Tag: Not Alone

Holiday List – Stuff the Stockings with Board Games

Holiday List – Stuff the Stockings with Board Games

Yesterday I talked about games that would work well for that just slightly too competitive person in your life. You still want to get them board games, but which ones, today I’m looking at smaller games. These are the games that are going to be 

MY TOP 100 BOARD GAMES 2020 EDITION – 50 THROUGH 41

MY TOP 100 BOARD GAMES 2020 EDITION – 50 THROUGH 41

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 

Top 10 – Card Games

Top 10 – Card Games

So Monday was a Holiday, so my top 10 list has been delayed a day. Today we’re going with Top 10 card games. Now, these games are going to be card driven games, if there’s a big part of the game, set-up, pieces, whatever it might be, that isn’t cards, it won’t be on the list. So Gloomhaven, while the core mechanics are card driven as of what you play for your actions and the modifiers for your attacks, it still has a large table presence.

Here’s the list:

10 – Onirim
You are in a world of dreams in this solo game. You are trying to find some dream doors and avoid nightmares before your deck runs out. This is a solo abstract game, but one that plays pretty quickly and is a lot of fun. The biggest challenge of the game is figuring out how to deal with the nightmares. You have four different ways, you could use a key, but those are valuable resources because of what they can do and how unique they are, you could trash your hand, you could discard five cards from the deck, or you could get rid of a door. All of them are bad for you though, because they will cost you more cards. The game has a lot of shuffling, but it’s a lot of fun. A good solo game that can technically be played with two, but it’s mainly meant to be played solo.

9 – Not Alone
You are part of a crew who has crash landed on a planet. It would be fine, but one person is a monster on the island and that monster is out there trying to pick off the crew. So you have to plan out your turns in such a way that you don’t end up getting killed off and lose too much crew before the rescue ship can arrive. It’s a fun game of cat and mouse and one versus all as the crew can discuss strategy, but they have to do that so the monster and hear and understand. But the players could try and mislead, but if they go to a few spots to get the ship there faster, that could end up with them not using their turns that effectively, since those can only be done once per round. A lot of fun, and a good high tension game.

8 – Say Bye to the Villains
This is one of the hardest cooperative games that I’ve played. We’ve gotten close to winning several times, but we’ve never won. In this game, you and the other players are a group of samurai who are trying to take down a group of villains. You have ten days to play your attacks, increase your speed, and get more health. Because you need to defeat the villain that you’re facing off against. But with that, you also need to figure out what the villains are doing. it might be that they are going to be very fast and hit hard, but might not have much health, so if you can go faster than them, you don’t need to worry too much about damage or health because you’ll first. Or do you try and take the blow, but you can never find out everything you want, so you hope that you’ve planned it out well enough. It’s a slower game for being so small, but it’s a really fun challenge.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

7 – The Lost Expedition
This cooperative game intentionally tries to take on the idea of alpha gaming by limiting your communication, but still has a lot of depth to the game play as compared to some that limit your communication. You’re trying to get to the lost city of Z, but to do that, you are playing down cards for a walk both in the morning and evening so that you can progress. But most cards have something bad on them. The trick is playing down these cards, you can’t discuss what you’re playing down or what would be best from the cards in your hand. You have to do that yourself and how you do that changes from morning to evening. And with the things that you have on the cards, most of them are not going to be good things, so can you balance your resources dwindling as well. A fun and fast cooperative game.

6 – Sushi Go Party!
First of back to back food related games, in this game, you’re drafting your best meal. This might be getting sashimi or nigiri or maybe you’re going after green tea ice cream. The game is played over three rounds, and whomever has the most points at the end of three rounds wins. What makes this game a ton of fun is that you change it up, so that might mean that you can create a lower scoring meaner version of the game where you’re worried about not getting that 3rd tofu and making your tofu worthless. Or maybe you’ll do on that gives everyone a ton of points, so there are lots of options to change it up. And once you’ve played one round, the game moves extremely fast and is a lot of fun.

Image Source: AEG

5 – Point Salad
A quick little card game, a point salad game is one where you get points for basically everything that you do. Point Salad, the game, takes that concept and makes it about salad. So now you’re not just getting points, you are making a salad. To do this, you are either drafting two cards of vegetables, or picking up a scoring card. The game is very simple and limited number of cards so that it plays fast at most player counts. But it has a surprising amount of depth and variability because you have to know when to grab a scoring card or if you take a veggie it’ll change up the scoring cards, so you can block an opponent from getting what they might want for scoring? And do you diversify your veggies to scoring in a lot of ways across the board, or are you going to really target scoring for a couple of vegetables?

4 – Hanamikoji
In Hanamikoji you’re trying to win the favor of Geisha by giving them gifts. You do this by playing cards in a very interesting and clever way. Each round, each player has four different actions that they can take. But they can only take each action once. Some of them are simple, such as playing a gift face down that you’ll use to win favor at the end of the round, or discarding two face down. But some are much tougher to figure out, and add in so much depth to the game. Playing two groups of two cards and your opponent selects one of them, or playing three and your opponent gets one of them. It makes a lot of very difficult decisions in the game and what you’re trying to do so often is let your opponent make the tough decisions in place of you. The game also plays very fast, so it’s a great challenge to play a few times in a sitting.

Image Source: EmperorS4

3 – Arkham Horror: The Card Game
First of two living card game, Arkham Horror allows you to investigate strange goings on around Arkham and other locations. It’s based off of the Lovecraftian mythos, but while there are horror elements and monsters, it’s more about how good an investigator that you can be, can you fight off these monsters and investigate and solve the case. I really like that they can use the cards to create such different scenarios. Out of the base box, one of them has you fighting more monsters while you investigate in a house, the other has you out in the town looking for cultists, and they can do even more with it. The only things in this that aren’t cards are a few tokens that you use, which can be used to adjust how difficult the game is, so you can play it for the story, or you can make it nightmarishly hard depending on how you want to play.

2 – Aeon’s End: War Eternal
Another deckbuilding game, this one has a limited number of things that aren’t cards, and it’s basically just player boards and a few counters as you take your team of mages who fight against a monster that is coming through and attacking the city of Gravehold where you are from. It’s a good deck building game that does one very clever thing there you don’t ever shuffle your deck, so you can try and set-up how cards go into your discard pile and set-up future hands of cards to get the most optimal damage or buying power to build up your deck further. And with the number of different mages it works well and gives you a lot of variety as you take different mages up against different nemesis.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

1 – Marvel Champions
This living card game allows you to play as your favorite superheroes, though that might be eventually. You build your deck of cards to create your hero and then take them up against some villain. You could fight as Spider-man against Rhino or Captain Marvel versus Ultron out of the base game. What I really love about the game is the way that you can flip back and forth between your alter-ego and super hero side of things. It feels like the comics in that while Spider-Man isn’t around the villains are out there scheming away, but when he’s there, they are going to be fighting him. It feels thematic and there are more and more villains and heroes out there that Fantasy Flight can add to the game, which means that the game will never feel tired.

There are a lot of great card games out there. Especially if you want to go down the deckbuilding route. There are games like Clank! In! Space! is another one that could have made the list, but has too much else going on. But games like Ascension or Dominion, for some that would make a lot of sense for checking out card games as well.

What is your favorite card game? Any from off my list you want to checkout?

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Top 10 Sci-Fi Themed Games

Top 10 Sci-Fi Themed Games

Continuing with another Top 10 list, this time I’m looking at games that I love which have a Sci-Fi theme on them. I think that there are some Sci-Fi games that are going to be very high on my list of Top 100 games, but 

Top 10 Small Box Games

Top 10 Small Box Games

If you’ve been keeping up with my Top 10 List, you’ll have seen a number of the same games on there over and over again, some of my favorites, and it gives you an idea of how they fall into various categories and mechanics, but 

TableTopTakes: Not Alone

TableTopTakes: Not Alone

One of the harder genres of games to get to the table tend to be one versus all games. Fairly often these games are bigger dungeon crawls and they take time to set-up and teach. Not Alone is a small game where one person can take on a crew of a crashed spaceship in this quick cat and mouse game.

In Not Alone one person plays as the planet and the monster on it where a space ship has crash landed, stranding it’s crew. The crew needs to explore the planet and survive until they can get off of it, but the monster doesn’t want that. On each turn, all plays can discuss where they want to go and will play cards face down for the location that they are going to go, they can split up however they want. However, all discussions need to be able to be heard by the person playing the monster. Then the monster will pick a location as to where they are going to go, blocking off and hurting the people who went to that location, but everyone else gets to take the actions of their locations. However, the monster, when they select has ways to manipulate where they are, where people are actually going, or to cause more places to be bad spots for the players to go. As the monsters get crew members, they progress on their track, while the players are trying out last and do a few things to speed up how fast their rescue ship is coming.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

This game is a clever cat and mouse game where the players don’t want to accidentally all end up going to the same place and getting caught by the monster, but talking about it and planning can mean that the monster will better understand the strategy. So how much information do you talk around the table is an interesting piece to the game. Plus, cards being discarded and the monster being able to see what starting cards might be left for the crew, it means that sometimes it’s fairly obvious where someone is going to go. The best example of this is the beach as to why you want to discuss. At the beach, you can either light a beacon or use the lit beacon to help speed up the ship, but only one of those actions can be taken on a given turn. So if three crew members go to the beach, you’re wasting two peoples actions there.

Another piece of this game that I like is that the monster can get the crew, but when a crew member dies, that doesn’t mean the person is out of the game. Think of it as Star Trek with their seemingly unlimited number of red shirts. They are getting sent out of the crashed ship every time another crew member dies, so there is no player elimination in the game. However, dying is still bad, not surprisingly, because that means that the monster is getting closer to their goal which is based off of hurting crew members and killing crew members. So, if you aren’t careful, even though you won’t be out of the game, you can be speeding the monster on their way to victory.

Final piece that I want to talk about is the monster cards and ability cards. The game gives everyone a chance to feel unique. There is technology and things that can be scavenged from ship, so that means that as a crew member you’ll be able to be unique. But the monster definitely has more fun cards. There are a number of different things, where a monster can force people to discard cards, or maybe the monster can go to two locations or do something to make the planet block off a spot for players for a round. But the players might not know where that’s going to be, as the monster gets to place after everyone has picked their locations. The cards do interesting things, and you won’t ever go through all the monster cards in a single game, so even if you have played a lot before, the monster is going to feel different depending on the cards drawn, when they are drawn and the strategy of the person playing the monster.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

This is a really enjoyable game for me. I like the cat and mouse nature from both sides of the game. I think I’ve played it six or seven times at this point, and about half of them I’ve been the monster, and generally, since I’ll be teaching it as well, once we’ve played once with myself as the monster, someone else will want to play again and try being the monster themselves. I also have the expansion for this, but I haven’t played that yet, but I’m excited to try it soon. When a one versus all game can make it fun to play both sides, I think that’s a good thing for the game, and because Not Alone is a pretty straight forward game as to how it works, after a play, people can figure out how to play the monster, and I think, if someone wanted to be the monster on their first play, it wouldn’t be hard to teach them that as well.

Now, if there were a downside for the game, and I do know people who don’t like it nearly as much as I do, it’s that the game is stressful, and that’s intentional for the game. As the crew, you are worried about the monster catching you and dying, and even though you come back, if the monster is on the same wavelength that you are, you can feel like your letting down the team. I think for some people that is going to turn them off from the game, and the fact that it is only a card game, so it might feel like it’s heavier than the components suggest, though, I would not call it a heavy game.

Finally, let’s quickly mention the theme. I think that the theme is a lot of fun. People know the concept of being stranded on a planet or an island, so there is something for them to grasp onto. If someone has seen Predator, they can get even more into the theme, because that’s a lot what the game feels like, someone has crashed on the Predator planet, because there isn’t much that the crew can do to the monster. Is it a massively thematic game, I think that it’s more thematic than not, and while you can definitely get into the strategy and count cards, the game works best when people are enjoying the theme.

Overall, I really do enjoy this game. I like how much it packs in, in terms of tension , for the small package that the game has. I like the them, those survival on an alien world movies and shows are fun for me. I also like that it’s a larger group game without it being a party game or social deduction game. The cat and mouse feel of the game definitely sets it a part and definitely makes it seem heavier than most games of that it’s size.

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

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TelevisionTalks – Afterschool Dice Club Episode 3: Not Alone

TelevisionTalks – Afterschool Dice Club Episode 3: Not Alone

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed an episode of Afterschool Dice Club. It’s mainly because I was doing end of year things, but I figured I should, while it’s still fairly fresh in my mind, get back to the episodes that I’ve watched. As 

My Top 100 Board Games – 50-41

My Top 100 Board Games – 50-41

We’ve made it to the half way point and things will be looking up from there. Now we get to the actually good games. See, that’s a call back to a joke I made previously. I’ll have my disclaimer soon, but let me just say 

GenCon Preview – Top 10 For Sale Games

GenCon Preview – Top 10 For Sale Games

Last week I did my top ten demos that I’m curious about at GenCon, so now with GenCon officially two days away (though, there are some things Wednesday), let’s talk about games for sale that I’m interested to check out. Keep in mind, this is prior to the Fantasy Flight In-Flight report, where they might announce something I’m interested in for demo or for sale.

Ten – Skull Tales: Full Sail! – A pirate themed game is interesting to me, as I’m on the lookout for a good one, aka not Seafall. This one seems to have a lot going on with it, and the semi-cooperative nature is definitely interesting to me. I want to see how they implement it before I make much judgement on it. The minis look cool, and the style of the game seems interesting to me. But I don’t know much about the game, so I want to give it a good look.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Nine – Cloudspire – A big game from Chip Theory Games. This one I think I’m more interested to see than buy, but a cooperative exploration game with a modular board, that seems pretty cool. And the aesthetic with castles floating on rocks in the sky is very interesting. Their other games, Too Many Bones being the biggest, looks interesting, though not quite my style, and I’m curious to see how this one works compared to that.

Eight – Anomaly – A horror based board game, this one takes one versus all as some players take on the rolls of kids who are left to deal with this anomaly. There’s hidden movement as well, not just for the anomaly, but for the players as well, which I think adds an interesting twist into it. I always enjoy this type of game, one versus all, and the theme reminds me a bit of Not Alone, where you have astronauts on a crashed spaceship trying to avoid a monster and the planet killing them.

Seven – Slide Quest – Slide Quest looks like a fun and silly game where it’s like a marble puzzle, where you control which sides are higher and lower to get a knight to his goals and to deal with bad guys, but the twist is that it can be played with four players. In this game you can have one person controlling each lever that lowers or raises a side. This one I want to check it out, because it seems like it could be a silly game to play with smaller groups at a board game night, but I want to see it first, because it could be frustrating to some.

Six – The Grimm Masquerade – I found out about this one when they played it on the Dice Tower. The Grim Masquerade seems like an interesting social deduction game where you are playing as various Grimm Fairy Tale characters who are trying to collect three of the item that they need. But the other players are trying to figure out who you are under the mask, and can knock you out of the round by figuring out who you are or by giving you the item that you don’t want. It’s a social deduction game that has more to it, which is interesting to me.

Five – Arkham Noir Case #1 – This one is an odd one on the list, and while I’m not sure it’s an immediate purchase for me, it’s a game that has a player count of 1 to 1. So it’s a purely solo game, and it’s a game where you are trying to solve a mystery. I’m curious to see how this deck of cards is going to work, but the theme and aesthetic, which is very 1920’s noir, are interesting to me.

Four – Walking in Burano – You’re building up the beautiful Burano neighborhood of Venice. When you are building these houses though, you need to match colors and get various scoring cards to create the best looking and most popular neighborhood. Walking in Burano isn’t a big game, but it looks like a relaxing game to play.

Three – Choose Your Own Adventure: War with the Evil Power Master – The name is absurd (and absurdly long, hence forth known as Power Master), but that’s what I want in a CYOA game. And this game appears to have a bit more game to it than the CYOA: House of Danger did. It’s a fun group game where you aren’t doing the same boring party tropes, so I’m excited to get the next one.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Two – Detective: City of Angels – This game is a big detective game, something that we’re seeing more of with Chronicles of Crime and Detective: A Modern Crime Story. But in Detective: City of Angels it’s competitive as players are leaning on possibly witnesses to see if the person running the game has lied to them, and other players can send in a snitch to spy on the conversation to help out with their investigation. Will you be able to solve the case faster than your the other detectives?

Image Source: Board Game Geek

One – Hats – This is actually a small game to start, but I like the simplicity of the game along with the game scoring. In this game you’re at the tea party with the Mad Hatter and you’re trying to have to the best scoring collection of hats. You do that by swapping out hats from the scoring track with one from your hand. So, while the game is simple, there seems to be a good amount of strategy to it, it reminds me some of Hanimkoji and Parade in that way.

What games are you looking forward to at GenCon?

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Top 5: 5+ Player Games

Top 5: 5+ Player Games

We’re up high enough in numbers now that I think that we should just go beyond five and wrap up the list with games that work best with five or more players. I wanted to do just a five player list, because there are a