Sunday, December 23, 2012

First plays: Riff Raff....

Late yesterday night we unboxed and played Riff Raff, a clever dexterity game of balance on a ship amidst the stormy sea.  To say the game is a riot might be a bit of an understatement.  And through some simple but clever use of cards to bid for turn order and location, this game feels different enough from every other balancing act out there.

Here is the setting up:

And here is yours truly losing horribly (keep in mind in this game, if you catch the pieces they don't count against you):

Friday, December 14, 2012

Board games that SHOULD be movies....

Here's a great little article saying that despite the disaster that was Battleship last year, there are some games that would make great movies.  My favourite of their choices is Arkham Horror:
Imagine the aesthetics and attention to period detail seen in something like HBO's Boardwalk Empire. Now add portals to other dimensions, gangsters firing tommy guns at giant spiders and monsters that can drive characters insane in seconds. Every game of Arkham Horror oozes menace and atmosphere and since players are forced to band together against a game that's doing its damnedest to wipe them out, every round becomes a tale of heroes fighting against overwhelming odds. Lovecraft has proven difficult to adapt in the past, but perhaps the key to bringing his world to the screen is this game, which takes the author's concepts and filters them into an action-horror story. This could be the next great horror franchise.
But boy would it have an unhappy ending.... 

(Thanks for the tip, Kelly!)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

On The Horizon: Lords Of Waterdeep expansion...

Last night we got yet another play of Lords of Waterdeep in with my ridiculously cute new DnDeeples (which can be ordered from a very nice Canadian guy on BGG.)  Suffice to say having little warriors, wizards, rogues, and clerics instead of cubes makes a world of difference to game play.  I'm now realizing this rather lightweight, remarkably unoriginal worker-placement game may well be the most played game for me this past year.  It does nothing new but it still does it quickly, simply, and with a ton of fun and interaction.

So I'm pretty excited to see the announcement for the upcoming expansion on BGG:

Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport adds two new expansions to the Lords of Waterdeep board game – Undermountain and Skullport – inspired by the vast dungeon and criminal haven under Waterdeep. The Skullport expansion adds a new resource to the game, Corruption, while the Undermountain expansion features bigger quests and more ways to get adventures. Players can choose to add one or both expansions to the base game.

Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport also includes new Lords, new Buildings, and materials for a sixth player.
We knew this was coming from the extra space on the board but it's still something to look forward to!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Problems at the Panic Station...

As one can tell from the complete and utter lack of posts the last few weeks, I've been busy.  In fact, so busy I've barely been playing games.  So it with some unadulterated joy that I made to games night last night - only to have that joy killed by a particularly mean-spirited game of the unforgiving Nordic edition of Ticket To Ride.  I was about skulk off early to lick my wounds when I was begged me to join a game of Panic Station which needed one more player.  I had heard about PS before and it's "problematic" winning conditions but they convinced me it was short so I agreed.  Perhaps a little cooperation would cheer me up.

If you haven't heard of Panic Station, it's kind of a semi-cooperative game with one player secretly designated the evil alien host whose only goal is to infect the other players or, if necessary, kill them.  Meanwhile, the humans, while they remain uninfected, are trying to locate the Hive card and bring three gas tanks there to blow it up.  Players can't show others their cards (unless a certain special card forces them to) so noone is entirely sure who is who and everything is delightfully paranoid.

My post-game realization last night, having never played Battlestar Galactica before, is that the rules need to be explained VERY CLEARLY.  Otherwise the game goes sideways.  Quick.  And players need to understand them CLEARLY.  Otherwise any question asked could reveal your identity and make a you a target.  Suffice to say this game was really explained and we just "got into it" causing a few situations to arise:

SITUATION #1:  I rush to the hive with my 3 gas cans only to be reminded that only the human you control can kill the hive.  The android can only shoot a gun, not firebomb a hive (go figure.)

Me:  "But now everyone knows I'm still human!  Crap!"

SITUATION #2:  Another infected player then shoots my player repeatedly with a gun.  I have not been informed I can be shot and/or shoot others.

Me:  "You can shoot each other?!?!?!  But I've had bullets this whole time?!?!?!?"

SITUATION #3:  I am forced to trade with a player who I know is the alien host.  But then she stops and says she's not sure she can trade her last blood card.

Me:  "Um, you just told everyone you're an alien."

SITUATION #4:  In my stupidity, I slip her the wrong card forgetting that she infects me if I don't pass a gas can.

Me:  "Uh, I forgot that rule.  Again.  Oh well.  Does this mean it's over?"

SITUATION #5:  I'm the last person turned into an alien so suddenly we all win the game.

Me:  "We all just won?  But I just lost....  Huh?"

So the first 4 situations could have been avoided with a crisp, clear explanation of all the details of the game and perhaps a single playthrough.  But the fact that suddenly we all won the moment I feel like I've lost, is, as I said, "problematic".  It's definitely been discussed thoroughly on BGG since the game came out.  It's a conundrum because I think there is a really tense interesting little game here, albeit filled with a few too many little details (cards and rooms and monsters and stuff).  But I'm not sure I can get around the winning conditions.... 

Anyone else have this experience?