Whoops… Sorry to have fallen off the planet for a couple of weeks there. I didn’t mean to do that, but work’s been crazy, and in just one week, I had two funerals and a 6-year-old birthday with its ensuing party going on in my personal life. So I’ll consider myself lucky that I just got to play a few games over the last month or so.
Oh, and I totally dropped the ball on the name of this post. I came up with the title after one week of game night, but then added in a second week later on since it had happened as well. But try as I might, I wasn’t ever able to come up with a revised title that I liked nearly as much as Adventure in Caveman Dystopia. Heck, if that were a game, I’d be all for that. I’m sure there would be lots of crazy hijinks going on in a caveman dystopia, especially if you were adventurers there. But I guess, really, any society of cavemen would probably be pretty dystopic.
Okay, that’s enough pent-up tangential rambling, so why don’t I actually get on with the game content…
Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia [BGG]
Euphoria is not all that difficult or complicated a game to play, but it does take some effort to get your head around how it all fits together. And it’s pretty obvious from the way this play turned out that those with experience definitely had an advantage over those that didn’t.
Much as I did in my first play, I decided to keep two of the same type of recruit (Wastelanders) to start the game, because I wanted to try that out again as a possible option to score a couple of quick points when I finally managed to max out the Allegiance track. Plus, both of the ones I kept seemed to have some synergy between them (but unfortunately, I have no foggy clue what that was now).
All my plans were dealt a nasty little shock, however, when right after getting my 3rd die available, Stacy bumped one of my dice from the board, I rolled a second “6” on it (in addition to the 6 I had just rolled on the new die), which threw me over the dreaded Knowledge check threshold, thus making me immediately lose a freaking die. It was a great play on his part, but it kinda stung at the time.
But I was still able to keep up pretty well, pushing hard on the Wastelander allegiance track (of course), and trying to get into as many markets as I could. Based on drawing a lot of teddy bear artifact cards, I also made good use of the “Disassemble-a-Teddy-Bear Shop” in Euphoria to place down a couple of authority tokens as well.
Chip, however, was making really good use of the Icarite area, and since doing pretty much anything up there pushes its allegiance track ahead, his worker soon scored him another authority token as well. And unfortunately, when I pegged the Wastelander track, he also scored because his other worker was a Wastelander as well. And then, right before I was going to se my secret agenda to win the game, he managed to plop down his last token to steal away my victory.
And worst thing is that if I had just done my last two moves in the opposite order, I would have won (or at least tied Chip by putting us both out at the same time). I really need to pay more attention to timing…
Time: 62 minutes
Score: Chip 10, Norton 9, Stacy* 5, Keith* 2
Ratings: Chip ?, Norton 7.5, Stacy 7, Keith 7
I had a really good time playing this game of Euphoria. Again, once you understand what’s going on and how the different areas work together, it’s not all that complicated a game. You have all the basic elements of a good worker/dice-placement game going on, and on top of that, you also have all of the cool extra bits surrounding the knowledge checks of your workers, which makes you really consider when you pull back dice and how many to pull back, something that is totally new in pretty much any game of this type I’ve played before.
But I’ve already said a lot of this before, and probably will say it again when I finally do a full review, so I’ll just leave it to say that my appreciation for the game definitely went up after my 2nd play.
Caveman Curling [BGG]
Since I had sort of set up a game of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game with a few people still in another game, we then pulled out my new copy of Caveman Curling to eat up a little time. I had previously stated that after missing the Kickstarter campaign and not getting all the extra stuff that came with it, I felt like the game was way overpriced for what it offered. But when Eagle/Griffin had a half-price sale on it during the Winter Olympics, I found that price to be just right, and in fact, I also picked up the two extra teams (white and black) at the same time.
So anyway, we ended up playing a 2-on-2 team game using extra pieces from the other sets to be the “double points” piece that the Kickstarter version had. Chip and Keith jumped out to an early lead, going up 3 to 0 in the first End. Then Stacy and I started coming back, scoring a point or two in the next couple of Ends. And then, as the completion of the next End was approaching, we had two stones in position to score the last couple of points we needed to win the game.
Keith was next up to shoot, though, and since he claims not to enjoy dexterity game very much and that he is bad at them, I was confident that we had the game in hand. That was, of course, until he angled a shot into the house past a couple of guards we had in place, clipping out both of the stones we had in place and leaving his right on the freaking button! They scored 3 more points and won the game… and I’ll never buy Keith’s anti-dexterity lies again.
Time: 30 minutes
Score: Chip & Keith – 6; Norton & Stacy* – 4
Ratings: Chip 7.5, Keith 7.5, Norton 7, Stacy 7
I’m really glad that I now own Caveman Curling. It’s a fantastic little filler game. If only the actual price was $25 and/or included more than 2 teams…
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game [BGG]
The next thing I’ll mention is that I and a slightly revolving group of others at game night played through the second and third of the introductory scenarios of the Pathfinder Adventure Card game over a couple of weeks.
The second adventure (The Poison Pill) breaks a little bit away from the standard script a little bit in that the “henchmen” aren’t actually characters, they’re traps set by the drug-dealer villain Pillbug Podiker. Just Keith and Kenny joined me in this one, and it played out pretty well.
Scenario 3: Black Fang’s Dungeon was a little different in that Keith wasn’t able to make it, but Britt and Darren sat in to try out the system. Working with more locations was a bit of a challenge, but we still managed to take out the dragon pretty easily.
Time: 50 and 60 minutes
Scenario 2: Heroes (Norton, Keith, & Kenny) – Win; Pillbug Podiker (the Villain) – Lose
Scenario 3: Heroes (Britt*, Norton, Kenny, Darren*) – Win; Black Fang (the Villain) – Lose
Ratings: Norton 8, Keith 7, Kenny 8.5, Britt 7, Darren 7
Everyone that’s tried it has enjoyed the PACG, but no one has been bitten by it quite as bad as Kenny and I have. As I’ve said all along, I can definitely see the flaws in the game, but there are just so many positives that it also has that I just don’t care if it gets a little repetitive in its structure. And again, with more players, there’s a lot more room and time for the theme to come forward as I see (and build) connections between what’s happening and a larger story going on.
Plus, I’m really enjoying playing with Lini, the druid. She (and really, all the characters) plays so differently than what I’ve used before, and I’m finding the experience of figuring out how to use her to be really enjoyable as well.
Speaking of enjoyable experiences, I also got in a play of Spyrium recently. It was in a full, 5-player game, so things were really tight, but I (maybe for the first time) really felt like I had a good handle on what to do. I pushed hard early on getting a couple of the patent cards (picking up the ones for constructing buildings and collecting tokens), and then tried to focus the rest of my game on using those abilities and maximizing their points.
And, you know, it worked out well for me. Really well, in fact. In addition to having the patents themselves, getting the one that scores for collecting tokens also seemed to point me in a direction that a lot of other people weren’t going. I also worked hard to get more workers early on, and just as much as being able to do more stuff on my turn helped, in Spyrium, the ability to stall a little longer in placing your meeples is also really important.
Time: 78 minutes
Score: Norton 85, Chris 53, Ken 53, Britt* 48, Ray 42
Ratings: Norton 8, Chris 8.5, Ken 7.5, Britt 8
I’ve loved the core mechanic of Spyrium ever since I first played it, but now everything else about the game is growing on me more as well. But if there’s anything I’d warn new players about, it’s that you absolutely need to pick up a patent or two, because I’ve never seen anyone win without having one.
We then played Coup. And I was killed. But I still had fun… Chip didn’t.
Time: 14 minutes
Score: Chris – Win; Chip, Norton, Kenny*, & Ray – Lose
Ratings: Chris 7, Chip 3, Norton 7, Kenny 8
I continue to find a lot of enjoyment with Coup. And I think that I’m even sort of planning to have a “Microgame” podcast sometime soon where I’ll review it and a few others that I’ve played. But right now, I’ll just mention that the Kickstarter for Coup: Reformation is live and direct you there. I was compelled both to back it and to talk about it here because this lady both titillates and intimidates me into doing so…
Bang! The Dice Game [BGG]
Then looking for a quickish game that everyone left at game night could play, I pulled out Bang! The Dice Game. And early on, this looked really good for the lawmen. Kenny was the Sheriff, and I knew that I was a deputy. So pretty quickly, a couple of the Outlaws were identified and attacked savagely. But with me and Chris and one of the others defending Kenny, it didn’t go well with the bad guys. In the battle, however, I suffered enough to buy a farm, eventually leaving Chris and Kenny as the only men left standing.
Since both Deputies were now dead, though, it became obvious that Chris was the Renegade, and that he wanted the Sheriff’s job. But Kenny was at full health and lookin’ good, while Chris was down to his last 2 or 3 health. Turn after turn, though, Chris managed to drink enough beers to hang on while Kenny struggled to get the ammo he needed to finish off his rival. Until eventually, after accumulating a bunch of arrow tokens, Kenny pushed his luck one too many times, incited an Indian raid, and they both were killed.
Time: 18 minutes
Score: Indians – WIN; Chris (Renegade), Norton (Deputy), Chip (Outlaw), Keith (Outlaw?), Kenny (Sheriff), Mark* (Outlaw?), Peter* (Deputy?) – Lose
Ratings: Chris 6, Norton 6.5, Chip 7.5, Keith 7, Kenny 7
And finally, we finished off the second game night with a play of Medici. And much like with Spyrium above, I felt more competent playing this time than I ever had before. I took the opportunity to jump on green heavy in the first round, getting up into the bonus level right off. And then I managed to max it out in the second round, also getting some second-place scoring in another couple of colors as well. So then in the last phase, I managed to pull out the biggest ship points to push me ahead for the win.
Time: 60 minutes
Score: Norton 116, Kenny 94, Keith 73, Chris 57, Chip 55
Ratings: Norton 7.5, Kenny 9, Keith 8.5, Chris 9, Chip 7.5
Medici is really old. Well, it’s 19 years old, anyway, which is something like 117 modern-boardgame-years. But anyway, it still stands out to me as one of the best and most elegant auction games in existence. First of all, your only currency to bid with is your points that you need to win the game, which sort of hits you right in the nose any time a bid gets on up there. And then, you have this struggle between the immediate payoff of the boat bonuses (which is not insignificant) and the long-term benefit of the goods majorities. And even in that, you have tough decisions about how much you want to specialize in one color to maximize its bonus versus diversifying and trying to score in several of the colors. It’s just good. Really good. Probably even great.
Carcassonne: South Seas
Time: 51 minutes
Score: Britt* 30, Ray 21, Chris 19, Shawn* 15
Ratings: Chris 7.5
DC Deckbuilding Game (Heroes United)
Time: 65 minutes
Score: Ray 40, Ken 35, Darren 26, Chris 18, Britt 15
Ratings: Ken 7, Chris 6.5, Britt 7
Time: 60 minutes
Score: Stacy 282, Chip 246
Ratings: Stacy 9, Chip 9
A Study in Emerald
Time: 106 minutes
Score: Ken* (loyalist) 23, Britt* (loyalist) 21; Chris, Darren*, & Ray – 0
Ratings: Ken 8, Britt 8, Chris 8
Time: 73 minutes
Score: Mark* 2, Chris 1
Ratings: Chris 9
Time: 33 minutes
Score: Britt* 23, Darren* 0
Ratings: Britt 7, Darren 7
* First play for that Person