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Archive for the ‘ Board Games ’ Category

Pandemic review and a new review system

So I’ve been thinking about review systems  and how well they work for figuring out if you are going to like a game or movie and how they compare to the way you review movies with your friends.  

A friend recently came over and had seen Man of Steel.  He said I would like it and that my wife would not, and explained why.  This is similar to what we do with games when getting friends to play.  You’d like this game because of X and Y or you wouldn’t like it because of Z.  

With online reviews, the score doesn’t tell you everything.  It tells you what the reviewer thinks, then you have to read why they thought that to see if your opinions are similar to theirs to see if the review is relevant.  So how are we going to replace this?

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Eclipse first impressions

My gaming group and I had been interested in Eclipse since it first came out.  With it going out of print so quickly and the price tag, we hadn’t pulled the trigger yet.  When researching games, we had put Sid Meier’s Civilization and Eclipse in the same category, but thought that Eclipse would be more appealing partially due to the sci-fi theme.  Then Myriad Games’ game share program came to the rescue.  It’s basically Netflix for board games that you can either pay for each month or can get free if you buy a certain amount from the store every month.  It’s the perfect way to try out Eclipse.  So how did it go?

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Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – Solo Style

So due to a little miniature game burnout and other life reasons, I haven’t gotten to The Only Game In Town to play Warmachine for quite some time.  We’ve been having our every-other-week board game nights and playing video games, but I had started to feel like I was missing gaming a little bit.  Eventually I decided that I wanted to do something, but trekking out to the store still doesn’t work very well.  Enter Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, the living card game from Fantasy Flight Games.

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Kickstarters: Rivet Wars, Realm Works and Wild West Exodus

I feel like I’ve been bombarded by a number of gaming related Kickstarters I’ve been interested in lately.  It’s a much different way to get involved with a game, but I’m still having fun with it.

I have purchased a number of games that started off as Kickstarters, Cards Against Humanity, Zombicide, and Evil Baby Orphanage.  They all ended up great and we could have gotten more stuff, gotten the game earlier and gotten it cheaper if we had backed.  This makes me want to back anything that looks interesting, which may end up poorly.

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Extra life – Gaming for Childrens’ hospitals

This weekend my wife, friends and I will be having a gaming marathon for Extra Life.

If you aren’t familiar with it, it is a 24 hour gaming marathon which works like a walk-a-thon.  You get people to pledge money to you for how much you games.  It started off as a video game thing but has expanded to board gaming as well.  Extra Life partners with the Children’s Miracle Network and all proceeds go to a hospital of your choice, in our case a hospital where one of our friends works.

Inspired by The D6 Generation, we decided to join in ourselves and will be hosting a marathon with our friends this weekend.

If you are somehow able, get in on it yourself.  Start your own Extra Life page or donate to someone who is.  The D6G guys are giving away some prizes for donating so give them a shot.

We hope to play some board games like Arkham Horror and Zombicide.  We’ll be rocking some The Secret World and SWTOR and hopefully some party Wii games.  If some of my Warmachine people show up I might be able to get some of that in.

Check out our page here.

First Impressions: Mansions of Madness

We finally got in our first game of Mansions of Madness this weekend after it’s been taunting us for a few weeks.

We figured that we liked Betrayal at House on the Hill and we liked Arkham Horror so we would like this.  I was a little apprehensive about the predefined stories for replay value but I figured we’d at the very least get a handful of good games out of it.

After reading the rules, the game did remind me of a combination of Betrayal and Arkham but with a little bit of Descent thrown in.  Because the Keeper(Overlord) is controlling the story but in a competitive way against the players, you get that same feeling as Descent, but with a better story.  All these impressions were confirmed during the game.

We had a blast playing the game.

After playing through once, I can see how the choices made by the Keeper can make a story different when played multiple times.  Since there are 3 different winning conditions, the orientation of the house and some of the rooms isn’t really that big of a deal.  This made me think that we really can get 15 unique plays out of the game.

The game did seem like it was a little more linear that we had anticipated, I’m just not sure why we thought it would be different.  The group entered the house which thematically, told them to go to a very specific room.  When they went to that room, it thematically told them to go to another room and so on.  If they didn’t get there fast enough, the story cards which were counting down, forced the story on them, which was cool.  Even though it was basically room A->room B-> room C, the story itself was fun and made up for it in my opinion.

One problem we had was the fact that there was no epilogue.  The game ended, and nothing in the game had me tell the back story to the players.  I won’t spoil anything, but in my choice for the back story as the keeper, there was a really cool reason for the goings on in the house, which the players never would have heard if I hadn’t read it to them.  Just seemed kind of odd.

As to whether or not the game is balanced, I can’t really say and don’t really care.  Even though there is a competition and a winner, I think that it is all about the story.  In this game, I was way behind as the keeper and didn’t come close to achieving my goal.  I think that playing against 4 players made it more difficult than it would have been against 1 or 2 but I can’t really say for certain at this point.

Initial Review:

Check this game out if:

  • You like Betrayal at House on the Hill(can be played with 2 people, is a longer game)
  • You like the theme of Arkham Horror
  • You like the overlord component of Descent
  • You like Battlestar Galactica(even though it isn’t a traitor game, it had a similar feel to it which I can’t pinpoint – it was by the same designer)
  • You like thematic games

Skip this game if:

  • You want a quick(under 2 hours) game
  • You don’t like the Arkham theme(that’s most of the draw)
  • You want something balanced and competitive
  • You don’t like railroaded theme

Mini Review: Betrayal at House on the Hill

I was super excited when it was announced that Betrayal at House on the Hill would be reprinted.

Craig from The D6 Generation has been raving about how much he and his wife love this game for a long time but it had been out of print since I’d heard about it.  I’d been looking for it on ebay but not finding anything under $160, and it didn’t seem worth that much, especially used.

I had high expectations and other than the problems with the warping tiles which everyone mentions is surpassed those expectations.

Things I love

The stories.  I love the individual stories.  There are 50 different ones in the game and after a dozen or so games, we have yet to hit a repeat.  Each one is really unique.  This is the hook that usually gets me in most games.  It’s the reason I love Battlestar Galactica and Arkham Horror and Betrayal delivers in spades.

The ease of play.  The mechanics are simple and don’t get in the way of the story.  Not much more to say, but it’s a nice feature.  Somehow this reminded me a bit of A Touch of Evil, except I didn’t hate it.   I think this is because this feels more about the story than grabbing items and whacking a dude until he’s dead.

Things I love less

The tiles.  This is my only real complaint.  The tiles really do warp something fierce.  Luckily, the manufacturer has said that you can call them to get replacements, so this point may be moot.  I’ll post again once I receive them.

Things other people may love less

The balance.  This is by no means a balanced, competitive game.  There is a winner and a loser but how easy it is for one side or the other to win or lose can change dramatically based on how explored the house is, how randomly damaged players/the traitor have become, what equipment different players have gotten and where different rooms end up.  I personally don’t really mind since I look at that as all part of the story.  The goal is to have a fun experience and I do that through the story, not winning.

The hidden information.  When the traitor is revealed, they generally go to another room to read their book and the rest of the players read their book.  One group may not know certain things like how the other player wins or can hurt them.  Again, I see this as all part of the fun but it may bother some people.

 

Check out this game if:

  • You like your game with a cool story
  • You like Battlestar Galactica
  • You like Arkham Horror

Skip this game if:

  • You’re looking for something competitive and balanced with deep strategy
  • You need to know exactly what’s going on in your game at all times
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