surrealcouchuniverse

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


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KICKSTARTER QUICK THOUGHTS: 27th JUNE 2018

So another big month of Kickstarters with allot of good projects coming out. Here is my thoughts on some of them.

KUNG-FU PANDA by MODIPHUS ENTERTAINMENT:  A real-time co-operative game where you are going through a board. Based on the Escape the Temple system, I am concerned with how much say the designer doesn’t have (similar to Orcs Must Die!). But I like the theme. I will have to check later to see whether the big box is worthwhile with the lack of content compared to normal. Backed for now.

HUNTERS AD 2114 by ALBRITCH: Looks like a cool game where you are hunting robots co-operatively. I really liked Exiled: Siege but hope some component and rulebook lessons are learned. Backed but will check the rulebook closely prior to deciding.

TANG GARDEN by BISI: A game that looks really pretty and promises a relaxing stroll, which sounds like Tokaido or that game where you are painting the emperor. Nothing in it really grabs me too much. It looks nice and I am on an early bird, but I predict a few people will be dropping off at the end. It does have a solo mode, which keeps me more interested. Backed (for now).

CARD CITY XL THE CRIME EXPANSION by VIARD: This seems like a cool game but it is in a crowded genre of grid tableau builder (or that is what it seems like). The original game didn’t get much buzz, but it seems allot of people came back for the expansion, which gives my more confidence. Reassess later.

SOLOMON KANE by MYTHIC GAMES: The concept looks interesting. But it seems like Unicornus Knights. Unicornus Knights does it better in my opinion, with you all having your own physical character rather than collectively just influencing the one character. I was excited but didn’t seem too interesting playing it long term for the price. Passed.

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Books and Messages

I am reading a book at the moment. The premise and the writing are good, but the authors constant efforts to get his views and beliefs into the story are very odd and break any immersion.

The book is an end-of-the-world book. This is okay. However, the author clearly had contempt for middle-class contentment. He also can’t decide about family (good or bad), so just goes to he extreme for each other.

This breaks the story continuously. The world has effectively ended, and people are still concerned about the weight they put on when they had children. At one stage, they are in a bunker and are taking about why they didn’t do a fun run.

I wish the author just stuck to what is important. As I said, the premise is interesting. It is just so hard to get immersed in these characters.


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Kickstarter Quick Thoughts- 16 June 2018

So another big month of Kickstarters with some big ones launching now. Here are my thoughts:

Solomon Kane- A miniature story game that has players trying to guide a protagonist through a horde of enemies. Characters collectively control a single character. Seems interesting and the campaign is well run but also potentially annoying with a single characters actions being split over multiple people. Did not back.

Neta Tanka- A worker placement game from the company that made Outlive. It has a similar interesting take on semi-coop mechanics. A good track record makes this an easy choice to back. Backed.

Solar City- A solar punk games that seems interesting. However, it looks like games can easily become frustrating because of the blocking mechanics. Quadropolis looks like a better version of the same mechanic, although with a less interesting theme. Passed.

Creatures and Cupcakes- A cute little racing game about pushing your luck and racing to the finish line. Seems swingy and a bit too light. Also the lacklustre campaign isn’t helping matters. Pass.

Kung Fu Panda- A Kung-fu Panda game using the Escape mechanics. Seems fun. Backed.

So a few projects have launched. A few bigger ones have also finished up. Maybe I will post about them soon.


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Why I Love: 7 Wonders

7 Wonders is one of my favorite card games to play with large groups and small. There are some good reasons why I continue to like this game and continues to be played regularly.

The first is the card-drafting. This game plays with simultaneous card drafting. That means that the only downtime you have is when you are waiting for other players to draft cards. As you pass cards around and draft the cards for your benefit, you also have to keep an eye on what your neighbors are doing. This is done over three ages.

And speaking of ages, the purpose you are drafting cards is so that you can build your tableau. 7 Wonders isn’t just card drafting. It also has a sense of escalation as you go through the 3 ages. Each age has different cards that achieve different things, and learning how to balance the competing demands is key. It is a game that uses an escalating-tableau in order to get points.

That isn’t to say the game is perfect. With a large number of players, it can be easy to get locked out of resources and hamstrung just from the luck of what people draw to draft from. Also, it is a beast to learn, especially concepts like ‘spotting’ resources instead of paying them or the large number of symbols.

Despite this, this is a game that plays quick, has some depth and goes to large number of players. There are not many of these games around, and 7 Wonders is a game that does all these things well and is a good game to boot,


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Origin Game One: Preview Thoughts

So Origin One is here. It has been a weird build-up for Origin, with Queensland firmly going in as underdogs. So here are my quick thoughts on the State of Origin.

Queensland are definitely underdogs. The reasons are a bit weird. Queensland are claimed to be too old, not enough experience, or having a new ‘spine’. New South Wales have most these things as well. However, Queensland are still underdogs (in my opinion) because they have such a disrupted build-up and allot of out-of-form players.

This will be the test of Queensland’s coaching, as well. There is no legacy of great Queensland players to rely on anymore. Both teams seem pretty even. However, the Queensland coaching staff seems to content to play games. Choosing players out of position, last minute changes, etc. seem to be the order of the day. In contrast, the Blues seem to want to highlight their unorthodox coaching methods.

I think the Blues will win. It might even be a blowout. However, the real test for them is how they take the accolades after this game. Last year, the team collapsed and were dominated on the field (and once on the actual scorecard) when they were called the new legacy of Blues players. How Fittler handles his teams ego will be just as important as any coaching drills he may run.


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Solo Board Gaming Thoughts: AI

So I have some quick thoughts on what makes a good solo game AI. Solo games I like when they have a solid win/loss condition. So what makes a good AI for a games solo mode.

The obvious thing is that it actually effects a player and forces them to adapt. Taking away some options is good. This is normally the most basic, with dummy workers being placed to reduce players options. Games like Viticulture or Russian Railroads do this, blocking spaces at the beginning of a round passively.

However, what is better is forcing the player to try blocking the AI. This might mean that the AI has its own objectives, and the player has to more actively choose to prevent the ai getting resources on its turn. For example, Outlive’s AI is great as it has its own objectives (get population normally) and blocking the AI makes you more vulnerable to having the AI steal your resources. The only downside is there aren’t multiple AI systems to vary the games.

So that is a quick comparison of different solo board game AI systems. Both work, but one is a bit better to play against. One forced you to adopt your overall strategy rather than just how you react each turn. Having multiple AI opponents with goals also helps keep this all fresh.


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Playing This Weekend

So another weekend is nearly upon us and I am looking at what I want to play this weekend.

Outlive: I want to play a solo game to get a feel for the game. It seems pretty simple so shouldn’t be too hard.

Barbarians The Invasion: I really enjoyed my first game of this so I am hoping that the I get to play this again. It just takes up allot of space so a bit hard to setup.

Fantasy Defense; I want to continue my campaign to the end. It seems fun but have hit a speed bump.

Anachrony: I am planning to bring this out with friends so also need to learn it. The rulebook isn’t the most inviting.

Terraforming Mars: A sandbox engine builder that I am hoping to try out again. Hoping to play with Anachrony but don’t mind Solo.