen... 

 

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Terraforming Mars Ares Expedition - what happens if Terraforming Mars takes the action selection from the awesome Race For The Galaxy + ditches most of the board? You get the best + worst parts of the base Terraforming Mars game with some of the awesomeness of Race... Note, I love Race and I've played it in person over 500 times so my feedback is clouded. This has the action selection (build green/build blue or red/produce/activate/explore etc) but with it more straightforward to draft and much less opportunity to "block" actions compared to Race... It's got 200+ cards that are all more targeted than the base Race set - few dual purpose cards, much more obvious "trees" of potential engine building. It's got much fewer opportunities to card draw than Race, so your chances of getting the cards you need is smaller. No drafting compared to Terraforming Mars, which went a long way to mitigate bad luck in that game... 

In the end, I enjoyed my play, we all constantly compared it against the two games, and it's not going to replace Race for me. But I'll be fine playing it again. Much like Terraforming Mars, I can appreciate while people absolutely love it... But Race does it better ;)

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

So the Assassin's creed saga continues.  They just sent an update on the shipping situation, and I think it's a sign of things to come with a bunch of other projects.  Full update is here (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/135116486/assassins-creed-brotherhood-of-venice/posts/3229512, but here's what they had to say about the shipping costs:

 

Quote
  • March 13, 2019 (opening of the Pledge Manager): USD 34,500.
  • April 2021, new quote from our logistics partner: 105,000 USD.
  • June 10, 2021 (estimate with Freightos, see news 107): 158,175 USD.
  •  July 8, 2021, based on invoices received (Canada, USA) and an estimate for Europe: 218,200 USD.

 

End result is around 13% on top of what I already paid for the "send me everything because I'm a crazy person" pledge, which worked out to just under 40 bucks.  They also seem to be going about as far as possible, offering full refunds if people want them, warehousing games, and facilitating transfers between backers who want out.  This situation really sucks, and I've heard similar rumblings on the Frosthaven and Dark Tower kickstarter updates, so hopefully this shipping situation gets sorted out sometime soon. 

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Yep its a major problem for all shipments coming from china right now. There are not enough containers right now. Board game prices are gonna jump the rest of the year. Now companies that produce in europe like Awaken Realms should not have this issue.

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Yes it does. Im behind on playing. I switched off the team covenant subs and just order everything from Miniature Market to save some money, as it was no small amount per release. So i wait to hit the free shipping threshold. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

First game night for me in a few weeks. Being sick stank, big time. Was good to see friends again. 


While a big game of Homesteaders went on at another table, our table split between the fast Pandemic game that's out and Cascadia, a very pretty + straightforward to understand tile layer. Draw a tile + animal, place them around your tiles for scoring combinations on the animal + the underlying tile types. It's pretty. It's easy to teach. It's got some interesting decisions without being too thinky. I don't know that I'd call it a gateway game... But I enjoyed the problem space. 

 

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Afterwards, the groups on the table combined, after a bunch of catching up, for a more thinky abstract called Gorinto. I liked this - it's clearly designed for 5 players, it's got nice big chunky physical tiles to clatter around with, and it's filled with interesting decisions. Grid for 5x5 tiles. Pick a tile on the edge + collect tiles based on the colour you picked. Each tile of the colour you already own lets you grab more tiles. Variable scoring each game from a set of cards, and effectively 8 "pick" actions. I'll happily play this again. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Low key game night, just 5 of us, which was fine. Gave us time to chat, catch up, and play something light + something familiar. 

 

First up was "So Clover!", a new co-op word guessing game that's more of an "activity" rather than an actual game to some degree. You have a grid of four cards with words on each edge. Write a word on each edge that will help someone place the tiles in the correct order. e.g. I put "Opposite" for top/bottom, and "seasons" for Leaf/Schedule. The other players get the four tiles and one other at random + have to figure out the correct order. Hilarity ensues. 

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The other game is a classic + firm favourite of our group - Glory To Rome. Quite likely my worst performance in years, in what was a really strange game in how it played out. But still fun. I wish this was still around + easy to get, it really is a classic. 

 

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Usual Labour Day Weekend all day gaming session coming up on Saturday. Mandatory vaccinations. Someone's actually been quarantining for a week because they're so desperate to go! 

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So this giant box just showed up:

 

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First time I've backed something like this and gotten all the expansions out of the gate.  The "all in" pledge ended up being a decent deal given what the MSRP on this is likely to be, and my thought at the time was "if I don't end up liking the game, I should be able to sell it?".  Sounds like the game worked out though from the early impressions.  Main box looks like it's slightly larger than the Middara box:

 

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Hopefully we can dig into this one this weekend, although we've been playing Too Many Bones more recently.  See how many rules we can keep straight at once :)

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23 minutes ago, Rainmaykr said:

How's TMB doing for you? Also, do you have the premium health chips?

 

It's fun-we're primarily playing 2p, and did a run over the weekend on Nom with Boomer and Tantrum.  It still seems weird that all of the skill dice exhaust after one use, but encounters are also pretty short.  Tantrum is fun so far, although it's weird that things like the lashback effect die lasts the whole encounter, but Hardy is only a single round (or two maybe)?  Only played twice with him though, so still getting the hang of stuff.  There are also a lot of rules to keep track of.  The reference cards are useful, but I think in the last game I had to look up whether tyrants enter at the top of the initiative stack (yes), whether fatigue effects bypass things like thick skin (not in rules, but I said yes), whether spillover grenade damage rounds up or down (not in rules, I assumed up, because explosions), and whether lashback applies before or after rolled def (not in rules either, I think we said yes to this too). 

 

I don't have the premium health chips, but was thinking of getting them if/when some of the expansions are in stock.  Local game store doesn't stock the expansions, so I'd have to order direct, and shipping to Canada is probably going to be pricey. 

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Apparently, all the Atomic Mass/FFG products are getting a price bump next month, especially X-wing, Armada, and Legion. If you're missing things or thinking about getting  started on those or any of FFG's LCG games, now's the time to do it.

 

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On 9/1/2021 at 5:07 PM, Rainmaykr said:

How's TMB doing for you? Also, do you have the premium health chips?

 

So it looks like they had a restock on most of the expansions.  Which ones would you say offer the most gameplay?  I was thinking about Splice and Dice, Age of Tyranny, and maybe an extra character or two, but Undertow also looks like it adds a bunch of stuff.  Not quite at the "buy it all" stage at $30/pop per Gearloc.

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Age of Tyranny is just cards, which add a lot of more encounters and a campaign. So bang for he buck it's not bad and doesn't add to your learning curve. Undertow, though, comes with 2 more Gearlocs and an Age of Tyranny-level worth of encounters. It's like TMB Lite, self contained and complete, so you get a lot for the dollar. Splice and Dice would be the last expansion I'd get just for the fact it introduces quite a lot of different mechanics and gameplay (perfect for when you're pretty comfortable with TMB and are looking to expand in a new direction).

 

The "Buy It All" stage is coming though, it is inevitable, so I don't know why you're resisting it. :)

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1 minute ago, Rainmaykr said:

The "Buy It All" stage is coming though, it is inevitable, so I don't know why you're resisting it. :)

Mostly because I have several hundred dollars of Assassin's creed sitting there untouched, as well as Middara, and there are still some Gloomhaven scenarios we haven't finished, so spending a pile of money on new TMB expansions that we might not get to seems like a bad idea.  Doesn't mean I won't do it, it'll just take some more justification :)

 

Thanks for the recommendations though.  Undertow looks like the best option if you're just getting one thing.  Any thoughts on the standalone Gearlocs?  I was looking at Ghille and Dart, along with Splice and Dice, Undertow Age of Tyranny and the premium health this morning, which I think got close to $500 CAD. 

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There are no bad Gearlocs, and that's part of the problem. :)

 

Personal favorites are Ghillie and Gasket, but all the Gearlocs offer fun changes-of-pace mechanics and all are worth having. Some like Stanza and Dart are quite different and hard to recommend specifically, but I'd wager once you wrapped your head around their playstyles you'd enjoy and appreciate them.

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Last weekend, for Labour Day, was the usual day of gaming out in Liberty Hill at good friends' place after a completely unhealthy Chicken Fried Steak at one of the best places to have it in the state. A few new games, some favourites, and a "two table teach" of Dune Imperium that was a ton of fun. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. 

 

Lunch: 

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The games: 

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Tonight's gaming was straightforward - a couple of new Queen games (a Feld take on Dominion & a dice race game) and Railroad Ink. All easy to learn for gamers, with some nice takes on their genres. 

I almost won Scrap Racer. I did abysmally at Railroad Ink, a good 20 points behind. 

 

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Dune: Imperium is the rare game where knowing the IP enhances the experience, but not knowing anything about the mythology does not in any way impede your enjoyment of playing. It's going to be a modern classic. 

 

Dire Wolf created a deluxe upgrade kit for D:I that was supposed to ship last March, before the world burned for a second time, but I haven't heard a word about shipping since. I need to check up on that.

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