Ahhh, week 36, the week that almost wasn’t. We had played zero games on the table by Sunday so I was more than a little bit worried we wouldn’t have anything to talk about, but Sunday was a game day of sorts and we got two games played to talk about a little bit. I also almost missed tonight due to being an idiot and updating the laptop to Windows 10. You’d think I’d know better than updating anything Windows if I plan on using it anytime soon. So approximately 11 hours later, I am finally typing up the show on Word. It took forever to update and then even longer to get wifi connected and have anything useable. I probably should have just passed on Windows 10 for this laptop and just stuck with 8.1, but as they say, hindsight is always 20/20. Don’t forget to check out the Docking Bay 94 podcast from this past Friday as I was the not so special guest! As I said last week, I really had a great time chatting and recording with them and I hope to put a bit of what I learned from them to use in the future as I have a couple folks I am really wanting to get on the podcast to talk about their GenCon experience this year and there are a few more people on that I've wanted to get on the podcast for quite awhile now.
So I’ve had this sitting here waiting for us to have time to try out. I promised Edo a preview for it by the time the game hits Kickstarter, but our week was full and our timing never worked out to get it to the table. But we got it played three times on Sunday morning, twice with two players and once with three players, and there was one running thing through all three plays that held true, I’ve apparently got a lot to learn when it comes to winning this one. I’m not going to go horribly in depth on it this week as I’d like to do a more full review later and I’d hate for everyone to have to hear about it too many times before the Kickstarter even starts. The goal of GemPacked Cards is to have the most victory points at the end of the game, I know, I know, there aren’t a lot of games coming out now where that isn’t the goal, but with this one you accomplish this through mixing and matching Geminos cards to reach and score the highest value Geminos. It works kind of like Splendor, but with cuter graphic design and much less attempt at a theme, this one is built for fun through play, not through story. Needless to say, this one plays quickly and it is pretty light hearted, the cute artwork and neat tokens make sure you don’t really take this one too seriously. My understanding is that at the same time this preview version is floating around there is also an iOS version of the game as well. Everything is positive on this end right now, it fits right in our family’s wheelhouse being a lightweight quick game. I need to get some plays in with 4 and 5 players in the coming days to see how it plays against all player counts, so I’ll probably be pestering Brad and Kate to join us one day. But look for a far more in depth preview in the coming days.
So back in February and March, Rokoko fever kind of seemed to sweep over Twitter for some reason. I think partially was because it was hard to come by, but the bigger reason was because most everyone who played it, completely enjoyed it. So even though it was a bit of a departure theme wise from something we’ve played, I started watching for it on BGG auction and finally picked it up towards the end of March. Just too bad that it took almost five months to get it to the table. Well, I finally managed to get it out and set up and I caught Kerensa in a mood where she didn’t feel like saying no to learning something a bit different and we rolled with it.
So, Rokoko is a hand management game with a tinge of deck building and some area control elements where the players are vying for majorities in the different levels of the mansion where the ball of the century is being held. You see, the players are all making dresses and suits for the ball attendees to wear and they are also donating to make the ball the most festive by financing the fireworks and various decorations throughout. The players start with a deck of 5 cards, these cards are your employees. Each employee has a “level”, they are either Master, Journeyman or Apprentices. This level allows some employees, like the Master, access to any action on the board, while the lowly Apprentice has three actions that they cannot participate in. Some of these employees also have bonuses that they can take, such as allowing them to buy cloth even after taking their main action or allowing them to buy thread or lace after taking an action. To start a round, each player chooses three of their employees to play that round, the round is over when no one has any more employees in their hand to play, the remaining cards go faced down to the left of the player board, as they will be used next round. There are six main actions that the players can choose to send their employees to do. They can claim the favor of the queen to gain 5 coins and the first player marker for the next turn. They can send their employees to acquire resources, this is where you get your bales of silk and your yarn and lace. You can make a dress. All those resources that you have gained get spent here to make gowns and suits. After you make your dress or suit, you then choose whether you want to rent the dress out to a party goer or if you would rather just sell it outright for money. When renting the dress wear out, you then take the tile of the dress that you made and you place it on the board in one of the five sections. Some spaces grant bonuses when you fill them, and some spaces require that the dress be made by a master, regardless if the dress requires a master tailor. This is the area majority part of the game, each level has victory points awarded at the end of the game to the player who has the most fine dress wear in that area of the mansion. Your employee may Hire a New Employee. Each round there are four new employees out that can be purchased and added to your hand, when you buy a new employee you put it directly in your hand to use this round, it doesn’t go in the discard pile or on your available pile, it goes directly in your hand. I love what this brings to the table, of course it gives you an extra turn during the round, but you can also time buying of new employees to create some really fun turns. Your employees may also depute one of your employees, this is the way you cull your deck so to speak, you send an employee to work for the King’s Court and game coins, but most importantly, you remove them from your deck, thus thinning your choices. And lastly, your employees can fund a decoration at the party, be it a statue, a musician or even the fireworks. After everyone has played all of their employees from their hand, they then go into the collect income phase and reset the board for the next round, unless of course that was the 7th and final round at which point the scoring commences and the dressmaker with the most victory points wins the game.
That’s a pretty rough and quick overview of the game, there really is quite a bit going on here with it and there seem to me to be several ways to go about gaining your victory points. I won this first play against Kerensa by the score of 66 to 45. I scored fairly big in the final round by picking up an employee who gave me 1 victory point for every 3 coins that I returned to the bank, so I held on to him to play at the very end and ended up turning in 30 coins to score 10 victory points. Those coins by themselves at the end of the game would only score 3 points as you get 1 victory point per 10 coin. Add on to that, I funded a majority of the fireworks and got to move one of my 4 point rentals to the 3 times multiplier spot and the fact that she had let me hold on to the Queen’s favor the entire game. So those three things alone at the end of the game were an 18 point swing. Kerensa just ran out of money that last round, where as I was kind of rolling in it at that point thanks to a couple employees that paid out in coins every time I used them as a bonus. I liked it quite a bit, and I think Kerensa liked it as well but that last round kind of frustrated her when she saw what was happening, there was nothing she could do to slow it down. I’m not sure if I am going to throw this one at Gabby just yet, it’s not that I don’t think she can handle it, I just don’t know that she’d want to. Right now she kind of likes those in your face kind of games and this definitely is not that type of game, although it can be a bit messy when folks take what you need. I’m not really sure what games I have that compare to this one, sure we have games where you are selecting cards to use each round for specific roles, but nothing that combines all the elements into one nice package. I really can’t wait to play this one again and I might just push for another play this week one evening if things are quiet around here.
Star Realms More plays of Star Realms keep on occupying my time and more and more of them are with the Gambit cards, which I am really, really starting to dislike. It may be just me, but I don’t really see how most of them synergize with anything. I like the bases that give you options or allow you to draw cards when you play another base, but this just kind of encourages a base run sometimes. All in all, I am holding steady at level 9 but I have dropped to 7 out of 10. I had managed to hit level 10 twice this week, but as soon as that happened, I fell right back down again. That’s just how it goes for a 50% player for the most part. So thank you again everyone for the challenges, keep them coming and I’ll keep on sending them back at you if I lose.
Kickstarter I think most Kickstarter project creators kind of took a break during this past week due to it being GenCon week, so I didn’t even see anything pop up across my radar that tickled my need to back, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t out there, I just didn’t get to see them. New Bedford keeps on moving along, it passed $50k on Friday morning and kept on climbing through GenCon and is currently sitting at $56k with 12 days left on the campaign. I wonder what other stretch goals Dice Hate Me Games have in store for us as it seems that this one is just going to keep going. I thought I had heard that Consequential from Asmadi Games was going to launch during GenCon, but it seems that they backed off that notion. I haven’t heard much from folks about playing it at GenCon either so I am starting to wonder about it again.
Only one game showed up this week and due to the shipper requiring a signature upon delivery, I was beginning to wonder if I was going to get it this week or if I would have to wait till next week. But the USPS came through on Friday and managed to track down the package in their warehouse and I signed for it and brought home my brand new to me copy of A Few Acres of Snow. This one has been on my wishlist for quite awhile, but I never pulled the trigger due to thinking that I wouldn’t have anyone to play it with, but I saw the second edition at a price I couldn’t pass up and I pulled the trigger. Friday I went ahead and opened it up and read through the rules and set up the game just to see it out and I think this is one that I should have picked up long ago. I love the deck building aspect of it, and I love how the cards have multiple purposes. I’ll admit to being a bit overwhelmed when reading about the 21 possible actions that a player can take on his turn, but you can kind of see that not all of those actions are necessarily going to be used every game. The game will go differently most times. So here’s hoping that I can get Kerensa to sit down and try this one, I know that it will take a long time to play that first game. With all of those options Kerensa is going to take some seriously long turns at first and I know that I will as well, but I think we can handle it. It just might be a two parter for us. I know I can probably convince a few folks in the game group to give it a try too, and this will be a fantastic warm up for when I end up getting Hands in the Sea delivered.
Last week I kind of touched on the origins of the What Did You Play This Week Podcast Thing and where it originated from. But here is how it went from just a geeklist on Board Game Geek, to a podcast and blog.
Some of the folks on the What Did You Play geeklist really like to get in depth about what they’ve been playing, some with reviews or session reports and others with photos, and then you have the ones that do both. Well, I tried to be that person who did both, but ultimately I couldn’t put thoughts together on Monday mornings like the others did and I got this weird idea that it would be easier to do this through voice, by recording a week’s worth of gaming session thoughts and just posting it that way. Well, I didn’t take to it right away, I talked to a couple people about it who were encouraging, but ultimately my lack of knowledge of recording audio and sheer laziness kept me from doing it. I finally pulled the trigger and recorded a session in November of 2014. I used my old “not so trusty anymore” Dell and I found a USB mic that we had from playing Def Jam Superstar on the Xbox 360 and I recorded through Audacity, a free to use audio editing software. I then realized that you have to be able to host that audio somewhere in order for folks to hear it so I posted it over on Soundcloud and linked to it on Monday morning. It was rough, I don’t know how anyone could have listened, but they did, I posted two “podcasts” over there and then decided that if I was going to do this, I may as well do it right and I signed up for an account over at LibSyn. Then a couple weeks after that, I remembered that I had an old blog that I had started that I could use to post along with the audio, so off I went on that endeavor. At first I didn’t script everything out, I would kind of write up points of interest and go from there, but then I realized that I was kind of wasting time, I could just script out the podcast and ad lib as needed and then use the script and pretty it up for the blog with photos and such and that’s where we are now. Not counting gaming I generally put in about 5 to 8 hours of work on the podcast and blog, it just kind of depends on what I want to talk about and if I get the girls or Kerensa to record with me. In total I spend about $20 a month in hosting the podcast on LibSyn and I’ve spent maybe $120 on equipment (mic and pop filter). Only other expense I am mulling over right now is whether or not to personalize the blog and set it up with its own domain, but for right now, I am okay with how it is. I know I see and hear of folks who spend a lot more on their podcasts and maybe their sound quality is better, but oh well, I’m not going to go broke doing this, I’d rather go broke buying and playing games than talking about them.
In essence, I took my simple weekly geeklist posting and I just made it a whole lot more work, but I’m having fun, I enjoy what I am doing with the podcast. It gives me a bit of an outlet to talk about games and how they make me feel and how they affect myself and my family and friends. So that’s why I do it this way. I appreciate all the folks who listen and all the folks who read, it really means the world to me that there are other folks out there who care to hear my ramblings. I hope someday to be able to share a game and a conversation with a most of you.
That’s a wrap on Week 36, a quiet week where I didn’t get to participate in Gen Can’t nearly as much as I would have liked, but I still had a fantastic week of gaming and family. Thanks for listening!!!
Oh, and the geeklist and the thread were full of some fantastic work this week. I did manage to read every last entry and I enjoyed them all!! Keep ‘em coming!