Month: September 2018

The Death of a Bard

The Death of a Bard

The party rushes into a cavern. Red glowing eyes stare at them from the blackness and they stop quickly. The bard opens her mouth and begins to speak but is quickly cut off as the dragon reaches it’s long neck out and chomps down, swallowing […]

Board Game Battle: Deception Murder in Hong Kong vs Secret Hitler vs Donner Dinner Party vs The Resistance

Board Game Battle: Deception Murder in Hong Kong vs Secret Hitler vs Donner Dinner Party vs The Resistance

This fatal fourway faces off four strong contenders in the hidden traitor category. Now, it doesn’t including Werewolf, probably the best known hidden role game just because I’ve played all of these more or more recently. Which one of these games is the winner? We’ll […]

Cartridge Capers: Final Fantasy

Cartridge Capers: Final Fantasy

I didn’t grow up playing these old systems or the newer systems, so my knowledge of Final Fantasy going into playing Final Fantasy Mystic Quest first and now Final Fantasy was pretty limited. I did know about their turn based combat and targeting that they use, but that’s about.

Image Source: Wikipedia

Let me start out by saying that I enjoy that style of combat. I like picking out what skill I want to use and who I want to target and then letting the combat play out. When it comes to real time combat, I’m not as good because I like to figure out a strategy of who I want to attack whom in the game and figure out tactics. Now, a lot of modern party based combat games, think Dragon Age, do allow for some tactical choices, and I spend time, especially before final boss fights, tweaking the combat to how I want it to be, but in the case of Final Fantasy, you get complete control over it, then you just watch a round of combat unfold.

Also interesting in this game is the need to grind. It isn’t something that you see too often in older video games where you have to spend the time leveling your character up before you can take on a boss, it’s generally assumed that you’ll be at the right level by the time you make it to the boss. However, in Final Fantasy you get to grind. That does mean that sometimes the game just sort of stalls and you are doing the same sort of combat against the same sort of monsters over and over again. That is a bit of downside to the game as you don’t get a ton of experience points for certain monsters so you feel like you are stuck in certain areas of the game or going over the same ground again and again.

Image Source: Wikipedia

Besides the combat in this game, how is the story and game play?

The story is pretty straight forward, you are going around trying to gain various orbs and rescue the princess, but the rescue the princess quest feels more like a learn the game mechanics quest and figure out that you do need to grind some. It sounds like there are more quests in the game, but at this point in time I’m still grinding away. I do like the fact that I get to name my characters and choose what classes they are to build up my party of characters. That means that I can focus it how I want to, though, I feel like having a good blend is going to be what makes the difference at the end of the game.

The non-combat game play is pretty straight forward. You’re running around a map looking for combats. And by looking for combats, I mean having them randomly drop you into one. This can make it a bit tricky at times because you aren’t sure when you are going to find a combat, and depending on the area you are in, you aren’t sure if you’re going to be able to handle the combat. So at times you’ll be running as fast you can to get back to the inn and save the game so that your characters and rest and heal up.

Will I continue to play this game?

While I do find how you get into combat a bit wonky and there is a lot of grinding for XP that you seem to have to do. I do plan on finishing this game. It feels like a classic, it’s easy enough to play, and my party of Dave, Boo!, YaYu, and Gary need to prove that they can actually become capable fighters. It’s also a very relaxing game to play, sure it’s a bit annoying when Boo! is doing melee damage 1 point at a time because I’ve run out of spell slots and then Boo! misses, but all the combats are easy to see what’s going on, and the run away mechanism keeps the party alive most of the time.

It’s a classic, it’s a fun time, and while it might take me a while to get through, I’ve enjoyed my time with it. If you are interested in the Final Fantasy games and want to try the original, it certainly isn’t a bad idea to jump into this game and give it a whirl. And, like I said, it’s not that stressful a game to play. Once you get leveled enough it makes it pretty easy to grind out more levels, it just takes time.

Game Suggestion: Own

[Game Suggestion
Own: Own it, it’s a classic and fun to play
Play: If you can find it and it’s your type of game check it out
Pass: This game sucks, why did they ever make it]

From Book (or Movie) to Board

From Book (or Movie) to Board

If you go into Fantasy Flight Game Center (or to their website), you see loads and loads of board games that have Star Wars on the side of the box. They have X-Wing, Armada, Rebellion, Imperial Assault, Legion, and Destiny, and I’m probably  missing a couple, […]

Building a Panteon – RPG

Building a Panteon – RPG

So one thing when playing a D&D game or any RPG where religion is involved is figuring out the pantheon that you want to use in the game. This can be as simple as grabbing one from the rule books or using the Greek or […]

Eating Nerdy – Eureka

Eating Nerdy – Eureka

Kristen and I have been watching through Eureka on Amazon Prime, her for the first time and me after having watched it when it was airing, and I thought it would be fun to go back to Eating Nerdy, something that I haven’t done in a while. Eureka seemed like a good spot, because they do have a number of food related items in the show that you could play off of and it would be a chance if someone wanted to get really fancy to use molecular gastronomy.

Image Source: IMDb

For those of you who might not know what Eureka is, it’s a show about a small town that is full of geniuses and the normal sheriff who has to deal with all of the crazy problems that they cause. There’s never a normal day in Eureka. There’s also a restaurant called Cafe Diem that does crazy foods.

Drinks:

Coffee
Cocktails
Beer

The coffee and the cocktails need to be fancy. Cafe Diem wouldn’t serve just any sort of drink, you would have to use lavender infused simple syrup and with a cardamom whipped cream for the coffee. Cocktails would ideally use some dry ice in them somehow so that you get that smoking scientific effect, and if you want to go all out, you serve it from a beaker. Then you have beer as well for the Sheriff Carter’s of the group who just want a nice and normal drink. This is going to be a theme that you come across probably in most of these, there are going to be a fancy options and more standard options.

Appetizers:

Pigs in a Blanket

Okay, so I just went from saying that there would be multiple options to having a single one, but I realized that this is an example of how you can spice up something that seems pretty normal. First, you start by rolling the dough that’s around the hotdog section or better yet Little Smokies (they’re fancier) and adding everything bagel seasoning to them. You can either put together the seasoning yourself or Trader Joes sells that mixed. Then you create a bunch of fun dipping sauces. I’d recommend a blackberry ketchup mix, stone ground mustard, and a balsamic onion jam. Now you’ve taken something that is normal and brought it to the next level.

Image Source: IMDb

Main Course:

Spicy Glazed Carrots
Meatloaf
Corn Bread

So another pretty straightforward meal. The spicy glazed carrots I would go with a chipotle and ginger glaze on them. We’ve done something like that at home before, and it turns out very tasty. There are recipes out there that explain the whole process, but thankfully it’s not that hard to do. Then with the meatloaf, it’s pretty plain, but I needed something that would match with the appetizer, otherwise I would have gone a bit crazier with it. However, meatloaf is good because it’s a pretty blank canvas. Think about what would work well with the carrots and corn bread, and then go crazy with the meatloaf. You could lean more into a BBQ and cheese feel or if you wanted to go a bit further afield than a normal meatloaf, you could go with something like a Cajun style meatloaf or Caribbean. The corn bread is going to give you a chance as well to do something that’s more creative by creating a compound butter for it. I’d lean into just doing a simple whipped honey butter and not going too crazy with this as you want it to cleanse your palate between bites, but you could give a few different options here as well, like you did for the Pigs in a Blanket.

Image Source: IMDb

Dessert:

Ice Cream Sundae Bar

Again pretty normal, but you can have a ton of a fun with a lot of crazy toppings for it. Everyone can make their own experiment with various toppings. I’d stick primarily with normal toppings, sprinkles, hot fudge, nuts, etc, but I’d try and find some unique toppings as well that people might not think about. A balsamic reduction/glaze would probably drizzle nicely over the top and paired with raspberries and a little mint would make a very tasty combination and dessert. Have some fun with this and let you creativity run wild as you come up with ideas. Hopefully none of them will cause the world to almost end, and if they do, you’re on your own.

What would you do with a Eureka themed party and meal? Is there something obvious that I missed? I was trying to keep it simple enough that it could actually be done, but weird enough that it would do Cafe Diem proud.


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Gloomhaven Character: Beast Tyrant (Spoilers)

Gloomhaven Character: Beast Tyrant (Spoilers)

We had a lot of new characters pop up last night, all three of us ended up retiring characters yesterday. This isn’t a character that I’ve played, but it is a character that I believe made it all the way to level 9. Beast Tyrant […]

Cartridge Capers: Mortal Kombat

Cartridge Capers: Mortal Kombat

Woo, I’m impressive, I’ve beat Mortal Kombat, right? Well, no, mainly, I’m not that good at these games, so I realized that it’s not going to be me playing through all of these games completely, otherwise I’d never write any Cartridge Capers. Instead, I did […]

TableTopTakes: Charterstone

TableTopTakes: Charterstone

This has been a game that I’ve been playing for a few months now with the group of people who joined me for Risk: Legacy and another game. We’ve been looking around for more session based games that build off of each other, and Charterstone, a euro style legacy game, seemed like a good fit.

Image Source: Stonemaier Games

In Chartertone, you take control of different charters in a new land where the Forever King has sent you. Each character has a different resource that they “control”. The important resources of pumpkins, wheat, wood, brick, coal, and iron, because even in this mythical land, the pumpkin spice must flow. So you are using your workers to collect resources, build new building in your charter, unlocking boxes that open up new buildings to you, and hiring assistants. When you open the boxes, you can get new buildings, and other things things that would be spoilers for the game, so I won’t write about them, though I accidentally did and had to delete part of a sentence.

So, what do I think of the game?

The mechanics work really well in this game and keep it moving along quickly. Turns are fast because you turn is place a worker or take your workers off of the board. And a lot of the game is finding ways to gather resources most effectively so that you can build your buildings and open up the boxes. The scoring works nicely as well, and while the scoring track is absolutely massive, you never really score the full way.

The game also has a fun character improvement mechanic. Your points at the end of the game determine the winner of the game, but also how many stars on the back of the box you get to fill in, each character has a box. These stars, once you’ve filled in a row, give you a particular bonus at the start of each game. Also, there are circles on the front of your character box that allows you to keep more things from game to game. Anyone who doesn’t win a game gets to fill in one of these circles. That way it helps balance out the potential issue of having a run away leader through the whole series of games.

Image Source: Stonemaier Games

Mechanically is really where the game shines, because the story might as well be pasted on top of it. With or without the story, I think that the game would have worked just fine, which is good because once you’re done building up your charters, you can continue to play the game just without the legacy aspect as a euro game. The story isn’t bad, it’s just not all that important to the game, and when they do try and add in some stronger story elements to the game, it doesn’t always feel like they fit into the game because there’s no real reason for it.

One important thing with legacy games is the unlocking of new rules and how they pace that out. I think that for the most part they do a good job, however, it can be fairly front loaded if you aren’t careful. Because opening the crates is basically the way that you’re going to get new rules, if you push for that, as our group has done, you’re going to end up with a situation where in later games there might not be as many crates to open up and that you might have the game fully developed prior to the last few games, so you’ll have fewer things to unlock.

One thing that I would say about this game that I don’t think works as well with this game is that it technically can have 1 to 6 players. You could technically play it by yourself, but it would be a pretty sad experience. And I really think that any number less than six, for while you’re playing the legacy part of the game, isn’t going to work that well. We’re playing with five, and it feels somewhat like we’re missing out not having that sixth player. It would also help keep the board tighter and more competitive having more workers on the board. I’m sure it’s still a good experience with less people, but you are going to have the best experience with a lot of people. One good thing, though is that once you’ve finished the legacy portion of the game, I think that any player count is going to be solid.

Image Source: Stonemaier Games

A final interesting thing about Charterstone. The board comes prints on both sides of the playing surface. So they actually sell recharge packs for the game, so less than the base game and replaces all the cards that you’ve used, and then you can play through it again. Since the story isn’t really one like Pandemic or even SeaFall where there are supposed to be big, shocking moments, it would be easy to play through again with the same group or a different group and have a different experience. Between that and having a game you can still play, those are the two really unique things that set it apart from other legacy games. I’ll be curious with Betrayal Legacy to see with that one, since it’s supposed to be playable after the fact, is similar to Charterstone, or closer to Risk Legacy where you technically could, but you could have a broken game.

Overall it’s a fun game and one that I’d definitely consider getting the recharge pack for and playing again legacy wise. And if my wife likes it, because I think she would and I think it would be a good legacy game to play with her, then I think we’d keep it on the shelf. Otherwise, I’d probably let one of the other players take it, because it is fun, but not the most unique.

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


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My Little Board Games

My Little Board Games

Now, This is meant as more of a play on the new game that came out called My Little Scythe. To see if you want to continue reading this, this is not about small games, though I’ll probably do a post on that soon now that […]