Tag: Board Game

Back or Brick: The Reckoners: Steelslayer

Back or Brick: The Reckoners: Steelslayer

We’re back for a special edition of Back or Brick as I look at the expansion for the superhero fighting cooperative game based off of the Brandon Sanderson series, The Reckoners. Pros Amazing Theme Amazing Components Cooperative Game Can get Base Game as well as 

Coming to Kickstarter Vol 1: Frostpunk and 7th Citadel

Coming to Kickstarter Vol 1: Frostpunk and 7th Citadel

So I’ve decided as well as doing my Back or Brick and the Waiting on Kickstarter series, “Coming to Kickstarter” where I look at the announced games that are coming and talk about what is or isn’t interesting about them, and kind of why I 

Back or Brick: Die of the Dead

Back or Brick: Die of the Dead

Who will be the first to build a path for their ancestors to travel in the dice placement, push your luck style game?

Pros

  • Look of the game
  • Weight of the Game
  • Price
  • Pretty Pretty Dice

Cons

  • Luck factor

The Page

This is a company that understands how kickstarter works, and they’ve done a good job on their game page. They have nice images and the game really pops visually when looking at it. I like that the how to play is at the top of the page, I only wish there was a little bit more detail than the rules prototype link and a link to a video. It talks about how the caskets can benefit the players in multiple ways, but doesn’t say more than that. Otherwise, everything is laid out really well and looks interesting to me.

The Game

The game itself, like I said, I have a general idea of how to play it, and it looks like a game that would be one that would work well for my gaming group. There’s some push your luck, it seems fairly light, so I think that all would work well.

Visually, as I keep on saying, this pops on the table, so I think people would be interested in it for that reason as well. And kind of like with food, you consume board games first on their looks a lot of the time, and this one looks like a feast.

Again, I will come back to the how to play section, you get a general idea of how the game works, but it should have more information. We’re seeing a lot of what you can do, but not any of the why or why it matters. And there are some elements, like the “ofrenda” that are mentioned as something that can be used, but nothing more than that. Either do or don’t tell me what I component does or what an element is, don’t just toss it out there as it’s something but we won’t explain it like it feels.

Back or Brick

For me, this is a back. And I’ll probably do the one to get myself access to the pledge manager just to decide because I know there are a few more games I’m interested in this year. That said, what sells me on this game is their attention to detail with the artwork and how everything seems to tie correctly into the Mexican culture and they are very careful about that, but with all of that, they still created a fun game, it isn’t just a history or culture lesson. I think that the game group would enjoy the push your luck and manipulation of the caskets that seems to be in the game and it feels like while there is luck there’s also a fair amount of strategy.

How about for you, is this game a Back or a Brick?

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Expansion vs New Game

Expansion vs New Game

So, when building up your board game collection, it can at times reach the point where you have so many games that you just don’t play them all that often, and that you have a core few favorites that you play all of the time, 

The 7 Deadly Sins of Board Gaming

The 7 Deadly Sins of Board Gaming

So, this second post for today comes from a thread over on Board Game Geek called “The 7 Sins of Boardgaming” and I thought while reading through it, I should do that. I should write up some of my “rules” for board gaming. Obviously, each 

Board Game Mechanics – Real Time

Board Game Mechanics – Real Time

We’re back with another mechanic for a board game, not one that you see all that often, but one that covers what is really quite a breath of board games. If you are looking for fast paced tension, real time games are going to give you that in spades.

As the name of the mechanic suggests, real time games are about doing stuff in real time. That can be moving pieces, rolling dice, solving puzzles, really anything, but you have a time limit that you are working against. Now, it can be that one person needs to do something, then the next, then, the next and you are trying to get it done as quickly as possible while still taking turns. Other times it might be that everyone is doing stuff at once.

Let’s give an example of a game like this, I actually talked about one in my Board Game Mechanics for Variable Player Powers, which you can find here, Magic Maze. In this game you have a group of fantasy heroes who are going shopping at the mall. A silly premise, but each player has a direction that the character can move, north, south, east, west, up some stairs, into new rooms, etc. The game has a timer that is running and you can move to spots which allow you to flip the sand timer, plus you need to move to spots where you can get the items, plus you need to get out as well. This is all done in real time with players moving the pawns, and it’s done cooperatively. The trick is that no one can speak, the only form of communication that you can do is put a pawn in front of someone to let them know you need them to move one of the characters. So it’s very tricky to coordinate because everyone is having to keep track of 4 heroes and where they are moving.

Probably the biggest thing that real time adds to games is tension. There is a clock, a timer, something that is counting down. And it isn’t like in something like Scattergories where you have a limited amount of time to come up with as many answers as possible and then compare the answers, in that, the comparing the answers is really part of the game. In most real time games, when you hit the end, the game is over and you either in or lose. There is no tallying up points, there is no checking to see if you did well enough, and while that can show up in some games that offer some real time, for the most part, it’s pretty obvious how well you did in the game. So it’s a constant pressure to make sure you are getting the right thing.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

For that reason, I think that these games are going to generally be fairly polarizing. Even for myself, real time games are not something I want to pull out all that often because they can be stressful. And it requires people to make split second decisions, and for a lot of people, that can be too much pressure to work on. There are some games that help with that a little bit, but even those, because there is a real time element are going to be more stressful than your average game. These types of games are definitely not ideal games for people with analysis paralysis.

So, if these games sound interesting to you, what are some that work well?

Gateway Game

Fuse – In this game it’s a race against time as you try and defuse as many bombs as possible. The trick to this is that you are trying to roll dice to do that. Each player will take a turn as fast as possible to roll some dice, and then each player takes one and adds it to a bomb they need to defuse. But, there are rules as to what dice are needed to defuse a bomb. One might need to dice that add up to the value of a third die. So you need to pick numbers that work for that, or it might be that the numbers need to increase. If you can’t take a die to help defuse a bomb, you have to take one off of your current bombs and put it back into the bag of dice. So you need the luck to work out in your favor. All of this while an app counts down time and everyone is trying to make sure everyone can get a die but also not take too much time discussing.

Medium Weight

Captain Sonar – This one is interesting because it’s actually one that has less tension, which is odd considering you are on two teams of subs who are trying to figure out where the other is and sink them. Each player has a different role on the submarine. One person is the Captain who is giving orders, telling players what direction to move, conferring with the First Officer who is readying systems like mines and torpedoes, the Radar Technician who is listening to the other teams Captain and trying to figure out by mapping their path where the other team is, and working with the Engineer to keep systems up that the Officer will want to use. Now, that seems like there is a lot going on, and there is, it’s a fairly lengthy game to teach, but what each role does is quite simple. The reason that this game is less stressful is that while it is real time, there is no complete this before time runs out. It’s just tracking down the other ship, that means as the Captain I can announce which direction we’re moving as quickly or slowly as I’d want. This is definitely a different feel than a lot of other real time games.

Image Source: CGE

Heavy Weight

Galaxy Trucker – Now this almost falls into the Scattergories category of “real time” games. The reason I say that is because about half the game isn’t in real time. Instead you are dealing with complications that are coming your way. This can be pirates or asteroids, or picking up supplies for your ship. But where it is real time is the building of the ship. You are fighting with your opponents over tiles that are all face down to start. So you are frantically trying to get the ship put together with enough engines, cannons, crew, cargo room, and power so that can make the best run possible and have as little of your ship blow up as possible. The issue is you need to connect the pieces right. If there’s a two prong connector keeping it together, it better connect to a two prong and more things like that. And some parts just deadend, so it might be a nice cargo area, but do you want it if you can’t protect it with space cannons or shields? I’m not sure how much more complex this is than Captain Sonar, but there are more decisions that need to be made in this game about building your ship and more things to keep track of when doing that.

I will say that out of all of the games I’ve mentioned, Magic Maze, Fuse, Captain Sonar, and Galaxy Trucker, I’m fans of two of them, the other two I’d play but they’re just okay. Magic Maze and Fuse have a much higher stress level and I like playing board games to relax so stressful board games won’t cause me to freeze up, but they aren’t high on my list. With Captain Sonar, it is real time but it’s not as rushed feeling. And with Galaxy Trucker, the game is goofy, you poorly put together space truck will fall apart some and that’s fine, because it’s supposed to, you’re just hoping it’s better than everyone else’s. One final real time type of game I want to mention are Unlock and Exit, both of those score you against how long it took you to solve them. These are good gateway style real time games, I just didn’t mention them because I just talked about them with Escape Room games.

Do you like the tension of real time games or are they too stressful? What are some of your favorites?

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Board Game Bling

Board Game Bling

Now, this isn’t something that I’ve gotten into much yet, but I think it’s interesting to talk about because it’s definitely a part of our growing hobby. Like any growing hobby or popular thing, eventually people create the fancy version of something or some sort 

Back or Brick: Tomorrow Dies Today

Back or Brick: Tomorrow Dies Today

You might be the worlds foremost super spy, but you cannot stand against my evil plans. – Some Evil Mastermind Somewhere Sometime Pros Theme Cons Number of game modes Shipping not listed Artwork consistency Metal Minis First Time Creator The Page This page to me 

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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Waiting on Kickstarter Vol 6: Nemesis and The Night Cage

Waiting on Kickstarter Vol 6: Nemesis and The Night Cage

Final Waiting on Kickstarter for now as I’m all caught up. Two interesting ones because neither really falls into my most common category for Kickstarters which is campaign games. Instead we have a space horror survival game and a horror survival game. Maybe horror survival