Tag: puzzle

TableTopTakes: Metro X

TableTopTakes: Metro X

We’ve been over this many a time. I like Roll and Write or Flip and Write games a lot. So when I saw a chance to pick-up Metro X, it seemed like a good idea. This is a flip and write game where you are 

The Collection A to Z – The Letter L

The Collection A to Z – The Letter L

We’re back to one letter for today as the Letter L, which brings you todays games, and there are a number of them. There is one IP that might have a few games that show up on the list, but it’s an interesting variety of 

Board Game Design Diary – The Bosses

Board Game Design Diary – The Bosses

So, I’ve done two of these before, you can find the general idea and the character ideas already starting to be fleshed out. Next I want to talk about the level bosses in the game.

The Premise

The Characters

So let’s now talk about the level bosses. A quick recap on the concept for the level bosses, these are not levels of the characters, the character doesn’t have to be the level 4 boss to get to level 5 in character progression, in fact, I’ll be talking about some other ways to get XP in the future. But these are the bosses on the various levels of the MMORPG that the characters are stuck in. So to progress to the next level of the dungeon you need to defeat the dungeon boss for the level you are on.

What characters do on each level of the MMORPT will be leading up to the boss fight, and when you get to the boss fight, you better hope that you are prepared, there are four big things when it comes to the boss fight.

  1. Evolving Boss Combat
  2. Programmed Boss Combat
  3. Vanguard Combat
  4. Rearguard Combat

Let’s actually talk about them in reverse order of what I’ve put there. Rearguard combat is basically your guilds combat. These are the nameless people who you have in your guild and what they do in combat, is simply keep any minions or smaller bad guys off of you, the heroes, so you can fight the big bad. I want this to be pretty simple in how this works. You probably don’t send your whole guild after the minions or take your whole guild into battle with you, in fact, doing so will hurt morale and cause people to leave, so you need to try figure out the right amount. Too few and they’ll die and you might start taking minimal damage from the bosses minions, too many, you start to lose morale and members will start to leave the guild. But this is a one time thing that you set at the start of combat, basically a pre-combat thing so you can compare numbers with the minions and see what happens. You can also improve your odds, and your morale, by improving the equipment of your guild members, so you might need less to complete a battle if you do that.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Next we have the Hero Combat, this I don’t have nailed down, but I want to do some blend of die and card combat. I like chucking dice, but I don’t want it to be completely determine by what you roll and I want plenty of ways to mitigate the dice. No crit fail, you drop your sword and the boss cuts you in two, because there’s no respawning or restarting with that character. Instead, I want characters to have abilities to dodge, block, and survive, but at times attacks to be blocked of their own, or countered. I know that players will have some more powerful abilities that they can use as well. I want to go with a very MMORPG sort of feel, or video game RPG, where some things will take time to prepare or other things will have a cool down effect for an ability.

After that we have programmed combat for a boss. For video games there are a lot of videos showing exploits for a boss, because they are programmed, so they have patterns that they use. I want to emulate this in the boss battles, and I think this is how I can make boss battles seem very powerful with epic attacks and how do we beat them, all while giving the players a chance. When the boss attacks, that card goes to the bottom of the bosses attack deck, so for their first health bar, there might be only three cards, that means that you will know that is coming up and what attack to prepare against after a little bit, and after even less time if you’ve studied the boss. It takes it from being a more random style of combat to almost a puzzle that you need to figure out and beat. Now, just solving the puzzle could be really easy, but I want to combo that with the players abilities that might take time to cool down or prepare so that they can’t and won’t always have the ideal turn.

Finally, we have the evolving boss combat. Every boss is going to have two or more health bars. Most likely only the first level boss will have two, so it’ll always be “or more”. When a bar is emptied, like in a TV show where the villain gets knocked down and then comes back stronger, I always think of Power Rangers with this concept. I want to do something similar with the boss combat, the boss when their health bar hits 0, the first one or any but the final one, will add an additional one or two cards to their combat cycle and you might even remove a previous attack card from the combat cycle. So it’ll be something that the players can learn, but they’ll have to relearn the pattern and figure out the puzzle without knowing what might be coming up. Added to that, I want when the boss goes into red, so basically when it comes down to the final turn or two, I want some of those newly added cards to have additional abilities that will trigger as well, not a whole new attack, but something making the existing attack more powerful and harder for the players to deal with.

And then once defeated there will of course be loot and XP to be gained, wounds to be dealt with, and morale of your guild to be adjusted, but those are basically outside of the boss battle, and I’ll talk about them as time goes on.

What do you think of the combat idea? Is the idea of the puzzle and evolving boss combat style something that seems like it could work? Do you like chucking dice for combat (Sword and Sorcery), or do you prefer to have more card based combat (Gloomhaven)?

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My Top 100 Board Games 2020 Edition – 100 through 91

My Top 100 Board Games 2020 Edition – 100 through 91

It’s that time of year again, and I’m going to talk a little bit about what I’m doing and when I’m going to try and consistently do it from here on out. We’re doing my Top 100 Board Games of ALL TIME! Now, this is 

Point of Order – Chronicles of Crime

Point of Order – Chronicles of Crime

What, another order already? This one I did in particular because I want to help support my local game stores, and Chronicles of Crime is a game that I’ve heard a lot about. If you are in the Minneapolis area and want delivery (and are 

TableTopTakes: Hats

TableTopTakes: Hats

There will probably be a number of these coming up as I play through different games that I got from GenCon. But Hats is the first of the games to hit the table multiple times. And get played multiple times each time it’s been pulled out.

Hats was one of the games, going into GenCon that I was really excited to try and definitely knew I wanted to pick up. There were a few different things that drew me to the game. The first was the Alice in Wonderland theme. The idea of Hats is that you’re at the Mad Hatter’s tea party and you are trying to get the best collection of hats. I have liked the theme on other games, mainly Parade, which might have an Alice in Wonderland theme, but like this game also be a primarily abstract game. The next was that I got to watch a play through that Man vs Meeple did on their Youtube channel. In it the game seemed like it was a lot of fun, but as importantly, and the last thing that drew me to this game, the game seemed simple but challenging.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Hats, like I said, is a game with an Alice in Wonderland theme, but really it’s an abstract puzzle. In the game, you have a hand of cards that you are using to swap with the cards on the Mad Hatter’s table. There are seven different suits in the game, numbered 1-6. You can swap the cards out, as long as the card you’re replacing is the same color or has a smaller number than the card that you’re playing. You then place the card you took in front of you, and that will be what you end up scoring. The tricky part of the game comes with the fact that you only score the colors on the Mad Hatter’s table. So, if you have three blue cards, and the blue card on the table is in the first spot, you get three points, one for each card. If there is also a blue in the six spot on the table as well as the one spot, you still get three points, because you always score the lower numbered spot. And it’s possible that you’ve collected a couple of pink cards, because they are in the six scoring spot, so it’s going to score you twelve points, but one of your opponents on their turn, seeing that you’ll be getting a lot of points from it, can potentially swap out that pink card, as long as they have a higher number.

In most card games, you know which cards are going to be used to score form your hand. In something like Uno, you know that you want to get rid of high numbers. In Hearts, you know you don’t want to take hearts of the queen of spades. In Euchre, you know you want to take so many tricks. You can plan how you are going to use your hand to score or not score points. In Hats, your hand probably won’t be the majority of your points. You’re going to be taking the cards that were dealt to the table originally, and what your opponent is playing. So you have to think about what cards on the table you can use to score, and what cards you can put down so your opponent doesn’t score. And as you get more information about what your opponents are taking, you have to consider more what you want to grab yourself and what you want to try and take away from your opponents.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

There are two final ways which you score in the game. Sometimes you can’t play a card, you don’t have the right colors and you have low numbers. The game realizes that this sucks, so it gives you two options. At the start of every turn, you can discard a card to draw a new one, as long as there are still cards to draw. But if you still can’t play, you can play a hat card face down, and that’s worth a single point. The other way to score is the more interesting way. At the end of the game, you still have a card in your hand. You add up your total in the color, say I had three blue cards the 1, 3, and 4, I would add that up and I have 8, and then I subtract the blue card I kept in my hand from them. Hopefully I kept the 2, and I’d score 6 points, but I might have kept the 6, in which case I’d score to points. Black Hats shouldn’t be a big strategy in someones scoring, scoring off the table is basically always better, but if it’s late in the game, and you can’t play or don’t want to help an opponent, it’s a valid strategy. But the scoring based off of the last card in your hand, that can be huge. I’ve seen people get over 10 points, and I’ve seen people get negative points from it.

They’ve done a great job with components and theming of the game. I did say that this is an abstract game, and this is really an abstract game. But it works with the theme, and the cookie is amazing, the board and art are beautiful, and the scoring pad is a dry erase board. My only complaint about the quality of the game is that the dry erase marker that they sent with the game doesn’t have an eraser. Fortunately, I have a lot of dry erase markers with erasers, so I can swap in one from what I bought for roll and write games that I’ve laminated. But if you don’t have that, you’re always going to need an actual napkin or something to clean off the scoring sheet. It seems like a pretty obvious oversight, but not anything that really knocks the game or the ability to play the game.

Overall, I like this game a lot. I think that it’s challenging, even though I’ve probably played it eight times. I think that there’s good strategy to it, but you have a single action, playing a card to the table, and taking the one you played it on for scoring. So it’s a simple yet tricky game, and a fast game. The game says 20-30 minutes, and I think most of the games I’ve played have gone 10-15. Granted, that is two players, but with the full four players, I think that time frame seems accurate to maybe a little bit long. If you want a game that you can teach fast, have some interesting choices, and play multiple times, Hats is a very good game for that.

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

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TableTopTakes: The Lost Expedition

TableTopTakes: The Lost Expedition

Welcome to an expedition into the jungles of South America (or somewhere). You’ve hired some expert guides, and you easily going to find the lost city of Z, It can’t be that difficult, can it? You have some food and bullets now, you just need