I’ve been indredibly busy at work and at home since my last entry, so I really need to catch up some! Let me start by trying to remember back to a couple of weekends ago, when my brother Tony come over for a little gaming after all the kids (and Gwen) had gone to bed.
I pointed out a couple of games that we could play, and mentioned that I hadn’t been able to get Grind to the table since I got it for Christmas. He was interested, so I set it up and tried to explain the rules. I say that “I tried” because I don’t think I actually did a very good job. It had been a couple of weeks since I last reviewed them, and the game is pretty complicated with all the different types of actions, attacks, power moves, and plays and stuff. And frankly, I decided to just ignore the plays altogether for this first game.
Now, if you’re not aware, Grind is sort of Privateer Press’ answer to Games Workshop’s Blood Bowl. It’s a sports-themed game involving steam-driven robot thingies similar to the War Jacks from their Warmachine game. While Blood Bowl is like full-contact football-to-the-death, Grind is more basketball, ‘cept the ball is as large as the players, who all happen to be huge robots that can beat the crap out of each other but never really get hurt.
While the teams are always the same (unlike Blood Bowl, where you can have all sorts of different teams with different players), Grind has this neat mechanic where you get to choose the arms for each of your Steam Jacks. The arms all have different attacks and levels of control over the ball, so you can tailor your team to do the kinds of things that you want to do. For this game, we just used a setup that I had thrown together for a test game earlier.
So anyway, when we started the game, I randomly won the honor of going first. I planned out this cool opening play, drove the ball over to the right, came close to scoring, but came up a little bit short. Unfortunately, I left myself very thin on defense and totally underestimated how quick he would be able to move the ball around the court, so he ended up scoring on his first turn. I set up more conservatively the next time, and we fought back and forth for a while, but he again managed to get a breakaway and score on turn 3.
It was getting late, so we decided that we’d only play one half of the game, so in my 5th (and final) turn, I again went for it all. I made a pretty cool feint in my setup, then used my grappling-hook-thingy arm (not it’s official name, by the way) to shift over to the other side and make an end-around. I got a pretty clear shot, gave the ball a big slap rolling all the dice I had left… and came up one space short. Of course, it was only for pride anyway, since Tony was ahead 2-0, but it still hurt.
And in the end, I had a lot of fun with Grind. Especially after I and an opponent could get more comfortable with the game and really get into some of the more complex strategies using different arms and putting together actions and plays, I could see it being a metric crap-ton of fun. But there’s also a rather high barrier to entry with a steep learning curve and relatively-long play time. I’d definitely love to find another person or two to play it with semi-regularly, but again, being a 2-player game makes it hard to pull off at game night. I’d probably rate it a 7/10 right now, though, with a lot of potential to go higher if I’m able to work out some of these difficulties.
I then introduced Tony to Roll Through the Ages. It just wan’t my night, however, as he then proceeded to beat me in that game as well.
And then last weekend, I also had very little opportunity to play any games. What I did, however, was find some time to play a couple of solo games while watching Samantha. I started off with Delve the Dice Game, a nice little print-and-play game that I had heard about on BGG or someplace else. Basically, it’s a dungeon-crawl theme with a Yahtzee-like dice mechanic. There are a few different dungeons available, and you take your party of adventurers from room to room, rolling your dice to determine how well you do. Different combinations of dice can be used by the different characters, where the fighter is looking for 6’s, the rogue is looking for 1’s, the cleric is looking for straights, and the wizard is looking for sets of the same number. So, as in all of these type games, there’s some nice decision-making related to what you want to keep and what you’ll re-roll, but in the end, it’s still very luck-based.
Anyway, I played through the starting dungeon twice. I failed quickly in the first game because the Monstrous Spider and her Offspring stunned all the characters and then proceeded to eat them to death. In the second game, I made it to the Treasure Chest and got the Ancient Staff, which made it a lot easier to get the Wizard’s spells off. So I rolled right through the rest of that game with no problem.
I also played the Sands of Time dungeon once. I made it all the way to the end, mainly due to the fact that at one point I rolled a 6-number straight to resurrect and totally heal the whole party. The last encounter in that dungeon is a trap, however, that you must defeat in 3 rounds. All I had left was my fighter and my thief, but the trap was down to only 4 “health” remaining. I needed lots of 6’s and 1’s… and only rolled one of each. So they died and I failed.
Overall, though, I had a lot of fun with Delve the Dice Game. For the price (which’d be the paper and toner to print it out), it was definitely worth it. And to save on wasting the printouts, I used dice to represent the health of my party and the monsters (red and blue, respectively), which worked out really well. The same dudes are also working on an “Advanced” game that used cards for random dungeons and items and such, and a solo card game. So definitely go and check out the Delve Games website and take a look.
The setup for the Sands of Time adventure…
Being all in the Yahtee-like-solo-game mood, I also played another game of Roll Through the Ages, in which I scored 47 points by focusing on monuments and coinage. I had some really crappy rolls early on, but did a decent job of pulling it out in the end.
Hopefully, I’ll get in some party games this weekend (since it’s our annual Ham-and-Egg Supper at church on Saturday), and maybe Gwen and I will be able to play something as well. But even if I don’t get in other gaming, I’m pretty okay with some solo gaming at times as well.