Tag: table top

If You’re Happy and You Know It – D&D

If You’re Happy and You Know It – D&D

This was something that I saw on twitter, I believe, earlier this week or it was part of a podcast, Total Party Thrill, that I’ve been listening to, but it was a hypothetical about why someone might join an adventuring group if they have a […]

Board Game Movies We Don’t Want

Board Game Movies We Don’t Want

With the talks of a Mice and Mystics board game in the news the past few days I decided to look at what board games should get movies based off of them, and now I’m going to go with ones that really shouldn’t have a […]

TableTopTakes: Root

TableTopTakes: Root

It’s a peaceful life in the forest, the birds are ruling up in the trees, the woodland creatures are frolicking along the forest floor, and the raccoon is finding shiny things to play with. Then the Marquise de Cats and all of his cats come and take over the forest. Now you’re locked in an epic struggle between the cats, birds, woodland creatures, and the vagabond (raccoon). Who will get to their point total first, will alliances be made to help each other, but in the end, there can only be one winner.

Image Source: Leder Games

This is a game made by the same people as Vast: The Crystal Caverns, another asymmetrical game where each person is trying to complete their own objectives and score points in their own way. In Root, players take on one of the four different factions, there are also two more in an expansion, and battle for control of the forest. They do that by crafting items, building in locations, and moving about and fighting each other but each does it in their own unique way.

Image Source: Leder Games

The Marquise de Cats already have most of the forest as they start on the board in every spot except one, and they are looking to use their superior creature count, at the start of the game, to control the forest, build more buildings, and really set-up their dominance in the forest. They do this primarily by adding building that allow them to craft items, build more buildings, and recruit more cats into the forest. However, if they lose too much ground, they might find their production a little bit low. The Marquise de Cats are probably the most straight forward of the different factions to play.

The Eyrie on the other hand are very regimented birds. They also start on the board, but only in a single location. The player picks a leader of the birds and that determines some of what they can do, because the birds are basically building out a decree, and the decree says that things must be done in a certain order in certain places, and if you ever can’t do the decree, the birds go into turmoil and your leader is overthrown and a new one comes onto the board. They are an interesting one to play, and while the game calls them low complexity, because of the fact that you’re locked into doing things in a certain order and at certain locations, you really want plan out what you’re adding to your decree, because you have to keep adding to it every turn, and if you aren’t careful and you go into turmoil, you could end up in a situation where you’re losing a number of points if the decree fails.

The Woodland Alliance is really focused on causing uprisings. They are sowing unrest on the board at the start of the game, and trying to get locations to revolt. If other players have enough creatures in locations, it can stop you from being able to sow unrest there. But once they start getting those on the board and they start causing revolts at locations, other players need to worry because they can spread fast, and they can definitely take advantage of the Eyrie and Marquise fighting against each other to seed unrest.

Image Source: Leder Games

Finally, the vagabond is just going along through the forest, trying to find gear to improve their actions. They use their gear to be able to do more actions on their turns, and go on quests. The vagabond, like the Woodland Alliance, has a bit of a ramp to the character, because they need to have enough items to be able to complete quests, but once they can start completing the quests, their points will start growing quickly as the more quests that they do of the different colors, the more points they get.

I’ve personally only played the Eyrie, and they are a ton of fun to play. I kind of agree with the makers of the game that the Eyrie are a low complexity faction to play, but I wouldn’t say they are that easy. I had a large decree set-up that allowed me to recruit a lot of troops, move some, attack a little, and then build some of my roosts, so eventually I wouldn’t have been able to continue doing the decrees, but I made it through almost the whole game with a single leader. However, watching the Woodland Alliance and Vagabond being played, both of those seemed like a lot of fun as well. Even with the Marquise de Cats having a more straightforward playing style, you are often having to be the player who keeps everyone in check because of your starting board position and that definitely seems like it could be tricky.

In our game the Vagabond won because the Eyrie was growing so quickly, and the Cats hunkered down that they were playing against each other almost to the point of a stalemate. And the Vagabond was able to get their questing rolling and started getting a lot of points. Then the Eyrie had their decree broken by the cats, and there wasn’t anything that the Woodland Alliance was able to do to stop the vagabond. It made it interesting to see how you had to watch out for the different factions in different ways. The Woodland Alliance got hurt a fair amount by the fact the Cats and Eyrie grew so quickly, it kind of locked the Alliance out of a lot of areas, so they were lagging behind point wise, but the Alliance player still had fun playing them.

Now, clearly I had a lot of fun with the game and playing it, and everyone having different abilities and different ways that they play the game is very cool. That said, the game does have one fairly major drawback. It’s not a game that is fast to teach to new players. If everyone is new, you have to go through what each faction does and how they work as well as the basic actions of the game. So it can take quite a while, and there can be a number of questions about the game and how things work as well. It’s probably a game that is worth checking out reviews or “how to play” videos online ahead of time for all players so that you can get it up and running fast.

That said, the points are score quite quickly. That does mean that the actual game, for how long the game takes to teach, does move by at a good pace. Even the turns that players take are pretty quick. Add in to that some interesting strategy and while you aren’t involved in other peoples turns, you still have to pay attention to what they are doing, there isn’t that much mental downtime in the game. It helps keep the game quite engaging throughout, as long as you can make it through the rules.

Overall, it’s a fun game. I do think that this game will be a miss for some groups because of the complexity of teaching the game, though, if they can make it through that by watching a video to learn how to play or something along those lines if they aren’t good at just sitting and listening to rules, most groups will like this game. The artwork on the game is amazing, and the cards are goofy and cute so the game feels less heavy than it is on some ways.

Overall Grade: A
Gamer Grade: A
Casual Grade: C

The casual grade gets a big knock because of how long it takes to teach the rules, a casual gamer isn’t going to want to sit through rules that are that long. As a gamer, I barely wanted to sit through rules that were that long.

 

Have you had a chance to play Root? If so what did you think of it, and what is your favorite faction?


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TableTopTakes: Xenoshyft: Onslaught

TableTopTakes: Xenoshyft: Onslaught

“There’s so much on the planet, all this money to be made.” “What about the giant bugs?” “Hire some good security for the mines.” “And the scary looking brain scorpions?” “More security.” “And the hydras?” “Alright, mechanical armored security.” That’s how I imagine it went […]

TableTopTakes: Fae

TableTopTakes: Fae

A couple months ago I had a chance to play the game Fae where you’re playing a fae creatures who are trying to get the most druids matching their color to complete successful rituals. It’s a fun pretty light weight game in terms of your […]

Board Game Battles: Pandemic Legacy vs Pandemic Legacy

Board Game Battles: Pandemic Legacy vs Pandemic Legacy

In the vein of classic wrestling of Jeff Hardy feuding with Matt Hardy, we get two season of Pandemic Legacy. Season 1 vs Season 2, which of the two in the family line will be supreme?

Let’s start by talking about their father, Pandemic. Pandemic is a cooperative game where you are playing members of the CDC (Center of Disease Control), trying to stop outbreaks from happening around the world. You spend time researching cures, stopping outbreaks from happening, and keeping the diseases from spreading too far. It’s a fully cooperative game and not extremely difficult, though, I like to play on what I call hard mode, because in the game you just have to cure the diseases not eradicate them from the earth, because clearly that will happen. I like to do t he eradication step as well.

Image Credit: Game Base

So this is going to be somewhat light on how the whole game is because they are legacy games. A legacy game is a game where as you play it you make active changes to the game. This could be adding more stickers to the board, adding more rules to the game, or by having you tear up cards or remove pieces from the game. Each copy of a legacy game is going to end up as unique, because how I play a game and how you play a game are going to be different. With that out of the way, let’s meet the contenders.

Pandemic Legacy Season 1

Building off of the base game, you play as members of the CDC who are fighting back diseases. Things go south when a new super disease is released on the world.

And that’s all I can tell you about the story of the game without spoiling anything. I would assume a lot of people have played through it already who are going to read this, but if you haven’t, I don’t want to spoil anything.

Mechanically, the game is very similar to the original Pandemic game at the start. You are trying to fend off diseases, cure them, and keep outbreaks from happening. From there it builds out though with a lot of different options and changes to the game. This game very much feels like Pandemic throughout the full play of the game.

Pandemic Legacy Season 2

Whereas the first season and the base game are about stopping things from spreading by removing cubes from the board, Pandemic Legacy Season 2 starts with you trying to keep things on the board.  Not diseases, but supply cubes that keep diseases from showing up in the towns on the map.

It’s the distant future in Season 2, and the Earth has been ravaged by a plague sometime before. You are some of the few survivors who live on havens in the middle of the ocean. You know of a few coastal towns and you are trying to keep them from collapsing by helping them with supplies to keep the plague from spreading into their cities.

This game has a different feel, the mechanics are in some ways the inverse of the first season and of the base game. It’s a challenge running around and keeping cubes on the board. With that, you are also trying to build up research facilities and find new cities on the map. I would say that with these changes of mechanics, it still feels like a game of Pandemic though.

Compare/Contrast

Man, it’s hard to write that much about these games without giving spoilers. Obviously one of the biggest differences is in how the mechanics work. It takes a little while to wrap your head around having to place cubes, but the mechanic is pretty similar in how it plays out. As you add more rules into each game, the variety causes them to feel significantly different. The story aspect is also fairly similar with things happening at the start of each month. However, in the second season of Pandemic Legacy, the story feels more compressed, mainly that they have tried to add in a fair amount more story. I’ll talk more about that in a little bit. Another similarity between both is the role selection of the game. Each character in the game has their own unique powers. That makes each persons role in the game feel unique. Even if you are planning out everyone’s turns as a group, which Pandemic allows for that discussion aspect really well, you still feel like your character can do something unique. Finally, the exploration aspect of Pandemic Season 2 instead of the curing and researching diseases in Season 1 makes both of them feel more unique.

Best Parts of Each Game

Pandemic Legacy Season 1 – For this one, I think that the story is what makes this game strong. A lot of the time, it just feels like you are playing base Pandemic with this game, with variations on things that would be spoilers to you. However, Season 1 has a very strong story and does well with you knowing the mechanics, so you can jump into the game easily.

Pandemic Legacy Season 2 – With Season 2, I think the thing that impressed me most was the ability to still feel like Pandemic and be familiar while having a fairly different rule set. The mechanics were clearly built off of a similar base of action and action economy, so even though you are doing something different, it still felt like a Pandemic game. With that said, it also didn’t feel like it was just Pandemic Legacy Version 2.  Because of the different mechanics, it had a unique feel to it.

Image Source: Z-Man Games

Worst Parts of Each Game

Pandemic Legacy Season 1 – I’m actually not sure I have one for this game. If I were to knock it for anything, it maybe plays it a little bit too safe at times mechanically. I get why they did it though, because the only previous legacy game was Risk Legacy, and that one didn’t venture to far afield from risk, just made it into a playable game (oooh, controversy). But it felt like they could have taken a few more risks with the game and introduced something fairly different into the game, instead of something that felt pretty similar.

Pandemic Legacy Season 2 – This one is also hard to find an issue with, but one piece that I did notice is that it felt like they tried to put too much story into the game. There are timing mechanisms that you need to complete certain things at certain times to keep the story progressing, otherwise they just progress it for you. I don’t feel like it’s all that strong with how that works, and with the twists in the story, once you hit the first twist, you know what the second one is going to be, which kind of kills some of the end of the game surprise that you’d get otherwise.

And the Winner Is:

Pandemic Legacy Season 1

Image Source: Polygon

This was just an awesome game, with a great story. It was what I wanted, a game that was easy to pick up because I already know how to play it. It also changed nicely and progressed nicely and didn’t add in too many new rules too quickly. And the first game with the story, you knew a twist would be coming, but you weren’t looking for it as much as I was subconsciously in the second season.

Both games are definitely worth a play through though. They  make smart decisions with both of them and they both have compelling stories that make you want to play more than a single game in a sitting. These games are also great, because you always feel like things could have gone a slightly different way and you would have be able to win. And there is going to be a third season, but no fourth, so once the third comes out, you’ll know how many you have to buy. So next year or whenever the new comes out, we might see a rematch, but this time a Triple Threat match.


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Board Game Battle: Machi Koro vs Splendor vs Century Road: Golem Edition

Board Game Battle: Machi Koro vs Splendor vs Century Road: Golem Edition

Let’s meet the contenders: Machi Koro: Machi Koro is a city building game where you are working on building up enough infrastructure that you can then build the bigger attractions for your city, like a harbor, shopping mall, and other things. The first person to […]

My Character Wouldn’t/Would

My Character Wouldn’t/Would

This is a D&D/RPG topic, so if you are expecting it to be about writing, you might get something useful from it, but it’s going to be less useful than  you’d think. There’s another term for this topic, the “My Guy” concept.  The basic idea […]

D&D Background: Soldier

D&D Background: Soldier

Whether you were conscripted into the army at young age or are a grizzled veteran of many wars who hasn’t known anything but the army, there are a lot of different ways to play someone with a soldier background. You can play anywhere from a rough and tumble infantry who was born for the brawl or the cook keeping busy trying to feed a thousand troops, you can have a lot of different options when looking at someone involved in the military. In D&D Fifth Edition, that is more of what the background looks like, from the lowliest stable hand to the highest ranking general, all of those can be the soldier background. That diversity definitely makes the background more interesting to play. Without it, you could have plenty of other unique character traits, but the background would be pretty vanilla.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Skill wise, it is what you could expect. You have better abilities with athletics and with intimidation. Both of those are good skills to have, so for that reason, the soldier background is one of the stronger ones to have. It is interesting though, because intimidation is based off of charisma, and charisma is often a dump stat for someone who is playing a fighter character, it can make the proficiency a whole lot less useful. You also get a rank which people recognize as part of your background. Even if you were just a cook, they recognize that you were in the military, but if you were a general, the common folk still might defer to you.

So, what about some backgrounds?


I was taken away from my family when I turned fourteen. The hundred years war was going full swing and they needed more bodies. I was small for my age, though, so instead of sticking me on the front lines, they had me run water, help with the cooking, and wash clothes. It wasn’t a glamorous job, but it kept me away from the fighting, for the most part. I was running water out to a band of troops when a sneak attack was sprung on them and I was caught in the midst of it. Most of the troop was routed, and I froze not knowing what to do when the retreat was sounded. I was staring at a horse and rider that were prepared to skewer me when I finally was able to move. I grabbed a sword from the ground, ducked under their swing and cut their saddle from the horse tumbling them to the ground. I killed that man, and that was the first person that I killed, ever. Turns out that he was a leading commander on the other side. And while it didn’t change the outcome of the war, it turned the tide of that battle and I became a hero. I was offered my own division, but I declined. I knew that it had been pure luck and I would have been dead. Now I travel around and I’ve found a group where I can help around the camp and cook. Lately though, I feel like enemies from the war are trying to hunt me down and I’m not sure I will be able to stay safe.

Class: Ranger/Rogue
Alignment: Lawful Neutral

Image Source: D&D Beyong

No one appreciates my true genius. I know so many ways to make people burn that it isn’t even fair. And at this point in time I’ve gotten it pretty much under control. Even my breath and make someone burn. That’s why the army loves me to so much and why I love them so much. I can be a siege weapon by myself. It was such a wonderful life in the army, I got to lead a division of troops who all we did was burn things, it was my dream. Now that was an issue that they had with me, I started burning things that weren’t meant to be burned, but I was effective, and that is what matters. When they complained that I had burned down a whole village when it really wasn’t needed, just their opinion mind you, I was understandably annoyed. Now, I’m not saying that I started my superiors tent on fire, and I think it was unfair that they blamed me, because no one saw me do it. Dishonorable discharge wasn’t too bad, but what is someone like me supposed to do in the outside world? I have a fire inside me and all I want to do is burn.

Class: Sorcerer/Wizard/Warlock
Alignment: Chaotic Evil/Neutral
Comments: I’d try and play this chaotic neutral. Play off the idea that it is an internal struggle inside the character that it’s almost a voice telling them to burn things. A Warlock would work well for this. A Wild Magic sorcerer is also interesting for the idea of being out of control.


There is nothing better than a bit of order in your life. According to my mother, the last time I saw her, I was always someone who  loved order and who wanted things to be in a specific order. I’d cry as a small child if something wasn’t where I expected it to be. It made perfect sense for me to join the military for that reason. It gave me order. I was disappointed when I joined, the drills had solid order, but many of the other soldiers weren’t nearly disciplined enough. I quickly rose to the top of my class because I was disciplined and then worked my way up through the ranks until I was commanding large numbers of troops. I drilled those troops until they met  the order that I demanded of them, and we were a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield. When i was getting older, I saw that the new troops coming in were lacking order, and I couldn’t get them to respond like I used to. So I decided it was time to take my leave of the army. I founded an adventuring guild where I can take a team with me and we can become well known that way. It helps with the itch that I have to still be in that disciplined environment.

Class: Battle Master Fighter
Alignment: Lawful Good/Lawful Neutral
Comments: This might seem like a dull character, but it would actually give a lot of role playing chances, because the other characters won’t be as disciplined, so how does the character deal with things that aren’t going as planned or characters who don’t act like they expect?

Image Source: Geek & Sundry

I never thought that I would fight, and for the most part I tried avoid fighting when I did join the army. I was an ideal scout for them and a spy. It kept me out of the fighting at most times, but I did have to fight once in a while. It was not something that I relished. I wouldn’t have even joined the army if I wasn’t trying to keep my lands protected. Once the war was over I wanted to leave, but I was too good, and they refused to let me go. So I ran away. Now I’m a deserter and they have an eye out for me to bring me back in if I were to resurface. I’m looking for a team that I can help guide somewhere so I can make enough money to leave these lands.

Class: Rogue/Ranger/Druid
Alignment: Neutral Good
Comments: I like this as a wild shape druid who changes into an animal to spy/scout. Ranger and Rogue work as well, but the druid seem much more like the reluctant member of the military.


Have you played a character with the solider background before? Were they a willing member of the military or someone conscripted into it?

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D&D Backgrounds: Sailor

D&D Backgrounds: Sailor

It’s the pirates life for me, as we sail the seven seas… I mean, why else would you really be a sailor. You want to be a swashbuckling scallywag, plundering ships, getting treasure and sailing off on your next adventure. And honestly, that’s just going […]