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TableTopTakes: Draftosaurus

TableTopTakes: Draftosaurus

This was a game that I was originally introduced to at GenCon, I got to play a quick little bit of a self led two player demo. A few months later it showed up at a local game shop and I was looking at it…

Malts and Meeples – Tainted Grail Playthrough Part 2

Malts and Meeples – Tainted Grail Playthrough Part 2

I was back last night with a live stream of Tainted Grail on Twitch. And now the video is also up on the Youtube channel. Thank you to those who checked out the stream. I don’t tend to announce too far ahead, but my plan…

TableTopTakes: Pandemic Legacy Season 2

TableTopTakes: Pandemic Legacy Season 2

If you’ve been keeping track of this site for a while, you’ve seen me talk a lot about Pandemic Legacy Season 1, and play through Season 1 on Malts and Meeples. I haven’t talked as much about Pandemic Legacy Season 2 and my experience with that, though you can see that Season 1 is high in my top 100, and Season 2 is much lower.

So, it was time to do a TableTopTakes review of Pandemic Legacy Season 2.

In this game, without going into spoilers, you are basically on the ocean, I believe oil drilling platforms, where humanity has mainly been relegated. This happened when a plague overtook the lands, and to be saved, you had to go to the platforms. You have limited contact with a few coastal cities but even those are in danger of being overrun with the plague if it weren’t for you sending them medicine. Plus, there are many more things that you unlock as you try and figure out how much of humanity is left, and where the leaders of your platforms have gone, because they left a while ago to find out what has happened to humanity as well.

Pandemic Legacy Season 2 keeps what feels like core mechanics from Pandemic, but in some ways turns them on their head. In regular Pandemic and in Season 1, you are trying to keep cubes at bay, if you get too many, you get outbreaks and bad things happen. Season 2, instead, you are placing out the medicine cubes. If the plague shows up in a city where there isn’t medicine, bad things are going to happen. In my experience playing this, it takes a few games to really wrap your head around the change. Maybe for some it’ll go faster, but it feels backwards and I think, though it still feels like Pandemic, that could be off putting for some people and groups, because you might lose several in a row just because of how it feels.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

This game does offer one very cool thing out of the box that I can talk about, and that is that it adds in exploration. Through this exploration you get to add in more things, but those would be spoilers. But there are certain cities on the board that tell you to discard groups of cards of various colors which will unlock things on the sticker sheets. It’s a cool concept and being able to unlock more of the map is interesting. You can see how your resources are going to be dwindling for dealing with the plague, but you need to unlock the map as well, so it’s a push and pull of not expanding too fast, but needing to go fast in order not to be spread too thin. Like other versions of Pandemic, you always feel like you’re neglecting something in order to try and get through the game before something bad happens.

Also, because you aren’t fighting diseases in the sense that you aren’t curing four different colors, you can use the cards in different ways. The big thing is exploring, but it doesn’t feel as bad to spend cards to move around, though, when you need to place out more medicine cubes. So that is an interesting tweak to the game. I’m going to be saying this a lot, the game still feels like Pandemic because of the cards, the mechanics, but so much of what you’re doing is different in Pandemic Legacy Season 2 and it is interesting to change your mindset, especially if you’ve played a lot of Pandemic Legacy Season 1 recently and regular Pandemic.

Next, I want to talk a little bit about the characters. In Season 1, you get characters where they are the “Medic” or “Scientist” and Season 2 changes that up some. You still get to be a character with a special power, but the special powers, like the medics basic power, you can just pick a character card and add it to that, so you can tailor your look. And death is also handled differently. There are still scars that you can get, but now you have a track that you, every time you’d “get” a scar, you instead scratch off the next one, and it might be nothing, it might be a scar, or you might just die. So it’s possible that you’d have 1 scar and then just die or it’s possible you might get 3 scars, you don’t know how resilient you are. That makes being in a dangerous location even more stressful because you don’t know how it’s going to go.

Now, I should do the comparison to Pandemic Legacy Season 1, I’ve kind of already done that though, in an epic Board Game Battle. So I don’t need to go back and recap that much, I will say that I do prefer Pandemic Legacy Season 1, I think the game is a bit easier in terms of focus on what you really need to do. Pandemic Legacy Season 2 can get caught or the game will have to unlock stuff if you don’t do it fast enough or in the right order, and that can be annoying at times. They do a good job of pointing you in the right direction generally though. Overall, it’s a really good game, a good story, and definitely worth checking out.

Overall Grade: A-
Gamer Grade: A-
Casual Grade: B

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Dungeons and Dragons: A Great Experience

Dungeons and Dragons: A Great Experience

One of the parts of Dungeons and Dragons that people really love is leveling up their characters. You get more cool things that you can do almost every level or new spells you can use or even improved stats so that you can hit harder.…

TableTopTakes: Stipulations

TableTopTakes: Stipulations

I’m going to tell you about this game but…. That’s basically how the games works, but Stipulations is one of those party games, up there with Just One, that I’ve had a lot of fun playing. For me, Stipulations falls nicely in between games like…

10 Minute Marvel Episode 28: Who is the Taskmaster?

10 Minute Marvel Episode 28: Who is the Taskmaster?

Who is the Taskmaster? I talk about the newest Black Widow teaser trailer as well as break down the characters powers and some of their uses in the comics. Plus, there’s Eternals news, when does it fit in the timeline?

I just want to thank you all for listening to the podcast. If you are enjoying it, please consider leaving a rating and/or review. We are on iTunes, Google Play Music, Spotify, and Stitcher, you can find links to those in the top right corner of the page. Those reviews help more people find the podcast and join the 10 Minute Marvel community.

If you want to get a hold of me, you can find me on Twitter @TheScando or by using #10MinMarvel. I’m always interested to hear from fans of the podcast as well as to get suggestions for new topics that I can cover on the show.

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Dungeons and Dragons: High vs Low Magic as a Player

Dungeons and Dragons: High vs Low Magic as a Player

I’ve previously posted about this (You can find it here), but that was from more of a world building aspect, if you’re playing in a game of Dungeons and Dragons, and your character is magical how does that affect how you might role play your…

TableTopTakes: Hanabi

TableTopTakes: Hanabi

When playing cards is too easy, there are games that make it a whole lot harder. The Mind and Hanabi are two of them that make it a bit trickier to play cards in order, and while I find the mind entertaining, I don’t think…

TableTopTakes: Not Alone

TableTopTakes: Not Alone

One of the harder genres of games to get to the table tend to be one versus all games. Fairly often these games are bigger dungeon crawls and they take time to set-up and teach. Not Alone is a small game where one person can take on a crew of a crashed spaceship in this quick cat and mouse game.

In Not Alone one person plays as the planet and the monster on it where a space ship has crash landed, stranding it’s crew. The crew needs to explore the planet and survive until they can get off of it, but the monster doesn’t want that. On each turn, all plays can discuss where they want to go and will play cards face down for the location that they are going to go, they can split up however they want. However, all discussions need to be able to be heard by the person playing the monster. Then the monster will pick a location as to where they are going to go, blocking off and hurting the people who went to that location, but everyone else gets to take the actions of their locations. However, the monster, when they select has ways to manipulate where they are, where people are actually going, or to cause more places to be bad spots for the players to go. As the monsters get crew members, they progress on their track, while the players are trying out last and do a few things to speed up how fast their rescue ship is coming.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

This game is a clever cat and mouse game where the players don’t want to accidentally all end up going to the same place and getting caught by the monster, but talking about it and planning can mean that the monster will better understand the strategy. So how much information do you talk around the table is an interesting piece to the game. Plus, cards being discarded and the monster being able to see what starting cards might be left for the crew, it means that sometimes it’s fairly obvious where someone is going to go. The best example of this is the beach as to why you want to discuss. At the beach, you can either light a beacon or use the lit beacon to help speed up the ship, but only one of those actions can be taken on a given turn. So if three crew members go to the beach, you’re wasting two peoples actions there.

Another piece of this game that I like is that the monster can get the crew, but when a crew member dies, that doesn’t mean the person is out of the game. Think of it as Star Trek with their seemingly unlimited number of red shirts. They are getting sent out of the crashed ship every time another crew member dies, so there is no player elimination in the game. However, dying is still bad, not surprisingly, because that means that the monster is getting closer to their goal which is based off of hurting crew members and killing crew members. So, if you aren’t careful, even though you won’t be out of the game, you can be speeding the monster on their way to victory.

Final piece that I want to talk about is the monster cards and ability cards. The game gives everyone a chance to feel unique. There is technology and things that can be scavenged from ship, so that means that as a crew member you’ll be able to be unique. But the monster definitely has more fun cards. There are a number of different things, where a monster can force people to discard cards, or maybe the monster can go to two locations or do something to make the planet block off a spot for players for a round. But the players might not know where that’s going to be, as the monster gets to place after everyone has picked their locations. The cards do interesting things, and you won’t ever go through all the monster cards in a single game, so even if you have played a lot before, the monster is going to feel different depending on the cards drawn, when they are drawn and the strategy of the person playing the monster.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

This is a really enjoyable game for me. I like the cat and mouse nature from both sides of the game. I think I’ve played it six or seven times at this point, and about half of them I’ve been the monster, and generally, since I’ll be teaching it as well, once we’ve played once with myself as the monster, someone else will want to play again and try being the monster themselves. I also have the expansion for this, but I haven’t played that yet, but I’m excited to try it soon. When a one versus all game can make it fun to play both sides, I think that’s a good thing for the game, and because Not Alone is a pretty straight forward game as to how it works, after a play, people can figure out how to play the monster, and I think, if someone wanted to be the monster on their first play, it wouldn’t be hard to teach them that as well.

Now, if there were a downside for the game, and I do know people who don’t like it nearly as much as I do, it’s that the game is stressful, and that’s intentional for the game. As the crew, you are worried about the monster catching you and dying, and even though you come back, if the monster is on the same wavelength that you are, you can feel like your letting down the team. I think for some people that is going to turn them off from the game, and the fact that it is only a card game, so it might feel like it’s heavier than the components suggest, though, I would not call it a heavy game.

Finally, let’s quickly mention the theme. I think that the theme is a lot of fun. People know the concept of being stranded on a planet or an island, so there is something for them to grasp onto. If someone has seen Predator, they can get even more into the theme, because that’s a lot what the game feels like, someone has crashed on the Predator planet, because there isn’t much that the crew can do to the monster. Is it a massively thematic game, I think that it’s more thematic than not, and while you can definitely get into the strategy and count cards, the game works best when people are enjoying the theme.

Overall, I really do enjoy this game. I like how much it packs in, in terms of tension , for the small package that the game has. I like the them, those survival on an alien world movies and shows are fun for me. I also like that it’s a larger group game without it being a party game or social deduction game. The cat and mouse feel of the game definitely sets it a part and definitely makes it seem heavier than most games of that it’s size.

Overall Grade: A
Gamer Grade: B+
Casual Grade: B

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Dungeons and Dragons – Picking Your Spells

Dungeons and Dragons – Picking Your Spells

You’ve now figured out what type of spell caster you want to be, so you have to go through and pick your spells and there are a lot of them to choose from. Good news, I’m here to help talk you through what you might…