Wow, where did the last week go? Between a big project at work and just another busy week with the kids and all, I haven’t had any time at all to write or record much of anything. And I have to admit that I was a little distracted for a couple of days surrounding the long-awaited creation of the Acute Care page on BGG and a very unexpected mention on BGG News. But finally, I find myself here with a few minutes to go back through what I played at game night a couple of weeks ago…
The Road to Canterbury [BGG]
I walked in literally as Chip was explaining the rules of The Road to Canterbury to Stacy, so I was able to jump right in with just a little backtracking in the rules explanation. I had seen it on Kickstarter way back when it was there, and had heard some good stuff about it since, but was never wowed enough by anything in particular to really seek it out personally. But I was very interested to benefit from Chip’s recent trade, anyway.
Despite the board and other components, The Road to Canterbury is mostly just a card game. You play sin cards to one of the three people in play, and then use other cards to pardon them to score points. If they ever have 7 sin cards on them, they die and people that “helped” pardon them get some little area-majority influence over their location. And after a certain number of people have kicked the bucket, the game is over.
Somehow that I’m not entirely certain about, I managed to win. And much like my impression of the game prior to play, I walked away thinking that it was overall a not too terrible experience. It was certainly quick (almost a little too quick, actually), and it had a few decisions to make on each turn, but it’s just not all that impressive or impactful. In fact, it really didn’t make much of an impression on me at all, and nothing about it has stuck with me at all. If Chip decides not to trade it away, I’d play it with him again sometime, but I doubt I’d ever seek it out.
Time: 26 minutes
Score: Norton* 80, Chip* 77, Stacy* 37
Ratings: Norton 5
Mostly in preparation for reviewing it on my last podcast, I then sort of pushed us into playing Nanuk. It was a 5-player game, and for most of the time, it felt pretty tight. Tommy was probably the front-runner the whole time, but I had no idea how well he was putting together whole sets for scoring.
And then on one pivotal turn, I had made a somewhat bold boast that I could kill 5 of some animal or other (seals, I think?) in 3 hunt days. I didn’t really feel like it was a crazy boast, but since we had already hunted that animal a couple of times in the game, the next player pronounced “DOOM!” on me anyway. And when the other players revealed their allegiance, I found myself rather short-handed with only Keith being on my team. I had two of the animal in question, and Keith contributed one as well. But that still meant that we needed 2 more from the deck in only 3 days of hunting.
So we flipped the first card, and got one! Then we flipped the second card… and got another! Keith and I hollered a little and almost commenced to celebrating, but there was still one more card to flip. And when it was revealed, we found that Nanuk had come to join our little hunt, which sort of ruined our party altogether.
Time: 31 minutes
Score: Tommy* 15, Chip 14, Norton 11, Stacy 11, Keith 8
Ratings: Tommy 8, Chip 5.5, Norton 7.5, Stacy 6, Keith 6
As I said in the review on my last podcast, there’s a lot that I love about this little game. Yeah, it’s pretty chaotic and a little on the random side, but the combination of the boasting and shifting teams really floats my boat. It’s not necessarily a game that you can employ some kind of great strategy and exert a lot of control, but it is a really fantastic and fun social experience all game long.
And of course, don’t forget that you can have a chance to win a copy of Nanuk in my current contest! You’ve got a little less than a week left, so get busy with it!
The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game [BGG]
I don’t know if I’ve really said this publically a lot yet, but I’ve been playing a metric crap-ton of The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game here in 2014. But prior to this night, all of my games had been solo. I’m actually going to review it in my next podcast episode, though, and in order to get at least a little more perspective on it, I made a point to recruit a couple of others to try it multiplayer with me as well.
So Kenny and Keith sat down with me to try out the introductory “Brigandoom!” scenario. Keith chose to use Kyra, the cleric, and Kenny took Amiri the Barbarian. Since I had used Valeros (the fighter) and Seoni (the sorcerer) in my solo play, I tried out something very different in using Lini the druid.
Early on, things looked really good for us. It seems like we found the first couple of Bandit henchmen pretty quickly, and we were working together well to move through the remaining locations. When we finished off the third and then fourth location without yet finding Jubrayl Vhiski (the villain), we all set about to tear through his hideout on The Waterfront and wreck him all up.
But then, as we attempted to track him down, we blundered into a Trapped Passageway. And despite all of us having either a decent Dexterity or Wisdom (or sort of both in my case), we still couldn’t defeat it. And not just once did it best us, but 5 freaking times, despite investing blessings and other cards to improve our chances, we just couldn’t get past it. Each time we failed to pass it, it would damage us, of course, so we also had to use some resources to heal and prepare in other ways, which also slowed us down as the Blessings deck continued to tick away the time. And despite reshuffling the dwindling location deck at least these 5 times, we could never find Jubrayl before running into that blasted trap!
Finally, though, the blessing of Calistria shone upon us (letting me roll 2 extra Dexterity dice), allowing me to defeat the passageway. And what did we find on the other end? Jubrayl of course, apparently trapped by his own defense, pleading for his life like a whiny child. But there would be no mercy offered on that day, as I turned into a bear and ate him.
Time: 65 minutes
Score: Heroes (Norton, Keith*, & Kenny*) – Win; Bridandoom – Lose
Ratings: Norton 8, Keith 6.5, Kenny 8
Okay, first of all, most of that detail in the last paragraph was sort of added in by me. But this sort of speaks to the main difference I saw in playing the PACG with others, which is that it gave me time to really discover the theme hidden in the game. When I play solo, it’s a very mechanical experience. It’s still a good experience (obviously, given my 20 or so plays of it so far), but it’s almost totally themeless as I simply flip cards and manage my hand and deck to best defeat them.
And don’t let me mislead you into thinking that the PACG is inherently a strongly-themed game in any way. It’s got the appearance and trappings of a thematic fantasy game, but in reality, each play is a collection of semi-random cards in vaguely-themed location decks all organized by a weakly-cohesive scenario.
However, if you want to look for it and be a little creative in the process, there is a lot more room to sort of make up your own story from the random elements that you’re given. The actual game events that happened in the game were first that we just randomly happened to not choose the location containing the villain card until last, and then in a series of random shuffles, his card came up behind the Trapped Passageway card every single time. But it didn’t take long for me to parse this into a story of us searching for Jubrayl high and low through the Waterfront, stumbling over and over again into traps that the bandit lord has left for us, until finally, we managed to corner and defeat him just in the nick of time as he was boarding a ship to escape for good.
So really, it helped me appreciate the game even more than I had before. And thankfully, both Keith and Kenny were at least somewhat pleased with the game as well, so maybe a few more of these game-night sessions may be in the cards as well.
The Great Heartland Hauling Co. [BGG]
At this point, though, we were running right up against the closing time of our FLGS, so we had to look for a filler to finish off the evening. Thankfully, Chip had thought to bring along his copy of The Great Heartland Hauling Co., so Kenny, Keith, and I grabbed it and got down to bid’ness.
I managed to be pretty efficient in delivering some beans early, and then got a huge score in dropping 3 cows for 15 points, which gave me a lead that couldn’t be overcome. Kenny and Keith pushed me a time or two, but they couldn’t get in my way enough to make a huge difference as I sped to a win.
Time: 22 minutes
Score: Norton $42, Kenny $27, Keith $21
Ratings: Norton 8, Kenny 7.5, Keith 7
Again, I just love The Great Heartland Hauling Co. It is so quick and easy to play, but it’s still got a lot of depth and some player interaction and gives a really solid experience, especially for the ridiculously-short play time. But I’ve said all that before, so let’s wrap this up right here.
Other Games Played
Time: 29 minutes
Score: Chris, Darren, Ken, & James E – 19 points
Ratings: Chris 9, James E 8
Time: 90 minutes
Score: Stacy* 400, Chip* 280
Ratings: Stacy 8, Chip 6.5
Sentinels of the Multiverse (with the Vengeance expansion)
Time: 44, 26, 23, and 52 minutes
Game 1: Heroes (Chris, Darren, & James K) – Win; Cosmic Omnitron at the Time Cataclysm – Lose
Game 2: Villains (Proletariat, Fright Train, & Friction) in Freedom Tower – Win; Heroes (Chris, Darren, & James K) – Lose
Game 3: Iron Legacy on Insula Primalis – Win; Heroes (Chris, James E, Ray, & Tommy) – Lose
Game 4: Heroes (Chris, James E, Ray, & Tommy) – Win; Villains (Proletariat, Baron Blade, Friction, Fright Train) on The Block – Lose
Ratings: Chris 10, James K 10
* First play for that Person