Tag: TableTopTakes

TableTopTakes: Second Chance

TableTopTakes: Second Chance

I’ve been on a roll and write kick lately, and Second Chance is one of them that I picked up because I thought it looked fun in a video that Board Game Geek did. I was right, it was a fun game, though not my…

TableTopTakes: Tokyo Highway

TableTopTakes: Tokyo Highway

There are some games that are just beautiful to look at, and Tokyo Highway is one of them. This dexterity game ends up looking like a maze and an art piece all at the same time when it’s done. But does that make it a…

TableTopTakes: Gloomhaven Part 4

TableTopTakes: Gloomhaven Part 4

What, more Gloomhaven, how is that possible. Well, before we’d just been playing scenarios and I was talking about what I liked, we’ve officially beat what seems to be the final story of the main quest. We have more side quest and an expansion that we’re going to do, but we’ve “beat” the game. So I wanted to do some final thoughts about it.

I knew, going into Gloomhaven that it was a beast of a game but I was up for that. I thought that I’d enjoy it from the get go because of how the combat worked, how the scenarios worked, and how there was story to the game, and it’s been almost two years of playing almost every other Tuesday, plus some long Saturdays knocking out a bunch of scenarios, but it was worth it.

If you’re been following my Top 100 Games, you would know that I had Gloomhaven as my #1 game. And there are a lot of reasons for it, the story aspect, the unique combat, and the giant epic nature of it all really speak to me and have helped me figure out that I like games like that a lot. Also the bit of a legacy aspect to the game is a ton of fun as well. Is it a perfect game, I don’t think so, but it’s the closest that I’ve found.

Let’s talk about it a little bit more in detail, because I think there are two primary things that hold people back, besides the size of the game, and that’s, do the characters feel different, and do the scenarios feel different?

Image Source: Across the Board Cafe

Do the Characters Feel Different?
I think that this is a clear yes for me. We unlocked every character in the base game and we’ve played all but two of them (plus there’s a new one in the expansion), and the characters have felt different. Some of them were great at healing, some of them would boost others attacks, some of them would go fast and do bits of damage, but always been in and out. Others would go in there and tank and even others would do massive amounts of damage, but were a bit of a glass cannon. There were ones that slung spells, and some that played riffs. Each of the characters felt unique and basically all of them felt like you can tailor them a little bit to how you wanted to play. And while I always wanted to find a tank, I didn’t feel like I was missing anything by pretty often playing a support type of character in the game, because how the supported was different for each character. And yes, we all probably had our favorites coming out of the game, but I don’t think any of us hated a character that we played or even disliked a character because they felt weaker or anything like that.

Do the Scenarios Feel Different?
Now, while the characters feel different, I think that this is one of the areas that Gloomhaven isn’t perfect. It’s not much of knock, but there are a lot of scenarios where the win situation is just kill everything, so that part of the scenario feels the same. And we also happened to hit the run in, grab this thing, and run back out a number of times in a row. But, while the end goal most have been similar fairly often, the story leading in was always interesting and helped the scenarios feel different, but more so than that, the monsters made scenarios feel different. A black imp is very different than a drake which is very different than a skeleton archer in what they do. So you had to play now you played each scenario differently and that’s often where you got most of your differences. Plus, then, you have the unique characters. There were some scenarios that we had to wait until we had a better team to come and deal with it, but that was part of the fun of the game that made scenarios feel unique, there were some characters that were just better in different types of scenarios, and generally, even if they weren’t ideal, you still had a chance to figure it out.

Overall, I don’t really have complaints about Gloomhaven. Maybe that some of the scenarios or more of them anyways, could have been goal oriented, but combat is easier to explain and make as a goal than something that’s trickier, and there was good variety in combat anyways. While I don’t think that Gloomhaven is going to be the game for everyone, I think that a lot of people will enjoy it. The combat is a bit more tactical than your standard Ameritrash game and there is more story than Euro games. And while it is big, the game, once you’re into it, isn’t that difficult, it might just take a couple of scenarios to teach someone who doesn’t do dungeon crawl games all the time.

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

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My Top 100 Board Games – 30 to 21

My Top 100 Board Games – 30 to 21

It’s getting so close to the end of this board game list. I’ve had a ton of fun writing it and I’m curious to see how much it’ll change next year, as I’m planning on doing this every October now that I’ve done it once.…

TableTopTakes: Small World

TableTopTakes: Small World

When people think of area control games, they think of games like Risk as the classic one. Risk can be a very long game and a very swingy game that someone could be knocked out of early. Even with all of that, I liked Risk…

TableTopTakes: Sushi Go Party!

TableTopTakes: Sushi Go Party!

There are times when you want to play games with a larger group of people and you don’t want to play a party game. Now, there are starting to become more with social deduction games, or games like Tsuro, but how about games that allow you to have a larger number of players that offer a bit more strategy? I think that Sushi Go Party! is a good fit for that realm with how it plays and the variability in the game.

In Sushi Go Party! you are drafting cards to collect sets of various foods you might find in a Japanese restaurant. These foods will score you different points for how they are collected. Eel, for example gives you 7 total points if you have two or more, but if you only have one, you lose 3 points. Or with tofu, if you have two they are worth 5 points for the pair, but if you get a third, they aren’t worth any points. And there are a lot of different appetizers, deserts, rolls, and specials that you can use. You draft three hands of cards, first passing left, then right, and then back left, resetting the cards, each time. Except the dessert cards which you score at the end of the game, because you have to wait for dessert.

What makes Sushi Go Party! a good game, besides the simplicity of the drafting, is the variety of cards that you have. You only ever play with a single dessert and a single roll, so with three of them, you can create a variety. There are a lot of specials that you can use that change up how you draft and score in interesting ways, and then the appetizers, while there are three of them, you have a good variety of them. So you can make it a very friendly game where everything scores you no points or positive points and end up with a very high scoring game. You can also tailor the combination to be really tough. If you had eel, tofu, a dessert like pudding or fruit, you can create a combination that is really mean and I’ve seen someone get negative points to start the game.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

This ability to tailor the combination of foods makes the game for a good variety in types of players. If it’s a more casual group where you want points, you can do that, and vice-a-versa. And the variety in player count works as well. On the Board Game Geek page, the recommended number is 4-5 players as you can get more strategy, but the game can play as few as 2 and up to 8, so you have a big range of players. I personally would say that 4-8 is where the game is ideal because you get the full party effect then, and a smaller number is too strategic in your drafting, and if you can remember cards and count cards, you are going to be at an advantage.

Another thing that is really strong in this game is the artwork. I realize it might be too cute for some people or make people think it can’t be a strategic game, but they have branded it well and made it very accessible for gamers and non-gamers because of the artwork. When you pull it out as compared to other drafting games, for example, 7 Wonders, Sushi Go Party! is going to be easier to get to the table because the artwork is going to be more attractive to most people. Now, like I said, it can be a turn off for some, but especially for casual gamers, I think that it helps sell the game. And it is also going to be attractive to most children, so if you want to get them to more complex drafting games like 7 Wonders, Sushi Go Party! is going to be a good starting point and an easier sell based off of the artwork.

Overall, this game hits the table pretty often. It’s a good game for board game nights because it can handle that higher player count. And a game of it doesn’t take too long because everyone is drafting at the same time. I like this game as a warm-up for a board game night as it gets people thinking more than a lot of party games as well and the game length allows it to fit into that filler category so you still have time for longer games later.

Overall Grade: A
Gamer Grade: B-
Casual Grade: A+

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TableTopTakes: Cartographers

TableTopTakes: Cartographers

There are so many roll and writes or flip and write games out there, how do you go through and find the good ones? In some ways, you just have to guess and find the style that you like. Wouldn’t it be nice if there…

TableTopTakes: Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate

TableTopTakes: Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate

You’ve been out adventuring for a long time and you’ve finally made it back to Baldur’s Gate and you’re going to explore the town to see what relaxing things you can find to do there. But every turn you make, something is nagging at you,…

TableTopTakes: Century: Golem Edition

TableTopTakes: Century: Golem Edition

There are some games where the look makes a difference as to how interested you are in the game, and Century: Golem Edition is one of those for me. When I saw Century: Spice Road, I thought it looked like a fairly boring cube pushing game, but when the Golem Edition, the artwork and the games made the game look way more interesting to me. Now, they are the same game from what I know, but I still haven’t played Spice Road because I have Golem Edition and you don’t need both of them.

Century: Golem Edition is an engine building, hand management game where you are trying to convert games into different types to get the right combination to get golems. To do that, you have to collect gems, upgrade gems, and get cards. With the cards, they let you get more gems or upgrade/change the type of gems in different ways than your base cards do. So you are trying to build up a combination that helps you get gems faster, but also gems that are going to allow you to get the golems. Every card you get is added to your hand, and you play down cards and only return them to your hand when you decide that you want to. Eventually you’ll need to, though, because you’ll want to get the cards of the engine back into your hand so that you can get it working again.

Century: Golem Edition is a really slick engine building game. With cute artwork and a cute theme, you expect the game to not offer that much strategy, but there is a good amount of strategy there if you want to find it. The cards, and how valuable the card is to you really determines what you might want to do. The engine building, too, never becomes too much, because while you are building up an engine you are only playing a single card a turn. That means that you are either getting more gems or changing out gems, depending on the card. Then the next turn you play the next step to the engine. If you were playing all the cards at once, turns would last a long time, but instead, the turns fly by because you are only firing off part of your engine each time. That really makes it as an accessible engine building game and a good introductory engine building game. It would be easy for there to be too many things to keep track of otherwise.

Image Source: Board Game Geeks

The components also really sell this game on the table. The gems are amazing looking and just fun to play around with. And their holding bins work really well and are another nice aesthetic piece, but it’s also highly functional. Then there are metal coins that just add a little bit to the potential scoring of the golems and make getting some of the passed over golems more valuable. There is no reason that the coins need to be metal, you could have just put in a +1 and a +2 cardboard chips, but the metal coins feel amazing and look great. Century: Golem Edition really goes above and beyond the expected quality of a game with nice large cards, a great insert, an the other things that I’ve mentioned above. The game pops on the table and people are drawn to the game to see what is going on.

Finally, Century: Golem Edition is a very good introductory game while still not being a game that more “serious” gamers are going to find boring. The engine building piece is interesting and offers different choices each game, the random golems mean that you have to vary your strategy, so it helps keep the playing field a bit more balanced. Plus, there is the determination of when you bring cards back to your hand, because that is your turn. If you do it at the wrong time, someone might beat you to a golem that you’ve been angling for. This isn’t going to be game that more “serious” gamers are going to always want to play to fill that strategy itch, and the game isn’t one that has a ton of strategy, but they aren’t likely to be bored with it either.

Overall, I enjoy this game a lot. I think that it works well for a mixed crowd of players and I love the speed that game plays at. If you are looking for an engine building game to teach the concept and strategy of engine building, Century: Golem Edition stands out in that field. You can definitely use Century: Spice Road, but if you are playing with very casual gamers, Golem Edition is going to draw them in a whole lot more. I definitely recommend this game to people to help fill out that introductory game collection for when new gamers are around.

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

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Table Top Takes: Dominion

Table Top Takes: Dominion

Normally I do these reviews on games that I really enjoy. However, I thought it would be interesting to do a TableTopTakes on Dominion, a game that I have enjoyed but now that I don’t enjoy as much, and it’s still a very popular game.…