When buying gifts, sometimes I do that to try and improve someone’s collection of games, and by that, I mean to move beyond the likes of the Monopoly, Clue, Scrabble, Chutes and Ladders, and Candyland that most househoulds have had, and take those people who …
We’re onto the top half of my Top 100 games. We’ve seen a number of games drop out of the top 50 so far, that means we’re either going to have new games or games that have rise, you’ll have to find out. You can …
So last year in the lead-up to GenCon, I did lists of things that I was excited to see, games and expansions I was interested in demoing. Now, this year GenCon clearly isn’t happening, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still some GenCon related things to talk about. GenCon online is still happening. And they’ve announced a partnership with BGG in order to kind of still have some of the new releases available. Not at the same level you’d get at GenCon but something, so let’s take a look at that, and the list can be found here and see what stands out to me.
Now, this is one that I’ve already talked about because I have it pre-ordered through CoolStuffInc. So I talked about it on a Point of Order. What interests me in this is that it’s a fun little game expansion but a standalone expansion for a game that I already like. It’s going to take Silver Amulet and combed with Silver Bullet give me a ton of replay value for the game. And unlike a lot of expansions that make the game more complex, this might make it slightly more complex, but the rules and details you need to know are basically just written on the cards. Super fun light game.
Now, we’ve had a lot of versions of love letter come out over the years, and nothing seems more loving than a team of avengers fighting against Thanos. Not really that loving, but it looks like a fun variation on it. There was a playthrough as part of the Dice Tower Summer Spectacular and it seemed to keep some of the core mechanics while adding to the game. Definitely a cheap little one I’m keeping my eye.
Now, I’m a big Sagrada fan, and I have the first of the Facades expansions that adds in some new scoring and new cards and clear dice. Now, I don’t really know that all the expansions are needed for this game, but I’ve started going down that path, and as a small expansion, I like that it gives you some small tweaks but mainly just more of what you already have. I’m curious to see what this one will add and to add it to my collection.
Now, compared to the others which I had heard about other ways, Hard City is one that just sounded pretty fun to me. You are part of a team taking down an evil villain who has unleashed evil mutants upon the world. Variable player powers, action selection, these are all things that I dig. And while the game has some minis, they look small and it looks like the focus isn’t on the minis but on the game play itself, which is great. I also like that it does something that Tiny Epic Tactics does, which uses some of the box to make raised areas, but it looks nicer than that.
This is just a silly looking little game, I like fruit or food as a theme in games. And this is a set collection game, which I enjoy as well. But what really made me curious about this, and it’d be one that if they were at GenCon I’d be checking out to see how it works, because it has a mancala mechanism. This is something in the game Mancala but also something like Five Tribes where you are picking up a group from a location, then putting them down one by one in other baskets of things and with the last one you put down, you get all of that color. I like it as a set collection idea and this game seems like it has some fun stuff going on with it.
Now, this is a game that originally caught my attention on Kickstarter and then was played through by the Dice Tower crew. I think that it looks fun as you duke it out for control of the “lodge” by casting spells and deck building. I’m a sucker for deck building games that have a good theme or that do a little more (though I do like Ascension a lot), and this one seems to meet that criteria. Price is a little bit high for a deck building game, but it does appear to have nice components and definitely more than just deck building.
Another type of game that I like is roll and write games (or flip and write games). Sonora is a ??? and write game and the ??? are flick and write, which seems really fun to me. In this game, you are flicking around 5 disks in a number of rounds, I believe six, that then, depending on where they are sitting at the end of a round will allow you to fill in things on your board. This one I’ve known about for a while, but after watching the Dice Tower playthrough of this, it seems like my type of game. The flicking is fun and not that strategic, but the filling in, the scoring looks fun and it looks like you can create a lot of combos, so more depth than you’d think for a game that part of it if flicking.
So many reasons that I’m interested in this game. The first being that I love deduction style games, and this is built upon a system that I’ve really enjoyed, Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game. Add in that this is from a designer that I really like. Normally designers aren’t extremely important to me, but this small box version of Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game and the story in it were done by Rob Daviou who has worked on things like Pandemic a game that I really love, so I’m curious to see what he can do in this system and what story he can tell.
This one is on the list because it just looks pretty. I knew that this was coming out around GenCon because it was going to be at some of the GenCon popup events or maybe it was at an event that replaced International Table Top Day, I forget which. It’s already out, but in it you are collecting tiles that are succulent cuttings and putting them in such a way that you get points and other benefits. Overall, seems like a fairly abstract game, but I think it could be a lot of fun, and I really like the way that it looks.
Really fast on this one, I like deck building, and I like Ascension, and I like what Ascension does for being a fast game but also adding in a bunch of fun things that you can do and building upon itself with it’s expansions. Do I need more Ascension, probably not, will I end up getting more than the base game and two expansions I already have, probably sometime.
Still waiting on this one to come out, but I’m extremely excited for this game. I love the feeling of the game, I love the horror element, but also a bit of a goofy element to the game. It does a good job of giving you some tension throughout the game, and while you can kind of work together, it is every man for themselves. Got to demo this at last GenCon and I am still really really excited for this game.
So that’s 11 game that I probably would have been checking out again or for the first time at GenCon. Theya re definitely still on my list to try and demo and I hope that I’ll get a chance to play some of them, and that some of them, such as Deranged and Silver Coin come in soon. Looking at the list, are there any that look interesting to you and that you’d like to try?
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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 …
Welcome to a new series of Board Game articles. In this series I’m going to be looking at a number of different mechanics in board games, starting off with one of my favorites, deck building. I’m going to explain how the mechanic works and then give a few examples of games that are really focused on that and how they use deck building. This is really meant for newer people into board gaming to let them learn about a new type of game and how it works.
Most people are familiar with games that use decks of cards, from the kids game Candyland to something like Uno or Skip-bo to party games like Cards Against Humanity. All of these games use a communal deck of cards that players draw from to get their hand or to take an action and then they play those cards. It’s a very straight forward concept and you have a deck of cards that is consistent that you’ll be drawing the cards from and you’ll get whatever you get from that pool of cards.
A deck building game builds upon this idea of the deck of cards, but instead of having 108 cards in the Uno deck that everyone shares, instead you have your own deck of 10 or 12 or some number of cards. And when you start the game everyone’s decks are the same. But as the game goes on, you purchase more cards from a pool of cards that are face up to add to your deck. So when you have to reshuffle, now your deck is different than another persons deck.
A simple example of this is Ascension. In Ascension, you start with a deck of 10 cards, eight that give you points to purchase more cards, and two that let you fight monsters. The cards that you buy, some of them allow you to draw more cards when you play them, or get more points for purchasing more cards, or they’ll help you fight monsters. So by the time you shuffle again, you will have two or more different cards than the person you’re playing against, so the hand you’ll draw will be different from a hand of cards that they can draw. The further you get into the game and the more cards that you add to your deck, the more different your deck of cards will be from another players and the more different your strategy will be from another player. The deck building aspect of the game allows players to create a deck that matches how they want to play the game.
All deck building games give you a way to acquire more cards. In Ascension you purchase them, so a card that costs more will mean that you need more points to purchase it, so you might not be able to right away. This tends to be a core mechanic as well of a lot of deck building games is that they build up to you doing bigger and bigger things, but we’ll talk about what that mechanic is known as in a future article.
There are two main types of deck building games. The static market game or the changing market game. Ascension is an example of a changing market game. You have six cards to make your purchase from or to fight if they are monsters. When you purchase a card or defeat a monster, a new card is flipped down into the market form a draw pile and you don’t know what that card is going to be. So a card you want one turn might not be there the following turn, or might not be there at all again in a game. In a static market game you have a certain number of piles of cards, all the cards in those piles are identical so when you buy the top one, you know what the one underneath it is going to be. This allows you, from the start of the game, to determine a long term strategy throughout the game and to really dictate what your deck is going to be capable of doing. Dominion is an example of a static market deck building game. Now, it comes down to preference as to which one you like better. With the static deck it is going to more heavily favor the more experienced player or the player with better long term planning skills, because at the start of the game you can sit down, look at the static market and make your plan. If a changing market, you might come in with a plan but then need to adjust it on the fly, but it’ll keep the game more balanced between more and less experienced players. Neither is really a bad thing, it just comes down to personal preference.
Let’s talk about some deck building games that you might want to checkout if this sounds interesting.
Gateway/Intro To Deck Building Game
Ascension – For me, Ascension is the ideal deck building game, the changing market place means that a more experienced player doesn’t have a massive advantage and while there are some better strategies, it all depends on how the market comes out. It also works well because you are just doing two things with your cards, mainly, you are either buying with the purchasing power on the cards or you are fighting a monster with a fighting power on a the cards. A few cards do a few more things, like draw more cards from your deck but they are generally simple. The theme isn’t really there, but in most pure deck building games, which Ascension is, the theme will be missing or barely there anyways.
Medium Weight Deck Building Game
Clank! – Now, regular Clank! isn’t my favorite way to play Clank!. I like Clank! In! Space! better, but there’s just a little bit more going on than a medium weight deck building game. Clank! again has a variable market and monsters to fight, but you’ve added in some additional elements. It does more of one thing you see in Ascension, which is creating combos based off of who you’ve gotten, and it adds in more than just purchase and fight. You now have the ability to move and you are pushing your luck. Also, good cards might have negative consequences as well. It adds a bit more complexity and a bit more strategy to the game, even with a changing market place.
Heavy/Complex Deck Building Game
Aeon’s End: War Eternal – I had a few options to pick here, but I went with Aeon’s End: War Eternal. A lot of deck building games add to their complexity not so much the deck building aspect, but from additional pieces to the game play. Aeon’s End: War Eternal (or any of the Aeon’s End Games) are good examples of this. The deck building uses a static market, but you are presented with more choices. You have to cast spells at monsters, but to do that you have to purchase more spells, but with your money you also need to open breaches to cast those spells. Plus, all of the Aeon’s End games add in something else interesting, not only is there a lot of strategy to what you get from the market, you also don’t shuffle your deck, you just discard cards, so if you can plan it out correctly you can stack the deck in a particular order to get a lot of well balanced hands or maybe a hand with a lot of purchasing power in order to get a very strong spell. There’s just more to think about, though this game is cooperative so a more experienced player can help and teach a new player to the game.
Now, there are a lot of deck building games out there to choose from and some that fall into the category that I’d qualify as more deck construction games that work off of some of the same principles as a deck building game. Have you tried a deck building game before? Do they sound fun to you?
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So, this won’t be my main article for a day normally, but I’m going to have a little bit of fun with this and start up a new series of articles for when I order a new board game. Now, this will exclude Kickstarter board games, look for those in Back or Brick articles every Wednesday.
Point of Order is going to be me running down the game(s) that I ordered and why I picked them up. The reason for doing this is kind of a sneak preview as to what’s going to be coming for reviews in the future, but also help show why I thought some games might be a good fit for me and maybe, give you some insight if into if they might be a good fit for you.
So let’s run them now, it’s a bigger order this time, so it’ll be a bit of reading to get through it, but hopefully enlightening.
So, this is one that I got a chance to play at GenCon and since it was such a small game, it kind if paled in comparison to some of the other games I played there, and I thought it was just okay. But then I downloaded it to my phone, and I’ve had a lot of fun just knocking out a fast game of it against the computer. What keeps drawing me back to it is the simplicity of the game. In Silver, you are trying to get your village to score the fewest points, there are werewolves because it’s Bezier Games, but that’s a mute point to the game. You do this by swapping cards out from your face down group of five cards. However, you don’t know what all your cards are. At the start of each round, there are four, you look at two of your cards. Then on your turn you look at the top card and either swap it with a card in your five or use it’s power, or you can use the top card of the deck to swap into your row. Now, the swap is 1 for 1, unless, you have two of the same card from the five in front of you that you can swap. So if I had two sixes, I could swap it for a five, now I’d have four cards in front of me and be scoring 7 less points. Once you have less than four cards, you can call for a vote if you want, and if you have the fewest points on your villagers, you get 0 points, but if you’re wrong or you didn’t call for the vote, you get the points on your villagers, and plus 10 if you were wrong when calling for the vote. It’s a push your luck, bluffing (kind of), and memory game. It plays fast over four rounds and because of enjoying it more on my phone, I decided to pick it up.
This one one will be way shorter to write about, because I’ve already don’t a TableTopTakes review of it. This is a flip and write map making game with some fun scoring. The map making part is pretty loosely themed on there, but the scoring puzzle is a lot of fun, and the fact that it’s an interactive flip and write is great. So for the scoring, you have four different scoring things, A, B, C, D. And you score two each season, for A & B, then B & C, C & D, and eventually D & A. So you have to think about both short turn and long term scoring. Plus, then, you have your own board, but if a monster comes up (and they will) you have to pass your board to the left or right and that player will put a monster somewhere on your board in spot that’ll surely mess things up for you. I really enjoy roll/flip and writes, and this one stands up as one that has a fun theme and some more interactivity going on.
Now, some of why I got this was because I needed to make it to $100 for free shipping and nothing was jumping out at me. But I really love Ascension, in my Top 10 Gateway game list, it was #10, because for me it’s an ideal introduction to deckbuilding for the base game. And the expansions add more and can be combined with it. So I’m excited to try out this one and to try out Dreamscape the other expansion that I have. I’m curious to see how the strategies might change, and sometime play a massive six player game with one of the expansions mixed in. This is one where I know I’ll enjoy the expansions, and even if they don’t come off the shelf a lot, I’ll still get them played once and a while.
Silver & Gold
So, this isn’t related to Silver. Instead it’s a flip and write game where you are drafting island cards and trying to fill them in, which scores you points, and combing covering up palm trees, treasures, and I think more to allow you to cover up more things. This game was interesting to me after I watched Board Game Geeks Game Night Youtube Show with it. What was interesting about it was that you don’t have your own play sheet that you’re filling in. You are drafting/taking island cards and actually writing on those cards. The cards are dry erase so that you can play, score, erase, and play again. That just seems like a novel idea and I’ve really been digging roll or flip and write games recently.
Clank! Acquisitions Inc Legacy
Multiple things drew me to this game, first it’s a legacy game. I think I own, have owned, or have played most legacy games out there. They are just a blast generally in my opinion, and are very fascinating to see how they end up working. With Clank! Legacy, I already know that I like Clank! In! Space! and while this is fantasy themed, that’s fine because I love Acquisitions Inc. podcast/video series that Penny Arcade does at their #PAX conventions. From what I’ve heard about this, it implements it really well and creates an interesting story throughout while being a really fun game to play. And while none of the others take themselves seriously in the Clank! line of games, this one I’ll get more of the in jokes because I’ve watched all of Acquisitions Inc. And easy purchase, just was waiting to have a group to play it, but it was on sale, so I decided to pick it up anyways even before having a group lined up.
This one I’m really excited for, but it’s a pre-order. So one of my favorite games is Dead of Winter. And what makes it a lot of fun is that it uses crossroads cards. These cards get triggered sometimes where you go some play, do some action and all of a sudden you’re interrupted because you triggered this crossroads event where you have to make a decision that will affect the game in some way, but you don’t know how. Forgotten Waters is a pirate themed game that uses that, plus it has an app that tells you things to do and helps you set-up scenarios, plus you’re using a storybook type thing, similar to Mice and Mystics, Aftermath, and Stuffed Fables. I think all of that combined together sounds really cool, and I’ve been looking for a cool pirate themed game that is a bit more tongue in cheek than something like Merchants and Marauders which is a fun game, but a bit heavier.
Marvel Champions Neoprene Playmat
Final item on the list, and it’s not a game. There are several reasons that I wanted to get this, the first is that it looks cool, and it’s big so you can play with a bunch of people using mat. The other is that whenever I cut my finger nails, I can never pick up cards. So on a neoprene mat which I’d be able to use for other games as well, though it does have a layout for Marvel Champions, I won’t be trying multiple times to pick them up or scooting them to the edge of the table so I can grab them. I won’t say that this really makes Marvel Champions that much easier to play, but it can help keep the table neater, plus easier to pick up cards.
So, that’s the order that I have coming in. I’d say that some of that is thanks to Covid-19 because I’m bored and I think that some of these games will be good ones that I can play with my wife while waiting for board game nights to happen again.
Are there any of the games that seem the most interesting to you? Any that you’ve picked up or want to pick up?
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