Tag: board game review

TableTopTakes: Skull

TableTopTakes: Skull

This was a new to me game that I got to play last Friday. It’s a fun little bluffing and bidding game that plays pretty fast and can play a high number of players. It offers a few interesting decisions, but no highly strategic decisions. […]

TableTopTakes: Blossoms

TableTopTakes: Blossoms

Another two player game, the one that I mentioned in the Hanamikoji article. This one is a much simpler game, but still a very fast two player game with a cute table presence. In Blossoms you are trying to grow and cut the best group […]

Board Game Battle: Legacy Edition

Board Game Battle: Legacy Edition

I’ve done these battles a number of times now, but we’re going to talk about Legacy (if you’re a WWE fan, you might have a few legacy jokes going through your head). If not, we’re going to be battling it out between the four legacy games that I’ve played thus far. Yes, I said four, and technically I’ve played five different legacy games, but we’ve already had a battle between Pandemic Legacy Season 1 and Pandemic Legacy Season 2, and I think they are close enough in feel and tie in that they are going to go into a single entry.

Image Source: Z-Man Games

Pandemic Legacy

As I have talked about it before, it’s the first to enter the ring for the board game throw down. Pandemic Legacy is a strong contender as it works in a great story line with nice cooperative play. Season 1 is very similar to regular Pandemic where each person takes on the role of a CDC member and you are fighting various outbreaks. However, soon after you’ve started, you get a lot of twists and turns. The second season is much the same continuing after the first game by a little ways and able to be played without having played the first, but you’ll appreciate it more if you have played the first season.

Seafall

Now, I’ve written about this game as well, and I will say that I haven’t played through whole game, and likely never will. SeaFall is an exploring sea faring game where you take on different tribes and try and expand explore the unknown. There is a story running through the game, though, it can be a bit tricky to find all of the story in the correct order or to feel like there is a ton of story to it.

Risk Legacy

Image Source: Stonemaier Games

This variation on classic Risk takes you to an alien planet, that somehow looks exactly like Earth, except that all the borders are made up of short straight  lines. At that start of every game you pick your group of people and where you want to start, but instead of it being a slog to total world domination, it’s a race to see who can be the first to the victory point total. This move cuts the game time down a long long ways and makes the game much easier to get to the table than regular risk.

Charterstone

The final game in the battle is a worker placement game where you are competing against others to win the favor of the king as you work and build up a town for him. You build buildings, use what comes out of them to build more buildings, and you can explore crates which open up more opportunities to build and develop your section of the town into something unique. The game board evolves as the buildings you place are stickers, so everyone’s game is going to be unique.

Let’s talk about the tale of the tape with these games:

Time: Seafall games are by far the longest of any of these games. I don’t think that any others come close, in fact, Risk Legacy, the next longest game time, is probably about half the length of a single game of Seafall. Charterstone and Pandemic Legacy both generally clock in at under an hour, and Risk Legacy is just over an hour, whereas Seafall is probably three hours per game.

Story: Only in one of these legacy games would I say that there is a ton of story. Pandemic Legacy is full of story and twists and turns. I might get some disagreement, but Seafall has the next most story. While the story isn’t told the best, and you can get story out of order, there is definitely story in Seafall, it just isn’t presented or paced all that well. Risk Legacy and Charterstone basically have no story. Charterstone has a story slapped on the game, but the game wouldn’t play any different without the story, so I consider it completely optional, though it does pace out better than Seafalls, seeing as the story doesn’t really make a difference, it goes lower on the tape.

Ease of Play: Risk Legacy is probably the easiest out of all of them to play because it is just Risk with victory points. There’s plenty of familiarity with Risk out there in the world, and while not everyone might like it, they can probably pick it up easily. Charterstone is the next easiest as the mechanics of the game, while they do grow more complicated, still basically always remain, place a worker, or pick your workers up, so turns go by quickly. Pandemic Legacy is next, while at the start of the game it might be easier to grasp than Charterstone, Pandemic Legacy quickly adds in a lot of rules that you have to remember. Finally, Seafall, to no surprise, is a beast when ti comes to play, you have a lot of hard decisions to make every turn, and there is a decent amount of luck involved. Add in a poorly written rule book, and Seafall is not a game to pull out with beginners.

Image Source: Polygon

Now, I think that all of these games can be okay games. I have plenty of issues with Seafall, mainly a horrible rule book, and a poorly paced story, there are some solid mechanics behind it, and a lot of interesting and tough choices to make. However, it’s also the only one that is prone to a ton of analysis paralysis. So it’s the first out of the match, which is a shame, because I had high expectations for the game, which is some of the problem, because the game didn’t align with those expectations at all. Next out of the match is actually a double count out, so we’re getting to the winner which is Pandemic Legacy. No surprise there, but Pandemic Legacy has the story element and thematic ties that I look for in games. I will say this, though, about Charterstone and Risk Legacy, if your group is going to play a couple of games of it every other month, they are going to be better games to play, because you aren’t going to add in rules that vastly change the game between plays. However, the speed of play of Pandemic Legacy, the cooperative nature, and the great story telling makes it the winner.

On the horizon I’m hoping to play Rise of Queensdale and Betrayal Legacy. And I have yet again massive expectations for a Legacy game with Betrayal Legacy.

How many legacy games have you played, are there some that you haven’t that look interesting to you?


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TableTopTakes: Cry Havoc

TableTopTakes: Cry Havoc

What, another TableTopTake in such rapid succession? How does that even happen? It happens when Kristen has people over to watch a miniseries, so I get together with some people have a board gaming day from 2:30 until 11. We got to get two new […]

TableTopTakes: Clank! In! Space!

TableTopTakes: Clank! In! Space!

Are you excited for this game review, because the game sure is. Yes, Clank! In! Space! has all those exclamation points in the title and it’s really excited to have a TableTopTake written about it! So let’s get jazzed, people, and jump into this game […]

TableTopTakes: Xenoshyft: Onslaught

TableTopTakes: Xenoshyft: Onslaught

Image Source: CMON

“There’s so much on the planet, all this money to be made.”

“What about the giant bugs?”

“Hire some good security for the mines.”

“And the scary looking brain scorpions?”

“More security.”

“And the hydras?”

“Alright, mechanical armored security.”

That’s how I imagine it went as they set off for this unknown planet. And I don’t know how anything could go wrong as you fend off wave after wave of monsters as they throw themselves against your base. Xenoshyft: Onslaught is a cooperative deck building game where players upgrade troops and equipment while trying to keep the base working through nine rounds of creatures attacking. The feel of this game is somewhere between Alien and Starship Troopers. Definitely not as silly as Starship Troopers, but you are still fighting off waves of bugs for at least part of it.

Xenoshyft works really well as a deck builder as compared to something like Dominion, it has more game to it and feels much more thematically involved. As compared to another heavier deck builder, it doesn’t run into the situation of Marvel Legendary where you can just get stuck at times with the combinations and with money. The fact that each hand you get to add in a dollar for the first wave, three for the second, and six for the third means that you always can make a purchase. That along with being able to use the wave one troops to discount future troops makes the game scale a whole lot better.

And that’s a good thing, because this is a very tough game. Even without getting the wave bosses at opportune times, such as early in the wave, this game is really tough to beat. For each player the base gets an extra 15 hit points, but possible, early in the game, you can get down to half the points before you’ve gotten into wave two. You can often right the ship and push through wave two, but then wave three hits and now you’re dealing with a whole new level of creature. Maybe we should have just stayed on earth, but there was so much money to be made.

Another fun thing in this game is that you can help other people when they might not be getting what they need. Some of them are using abilities of your troops to help them fight the creatures. However, when you play a troop, weapon, or gear that the troop wears on the other players side of the defense, that card then goes into their deck for good. It makes for an interesting tool, because you want to empty your hand as much as possible each turn so helping other people can do that. I also like it because with the cooperative nature of the game, if one person wasn’t drawing well, it could come down to their side of the base that caused you to lose, but with trading weaponry, troops, and helping the other players out, it’s definitely more of a team game.

Image Source: CMON

Finally, one of the biggest unique things is the idea of the combat lanes. When I say each side of the base (or mine), I mean that each player has a small player board where they can have four troops. These troops can then be outfitted with armor and weaponry. Then four enemies are dealt onto another player board, face down, and you face off against them one at a time. The monster attacking the first troop in your player board, figuring out damage, and then repeating as need be until that monster is killed or until the monster has killed all of your troops. Then, if you have no troops left, any monsters left end up doing damage to the base. But having these unknown monsters means that you have to guess when you might want a stronger troop, because you might not want them right at the front. Or you have to decide, do you want to use an item to help you troop stay alive longer or do you need to save that because a worse monster is coming?

Overall, this is a very fun game. I have only one once, and that was because we cheated slightly in our advantage. The other four times I’ve played, we’ve always made it to the third wave of creatures, there are three difficulty levels/waves, and in each wave, you face off against them three times. But it’s a game that you want to reset and play right away, and in some ways, it feels better to make it further, and it’s less about winning the game, because it might be a while until I can win the game again. Components of this game are okay, the cards are very nice, but when I called them player boards, it’s more like player cardstock, so that part of the game feels a little bit cheap. The plastic health and shield tokens also feel a little bit chintzy. If you’re a person who wants all the components to be amazing, this game might not be for you, though the game play is very good. Or if you’re someone who doesn’t like cooperative games where you lose more often than not, this game is definitely not for you.

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

How do you get an A out of those grades? I really like this game, I’d play it whenever anyone would want to play it. However, I think that there might be a touch much going on for a more casual player, and with the grittier artwork and look of it, it might be a bit little going on for someone who thinks they are a heavy gamer and wants a lot of conflict. But for me, it’s really enjoyable.

Have you played this game before? Have you beat it before? If so, what has worked well for you in this game?


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TableTopTakes: Fae

TableTopTakes: Fae

A couple months ago I had a chance to play the game Fae where you’re playing a fae creatures who are trying to get the most druids matching their color to complete successful rituals. It’s a fun pretty light weight game in terms of your […]

TableTopTakes: Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger

TableTopTakes: Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger

Time for some gaming fun, this time with the newest game that is a craze, the Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger game. Which is based off of the Choose Your Own Adventure book by the same name. House of Danger does what you’d […]

Board Game Battle: Machi Koro vs Splendor vs Century Road: Golem Edition

Board Game Battle: Machi Koro vs Splendor vs Century Road: Golem Edition

Let’s meet the contenders:

Machi Koro: Machi Koro is a city building game where you are working on building up enough infrastructure that you can then build the bigger attractions for your city, like a harbor, shopping mall, and other things. The first person to build up all of these attractions wins the game.

Splendor: In Splendor, you take on the roll of a jewel merchant in a race to fifteen victory points. You collect gems to buy cards that give you permanent gems until you can start to buy cards without spending gems.

Century Road: Golem Edition: You’re a miner who is going out and buying and trading gems to be able to power up the golems, which give you victory points. You do so by buying cards, upgrading gems, and getting new gems.

Image Credit: Dad’s Gaming Addiction
But seriously, you guys. Just look at this thing.

What’s in Common?

The reason all three of these can face off is because they are all about building up your engine. Century Road: Golem Edition is the outlier in that you don’t have a tableau of cards out in front of you, but it falls into the similar engine building category and hand building category. You are building up your card base whether it’s buildings, gems, or mining/upgrade cards, so that you can, while using the fewest expendable resources, get as many victory points as possible on your turn.

What’s Different?

Thematically they are different, but that’s generally going to be the case.  You could even argue that Century Road: Golem Edition and Splendor have a bit of overlap, but mechanically, what makes them different from each other. In Machi Koro, there’s more interaction on other peoples turns with the buildings that you can buy. Even on someone else’s turn, you can be generating income. This make Machi Koro feel a bit more interactive. Along with that, Machi Koro has a die roll that determines what sort of money you get each turn, based on the buildings you have, so while there is strategy in building up your engine that gives you the money, there’s also some luck involved with the game. This is a nice balancing factor for the game. Splendor on the other hand is much more straight forward, the only “take that” sort of aspect to the game is that you can reserve a card to take it away from someone else. There’s some strategy as to what gems you take early game as well, and the extra points from the nobles who can become your patron is unique to this game as compared to the other two. Century Road: Golem Edition is definitely the most unique of all these games. Whereas in the first two you have a tableau of cards in front of you that assist you every turn in either getting money or buying more gems, you are building up your hand of cards and playing them down. The reason that it can fall into this category of games is because you are still building up your engine, and there isn’t the randomness of the draw that you get from a game like Dominion. Century Road: Golem Edition, when you buy cards and pick up the cards you’ve already played, you can have access to all of your cards to play, which is similar to both Machi Koro and Splendor.

Image Source: The Dork Den

What Stands out in Each Game?

Machi Koro has a mechanism with the die roll to determine what money you get that I really like. It means that there isn’t that much downtime for players during the game, because at the start of each person’s turn, they roll the dice, and it’s possible that you’ll collect money. It’s also interesting, because you can diversify with the cards that you have so you get less money more often, or there’s a strategy of going for a lot of cards of a single type to get a lot of money less often.

Splendor is probably the most straight forward of these games and the easiest to teach. Also going for it are beautiful components. The cards have a great finish to them and feel nice. While the artwork is a bit generic Euro game artwork, they are nicely done. Along with that the expendable resources are heavy duty poker chips and they are very nice.

Century Road: Golem Edition has the component piece as well. The gems in the game are great and the coins that aren’t used all that often in the game are still metal. The oversized cards allow for very nice artwork and have a nice feel to them. Along with this, the hand management and hand building aspect to the game are pretty unique for games that I’ve played. I know that it isn’t a unique concept totally, but for what I’ve played, it is pretty unique.

What’s a Weakness in Each Game?

With Machi Koro, I’d say that one weakness is that where you sit matters some. Not because you might miss out on something, but restaurants are on strategy to getting money in the game. But because of how the money is paid out, it’s possible that you could buy up some restaurants and because someone is sitting to your left who has the same ones, you won’t end up seeing much money and they could see a lot.

Splendor on the other hand doesn’t have a seating issue because the interaction is non-existent. That’s not the issue with the game though, the game itself is a little bit too generic. The theme of being a gem trader could be replaced with almost anything and it would make just as much sense. It’s a little bit like the Dominion of deck builders where the game is fun, but thematically there’s nothing that ties it together. This also means that there isn’t a ton of diversity in strategy for the game either.

Century Road: Golem Edition’s weakness is probably that it’s the heaviest of these games. Whereas the other two are very simple and light to teach, Century Road has a bit more going on with the game. You need to think a whole lot more about the engine that you are creating in this game as compared to the others since it is in your hand, and you might want to use a certain card in your hand every turn, but that isn’t possible so there’s more planning out your engine since there isn’t that availability.

And the Winner is:

Image Source: Plan B Games

Century Road: Golem Edition

This game has the components like Splendor while having a more interesting game play than either of the other two. While it is a bit more complex, it is far from being a heavy game and the complexity helps create diversity in strategy. The gems and metal coins and the artwork on the card, everything in that aspect is on point with the game as well. And while there is possibly the least ability to have a “take that” sort of strategy in Century Road: Golem Edition, that’s abated in making the game interesting just by the hand building aspect that has a good puzzle like feel.

Now, just as a word of disclaimer, I have all three in my collection and I don’t think that any will be moving out. Machi Koro and Splendor have a nice value of being very easy to teach to people and still enjoyable to play. I could see eventually getting rid of Splendor and completely replacing it with Machi Koro, but right now all are enjoyable.

Which is your favorite of these three games?


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TableTopTakes: Lucidity

TableTopTakes: Lucidity

Alright, this game is a pretty recent release, and I wanted to do a quick review on it. Probably will be shorter than some since I’ve only played it once. In Lucidity, you are playing as someone who can go through dreams. However, the dream […]