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Board Game Mechanics – Engine Building

Board Game Mechanics – Engine Building

Continuing on my series of board game mechanics, we’re going to be looking at Engine Building games. This has nothing to do with motor vehicles but it is building together pieces to make it work. Engine building games can be fun because they are games 

Friday Night D&D: Tower of the Gods Session 4

Friday Night D&D: Tower of the Gods Session 4

Took a few weeks, but we got back to it finally playing our zoom D&D game. So let’s do a quick recap in bullet point fashion. Players take the test of the tower to become adventurers Players enroll in Strawgoh, a school of dark arts 

Point of Order: Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

Point of Order: Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

It’s Gloomhaven, the end.

No, to go into more than that, why do I need Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion when I have Gloomhaven and Frosthaven?

First part of it is being a completionist for that game. I have everything else, or it’ll be coming, so I want that, but there’s more to it. Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is like Gloomhaven lite. Or maybe Gloomhaven introduction. What is cool about the game is that it’s all new content, but it’s not as big a thing on the table. You have new playable classes, that you can bring into the main game of Gloomhaven. But you can also use them in the introductory scenarios for Jaws of the Lions.

That’s another really cool thing, there are twenty five different scenarios in Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion. Three of those are an introduction to the game, where you start with really basic things and then you eventually build into playing Gloomhaven as I’ve been playing it. So for a new player you can get into it gradually. Which is one of the barriers of entry for Gloomhaven.

Another barrier for entry that Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion improves upon greatly is set-up and teardown. Because it’s a smaller game, there’s just way less stuff. But, one way there’s less stuff is that you’re playing on smaller maps in the scenario book itself. You aren’t finding tiles, putting them together and doing all of that before the scenario, you can flip it down, put some items and monsters on the map and be ready to go.

So besides being a completionist, that’s why I’m getting Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion. And if Gloomhaven seem like it’s too big for you, this might be a good starting point.

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TelevisionTalks: Ragnarok

TelevisionTalks: Ragnarok

By now you know that I like so many shows with a fantasy and modern element to them. Ragnarok was a new one that showed up on Netflix that falls into that genre, so I knew I needed to check it out. Plus the show 

Running a Pre-Made Campaign

Running a Pre-Made Campaign

One of the things I talk a lot about with Dungeons and Dragons is homebrewing your own world and your own game. I personally love doing this because it gives me so much freedom to create a world that I want and to put a 

Back or Brick: Ascension Tactics

Back or Brick: Ascension Tactics

The heroes of Ascension come to the board as miniatures in this new tactical fighting game.

Source: Kickstarter

Pros

  • Based off of a proven system
  • Company has Kickstarter track record
  • Deck building
  • Cool looking minis
  • Demo on Tabletop Simulator

Cons

  • Complexity versus simplicity of Deck Building game
  • Price Point
  • Dull dual sided board
  • Theme

Thoughts on the Page

Well laid out page, I like that it wasn’t just a barrage of minis to start the page, and while obviously there are minis it isn’t so over the top that the game only seems to be about the minis with how it’s laid out. And the fact that it seems to stay fairly true to the core of Ascension a deck building game, it is interesting. Speaking of the minis though, they do look good.

I like that they give you a bunch of price points, like I said, I think the entry level is pretty steep, not because it shouldn’t be that, it should be with the number of minis it has, but it’s more considering the system it’s working on. They are clearly doing well with the kickstarter though, but I wondered compared to the price of the original Ascension to the price point of this if it’s a big enough difference to keep people from backing.

Back or Brick

I’m very torn on this one. Do I need a tactical miniatures game? I think it could be cool and I love the game it’s based on, pretty high in my Top 100 games. For me Ascension is just a great introductory deck building game. Right now this is probably a brick for me, but I could see that changing to be a back. Mainly because it is on Tabletop Simulator. Normally I’d call this a try before you buy sort of thing, and I’m hoping it’ll hit retail. So I’ll be giving it a go to see if this is one that I really want to get via Kickstarter. The price point for the type of game, I’m just a bit worried. Give me a $50 standees option with the same shipping costs even and I’d be more tempted. Overall, I’ve gotten massive story driven games for just a bit more all said, so it seems just a bit off to me.

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Top 10 – Anime

Top 10 – Anime

Anime was a genre that I hadn’t checked out a ton until a few years ago. Kristen was really the one who got me into it, so before 2015, I’d probably seen two or maybe three anime, and now I have seen plenty to do 

10 Minute Marvel Episode 52: Happy Birthday #10MinMarvel

10 Minute Marvel Episode 52: Happy Birthday #10MinMarvel

Thank you everyone for checking out the podcast, we’ve gone 52 crazy weeks and 52 episodes covering MCU movies, ComicCon news, animated Iron Man shows, Kraven’s Last Hunt comic, Disney+ Super Bowl Teaser and so much more. This past week we hit 1,000 downloads, which 

Board Game Mechanics – Deck Building

Board Game Mechanics – Deck Building

Welcome to a new series of Board Game articles. In this series I’m going to be looking at a number of different mechanics in board games, starting off with one of my favorites, deck building. I’m going to explain how the mechanic works and then give a few examples of games that are really focused on that and how they use deck building. This is really meant for newer people into board gaming to let them learn about a new type of game and how it works.

Deck Building

Most people are familiar with games that use decks of cards, from the kids game Candyland to something like Uno or Skip-bo to party games like Cards Against Humanity. All of these games use a communal deck of cards that players draw from to get their hand or to take an action and then they play those cards. It’s a very straight forward concept and you have a deck of cards that is consistent that you’ll be drawing the cards from and you’ll get whatever you get from that pool of cards.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

A deck building game builds upon this idea of the deck of cards, but instead of having 108 cards in the Uno deck that everyone shares, instead you have your own deck of 10 or 12 or some number of cards. And when you start the game everyone’s decks are the same. But as the game goes on, you purchase more cards from a pool of cards that are face up to add to your deck. So when you have to reshuffle, now your deck is different than another persons deck.

A simple example of this is Ascension. In Ascension, you start with a deck of 10 cards, eight that give you points to purchase more cards, and two that let you fight monsters. The cards that you buy, some of them allow you to draw more cards when you play them, or get more points for purchasing more cards, or they’ll help you fight monsters. So by the time you shuffle again, you will have two or more different cards than the person you’re playing against, so the hand you’ll draw will be different from a hand of cards that they can draw. The further you get into the game and the more cards that you add to your deck, the more different your deck of cards will be from another players and the more different your strategy will be from another player. The deck building aspect of the game allows players to create a deck that matches how they want to play the game.

All deck building games give you a way to acquire more cards. In Ascension you purchase them, so a card that costs more will mean that you need more points to purchase it, so you might not be able to right away. This tends to be a core mechanic as well of a lot of deck building games is that they build up to you doing bigger and bigger things, but we’ll talk about what that mechanic is known as in a future article.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

There are two main types of deck building games. The static market game or the changing market game. Ascension is an example of a changing market game. You have six cards to make your purchase from or to fight if they are monsters. When you purchase a card or defeat a monster, a new card is flipped down into the market form a draw pile and you don’t know what that card is going to be. So a card you want one turn might not be there the following turn, or might not be there at all again in a game. In a static market game you have a certain number of piles of cards, all the cards in those piles are identical so when you buy the top one, you know what the one underneath it is going to be. This allows you, from the start of the game, to determine a long term strategy throughout the game and to really dictate what your deck is going to be capable of doing. Dominion is an example of a static market deck building game. Now, it comes down to preference as to which one you like better. With the static deck it is going to more heavily favor the more experienced player or the player with better long term planning skills, because at the start of the game you can sit down, look at the static market and make your plan. If a changing market, you might come in with a plan but then need to adjust it on the fly, but it’ll keep the game more balanced between more and less experienced players. Neither is really a bad thing, it just comes down to personal preference.

Let’s talk about some deck building games that you might want to checkout if this sounds interesting.

Gateway/Intro To Deck Building Game

Ascension – For me, Ascension is the ideal deck building game, the changing market place means that a more experienced player doesn’t have a massive advantage and while there are some better strategies, it all depends on how the market comes out. It also works well because you are just doing two things with your cards, mainly, you are either buying with the purchasing power on the cards or you are fighting a monster with a fighting power on a the cards. A few cards do a few more things, like draw more cards from your deck but they are generally simple. The theme isn’t really there, but in most pure deck building games, which Ascension is, the theme will be missing or barely there anyways.

Medium Weight Deck Building Game

Clank! – Now, regular Clank! isn’t my favorite way to play Clank!. I like Clank! In! Space! better, but there’s just a little bit more going on than a medium weight deck building game. Clank! again has a variable market and monsters to fight, but you’ve added in some additional elements. It does more of one thing you see in Ascension, which is creating combos based off of who you’ve gotten, and it adds in more than just purchase and fight. You now have the ability to move and you are pushing your luck. Also, good cards might have negative consequences as well. It adds a bit more complexity and a bit more strategy to the game, even with a changing market place.

Heavy/Complex Deck Building Game

Aeon’s End: War Eternal – I had a few options to pick here, but I went with Aeon’s End: War Eternal. A lot of deck building games add to their complexity not so much the deck building aspect, but from additional pieces to the game play. Aeon’s End: War Eternal (or any of the Aeon’s End Games) are good examples of this. The deck building uses a static market, but you are presented with more choices. You have to cast spells at monsters, but to do that you have to purchase more spells, but with your money you also need to open breaches to cast those spells. Plus, all of the Aeon’s End games add in something else interesting, not only is there a lot of strategy to what you get from the market, you also don’t shuffle your deck, you just discard cards, so if you can plan it out correctly you can stack the deck in a particular order to get a lot of well balanced hands or maybe a hand with a lot of purchasing power in order to get a very strong spell. There’s just more to think about, though this game is cooperative so a more experienced player can help and teach a new player to the game.

Now, there are a lot of deck building games out there to choose from and some that fall into the category that I’d qualify as more deck construction games that work off of some of the same principles as a deck building game. Have you tried a deck building game before? Do they sound fun to you?

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Making Magic Items More Interesting

Making Magic Items More Interesting

In D&D, and other RPG’s, fairly often a special item is just something like a +1 sword, yay, you can hit better and do more damage, but not all that exciting. Every adventurer worth their salt has a +1 sword. The same for a ring