Final top 5 list, I think that I could maybe come up with some more lists, but I might do eventual lists of games that play best or up to two through six or seven to give ideas for games like that. As I know […]
Tag: Arkham Horror
So I normally do a lot of top fives at the end of the year in bigger categories, but I wanted to break it down for a few specific categories within board games so you can see what I really enjoy in the various genres and I’ll give my reasons why:
5. Magic the Gathering
Normally I don’t have games on a deck building list like this. MtG, though, is a deck building game, you just aren’t doing it actively in the game. But I would argue that a lot of the fun of Magic, though I really do like the game, is trying to build out that crazy deck that just might work. I think that part of the game can become too much when people start to take the game too seriously and go all in on the pay to win model. But putting together a deck that just might work, that’s a lot of fun. Then you get to test it out, go back to the drawing board, and try again. I really liked to create decks that would build towards a big finish if I could stay alive long enough. Best way to describe it is building the ticking time bomb deck that you know will blow up, but you don’t know when.
4. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
A deck builder that has a good amount of theme. It feels, as you’re early in the game, that you’re playing through the books. The only odd thing is that you continue to add villains each game, so the further in you are, the more it feels like you’re playing through the series as compared to playing through a book. I wish that was different, but the cards themselves, and the characters as you open up more books and unlock more of the rules, feel like you’re playing as the different characters from the books and each has a different thing they are a bit better at, such as Hermoine with spells.
3. Clank! In! Space!
I really enjoy this game for the goofiness of the deck building. The cards are all references to various Sci-Fi shows, books, and movies. I also like it because it’s not something that is just a deck builder. You are building your deck, but you’re building it so that you can move around the space ship and gather the best treasure that you can. So the people you recruit and the cards you buy actually matter in the game for more than just something like victory points. The turns are also extremely fast in the game, which is great, because the game can take a little while to set-up with the modular board and all the different tokens and cards.
2. Xenoshyft: Onslaught
What you’ll notice about most of the games on the list is that they add a lot of plot to the game. Xenoshyft: Onslaught continues that as you are space marines fighting off waves and waves of bug monsters. What I like about this game is that you are using your cards and money to set-up your defenses for the next wave of bugs. So it has the theme of what you are doing, recruiting more troops and upgrading their equipment. I also like that you can help out your fellow players because if they are facing troubles in their lane of defense, you can help them prior to the wave of bugs or sometimes during the wave of bugs, so you can actually help build up someone else’s deck if you have your own engine working well already. It’s a very tough game, but I really like that about it, because you’re always feeling the pressure of getting the right pull.
1. Arkham Horror LCG
This game is amazing and I haven’t even played it a ton. It’s not your standard deck builder as you aren’t purchasing cards as you go, but between games you are gaining XP and upgrading cards or putting in new cards. Sometimes the scenarios even give you new cards you can add to your deck. This deck builder is closer to Magic the Gathering in the style you are building the deck because you build it prior to the game. But it is great because you have to build it in such a way to have some weaknesses that specific to your character(s) in the game, so each deck feels unique.
Now, just a few honorable mentions:
Century: Golem Edition & Not Alone, both great games, but they are really a hand builder versus a deck builder. The mechanics are pretty similar to deck building though, so can be HM’s
Marvel Legendary, I’m not the biggest fan of the game, some because there’s so much bloat that you end up just not getting the right combination of cards because you put together too odd a group of heroes. It can just be too swingy at times, but superheroes are awesome.
Aeon’s End/Aeon’s End: War Eternal/Aeon’s End Legacy, I’m going to be playing this soon, I’ve watched a playthrough of this game, it has enough extra going on with the monster you’re fighting and the spell slots, basically, that you can open up. It seems very interesting, and a deck builder that you don’t shuffle is very cool as you can theoretically stack the deck in your favor.
What’s missing from the list because I haven’t played enough or just didn’t like it that well:
Clearly there is no Dominion on the list. While Dominion is the grand daddy of them all, or at least the first super popular one, Dominion is a pretty boring game where the cards are themeless and could be anything. It’s a pure deck builder, but that’s about it.
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is also missing from the list, it’s a pretty cool epic game, however, it’s supposed to be RPG like, and leveling up is just too slow. The game just needs to move a little bit faster. The same thing is the case with Shadowrun: Crossfire. I love the setting, and the game is cool, but the original printing was also just too slow to build to the cool things. I think that Harry Potter is the game that could be like this, bu t you feel cooler much faster.
What are your favorite deck builders? Which games would you recommend to people?
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A lot of the games that I’ve gone with have been for gamers who might be into board gaming more casually. The games aren’t always simple but they aren’t the heavier games that require that extra time to set-up and tear down. If you want to see the list on the other end of the spectrum, check back to the Holiday Gift Guide: Intro Games article from a few days ago.
The poster child for the big box game, Gloomhaven has all the components and tons of hours of game play. The game mechanics are smart as the card play is clever and adds a lot of strategy to the game. It is a beast to take down and set-up, but if you can afford the game, for someone who is looking for that combination of a big game with a lot of strategy and story, Gloomhaven is amazing.
Near and Far
Another one that’s been mentioned before, this is a story driven campaign game, but they do a really good job of keeping part of it was a game and part of it as the story aspect. There are definitely a lot of decisions to be made as you go out and explore and as you spend time in the town trying to build up your party to explore. You can even technically win the game without doing any of the story part.
Mansions of Madness
This game again has a lot of story, but there is an epicness to the game as you explore through houses and other locations as you try and unravel the mysteries and madness of this Lovecraftian game. As compared to some of the other Lovecraft games, it tells a tight story and the app integration into the game works really well and makes the book keeping aspect of the game a whole lot easier. You get to feel like you’re investigating these mysteries.
Arkham Horror LCG
Another Lovecraft game on the list, this game is a whole lot smaller and faster than the rest of the games. In fact it’s just a card game. However, this card game still feels big because you are going through a cool story and the decisions you make and the level of difficulty you play the game at, makes the game tough. This is the epic Lovecraft game for when you don’t have as much time.
Shadows of Brimstone
This one you could argue borrows or Lovecraft adjacent, but really it’s trying to be its own thing as it’s a big box game with a lot of rules and you are trying to complete missions, role play your characters, and save the town of Brimstone from the dimension that is opening up around it. What I like about this game is that it is Weird West, which isn’t a theme that I’ve seen used that much before in board games or any media and I want to see more of. The game does, however, have a beast of a rule book, though the rule book is laid out pretty well.
Probably the easiest of all of the games on the list to set-up and get into. The rules for this game are probably the simplest of any of the games, but the story of this game gives it an epic feel. Now, it’s probably the game thus far on the list that you can get the fewest number of hours game play and only Arkham Horror LCG plays in as short a time, though with Arkham Horror LCG, there are more scenarios to play through. However, this game is epic, both seasons of it, and they are both definitely worth playing, especially as their prices are a bit lower now.
This asymmetric game is definitely an epic struggle between the factions with a lot of interesting decisions to be made by the players as you try and be the first to the victory point total. The fact that each factions in the game plays differently means that it’ll give the players a lot of different experiences as you play in different roles through multiple playthroughs of the game. And it’s pretty easy to teach all things considered because the basic actions for each faction end in the same result.
Star Wars: Rebellion
This game has been described as, by the Dice Tower, “Star Wars in a box”. I think that’s a very apt description. While Imperial Assault might be boots on the ground, Star Wars: Rebellion is the epic galactic struggle between the Rebels and the Empire. You get to try and complete missions, build troops up, defeat the enemy and if you’re the Empire, track down where the rebel base is hidden. The game play is fairly long, but the decisions and turn structure means that there isn’t much downtime. This game is only really a two player game though.
Now, there are ton more epic games out there. I have yet to play Twilight Imperium 4th Edition (or 3rd Edition) and those are some of the most epic space games. I also have games like The Reckoners and Scythe that I’ve picked up recently but haven’t gotten to the table yet. What are some other epic feeling games that I’ve missed?
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THIS IS HALLOWEEN!
With possibly my favorite holiday coming up, probably Christmas then Halloween, I thought it would be a fun to toss out some of my favorite or good ideas for scary books, board games, movies, anime, or anything else. They are going to be horror focused, obviously, for Halloween, but there are probably going to be a few interesting ones out there that are more monster features versus Halloween horror.
So, starting with board games, because I love board games in case you haven’t noticed, what are some cool game options for Halloween?
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Super easy first option, this game is literally distilled Halloween, you could be playing a game where the traitor is death or you could get stuck in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. You never know, it’s the Cabin in the Woods of board games, it can hit every classic horror trope. For those who aren’t familiar with the game, you are exploring a haunted house, however, one of you in the betrayer. You don’t know who that betrayer is going to be, because omens of bad things to come start being drawn, and depending on what omen is found in what room, the haunt is going to be different. This game does have a few issues with some of the scenarios not being balanced, but it’s more about the horror feeling you get from the game as you joke around exploring the house, and suddenly, everything is serious.
Mansions of Madness
While I think that Arkham Horror LCG (Living Card Game) is more enjoyable for me to play, probably because I’ve played it more, Mansions of Madness hits the HP Lovecraft horror out of the park as you are exploring a location and all sorts of horrific things are happening. You and your group of investigators are pushing forward while fighting off monsters, solving puzzles, and trying to stop monsters from being summoned. This game has some of the same feeling as Betrayal at House on the Hill where you are exploring the house, finding what horrors might lie inside of it. I would recommend playing Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition as the app integration makes the game run really smoothly.
Because zombies, that’s really why it is on this list. Also because it’s a simple, light game, where you are just rolling dice. You are the zombies who are in search of brains, and trying to collect as many as you can and figuring out when to stop, before you get blasted away by a shotgun. Zombie Dice is a great ice breaker game because it’s easy to teach, turns go fast, and it’s easy for people to still have conversations while playing this game.
King of Tokyo
When it comes to Halloween, I still think of giant monsters. And while King of Tokyo doesn’t have deep horror roots, playing a bunch of monsters trying to get points and smacking the other monsters around is a blast. You can play as not-Godzilla, not-King Kong, and a lot of others. It’s another fight game, and the Yahtzee style rolling mechanic makes it an easy game to teach as people generally are familiar with that. This is definitely a more family friendly style of Halloween game, like Zombie Dice above.
I’ve only played Onslaught, but from what I know, Dreadmire has a similar feel. This is a fun horror/space marine sort of game in the vein of Alien and Starship Troopers. It’s less silly than Starship Troopers, but has the feeling of fighting off swarms and swarms of bugs as they try and overrun the base. You’re working as a team, each person defending their own side of the base from the alien bugs by building up a line of defense and hoping to get lucky. The game has a nice cooperative feel and generally feels like you’re close to winning, though, if you get the bugs in the wrong order, especially the wave boss bugs early in a wave, it can set you back a long ways. However, you get a chance to help your fellow marines while the bugs are attacking which gives the game a unique feel for a deck builder.
Dead of Winter
This is for the more serious zombie player. You’re trying your best to survive the cold winter, deal with zombies as they show up, and complete your objectives before time runs out. This game has a nice feel of somewhere between a classic zombie film and The Walking Dead where it’s more focused on the characters. The game runs with a lot of tension as well because there might be a traitor among you and you all have secret objectives, so everyone looks a bit like the traitor. Can you work together well enough to survive and complete your objective, will the traitor cause you to lose the game, and will you be able to complete your own objective. This game can have some heavy moments because of the Crossroads story cards it uses, so it isn’t a game to play with children.
Now, obviously there are a lot of horror or monster based games. Games like Descent, Claustrophobia, Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger, and many more can work for Halloween. What are some of your favorite games to pull out at Halloween?
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