Tag: Kickstarter

Back or Brick: Elements of the Gods

Back or Brick: Elements of the Gods

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 

Holiday List – For the Board Gamer

Holiday List – For the Board Gamer

So we’re back into the realm of board games for today’s holiday list. But I don’t want to just list off the most popular or highest rated games. Those you can find on Board Game Geek if you want. But if the person is pretty 

Back or Brick: Bardsung

Back or Brick: Bardsung

Become those who songs are sung about in the epic dungeon crawler from Steamforged Games.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/steamforged/bardsung?ref=profile_saved_projects_live

Pros

  • Quick to set-up
  • Non-standard fantasy races/classes
  • Dungeon crawl
  • Session Length
  • Campaign Game
  • Price

Cons

  • Dungeon Crawl
  • D20 based
  • Very much D&D inspired
  • Price

The Page

I think that they do a solid job on the page. I get some idea of the game play and while there are obviously a lot of minis in this, they could highlight them a lot more. And that’s not saying that I want them to highlight it more, in fact I appreciate that they don’t. Too often games like this focus on the minis and then not at all o the game play.

I also like how they show off a number of guest writers for it, which some fun names in there. I like it when games can pull in more creators to help give different parts of the game a more robust and interesting feel to it. It also helps with the diversity in the game, because a smaller team, though Steamforged Games is not small by any means, can mean that you have less diversity in the game and creators.

I will knock them a little bit, as I do most campaigns on Kickstarter, the information for the game play is pretty low on the page. So I don’t have a ton of idea until I’m about halfway down and they’ve tried to sell me on add-ons shown off the minis a few times. And while the section is fairly large, I feel like it’s actually light in details for the game play itself.

The Game

So, this part is interesting and I am looking at the game from what I can tell in the rules, plus watching some game play.

They talk about simple character creation and it being simple to get up and go overall for this game. This is both true and a lie. Character creation is definitely simple, you get a starting set-up for your character, you toss on a couple of tokens to note things, and that is great. I like how simple that get into the game is. Same with setting up the map, you have a starting map spot and your character and that is it, and you’re ready to go.

But it’s also a lie. When building your character, you get to choose how you progress. They made it free and open so that you won’t have to be stuck in a class. I like that aspect about it, but that means in future games and future times when setting up your character, it won’t be as simple, in fact you’ll have to keep track of what you’ve done. Plus the action dungeon crawl itself. Gloomhaven doesn’t pretend it has fast set-up, this does, this probably has longer in game set-up than Gloomhaven does just because you are flipping a card, that tells you what map tile is next, you find that tile, then you need to figure out what bad guys go on there, then you need to shuffle up the combat order that people go in, the marching order. I’ve played Shadows Of Brimstone which uses a set-up mechanism like that, it’s faster to get it going on the table, it is not faster when all set-up time is considered.

I do like how the enemy AI works. It isn’t completely unique, as things like Sword and Sorcery and Imperial Assault have done this as well, but it’s basically a list of things. If the enemy can do the top thing, that means they do that, if they can’t, look at the next one, and so on and so forth. It makes enemy combat easy to do, but can make it a bit predictable. This compared to Gloomhaven which has an enemy deck so you don’t know what might be flipped up.

Back or Brick

So there are things that I like about this game and things that I don’t. I do think that this game has some interesting characters, but at the same time, it also has a lot of D&D related characters and monsters and I could just play D&D. Then there is the D20, I didn’t talk about it much in game play, but you are rolling a D20 to do things, and the issue with that is that a D20 has massive variability. In Dungeons and Dragons that can be an issue, but D&D is a much about the role playing as it is the roll playing. This is a board game, so as much as they want it to be like an RPG Board Game, it is going to be a board game first, which means that variability sucks. For me, this ends up being a brick because of that, and because I don’t believe the set-up and getting going is that much faster, it just shifts it to down time in the game versus at the start of the game. Add in the title, I like the idea of bards singing about your deeds, but from what I can tell the name is just a fun name and doesn’t have anything to do with what you really are doing in the game.

How about for you, is this game a back or a brick?

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Back or Brick – Burncycle

Back or Brick – Burncycle

Can you lead the robots in this cooperative game as they try and take back control of their programming from their human overlords? Pros Established game company Cooperative play Theme Component Quality Cons Price Game Play The Page Chip Theory Games are definitely a well 

Back or Brick: Atlantis Rising: Monstrosities (2nd Edition Reprint)

Back or Brick: Atlantis Rising: Monstrosities (2nd Edition Reprint)

Can you escape from the lands of Atlantis as the waters rise in this cooperative board game from Elf Creek Games. Pros Known game Great production quality Existing KS Board Game Company Cooperative Price/Shipping Cons Base game has been available not via Kickstarter The Page 

Back or Brick: Darkest Dungeon

Back or Brick: Darkest Dungeon

Can you survive the darkest dungeon in this Rogue-Like RPG Dungeon Crawler from Mythic Games based off of a video game?

Pros

  • Very established company
  • Dungeon Crawl

Cons

  • Dungeon Crawl
  • Theme
  • IP Based
  • FOMO

The Page

Mythic Games knows how to lay out their game pages, they are a very established company and one that I have one of their products, Reich Busters, and kickstarted another with Hel. You clearly get the pledge levels explained, though there is one odd thing about the pledge levels, and that’s that you are “saving” money on a KS exclusive game. If this is Kickstarter exclusive, and I realize it could be that you can get it in the pledge manager and you’d have to add-on the one character, you really aren’t saving anything, because where else are you going to get the game. Now, like I said, it probably means to get everything you’d have to pay $10 or $15 more in the pledge manager, but still, not great advertising and just odd. Also, while they do have a solid amount of information on the page, you have to get through so many pictures of minis, stretch goals and what not before you get to game play. Highlight the minis and the game play at top, that’s my preference.

The Game

This is a grim dark game with perma-death in it, so that is interesting, we’ve seen some games like that, Tainted Grail is kind of like that, though not really, but you an play it that way. And while normally I’m down for fantasy, the grim dark style is something that I feel like is played out for me at this point. I have Tainted Grail, I’m getting Oathsworn and Hel, so though it should be a theme that I like, right now I’m less here for it.

That said, I like that we’re starting to see Dungeon Crawls incorporate in some elements like town building and making the downtime between quests, between dungeon crawls more interesting. That’s something you can see that I’m baking into my game idea, but also that you have in this game, Frosthaven, and more. It makes it feel like a more complete world.

Back or Brick

This, for me, is a brick. I have no connection to the video game, if I did, it might be different. For me this game just doesn’t add much that I’m looking for. I already have games like Frosthaven coming that does the town thing, and grim dark worlds as well. So while I don’t think that this game isn’t interesting looking, I look at where I’d put it on my shelf, and I’m just not sure that there is a home for it. I also don’t love the FOMO of Kickstarter Exclusive, but then also advertising how much you’ll save on the Kickstarter (versus what), that bit just turns me off to it slightly as well. And knowing Mythic Games, I might have a chance to get this from their online store, but right now, not for me.

How about for you, is this a back or a brick?

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Back or Brick: Project L: Finesse

Back or Brick: Project L: Finesse

This polymino game has you filling in spaces on cards, trying to get the most points in a light engine building game. Pros Established company Engine Building Expansion and base game Good price Quality components Cons No base game only level The Page I like 

Back or Brick: Lost Ones

Back or Brick: Lost Ones

You’ve been taken to the lands of the fae, will you be able to find a portal and escape in this narrative and exploration game by Greenbrier Games? Pros Solo game play Theme Not a campaign Story elements Price for Retail Established Company Cons Shipping 

MY TOP 100 BOARD GAMES 2020 EDITION – 40 THROUGH 31

MY TOP 100 BOARD GAMES 2020 EDITION – 40 THROUGH 31

Getting close to the end, the top 100 are all games that I really do love and would want to play basically whenever someone asks but as we get higher in the list, and I think about and write up about these games, I always want to play them again immediately, if I could, which generally, for some odd reason, I can’t play them immediately.

100 to 91

90 to 81

80 to 71

70 to 61

60 to 51

50 to 41

Plus a few notes on how I’ve put together the list:

  • These are my favorite, you want what people consider best, see the Board Game Geek Top 100
  • If a game you love isn’t on the list, it might be be coming, I might not have played it, and if I have, it’s 101
  • If a game looks cool, I have links to buy it from CoolStuffInc or Amazon, or you can grab most at your FLGS
  • There are a few games, Destiny 2 Player versus regular Destiny where if they are basically the same thing, I only do one of them
Image Source: Stronghold Games

40. Second Chance

Dropping a ways on the list, I still really like Second Chance, and it’s such a peaceful game to play and easy game to teach that I’ve played it quite a lot. And that’s probably the reason for it dropping, just wanting a bit more variety in what I’m doing. In Second Chance you are using Tetris like shape, polyomino shapes, to fill in a grid. Every turn you have two different ones you can choose from and you goal is just to fill in as much as you can. if there are ever shapes flipped that you can’t put on your board, because the shapes are just wrong for you, you then get a second chance. That is a single card flipped, just for you, to keep you in the game. The game is very simple, very fast to play, but is a very calming game to play as well. It’s also fun to doodle in the shapes so that you end up with a unique looking board.

Last Year: 15

Image Source: Evil Hat

39. The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game

I can’t really say why this one has dropped so much, I’ve even played it a number of times recently. I still really enjoy the game, I think that this is one that actually works pretty well over Zoom, especially if both players have the game. The best way to describe this game is that you are trying to beat the puzzle that is a Dresden Files book. You are trying to solve more cases than you have bad guys left standing at the end. That means you might need to beat down a lot of villains or you might need to focus on cases, plus there are obstacles to overcome and advantages to grab. The game is a lot of fun if you know the series well, and I think with the exception of the last two books, the last one which just came out, I’ve read all of them at least twice. The story is really interesting and really good, and this game doesn’t have a ton of theme, but if you know the books, you give it theme as you play through the books with the characters.

Last Year: 14

38. Cartographers

Another roll and write on the list, and one that I just recently talked about because there is a standalone expansion for it on Kickstarter. This game is all, as the name suggests, about making maps. You are score points depending different scoring cards, two for each season. You are filling in polyomino shapes again, and trying to get those to match up with the scoring. There are four different land types, villages, forest, fields, or water and they will all score in a different way, depending on what the scoring is. Plus, there are monster cards, and this is something unique for a flip and write or roll and write, where you pass your sheet to the player to the left or right and let them fill in the monster on the worst spot possible. The game has a lot of interesting elements to it with the monsters and with the scoring of the seasons, so A and B scoring cards in spring, but then it comes back around to A again in Winter, so you score it at the start and end. Not complex, but a few interesting things to keep track of and a theme that works well.

Last Year: 39

Image Source: Fantasy Flight Games

37. Star Wars: Rebellion

Dropping down the list is Star Wars: Rebellion, and that’s mainly because I haven’t gotten to play it in a long time. This is a great game and a big game. It’s “Star Wars in a box” as Sam Healy used to say on The Dice Tower. In this game one team is the empire trying to track down and hidden rebel base, all the while, the rebels are trying to cause unrest and complete missions in the Imperial systems. It’s an interesting game of cat and mouse between the two and makes a really fun time. This is a big game, and it take a long time to play, probably 3 hours, but it is very immersive and time flies by. For some people there’ll be a negative of dice combat, but there’s an expansion that helps with the randomness of that, and I don’t mind it at all, personally. Really good game, and if you are a Star Wars fan and a gamer, you’ll probably like this game.

Last Year: 11

Image Source: Thunderworks Games

36. Roll Player

Second Roll Player game on this chunk of the list, technically. The other being Cartographers. Roll Player is interesting because I’ve enjoyed the game every time I play it and the dice drafting aspect is a lot of fun. With that said, I always want a little bit more from the game. I know that I’m going to be getting that with Roll Player Adventures when that comes out, so I’m excited for that, and there are expansions that add more to Roll Player itself that I need to try. But in this game you are drafting dice and using them to create a D&D/RPG character. You have your stats, you are getting them from when you have place three dice, so it’s really D&D like. And for me, making characters is a lot of fun, you gear them up nicely and then you score points off of skills you have, where your stats are at, and where certain dice are placed for your background. It’s not a complex game and a fun way to do drafting.

Last Year: 57

Image Source: Druid City Games/Skybound Games

35. The Grimm Masquerade

Now, I don’t like social deduction games for the most part. The Grimm Masquerade is a combination of social deduction and deduction that I like quite well. In this game you are all going to a fancy masquerade ball and you are Grimm fairy tale characters in disguise. You are trying to figure out who everyone else is. You are doing this by trying to either bust a player by giving them a card that they don’t want, or through process of elimination guess who someone is. All the time you are trying to collect the gift that you want. They make this work in an interesting way because on your turn, you can do a special action if you want or have the cards to do one, but mainly you are drawing a card and giving it away or keeping it and then doing the other thing with the other card. So you might accidentally bust yourself if you aren’t careful, or you might pass something away that you wanted because you have to, but can you keep a poker face while doing that? It’s a clever little game and the special powers that you can play with make the game feel different each time you play it.

Last Year: Not Ranked

Image Source: Grimlord Games

34. Village Attacks

A GenCon play for me last year, this one has maintained a pretty high spot on my list while I wait for my copy to come from their most recent Kickstarter. In this game instead of playing the villagers or “heroes” standing up against the monsters, you are playing the monsters as the villagers ruin their peaceful evening in their lair by kicking down the door and trying to kill you, kill your lair, or complete some other objective. This is a cooperative game of tower defense where you are killing villagers, leveling up, killing more, and hoping you can survive the onslaught. Overall, it’s a dark game, look wise, and the monsters are monstrous, but it feels and plays pretty light. The theme somehow feels more goofy than it does dark, and it really just works well. The dice use for determining actions works well so that you can’t plan everything, and the leveling up is fun to do in game. I like also that it is scenario based, but not campaign based so you can pick it up and play easily.

Last Year: 29

Image Source: Gamewright

33. Sushi Go Party!

This is one of my favorite big group filler style games. This is a card drafting set collection game where everyone is going at the same time, picking a card from their hand, building up their collection, passing their cards, and then once all the cards have been drafted scoring them and doing it all over again. The concept of the game is simple, but it works well because how the sets score are different and because you can mix in a variety of special ability cards that can change up how you draft cards or help you complete sets. There is a basic version of this game with out the variability of being able to switch up your cards, but Sushi Go Party! is really cheap so I recommend it instead. I think that variability is what keeps it so high on my list because it is a filler game, but for something that plays a large number of people, it is better than a lot of filler or group style games.

Last Year: 31

Image Source: Board Game Geek

32. Draftosaurus

Another filler game, but this one with a lower player count. But that works because it is another fun drafting game, three on this section of the top 10. In Draftosaurus you are building you best dino park, you do that by drafting dino meeples and placing them into your park. However, there is a die rolled each turn and that determines where you have to place the dino, unless you were the one to roll the die in which case you can put it anywhere. You have a number of different pens and each scores differently. One will give you more points for each different type of dino you have in the pen, others will score you points for pairs of dinos. The game is super fast and super cute because of the dinosaur meeples, and while you are drafting from a hidden hand, the game is so fast that it really doesn’t matter if others see what dinos you have. This is one that when people see the box or see it on the table, even if they aren’t gamers, they’ll want to try it.

Last Year: Not Ranked

Image Source: Board Game Geek

31. Tokyo Highway

Another one that I got at GenCon but didn’t get it to the table until after I ranked for last years list. This game is an amazingly beautiful production, and the same company that is doing Crash Octopus which I did a Back or Brick on. In this game you are building out the Tokyo Highways system. Roads going every which way, and you are stacking and balancing them. This isn’t that precarious, but when you cross over or under another road you can balance a car on your section of road, because the goal is to get your cars out as fast as possible, but you don’t want to knock over the other roads because that can cost you your pylons which you use to get your road over or under the other ones. I think that really makes this game more than just your normal simple dexterity game is the beauty of it. This looks so amazing on the table, it really is an art piece almost when you are done. And the rules and concept are simple so it’s not a convoluted game, but there’s enough going on that it’s not just a stacking game like Jenga. Overall a lovely game.

Last Year: Not Ranked

So there were a number of games in this section that I hadn’t played last year when I did my list, which is kind of fun to see all the new and fun games that are coming out. It’s interesting to see what games have moved up and down even for myself and I plan on seeing which ones have fallen off when I do a retrospective on my list at the end of this. As always, I do want to ask, what one sounds the most interesting or is your favorite in this 10?

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

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Back or Brick: Cartographers Heroes

Back or Brick: Cartographers Heroes

Make a map of the lands in this flip and write game based off in the Roll Player world by Thunderworks Games. Pros Established company Established Game Good Price and Great Shipping (to US) No Stretch Goals Cons No Stretch Goals Pseudo Kickstarter Exclusive Content