Now, there are a lot of ways I could go with this. I could literally be talking about how heavy some games are, such as Gloomhaven which is over 20 pounds. I could be talking about how emotionally heavy a video game is like Life […]
Tag: Board Game Geek
More Malts and Meeples after about a week off, I was able to get the game to the table last night with a little interruption in the form of a baby who decided he should do a 180 in his bed and confuse himself.
But how did game number 10 of Pandemic Legacy Season 1 go? And what is Pandemic Legacy? Pandemic Legacy is a cooperative board game, that I’m playing solo, where you are trying to cure diseases, but each time you play the board changes based off of events that happen or things you do in the game. This could be adding a sticker to the board, or tearing up a card. You can find out more about Pandemic Legacy Season 1 from Z-Man Games on Board Game Geek.
And what was last nights beer? My malt for the night was a repeat of a previous game. It was a hot day, and I wanted my favorite beer, from Odell Brewing Co., St Lupulin. It’s just a nice straight forward EPA (Extra Pale Ale) with a good summery taste. It also is a good beer even when it is a bit warm.
The Granddaddy of roll and write games is taking on a new class as we have a fatal four-way between these games that use a similar mechanic, but are all really different. Will the old challenger be able to hold off the young guns trying […]
It’s the 1950’s and it’s time to build your perfect neighborhood. In this flip and write game, you are trying to make the best combination of fenced off neighborhoods to attract the most people to your neighborhood. You build parks, give the houses house numbers, […]
A week ago, I got a new to me game to the table. This game was talked well about by the main three on The Dice Tower and it looks amazing on the board. Photosynthesis walks a line between thematic and completely abstract in an interesting way.
Photosynthesis is the process of plants turning sunlight into energy, food, so that they can grow. In the board game, there is a sun that is rotating around the board, and you are planting, growing, and harvesting trees in order to get the most points. But you have to think about where you’ve played everything, because a misplaced tree could end up blocking one of your other trees from getting sunlight, or you can block your opponents tree from getting sunlight. After the sun has completed four rotations of the board, you tally up your score and see who has the most points.
The game is really about figuring out the puzzle of where to plant your trees and when the harvest the trees. At the start of each round, every tree you have that isn’t being shaded by another tree gets you a number of light points that you can spend in the next part of the round. After that, you can spend those points to buy more trees and seeds and to harvest your big, old trees for points. There’s a balancing act, however, as you figure out when you harvest your large tree, which gets you three light points per round, and possibly could blocking more trees, since it has a shadow of three. That puzzle is a very strong abstract feel in the game. However, the shadow system and the rotation of the sun actually feel very thematic.
Photosynthesis does have one aspect that everyone might not like. Because of the shadow mechanism that might keep players from getting light points, it’s possible to have an absolutely terrible round. I think it was mid game when Kristen had a turn, just because of shadows that netted her no light points. That can obviously lead to a frustrating round since while I and the other player had several points to work with, she did nothing, and that put her behind. It wasn’t intentional ganging up on up her though, but just bad luck. This game could have a strong aspect if blocking other people if you wanted it to, but it would probably also be hurting you half of the time. You’d have to be able to think a lot of steps ahead to make blocking someone an effective strategy, and it probably would still cause issues for you.
For me, that’s the one negative of the game, someone can get behind and stay behind because of that. However, since this is a more abstract game versus a thematic game, it works. It really is a giant puzzle to get your engine up and running and running consistently throughout the game. Even though Kristen had that one bad turn, she was only about one tree harvest behind the rest of us in terms of gaining points, so it didn’t cause her to be completely out of the game.
I think that Photosynthesis is a very good game. I think it’s a very pretty game, and I think that it’s probably a game that most people will enjoy. There are a few bits that might not work for everyone, but for the most part, I think it is easy enough to grasp, even if it doesn’t always make perfect thematic sense. I do think that Photosynthesis also has the chance to be poor game for analysis paralysis prone players, but that’s going to be the case for most games.
Overall Grade: B+
Gamer Grade: B+
Casual Grade: C+
Have you had a chance to play Photosynthesis?
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On to another list for my top 5 drafting games. Now, Board Game Geek only has card drafting for me to sort through, but I will be including a dice drafting game in my list as well (or two). So without any more clarification:
5. Roll Player
Do you just like making an over powered D&D character? That’s the feeling that you get in Roll Player as you are drafting dice to make the ideal stats for your character. You are also trying to line up certain colored dice in certain spots, depending on what card you’ve gotten. It’s a fun game as you try and equip and build your character, and there is a Monsters expansion that I’ve heard adds more to the game. The reason I have it this low on my list is because I haven’t playing with that expansion, and once you’ve built your character, the game just ends, so it feels like it’s a little bit lacking in terms of being a full game. It is still a lot of fun to roll up your character though.
4. 7 Wonders
This is very similar to a game that is further down on the list, actually sitting at #2. But 7 Wonders has a heavier theme to it, though, like most pure drafting games the theme is fairly pasted on. You are leading your ancient civilization through three ages as you try and build up your ancient wonder. Except, you don’t actually need to, to win the game. Instead you might focus in on building up other players that give you victory points or getting the strongest military or winning with a combination of science cards. It has some interesting mechanics as well where you can purchase resources that you might need to build something, but only from the people to your left or right, so there is some strategy with that as well.
Another dice drafting game on the list. I really like this game for the look on the table. In the game you’re drafting translucent dice to create a stained glass window. There are rules where you can place dice, sometimes you must use a certain color and other times a certain number. That part of the game adds in the strategy, also the fact you can’t have the same number next to another orthogonally or the same with the colors. The game goes fast, and when you are done you have a nice looking window in front of you. The game is very much a puzzle game, but not one that is too tricky.
2. Sushi Go! Party
This one is on the list as my favorite pure drafting game. The theme is fun, building out your meal and the scoring mechanics are pretty straight forward, though there are a few specials that I would consider to be more advanced. The artwork also makes it an easy sell as it leans into the cute anthropomorphized food items. The game also plays extremely fast and is easy for new players to pick up. I prefer the Party version to the regular version because you’re able to create a variety of set-ups so that the game doesn’t play the same every time.
1. Blood Rage
Hey, it’s on back to back lists. But Blood Rage does a really good job with the drafting in the game. That’s what really sets apart the strategies for people in the game. Do you load up on cards for battle, on quests to complete, do you spend your points playing monsters? It is a very big part of the strategy and depending on what cards you see, you might have to adjust your strategy on the fly as you draft cards at the beginning of each age. It’s also where a lot of the theme comes into the game, because Loki cards do really feel like Loki, same with Odin, Thor, and other players in Norse mythology.
I don’t have any honorable mentions this time. Board Game Geek has a lot of games that I wouldn’t call card drafting or drafting games on their list, such as Dominion, where you do get to choose what cards you add to your deck, but it is a deck builder, and I already did a post on that a few days ago.
So this is going to be a short post, what are some drafting games that you like? Are there any on my list that you want to play?
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