There are a lot of games out there that are based off of other games that feel pretty similar to them. Ascension and Dominion are both Deck Building games, and they really don’t do that much mechanically unique from a lot of other deck building …
Tag: Dead of Winter
I’m ashamed, I forgot to do this yesterday, but Back or Brick is back today as we look at the board game based off of the 1980’s film They Live from John Carpenter and starring Roddy Piper (professional wrestler) and Keith David (The Thing, Armageddon, and more). But let’s look at the Kickstarter.
- It’s based off of They Live
- Story Driven
- Slight Battlestar Galactica/Dead of Winter vibe
- Hoffman Glasses
- First Kickstarter for the company
- 4-6 player count (1-3 blind mode)
- Hidden Role Game
- Seems to heavily rely on glasses gimmick
- Random character story discovery
Thoughts on the Page
I really think this is a well laid out page. They have done a very good job of explaining the game play and how the game is going to work. In fact, they really don’t spend much of any time on bling for the game, which is impressive. It’s down further on the page, some add-ons that you can get, but they didn’t turn this into a minis fest which is nice.
They also really have their bases covered. For being a new company to Kickstarter, I won’t say new company, they’ve done a good job of laying everything out and they have shipping, stretch goals, and interesting but non-game play essential add-ons.
Back or Brick
This one is tough for me, I have enjoyed my play of BSG (Battlestar Galactica) and I like Dead of Winter and own a lot of it. That said, the PVP aspect of this and the gimmick of the glasses have me concerned. I like the IP a lot, but it feels, even though they’ve laid out the game well, it might feel derivative of the two games above and just have the Hoffman Glasses as a gimmick or bigger part of the game than they really feel like they should be. For me this is a Brick, but it’s really really close and I think I’d probably enjoy the game if I were able to try it. The player count is also a concern for me, 4-6 players is a high player count and a blind player seems like it’d break the game some.
Is this a Back or Brick for you?
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It might be kind of the wrong time to talk about this, we’re in the middle of the Covid-19 Pandemic, however, I think with that, for some, comes more time to delve into more story, including that of the Apocalypse/Post-Apocalyptic in nature. This is one …
So I’m picking this one again because it’s one of my favorite themes and feelings in games. Also, the Dice Tower did a Top 10 list recently as well, so you can see how mine compares to theirs. But I am taking a slightly different approach to mine as they rejected some off their lists, that I’d put on mine. What I’m looking for can be some exploration, but also games where you feel like you’re going on with a journey through the game, whether it’s exploring, solving a mystery or puzzle, some sort of journey in the game. So let’s get to the list.
10 – Dead of Winter
The zombies have taken over and you need to find a cure, get enough fuel to move, or one of several more scenarios, but can you trust everyone in your midst? Probably not, and should they fully trust you, probably not. In this game you play as survivors of the zombie apocalypse who are just trying to survive against the horde of zombies in the town, but there might be a traitor in your midst. There’s a sense of adventure in this game as you feel like you’re playing through The Walking Dead or other zombie time story where it is more focused on the survivors and if you can really trust them. Plus, the crossroads cards offer you a lot of tough decisions to make as well, maybe you can save someone and add them to your team, but will there be enough food to feed them? You’ll end up having to make choices like that throughout the game, and often times with no easy answers or right choices for the colony.
9 – Star Wars: Rebellion
A massive around three hours long game, Star Wars: Rebellion pits the rebels against the Empire in a battle for the fate of the galaxy. Taking from the original trilogy, you feel like you’re playing through it but shaping it your own way. Can you crush the rebel fleets and find where there base in hidden? Or will they be able to sow enough descent around the galaxy that the Empire crumbles away. And you get to send major characters out on missions to places, maybe Han Solo will get captured by the Emperor or Darth Vader will lead troops into battle against Admiral Ackbar on Tatooine. You can rewrite the original trilogy in this adventure and you won’t know how the story will end up until you’ve played.
8 – Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game
I was debating about this one on the list, is it really an adventure because it’s fairly abstracted away with trying to solve cases and fight bad guys just by putting tokens on them. But I feel like the puzzly nature of how you have to do that, and the fact it brings me back to the books and series, there is that sense of adventure for me as I get a chance to relive and play through those books myself. And there’s always a struggle to win in this game. Sometimes you can just win without getting into the final confrontation, but that’s extremely rare. Instead, so often you are hoping for a lucky last roll to take out the bad guy, which is thematic to the books, because through sheer stubbornness and sometimes force of will, Harry can prevail, and that’s how it works in the game as well. Less of a grand epic adventure than some, but still a fun one, especially for fans of the series.
7 – The Lost Expedition
Now, this is probably not a game that a lot of people would have thought of when they were thinking of an adventure game. It’s a small game, it’s only cards and very few tokens, and all you’re doing is going on a hike each morning and evening trying to make it to the Lost City of Z. However, there’s a sense of adventure to it as you are all cooperatively trying to play down cards in a way that makes sense without being able to communicate. But then, once the cards are down and your path is ready, you can all discuss as how to best go through it. It always feels like a close game and you have to decide when it’s worth it to sacrifice a guide in order to move ahead or to keep another guide alive. This game isn’t going to give you a big adventure, but it’s a fast adventure in a little package that won’t break the bank.
6 – Arkham Horror: The Card Game
The first of a couple of Fantasy Flights Arkham Chronicles games, this one has a very interesting adventure feel from what I’ve played, which admittedly isn’t a ton of it yet, but you get the sense of exploring, just from the first scenario in the first box, a house that is being twisted and warped around you. Then in the second one, you get a chance to run around the town and look for cultists who might just be hiding in the shadows. And all of this builds, so depending on what you do, scenarios or perks you’ve gotten will change, so it feels like a big unfolding adventure. And I like that it doesn’t come in a massive box, it’s just cards with a few tokens and you can have an epic adventure.
5 – T.I.M.E. Stories
This one is interesting because there’s a smaller level of adventure in the game since each scenario is it’s own mystery or puzzle to solve, but it always feels like something new as you unpack what’s going on. You could be in a mental hospital at the start where a time incursion is about to happen or maybe a town that has been quarantined for some reason or in ancient Egypt. While you might know where your adventure is going to take you, you don’t know how it’s going to unfold or what body you’re going to be put into. I really enjoy this as an escape room type of engine where you have to figure out the puzzle in the box, but it’s not as straight forward as a lot of the Unlock and Exit style games are, because why they might be fairly consistent in what they do, T.I.M.E. Stories is not.
4 – Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon
I need to play more of this adventure, but what I’ve played thus far has been great. There is just so much story happening, and it gives you a different sense of adventure because it adds in such a strong survival element as well. So not only are you going out into the land of Avalon and searching for ways to keep the land from falling into the Wyrdness, you have to figure out when to fight, when to run away, what path you want to go, the fact that there’s a branching story in a game that is so long and so big is pretty amazing. It’s also a really good solo experience. When a game offers you so many choices as to where to go, what to explore there, what you might run into, who you can help and side mysteries that you might want to check out as well, it’s very much an adventure game, and it’s one of the best I’ve come across.
3 – Betrayal At House on the Hill
Now, I know this game isn’t for everyone, but I love it. And for me it’s a great adventure game because I get to see what horror film I’m in. Am I going to be the final one standing in the end or the person who betrays everyone else. Will I have to play chess with death or maybe it’ll be the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I never know. Plus, I get to explore the house and have it unfold before me, and I never know in what room the haunt might happen, so I can basically always play a new scenario. I have Betrayal Legacy waiting for me at some point in time coming up here when we can start to get together in groups again, because I want to have the adventure of playing through a house year after year and watch the house change and unfold a new adventure. Now, I know that this game isn’t for some because it’s not always the most balanced, but I like that aspect as it works well in a horror setting because some horror movie monsters are just better than the college students.
2 – Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition
Adventure games don’t have to be on a super grand globe trotting scale, they can be in a small town or even in a mansion that is full of madness. But you’re unfolding a story and a mystery that gives me a sense of adventure because playing a scenario once, I don’t know what is going to happen and where cultists might show up or what my main goal is even sometimes. As the game unfolds that and explains it to you and as you unravel the mysteries, it just makes a great gaming adventure experience. And even if you play a scenario once, because of the app, you can go back and play it again and things might end the same, but the house will be set-up differently and there will be still be some adventure to the game. Mansions of Madness just really gives you that immersive experience of exploring and solving a puzzle/mystery unlike so many other games.
1 – Gloomhaven
I believe that this was left off someone’s list on the Dice Tower top 10, because it didn’t have enough exploring, though, I feel like Forgotten Circles expansion definitely has more of that feel. But I would argue that there is a sense of exploring through the story as you complete the various dungeons and you unlock more story and more places to go. Plus, even though you’re a mercenary team who keeps retiring, you still feel the progression of story and adventure that I’m looking for and love in a game. It has that RPG-lite feel to it with leveling up your characters and getting better at what you can do, so the whole thing feels like you’re taking those characters on epic adventures. While the mechanics for combat can be a bit crunchy as you figure out what tops and bottoms of cards to use and what order to play them in, the whole thing just works really well for me.
Now, I could have gone with more as well, Sword & Sorcery just missed the list. The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth or Lord of the Rings board game would work as well. Even something like Pandemic Legacy I considered for the list, but that one doesn’t give me as much sense of adventure. And I have more adventure games waiting for me to play, Apocrypha, Folklore: The Affliction, Aeon’s End Legacy and more are waiting for me to give into, plus more coming in the mail at some point in time like Oathsworn, Dice Throne Adventure (it says it in it’s name) or Frosthaven next year. So clearly I love these big epic sort of games.
How about you, what are some of your favorite adventure games? Are there any on the list that I should checkout?
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Another mechanic that I really love, action points/allowance is basically how many things you can do on your turn. Now, I want to say that this differentiates from something like Monopoly or Clue where you can do multiple things on your turn, possibly. I doubt …
This is a mechanic that I don’t always love in games. Push Your Luck, if it’s the whole game can get a bit tiresome because it just feels like, are you luckier than I am. But push your luck in games has some interesting things to it if it’s blended with other mechanics and other choices that need to be made, not just pushing your luck.
But let’s get to the list.
10 – Skull
This one is purely push your luck, but done in a very clever way, almost trick taking style, probably qualifies for that as well on Board Game Geek. In Skull everyone is playing down tiles, face down, that can either have a rose or a skull on them. You want to flip only roses, so at some point in time someone will say that they are comfortable flipping a number of the tiles over. The trick is that they have to start with their tiles, so are you bluffing that you don’t have a skull in your stack hoping to get other people to bid or are you confident that you don’t have one in your stack of tiles, but now you might need to flip from other people’s stacks and where might they have placed the skull. So players go around increasing the bid higher or dropping out of bidding until there’s someone who won the bid, and they have to flip that many tiles, starting with all of their own that they’ve played down. It’s well done mainly because it’s fast, I’ve had it draw out only once at the end when everyone was so close to winning, but created a good challenge in the game.
9 – Risk Legacy
Any game of Risk is going to be push your luck because you are rolling dice and trying to beat your enemy down. Now, just by pure number of pieces in your army you might able to win just because of the law of averages, but the attrition might be really high. Also, because it’s dice with no die mitigation you might be able to take a tiny army in and bust up someone’s plan to hold a continent. There are a lot of risks that you can take in Risk, and while those are a bit mitigated in Risk Legacy because you are looking for victory points and in the game there are more ways than just conquest to get those victory points, conquest and the dice combat is a big part of it. The fact it’s not just only push your luck helps out the game a lot.
8 – Codenames: Pictures
Both the clue giver and the people guessing can push their luck some. You can give a clue that might only match one thing and make it really obvious as the clue giver, but then you might end up being beaten out by someone who is a bit riskier. As guessers you can always guess beyond what you’ve been given clues for, this is strategic at times when you know you made a mistake on the previous one, so you can guess further, but you could also just guess blindly if you are too far behind and you need to catch-up. There’s big risk to it, so it’s a push your luck only if you really think that you need to catch up.
7 – Tsuro
Odd choice for push your luck, but I think that there is a piece of that in the game in two areas. The first is a little bit odd because leaving your pawns fate in another players hands is a bit push your luck. You don’t know if they’re going to send you off the board, but you want to play the odds that to keep themselves alive, they’ll have to keep you alive, so it’s a non-traditional push your luck, but still kind of one. The other is when you are trying to avoid other pawns so you go into your corner, you might not be able to get out with the tiles that you have, but if you get the right tile you’re going to be able to escape your corner.
6 – Ticket to Ride
Now, Ticket to Ride is more of a set collection game with a light push your luck element to it. In Ticket to Ride you are trying to connect train routes by completing segments of track based off of color. There are two ways you can push your luck, one is if there aren’t colors that are flipped up that you need or at least ideal colors, you can draw that from the top. So you could maybe find a route further around but it would take longer based off of the colors, or draw from the top and hope you get lucky. The other way is after you’ve completed routes, you can draw more but have to keep one, so late in a game if you’re worried you’re behind, but you have a solid network of trains but not that many cars, you can push your luck drawing more route tickets hoping you can get one you can complete.
5 – King of Tokyo
A dice game that’s all about getting those exact symbols you need. If you’re in Tokyo, do you push your luck to hold it after everyone has been punching you for the few points and the ability to punch them all back? Is it going to be worth the risk to your monster’s health? Probably the purest push your luck game on the list, this one gives you some cards, but those are mainly new abilities or more points to put you closer to winning. It isn’t going to help you manipulate the dice, so you’re always going to be rolling and hoping that you can get attacks, healing, energy, or points when you need them. It’s a lighter game, but certainly one that is a lot of fun.
4 – Dead of Winter
I think of Dead of Winter as more of a survival game, but it really has a strong push your luck element. Every time that you go somewhere, you’re rolling a die hoping no to get bitten and turned into a zombie or get frostbite and potentially end up dying. But you need to move otherwise the main base will be overrun by zombies. So you go out exploring, and you push your luck there as well by making noise. So you can dig further through the deck in hopes of finding what you need but making more noise while looking longer means that you might have more zombies come, so you risk it and make a location not that usable for searching in the future to just find that one thing that you need?
3 – Dice Throne Season 1/2
Dice rolling games, as you can probably tell at this point, are good for pushing your luck, especially games where you can roll the dice, keep a few, roll some more and hope that you end up with what you need. Dice Throne, in my opinion, does that the best, in this game where heroes face off in a tournament. Or done in a one on one battle in a one off. You each have your own abilities and cards to manipulate the dice, but you’re still pushing your luck. Getting five dice to roll to six is the best outcome possible, but it could mean that you don’t end up with anything if you fail, so do you push for that ultimate ability to play it safer?
2 – Clank! In! Space!
One of the more pure push your luck games, Clank! In! Space! still gives you some good choices to make because you decide which routes you take, you are still building a deck, but it’s mainly a game where you are pushing your luck to get as far into the spaceship of Lord Eradikus that you dare and then grabbing a treasure and running for it, but the further you get in, the better the treasures are going to be. But he’s always out there and might take you out before you can escape. Plus, the bag building mechanic of who Eradikus hits is also push your luck, because you could get good cards that give you clank, which is how he finds you, or you might want to take it a bit slower and safer, but that could end up causing it to take longer and leaving you in the same place or without as good a treasure.
1 – Tainted Grail: Fall of Avalon
This one I wasn’t thinking about, but it showed up on Board Game Geek as push your luck, and there is some of that in combat where you know you might get hit, but if you hold out for a turn and draw the right card, you’ll be able to take out the enemy, and there are some explorations as well that you push your luck. This is more of a grandiose adventure survival game than it is a push your luck game, but there are aspects of it that make sense for the mechanic, and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite games. It’s definitely a hard game, but overall, really rewarding when you start to figure things out.
So barely keeping it in my top 100 with the games here, and probably Skull would be pushed just outside now as I’ve gotten more games to the table. But all really enjoyable games, and something so push your luck as Skull works for me because it’s fast. Push Your Luck is almost like a take that mechanic to me because you can just end up losing because of a bad guess for pushing your luck, and it feels too random. I like some randomness in my games, but something that you can lose just because of a small thing is too much.
What are some of your favorite push your luck games? Are there any games that you think use push your luck well as a mechanic in the larger game?
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