Tag: Board Game

Top 5: 2 Player Games

Top 5: 2 Player Games

Alright, I said I was going start another top 5 list, these are games that can either only be played with two players or are best with two players. There are some games that might have 2-4 players, but are really two player games, because […]

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: Dice Throne Season 1

TableTopTakes: Dice Throne Season 1

You are part of a Mortal Kombat tournament of the ages. The King who runs it has been the champion for a long time and now you’re going to try to take the throne from him, if you can defeat him in the tournament.

Image Source: Dice Throne

Dice Throne is a 2 to 6 player game where you take on the rolls of different characters or classes, in a tournament style battle ranging from one vs one to three vs three. Each class has their own life tracker, combat point tracker, deck of cards, and player boards that let you know what your special powers are. Each player starts with a hand of four cards and two combat points (CP). The first player can play cards and then rolls dice for combat. You are trying to match certain number of symbol combinations to unleash an attack. Then the other player declares their defense and tries to stop the damage. You can augment your roll by spending CP and playing cards or you can improve your attacks by spending CP and upgrading what a small straight or some other attack might do for you.

Image Source: Dice Throne

Overall, it’s an an extremely complex game, and the characters aren’t all that hard to play. What makes this game really work is the characters, because each of them plays differently. I haven’t played two of them yet, the Paladin and the Barbarian, but in a match-up between the Shadow Thief and Monk was close, and the match-up between the Pyromancer and Moon Elf was close. So the characters feel really well balanced against each other, and it comes down to rolling dice a lot of the time. What works well is that the cards you can play while rolling the dice are generally pretty cheap CP wise so you can mitigate a really bad roll fairly often.

The characters also do really feel different. The Monk uses Chi to empower attacks or to prevent damage. The Shadow Thief can go into hiding to avoid damage, steals a lot of CP, and then can leap out of the shadows with a sneak attack. The Pyromancer is going to burn you, and the Moon Elf tries to entangle you and makes your attacks weaker. Their attacks make sense for what they do, and the tokens and conditions they can place on themselves or other characters makes sense as well. In their decks of cards there are some specific to them, but I haven’t gone through to see if the balance of utility cards is the same throughout the characters or if those general cards are the same for everyone.

It’s nice also because the game plays very fast with two players, and it keeps there from being too much down time for players. Even when the other person is attacking, you are figuring out with your defense what you are going to try and roll. So you are still engaged in the other players turns. And with fifty health, you feel as a player that your health is draining away a whole lot faster than you’d want it to. When you hit you’re generally doing five damage or more, and sometimes, if you hit your ultimate ability, you can be doing a whole lot more than that.

Image Source: Dice Throne

That’s another cool thing in the game, the ultimate ability is basically an attack that can’t be stopped, so really going into the Mortal Kombat style of game. However, you need to roll all sixes, so you end up being tempted to go for it, but generally not able to pull it off. If you can pull it off, it might just give you a come from behind victory. And each characters ultimate ability really uses the tokens and conditions that the character can inflict so even if you don’t finish off your opponent, it can set you up for future turns, or stop them for a turn.

This is a very fun and simple game. I highly recommend it for both gamers and non-gamers alike, because it’s a quick one to set-up and play. The fact it plays fast means that it’s also a good filler game. If every character felt the same, that would be an issue, but they really do feel different, and there’s been a season two which has even more characters – eight instead of six – which gives you a ton more combinations to play.

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

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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 […]

TableTopTakes: Hanamikoji

TableTopTakes: Hanamikoji

Back with another hot take on a game that’s been out for a little bit. This one is different though as I’ve been reviewing bigger games recently, and this is a small two player game. In Hanamikoji, you are trying to win the favor of […]

Top 5: Other Mechanisms

Top 5: Other Mechanisms

Auction: Pretty straight forward concept in gaming, there’s some part of the game that you have to bid on to get. It could be something like turn order, which is my choice, or it could be the majority of the game where you are trying to bid on certain items to collect sets so you have points at the end of the game.

Image Source: Days of Wonder

Five Tribes
This game is a lot of fun because it has a mancala aspect to it and a full salad’s worth of points (point salad is a term meaning that you can score victory points in a ton of different ways). However, Five Tribes uses auctioning to determine turn order. It’s interesting, because sometimes you’ll want to bid high because there is a very good move, but other times there isn’t, but you end up having to spend a little money just because of how the previous turn order went.

Press Your Luck: Basic idea for these games is that you are seeing how far you can get into the game, trying for more and better points, or to be able to do more damage or something like that. I had a couple of options where it was about combat, King of Tokyo almost made the list this time. Clank! In! Space! is more of a deck building game, but there is an aspect of press your luck as you want to get the treasures that are worth the most. Press your luck is a great way to add tension into a game.

Image Source; Geek Alert

Dead of Winter
That’s my choice, there are a couple press your luck elements to this game, and while it’s a beast of a game to get to the table, it’s one that I like quite well. The first press your luck is one that you absolutely must do, and that’s move. You’re pressing your luck determining how many of your characters you move though, and once you’re out, if you move them the next turn, because you’re rolling a die that just might kill them or at least injure them. There is also press your luck in looking for items. You can make noise, and then at the end of the round, you have to roll dice to see if the noise attracted zombies. Normally you’ll have left, but maybe you just pressed your luck a little bit, and now you’re hoping that the roll isn’t the exact wrong one.

Pick Up And Deliver: Not a genre that I love in games, because they can be a bit straight forward, pick up and deliver is basically what it sounds like. You are looking or going and getting something and taking it to another spot. You’re trying to do that in the most efficient way possible. I prefer the ones where at least part of, if not more of the game is finding the items that need to be delivered.

Forbidden Desert
My choice here is one that is much more about the searching. You’re trying to stay hydrated long enough that you can clear out piles of sand and put back together a crazy ancient flying machine after your own plane crashed in the desert. The game is a strong cooperative game that everyone can think through and that you never have quite enough options to complete everything you want to do. You have to first find the row and column for the item, go get the item, and then once all of them have been collected, bring them all to a central location so that you can build the ship and take off. It’s probably one of the easier pick up and deliver games, but a fun one, and not too easy.

Image Credit: BoardGameGeek

Memory: And now I’m not just going to put down the game memory is used in a lot of games as you try and remember which portal is the active one, what cards were in a hand that is now being looked at by someone else. It is also used in who-done-it games. I don’t know that it’s always used to be the best effect, but I do have an interesting choice for it that I really like.

Hanabi
In Hanabi, you have a hand of cards, but the twist is that you can’t see your hand of cards. Everyone else can see their hand of cards though and you are trying to place cards down in piles of color going from one to five. The trick is that there are more cards with a one on them but only one card with a five on it, so you certainly don’t want to discard those. So you have to give people clues, such as, these cards are blue or these cards are twos, but you have to do that with every blue card or every two that they have in their hand. Then they have to remember which card is which, which they can do by sorting, but you still need to remember what you have. You’re trying to get five of those stacks completed, or as close as possible without making too many mistakes and before you run out of cards.

Image Source: Space Cowboys

Time Tracks: Now, you are probably wondering what a time track game is, some of the games that board game geek has on their list I’d call victory point tracks, but basically it’s where you are playing the game for a specific amount of in game time either to a victory point level or until time runs out.

T.I.M.E. Stories
This game is one of the most straight forward time track games out there, because you are sent into the scenario for a specific amount of time. Every time you move, you use up more of the time. Every time you want to interact with something, you spend more of the time. It would work better if Bob actually told you what you were going to be doing in the past, but he really sucks at his job (Bob is basically your handler for sends you out on missions). But the game is a ton of fun, and you feel the pressure from the time track, because you don’t know how many of the places you need to visit and how many might just be useful to visit, and you can’t do everything because you’re up against the clock.

I’ll do some more actual list, action points and cooperative are the big two that are left for me to make lists off of that I’ve played a lot of those games. Do any of these mechanics really interest you? Do you have a preferred game for one of there mechanics?

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Kickstarter FOMO

Kickstarter FOMO

For the fun of it, I check Kickstarters new board games every day, actually a few times every day. I like to see the new projects that are coming out and the trends in the gaming industry. The video games and decks of cards are […]

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 review.

Image Source: Renegade Games

Clank! In! Space! is a deck building game at it’s core, but beyond that, you’re doing something more with your cards to just purchase more cards. In the game, you are on Lord Eradikus’s ship as a bunch of different adventurers. You’re trying to break through his security, steal some artifacts that he’s stolen and get back out without bungling around too much and making too much noise. This is easier said than done, because some of the good cards that would allow you to fight more or move more are going to give you clank as you make noise. If you’re too noisy, there’s a better chance of Lord Eradikus’s henchmen finding you and punching in the face.

That seems like a bit more going on in Clank! In! Space! than in Dominion. The various resources on your cards all make sense as you are getting money/recruitment power, movement, and fighting abilities versus the more generic money, action, and buy. Your movement, the equivalent to Dominion’s actions, actually moves you around a board, and you have to plot out how you’re going to go and how you might be able to get through the space ship quickly and gain access to the treasure vault on one end of the ship. The buying of cards does still have the thematic disconnect, though, if the argument is that Lord Eradikus has a giant ship, and why wouldn’t he, these are people working or prisoners on his ship, or could even be people you’ve hired to show up to help you, some of them are just showing up later rather than at the beginning. Definitely not the strongest ties for the people you recruit, but the items make a lot of sense to be there, lying around the ship. And the bad guys are definitely out there patrolling the corridors.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

While the deck building part is the biggest part of the game, it isn’t the most fun. The most fun part of the game is the Clank! (Just feels like it should always have the exclamation point). The noise that you make is denoted by cubes, and when a card with Lord Eradikus shows up in the adventure area, all the cubes you’ve added to a pool get put into a bag, and depending on how mad Lord Eradikus, a number of cubes are drawn from the deck. If you’re color of cube is drawn, you take damage, and if your damage track ever fills up, you are knocked out. So you’re trying to make as little noise as possible, but it’s still possible, even if you are the noisiest one on the ship that your color won’t be drawn. And there are things that make Lord Eradikus madder and drawing more cubes. Once you’ve breached his security system, he gets madder, once you steal and artifact, he get’s madder, and if you find one of his personal diaries, he gets madder.

So, in case you haven’t picked up on it, another good part of Clank! In! Space! is how seriously it takes itself. There are nods on basically every card to some Sci-Fi TV Show, Movie, or Book, or if not that, some pun being made.  Star Wars, Star Trek, Tron, Chronicles of Riddick, Enders Game, The Fifth Element, and more show up and they are really well done. I didn’t get a chance to read all of the extra text on cards that I got in the game or that were out there, but each of them has a little line at the bottom so if it wasn’t already obvious what Sci-Fi thing it was spoofing, it would be clear. Even the adventurers you are playing, their meeples (wooden figures) are nods to sci-fi characters. That keeps this game from becoming too intense while playing it, but you still do feel the pressure of trying to gather points on the ship and trying to get off as quickly as possible so that you can score the most points and hopefully stop the other players from escaping the ship.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

 

This is a well designed game and has a few differences, so I’ve heard, from the original game of Clank! which was a dungeon delve where you were trying to avoid a black dragon who was after you. To me, the theme of space and sci-fi makes more sense than a dungeon delve would as there are more things to Clank! about with on a space ship. And once you’ve played a few hands of this game, you start to know what you are doing right away, the biggest question is always what you’re going to buy or recruit and if you can fight someone. But everything is limited by the cards so that makes it simple. Even the card combo powers, where having a tech guy might cause another tech character to be better, those are easy to spot. The fact that there are only three different factions of cards means that you don’t have to think about the combos as much.

Finally, one fun thing about the game is the board. The board is set-up so that it slightly looks like a spaceship, but that’s not really the fun part of the board. The fun part of the board is the fact that three parts of it are modular. That means you can adjust the configuration of the board, and not just that, t hose three parts are double sided, so you have six potential modules to throw in the board. That means that you can change up the board from game to game, even by just moving the same modules into different positions. We played with the recommended starting game, but by just moving things around slightly, the game could be quite different.

Clank! In! Space! is a very fun game. It does run a little bit longer than some games. With three players, I think it took us an hour and a half, however, that was with us learning the game as well. I think once everyone knows the game, it would probably take an hour or less because the hands play out quickly once you know what cards you have. I do wonder a little bit about the long term replayability of the game, but there’s an expansion out there that I’ve heard adds some more interesting parts to the game, and with the modular board and a large deck of cards to recruit and fighting bad guys from, I think it’ll stick around for a while. I also like it because it has more of a game to it than Dominion does so while the hands play themselves, it’s way less auto-pilot than Dominion is.

Overall Grade: B+
Gamer Grade: B
Casual Grade: B+


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TableTopTakes: Xenoshyft: Onslaught

TableTopTakes: Xenoshyft: Onslaught

“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 […]