Well, it’s been a good week in Mid Missouri. The weather has really changed, even getting almost cold in the evenings, the leaves are falling(which really isn’t good news since that means I’ll have to rake them all up) and the Royals keep on winning. I actually managed to get a game in every night this week, with probably the exception of Sunday, unless the girls help me out in a little bit, but to be fair, one of those was a playtest of a game on Tabletopia and the other was the continuation of a game on BoardGameArena, but hey, I’m counting it. I’m hosting a game night at our house on Monday, the group was kind enough to join me here so I didn’t have to find a sitter for the girls on Monday night. So I should thank them publicly. Hoping to get some Game of Thrones LCG 2nd edition in and who knows what else. Kerensa is busy making plans for her convention that starts on Monday so she’s been busy all week, hopefully after it’s all said and done, she’ll be able to relax a bit. We’re also wrapping up volleyball for now on Thursday so there will be a bit more spare time for a week or so until Gabby decides to try something else out. I’ve caught AnnaBeth playing Blokus by herself a time or two over the last week or so, think maybe it’s time to teach that one to her and see how she does. But in the meantime, let’s talk about what we’ve actually played this week!
Monday was a state holiday, but not a school holiday so Kerensa and I had the day alone at home and we decided it was best spent finally throwing every expansion we have into the box and playing a gigantic game of Carcassonne. Now, I know that folks have more expansions than we do so it’s not really a big gigantic game in the grand sense of the word, but we did use the base game, Inns and Cathedrals, Traders and Builders and the Count, King and Robber, so it was pretty big by our standards since we normally just play with Inns and Cathedrals. So we sat down and learned the rules for the two expansions that we hadn’t played yet and 20 minutes or so later we were on our way. I really like Carcassonne, I like that it can be played as mean or as nicely as you want to play it, you don’t have to play it one way or another to have fun or to win, unless of course it’s a two player game and the other player just wants to be a jerk the entire game. But we don’t play that way, well, most of the time we don’t, we do have our moments of swooping in and stealing another city or finishing off a road, but for the most part we’re pretty even about how we play. The Count, King and Robber actually adds in a way to help the other player but in the long run you help yourself as well. If you finish off a player’s city or road, you can take one of your workers and put them in a spot in the city that has become the starting area. This allows you to later use that meeple when you complete another area, either a road, city or even take over a monastery. At the end of the game it could allow you to place a farmer on a field to help out as well. But the Count is used to counteract that a little, every time a meeple is added to the city, that player can move the count to a different area in the city and block that action from taking place until he is moved again. In all I thought it was a pretty cool addition to the game and I used it one time to a huge advantage for me in order to steal a 50 point city from Kerensa, she was none too happy about that and I maybe did that a little early in the game, because it gave her plenty of time to plot her revenge. The King and The Robber portion of the expansion didn’t seem to add a whole lot, just a way to score at the end of the game based on whichever you possess. You get the King by completing a city that’s bigger than any other city completed and you get the Robber by completing a road longer than any other road previously completed. What these allow you to score at the end of the game is 1 point per completed city if you have the King or 1 point per completed road if you have the Robber. Not a small amount of points, especially on a larger area like we were building. As far as Traders and Builders go, the trader part really didn’t seem to add a whole lot to the game just a majority scoring at the end of the game, in which I owned all three majorities. The builder on the other hand is a fantastic addition I think, it allows for double plays, so you can plan a little better and hopefully good tile draws will allow you to benefit quite a bit from it. On any road or in any city in which you have a knight or a thief. You simply place the Builder on a tile that you place in one of those two areas and then the next time you extend it, you pull the builder off and take another turn. Pretty simple really, but it adds a lot to the game I think. This one that Kerensa and I played was a nail biter. Took us about an hour and a half to play it all out, fighting over areas, building the finest Carcassonne in all the land. I held on to the King the whole game and Kerensa held on to the Robber, I never could get a road of any substance or finish one of hers that would have given me the Robber. But anyway the final score was 265-264 with me eeking out a win. Kerensa even recounted the completed roads about 3 times just to make sure that she didn’t miss a point from the robber. I don’t know if we’ll play it like that everytime, but you know what, it really was fun that way, lots of new tiles to see, lots of new things to try out and to have it come down to 1 point after all that time was a lot of fun.
The final Tile
Oh, and that play finally bumped our H-index up to 16 meaning that we’ve now played 16 games in our collection at least 16 times. It’s going to take some work to get up to 17 as a handful of those games are just at 16, but we’ll get there. I like keeping track of our H-Index, but I don’t necessarily want to go chasing it. Plays should happen organically, not on a schedule, at least in my opinion.
Tuesday’s game was almost missed. I had completely forgotten that I had signed up to play test a game over on Tabletopia, but I remembered at the last minute and made sure I could get in there and ready when Ryan Laukat hopped in. We were playing Islebound. I’m not really sure what all to say about the game yet, because I didn’t think to ask Ryan after we played, but I will say that even on Tabletopia, the art shines through and looks wonderful. The game plays just as cool as it looks as well, although you couldn’t tell by my showing, which was pretty horrible, but I’m going to chalk that up to the other folks being more familiar with Ryan’s games. This one had a neat board which had islands spread out and you are moving your ship to and from these islands to gain benefits. You also have to manage your crew, exhausting them at some points or even injuring them. Really neat game, and if I get a chance to test it again over there I will say more about it. As a matter of fact if you check the forums for Islebound, anyone can join in and help. Playing this really pushed me wanting to get Artifacts, Inc and The Ancient World to the table soon and seeing everyone’s pictures of Above and Below is making me sad that I haven’t backed any of his games yet. I was going to back the City of Iron 2nd edition and Dingo’s Dreams but I backed out of that and I kind of regret it, oh well, thus is the life of a wishy washy Kickstarter backer.
Wednesday, Bill, James and I finished up our game of Seasons, that we started after Troyes last week. This one did not go as well for me as our previous game of Seasons did. I struggled the entire time to get crystals and when I started having enough, I started having to “donate” them to Bill when I wanted to summon anything or when the season changed, he was a verifiable Crystal Hoovering machine and the final score showed that with Bill winning with 200 points to James’ 138 and my lowly 109, that may be my worst score to date and it’s my 16th play. I think the only points I managed were from cards, I may have had 10 crystals at the end of the game. Way to go Bill, that was a butt whooping for the record books. Now, let’s see if James and I can reverse this trend with The Palaces of Carrara.
Thursday I was out of town for work in Kansas City, and after asking around and checking out meetup, I found a group that meets on Thursday night at Tabletop Game and Hobby. Firstly, the store is fantastic, when you find it. It takes a bit of driving around in the strip mall area to find. My iPhone was of no help as it showed me at the location when I pulled into the parking lot by the Wal Mart, but I did find it and even though I was about 45 minutes late, I still managed to play a couple games and watched a big portion of Between Two Cities being played. But anyway, the selection in the store was fantastic, they have everything popular and new that you could want, but also maintained a nice selection of older titles as well and the prices seemed to be a bit below MSRP, but I could be crazy. I found the section with GMT games and was tempted by a couple titles there, but the train section is where I was really tempted and I almost walked out of there with either 1830 or 1853. They also surprised me by having a nice little shelf of titles from Victory Point Games, which I don’t remember ever seeing in another store I’ve been to, so kudos to them. So anyway, I was wandering around and someone asked if I was looking to play a game, and I said sure and then sat down to my first play of Steampunk Rally.
Steampunk Rally is a race game from Roxley Games. The game supports up to 8 players and we played with 6. It has a neat modular board where you can make the races as long or as short as you want and has 108 dice! That’s right, it has a lot of dice. Anyway at the start of the game each player gets an inventor, I believe I was Marconi, and they get two pieces to their racing invention that you get to put together in a way that makes sense, connectors must connect, etc., in other words, don’t be stupid. On these ship parts are slots to put dice and those dice can either power your invention forward, repair your invention, get you dice of other colors or possibly most importantly, remove dice from your invention, as once a die is placed, it stays and occupies space until it is removed through that action. So during a turn there is a card drafting phase with each player getting four cards, you pick one, add it to your ship or discard it for the resources it gives, and pass the remaining cards in your hand to the neighbor on the left or right, depending on the round. After that is over, the players may “Vent” their dice by spending cogs that they have earned to reduce the number on a die by two per cog, if the die would go below 1, it’s discarded from the machine. This is important because those dice stay there otherwise and aren’t activated each round, they are used one time, even if you have another slot to add more dice to, the new die are the only ones that count. Then you roll all your earned dice that round and you use them to activate different parts on your machine to move or gain other benefits as I said earlier. Driving your invention through different landscapes can cause damage, and if your damage falls into the red, you have to discard parts of your invention equal to the damage done at the end of the round. Without going a whole lot further into it, that’s how it’s played. We did a short race and quickly we realized that you can jump out to a big lead, but you’re probably going to be losing some parts at the end of that round, it almost seemed best to kind of stay even and not really push out as hard as you can until you get some clean movement that doesn’t cause damage. The game doesn’t end after someone crosses the finish line, that just signifies that there is one more round left. The gentleman who owned the game jumped out and crossed the finish line before everyone else and I managed to get within one spot of him in that final turn just because I said forget it, let’s damage this machine since I had built it up fairly large and had the parts I could drop, I just didn’t have enough dice to get there. Our game was pretty quiet and I know this could be a raucous game as it’s got plenty of fun randomness. I’ll chalk the quiet down to the fact that I was new and no one knew me. Really is a fun way to do a racing game, I love the idea of building your racing machine as you play, means you have a lot more invested in the game than just picking a car or something and going. I like the ever changing state of your machine and how you always have to be trying to draft different parts to get different synergies with your dice. This might be one that I add to the collection sooner or later, as I think the game group would enjoy it and I also thing that Gabby might get a kick out of it too. Glad I got to play this one.
Next up was a game of Nevermore, but first I was going to go back into the store and buy one of the aforementioned games, but little did I know, the store actually closes and the back room stays open to allow the players to play for another couple hours after store closing. Someone said they made a last call, but I never heard it sadly. But anyway, back to Nevermore. We played this one with 3 players with the person teaching being one of the Double Exposure Envoys a group that I sadly need to work with more, but I just don’t have the time it seems. But anyway, this is another drafting game, but you are trying to eliminate the other players. I’m not going to say too much about this one as I don’t think three players is a very good player count for it and that’s what we played at. It has some interesting give and take aspects in it, but I think it’s going to fall into the “more the merrier” line. Just remember this is a Smirk and Dagger game though, it can be a bit confrontational at times, which isn’t bad, just like to make folks aware of that. I would play it again, just to see, but I’m in no rush to go out and pick this one up.
Also on Thursday I finished up a game of Castles of Burgundy on boiteajeux with Brad and Kate. This one took us awhile, since one of us likes to pretend to be too busy to play games all day. But we got through it and surprise the guy who didn’t rush through it, got the win by 4 points. I started scoring too late, but I did manage to grab a couple bonus tiles to add to the map that got me within those 4 points, I’m honestly surprised I ended up scoring that much, but all around this one was fairly close, usually our games of Castles have at least one of us being back pretty far but this one ended 214-210-197, everyone pretty close and within a few tiles of winning. I still love playing Castles, mostly played on boiteajeux though, but that was my 82nd play combined online and on the table.
Other than that, only one other game was played this week and I played it a whopping 5 times so far, but that’s pretty easy as it’s a small box solo/two player game, but I’ve only been playing solo so far. Onirim is a card game for 1 to 2 players where you are trying to navigate through dreams to find the 8 doors to get out. I’ve only played the basic game so far and I think the box came with something like 7 expansions to add to the game to make it more challenging, or at least make it feel a bit different in the challenge, but I’m having a hard enough time with the basic game that I’m not sure that adding expansions is the best idea right now. The game is hard, at least for me it has been. In the five games I’ve played the most I’ve been able to get is 5 of the 8 doors. But you start to see different strategies and try them and fall on your face or get a bit farther so you keep trying. I dig it, and hopefully I can get Gabby to play this one too and see what she thinks about it. I’ll post more about Onirim and Sylvion as I get more plays of them, right now, I’m still just trying to wrap my brain around it all.
Star Realms, oh Star Realms, I really don’t know what to think. Suddenly I’m back to winning more than losing and it’s just really weird as I seriously don’t change anything to do with my starting tactics. Maybe I’m back to adjusting to the available cards better or maybe I’m not using Play All as much as I normally do. I believe in league I have hit 4 wins and 5 losses, getting back to 500 again. Once again, thank you all for the games, even when you are kicking my butt, keep the challenges coming and I’ll keep accepting.
Chris and Joe from the Cardboard Architects are back with us to talk a little bit about what they’ve been playing, but putting a bit of a designer spin on it. Take it away guys!
Time 15:44 in the podcast
Thank you for that guys, I’m the same way with Star Realms, but I’ve played the physical copy probably a dozen times, now most of that is because Gabby likes playing it that way, but also I do enjoy it as well. My 725 games online though are to me based on the fact that it’s horribly convenient to play a game that I enjoy that way and also, it takes away all the fiddliness of scoring and moving cards around. I can definitely see where Joe is coming from on it though, it really is a solitaire game in building your deck, even though you do go head to head, the interaction is minimal, and Dominion is the same way, but I enjoy Dominion almost because of that, it allows me to look at everything and try to find that card engine that works together, rather than have to worry about what someone else is going to do to me. But then again, I like multiplayer solitaire games a lot of the time, I’m kinda weird like that. Thank you guys for hopping in and joining us this week, even though you did just put in Blue Jays propaganda on a Royals dominated podcast.
Alright, before we talk about Kickstarter and all the other stuff we normally talk about, I thought I’d answer a question that was posted in our guilds, well, one of a few questions that we received. Please feel free to add more, we’ll hopefully answer more as we go. But Aaron and Stephanie wanted to know if we had played RPGs before or if we still do. Well, here’s the answer.
I never played RPGs while growing up, in fact, I wasn’t a huge gamer for the most part either. I was the kid who was into sports, but played video games too, but even those were usually sports related games except for the normal Zelda and Mario games, not a lot of fantasy or RPGs. My taste in video games did eventually evolve and I started playing more RPGs on the Xbox and the PS3 eventually and that kind of got me to try my first tabletop RPG three years or so ago. We tried to get a regular group together for a D&D 4th edition campaign, well what happened was I tried to get us together for a regular board gaming night, we played Super Dungeon Explore, Formula D, Legend of Drizzt and met a couple times, but then they all started discussing D&D and wanting to get a group together for that, so that group evolved into an RPG group and I joined in and I had a good time, but D&D 4th was the complete opposite of what I thought a tabletop RPG was supposed to be, we weren’t really role playing much, we were more or less playing with miniatures on a table, discussing tactics and rolling dice so I kind of fell out of that and the 4th ed campaign eventually just went Poof. The rest of the guys have been working on a 2nd ed campaign and have been for a couple years, but only meeting sporadically. But I have heard talk of a 5th edition campaign being run with the same group so I can hopefully get into that, as I actually went and bought the beginner box as soon as it was announced because I really want to try one and have fun with it. I’ve also got Mouse Guard sitting here, that never got played because I just don’t think I was up for running one, plus Gabby was really the only person I could get interested enough to even think about rolling up a character, and now the 2nd edition is out and available so once again, I’m behind the times. I also have a couple other books around that I wanted to try with the kiddos but the time never worked out, Hero’s Quest and Fairies Tale. And I’ve bought two copies of Fiasco but they’ve never been played by me, Brad and Kate have borrowed the book and have played it at least once, but I was not part of that play. Online I have played a couple games on RPGGeek during the play initiative, a couple years ago I played Do Pilgrims of the Flying Temple and I really enjoyed that one, but it’s more of a story telling game and I think that’s why I enjoyed it and then last year I was part of playing Monster of the Week, which was awesome, but completely carried by the other people in our group as I was lost through a lot of it, just not sure of what my part in the party was going to be for a lot of it. I did eventually get comfortable but man, my role playing was nowhere near the level of some of the others. More than board games, role playing games seem to require a lot of time, time that I don’t seem to have, I’d love to, but I don’t. Maybe if I didn’t play so many board games I would though, but I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon. In case you are wondering, video game RPG wise I’ve loved quite a few of them, but the one that really got me going into RPGs was World of Warcraft.
Kickstarter World’s Fair 1893 has about 9 days left on the campaign and is sitting at just shy of $33k in funding, really an amazing number I think and I can’t wait to see what these last few days hold as far as backers go. We’ve been voting on which exhibits and such we would like to see in the game as we progress through the campaign. Honestly, this campaign has been kind of nice, no worries about stretch goals, just interacting with the creators and giving some feedback though voting. Once again, if you haven’t heard our review, be sure to check the pinned post on the blog, or also go back to Week 44 of the podcast and around the 8:28 mark we talk about it and give a review there as well, plus my lovely wife Kerensa joins me to talk about it as well.
Great Dinosaur Rush is sitting at just over $18 funding with 36 days to go in this loooong campaign. It has funded, Spiel week was good to the campaign and now we are on to working on some stretch goals. I do worry about this one getting lost in the shuffle a little bit just due to the length of the campaign but being that it’s Ape Games teaming up with Scott Almes I trust that it’s going to pick up the pace pretty soon.
Which brings us to the new game that I am backing, Kodama from Action Phase Games and designer Daniel Solis. For those familiar with Daniel Solis’ work, you may recognize a part of this game from his game Kigi, which I believe is available from Drive Thru Cards online as well as a really nice Japanese version. But it seems that Travis from Action Phase Games liked Kigi and wanted to work with Daniel to get it onto Kickstarter with a couple changes.
Here are the differences in Kigi and Kodama: THEME: In Kodama, players cultivate homes (trees) for the kodama. PLACEMENT: In Kodama, there is no pruning, but rather a 10 point scoring cap for placement that encourages diversity while leaving players with a beautiful tree by the end of the game. Additionally, players now only place branches on their own trees. FEATURES: Not only are all of the features updated to help represent the theme, there are now six features as opposed to five. GOALS: In Kigi, goals came in the form of Commission cards that were shuffled into the branch deck. Now, players are dealt four kodama cards, three of which they will score over three seasons. SEASONS: Play is now divided into three seasons: Spring, Summer, and Fall. At the beginning of each season a Decree will be revealed which will add or amend a rule in the game--adding more replayability and strategy to placement. After placing four branches, players will select one of their Kodama cards to score. At the end of three seasons, players score a final Kodama card and a winner is determined!
In Kodama, the players are growing a tree through placement of limb cards, being careful to allow for room for growth. At the end of each round Kodama will award points based on how well you filled its needs with your tree. This one really looks like it’s going to be a beautiful game on the table, it gives off a little feel of Greatest Treehouse Ever, without the card drafting, instead you are choosing your limb cards from a central display of cards. At $19 this one was really a no brainer for us, but we went ahead and backed it at $27 for the upgraded edition with the extra decree cards, Kodama cards and some wooden bits with stickers. At $41k we’ve already unlocked 6 of the stretch goals, but the $50k one looks really interesting as it’ll make the game a bit more accessible for even younger kiddos to get them playing with you.
Acquisitions So, I was chatting around on Twitter earlier in the week and I happened upon a conversation where a certain person, whom I really trust about games, called a certain game jokingly, “Farming for Trains”. Immediately my eyes opened wide and I searched through the conversation to see that they were talking about Snowdonia. Snowdonia has been on my wishlist for quite awhile now, so after asking a couple questions and getting nothing but positive responses, I searched it out and was going to order it from Miniature Market was doing their 10% off everything sale for Halloween, but that sale broke their site in about 2 minutes and they cancelled the sale. So then I turned to the mighty Amazon and found it for cheaper, so I bought it on the spot and it arrived on Thursday. If you really want to know how our collection of games has grown over the past three years or so, this is a perfect example. Word of mouth from people I trust, it’s just too bad I trust quite a few people, and they like way too many games. My 2015 Acquisitions Geeklist on Board Game Geek has grown to almost 3 full pages, now, not all of those are purchases, and most of those Kickstarter games listed have not arrived on our doorstep yet, but they will eventually, I was so happy to see the last update for Forged in Steel and Project Dreamscape, but still, almost 75 games in a year is quite a few, I’m glad I was keeping track this year, hopefully this helps quell 2016 a little bit, but we’ll see.
Podcasts So, since we were talking about RPGs a little bit, I thought I would mention a couple podcasts that I listen to that talk RPGs. First off I am not going to say The Secret Cabal, while I love the Cabal, I rarely have time to listen to an entire podcast from them, so what usually gets dropped is the RPG stuff, I’ll listen to their reviews and the news and that’s about it anymore. For my RPG fix I kind of like what the Board With Life group is doing, they are giving us two different RPG sessions in two different shows, one using the Apocalypse World campaign called Houses and Humans and another cast using D&D 5th which is hosted on Board With Life Radio. I believe that Houses and Humans is done right now, I’ve not listened to the last couple episodes but it hasn’t been updated since September 10th, I really do need to catch up with it. Now, before everyone jumps in and listens to them, I will say that they do contain explicit language at times, I’m fine with it, it’s my ears, but just wanted to warn everyone. Now, both of those are podcasts with actual gameplay, as for other RPG podcasts I listen to, I do enjoy The Mad Adventurers Society Potelbat, but from what I understand any of the Mad Adventurers Society podcasts should be good to listen to. I’ve also recently started listening to Out of Character with Jon Forrester. He really likes to cover a lot of different aspects of role playing games and just gaming in general over his podcast and I’ve learned quite a bit from listening. The Gaming and BS podcast is another that I listen to from time to time when they have something that may be of interest to me, like this past week they covered what it takes to jump from player to Game Master. There is one other that I listen to as well, should have grouped it up with the actual play podcasts, but it’s The Adventure Zone. I’d say if you’re looking for a little RPG adventure in your podcasts, you won’t go wrong with any of these.
Okay, I think I am going to wrap up Week 47 right here with a nice fancy role playing bow and pose a question for folks in the guild or outside the guild. What is your favorite RPG setting, and what would be your favorite class to play. Or, if you’re more into the independent RPGs like Fiasco and such, what is your favorite RPG system?
Don’t forget, we love feedback and I hope that you all can see that any feedback that we’ve gotten so far we’ve tried to run with and make the show better. I’m thinking of adding bumper music in between segments as that’s something that I’ve always been told is a good thing to do to make the show sound more professional, but that’s not going to be an immediate thing, but I’ll be working on finding the right music to guide us through segments. Also, if anyone, and I mean anyone, wants to contribute, we’d love it. I like making this show with a few more voices than mine and my family, which I need to get back on soon, but they’ve been busy, well most of them have, AnnaBeth has no excuse. Just shoot me a message on Board Game Geek, Twitter, email or smoke signals for that matter. Just let me know. Also, I hate to ask for reviews, but I’d love to see a review or two up on iTunes if folks have the time and feel like they’d like to give us a good review.
But most of all I just want to say, Thank you for listening and we’ll be back next week at the same time, same place. Have a great week!