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. …
Tag: Board Games
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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 …
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 …
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.
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.
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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