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Author Topic: Kuildeous' wacky Geekway adventures  (Read 222 times)

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Kuildeous

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Kuildeous' wacky Geekway adventures
« on: May 24, 2018, 09:56:00 am »
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I spent the weekend at Geekway to the West and did some boardgaming. Their play-to-win library was pretty impressive, but I sadly did not win anything to take home. I did get to learn quite a bit from the 100+ games they were giving away.

BEEEES
I didn't much care for this, but I don't know if it's the real-time, dice-rolling mechanic or the teacher not really teaching us everything (such as the scoring rules). Each player has a stack of flowers with three die numbers. Everyone rolls dice and places them on the flowers to try to capture them. You can place on your flower or a neighbor's. Some flowers are simple where you need to roll a 2, 3, and 5, while some flowers may require a pair that be rolled together or even a dreaded triplet.

You have five dice, but if you lock some on flowers, you'll roll fewer. Each die goes from 1 to 5. About half the dice have smiling bees instead of sixes that count as wild cards. The other half have stingers. If you roll two stingers at once, you get to steal someone's flower, regardless of how many bees there are.

Each flower is a hex with a colorful flower on the back side. As you collect hexes, you place them adjacent to other hexes. You want to group colors together. You also gain +1 point each time you have a die on a flower that is claimed by someone else (majority wins). It's a cute game, and it may go over well with children. Or it might not, as I predict many fist fights as kids argue over who placed first.
 
Century: Spice Road
I already knew this one, but it's always fun to play again. You gather four resource types, and you use cards to transform or gain more resources. Most of the time, you'll be transforming. Some have called it a deck-builder, though I don't think it's accurate. You can add cards to your hand, but once you play cards, they sit in the discard pile until you use up your action to put all cards in your hand. There's no shuffling.

Some cards will straight-up upgrade cube types. Some will trade in lower cubes into higher cubes or vice versa. One may think that you always want to trade up, but you're trying to match the cost of victory point cards. Some of them use lower cubes. All trades are beneficial in the end. Even a downgrade gets you more cubes even if you are trading in a higher cube.

It's a fun resource-tracking game. You can't have more than 10 cubes at the end of a turn. 
 
Coldwater Crown
I would not have been interested in this based on the theme. You are fishermen. And you want to get victory points by collecting one each of the three small fish, having eight different fish, and meeting the current weight goal. The victory point system reminds me of Thurns and Taxis. Honestly, I feel the theme is weak as hell. You could paint just about any theme on this game.

But the mechanics are solid. You have seven possible actions. In a four-player game, three actions already have tokens on them. You do two actions: You place a token on any open space to activate that action and then you remove a different token to activate that action. It's neat in that each token has a 1 or a 2. If you place or remove a token with a 1, then you do a minor action. If you place or remove a 2, then you do a major action. Every time you pull a token, you flip it, so there is always a mess of 1s and 2s out there.

It's a fun game, though how you catch fish is kind of weird. You have crystals of different colors in four different zones in your tackle box. You do actions to remove specific colors. When you remove the last color from a zone, you catch one of four fish from the location corresponding to the crystal's color. Which fish you catch depends on which quadrant you clear out. There are tiles to help you choose different fish.

I'd have never chosen fishing as the theme.

Drop It
This was a gem. Each player has a handful of wooden shapes (rhombus, square, circle, right triangle) to drop into a flat, vertical display. You get points if your piece is not touching a piece of the same shape or color. On top of that, the floor and walls do not allow for certain shapes or colors to touch them. The higher you go, the more points you get. There are circles throughout the display that gets you more points. It's a tense game at times, especially when you're not sure where your circle is going to roll. Think Blockus meets Connect Four, but even that comparison fails utterly.

Ex Libris
This was far crunchier than I expected. You have 152 cards that can be arranged alphabetically and numerically like in a library. You will only place 12 to 16+ of them, but you can only place them adjacent to each other in a plateau of no higher than three rows. If you try to place one out of order, you must flip it over, and it doesn't count for scoring (except for bookshelf stability).

You can improve your chances by activating cards with your workers. It's very much like Lords of Waterdeep in that regard. Some cards let you move your bookshelf around. Quite a few offer books for sale or trade. Lots of ways to score. You get point if you have the most of one type of book (out of six types). You lose points for each book of the banned type. You get points for each of your secret goal type. You also get points based on the smallest number of one of the five types not banned. And you get points for having a good solid rectangle within your bookshelves.

It's pretty heavy, but I enjoyed it. You can read the titles of the 500+ books for added enjoyment.

Fog of Love
This is less of a game and more of a storytelling experience. You have to be in the mood for storytelling and light roleplaying. If you go in this looking for a game, you may be disappointed.

That being said, there are gaming elements. You play one of two people in a relationship (no polygamy love here). At first I thought it was biased toward heterosexual couples when I saw the pink and blue playing pieces, but then I realized that each color lets you play as male or female. Turns out I was guilty of being sexist. Well played, Fog of Love.

The game consists of playing cards that represent scenarios as innocent as how the other person answers flirty questions to how the other person responds to accusations of infidelity. The decisions you make will add positive or negative aspects to your character, such as kindness, honesty, and extroversion. You play to your destiny with the intent of meeting certain goals on your characteristics. There is even a relationship goal.

We did not finish the tutorial, but I will say that this game has the best tutorial I've seen. You can literally put the cards out there and immediately play and learn. The decks are prestacked with explanation cards.

Near and Far
I think the first mistake I made with this game was recognizing that it's a sequel to Above and Below and then assuming that it would play the same way. It is an entirely different game. The similarities between the two games are the use of a storybook and the artwork. From what I can tell, your turns alternate between putzing in town to gather some resources and recruit adventurers and outside exploring the map and building camps. The tricky part is that we had no idea when it was a good time to stop shopping and go exploring.

Wandering outside can be more taxing than you expect. When you leave town, you set your heart value equal to what your adventurers and gear give you. I had 10, and it caps at 13. To build a camp coats 3 hearts. If you wish to skip over a space without a camp, that costs 1 space apiece. We quickly found out that building a network of connected camps was required for exploring farther away from town. Otherwise, you find yourself limping at one space a turn (you can normally move 2 with pack birds adding 1 apiece).

Some map spaces have quest items associated with a letter. When you pursue the quest, another player reads from the story book. Your actions can determine what rewards you get. I question the replayability of this game since on the first map, there were set quest points. It wouldn't take long for players to memorize those outcomes. But there are multiple maps, and I suppose the idea here is that the same batch of players would go through all of the maps. There's also an arcade mode with a deck of cards that we didn't touch. I presume that is used to randomize the encounters.

I want to play this again now that I am no longer overwhelmed by the slew of rules. I imagine later maps would be less forgiving than the first one. There is a campaign mode where presumably you can build up a character between maps. I feel like this is the mode I would want to play. It may be the closest to a legacy game without stickers and ripping up cards.

The Networks
The theme is simply that you are running rival television networks, and you are buying shows to fill the 8 PM, 9PM, and 10 PM time slots. The mechanics are actually quite crunchy. Each show that you buy gains you a certain number of viewers depending on which season it is. Typically, the first two seasons are the meatiest and then taper off in the fourth season. So you need to buy popular shows and then replace them before they get too stale.

On top of that, you hire stars, who can boost ratings, and ads, which generate income to offset the expensive shows and let you invest more in your network. Each show tells you if it can have an ad and/or a star and whether or not such a thing is required. Some stars and ads do better under certain circumstances. For example, an ad may bring in more money when it's placed in the 8 PM slot, and an action star brings in more viewers when attached to an action show. There's a lot going on for a game with goofy artwork and mockery of popular TV shows.

The Oracle of Delphi
We didn't have time for a full game of this, but I have a rough idea of how it plays. You command a ship through twisting waterways while appeasing the gods and founding your cities. The map consists of sea and land hexes, nearly every single one is one of six colors (so not colorblind-friendly). There are six gods to appease, and each one has a color. There are six statues, six cities, and multiple resource cubes and monsters of six colors. You'll notice that six features a lot.

You roll three dice of six colors each. Which colors you roll determines your possible actions. A green die means you can move up to your speed to a green sea hex. Or you can pick up a green cube to deliver. Or drop that cube off at the green city. Or pick up the green statue. Or drop off that statue at a green holy site. Or you can explore the green mist-shrouded land. Or you can gain favor with the green god. Or fight a green monster. Don't want green? Spend a blessing token to bump it up on the color wheel to the next color.

You have 12 goals to accomplish. In the game we only partially played, I had to found three cities in specific spots, defeat two monsters of a particular color plus one of any color, deliver two statues of a particular color plus one of any color, and deliver two resources of a particular color plus one of any color. Each task gives you some sort of reward. Each round, a titan smashes through the land dealing damage on a die roll between 1 and 6. If you acquire enough shields, you can resist the damage. I'm not certain enough on how damage works to explain it here.

The god abilities are neat. You get a god's favor up to a point where you can heal all damage or move your ship anywhere or automatically slay a monster. The downside I see to this is that I feel like you need to start off kissing gods' asses. You start off at 0 influence. But after each player's turn, he rolls the dice, and all other players may increase a single god's favor matching one of the dice. This only increases for gods whose favor track is >0. If you ignore this, then you gain nothing from a bunch of free rolls. I figured this out quickly, but I could see other players realizing this too late.

I'll give this a try again later, but it's hard to judge this on the little I played.

Pulsar 2849
This was the crunchiest of the games I played this weekend. So much going on. You have a space map with a bunch of pulsars and planets to explore. You also build devices on the pulsars to generate victory points. You can patent technologies that give you advantages in the game. You can research networks that give you other benefits when completed. Everything except movement is set with a particular die number. Want to patent that particular tech? Roll and use a 3. Want to buy a die bump for the future? Roll and use a 1. Want to power the pulsar with the most advanced equipment? Roll and use a 6.

The dice mechanic is interesting. You roll 2n+1 dice and place them on a spectrum. Then you find the median value (you know a game's going to be crunchy when it tells you to find the median). The median value is neutral while all dice to the left can increase your initiative or engineering tracks (while performing less impressive actions) and all dice to the right can decrease your initiative or engineering tracks (while typically fueling more advanced actions). You can gain die bumps to cheat the system. There's also a bonus die that you can trigger with certain abilities, though you only get to use the bonus die once. The nice thing about this system is that turn order snakes back and forth. First player gets first pick of the first die, but the last player gets first pick of the second die, ensuring that the first player gets to pick the second die last.

There are many ways to score points, and you can go nuts trying to get them all. I imagine the best strategy would be to diversify but really play on your strengths. Patents are limited and locked according to game turn, so if you're not picking first on a turn when a valuable tech is unlocked, you may miss out. The game was overwhelming at first, but the rules become quite intuitive as you play on. Definitely a game where you don't feel you'll master it on the first go.

Queendomino
One of the great things about Kingdomino is its simplicity. That simplicity is removed from Queendomino. In Kingdomino, each player chooses a 2x1 tile to add to their kingdom that can be no larger than 5x5. Like dominos, you will try to match the ends to the corresponding terrain. Final scoring is simply counting the number of contiguous terrain spaces and multiplying each terrain count by the number of crowns on those tiles.

Queendomino adds a building site terrain. It also adds gold. You use gold to buy a building from the market. You can use knights to tax your kingdom to generate more coins. You can bribe the dragon to burn a building from the market. You can acquire more knights. You can gain towers which attracts the queen to get a discount on buildings and for additional scoring at the end.

The beauty of Kingdomino is that it is accessible to nongamers, and it can be played by gamers who don't feel like anything crunchy. Queendomino has neither of these going for it. And honestly if I want to go crunchy, I'd go with the Networks or Ex Libris.

Sagrada
Did this game live up to the hype? Yeah, I think it did. Similar to Roll Player, you roll a bunch of dice and place them on your 4x5 board. You cannot place a die adjacent to another one if they have the same color or the same value. This gets really tricky in the end game. Players pick in snake style. The first player gets first pick, but then he gets the last pick as well. You are given four boards to choose from, and you pick one to place your dice on. Some spaces are already predetermined to be a specific color or number. Be careful when placing adjacent to these spaces since you could accidentally lock yourself out.

Fortunately, there are three common tools you can use to move dice around. The first time a tool is used by anybody, it costs 1 favor. Then it costs 2 favors. The number of favors you start with depends on how complex the board is you kept. Boards with a lot of neutral spaces have fewer favors than boards with more predetermined spaces that you need to fill (and that other players may screw you out of). It's a simple game with some brain-teasing action. Hard not to like this one. Unfortunately, hostile toward colorblind people. This game's hype did not cause me any disappointment.

Sentient
This game can be overwhelming for new players, but once you understand the symbols and numbers, it's quite simple. You roll five dice and put them in a line with plenty of space in between (the player board provides this space and tells you where to place each color die). Then on your turn, you choose from one of four robots to place between two dice. Do this in order until everyone has four robots.

A robot does two things: It increases or decreases one or both of the adjacent dice, and it gives you points if those dice fit within its criteria. For example, military bots care about the sum or difference of the dice. A military bot might give you points if both dice add up to 9 or more or if the absolute difference of the two dice is exactly 2. On the other hand, a transport bot might give you points if the left die is larger than the right die. A service bot doesn't have a condition. It simply tells you that it's worth 7 minus the higher die. If you can position it in between two 1s, then you get maximum points.

The tricky part is that each card modifies one or both dice. When the card gives you points for both cards being even, then putting them between the 2 and 6 sounds reasonable until you realize that placing the card bumps that 6 to a 1. You'll need to account for the bump. If you don't want to bump, you have five assistants you can use to cover up the adjustment and stop it from happening. You play three rounds and accumulate victory points after each round when the bots are cleared and new ones come out.

On top of that, you're also vying for control of the different types of bots (military, industry, information, transport, and service). Above the four cards are five multipliers for the different types. When you take a card, you place an agent above the card in between two of the multipliers. You may send assistants to increase your presence there. At the end of each round, you determine which players wins the multiplier. These make bots of a certain type worth points to you at the end. They help, but they're not the key to victory. I thought I was hot shit with all four of the industry multipliers and my many industry bots. I came in last place. Other players were cashing in on instant points and diversifying their multipliers and robots. Each player starts with one multiplier of a random type.

This is a neat game, and I like the choices it forces on you as you take the cards. Some of my thrills was playing a card to fail in the hopes that I get one that helps. For example, I had a bot that gave points if the sum of the dice was odd. By placing it between these two particular dice, I changed the dice so the sum was even. I could've played an assistant to stop one of the changes, but I left it. I banked on gaining another card that would change that die so the sum was odd. And it paid off.

It's a short game once you get the hang of it, but it can suffer from analysis paralysis.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 09:58:27 am by Kuildeous »
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scott_pilgrim

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Re: Kuildeous' wacky Geekway adventures
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2018, 08:51:16 pm »
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But the mechanics are solid. You have seven possible actions. In a four-player game, three actions already have tokens on them. You do two actions: You place a token on any open space to activate that action and then you remove a different token to activate that action. It's neat in that each token has a 1 or a 2. If you place or remove a token with a 1, then you do a minor action. If you place or remove a 2, then you do a major action. Every time you pull a token, you flip it, so there is always a mess of 1s and 2s out there.

This sounds like a really cool mechanic.

The Networks

I played a game several months ago which I'm pretty sure was called Prime Time that sounds extremely similar to what you described. I can't tell if it's actually the same game, or if it just has the same theme and there are a lot of very natural things to do with that theme. Was there some mechanic where something (I forget what) gets distributed to each player one at a time, but it starts distributing to some players sooner than others?
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sitnaltax

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Re: Kuildeous' wacky Geekway adventures
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2018, 05:13:10 pm »
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The Networks

I played a game several months ago which I'm pretty sure was called Prime Time that sounds extremely similar to what you described. I can't tell if it's actually the same game, or if it just has the same theme and there are a lot of very natural things to do with that theme. Was there some mechanic where something (I forget what) gets distributed to each player one at a time, but it starts distributing to some players sooner than others?

There are two possible answers, depending on how much you play prototypes. The Networks was named Prime Time during development, so you might have played that as a prototype. However, during that time, another (not as good) game named Prime Time, with a similar theme, came about:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/166640/prime-time

so you might have played that other game instead. Meanwhile, the designer/publisher renamed his game to The Networks.
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scott_pilgrim

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Re: Kuildeous' wacky Geekway adventures
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2018, 09:14:18 pm »
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The Networks

I played a game several months ago which I'm pretty sure was called Prime Time that sounds extremely similar to what you described. I can't tell if it's actually the same game, or if it just has the same theme and there are a lot of very natural things to do with that theme. Was there some mechanic where something (I forget what) gets distributed to each player one at a time, but it starts distributing to some players sooner than others?

There are two possible answers, depending on how much you play prototypes. The Networks was named Prime Time during development, so you might have played that as a prototype. However, during that time, another (not as good) game named Prime Time, with a similar theme, came about:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/166640/prime-time

so you might have played that other game instead. Meanwhile, the designer/publisher renamed his game to The Networks.

Interesting...I think the game in the BGG link is the one I played, so I guess it's not the same one Kuildeous is talking about.
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Kuildeous

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Re: Kuildeous' wacky Geekway adventures
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2018, 09:54:01 am »
+1

I played a game several months ago which I'm pretty sure was called Prime Time that sounds extremely similar to what you described. I can't tell if it's actually the same game, or if it just has the same theme and there are a lot of very natural things to do with that theme. Was there some mechanic where something (I forget what) gets distributed to each player one at a time, but it starts distributing to some players sooner than others?

Sounds like you have your answer, but I'll answer your question that the Networks did not have something distributed to each player one at a time.

But it did have a mechanic where the first person who passes gets a big chunk of money (or viewers). Each person who passes afterwards gets a dwindling amount. That's the closest to what you described, and that isn't much of a match.
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