Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Americans

Tonight we're going to look at the Americans in Civilization the Board Game. The Americans may seem like one of the more vanilla civilizations to play but they provide a good starting point for a player who can be flexible and depending on the situation open up any avenue of victory.

The Americans get a random great person, so what you get can certainly dictate how you proceed. However the addition of a great person at the start can be very helpful, especially if it leads to increased culture or wealth.

Because of their special ability to acquire 2 hammers every time you convert trade into production the Americans would do best to put their cities in areas heavily favored to Trade. Cities place near water with harbors can lead to a lot of excess trade that can be converted very easily into units or buildings.

Finally with Currency as a starting tech the Americans can immediately build a market to get their economy rolling. Also the ability to convert incense to gain 3 culture during the city management step means if the Americans can get a good great person draw and get out and explore they can take an early culture lead.

So next time you find yourself playing the Americans don't look around in envy at the other players. Analyze the set up and situation and pick a plan and hold the course. If you do so victory can be yours in a number of ways.
Friday, November 19, 2010

Civlization the Boardgame First Impressions

While my copy is set to arrive today I had the chance to play this one last night and my initial impressions are that I loved it. I'll be digging into this much deeper over the coming days but this is really a great game entry in the genre.

We set up for 4 players, the game needed to be punched and rules needed to be explained so that was an hour of time right there. The game itself is pretty easy to follow once you play about 2-3 turns. I think once everyone knows how to play this game could be knocked out in 2.5-3 hours.

As a first game though we didn't even finish and we were close to 2-3 hours in after the initial set up. Part of that is first game normalcy, part of it is not really having a focus on a victory condition and then it comes down to the group.

The game is broken into 5 steps to a Turn and 3 of those steps are done simultaneously, I've marked those below.

Start of turn Actions*
City Actions

The first two actions should be relatively quick as unless you get a few player haggling over trading something there is not a lot going on. I noticed while we played that many people were constantly counting their trade every round, even when nothing changed to effect it. If you had 11 last round and didn't build anything to alter that you still have 11. Perhaps some scratch paper for the forgetful?

You essentially get one city action per city and you have to determine your production for each city on a turn so this step is the longest. Movement is where combat can come in, but combat is quick and effective so that's not much of an issue.

Finally research is where the game seemed to bog down and it shouldn't You know if you're going to research a tech by the trade phase usually, at the very latest the City Management Phase. So while other players are doing those action you should be looking at your tech deck and deciding what to do.

Anyway enough with the rant on how to play the game, just expect a longer game the first time out.

The game itself was great, I like every mechanic and really can't think of one I didn't enjoy. I'm going to cover these over the next week. I love the 4 ways to victory and last night I really didn't focus on one. As Germany and with my initial set up and the way the game evolved I should of been pursuing a military victory.

However I was all over the place, I think I had the biggest tech pyramid when we quit, I was 2nd in culture which took a lot of doing, had only 1 gold coin in terms of the wealth victory condition and I definitely had the biggest military force. With all that I wasn't anywhere close to winning.

The game suggest not using wonders or two of the Civs in a first game and to simply set up and play a few turns and start a new game. I balked at this notion, however I think it is a really good thing to do. Most players will be too focused on learning the mechanics, looking at techs and exploring to even explore a strategy. Playing even just 3-4 turns will get everyone's feet wet and then make the second game a much more focused setting.

Next time I'll get into the Civilizations and how they differ. For those looking for a recommendation I would say if you like the genre or the computer game you shouldn't hesitate to buy this as long as you have a group to play it with.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The waiting game

I've got several orders in the hopper and I'm just waiting for them to come in. So when i see places have copies of a game i an anxiously awaiting like Civilization the Board Game I become like a 12 year old who can't wait for Christmas morning.

Truth be told I place so many orders that I never know most of the time when something shows up what I am getting but this time I do. Besides Civ the other game I am waiting for is a GMT game. I usually order direct from GMT as I find them a very good company but this time i went online retailer. So while many people are enjoying Labrynith War on Terror I am waiting and waiting.

My wife asks why i don't just play one of the 4 new games I have gotten in the last 3 weeks, she just doesn't get it.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Saving a game by playing it solo

Ever own a game you're really excited about? Really like, it well regarded but just can't get to the table? Or maybe it's a so-so game, or an epic game that can't find it's way to the table.

Recently I've been saving games by playing them solo. This started about 2 years ago with World of Warcraft. That game with both expansions is a monster, one time I played a 6 player game that went 7 hours and didn't finish.

One day the idea struck me to set everything up and play the game solo, in fact I believe their are solo rules out and about but I had my own rules. Simple I control 3 characters and I have a set number of turns to beat the bag guy. I was surprised how much this game was enjoyable as a solo experience and the best part is I didn't have to play it in one sitting.

Recently I bought Runebound a game I played once but didn't enjoy. I remember it being particularly boring in the down time. However as a solo game it plays very fast and is a lot of fun.

Now we cue my favorite game, Combat Commander Europe. I own everything CC related, you name it I have it. I have not once played this game with another player. I'm not kidding I have never found a single person who wants to play probably the best WW2 game on the market. I won't detail how I play a card driven war game solo but it works.

Would I rather play CC:E with another player..I sure would. But I won't let the lack of an opponent stop me from playing a great game.
Thursday, September 23, 2010

What's missing?

I played Ascension tonight which is a pretty decent deck building card game and I realized man are companies really starting to milk this formula. Dominion is a great game but I stopped buying the expansion for it a while back. Thunderstone is also a decent game but it plays a lot like Dominion and of course Ascension plays like both of them.

Then I started thinking about the last time I played a game which was really different and well it's been a while. That's not to say companies aren't being innovative, but I really want something to come along and blow my socks off.

I want something I can't put down, can't wait to play and can't stop thinking about. Basically I want the Civ V of boardgames.

Where is that game? What is that game?
Friday, September 17, 2010

Castle Ravenloft Photos

Just a random picture of a few games of CR we played last night.

Neuroshima Hex


For $2.99 I'm willing to take a shot at this, although it would be better on the iPad
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Civ the Boardgame

FFG has posted their latest dev diary on the new Civilization game.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Welcome to the Castle

I'm going to get at least one, possibly two play sessions up on this fantastic game over the weekend. I played 4 games today and absolutely loved everyone of them.
Friday, August 27, 2010

The Street Date

While I anxiously await my order to ship, which includes Castle Ravenloft it has come to my attention that many stores already have this game.

Apparently Wizards of the Coast has decided to street date this game. Perhaps that is something they do with all their products I'm really not sure. I however hope it doesn't become the norm in terms of boardgames. It's bad enough that the street date ever came to be for video games, music and movies.

A lot of people think publisher's were the ones who established the street date but that's not really true. The big retail chains were the reason for what we have today. Complaints on stores getting their shipments ahead of others yada yada. You'll even hear tale of shops being fined if they sell games early, something by the way I've never been able to find documentation of.

So it's makes it really puzzling that in a hobby like board gaming a street date would exist, but then again WOTC markets their products well outside the normal hobby channels.

Hopefully by this time next week I'll be receiving a few rather large boxes with games an accessories, by that time I may have actually figure out the rules to Normandy 44.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Death Quest

I really like this nick name that FFG's remake Dungeon Quest is receiving. Really this game is pure luck and randomness, if you know that going in you'll be fine. It's has a ton of replay value because the dungeon is different each time but it's not a dungeon crawler. This is a race game plain and simple. Get in, Get Lucky, Get Loot, Get Out.

I've got a detailed game play session I am working on and will get that up sometime soon. So taking a break from FFG, I went to my next favorite publisher GMT and started to set up a game of Normandy 44 to try and learn it. The chances I'll ever get another person to play it with our slim, but hey what can you do.

This reminds me of all the complex games I use to play back in high school and college, back when my memory capacity for rules heavy games was actually good. So it's going to take me a little time to slug through this one, I feel bad because I put Battles of Napoleon to the side because I grew tired of attaching all the horse riders to the horses. I know many people find paying $70 for a game and having them seperate a blessing for painting purposes, I find it a bit of a chore.

However the real game I am waiting to get my little paws on is this one. This was one of my favortie D&D modules growing up. I was reading several session reports at the Geek and this sounds like a winner. Kind of like Descent with more replay value and a lot less time to play.

Waiting for this is holding up a pretty large order I have with Boards and Bits (wish they would ship partial orders) and I am considering canceling the whole order and doing it as two since rumor has it now this had been delayed til mid September.

It did get me back into reading the 4th edition D&D rules, thinking I might want to partake in a game. Then I saw this video and had second thoughts :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back into the Dungeon

Tonight (family permitting) I'll be heading back into the Dungeon for another session of Dungeon Quest. I'll see about detailing a session report.

FFG wants you to Die!!!

Had the pleasure of playing my two latest FFG games last night, those would be Dungeon Quest and  Space Hulk: Death Angel Card Game. The best part is they weren't even my copies so no lugging of games required.

So here is my gut reaction to both of these game. They are both very fun and both are very tough. I can see these two games playing differently each time they hit the table due to the randomness of the games (especially DQ).

Space Hulk is a co-op game and you're basically taking a squad of Marines and trying to accomplish something, usually hitting a button in the last location. The game rules are really not well laid out in my opinion but the game is easy to understand. There are a few vague items that I am sure can be clarified with one visit to the Geek. Anyway we had a 4 player game and one player managed to survivie the last location and hit the switch. So victory!!!

To be honest I'm not sure if we achieved victory, the travel from the 3rd location to the last and victory all happened in a jumble and I'm willing to bet we did somethign wrong but I was dead so I wasn't paying attention.

Regardless verdict on Space Hulk Card Game is enjoyable game, plays fast and is very tough. 

Dungeon Quest was a game I really enjoyed even though I died 6 turns into the game. I'm a sucker for Dungeon crawl games, especially ones that don't take 5 hours to play.

The gist of the game is you're an adventurer and you're about to plunder the treasure chamber of a sleeping Dragon. I love the randomness of this game, the dungeon is a dangerous place and just surviving is a feat.

As you move into new areas you pick a dungeon tile and place it on the board. There are various room types and most of them do something. For example there is a room that rotates upon entering 180degrees. A room with spider webs, a chasm etc.

When you enter a room whether it is explored or not you have a dungeon encounter. This is done by drawing a card, it can be things as simple as an empty room or it could reveal a chamber to the deadly catacombs. The other choice is certain tiles have a little torch icon which means they can be searched. You do this by drawing from the search deck, this will not always be beneifical as I discovered last night.

There are various other decks as well, one to open doors, a corpse deck, a chapel deck, treasure deck etc. There are only about 5 (maybe 6) monster types and these monsters spawn from the various deck encounters. When a monster spawns you can either flee (recommended) if you have a way out of the room or you can fight.

Combat is very interesting and done with cards and it has counter attacks. After a combat encounter or two it becomes very easy to do and doesn't slow the game much at all. However there is no benefit to fighting the monsters if you don't have to as you get no rewards and healing is something that is hard to come by.

That's probably the biggest thing to understand about this game, it's a race game set in a dungeon theme. You need to get treasure and get out before the sun sets. Oh did I forget to mention sun is going down and if you're not out by the time it sets the Dragon awakens and basically eats your ass.

There is much more to say about this game and I want to get a few more plays in, both games can be played solo. However I think Dungeon Quest will be a popular game around the house. I can see my 7 year old and wife playing this one with me as it is very easy to play and has the potential for a lot of fun..
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Make your rules make sense

So I've gotten a bunch of new games lately. Two in fact from the same company FFG. Dungeon Quest which has excellent rules and then the Space Hulk card game whose rules are laid otu very poorly.

I wonder sometimes if rules are actual put into testing like games are? As we're making a game we think what we are writing is clear as day, but we are too close to the subject matter.

Anyway impressions of these games should follow after I pl;ay both tomorrow night.

Oh yes I'm back.

Follow Us

iconlogo_youtube iconlogo_twitter

Blog Information

Recently Played

Powered by Blogger.