Tag: Board Games

Board Game Battle: Detective vs TIME Stories

Board Game Battle: Detective vs TIME Stories

On the surface these games might not appear to be that similar, but I think, that they actually are really comparable and should make for a fun match. Both of these games scratch that itch for solving puzzles and figuring out what is going on. 

Point of Order: Reichbusters Projekt Vril

Point of Order: Reichbusters Projekt Vril

There are some games out there that when you see them, you know it’s probably going to be a game that you will like. And for that reason, you might not want to pick it up because there’s a lot of stuff for the game. 

Board Game Mechanics: Variable Player Powers

Board Game Mechanics: Variable Player Powers

This is one of my favorite mechanics in games, it adds a lot of variety to games and to the strategy of games. However, it can be one of the trickier, though there are trickier mechanics, to teach in a game.

The idea of variable player power is that each player can do something different in the game. Now, that might mean that you’re the only player who can do something, or you can do something better than anyone else. And this isn’t because of the skill that the player possesses themselves, it is instead something that the game grants the player the ability to do.

A kind of silly but obvious example of this is in the game Magic Maze. In that game you are trying to, without verbal communication, move a group of heroes through a mall so that they can pick up what they need and then get out before time runs out. In this game each player has a certain power, you might be able to move the heroes down while I can move them up, someone else can move them left, right, and so on and so forth. While all the powers do basically the same thing, move the heroes, each of them moves it in a unique way. And now I wouldn’t really consider this a great example of how variable player powers can be used in a game, it is obvious, because you are doing something different than anyone else, in fact, you are only doing things different than everyone else.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

In most variable player power games, your power isn’t the only thing that you can do. Most of the time there will be a set of common actions that you can take, but you’ll have some added thing that you can do in the game. Pandemic is a good example of this. In Pandemic everyone has the same abilities, you can travel, treat a disease, trade a card, or cure a disease. However, if you are the Dispatcher, you can move other character pawns, not just your own. If you are the Medic, you can treat a disease better. And the same goes for the likes of the Researcher and Scientist and all the other characters. They can all do the basic actions the game, but they can improve upon a basic action or add in a whole action or affect that is specific to them.

Why I like this mechanic so much is that it makes each role in the game feel different. And it means that each time you play the game it feels different as well. In the Pandemic example, if I play the Dispatcher, I’m doing actions that are helping us win the game but that are consistently different than those of the Medic. I care about getting people to where they need to be versus healing a disease. So next time when I’m the researcher and my actions are all about getting people the cards they need, I can coordinate and plan with the Dispatcher to get me to where I need to go so that I’m not using the cards I need to help someone else cure a disease. Sure, you can repeat or find a favorite character for playing or team that you like for winning, but some of the fun is trying out new things. And that’s even more interesting, in my opinion, in a competitive game, because generally that means you are changing how you target a win, I’ll talk about on of my favorites with that coming up here.

Gateway Game:

Homebrewers – Now, I’m sure people have a bunch of different games that I could have put here, but this newer game is one that I really like that plays fast. In this game you are brewing and improving your homebrewed beer. You do this by adding ingredients to your beer, this improves your beer so it makes it more likely you’ll play in the Summer Beer Fest and Oktober Fest. Where the player powers come in is that each character can do something unique. One of the homebrewers is better at cleaning their equipment, another is efficient so they get an extra action die in a month. All of things that are done are simple, and at the end, you end up with a lot of crazy sounding beer that might be good or might just be weird. If that theme doesnt work for you, Pandemic is also a great opion.

Image Source: CMON

Medium Weight:

Xenoshyft: Onslaught – Again an area that could have a lot of different games, but I really like this one because it combines two or my favorite mechanics, player powers with deck building. You even get to blow up some bugs in this cooperative game. In Xenoshyft: Onslaught, you are fighting back wave after wave of bugs who are trying to get into your mining base on an alien planet. To do this, you create a line of defense, but what’s fun is that you can help other people with their defenses as well, so it’s very cooperative in nature. The player powers come in with what group of the security defending the base you are. If you are a medic, that means you start with a special card to start in your deck and it means that you get a few special abilities that unlock over the various waves of bugs. It can be a discount when it comes to buying weapons, armor, more troops, medical supplies, and then they start to build from there. It’s a very tough cooperative game, but I like it a lot.

Heavy Weight

Lords of Hellas – Now, this one is my most controversial pick because there are a lot of good ones out there, and some people don’t like Lords of Hellas all that well. I really like it, though, because of the variable player powers and multiple win conditions. In this game you are either trying to control two groups of land areas, a completed statue, defeated three monsters, or control areas with five temples. At the beginning of the game you pick a hero, and that hero has a unique power. This can help you decide what you want to go after in terms of winning the game. It can be as simple as just starting the game with a priestess but that means you can start going down the path of getting temples faster. But it leads you a bit in a way to win, though, when I got the extra priestess and was going for temples, I actually got closer to winning with two areas controlled. But I like the different options that it gave you and there were a ton of different heroes, so you could really tailor it to how you wanted.

Image Source: Awaken Realms

Those are just some of them that I like, there are so many out there, even something like Gloomhaven falls into that category but I skipped dungeon crawler games because while it is a variable power, it feels and plays different, and I’ll talk about dungeon crawler and what that means coming up anyways. What are some of your favorite games with variable player powers? Does it sound interesting to you if you haven’t played a game like that?

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Point Of Order: Kind Of – Patchwork & Fox in the Forest Duet

Point Of Order: Kind Of – Patchwork & Fox in the Forest Duet

So this is kind of a point of order article, because the games are already here, and I didn’t order them, but they are new to me, so I want to talk about what’s interesting in them that I’m excited for. These games were given 

AppThat: On Tour

AppThat: On Tour

Sometimes you want to play board games and you just don’t have anyone to play with, and pulling out and playing a solo game just seems like more work than you’d want to do right now, thankfully there, are board game apps out there. Today 

Board Game Mechanics – Deduction

Board Game Mechanics – Deduction

So, not something you might have thought was a mechanic, but there are quite a number of games that use deduction in them. Deduction can be used in a few different ways, you might be solving a case, or figuring out who are the traitors among you.

There are two different types of deduction games, the first is based off of the game Clue, where you are trying to figure out who-done-it. It isn’t a particular person in the group, it is a part of the game that there is some character that has done something. You are then using logic and reasoning to determine and guess a result. This can be done in a number of different ways, it might be that you are using reasoning while looking at a card. Or it could be trying to acquire information that other people know as well. These games typically end when someone figures out the solution or everyone gets it wrong.

The other type is social deduction. Social deduction is where you are trying to find out about which players at the table are the “bad guys”. These games normally have some way for both sides to win. These sorts of games are based off of Mafia or Werewolf where some people are normal citizens who are trying to figure out who the Mafia or Werewolves are before all the normal citizens are killed. This sort of game originally had a moderator who would run the game as you’d have to close your eyes and have secret information as to who was going to be killed. This has been built up over time for additional difficulty and intrigue to the game versus primarily being a conversation around the table.

The first type is much more pure deduction because all the information you’d need to know is available. With social deduction because the players are the ones who are lying, or telling the truth, about their role, the information is going to be less perfect as you try and read the people in the room and determine who is on what team and who is trying to cause the group as a whole to lose. So depending on what your style is, more social or logical, that’ll help determine which one is better for you.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

So, let’s talk about some of the games that fit into these genres.

Gateway Game:

The Resistance – In this game it’s a simple social deduction where you are going on missions. However, depending on the numbers of players, some of the players are spies from the evil organization who is trying to stop the resistance. If they go on a mission, they can cause it to fail. But if they aren’t careful how they do it, they can reveal who they are. And if they reveal who they are, or people at the table guess who they are, they won’t get sent on anymore missions, because no one trusts them, and then it’ll make it harder for the spies to be able to fail missions. So it’s a balancing act for the spies to fail missions covertly so it’s harder for it to be pin pointed to them. The game plays fast, and you can put some theme into what is basically voting on a team and then team doing the mission if you want. The game scales well as well and is enjoyable.

Medium Weight:

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong – This builds and I would say is kind of between the two games on my list. While Resistance is completely about the interactions and being able to guess and read the other players, this game still has hidden roles, one person is a murder and one is a witness, and you might have an accomplice and everyone else is investigators who are trying to solve a murder. To do that, the game runner, who has the role of the forensic scientist, is sending up reports. These reports are will give the investigators clues, like, the murder took place at a hospital, or the murder victim was old, things like that. And the investigators are trying to piece together these reports in such a way that they can figure out which of the murder weapons and clues left that the scene, in front of each player, make sense for the murder. The murder and the accomplice are trying to deflect or suggest things that keep suspicion off of themselves. While the witness is trying to quietly keep people on track, because if the murder is caught, the murder and accomplice still have a chance to take out the witness which then still gives them the win. This game has more moving parts to it, and while the Resistance builds with accusing people, from the start of the game, people are trying to puzzle out what it might be from the first report that is sent up. Plus, figuring out who the murder is, you might have it narrowed down, but you still have to get the combination right of weapon and clue.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Heavy Weight:

Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game – Now, this one is the first of the deduction Clue style games where the information is out there, it’s just if you can piece it together. This is a big box game that takes you through a series of cards, based off of how you as a group want to investigate and you are trying to get through five different cases. There are expansions that add more cases. You, and your fellow players, then will spend your time carefully investigating a case, talking to witnesses, digging through evidence, and going through the games online database. And the cases can be very different from working a cold case to finding evidence of people being framed, to a kidnapping. And they can do a whole lot more. I really love how this game blends the digital portion where you are using a database they’ve created for the game, looking up real events and history, as well reading the story off of the cards. There is so much to dig through, and in the end, you are answering the best that you can. And then the cases build off of each other as well, which makes it even more fun. It’s a bigger and heavier game and you won’t be able to solve the cases perfectly just because there isn’t enough time, but I highly recommend this if you’re looking for a meatier deduction game.

Do you like deduction games? Have you played Clue or games like Mafia? What are some of your favorite deduction games? There are a lot of good ones out there, and while I don’t love social deduction, I really love the more logical deduction games.

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Point of Order: GenCon Order 2 – Rhino Hero Super Battle

Point of Order: GenCon Order 2 – Rhino Hero Super Battle

Now, with a name like that, it sounds like a kids game, and technically it is. It’s a game that where you’re stacking up buildings and having superhero animals fight each other and it’s simple and silly. But that’s what I’m getting it, it’s simple 

Gen Con Game – Mini Reviews

Gen Con Game – Mini Reviews

So, I got to play all three of the games I signed up for over the weekend with Gen Con. It was interesting because I got to try Tabletopia for the first time and I then played the other two games on Tabletop Simulator, which 

Point or Order: Gencon Orders

Point or Order: Gencon Orders

So, Gencon is upon us, and last year I picked up a whole mess of games from Gencon that I’ve enjoyed over the past year, all sorts of fun new releases and cool older games that I wanted to add into my collection. This year, as I have said before, no in person Gencon and actually, a good number of what would have been Gencon releases have been delayed, but that doesn’t mean that game companies aren’t trying to get you to buy. A number of them are doing sales or bundle specials for Gencon, so I picked up a couple of things for that, and my birthday that’s coming up soon.

Image Source: Greenbriar Games

Greenbriar Games

So first I ordered from Greenbriar games, during Gencon use the code GENCANT to get 50% off your order. The game I ordered from there was Champions of Hara, this game is a competitive and cooperative game with two different parts. The first part each player race to protect the lands of Hara from monsters and rifts that are opening and completing goals in order to get a wish of their fulfilled. This can be done with combat of both monsters and the other players. The second part is that the winner gets their wish and then they have to, along with the other players deal with the fallout of that wish. This game just seems like a lot of fun as you level up skills and get new cards to play giving your already unique character even more unique things to do. I like that it has the two modes as well.

Checkout a playthrough from GloryHoundd that sold me on this game:

Cool Stuff Inc

So Cool Stuff Inc normally has a big booth selling random games as well at Gencon even though they aren’t a game development company. As a sale they have a code GENCON5 to get 5% off your order. Since I’ve bought a fair amount from them, I also got an additional 3% off my order.

The first game I am getting is Sonora a flick and write game from Pandasaurus. In this game you are doing two main things, you are flicking disks around a board to try and land in specific areas. These areas then translate into what you are filling in on your board. What seems fun about this game is that you can strategize some with your flicking or knock people out of a spot where you’d want, but then when filling in things on your board, you have a ton of different options which can then lead to getting more things filled in on your scoring sheet. There are four different areas there and four areas on the board, and each scores well, and you can really focus in on a single area if you want or maybe two, and score well in those, but if you try and do everything you might spread yourself too thin.

Image Source: Portal Games

I’m also getting Dig Deeper and LA Crime expansion for Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game. I have really enjoyed my playthroughs of that game, and we’re going to be getting back to it shortly, so I just want to get some more games in of it, and I think more cases are going to be great for it. I like that these are smaller box expansions as well, so I don’t need to get everything for it again, I can just get more content without it feeling like a whole new game. I’ll let you find more of why I love that game here.

Finally, I got Camel Up. This is a camel racing game, but one that is light and silly. On your turn you can guess who will be the lead camel at the end of a round, you can put a booster or something to back-up a camel on a track, you can bid on who is going to win or lose overall, or, you can roll the dice. When you roll the dice, you shake a pyramid that has all the camel color of dice, plus a die for the two crazy camels, and whatever die falls out falls out. So there’s a lot of randomness with that, but what makes it even sillier is that the camels can stack on top of each other. So if the blue camel ends up on top of the red camel, and then the red camels die is rolled it moves with both itself and the blue camel on top of it, and whatever camel is on top is the leader. It’s a silly game, but it can play a large number of players, so I think it’ll work well for game nights coming up.

Which of these games seems the most interesting to you? Do you have any of them in your collection?

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Would Be GenCon – Con Games

Would Be GenCon – Con Games

So, we’re almost at GenCon, tonight is Fantasy Flights In-Flight report for their new stuff. Then GenCon online kicks off on Thursday. While I decided not to take any time off for it, I have decided to play a few con games on Saturday and