This is it, the penultimate list in my Top 100 games. What will have risen, what might have dropped out of my Top 10, you’ll have to see. If you need to catch-up, I have links below. 100 to 91 90 to 81 80 to …
Tag: deck building
We’re getting down to it, getting close to the Top 10 games, only a few more of these lists. It’s been a blast as always putting these out and I’m glad that people are enjoying them. I’d be very curious to know what your top …
It’s that time of year again, and I’m going to talk a little bit about what I’m doing and when I’m going to try and consistently do it from here on out. We’re doing my Top 100 Board Games of ALL TIME! Now, this is …
We’re getting down there for the Kickstarters that I’m still waiting on. In fact, I got one that was delivered a few days ago with Calico, a game about quilting and cats. I’m sure I’ll be talking about that more coming up. But today’s games are interesting, mainly because Stormsunder: Heirs of Ruin, right now I’m only backing it for $1, let’s see why.
Stormsunder: Heirs of Ruin
As we’ve talked about before, I like big epic campaign games, however, I have quite a number of them coming. I held off on Stormsunder for a few different reasons, first it was in between two big projects, Marvel United and Frosthaven, but also because it was by a company I wasn’t as familiar with, but I still couldn’t quite walk away from it.
What kept and keeps drawing me to it is that this is a deck building/deck construction game. So while in Gloomhaven you have your hand of cards, this one allows you to upgrade a changing hand of cards as your character levels up. In this one you’re adding those cards, and your character is growing and developing and unlocking new skills, and that system for leveling up your character just makes a lot of sense to me.
One thing that has kept me on the fence, besides the price, it’s a big campaign game so it’s going to be expensive, but also just the amount of game play. It boasts 300 hours of content, and that’s a lot. In fact, that might be too much. I love epic story campaign games, but when do I have too many that I won’t ever get to them all? Plus there are more coming out and more that I’m going to be talking about. I can play them solo, and I want to do that more, but if I play for two hours twice a week, let’s say, just Stormsunder: Heir of Ruins would take me 75 weeks to get through. Now, I could make that go faster, or I could take breaks, but it’s a lot of time.
So, no real excitement meter to do on this one. The pledge manager is opening up soon, theoretically, and I have to decide if this is one that I want to get the game or not. I’m looking at it and seeing so many things that sound cool that I really want to back it, but it isn’t cheap and there’s so much content. So, will I back it, that’s up in the air.
HEL: The Last Saga
I like games that have a bit of a dark feel to them. Tainted Grail is a great example of this, there’s something about a darker story that you just kind of feel, or at least I do, that I can get pulled more into the theme by the game itself. And this one has a Norse theme wrapped around it as you lead a second team into an unknown land to look for those who have gone before you, and no, I’m not talking about Tainted Grail again, though it does sound like it.
This game gives you more dice chucking, and almost randomness in the game play than Tainted Grail does, but still seems to be heavy with story. You go to various points on the map in the game and you find out what has happened to your clansmen who have gone before.
There were several things that drew me to the game besides the theme, first there is the religion mechanic. And different characters in your clan, they might be druidic, Norse, or Christian and depending on which they are, they can tap into their religion to unlock powers that you can use. I also like how the different member of the clans play differently. Not only do they have a different religion potentially but also they different powers beyond that.
I’m still really excited for this one. I can see it getting to the table pretty fast when it shows up. I like the theme, I like the setting, and the game play has looked good from what I’ve seen of it being demoed.
Excitement Meter: 8/10
Did you back either of these? What sold you or didn’t sell you on Stormsunder: Heir of Ruins? Should I back it when the pledge manager opens?
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New series of posts, when I get stuck on what to write about, I’m going to go through and see what Kickstarters I’m waiting on, talk about why I backed them, and if I’m still excited for them, or what makes me excited about them. …
Continuing on my series of board game mechanics, we’re going to be looking at Engine Building games. This has nothing to do with motor vehicles but it is building together pieces to make it work. Engine building games can be fun because they are games that ramp up, but let’s look into more detail what they are.
In an engine building game there is some part of the mechanic that is going to make your game work more efficiently, effectively, and consistently. Deck building could be considered a weaker form of engine building as you are trying to build combos together. But Engine Building generally is going to be more specific than that. You’re going to be collecting the pieces so that you can do something that is going to give you a better chance of winning the game, and so that you can consistently do it over and over again. And each time you run the engine it should be running more efficiently and powerfully.
Your engine can do a lot of different things, it might generate resources of some sort, from goods in euro games to money, or it could just give you the points you need to win the game, or it could power up your attacks and the combat in a game. But as you go you’ll be able to generate more of what you need more consistently and possibly more efficiently. This can be done through acquiring new cards or abilities or upgrading abilities that you already have.
An example of this is Splendor where you are trying to buy gem cards for points and fulfill the wishes of wealthy nobles who are looking for specific combinations of gem cards. To get a gem card you have to spend gems, so at the start you inefficiently collect gems on your turn to get gem cards that don’t give you any points but do give you a permanent gem of one of the colors that you put on the table in front of you. So the more of the cards you can get, the more permanent gems you can get. And you can use the permanent gems to help you get more cards, so eventually the cheap cards that don’t get you any points, you’ll be able to get for free, and maybe even some of the medium level cards that give you a few points. Towards the end of the game you are spending only a gem or maybe two to get another gem card that is giving you a bunch of points. So the game has a building action to being able to do greater things, getting expensive gem cards. And the gem cards you have collected are your engine for getting more gem cards in the future more efficiently.
Let’s talk about some interesting engine building games.
Homebrewers – I could have gone with Splendor here and it isn’t a bad choice, but I prefer Homebrewers because I prefer beer to gems (not a great investment strategy), but also because of how fast Homebrewers is to play. In Homebrewers you are a homebrewer who is trying to brew the best beer for Summerfest and then Oktoberfest. To do that, you need to sanitize your equipment, get grain, and brew. It’s very simple, but where the engine building comes in is that you can add in ingredients to your beer. So I am going to brew my IPA, I can add in something like oyster (don’t ask me why), and that might move up another one of my brews on the scoring track, or it might then give me money, or straight up victory points. And each time I brew that beer I’ll get more of whatever oyster gives me, and I can add more ingredients as well to IPA, or maybe my IPA’s are plenty good for scoring, I could add it to my Stout or Porter to build up that engine. So you can create combos that allow you brew more and get more points across the board.
Medium Weight Game
Photosynthesis – Now, let me preface by saying, I don’t have a lot of medium to heavy weight engine building games in my collection. While I enjoy good engine building, I get that most of the time through deck building which is a more random version of engine building. But I really like Photosynthesis, not because it’s overly complex, but because it has some thinky decisions in it. You’re trying to plant trees in the right spots at the right times, growing them so they will get you sun points, while trying to minimize the number of sun points your opponent gets. There’s a lot of thought that goes into where you are going to be placing the trees, where the sun is going to be located on the board and what trees might be getting blocked from sunlight in upcoming turns. This game definitely has more take that than the other two where you are a building your engine and you can block other people from getting sun points with the trees that they have just by planting close to them and casting a shadow that blocks their tree. Plus the game looks beautiful.
Charterstone – Now, I haven’t beat all of Charterstone, but it’s a fun euro legacy game where you unlock things from game to game to make your engine more efficient, but also you can improve your engine in the game by getting more helper workers, friends, guests, items and more. So you can pick various strategies to help you score points, but it’s fun because it’s an engine building game that builds up not only throughout the game but also between games with the legacy aspect. So while the core concept of the game place your worker, take the action is very simple as time goes on and with the right guests, friends, workers, etc. you can build up a pretty complex engine that’ll allow you to do multiple things on a given turn. And that grows a lot throughout the game with a wide variety of things to do and utilize.
Now, I know my heavy/complex engine builder is nothing compared to a lot of them out there. Charterstone on Board Game Geek (BGG) is a 2.8 out of 5 in terms of weight, there are games like Food Chain Magnate or Terraforming Mars that are much higher with Food Chain Magnate over 4. I am interested in trying some of those games, but they tend to be less interesting to me because they are often longer. What I really like about Homebrewers is that it backings in some engine building in a package that can be taught and played in forty-five minutes.
What are some of your favorite engine building games? Is it a mechanic that you like or that sounds interesting to you?
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The heroes of Ascension come to the board as miniatures in this new tactical fighting game. Pros Based off of a proven system Company has Kickstarter track record Deck building Cool looking minis Demo on Tabletop Simulator Cons Complexity versus simplicity of Deck Building game …