Tag: Board Games

TableTopTakes: Draftosaurus

TableTopTakes: Draftosaurus

This was a game that I was originally introduced to at GenCon, I got to play a quick little bit of a self led two player demo. A few months later it showed up at a local game shop and I was looking at it…

Malts and Meeples – Tainted Grail Playthrough Part 2

Malts and Meeples – Tainted Grail Playthrough Part 2

I was back last night with a live stream of Tainted Grail on Twitch. And now the video is also up on the Youtube channel. Thank you to those who checked out the stream. I don’t tend to announce too far ahead, but my plan…

TableTopTakes: Stipulations

TableTopTakes: Stipulations

I’m going to tell you about this game but….

That’s basically how the games works, but Stipulations is one of those party games, up there with Just One, that I’ve had a lot of fun playing. For me, Stipulations falls nicely in between games like Balderdash and then games like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, and is better than both of the groups, though, Balderdash is still enjoyable.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

In Stipulations you are trying to get “points” by writing down funny, interesting, weird, silly, thought-provoking stipulations to the thing that the person who is it picked. It’s very much like Cards Against Humanity and Apples to Apples that way, that someone is picking something, but like Balderdash, it requires your own creativity. Let’s give an example of how this works. I’m it, and I can pick one of the four options on my card, they are super power, lifetime supply, fulfilled dream, and dream job. I read over them and I decide that having the super power of flying seems like the most fun. Everyone else then writes down a condition for what I’ve picked. The answers come in and I can fly but….
Only when I’m farting
No more than 4″ off the ground
Only backwards
You don’t know how to land without crashing
Then I get to pick my favorite, or more specifically, according to the rules, I must pick the least desirable. Then you’d draw a bonus card that has you pick another one in a different way to award more points. At the end of the game the person with the most points win.

Let’s start out by talking about the points in this game. No one keeps track of points, or I should say, no one cares about points. This, like Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, and Balderdarsh, are much more fun when people are just trying to be goofy about it and you don’t care about points. In fact, I don’t think that their “scoring” system works all that well. Picking the least desirable might make more thematic sense for the game, but I think that the game works better when the person picking picks their favorite, whether that’s the one that made you laugh the most, the least desirable, or the most desirable, but the chooser decides which one is the best based off of their own criteria. But, the least desirable is a good option, where it works less is drawing the extra scoring card. It can be something like, the one that made you laugh the most, that’s fine, but it might also be, the person who bought the game, that’s a stupid one, because, since I bought my copy, I’m always going to get that card if it happens to come up. I could just remove them, but I find that just picking one from the group of options just works better and keeps the game moving faster. Now, this might seem like a pretty long time talking about a negative, but it is a negative in basically all party games, and it doesn’t matter, because they are party games and you are meant to be having a silly fun time, if you care about the scoring, you care too much.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

The rest of the game actually works really well. I’ll talk a little bit about when I think it is placed between those two groups of games. With Balderdash or another one similar to that Liebrary, you’re coming up with something unique. You’re required to use your own imagination and I like that in those games. I think, though, that both Balderdash and Liebrary because they are based on something real, a real definition or acronym or a real first line of a book. With Stipulations, you are write down whatever you want, and if you are extremely silly, it’s in line with the game. Then, the selection criteria is very Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity like. But, Stipulations has one major advantage over both of them, you never make it through all the cards. In Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples, eventually you’ll see all the cards, and in peak Cards Against Humanity days, that would take about a week, because you’d play it twice for a long (too long) period of time and you’d make it through the cards. Once you’ve gone through the cards once or twice, you know all the jokes in both games, and some cards will automatically win because of the meta of your group. Compare this to Stipulations, the game can still be dirty, if you want, so it can be like Cards Against Humanity, but as a group you get to control that, and because there are no answer cards and you need to use your own creativity, that means you won’t get certain answers that are as likely to win. Sure, you can still create a meta in your group where an answer like “Bees!” will always win one card per game, but that is less of a guarantee.

For me, this is one of the best party games and I think because it was a kickstarter game before kickstarter games were cool, it’s flown under the radar. I also think because of the weird extra scoring card, it can seem like a little bit more work for groups. But, I really like this game, and with my minor tweak to scoring, I think it flows even better, but it isn’t bad the other way. If you’re looking for a party game where you can tailor it to the group you’re playing with, this is a great option, for a bachelorette party, you can make it as dirty as you want, and then you can take it and play with your Grandma at Thanksgiving. Now, I think that, and I’ve seen it happen, some people don’t like that they have to be creative themselves, but, I’ve also seen those people then join into the game at a later time, because they realize how simple and silly you can be with it, and you don’t need to be that clever. And even with one person never joining the game who was watching it played, they ended up having a lot of fun just laughing at the silly things that were written. Overall, it’s always been a fun time.

Overall Grade: A-
Gamer Grade: C
Casual Grade: A

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TableTopTakes: Hanabi

TableTopTakes: Hanabi

When playing cards is too easy, there are games that make it a whole lot harder. The Mind and Hanabi are two of them that make it a bit trickier to play cards in order, and while I find the mind entertaining, I don’t think…

TableTopTakes: Not Alone

TableTopTakes: Not Alone

One of the harder genres of games to get to the table tend to be one versus all games. Fairly often these games are bigger dungeon crawls and they take time to set-up and teach. Not Alone is a small game where one person can…

Malts and Meeples – Tainted Grail Set-up and Chapter 1 Part 1

Malts and Meeples – Tainted Grail Set-up and Chapter 1 Part 1

It was a long holiday break, mainly because it’s also generally a Kickstarter deadtime so I didn’t do a Kickstarter show, but I’m back to streaming a game. This time it’s Tainted Grail by Awaken Realms. This is a massive and immersive story set in a dark Arthurian legend.

I’m playing as Arev, a resident of Cuanacht Farmhold. I used to be a mercenary, but no more. Now I’m just a simple farmer. When the Menhir in the town started to fade, the best from the town went out to find a way to save us, but they haven’t returned. Now, even though I’m not one of the best, I’m going out to explore in hopes of savings my town and all of Avalon.

Tainted Grail: Fall of Avalon is a story driven game where you explore various locations, meet people, and try and survive the wyrdness that is creeping across the lands by keeping Menhir lit. In the first chapter my goal, thus far, is to find out how to light Menhir. I’ve made it two days in, and thus far, I still don’t know.

You can join me again probably next week as I’m going to continue the story again. I plan on streaming every other Thursday around 7:30, but, because I’m really enjoying the game thus far, it might be more often than that.

And, of course, it’s Malts and Meeples, and while there were no Meeples showing up in the episode, I of course had a malt. That is, I had Dragon’s Milk White Stout from New Holland Brewing. This is a very enjoyable beer. It has a good flavor to it, but I do think that compared to regular Dragon’s Milk which is a very big beer, 12% or so, barrel aged beast of a beer, the White Stout, while barrel aged doesn’t quite hold up.

Bottoms up!

TableTopTakes: Gloomhaven: Forgotten Circles

TableTopTakes: Gloomhaven: Forgotten Circles

Back to back board game reviews, though, this one is for the Gloomhaven expansion, not the whole game. If you have read my top 100 games (found here), you know what my #1 game is, but what you won’t know is that we actually wrapped…

Getting People Into Your Hobby

Getting People Into Your Hobby

New Years is a time for new things for a lot of people. People do New Years Resolutions, and while most are self improvement, sometimes, you want to do something for others (or it could still be self improvement). How do you go about getting…

Starting Up a New Nerdy Hobby

Starting Up a New Nerdy Hobby

We’re in a new year, so I want to talk about New Years sort of things at least for the next two days. With the new year, we often want to pick up a new hobby or a new good habit (or end a bad habit), so how do you pick up a new hobby?

Now, there are plenty of things that we can start as a new nerdy hobby, maybe you want to start playing Dungeons and Dragons, get into board games, or read more Sci-Fi books. But where you jump into them can be pretty tricky for some of them. So how do you pick that starting point of joining into a hobby that already has a lot of people in it?

Let’s use, what I know well, board games, as an example. In 2019 there were thousands of board games that were published, and that’s just last year. And in that, there were thousands of bad board games published, so if you are getting into the hobby, what should you be looking for? Is there some proper starting place?

Image Source: Wizards

It is going to be overwhelming to jump in, but thankfully, there are a lot of articles out there about good starting places for board games. So to start with board games or any hobby, I’d use Google and simply research, “Introductory…” and it’ll give you some good options. Now, that might seem off, because you want to play the best board games, so maybe you would go to somewhere like Board Game Geek, which will probably come up in search results, and just buy games in the top 10, but a lot of those are much bigger and heavier games, and the same with picking the most popular Sci-Fi or anything, it is going to lean more into what those who are already steeped in the hobby like.

The other reason that you want introductory is that while the games aren’t always cheaper, they are going to be teach you about the hobby. So something like Carcassone teaches you tile placement, how games can have various ways to score, and generally gets you to a point where you can understand board games better, and the different introductory games are going to be good at teaching different things. Catan can teach you about probability and resource management. Ticket to Ride is about set collection, route building, and there are so many other intro games that teach other things.

But, maybe you won’t like all of the introductory games, so should you really go out and get all of these games? You will probably find some that you don’t love, so did you just waste money? Thankfully, if you’re in a larger town/city, you might have a couple of options. A lot of larger cities are going to have gaming stores. These places often has games that you can just try or the employees should be willing to open up a game and teach you how it’s played a little bit so you have an idea before you purchase the game. Also there are other spots that you can try and game. A lot of breweries are going to have some games, and while you might mainly find Cribbage and Cards Against Humanity, I’ve seen Catan at a lot of them as well. And who knows what gems you might find there. Also, you can look on Facebook or other places used to schedule Meetups (again Board Game Geek could help) and you can find a public one in your area that you can join. I’m in a city, so there are more options, but in more rural areas, you might be able to at least connect with people who are already in the hobby. But use these ways to start playing the introductory games and then when you have a better idea of what you like, you can get some.

Now, that section seems fairly specific for board games, but it works well for D&D as well. For something like Sci-Fi, this would be the library. Get a library card and check out books that are different types of Sci-Fi to see what sort you want, maybe you want the hard core scientific Sci-Fi, or maybe you prefer one that focuses like on the science aspect and is more a grand space adventure. Who knows, maybe your library even has a Sci-Fi book club or would have up a poster for one. There are always groups around for various nerdy things, whether it’s in person or an online forum that you can join as well and ask questions. Now, it’s the internet so there will be people who get annoyed because you aren’t already into the hobby like they are so you’re stepping on their turf and wasting time by asking questions, and while it’ll seem like they stick out more than anyone, it is really less people than those who want to grow the hobby, so ignore the trolls.

This is all a good way that you can start and it helps get rid of some of the chafe that might be less than ideal stuff to dive into to start. But any hobby, unless it’s something with technology that is brand new, is going to have a lot to dive into. So it’ll seem intimidating when you’re jumping. And you’re going to run across games or books or DM’s or whatever it is that you don’t like. Don’t let that drive you off and don’t let those people who feel like it’s their hobby and because you’re just joining keep you from joining the hobby. It might take you time to find the area of it that you like, so the last piece of advice is patience. And with that, if you don’t like part of it, move on and try another part of it, if you don’t love heavy Sci-Fi, go and try some more adventure type Sci-Fi, if you don’t like deckbuilding, try area control games, if you don’t like playing a wizard try playing a fighter. Experiment until you find something that you like more. And maybe the hobby won’t be for you, but there is so much diversity in all of these hobbies now in different types of things that hopefully there will be something for you.

I could talk more about this topic, but I don’t want to overwhelm someone who wants to get into a new hobby. To summarize, try and find an existing local community that can help you or a good online community. Try a wide range from the hobby you want to join, and while everything might not be for you, find what is for you.

If you’ve already gone through this process, what other simple tips do you recommend?

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Look Back – Highlights of my Nerdy 2019

Look Back – Highlights of my Nerdy 2019

Tomorrow I’ll be doing an article looking forward to my 2020 resolutions, and I just wrapped up things that I’m looking forward to in 2020 for movies, games, and more. Today, I’m going to look back at 2019, it was a big year for nerdy…