Tag: App

The Collection A to Z – A Is For…

The Collection A to Z – A Is For…

We’re continuing going through my board game collection, seeing what games I have, what games I need to play and why I got some of the games that I have in my collection. We did the numbers yesterday, now we’re going for the A’s. You 

Descent: Legends of the Dark – Spiel Digital Announcement

Descent: Legends of the Dark – Spiel Digital Announcement

As a “good” board gamer, I get excited about new games all the time, there are always new games that come out and while I’m excited about them, I generally don’t write about them, unless it’s a Kickstarter Back or Brick article, or maybe something 

Board Game Style: Escape Room

Board Game Style: Escape Room

We started this series last week to go along with the Board Game Mechanic, where we look less at the specific inner workings of a game but instead look at a general category of games. I like to think of it more as a genre of games where they all share some of the same story DNA and feel.

So, most people are going to be somewhat familiar with the idea of an escape room. They have been something very popular in the US at least over the last handful of years and have been a concept for longer than that starting in 2007. The idea of these are that you and a group get placed into a room with a time limit on how long you have to escape. You need to work together to find clues, solve, puzzles, and get out of the escape room. These are generally themed around something, maybe you are trying to get out of an asylum or you are doing a jail break.

They’ve taken this over to board games in a few different ways and series of games. Some of the games are intertwined stories that expand over time as you go. Others are one off games that pit you and a group against a certain amount of time or will give you a score based off of how long it takes and how many clues you use. In these games you have things like ciphers to break, numbers leading to the next thing hidden on cards, in images, and so many more different puzzles.

Players in these games work together to solve these puzzles, it might be somewhat on their own, but generally there is free communication and collaboration around the table as you try different solutions and race against the time. Fairly often that means that these games could play an infinite number of players, but since everyone needs to see what is on the cards, there is limited real estate to do that, so more than a handful starts to become a little bit cramped.

Image Source: Asmodee

But let’s look at some games in this style:

Gateway Game

Unlock – This is a series of games that aren’t connected except around mechanics. In these games you are using cards to find items, figure out puzzles and get to the next room so that you can eventually escape. It might be something like escaping from Oz or a submerged submarine or a haunted house. What these games do different than some is that you buy them as a one off or in a set of three. And each is playable once by the same group, but they aren’t destructive in nature. What I mean by that is not pieces need to be modified to solve any of the puzzles. It also uses an app integration for the timer and for entering in codes to see if you can unlock some doors or open a safe. This allows them to create some nice thematic tension with a sound track for the game you are playing.

Medium Weight

Exit – Now, there isn’t a massive difference between Unlock and Exit, both of them are pretty light weight, Exit is just going to have you stretch your brain more because you have more puzzles and more almost disconnected puzzles in it. Along with that, Exit is a destructive game. That means that you might end up pulling apart some of the box to get something or cutting up a piece of paper in order to able to easily solve the puzzle. The reason I say that this is medium weight versus Unlock’s gateway level is because that you can’t just focus directly on the puzzle, you have to go over everything because you don’t know where a clue to solve the puzzle might be hidden so it stretches the brain more but can be more frustrating as well for that reason, but if Unlock seems to easy, Exit is a slight step up.

Image Source: Space Cowboys

Heavy Weight

TIME Stories – Now, I actually, again, don’t think that TIME Stories is too heavy, and there might be some people who disagree with this being an escape room game, but it certainly has a lot of the elements of it. You’re trying to figure out what is going on in a timeline after you and your team are sent into the past, future, another dimension, to stop something that is about to royally mess up the timeline. Your memories and knowledge are put into a body there so you can blend in, You go on runs trying to solve the case, and if you run out of time with the event happening the TIME agency can send you back in again, equipped with the knowledge that you have to try and solve it again. For this reason TIME Stories, while once you complete the case is basically a one and done, has a longer playing time and more game that you can get out of it. It’s also is easier to play over multiple sessions because you can more easily save between the runs that you make. Overall, not an extremely complex game, but it has more moving parts than the others do.

There are a lot more Escape Room games out there or games that have a similar feel to them. I did a Board Game Battle recently between TIME Stories and Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game, and while there are similarities, TIME Stories has more of an escape room feel versus Detectives more deductive feel. What are some of your favorite escape room style board games? Do you like escape rooms in real life, if so, how do the games compare to the places?

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AppThat: On Tour

AppThat: On Tour

Sometimes you want to play board games and you just don’t have anyone to play with, and pulling out and playing a solo game just seems like more work than you’d want to do right now, thankfully there, are board game apps out there. Today 

Gencon 2020 – Fantasy Flight In-Flight Report

Gencon 2020 – Fantasy Flight In-Flight Report

So, I’m going to do what I did with Frosthaven when that was announced and talked about on videos, I’m doing a video breakdown. This Fantasy Flight In-Flight report is normally a big deal, kind of a kick-off for Gencon to find out what Fantasy 

AppThat: Ascension

AppThat: Ascension

One thing that I’ve found myself doing more recently is playing games on my phone just because we can’t as easily game in person and some games just don’t work well over something like Zoom. I wanted to talk about and review the apps themselves and how well they implement the game.

Ascension is one that I started playing a while ago, but just recently came back to it. Ascension is a pretty straight forward deck building game where you are trying to get the best engine going of buying power and fighting power to get the most honor points. You get honor points by killing monsters during the game, but also then from the cards that you purchase. The game is straight forward and has a nice rotating market that can be frustrating if you don’t get what you want or the market just becomes monsters and you’re just about buying things. On your turn you play out five cards and basically do what they tell you, that is generally adding up attack and purchase power and then using them, but some cards will have special abilities like additional card draw, or they’ll be constructs, cards that go into play permanently and give you some bonus that way. You can find my whole review here.

So let’s talk about the app and how well it works on a phone. Now I’m just doing phone only as I don’t have a tablet that I use for these. The app implementation on the phone is actually really good. The game plays extremely quickly, much quicker than in person. Or at least playing solo on the app does. Pass and play with someone in person does as well, but you can also play it online against other people. The interface is very good and the tutorial gets you up and running fast in the game and the game takes care of some of the extra work for you. Of course you don’t have to shuffle, but negative monster affects, those can run automatically, and it keeps track of your purchase and attack power for you each turn so you don’t have to mentally track that and reminds you if you have any left.

Image Source: Stone Blade

Let’s talk a bit about the AI. I tend to think that it’s just okay. On hard I win most of the time, so a lot of the time when playing it I am more interested in trying out a new strategy to see how that works or to see what score level I can get to. On easy, the AI basically goes all in attack every time, which means that the game goes fast but you don’t really have anyone competing with you for the good cards or combos. I think with adding in some of the expansions, which are additional purchases it could keep the game more fresh and interesting, but I do think the game can get a bit repetitive over time playing against the computer, no matter the level of AI. Now, playing against people online, that’s going to obviously be more engaging in terms of strategy, but obviously takes a considerable amount more time.

Some of the bells and whistles in the game are nice though. You might want to know what constructs your opponents have, you can look at that. You might want to see what you have in your discard you can look at that. But the information isn’t dominating the screen, those are all things that you can look at versus stuff that clutters it up. And you can expand all the cards, so even though I’m playing on a small phone screen, if I need to read what a card says, which I don’t now but did before, I can just hold it down and it’ll pop up for me so I can see it large enough to read.

Overall, the game feels very intuitive in what you are doing. The game play is very fast as you go, so I can probably now get through a game in 10 minutes playing solo against four AI opponents. But, the game does lose some replayability over time against the AI just because their strategy isn’t always the most unique. I don’t think it’s a bad AI and I don’t win every time, more due to luck of the draw than great AI play. But it’s still a fun time to sit down and play fast, and I could easily buy some expansions to make it more diverse in my game play if I really wanted. This is a good app implementation, and if you really wanted you can play it online with friends or as a pass and play as well, which will give you a good representation of the real game. Definitely an app that I’d recommend.

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Back or Brick – Sea of Legends

Back or Brick – Sea of Legends

We’re taking to the high seas for an exploration and story driven game. This game is for 1-4 Scalawags who dare brave the high seas in hopes of becoming a true legend. Pros Pirate Theme Previous Game App integration for story Solo playable Cons First 

Point of Order – Chronicles of Crime

Point of Order – Chronicles of Crime

What, another order already? This one I did in particular because I want to help support my local game stores, and Chronicles of Crime is a game that I’ve heard a lot about. If you are in the Minneapolis area and want delivery (and are 

Point of Order – New Board Games (#1)

Point of Order – New Board Games (#1)

So, this won’t be my main article for a day normally, but I’m going to have a little bit of fun with this and start up a new series of articles for when I order a new board game. Now, this will exclude Kickstarter board games, look for those in Back or Brick articles every Wednesday.

Point of Order is going to be me running down the game(s) that I ordered and why I picked them up. The reason for doing this is kind of a sneak preview as to what’s going to be coming for reviews in the future, but also help show why I thought some games might be a good fit for me and maybe, give you some insight if into if they might be a good fit for you.

So let’s run them now, it’s a bigger order this time, so it’ll be a bit of reading to get through it, but hopefully enlightening.

Image Source: Bezier Games

Silver
So, this is one that I got a chance to play at GenCon and since it was such a small game, it kind if paled in comparison to some of the other games I played there, and I thought it was just okay. But then I downloaded it to my phone, and I’ve had a lot of fun just knocking out a fast game of it against the computer. What keeps drawing me back to it is the simplicity of the game. In Silver, you are trying to get your village to score the fewest points, there are werewolves because it’s Bezier Games, but that’s a mute point to the game. You do this by swapping cards out from your face down group of five cards. However, you don’t know what all your cards are. At the start of each round, there are four, you look at two of your cards. Then on your turn you look at the top card and either swap it with a card in your five or use it’s power, or you can use the top card of the deck to swap into your row. Now, the swap is 1 for 1, unless, you have two of the same card from the five in front of you that you can swap. So if I had two sixes, I could swap it for a five, now I’d have four cards in front of me and be scoring 7 less points. Once you have less than four cards, you can call for a vote if you want, and if you have the fewest points on your villagers, you get 0 points, but if you’re wrong or you didn’t call for the vote, you get the points on your villagers, and plus 10 if you were wrong when calling for the vote. It’s a push your luck, bluffing (kind of), and memory game. It plays fast over four rounds and because of enjoying it more on my phone, I decided to pick it up.

Cartographers
This one one will be way shorter to write about, because I’ve already don’t a TableTopTakes review of it. This is a flip and write map making game with some fun scoring. The map making part is pretty loosely themed on there, but the scoring puzzle is a lot of fun, and the fact that it’s an interactive flip and write is great. So for the scoring, you have four different scoring things, A, B, C, D. And you score two each season, for A & B, then B & C, C & D, and eventually D & A. So you have to think about both short turn and long term scoring. Plus, then, you have your own board, but if a monster comes up (and they will) you have to pass your board to the left or right and that player will put a monster somewhere on your board in spot that’ll surely mess things up for you. I really enjoy roll/flip and writes, and this one stands up as one that has a fun theme and some more interactivity going on.

Ascension: Delirium
Now, some of why I got this was because I needed to make it to $100 for free shipping and nothing was jumping out at me. But I really love Ascension, in my Top 10 Gateway game list, it was #10, because for me it’s an ideal introduction to deckbuilding for the base game. And the expansions add more and can be combined with it. So I’m excited to try out this one and to try out Dreamscape the other expansion that I have. I’m curious to see how the strategies might change, and sometime play a massive six player game with one of the expansions mixed in. This is one where I know I’ll enjoy the expansions, and even if they don’t come off the shelf a lot, I’ll still get them played once and a while.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Silver & Gold
So, this isn’t related to Silver. Instead it’s a flip and write game where you are drafting island cards and trying to fill them in, which scores you points, and combing covering up palm trees, treasures, and I think more to allow you to cover up more things. This game was interesting to me after I watched Board Game Geeks Game Night Youtube Show with it. What was interesting about it was that you don’t have your own play sheet that you’re filling in. You are drafting/taking island cards and actually writing on those cards. The cards are dry erase so that you can play, score, erase, and play again. That just seems like a novel idea and I’ve really been digging roll or flip and write games recently.

Clank! Acquisitions Inc Legacy
Multiple things drew me to this game, first it’s a legacy game. I think I own, have owned, or have played most legacy games out there. They are just a blast generally in my opinion, and are very fascinating to see how they end up working. With Clank! Legacy, I already know that I like Clank! In! Space! and while this is fantasy themed, that’s fine because I love Acquisitions Inc. podcast/video series that Penny Arcade does at their #PAX conventions. From what I’ve heard about this, it implements it really well and creates an interesting story throughout while being a really fun game to play. And while none of the others take themselves seriously in the Clank! line of games, this one I’ll get more of the in jokes because I’ve watched all of Acquisitions Inc. And easy purchase, just was waiting to have a group to play it, but it was on sale, so I decided to pick it up anyways even before having a group lined up.

Forgotten Waters
This one I’m really excited for, but it’s a pre-order. So one of my favorite games is Dead of Winter. And what makes it a lot of fun is that it uses crossroads cards. These cards get triggered sometimes where you go some play, do some action and all of a sudden you’re interrupted because you triggered this crossroads event where you have to make a decision that will affect the game in some way, but you don’t know how. Forgotten Waters is a pirate themed game that uses that, plus it has an app that tells you things to do and helps you set-up scenarios, plus you’re using a storybook type thing, similar to Mice and Mystics, Aftermath, and Stuffed Fables. I think all of that combined together sounds really cool, and I’ve been looking for a cool pirate themed game that is a bit more tongue in cheek than something like Merchants and Marauders which is a fun game, but a bit heavier.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Marvel Champions Neoprene Playmat
Final item on the list, and it’s not a game. There are several reasons that I wanted to get this, the first is that it looks cool, and it’s big so you can play with a bunch of people using mat. The other is that whenever I cut my finger nails, I can never pick up cards. So on a neoprene mat which I’d be able to use for other games as well, though it does have a layout for Marvel Champions, I won’t be trying multiple times to pick them up or scooting them to the edge of the table so I can grab them. I won’t say that this really makes Marvel Champions that much easier to play, but it can help keep the table neater, plus easier to pick up cards.

So, that’s the order that I have coming in. I’d say that some of that is thanks to Covid-19 because I’m bored and I think that some of these games will be good ones that I can play with my wife while waiting for board game nights to happen again.

Are there any of the games that seem the most interesting to you? Any that you’ve picked up or want to pick up?

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Top 10 Soloable Games

Top 10 Soloable Games

Now, let me set a few ground rules. The game must have an official solo version, it can’t be something like Pandemic Legacy Season 1, which I played solo, but officially, by the rules, isn’t a solo game. I will say though, I haven’t played