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  1. #1

    What board games are you playing?

    It's a shame that there isn't a currently-running thread on this topic, so I figured I'd start one.

    My group manages to get together weekly, though we have wildly inconsistent numbers. We get at least 4 and as many as 15+, and play from 8pm to around 2 or 3am, depending on how long it takes things to wrap up.

    This last Friday we had a smaller gathering (only 6 players), but we were able to get in three good games.

    First, my friends Elliott and Adam played a game of The Valkyrie Incident while they waited for everyone else to show up. Neither had played before, and they both agreed it's the best of the recent trio of Small Box Games releases (the others being Shadow of the Sun and Stone & Relic). I recently agreed with their assessment in my review. They were highly involved in it, and they're both our resident Analysis Paralysis sufferers, so it was quite a long game around an hour, despite a regular playtime of about 30 minutes. Elliott won by a sizable amount because Adam had significantly flubbed his first draft phase, but they still both had a good time.

    Once people arrived, we played a quick game of Master Plan from the recent Minigame Library from Level 99 Games while we waited to see if anyone else was going to show up. Lots of fun and laughter, and we all agreed that it's a really fun filler game held back a bit by its lack of variety. My review here. It's the first "real-space" game I've played meaning that you can place cards anywhere on the table, as they're the spaces your pieces move between as you play.

    Lastly, we played a lengthy session of Space Cadets. We all liked it, though it was a learning session, so it took longer than it's supposed to and we're still not entirely sure quite how everything works together. I started out as taking the Helm (and steering the ship into all sorts of asteroid fields) and working the Jump Drive, but an early Shift Change put me as acting Captain. We barely jumped out after scooping up our objective (three crystals) and weathering a strong assault very gripping, very tense. I suspect I like Space Alert a bit better for my real-time space-disaster gaming goodness, but it was still a lot of fun, and we'll try it again in the future.

    Has anyone tried any of these? What board games are you playing?

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    There's one here
    "Halo is designed to make the player think "I look like that, I am macho sitting in my undies with my xbox""

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  3. #3
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    I'll bite:

    The Resistance: Avalon got a few plays recently and I thought it was ace, the Merlin mechanic really improves on the game by giving the spies something to actually figure out during the game, rather than just be focused on lying. Now the good guys are trying to figure out the spies, and the spies are trying to figure out Merlin.

    Played a first game of Libertalia which... is a strange game - hard to explain why, though it's very good. It's sort of a vastly simplified deck-builder with tons of player interaction thrown in instead. You're looking for combos for cards, but getting those cards out safely requires reading and bluffing your opponents.

    Finally got the Fantasy Flight edition of Cosmic Encounter on the table and it's just as crazy as ever. Never have I seen a game with so many possible combinations. There were four of us, and by the end of the game I could see 2 or 3 different strategies I could have taken to do better under those circumstances. Circumstances that will never occur again, as the four of us each randomly chose one alien (each with their own power) from a deck of (currently) 110 aliens. And that's even before you add in other stuff from the expansions like rewards deck, tech and hazards. If your group like talking loads, and seeing crazy weird interactions of mechanics happen then it's well worth it.

    Speaking of crazy weird stuff, we're 9 games in to Risk: Legacy, the game that re-started my board game obsession and got this current game group together. That game is wonderful - lots has been written about the stuff you do to permanently mark the board, and the unlocks that completely change the rules when certain stuff happens, but what's not mentioned much is the 15-game campaign for ultimate naming rights on the board. It adds a level of investment to the whole thing (especially if you can play with the same group the entire campaign) and you'll end up spending time after the game or the following day thinking and planning on just what you can do or how you can approach the next couple of games to do something surprising and manage a win.

  4. #4
    With the exception of Risk Legacy, I've played and enjoyed all of those. The Resistance: Avalon is definitely excellent with the right group, and I agree that the Merlin mechanic gives the spies something interesting to do (and gives a much-needed boost to the good guys). It occupies a funny place with my group because they prefer the theme of the original Resistance, but can't stand to play without the various boards and character cards from Avalon.

    Libertalia is indeed a strange one. I never feel the urge to play it, but when I get talked into it I always have a lot of fun. I always find myself wishing it had more though.

    I have Risk Legacy but I haven't found the time to play it yet. I play with two gaming groups, one with four players (consisting of me, my wife, and my two friends who rent my basement, so they're always available for games) and an every-Friday gathering that fields anywhere from 6 to 15, so I don't have that sweet spot 5-player number that I'd want for a Risk Legacy series of games. What I really need to do is figure out a fifth person who can play with my regular 4-person group, but the two people I've recommended have been vetoed by the other members of the group.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    I'd say you'd be best trying to play it on your Friday group, unless you actually play a game with that many at once?

    If you brought a 5th into your four man group, what do you do when everyone wants to play but it's only a four person game?
    "Halo is designed to make the player think "I look like that, I am macho sitting in my undies with my xbox""

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  6. #6
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    We're playing Risk Legacy with five, but there's nothing I've seen that would throw of the game balance playing with four instead. There's more room to spread out, so potentially bigger armies, but it's offset by having one fewer HQ on the board, making it tougher to get VPs that way.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Berzee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    Played a first game of Libertalia which... is a strange game - hard to explain why, though it's very good. It's sort of a vastly simplified deck-builder with tons of player interaction thrown in instead. You're looking for combos for cards, but getting those cards out safely requires reading and bluffing your opponents.
    I recently bought Libertalia as well, and I think it's brilliant. Not sure the rest of my family / board-gaming-group is *quite* so enthusiastic about it, but they all seem to like it. =) We've only played through full games with 6 players (the maximum) so far, so maybe the out-guessing gets a little more strategic when there aren't quite so many people to outguess. =P It's definitely a game where your plans will go wrong as often as not, but it's all piratey and fresh and new and parrots and monkeys! And everyone getting dealt exactly the same cards makes it feel very fair even when things aren't going your way (except when you have the lowest-ranked monkey :P).

    7 Wonders (Leaders expansion now) is still the game of choice among my people, though. There's so many clever ways to try to win, and not having to wait for your turn to come around again because they're simultaneous is really nice (also a nice thing about the character-selection part of Libertalia).

    I also randomly found some Fantasy Flight games "Inkognito" and "King's Gate" at Goodwill for <= $2 apiece, and I will just say...they were alright for the price. =P Inkognito is like a less-awful version of Clue without dice-rolling, for 4 players (it says you can play with 2 players but NEVER DO IT, it's THE WORST)...the deductions are kind of fun but sometimes you can go 4 or 6 or 8 rounds without even getting to do anything (as happened to my mother the one time she played). King's Gate is actually pretty fun if you're up for staring at a chaotic board covered in numbers, doing a bunch of basic arithmetic in your head and occasionally being clever -- but it feels like a game that you break out when you want to play something novel after 100 games of 7 Wonders, rather than a game that becomes a regular part of the rotation.
    Support for my all-pepperjack-cheese food bank charity drive has been lukewarm at best.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    If you brought a 5th into your four man group, what do you do when everyone wants to play but it's only a four person game?
    We wouldn't bring in the new guy permanently. Just for Risk Legacy nights. :) We wouldn't want to do it with our main Friday group because we like to shift things around and play with different people.

    I'm sure it would be fine with 4, but I can't escape the feeling I'd be missing out on something. Five players sounds like such a great dynamic for that game (I've read the rules and seen it played a couple times), I'd be afraid playing with four would be dominated by two rough alliances. At any rate, I need to either figure out a fifth player or just shut up and settle on four.

    In other news, last night I had a great Summoner Wars match with my wife. SW is easily my favorite board game out there, and it's the one that got my current group together it still makes it to the table about half of our game nights. This time it was Phoenix Elves vs. The Filth. The Phoenix Elves are punks who have loads of precise attacks that get guaranteed hits instead of rolling dice; the Filth are cultists who mutate their troops into hideous new forms. The elves were keeping ahead by killing off all my expensive mutations, though at the end I managed to create a powerful combo by mutating two cultists intoa fast Bestial Mutant and a Flying Mutant, who proceeded to gang up on the elven summoner to barely win the game. Very close, the way SW often is, and very fun.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    How easy to pick up is SW? I've been meaning to get it but my LFGS has been out of it for a while and they can't get an order in just yet.

    It looks very entertaining. Me and my girlfriend are trying to find card and board games that work well with two players
    "Halo is designed to make the player think "I look like that, I am macho sitting in my undies with my xbox""

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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    How easy to pick up is SW? I've been meaning to get it but my LFGS has been out of it for a while and they can't get an order in just yet.

    It looks very entertaining. Me and my girlfriend are trying to find card and board games that work well with two players
    It's one of those "easy to learn, hard to master" types. I've taught it to around 50 people now, and all but a couple have figured out the basics within maybe fifteen minutes. The more advanced stuff, like some of the trickier factions and designing your own decks, are all optional. And it's great for two players — I play with my wife 3-4 times a week. We even did a series of matches that I wrote about over on my blog. You can also play with 4, but then it kind of drags.

    If you're interested in picking it up, any of the three starter sets are pretty good. Phoenix Elves vs. Tundra Orcs is probably the most immediately balanced, since the goblins in Guild Dwarves vs. Cave Goblins are a little tougher to learn. The Master Set comes with 6 full races, and many of them are good for beginners (the Mountain Vargath, Sand Goblins, and Shadow Elves being the best options, while the Benders, Swamp Orcs, and Deep Dwarves require a good grasp of some strategy).

    I definitely recommend it. I've never had quite so much fun with a two-player game.

  11. #11
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    Due to some personal home problems I am not playing any game. But to be honest I am trying to complete "The habbit". I really like to play this game "the hobbit" game is not just the game is also like a movie and have so many thrills.



    Last edited by Carver; 15-01-2014 at 08:51 AM.
    Have a wonderful day!

  12. #12
    Network Hub Gerbick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Innocent View Post
    I play with my wife 3-4 times a week. We even did a series of matches that I wrote about over on my blog.

    I definitely recommend it. I've never had quite so much fun with a two-player game.
    Sounds like it might tick most of the boxes for me and my wife too. How long does each match take?

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Gerbick View Post
    Sounds like it might tick most of the boxes for me and my wife too. How long does each match take?
    About 45 minutes to a little over an hour, depending on how Analysis Paralysis prone you are.

  14. #14
    Network Hub Gerbick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Innocent View Post
    About 45 minutes to a little over an hour, depending on how Analysis Paralysis prone you are.
    Sounds spot on time-wise. Added to my boardgame wishlist. I'll also have to read your playthroughs.

    Anyway, to veer more on-topic, today I played Smallworld (+ Cursed mini-expansion) with my two sons (6 and 9). I lost. And I didn't even 'let them win'. I did realise half-way through that my in-decline Underground Dwarves should still be earning me tokens, but the margin was still big enough at the end for that not to have mattered. Will ask for a rematch tomorrow!

    A thought occured to me after playing, and that was recording the game (players, races used, end points total etc) for future geeky stats usage. Do any of you guys do that?

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Gerbick View Post
    Anyway, to veer more on-topic, today I played Smallworld (+ Cursed mini-expansion) with my two sons (6 and 9). I lost. And I didn't even 'let them win'. I did realise half-way through that my in-decline Underground Dwarves should still be earning me tokens, but the margin was still big enough at the end for that not to have mattered. Will ask for a rematch tomorrow!

    A thought occured to me after playing, and that was recording the game (players, races used, end points total etc) for future geeky stats usage. Do any of you guys do that?
    I love Small World. It isn't the best game out there (playing with kids that age is probably just right), but I owe it a debt of gratitude because it's the one that got me back into board games after a few years away. Unfortunately, we overplayed it, so even though we've picked up all the expansions, it's now lost a bit of its spark. Though the most recent expansion lets you create custom maps, breathing some life back into it.

    As for recording my games... Not sure how many people go to the effort, but I'm one of them. I probably focus on it too much, tbh there are a few games that I like doing it for, like DungeonQuest, where it's rare enough for anybody to win that writing their name, score, and the date on the inside of the box feels right. Or for Summoner Wars, where we keep a running tally of who's ahead. Though for most of the games I play, there isn't much point. It's not like I look back on those records and sigh at what good times we had. Well, not often, anyway. :)

    Anyway, this week's game night was another smaller one. I suspect the end of the semester is taking its toll. Even so, we were able to play four rad games.

    I'm fascinated by deckbuilding games that aren't only about the deckbuilding, so I've been playing quite a lot of Core Worlds lately. It's a cross between "pure" deckbuilding games like Dominion and "deckbuilding-plus-boardgame" stuff like Mage Knight and City of Remnants. And I really like it. Thematically, each player is a barbarian star kingdom encroaching into the power vacuum left by the collapse of a major Galactic Empire. You travel through different sectors, from "barbaric" and "frontier" worlds through "industrial" and "luxury" and beyond, conquering planets and laying claim to massive capital ships, elite infantry squads, experimental projects, heroes, etc. It's simple to learn but it can be quite tricky to strike a balance between maintaining your space power, ground power, abilities, and an economy, all while generating victory points.

    Next we played City of Remnants again. It's the new game from Plaid Hat Games, and it comes out later this week (I managed to get it about a month early because I preordered). This was my seventh game, and I finally felt like I'd figured it out well enough to write a review. Overall I enjoy it, though it's definitely a bit fiddly it kind of reminds me of the type of stuff Fantasy Flight Games was putting out a few years ago: big, ambitious, and it has some really, really weird rules. It's one of the few games that my group has ever been divided on, which is unfortunate because I want to like it. Probably more than I actually do.

    We also played Blades of Legend from the Minigame Library from Level 99 Games. Of the six games in the library, this is the one with the lowest ranks over on The Geek, but I wanted to review it anyway , so we soldiered through (I have no choice, I'm a completionist, and we'd already started with Master Plan last week). The concept is cool: it's a hidden teams game where two players are warring Masters and everyone else is a Wielder caught between, and other than your own allegiance, you're never sure who's supporting which Master. Lots of colorful weapons and an interesting idea didn't save this one from being sort of boring. The rules are illogical, you don't do much during your turn, there's lots of downtime, and there's no reliable way to deduce who's allied with whom. I'm hoping the others turn out better; I'm hopeful because next week we're doing Infinity Dungeon, which Rab Florence absolutely loved.

    Finally, we played Infiltration again. It's awesome. And fast. And thematic. And has a great risk-vs-reward mechanic. And really nothing else but for some reason that's enough.

  16. #16
    I'm assuming you guys have played Citadels, that's my favorite.

  17. #17
    Network Hub Olero's Avatar
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    Tzolk'in, which is a rather clever worker placement game with cogs and corn. What more do you want? Well, I'd like to actually win a game, but that's a matter of time I guess, right? Nothing to do with strategies and bad timing. None at all!

    Also looking to buy Libertalia!, which sounds great. But I have to be careful not to have another backlog with boardgames as well, so I'll wait some more.
    Mijn Uitlaatklep - My (Dutch) blog about games, music and more

  18. #18
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    Halo is designed to make the player think.I like to play it due its licensing and having proper trade mark and copyrights.
    Citadels is good to play but Halo is simply the best.



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  19. #19
    I've heard Tzolk'in is really great, but I hate worker placement. How would that affect it?

  20. #20
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    It won't bring you around if you dislike the basics of low interaction and high optimisation. If you're just tired of the mechanic from over-familiarity then the cogs add something but you're still going to be staring at the board working out whether it's better to place on cog A or cog B. I enjoy it plenty, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone who doesn't like worker placement.

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