So, there was one final order in 2020, as Miniature Market did an end of year sale on their sale items. Now, I will say, I didn’t only pick up sale items, but I did pick up two games that I’ve been looking at for …
Tag: area control
What, that seems wrong, how are there no games? No, it’s just that there aren’t that many games out there. So instead I’m looking at games with the Letters N, O, and P. The Collection Numbers A’s – B’s – C’s – D’s – E and F’s – G and H’s – I, J and K’s – L’s – …
We’re onto the letter C, and I was surprised with the number of games I had with the letter C. I thought that it might be one of the lower letters, but instead it is one of the higher numbers in terms of how many games I have in it, so let’s get started.
This is a game that I kickstarted last year after seeing it, not really demoing it though, at GenCon. The creator had a very little table set-up that was piggybacking off of another booth, and this game was there and it just looked so cute. In this game you are drafting tiles and playing tiles onto your quilt. If you get certain color or patterns you score points, there are some that are shared objectives, like different cats will want different patterns by each other, and if you can do that, you’ll attract that cat, or there are ways to get buttons which give points as well. The game should be a really good puzzle but not a game that you have a ton of rules to teach.
Status: To Be Played
I’ve wanted a racing game for a while, and while I do have another one that will show up in a little bit, that one is a longer and bigger game, I wanted one that could handle a number of players and play fast and silly, and Camel Up does that. You are betting on what camel is going to be in the lead on various legs of the race. What makes it even sillier is that the camels stack. So you don’t have a particular camel that is yours but you are petting on the camel you want to win. If you for example, roll the red die and the red camel has the blue camel on top of it, so you roll a two, that red camel will move with the blue camel on it two spaces forward. And the camel on top is in the lead. Once in a while I’ve seen this game fall flat, but more often than not it is that silly stand-up moment of what die will come out, what camel will move forward, because the more you win on your bets, the more points that you’ll have.
Status: To Be Played
This is another big group game, but it pits two teams against each other in submarine warfare in real time. You have tow teams with a captain a sonar operator, first mate, and engineer. Each of them is doing something different. The sonar operator is listening to the other teams captain to try and map out their path and figure out where they are on the board, the engineer is keeping the ship running the best that they can, and the first mate is prepping systems to be ready for use. If you figure out where a ship is and are close enough you can fire off a torpedo to try and hit them. The game is interesting, it has more strategy and the fact you can play it with eight and it’s not just a party game is so much fun.
This is one of those classic gateway games up there with the likes of Ticket to Ride and Catan that people might have heard of. It’s on the shelves in Target with them. This is a tile placement game as you build out a board collectively building farm area, roads, and towns. You score points for placing out meeples into roads, but you only have a limited supply of them, and most of the time you can get them back, but you might not be able to, so you have hold some meeples back. When a meeple comes off the board for a completed town or a completed road, you get points, at the end of the game you get points for them if things aren’t completed as well, so you are trying to have enough meeples to put them down to score if you need, but not too many so you don’t end up with leftover meeples at the end of the game. It’s easy to teach and play.
Another game in that roll or flip and write category. In this one you are making a map set in the fantasy world of Roll Player games. You’ve been sent out to be a royal cartographer, and are mapping the villages, farm lands, rivers, and forest while also mapping out where the monsters are. The big thing that this game does, which I really like, is that you score things by season. So if I were scoring in the first season I’d score cards A and B, next season B and C, and then in the fourth season D and A again. So you have to balance your scoring and think about what will help you now and help in the future, or what doesn’t matter, because after the second season you won’t score B again. The game is fast and fun, and I’m excited for more stuff that I have coming from their latest Kickstarter.
This one I’m a little bit surprised it’s still on my shelf and that I haven’t sold it, but it is such a good and simple cooperative game. I like that everything is played open, you have very simple zones for everything and where damage can be done. I don’t play this one often anymore, but I’m keeping it around because when the toddler is older it’ll be a nice simple game to play with them and something that we can play as a whole family, but I’ve had fun with it before, and there is a nice little bit of tension too it though you win more often than you lose.
This one is a true roll and write game, with a little bit of dice drafting. In this you are trying to make your best cat cafe. And you are scoring points off of certain things that the cats like, such as food dishes or toy mice. You also score points by filling up cat trees, the first person to get one filled in scores more points than the next person. There is some strategy in the dice drafting and the game works well. The game has a cute theme which was the big selling point, and some of the worst dice I’ve seen, but I replaced them with dice with cats on it, so it’s all better. Definitely a fun one that I need to play again.
Century Golem Edition
If I were to have a go to engine building game, Century: Golem Edition would probably be it. This is a fast and fun game where you are getting gems to collect golems. You do that by either taking a card to add to your hand on your turn, playing a card to get gems or upgrade gems, spending gems to get a golem, or picking back up all your cards. The game is simple and fast, but you can create some really powerful engines that will turn out a lot of gems fast if you can, and the game has great components, a great carrier for the gems, the gems themselves are cool, overall, such a fun and fast engine builder with a table presence that really sells the game.
Champions of Hara
I picked this one up after watching a playthrough on the Gloryhoundd YouTube channel. This seems like a fun game with a lot of depth of story to it without really being a story game. And the game components just look amazing. The modular board is cool, the areas of the world are very interesting, and the fact that you upgrade your character as you go throughout the game also helps sell it for me. Finally, the aesthetic of this game is just amazing, really a huge selling point when a game looks good and looks good.
Status: To Be Played
I still need to finish this one, there were several children that were born which derailed the game, and I think we have one or two games left of it, we’ll see if we get back to it, or I might buy a refresh pack and play it with another group. This is a simple worker placement legacy game that builds over time. It pretends like it has some story, but really it’s just a fun worker placement game, and I’m not always the biggest fan of worker placement. The rules do grow into more, but there are a lot of nice things about the game, and you won’t really be able to have a runaway leader through the game since it is competitive with how it’s balanced. Overall, this game is slipping for me a little bit, just because I can’t play it until we’ve finished it or I spend money to refresh it, and I need to group to play with then.
Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger
If you liked the goofy Choose Your Own Adventure books growing up, this game fits that perfectly. It’s a light silly and fun game, which doesn’t have you start over when you die thankfully. If you want something that feels like nostalgia, this is a good one, and I think that it goes over well with most groups. Definitely more of an experience than a game, but that’s what I waned from a game with Choose Your Own Adventure in the title.
Chronicles of Crime
Another one that I got to demo a little bit at GenCon in 2019, this one is an interesting tech assisted crime game. You use that feels like VR on your phone to look around a crime scene, you scan QR codes to investigate things, question people, take stuff to the lab and more all as you try and solve the case. I love the idea of this game as I really do love deduction games (keep in mind I said deduction not social deduction). This one is a bit lighter and simpler than some deduction games that might show up in different letters, but still such a good concept and excution from what I saw.
Status: To Be Played
Clank! In! Space! and Clank Legacy
I like deck building games, that’s why I have multiple versions of Clank. I don’t have the original version though where it is dungeon delving in a fantasy setting. Instead I went with the space version which has a lot of fun and silly sci-fi references sprinkles across the cards. And I knew when Clank! Legacy was announced with an Acquisitions Inc theme on it I was going to get that as well. The space game does enough more than just deck building to make it an interesting challenge and I like the push your luck in the game, even if I don’t always do the best at it.
Clank! In! Space! Status: Played
Clank! Legacy Status: To Be Played
A classic, but a good one. This is another simple deduction game that I mainly keep on my shelf because it is such a classic. I think that my copy of the game has been played maybe twice in about a decade. It does have roll and move which generally I don’t like in a game and only kind of works in this game because you basically always want to make an guess on something to see what information you can get. But if you already know everything you want from one room and roll poorly, you might just be stuck out in the middle. Still for a simple deduction game, it isn’t bad at all.
This is an abstract game that I picked up a while ago. It’s all about manipulating/flipping tiles in order to try and complete patterns on cards. The first person to complete a certain number wins. I like the simple concept of the game, though the round cards are a bit weird. It falls into that category of a game that is simple to teach but could have some turns where you really have to think about what you’re going to do.
Status: To Be Played
This was a game that I bought because it was 50% off, I wasn’t sure when I’d get to play it I know that the rule book is very bad. But I liked the idea of this game. In it you are taking Conan and some other characters up against another person who is running the bad guys for the scenario. What is so interesting is the gaining and spending of energy and activating certain troops might be what you want to do, but when you do, you push them further down the river so it’ll cost more to do so again as the person playing the bad guys. Definitely a really interesting concept with a lot of cool looking minis and a Conan theme that is pretty fun.
Status: To Be Played
This is an old board game that plays a lot like a new board game. In Cosmic you are a wheeling and dealing alien race who is trying to colonize a certain number of planets. Now, you do that by on you turn picking what planet you’re going after, how many ship you’re sending, and then the fun starts. You can recruit other people to help you and you also spend cards to improve your total. You can negotiate with the person you’re going against to maybe go for a draw and getting something else in return besides knocking them off the planet, it’s a really fun idea. This game does depend on the group some, but when I have played it, I like it. Oh, and the alien powers can mess everything up.
Cowboy Bebop: Boardgame Boogie
This game caught my eye as Cowboy Bebop is one of my favorite anime, so I thought I’d give the game a whirl. Another one that I saw and purchased at GenCon. This is a cooperative game where you play as crew members and work your way through their story arcs, dealing with obstacles, having to bring in bounties and things like that. I like the theme and the game play while it doesn’t seem complex definitely seems like it should be thematic fun.
Status: To Be Played
The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
This game has been on fire, figuratively, this year. It’s a trick taking game oddly enough, but it is a cooperative trick taking game where you are trying to get certain players to take certain tricks to get a card of a certain color or number, or someone might not want to win a trick, otherwise you’ll lose that level. It limits communication like most trick taking games do, but just seems like such a fun game and one that you can sit down, set-up a mission, play, and do another mission if you want or two even and be done within an hour at most.
Status: To Be Played
A classic game for a reason, I like Cribbage quite well, especially as a bar game. It’s so small you can pull it out at a brewery, throw it onto the table and play a few games while having some beers, it works really well. I like the card play and the scoring for it that you’re always thinking about. It’s a classic, don’t need to say much more than that.
Another roll and write on the list, the smallest roll and write that I have. I really like this one because of how fast and tricky it is. Now this one has more luck than some because guessing right on what die face might randomly show up, is helpful, but how you place in the dice faces on your sheet is even more important. And how you place the dice is interesting. You need to use them almost as a domino so that they are touching, you can orient them however you want, but they need to be touching like the two halves of a domino. Then you score both vertical and horizontal by how many adjacent symbols you have in the row or column. Good, little, and fast.
Status: Played (a lot)
I picked this one up for playing on digital board game nights. Cross Clues is a fun game where you have a grid. You might have in row A the word stick, and in column 4 the word witch. So if you have the A4 card in your hand, you have to give a clue to get people to guess it, it might be something like broom. Broom handles are sticks and witches ride on brooms. But if the word in row B was clean, now that clue isn’t as good. So you’re trying to find that clue that works for that one right spot for the card you have. You can play it with a timer, which I think would work well in person, but digitally we play without.
This is a game that I really do want to play more. It’s an interesting area control and fighting game all at the same time. Like Blood Rage, but also really not like Blood Rage in a lot of other ways. You are coming to an alien planet to get a resource, it’s a very classic movie trope, and there are natives there. What is really interesting is how the different factions play. There are mechs, humans, pilgrims, and the natives, and the natives start out with the best board presence and will score more gems, the pilgrims are trying to just collect gems and create their own pool of scoring that no one can take away, humans and mechs need to spread out and win more battles. The combat is interesting as well with how you allocate your troops to different areas of majority control, killing, and capturing.
If you want to find a version of Fluxx on any topic, IP, anything, you basically can. Fluxx is what you hope will be a fast little filler card game where you are trying to get the right set-up of cards in front of you to win the game. And the rules are always changing. The game can be a bit of a mess to keep track of the rules, but that’s part of the silly fun of it. Definitely doesn’t get played all that often, because while it should be a short filler it can sometimes run long.
Final one that starts with the letter C, Cyclades is another area control, influence game where you are fighting to build and control a number of a cities. All of this while bidding for your power and turn order as to what god will shine their face on you that round and what actions you can take. It’s an interesting idea and I think one that I’d really enjoy, however, it hasn’t hit the table after quite some time. I’m not ready to get rid of it though because it does seem like a really good game.
Status: To Be Played
That was a lot of C’s, what is your favorite game that starts with the Letter C? Is there one based off of my list thus far of what I own that you think I should get for hte letter C?
Will you be able to outmaneuver your rival gods and get your worshippers in this area influence game? Pros Looks amazing with the minis and the map Elements make sense in what they do Price Established company Solo Play Cons Abstract in nature Confrontational The …
So last board game mechanic I was talking about area control or area majority and Dungeon Crawls got mentioned in that article. I said I was going to do something about that mechanic, but when it comes down to it, it’s really not a mechanic. It’s more of a style or a category of games, and I think it’d be worth talking about some of those as well, so we’re going to start taking a similar look to what I’m doing in my Board Game Mechanics series, and look as well at different styles of games.
So, what is a Dungeon Crawl?
A dungeon crawl game is generally going to be a one versus many or game versus many sort of game where the players are going through a dungeon and clearing out the monsters in that dungeon while also trying to possibly complete additional objectives depending on the scenario that is given. Generally you’ll have your character, the monsters, and anything else important on a map and you’ll use in the scenario. Generally these sorts of games are going to have a fair amount of combat. This combat can be done through card play but very often Dungeon Crawl games are going to have you rolling a bunch of dice to see if you hit or how much damage you do. That will be how you defeat traps and sometimes you’ll use different skills for things like overcoming obstacles or disarming traps as well.
One thing to note is that when we say Dungeon Crawl, it doesn’t have to be a dungeon per se. There are games out there where you’re going through a mine in the old west or fighting through a lab to get some secret plans. Dungeon Crawl definitely comes from fantasy and RPG roots but it’s something that’s been placed onto a lot of different settings. The term really refers to the idea that you enter the scenario at one point, you fight the monsters or bad guys, and you complete the objective.
Dungeon Crawls also generally fall into the broad category of Ameritrash games. This means that most Dungeon Crawl games are going to have some higher level of luck to them. Most often this will be in combat where you are rolling dice to see if you hit or not. For some people this can be off putting because if they roll poorly they might not be able to do anything about it. But a lot of these games also have something known as dice mitigation. This basically means that you have ways to manipulate the dice, either by rerolling them to see if you improve your result or the ability to change the face of the dice. Also, I would say, a lot of these dungeon crawl games have moved away from a simple pass or fail on an attack. Yes, an attack might not hit, but even on a miss they generally try and supply some sort of benefit.
Let’s talk about some games that fall into the style:
Mice and Mystics – Now this is one that I actually haven’t played but that I’m quite familiar with, and I think provides an interesting feel and a good introductory point for a dungeon crawler. This game is not a massive game like a lot of dungeon crawlers are and the theme is really targeted towards kids and families, which is ideal for a gateway game as that means that it is going to be rules lighter. In this game you play as a band of mice who are fighting off monsters and completing a storybook of quests and missions. This works well as well because everyone is working cooperatively together against the game.That means that for younger players or people who might not be following all the rules, it’ll be easy to help them mid game, just don’t end up taking their turn for them.
Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition – Now, I think the 1st Edition is hard to find at this point so I probably don’t need to specify, but I still like to anyways. In this game it’s a more story immersive dungeon crawl as you are going to a location to complete a specific story driven element on the game. You’re trying to solve the mysterious goings on at a mansion, or people disappearing at the seaside, or maybe even there might be some time travel. But there is something going on. This is another fully cooperative game as there is an app that directs you in what you need to do for the monsters and how the board changes as you reveal new map tiles and explore finding cultists, monsters, or clues that you need to stop the disappearances or ritual. This game has more complex rules, though most of your actions are pretty simple, but the app with the game makes it so that it walks you through a lot of stuff that could be a potential downfall. It’s a really fun game with a lot of expansions and scenarios.
Gloomhaven – Now, I was tempted to put Gloomhaven as the medium weight game on my list. I do not think that it is highly complex, but compared to Mansions of Madness and Mice and Mystics, it is more complex and just because of the volume of stuff in Gloomhaven, it is way more intimidating. This one, unlike Mansions of Madness which is one off scenarios, is a massive campaign game as well as you go through scenarios which are intertwined together to create a massive story of monsters, mystery and destruction. In this one the combat is less random because you have a modifier deck that you are using. Yes, you could still hit your null and do no damage, but you can improve the odds of doing well as you level up your character.
There are a ton more Dungeon Crawl games out there, I mentioned wild west, Shadows of Brimstone, if that theme is more interesting, there’s Reichbusters about being a crack team going in and basically fighting Nazi zombies. Or you could play through missions in Star Wars: Imperial Assault around the events of the original trilogy or play as Gimli and Legolas in an adventure in Lord of the Rings: Journeys In Middle Earth. So there are Dungeon Crawls for everyone out there and some are very complex and have massive rule books, while others are more simple.
What is your favorite dungeon crawl game? Are there any that stand out to you as being better than the rest? If you haven’t played a Dungeon Crawl game, what’s keeping you from playing one?
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I started doing Top 10 Lists last week to talk about my top 10 deck building/deck construction games. This time, I’m continuing that with some area control. I like area control games and I think that there are some good ones out there, but there …
Time to do another quick talk on a board game that I know I might not get to the table again all that quickly. I want to do these when I know I’m not ready to do a complete review of the game, do the lack of plays, but I want to put down some thoughts I have on the game to help inform some opinions, if it does, and to also give myself more ability to process thoughts on the game.
First, let me set up the scenario, last night we started learning this game at 7 PM and finished at 11 PM, the game itself says 60-90 minutes (on the box, on the website 25 minutes per player), so clearly we were well over that. However, it was a learning game and we were also playing with five players. That’s why I’ve added in the Warlord Box to the title. The game out of the base box only plays four, but there is the ability to add a fifth player in the Warlord Box and another way to add a sixth in another Kickstarter thing, but we didn’t play with that. So when I look at the time, the game probably didn’t really start until closer to 8 and with the 90 minute length, I think with five players it would always be over 90 minutes and maybe at best 25 minutes per player at five, but probably a bit longer.
When breaking this down, I do think I need to point out that the fifth player expansion does change the game, and I’m not sure it’s for the better unless you’re are very familiar with the game. It adds in ports, which is interesting as they allow you to move around the board faster, they add a section to the board, a monster you can control, and more. The ports are fairly hard to see on the board, and it adds in more to teach because you have to explain how the monster can be controlled, the special temple that goes there, and how the extra board connects to the main board, how Poseidon works, and a few more things. This doesn’t massive increase the complexity of the game but it adds to what you need to teach and while there are cards for everything in the core box for player aids, they didn’t provide them for the fifth player and they didn’t provide five aids for Poseidon as compared to four for the gods in the base box. It just makes the game take longer and adds a bit more confusion, which lengthens an already longer learning game anyways.
With that, we also used more expansions out of the Warlord box, but most of them are just monsters and while some of them have specific rules for using them, they tend to be pretty similar to the other monsters that you’re already using. For me that addition didn’t really affect the game. The other piece used was the extra character choices, which you need to use if you’re playing with five players, but again, not that hard to use them and it just fit in nicely to the game versus adding all that much complexity like Poseidon and the 5th Player Expansion did for teaching rules.
But let’s talk about the base game and the game experience. Besides myself being tired now because the game went late, I really did enjoy the game. After one play through that was not optimum as we were all learning and we played with five, this game is resting around a B+/A- range for me. What works well in the game is the win conditions. You can win one of four ways, controlling a monument once it’s been completed at the end of three turns. Controlling two regions. Controlling five temples. Or, finally, having defeated 3 monsters. With that, it gives you a lot of things to shoot for. I was playing a character who got a priest to start the game, my plan with her was to go for temples first, but then that changed to building a monument and controlling two regions at various points in the game. And I was one turn away from winning at one point in time in the game. Other players, including the player who won, also switched their goals in the middle of the game as it just happened to work that way for them as well.
Mechanically, the game is fun. You’re moving your hero, hoplites, praying at the monuments and using other things like artifacts or special abilities, once each per turn, if you want. However, where the game works best is special ability board. You’re covering up abilities as you go, so you can’t use the fight monster ability, for example, twice before you have at least done one other action. And building monuments, that’s the way to get everything back, but it can also push the end of the game faster. I think that was one of the weaknesses in our game, we knew that monuments could end the game faster, so no one built on the monuments, we had one that was completed and the legs of another one, so there were, at the end, five monument actions done, but we could have done way more throughout the game, refreshing certain abilities faster, such as hunting to allow us to get closer to the end of the game, as you can do a total of nine monument actions and have not completed a single monument if you want.
This game definitely has a good amount of tactics to it. I’m going to say that more than strategy, when picking your hero at the beginning, there is strategy in that and you can try and strategize it all together so that you have better synergy with your hero, but even that can change, and I think that for basically any hero, any of the win conditions would be possible. I mainly think that some of my decisions would have changed earlier in the game had I been thinking about it. When I won, I almost was able to take over two full regions, and I thought that was working well, but I probably should have been going for monument victory, because I had been taking cards that helped me defend areas, which works well for taking over regions, but would have given me a strong force that would have been hard to unseat for giving up the monument. And I think that the other options I had available, I could have picked them as well if I had wanted to go for different victory conditions.
While the hero cards can inform some to start the game, the biggest piece of strategy, for me, came with the blessing cards, this happens when you do a bless draft after certain temples are built. These cards are all powerful, so I picked one that killed a hoplite before they even had a chance to attack when a battle started in an area that I was the defender and allowed me to fortify more troops in from an adjacent area when I was the defender. Other people picked cards that would help them with fighting or other things, it’s definitely a cool aspect of the game and gives you another very variable thing. And this game offers nice variability with event cards which change up set-up and how the game plays out, different gods to use, character powers, artifacts that come up, and blessings. I think that will make the game truly replayable.
Overall, I really did enjoy the game. I don’t think that the rule book is the best, and with a teaching video out there, before doing the teach for new players, I’d probably have them watch the video in the future. I also don’t think that I’d do a five player game again. No really issues with the expansion that adds it in, but the ports are just a bit clunky and it just adds enough length to the game, I think even with experienced players, that it probably wouldn’t be worth it. I think right now the issue is finding people to play it with again, because it can take a little bit of time, and I’d prefer to play it sometime soon so that I don’t forget all of the rules again.
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