surrealcouchuniverse

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


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Game Quick Thoughts

So I just thought I would give some quick thoughts on games I have played or looked at recently:

Paper Tales: I just tried this solo. It captures the feeling of a draft even though you are solo and the Lich King is a tricky opponent. It also plays pretty quick and is easy to set-up.

Steamrollers: Well the instruction manual leaves allot to be desired about how to explain the game. But I was able to puzzle most things out eventually and it seems like it could be an interesting game.

Coin and Crown: A very slick tableau-building game that feels like it goes slightly too short. It is unfortunate because one of the unique features (the bag-building) just doesn’t satisfactorily come to fruition over only 5 rounds.

Brass Birmingham: Takes a collective city-building game and makes it so much better. Might as well fire Founders of Gloomhaven at this stage, I’m guessing.

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Kickstarter Quick Thoughts: 25th September 2018

So here is another big month of Kickstarters. So without further ado, here they are.

EVERDELL EXPANSION by STARLING GAMES: Well the first game was very well recieved. However, this expansion is very expensive compared to the base game. It does have some upgrade, but for me, considering it has been described as an intro worker-placement game, the price is giving me pause. Undecided but probably pass.

LOCK-UP by THUNDERWORKS GAMES: I love Roll Player. I was less keen on the expansion, as I feel it makes the game swingier. I was unsure looking at this, so I watched a couple of playthroughs. This game looks really good. Backed.

EYE FOR AN EYE by DARWIN GAMES: I played this game at a convention. It was… okay. It reminded me of Roar-a-Saurus, but I preferred the simplicity of Roar-a-Saurus. It is a shame, as I probably would’ve backed it if I didn’t have Roar-a-Saurus as a duelling real-time game. Pass.

DALE OF MERCHANTS COLLECTION by SAMI LAAKSO: A very highly regarded game. It has a river offer where decks (like Dominion kind-of) are placed and you have to buy them and make stalls to win. It looked really good awhile back and I was trying to hunt it for awhile. However, now I feel other games that have come out have kind-of supplanted it. I really want to try it first. Pass.

ARTEMIS PROJECT by GRAND GAMERS GUILD: This looks really pretty. It also has a cool way of making both low, medium and high numbers good in your dice allocation phase, meaning you want a good spread of rolls. This seems really cool. Probably Back.


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NRL Finals Week One

So after the first week of the NRL finals, I have been following them closely. I thought it was a relatively exciting first week of the finals. Most the games were close, and those that weren’t were exciting for being upsets.

I guess seeing the Warriors and Broncos get eliminated was exciting. The Panthers and Dragons were written off and they put in the two most dominant wins of the week. In all fairness, these were more Broncos and Warriors playing very badly but the competition is nothing if not momentum driven.

It was good not to hear about referee errors constantly. There was still there fair share of poor decisions, but it was good not hear constantly about really poor calls. I guess this will change when teams get knocked out after losing close games. Because the NRL players can’t help themselves.

I guess I am looking forward to the next week and see what happens.


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DICE TOWER AWARDS 2017: QUICK THOUGHTS

So the Dice Tower awards have been announced. This was definitely the year of Gloomhaven, winning 5 of the 14 awards. Overall I thought that the games were deserving winners, and the nominees were also quite good. Out of the winners, I have played 6 and own 5.

Gloomhaven for me was a deserving winner, although the nomination for Strategy game definitely felt like a stretch. By that definition, most modern games are strategy so anything could be nominated. Also, I felt there are better pure strategy games out there, and the main strength of the game is everything that happens outside combat. However, it is a game that has slowly won me over and is now into my top 10 of all time somewhere. Every game I play makes me want to play the next game more.

The nominees are great as they are all good looking games. There isn’t a bunch of semi-boring euro games or weird games. Where the Spiel nominations seemed to fall down this year with boring and generic looking games, the Dice Tower Awards proved that great and interesting games came out. And Theme Matters.

 


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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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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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The Dark Knight: Getting Batman Right

Batman has become a bit of a joke recently. Just look at Justice League or BvS, where Batman can apparently stand toe-to-toe with people because of preparation. For me, the best Batman movie has been The Dark Knight. The following is some quick thoughts on why that is (outside of the great performances, action scenes, etc.).

Bruce Wayne the Detective: Batman Begins or Dark Knight Rises never bothered to show Bruce Wayne doing detective stuff. Batman is the world’s greatest detective. So showing him come up with ways to extract a Chinese citizen or getting fingerprints from a shell casing is great. We got to see him doing detective stuff and having ideas about how to get things done instead of a stupid placing a spear in a random building.

Batman the Human: On the other side, we have Batman. He isn’t a perfect person and makes mistakes. He gets beaten up and wounded but still gets the job done. And this isn’t where he is seconds away from death. For example, he gets bitten by dogs. This isn’t a life-threatening thing, but makes him not an all invincible machine.

Joker the Underestimated: Falling into the top two, The Joker is constantly under-estimated. Everyone’s focus is on the mob, including believing The Joker is a dog of the mob. By the time people realise he is doing his own thing, he has caused so much damage.

Everyone is Human: Everyone is human and makes mistakes. This is something the Joker constantly takes advantage off. However, you never feel like these are just for the plot (mostly). You can feel where they are coming from, how they have been manipulated, and why their decisions are justified.

Cliffhanger Ending With Closure: I know they made Dark Knight Rises, an overblown snore-fest. But this had an ending setting up consequences but still closing off the main story. You didn’t feel cheated but started theorising about what happens next.