Tag: Smallworld

Top 5: 4 Player Games

Top 5: 4 Player Games

Alright, now we’re into the sweet spot for games. There are a lot of them out there that really work best at 4 players. This can be for a number of reasons, but most of the time it’s because 4 players is the maximum player […]

Top 5: Variable Player Powers

Top 5: Variable Player Powers

Between campaign building, I want to go back to some of the board game lists. And this is probably my favorite mechanic for a game, where people can do things just a bit differently than other players. 5. SmallworldThe lightest game on the list by far, […]

Top 5: Area Control

Top 5: Area Control

Jumping back into another board game list, this time going with another mechanic I like quite well. Area control is a fun mechanic because it really pushes conflict in the game, and the games that do area control well really encourage that conflict to happen.

Image Source: Fantasy Flight Games

5. Risk Legacy
Yes, I could have put normal risk on the list, but I think that Risk Legacy is a way more enjoyable game. You could win a game of Risk Legacy by conquering the whole world, but you don’t need to, so it takes a game that can be a long slog and having players getting knocked out early, and turns it into a shorter and more focused game where someone might be knocked out, but they won’t be out completely. The dice are still extremely fickle, and with all the games higher on the list, there are ways to mitigate the dice, if there are even dice. Spoiler, only one more of them has dice. I don’t mind dice in a game, and in a shorter game like Risk Legacy, it works. There isn’t a ton to unlock in the game, but what you do unlock is fun, and creates some interesting choices as to what to play.

4. Cry Havoc
A game that I’ve only gotten to the table once, and it has a bit of a euro game feel for something that is heavily focused on area control. It is fun because the different actions trying to get gems on the planet all work differently. The Pilgrims don’t care about controlling as many areas because they score points better off of gem production. Whereas in a four player game, the Trogs just swarm out over the board very quickly, but can get spread thin if the player isn’t careful. Each faction handles area control just a bit differently, but they all seem balanced which is great.

Image Source: BoardGameGeek

3. Star Wars: Rebellion
While arguably a better game tactically than the next game, Star Wars: Rebellion does have the downside of being a two player game. There is a lot more going on in Rebellion than just area control as well, but controlling certain areas, getting troops built and deployed in areas that you do control, especially as the Empire really helps you lock down the position of the Rebels. With that, you also have the option of trying to slow down production by sabotaging different planets. This game has a lot going on in it, but it works really well and feels like an epic Star Wars struggle between the Rebels and Empire.

2. Smallworld
The silliest game on the list, but Smallworld really has a nice streamlined area control mechanic. It really does push for a ton of conflict, and that’s fine, because you are swapping out race and power combinations throughout the game, Mary might attack Tom to start the game, but in a few turns, Tom will be attacking Mary and destroying all of her troops. It does a good job of making the combat and wiping another player off the board seem not personal. The goofy theme and fun combinations does really help that aspect of the game as well.

Image Credit: Happy Meeple

1. Blood Rage
To me, Blood Rage might not do area control the best, but put together in the package of the whole game play, it’s area control and everything work extremely well. I also like that it’s area control can be known in some ways, but there are strategies that are fine if you die because you get more points or because you can take something from your enemy as well and as the player you get to decide how you want to focus in on area control. But you can’t lose all the time because you’re letting other players get points for upgrading their troop totals, action points, and other things.

What games could fall on a honorable mention list, and I really only mention some of these because they have a little bit of area control:

King of Tokyo – Technically you are vying for control of Tokyo. However, this simple dice chucker could just have you win without going into Tokyo at all, and there is only one area to control.

Carcassonne – Another one that doesn’t have much area control, you could argue that the original farmer rules are area control, because it’s who ever has the most farmers in an area.

Smash Up – Definitely are control, but I just got rid of my copy. Not because it’s a bad game, but because there are a million expansions. Also, it’s a game that seems to sit with a sweet spot of three players and more or less makes for a less enjoyable experience with it.

What are some other area control games that I should check out? I have Scythe sitting on my shelf waiting to be played, so eventually, I wouldn’t be surprised if that makes the list.

Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!

Email us at nerdologists@gmail.com
Follow us on Twitter at @NerdologistCast
Message me directly on Twitter at @TheScando
Visit us on Facebook here.

The Evolution of Unique Characters in Games

The Evolution of Unique Characters in Games

This one is a bit out there in some ways. I would say that there has been attempts at unique powers for a while and some solid successes, but there was a time where the difference between who you were and who I was in […]

The Evolution of Area Control

The Evolution of Area Control

So another mechanic that I like a good amount is area control. Area control is the mechanic in which you get a bonus for having the most figures in the area or the only figures in the area, so, you have control of the area. […]

2018 Top 5: Board Games

2018 Top 5: Board Games

Yes, it is going to be an annual tradition doing the top five lists of my favorites in the categories of board games, video games, movies, TV shows, books, and anime. Possibly other things as well, but I can’t remember right now if there were other things that we did lists on.

Image Source: Cephalofair Games

1. Gloomhaven
We have a change up from what I remember as being my #1 last year, but Gloomhaven has gotten to the table so much, and I’m really loving it. The story is a lot of fun in the game, and I really like the combat in the game. Playing two cards and then using the top half of one card and the bottom half of the other card makes for some interesting strategy and changing characters keeps the game feeling nice and fresh. It is a beast of a game to get set-up, move around, and use, but we have it down now so we can get scenarios set-up fast and it doesn’t seem to suffer because of that.

Image Source: Z-Man Games

2. Pandemic Legacy
Was a pretty easy choice for the top two. Pandemic Legacy Seasons 1 and 2 just hold up so well. These are big experience games that are a ton of fun. Because they are legacy games they can’t be replayed, but it is fine, after playing through the stress and ups and downs of the games you feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth from the game. How the story unfolds and the game mechanics progress just makes the games and systems tie together and work really well.

Image Source: Evil Hat

3. Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game
This game just tells stories of the Dresden Files well, and there is so much tension in the game play and when you win it feels good. The limited resources and card management works really well. The game also works really well as a solo game and they keep the tension with every number of players. They also keep on releasing expansions for further books in the series that keeps the game even more playable.

Betrayal At House On The Hill
Image Source: Wizards of the Coast

4. Betrayal At House on the Hill
I still love this game for how unbalanced it can be. The stories and moments that you have in the game are great as you try and escape this house. I’m a big horror film buff, though I haven’t seen as many as I’d like. The exploration part of the game is a lot of fun, and I cannot wait to play Betrayal Legacy as I think a more directed story in that system will be amazing. There’s also some good campiness to the game that allows it to channel the movie Cabin in the Woods.

5. Smallworld
There are so many game options I want to put down here. For right now Smallworld holds the spot as it’s a game that is always one I’ll play. The expansions for it are a lot of fun and keep the game feeling fresh, but even without an expansion, it still feels unique with the different combinations of races and powers. The high conflict and area control of the game could be mean, but because of the artwork and style of game that it is, you can’t be annoyed and someone when they try and take you off the map, because you can do that again in a turn or two.

Honorable Mentions:
Xenoshyft: Onslaught – A great deck building game that actually has a point for the deck building.
Sushi Go! Party – Fast card drafting game with really cute artwork.
Sagrada – A fun dice drafting game that looks great on the table.
T.I.M.E. Stories – Only played on scenario in it, but it’s a lot of fun and gives you a fun feeling of role playing and puzzle solving as you go along.
Arkham Horror LCG – A good story based Lovecraft game with very puzzle like mechanics.

It’s been a good year for gaming and trying new games. What are your current top 5 favorite games? Have you gotten a chance to try any new games this past year that would have broken into your top 5?

If You Like That Game…

If You Like That Game…

When you mention board gaming to people now, there are a lot of people who think of a game like Catan or something that is newer, but you get a lot of people who say, “Like monopoly”.  The answer to that question is generally, for […]

Mechanically Minded Board Games

Mechanically Minded Board Games

I mentioned the topic in the Kickstarter FOMO post, but I wanted to talk more about different game mechanics that you might here people talk about when it comes to describing a board game, this will be a bit more focused definitions than the Jargon […]

Know Your Nerds: Peder’s Top 5 Board Games

Know Your Nerds: Peder’s Top 5 Board Games

So we’ve kind of done this before with Table Top Picks, our top 7 board games, but since then, I’ve certainly played more games, so my list might have changed. I also tried to avoid looking back at my list so I wasn’t basing it off of what I had previously done. So without further ado, here are my top 5 board games.

5. Dead of Winter

Products from Amazon.com

This game isn’t without flaws/weird bits to it; the traitor, if there is one, generally can always tank the game during the last round if they don’t think they are going to win, in order to prevent everyone else from winning. And then everyone has secret objectives, so it kind of makes everyone look a bit like a traitor. I once wrote about how I’d like this to be turned into a legacy game, and I still think this would be one way to improve it. I think another way would be to rework it so that someone who completes their secret objective is the super-winner, even if the group wins the overall game; otherwise, as a non-traitor player in that last round, you might as well try to tank the game, or you’ll look 100% like the traitor.

That said, there are a ton of things I love about this game. The first being the crossroad system — on your turn, another player draws a crossroad card and reads it, and if you do a certain action or move someone to a certain spot that’s specified on the card, this acts as a sort of trigger. The other player then reads out a bit of a story, and you have to make a choice between two options the card gives you (at least most of the time; sometimes there is only one option). In the rules, it says to draw a card per each player’s turn; we draw two, and then if one of them is triggered by a player’s action, that is the one that the player has to deal with. This means that you get these cool story interjection moments. I also really like how gritty this game feels. Yes, it’s about surviving against a horde of zombies, but it’s in many ways more about the survivors themselves, like in The Walking Dead. That puts a different level of stress on you as a player, because you aren’t just worried about mowing down zombies all the time — there’s all kinds of other stuff to worry about. For example, can you feed your people? What do you do if you find more survivors? Is the base getting too messy? Dead of Winter is a fun game and a challenging one, and if you don’t like the hidden traitor aspect, you can certainly play it as a solely cooperative game.

4. Smallworld

Products from Amazon.com

Smallworld is a fun take on the area control concept — in this game, you have a fantasy race and trait that are randomly combined, and you control an army of soldiers bearing that race and trait to take over areas on a board. But whatever number of players you play with, the board is small enough that you’re going to have to take over other players’ areas. This game is meant for that, though, and it’s really hard to have hurt feelings over it (unlike with other area control games), because when you don’t have enough of your current race, you can put them into decline and get a new one and exact your revenge during the next turn. It’s also a ton of fun because you never know what sort of combinations you’re going to get. Maybe you have flying giants or underworld sorcerers or commando pixies. These combinations change every game, too, so it feels different every time you play it (and they have awesome expansions for even more variability). Players’ turns go quickly, and the game has a round limit on it, so it never takes that long to play. The rules are simple, and the fantasy is fun and crazy. This is an area control game that I would pull out to the table anytime, and even people who hate Risk will probably like to play this game.

3. Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game

Products from Amazon.com

My first pure cooperative game on the list, Dresden Files is a fun game that is very hard at times. You play through the different books of the Dresden Files series in game form. It is an interesting game mechanically, in that you have action points that you need to use and you have a hand of cards that all cost action points. You have to balance playing cards and discarding cards to get more action points, but sometimes you have to discard a really good card.

This game, while being cooperative, does have some hidden information between players; in most cooperative games, you share openly what information you have on your cards, and often, your hand of cards is right in front of you, but not so in Dresden. You can give general descriptions of your cards, but the details can’t be said. Now, you do develop a sort of a shorthand for that as time goes on, but you never know for sure what other players have. Finally, this game really does feel a lot like playing through the books, which some other games based on books or movies don’t do quite as well. In the books, Harry is always almost losing or getting beat up, and in this game, you feel like that; it basically always comes down to the last little bit and the luck of a die roll to determine if you win or not.

2. Betrayal at House on the Hill

Products from Amazon.com

I love love love this game. It has that campy style of a haunted house or a horror movie where you know someone is going to accidentally piss off the zombie rednecks or turn into a ghost or call death to your location, and you’re going to have to deal with it. This is a surprise traitor game where you start out exploring this old haunted house and encountering weird things and finding omens. It’s a bit like Cabin in the Woods, in which the characters are stuck in a horror movie and somehow something horrible is going to happen to them. Depending on what they mess around with, though, they may trigger the omen that sets events in motion.

That is 100% what happens in this game, except one person is the traitor. This game does have one glaring flaw that becomes less of one the more you play the game — when you get to the haunt, the stage during which the traitor is revealed, sometimes the traitor rules or the survivor rules don’t make a ton of sense. The more you play, the more sense they make, but some of them are just weird and take a while to figure out. Like I said, this has the classic horror feel to it, and I love it; I’ll play it every chance I get, and I’m excited for Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate, the D&D version of Betrayal at House on the Hill.

1. Pandemic/Pandemic Legacy

Products from Amazon.com

If you follow us on Facebook, you’d probably guess that this was going to be my number one. I am super jazzed for season 2 of Pandemic Legacy. Pandemic is a game where you work together to find cures for diseases while they are spreading all the time; it’s just a blast. It’s a fairly tough cooperative game that the legacy version then turns on its head and makes into something amazing. In that version, there are story elements that come up each “month” you play; you also find out new things as you go, and the rules change slightly as the game progresses. This game is a ton of fun, and I love bringing it to the table. It’s also an accessible cooperative game in that, although there is a fair amount of strategy, it’s easy enough to learn the base game. If you haven’t tried playing this game, definitely give it a whirl, and if it’s too easy, there are things that you can do to make it harder. And if you are looking for a way to change up your basic Pandemic gaming experience, the legacy version of the game is an awesome way to do that. There are a bunch of great expansions for the game as well, but I haven’t played all of those, so I can’t speak to them.

I always have to do some honorable mentions as well, since there are so many games that I’ve played and love, but can’t put on the list. Plus, it’s rare for me to run into a board game that I don’t like. First on my honorable mention list is Star Wars Rebellion; this game feels like the epic space opera that Star Wars is, in a box. I’ve played it a single time, and I want to play it again. Sushi Go! Party is a game that I can play over and over again, and it’s simple, fast, and has fun strategy to it. Arkham Horror/Elder Signs are how I like to get my HP Lovecraft fix, though Mansions of Madness is a game that I want to play even more and which might pass the other two up. Cosmic Encounters is a fun space game that plays pretty quickly and has fun alien race powers. Finally, Hogwarts Battle is a game that I just got to the table a second time last night, and it was a blast; you get to play as the main characters of Harry Potter and defeat villains as you play through the plot of the books.

What are some board games that you like to get to the table?


Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!

Email us at nerdologists@gmail.com
Follow us on Twitter at @NerdologistCast
Message me directly on Twitter at @TheScando
Visit us on Facebook here.

Board Game Essentials

Board Game Essentials

Moving away from the world of Role Playing Games for a little bit, I wanted to talk about what the “essentials” are to have in your board game closet, on your board game shelf, or stacked in a corner somewhere. This list is meant to […]