surrealcouchuniverse

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


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10×10 Challenge: Update

So this is an update on the 10×10 challenge. After taking stock earlier this year, I have concluded that I have failed due to some game issues and some general issues. But I will update each game anyway.

  1. Vikings Gone Wild- I have only played this once more. It is slightly too complicated with all the expansions to teach often. Still looking forward to playing it more.
  2. Order of the Gilded Compass- Also only played once more. The graphic design is lacking and the art is unattractive. A bit hard to get to the table.
  3. Vengeance- The solo variant is quite good. Played it once, but I think it will shine as a solo or two player game.
  4. Flatline! A Fuse Aftershock Game- The only game that was really on-track. Played about 6 times total.
  5. Asking for Trobils- Another game that is always overlooked at game nights. Haven’t played it at all despite constantly bringing it out.
  6. Seasons- Played once. Still a nice game.
  7. Islebound- Played a couple of times. It didn’t really seem too interesting and lacked the excitement a race game should have, so traded it away.
  8. Mistfall- The expansion rules cleaned up the phase order a bit and make it simpler to play through. Have finally played it enough to not need to relearn it constantly.
  9. Cry Havoc- The expansion was a bit disappointing. I expected the heroes to be special units. Instead, all they are is one more ability. Still enjoy it but it is being overshadowed by newer games slowly.
  10. Millenium Blades (for now)- All those other Kickstarters have come in. And this game is too long to play too often.

So with that, I have ended the 10×10 in failure. Maybe next year I will try again.

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Board Games I’m Excited About

So some recent board games have arrived through various means. I am excited to get these games to the table.

Sword and Sorcery Expansions: The Arcane Portal has come in for probably my favorite pure dungeon crawler game. Looking forward to seeing what this adds.

Legendary Creatures: A beautiful production that impressed me right out of the box. A card drafting, racing style game that looks really colorful.

Smiths of Winterforge: I was looking forward to getting this. However, it may fall into Kings Forge, but unnecessarily complicated (based on the rulebook). Still keen to try it, but my interest has waned looking through the final rulebook.

Founders of Gloomhaven: Well, Gloomhaven is my favorite all-round dungeon-crawler style game. Founders is a euro-game with the same setting, but looks a bit intimidating. Still excited to try this.

Shadowrift Expansions: A game I haven’t got to the table nearly as much as I should. The expansions look like they add interesting mechanisms and a final boss-type enemy looks really cool to add.


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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.


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Some Quick Thoughts on Some Recent Board Games

So just thought I would share some quick thoughts on some recent games I have played.

Great Western Trail was an interesting game. A mixture of route building, deck building and engine building, I thought it was okay. It is really held back in how they balanced the hand mechanic and opponents buildings, which may be one of the worst mechanics I have come across in an otherwise good game.

Master of Orion The Board Game is also a really good game. You are balancing the resources, card plays and actions. I really enjoyed it, although attacking mechanic feels a bit too constricting in direct interaction. A system like Vikings Gone Wild May have worked better. A really good game.

Kemet is a game like Scythe. But where Scythe reward VP for economy, this is pure control and fighting. Everything is so close it is a knife fight in a phone booth. And tough choices with future battles vs current make it stand out.

So there are some recent games and my quick thoughts on them.


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Some Legacy Board Game Thoughts

I just thought that I would give some ideas about legacy board games (or legacy-style board games). I don’t think it is any big surprise or insight that legacy games share allot in common with simple campaigns in games. The only exception is the secrecy, the changing mechanics and the permanency of change.

Gloomhaven is currently the highest ranked legacy-style game on boardgamegeek.com. What I really like about this is that, from the starting scenarios and heroes, you have a complete game. The hero selection, level of customisation, variety in starting scenarios and options for delve quests would work well as just a stand-alone dungeon crawl (excluding the tutorial missions, of course).

However, after this, the game just continues to open up. And that is what I really like. You have a full game, and then get more. Some other games do not do this as well in my mind. You wouldn’t just use the starting set-up on these games for multiple games. Instead, the game relies on you building up the experience and holding your hand.

That is where I feel legacy-type games would be the best. The legacy system is used to build upon a full game and add something to just another retail game from the market. I am not interested in games that use the legacy-type mechanics to instead strip game away and add it in later.


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Kickstarter Retrospective: I Hate Zombies and Pocket Imperium

These are two lighter games on the list.

I Hate Zombies: This is a microgame that relies on rock-paper-scissors and some special powers to allow you to second guess your opponent. It is hampered by the mechanisms. Every second player is a zombie. And only the zombies have turns. Meaning that you could have a long wait between turns if you are not targetted. Sold onwards.

Pocket Imperium: This was on okay game. It relied on choosing actions. These actions get more powerful if no-one else chooses them (sort of the reverse of Race for the Galaxy). Unfortunately, it didn’t have those big exciting moments that maybe making it a slightly more grandiose would have solved. Sold onwards.

So two games that were just okay, but ultimately didn’t have much playtime for them because they lacked that extra oomph! factor.