Tag: strategy

What Type of Board Gamer Are You?

What Type of Board Gamer Are You?

Over the years, I have played a wide variety of board games and have a lot in my collection. I have pure Euro games and bit dice chucking Amerithrash games. This got me thinking about the different types of gamers that people are and which 

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 

Gen Con Game – Mini Reviews

Gen Con Game – Mini Reviews

So, I got to play all three of the games I signed up for over the weekend with Gen Con. It was interesting because I got to try Tabletopia for the first time and I then played the other two games on Tabletop Simulator, which I was more familiar with, all while chatting via Discord. But let’s talk about the games themselves.

Fruit Picking

Fruit picking is an Mancala style game where you are taking seeds, moving them around your own player board until you have enough in a storehouse to buy what you want from the market. All of this while you’re racing to collect the right fruits in combination to be able to complete one of four different hands as a winning condition. This can be one of all five different fruits, a full house, three pairs, or four of a kind.

There were a few things that I really enjoyed about this game, first there was the speed of the game. Even on Tabletopia, and digitally they always go slower, the game was really fast. Turns are very simple, you pick your seeds from one location, move them, and if you have enough seeds in the storehouse and there is a fruit card you can buy in the market of the fruit you landed on, you can buy it. But, while turns and the whole game are fast, you can still do some awesome combos, and this is the second thing I really enjoyed. When moving the seeds around, if you place your last seed in the storehouse you immediately go again, so this is a spot that you can really strategize in the game, and honestly, there is probably an ideal strategy from the beginning with only the market messing things up. But if you don’t strategize from the word go and just enjoy the game, you can find yourself in some really great turns of building up your storehouse so that you’re ready for the whole game. That’s basically what happened to me. Finally, I also like that there are multiple win conditions, four of a kind needs the fewest cards but is easier to block by buying up what someone needs, and is the most dependent upon what cards come out. I won by getting a full house, bu we had a player close to four of a kind and a couple other players who were lagging behind a little bit.

Final thoughts on the game, I really enjoyed it, the game play was slick and had a good family weight to it. I could see playing this with my parents who don’t play a ton of games, but I think because it’s fast, I could see playing it as almost a filler in a board game night. The one downside is that the US distribution is limited right now. It is coming to the BGG (Board Game Geek) online store, and right now that’s it. If you are looking for a new family weight game, though, I’d definitely recommend it.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

The Librarians Adventure Card Game

Let me preface by saying that I really like The Librarians movies and TV show. They are goofy and campy, but a lot of fun. If you aren’t familiar with them, the Library here is not just a place for books, it’s a place for lost and magical artifacts in the world that could cause catastrophe if you aren’t careful with them.

In the game you are doing basically the same thing, with the base game going to have you playing through season one and an expansion for the first movie coming in the kickstarter as well. This will be kickstarting either in September or October, and sounds like everything is done and playtested so it’ll kickstarter and then go to print right away, which is fun. In the game you are dealing with a scenario, in the case of the first scenario, it starts with the library being broken into, and you are one of three librarians or a guardian tasked to stop it, you have different skills that you can use. You start by putting into play any sidekicks, attachments, or artifacts that you want an can afford. This is done via spending energy. Then you, for each player, flip over a card from the event deck, this might cause you to flip a bad guy or an obstacle that goes onto the board and you have to overcome it. Or it might be a complication which is a one time thing you have to deal with right then. Then, as a group in whatever order you want, you take actions to overcome the obstacles and defeat the bad guys. To deal with these things you are generally using a skill and rolling dice. But you can give yourself successes on the blank sides of dice by discarding cards.

This game did a number of things that I enjoyed. First off, each character has their own unique deck of cards, so playing Jacob Stone, I would get different cards than the person playing Eve Baird, and so on. And each of the characters has a skill they are stronger at than the other players and a skill that they are weaker at. I also like that basically everything, minus drawing the events for the scenario, can be done at the same time. I can play my sidekicks and artifacts while you play yours and it doesn’t matter. Now, I will say that the main actions, fighting, dealing with obstacles, etc, should be announced when you are taking them because sometimes order can matter for those things. But it allows you as a group to optimize what you are doing. But the game plays fast because people can do things at the same time. I also liked the scenario, there was a main scheme that the bad guys were trying to do and in the actual scenarios I have to imagine it might be a multistep scheme, and there are then things that you are trying to do as well. It is pulled straight from season one of the TV series and it works well. There are four scenarios in the box that can be played a campaign and unlock new cards for your decks and things like that, but you can also just play a single scenario.

Final thoughts on The Librarians Adventure Card game, this was heavily prototyped though the cards themselves had the right information. So I can’t really comment on the look of the game, but the game play is what matters and I really enjoyed it. If you are a board gamer and a fan of the show, it’s worth checking out the game. If you are a fan of Warehouse 13, probably worth checking out the show and then the game. And I think if you haven’t watched either, it’s still a good game, if you don’t like the show, it won’t be for you. Overall a lot of fun and coming to Kickstarter in September/October.

Image Source: Smirk & Dagger

The Night Cage

Now, I’m going to say that this was a bit of an odd experience. Some of that was because I was quite familiar with the game having watched a Gloryhoundd Playthrough of it. Some of it because the other four people in the game were physically sitting around a table with each other on their laptops. So early on there were some communication issues because they’d be talking muted or showing on their screen to someone what they were thinking by pointing but not using the mouse pointer.

In The Night Cage, you wake up in a labyrinth that is constantly changing and you have only a candle and a little bit of nerve as you crawl your way through tunnels searching for a way out. You are trying to avoid monsters and find not only keys but also a gate so that you can all escape. Every player needs to get a key and be at the gate before you run out of the tunnel tiles and can’t all make it to a gate. And if you get hit by a monster, your candle goes out so you’re moving one space at a time, and if you get hit again, you die. So if anyone can’t make it to the gate, you lose, if anyone can’t get a key, you lose, and if anyone dies, you lose, so there are plenty of ways to lose.

So, I don’t think that my experience was fully representative of how the game works. Like I said, I came in knowing how it worked already and since it was towards the end of the day and Gen Con online, I feel like only some of the people at the other table were paying full attention to the rules, or how to use Tabletop Simulator. With that said, the game was still fun. I like the push and pull of wanting to spread out and find a key as quickly as possible and then having to race back together before time runs out, as spreading out means you’ll see more of the board faster and burn through tiles faster, or you can stay closer together, move around slowly, but the risk of that is that someone is going to get hit by a monster if one pops up. There’s also a good amount of pressure because you can see the number of tiles you have left dwindling, in TTS via a counter, but in real life it’ll be removing them from a stack of tiles that is your candle burning shorter. So you feel the pressure you’re up against and you know that you only have 4 gates and 7 keys, I believe, for a five player game, so you can’t afford to lose too many keys or gates, or you risk not being able to complete.

The Night Cage was a good time to play, like I said, some stuff made it weird. But got to learn more about the other monsters in the Kickstarter and how they’ll work and how they can change up the game and how it works. Overall, it was a fun time, and I think this game in person when you can see the stack of tiles getting shorter and shorter as the candle burns down, it’s going to e great. I’m really glad that I had played it and definitely confirms that I want to back it, as it’s on Kickstarter right now.

So that’s what I played over the weekend. Which one of the games sounds the most interesting to you? Did you do any Gen Con online events?

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Board Game Battles: Roll Player vs Sagrada

Board Game Battles: Roll Player vs Sagrada

Now, I know what people are going to say, these games aren’t the same, but there are some similarities to them that I want to look at, and I think for a number of people they might scratch the same itch with the dice placement. 

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 

TableTopTakes: Second Chance

TableTopTakes: Second Chance

I’ve been on a roll and write kick lately, and Second Chance is one of them that I picked up because I thought it looked fun in a video that Board Game Geek did. I was right, it was a fun game, though not my favorite roll and write.

In Second Chance, everyone is getting their own unique starting shape which they have to fill in on the center of their grid. After that, two shapes are flipped which players then get to pick one and add it to their grid, touching a previous one. This continues until someone can’t put one of the shapes on their grid. A card is flipped for only them, giving them a second chance. If they can’t use that, they count up how many empty squares they have, and that’s their score. Other players then continue until someone has either filled up their board or until no one can play a shape. At that point in time, everyone counts up the number of empty spots they have, and the person with the fewest remaining open spots wins.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Second Chance is technically a flip and write, but it falls into the genre. And it falls into a nice spot where people who aren’t board gamers can pick it up quickly. Most people are familiar with the concept of Tetris, and this game has a bit of that feel to it as you try and optimally place shapes. That helps get this game to the table a lot and helps get multiple plays in of the game. The game also plays fast, so that helps keep the non-board gamers attention as well.

As compared to some other games in the roll and write games, Welcome To…, Cartographers, or Cat Cafe, Second Chance is a bit of a simpler game. The strategy of the game basically surrounds deciding if you want to go early with larger shapes in hopes that the smaller ones needed to fill it in will show up later. But that’s a bit more luck based than anything. Now, that’s not much of a knock on the game. It’s 100% a filler game and while there are times that I want to play a bit more strategic roll and write game, the fact that Second Chance can play a larger number of people as well works nicely.

But that is also a knock on the game. I think that it’s very much targeted for the casual gamer, and while that’s great, it isn’t one that gamers who like those heavier decisions are going to love for as long a time as a casual gamer. The tactics are light, the interaction doesn’t exist, and while that’s perfect for that introductory style game, it will feel like you’re doing something similar over and over again the more that you play it. For me, I haven’t found this to be an issue, as I do like a fair number of lighter games, but I can see how it could be. The other thing that helps keep the game from feeling like there isn’t enough going on, is that the game is fast. Once you know how to play, you can play in ten to fifteen minutes. The game definitely doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, even with playing a couple of games in a sitting.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Overall, this is a roll and write (or flip and write) game that I really do enjoy. I personally like some of the bigger roll and write games better, but Second Chance, because it plays so fast and you can play it with almost anyone, because it’s so simple, has a spot on my shelf. It’s one that I can take to a family gathering, or that I can pull out at board game night and get rolling (flipping) in a few minutes without any questions once the rules are taught. If you are looking for that light weight roll and write game, Second Chance is a great choice.

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

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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 

TableTopics: Splendor

TableTopics: Splendor

March was a crazy, crazy month for this nerd — I had a very large, in-depth, time-sensitive project to finish by the end of the month that, while extremely enjoyable, ate up most of my free time. As a good-job-on-the-hard-work present, Peder bought me Splendor, a 

Magic: The Gathering – An Introduction to the Color Pie

Magic: The Gathering – An Introduction to the Color Pie

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our very first Guest Post Wednesday! We’re proud to present a fantastic article on the color designations in Magic: The Gathering, by Sam Nelson. Sam is a good friend with whom we very much enjoy gaming and nerding out, and who just so happens to be the one who introduced Peder to Magic.

Enjoy!

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Magic: The Gathering – An Introduction to the Color Pie

By Sam Nelson

Knowing where to begin with Magic: The Gathering can be daunting, especially when considering the near limitless combination of cards available. However, there is a good way to guide your curiosity by simply examining the specific colors that make up the color pie. In this article, we’ll explore the basic philosophies behind each color to help you find your potential play-style!

First, we should address the concept behind the Magic: The Gathering color-pie. The order goes clockwise in this manner: White, Blue, Black, Red, and Green. Colors that are adjacent to each other are considered allied, while those that are not are considered enemy colors. This concept is generally utilized in sets to show how each color works in conjunction with its allied colors against those of their enemy colors. However, there have been blocks and sets that explore colors working with their enemy colors as well! We’ll likely delve into these advanced concepts in future articles. For now, let’s focus on each color on its own, or as they are often referred to: mono-colored.

White

Image Source: Gatherer
Image Source: Gatherer

The color of order, justice, and divinity, focusing on the group as a whole over the individual are the foundations of a White mage’s philosophy. Structure is perfection, and looks to benefit all those within its grasp, but doing so as they dictate. It is not unheard of for a White mage to sacrifice for the greater good. Even though White is seen as the color of justice, leaving it unchecked can result in it turning into a very authoritarian role, dictating how the game progresses and is played.

Many mechanics revolve around life-gain, damage prevention and defense, and balancing the playing field (while slowly tipping the scales in your favor). There is value placed in sheer numbers when it comes to creatures, often in smaller creatures that work well in conjunction with each other. Adding additional rules or taxes to spells is utilized frequently to preserve order on the battlefield, as well as creating order and balance amongst players.

Blue

Image Source: Gatherer
Image Source: Gatherer

Intelligence is paramount to the Blue mage. Careful planning and knowing when to strike is just as important as brute force, and Blue embraces this approach. Not instinctual in nature, it instead takes a logical approach to dealing with threats and overtaking the opponent. Potential, and predicting and understanding change can only improve one’s position and power, so Blue mages ultimately strive to achieve omniscience.

Knowledge and illusion are a Blue mage’s weapons, so many spells revolve around drawing cards and planning and shaping your strategies to fit the current situation. Controlling the pace of the game (also known as tempo) is part of a Blue mage’s strategy. Some of the most common tactics are to simply deny an opponent’s action through counter spells or through such effects as returning creatures and permanents from the battlefield back to their owner’s hand or library. When all else fails, there’s always the ability to simply take control of that which you need!

Black

Image Source: Gatherer
Image Source: Gatherer

Death and personal gain “no matter the cost” is the mantra of a Black mage. Though not necessarily evil, Black encompasses a much more pessimistic world view. Risky, opportunistic, and amoral, Black’s approach benefits from the suffering of all. Those that are weaker are simply meant to be exploited.

Black magic trusts no one but itself and will do whatever it takes to rise in power. As a Black mage, everything at your disposal is a resource, and you can often exchange one thing for another, such as trading life for additional cards, or sacrificing your creatures to harm your opponents. It excels at spreading death through both creature destruction and the parasitic actions of draining the life from both creatures and opponents alike. It can also cause trauma through discard mechanics, reducing your opponents’ available choices through systematic destruction before they can even make anything happen. One of the most powerful tools comes from the utilization of re-animation spells. With them, the graveyard is not just a place where used spells go, but is rather a resource in and of itself.

Red

Image Source: Gatherer
Image Source: Gatherer

The color of passion and chaos, no other color plays as impulsively as Red. While often acting first and thinking second, it does so with purpose for an end goal of doing as much as is possible in the shortest amount of time. Red mages embrace the aspects of fire and passion, being able to shift their plans at a moment’s notice if needed to keep up the momentum. Inhibiting oneself goes against their philosophy, as immediate gratification and acting on impulse is what drives them forward to victory.

One of the primary tools of a red mage comes in the ability to deal direct damage to specific targets. Creatures are often aggressive in this manner as well, utilizing quick strikes through blitz tactics with little focus on endurance for the long game. Despite the lack of endurance, they exhibit strengths in their own ability to hit faster and stronger with prowess and power-enhancing abilities. Being able to shift the roles of their resources on the fly amidst the chaos is where a Red mage revels.

Green

Image Source: Gatherer
Image Source: Gatherer

Embracing the ideals of instinct and “survival of the fittest,” Green looks to change the field around them through individual action and growth. However, green is not necessarily selfish, but rather looks to resolve conflict through the life cycle, with its spells and creatures often giving way to new life. Obtaining resources comes naturally to Green, allowing for faster growth. Through pure strength, Green seeks to overcome all obstacles.

Fierce and often aggressive, Green mages show their might through having some of the biggest creatures on the battlefield and often having the ability to enhance their creatures through increases to power and toughness. Getting to these big creatures would often be difficult if it were not for the Green mage’s affinity for accelerating into mana resources quickly and efficiently. Having two or three lands more than other players early on in a game is not uncommon. Green also encompasses natural protections through regenerative abilities, and through abilities that protect them from being the target of opponents’ spells.

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As you can see, each color embraces vastly different philosophies from the others. They showcase their own strengths in a variety of ways and create wildly different approaches to play. Advanced players will often mix these colors to two or three strong to take care of a variety of strengths and to account for some of the weaknesses that come from mono-colored philosophies. Which color speaks the strongest to you?

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Magic: the Gathering 101

Magic: the Gathering 101

Magic: The Gathering 101 Magic: The Gathering is another big game that can be confusing to get into. As compared to Dungeons & Dragons, which is actually much lighter on rules than you would think, Magic: The Gathering has been around for a long time,