surrealcouchuniverse

"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." – Dean Martin


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Why I Love: Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven is the number 1 game on board game geek. In fact, it probably doesn’t need any explanation as to its strong or weak points as their are plenty of articles written about it. But I will add my own take on it anyway.

Gloomhaven is a tactical dungeon-crawler game. Going into expecting something greatly more than this is not advised. Unlike 7th Continent or Kingdom Death, there isn’t allot of exploration. Travelling is presented as drawing a card and choosing from the (sometimes) 2 limited options. The main choices you make are which dungeon you are tackling next (such as do you help the merchant guild or team up with the people raiding the guild). Most the complaints I read about Gloomhaven seem to be from people expecting the game to be this massive, epic story. But it isn’t.

What it is is a very slick dungeon crawl with allot of unique mechanisms. The obvious thing is how you choose actions by working through a hand of cards, with your options slowly reducing with time and damage. This deck gives each character its unique abilities. There aren’t a bunch of special rules to apply, with each character being effectively the same mechanisms in a bunch of health and figure on a map. But your gadget-filled tinkerer is presented by a bunch of one-shot, big effect cards. Your brutes size is presented by attacks that add push or pull. This also works with enemies, with archers having a bunch of sniper actions while zombies just shamble. It is amazing the diversity these decks give to players without bogging down the characters with a bunch of special rules.

That is really the greatest thing about it. Otherwise, the amount of content is superb, with extra print-and-play scenarios out there. A normal dungeon crawl would’ve just given you the starting classes and the scenario. Class unlocks, city prosperity and gear unlocks, and the random dungeon generator really add to the fun of the game. Being able to upgrade cards and also unlocking perks and deck options adds to the fun of each class. Everything in the game works together and makes a very fun game.

Now, while I said you should just be expecting a dungeon crawl, it is really the extra stuff that I said to ignore that elevate it. Unlocking characters, unlocking new missions and areas of the city, and choosing who to throw your allegiance behind keep you interested. It may not be the most prominent part of the game with an hours story between missions (just a 5 minute paragraph, often read by one player while the others set stuff up), but it keeps the world feeling alive.

Because in this world, this isn’t the story of your characters. It is the story of Gloomhaven and how it evolves over time.

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Shadows of the Deep- Part 1 (Set-Up)

Shadows of the Deep is a new Frostgrave miniature game. However, it is a co-operative/solo adventure game as opposed to a skirmish game. I thought I would write down my general thoughts working through the game. The first part is set-up.

Shiro is my Ranger. Shiro has some fire based magic (Shield of Fire (light), Burning Mark) and is a skilled fighter. He is a very blunt instrument, not having too many skills to back him up. Instead, his abilities let him get up close and personal with critical hits and defense to mitigate against any poor rolling.

Shiro is backed up by the TMB Bones crew (used for name inspiration). Stanza the Conjuror gives some magical healing and support. Tink the Guardsmen helps gets up close and personal with Shiro. The last 3 companions are Duster the Tracker, and Ghillie and Patch the Crossbowmen. There main roll is to keep Shiro and Tink from being overwhelmed and to soften up those tough enemies.

So that is the crew of 6 brave heroes. The warband is definitely more geared to range and brute force over skills or subtlety. Together, they are going to make the brave plunge into the deep.


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Recent Games In

So a bunch of recent games have come in. Amongst the games that have come in have been the following:

Architects of the West Kingdom: A really neat game with an interesting mechanic about building up a worker pool but also capturing others workers. Everything in it works well.

Century: Eastern Wonders: The sequel to Spice Road. I mainly got it to combine with Spice Road for the combined game rather than as a stand-alone game.

Spy Club: Looks like a pretty light-hearted game involving matching clues to eventually solve a case that can change organically. Color me intrigued.

Folklore The Affliction: Well this seems like a dark DnD campaign in a box. Really looking forward to playing through the campaign, especially with the expansions.

Haven: A really sweet looking 2-player game with a mixture of hand management, risk management, battle-line type control, and assymetric player powers.


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Kickstarter Quick Thoughts: 26 November 2018

Another month and another big bunch of Kickstarter’s have come out. Here are my quick thoughts on them.

REICHBUSTERS: PROJECT VRIL by MYTHIC GAMES: A game that launched with a bunch of miniatures and some gameplay that seems to combine stealth with action. In this regards, it reminds me of Zombicide: Green Horde but slightly more in depth. The theme is definitely the selling point here as the gameplay doesn’t inspire me over games such as Gears of War. Pass.

ATLANTIS RISING by ELF CREEK GAMES: A reprint of a game that attempts to fix some of the issues of the first printing. It looks like a worker placement version of Forbidden Island and gives me Spirit Island vibes. Those are two games I like. Backed.

GRIND HOUSE by EVERYTHING EPIC: A game that seems based on a mixture of Survivor and Saw. It sounds okay but, compared to other Kickstarter games on offer, doesn’t really seem to offer anything inspiring, unfortunately, to make it worthwhile to take the plunge. Pass.

PERDITION’S MOUTH: CANNIBAL HOWL: A small expansion to one of my favorite dungeon crawlers. This game has fallen a little as I think Gloomhaven does this game a bit better mechanism-wise, but this is still an interesting game. One day I will get around to the campaign. Backed.

DUNGEON UNIVERSALIS by LUDUS MAGNUS GAMES: This game is from a first time Kickstarter and seems to be doing really well. It is far too expensive for my tastes but can’t deny its success. I can’t quite figure out what is so special about it but if it that good I can hopefully get a second printing down the road. Pass.


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Music Additions to Playlist: 20th November 2018

Overall a weaker bunch of songs. I don’t actually see too many of these lasting on my playlist 6 months from now.

ROSES by OUTKAST: A resurgence of a song that kind-of comes in and drops off my list every so often. The high-energy, nearly manic song is juxtaposed by quite sober lyrics.

BETTER NOW by POST MALONE: More of a chilled out song. The lyrics don’t actually seem very chilled, but the beat just feels very slow and deliberate.

RISE by JONAS BLUE, JACK & JACK: This is just an upbeat song about being young and rebellious and happy. I like how it seems to build to a chorus and throughout the song.

GIRLS LIKE YOU by MAROON 5: Maroon 5 make another Maroon 5 song. A catchy beat and lyrics that don’t really make much sense together. I don’t think this will be on my list for long.

YOUNGBLOOD by 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER: A very inconsistent song. I’m not quite sure what it is actually about but the constant shifting of genres and the dead-man walking part make it catchy for me.


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Board Game Culls

So after another round of culls recently, I thought I would update on my culls and the reasons for it.

Swords and Sorcery- Probably my favorite pure dungeon crawler. However, it is hard to get to the table. Also the amount extra I would have to pay to get the final acts and the extra heroes means I am dis-inclined to continue playing it with Gloomhaven available. Especially after seeing how much the latest Kickstarter was.

DnD Adventure System (Drizzt and Ravenloft)- Two more dungeon crawlers acquired through maths trades. I thought this had a purpose as a quick and light dungeon crawl but it just never hit the table.

Pathfinder Wrath of the Righteous- Unfortunately, this has been replaced by Adventuria. Regardless, this is a very swingy game which really doesn’t match the set-up required. Also the scenario is just so hard compared to the pay-off.

One Deck Dungeon- I still really enjoy it. However, I mainly played it solo and the app has just completely replaced the tabletop game for me. So still a great game that I play the app for.


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Why I Love: 7th Continent

7th Continent was probably the most ambitious game I backed on Kickstarter. A first time creator promising such a huge game would have been enough to make me skip it. However, Rhado came to my rescue by making me look twice at this game. And then making me go all in.

I do love this game. This game is all about exploration and stories. But it doesn’t feel like they have shoehorned them in. The mechanisms of the game compliment the feeling of pushing your luck, trying to do more and more with less and less just so you have a chance of getting through the adventure in one piece.

The game is ambitious. It also wears its ambition on its sleeve. This is a game that you need to be prepared to go for the long haul, resting, hunting and surviving as you try to decipher some nearly inadequate clues to reach the end. And at any moment, a giant rockworm or cyclone may force you to completely change where you were planning on going.

This isn’t a perfect game, though. Sometimes the clues or pathway feel a bit arbitrary, as you are blindly trying to stumble on a clue. Also, the card quality could’ve been a slight bit better as the cards are used constantly and are prone to showing wear and tear.

I love this game and it is my favorite exploration game and my favorite game that can tell immersive stories. After they have completed fulfilment of the next Kickstarter, I am eager to learn what else the designers have in store.