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Kuildeous

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My Origins games
« on: June 17, 2019, 01:14:28 pm »
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I played more RPGs than board games at Origins, but I got to see a few, so here are my thoughts.

New Frontiers is one of the latest board games from Rio Grande. It literally mashes Puerto Rico with Race for the Galaxy, and it works. You choose your role, everyone does it, the role picker gets a bonus. There are a couple that act like Prospector in that nobody else gets anything, but they're weak roles. You build Developments and Settle planets, but NF adds a new element where you first have to explore the planets before you can settle them. Lots of new developments to replace the basic board, so it has more variety than Puerto Rico (though not more than PR with its expansions).

Roll for the Galaxy has a new expansion called Rivalry. It adds two new game modes, though I only tried one. The simpler one adds a new mega-die that is customizable (like Dice Forge). You roll it with your normal dice and can upgrade dice faces to improve the path you are going down. In my game, Developments were a big deal to me, so I upgraded the die to give me bonuses to Developments. There were other options I could've taken. It adds randomness, but you can build yourself to make that randomness work for you.

Puerto Rico is an old classic. I already knew it, but I saw three guys staring exasperatedly at the rulebook, so I offered to teach them and play the game. I lost to a newbie, but I also purposefully didn't take the Hospice. Then again, the winner didn't either, so clearly Hospice didn't determine the winner; I just didn't play that well.

Deadly Doodles was a cute drawing game where everyone has the same grid dungeon with spaces containing weapons (labeled A through G), monsters (also A through G), loot, and a dragon. You "navigate" the dungeon by flipping over a common pool of four cards and drawing them on your dungeon. You get points for crossing loot spaces, for crossing weapons spaces, for crossing monster spaces corresponding with a weapon you have (and you lose points if you cross a monster without the weapon), and for crossing the dragon to increase your loot value. It's mostly a solitaire game, though there are a couple of trap cards that you can put in the dungeon where you can't cross them. Any players who cross that space on their own map lose points, so it's a very tame "take that." Cute, short game that may be fun for a couple of plays before you move on to something more interesting.

Trapwords was a recent announcement that interested me. It's basically Taboo where you give clues to a teammate without using any forbidden words. Where this differs is that the other team chooses that list. If you're being particularly clever, the other team may try to anticipate your chicanery. For example, my word was DWARF. The other team put "vertical" on the list with the hope I'd say "vertically challenged." Nice one, other team. Fortunately I didn't fall for that trap and instead described musically inclined miners where one is embarrassed a lot and another is always tired (my partner was like 8 years old, so you know). From what I understand, you can't put "the" and "a" on the list, but you could add "person" or "someone" which can be pretty dangerous.

Letter Jam is my jewel of the con. It will be released at Gen Con, but it was fun to play the prototype. It's like Hanabi in that everyone has a letter in front of them, but you can't see yours. You have to guess your four letters based on someone spelling a word with the visible letters. Numbers are placed in front of people to show how the word is spelled. So I might know the word is TH_NN_NG and conclude that my letter is I. You have to be careful in giving clues because something like BID isn't going to help any of those players narrow down which letter they have. I learned in this game that you want to be clever but not too clever. My very first word was THRESH. It helped many players, but when I saw the E player choose to guess right away, I knew that he thought I was spelling THRASH. Oops. Also, leave your ego at the door. I wanted to spell out awesome words all the time, but I had to let others give clues because I need to guess my four letters.
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GendoIkari

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Re: My Origins games
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2019, 01:45:10 pm »
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Yeah I heard about the Roll expansion a few days ago; apparently CoolStuffInc had it on sale... on sale for $40! For an expansion. I'm sure it's because it has a lot of dice and stuff. I still have the first expansion sitting on my wish list though.

I played TrapWords about a month ago. Really cool concept; the mind games are fun. But I found it dragged; by the last couple of rounds we were all wishing it had already ended.
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Kuildeous

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Re: My Origins games
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2019, 01:50:36 pm »
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I played TrapWords about a month ago. Really cool concept; the mind games are fun. But I found it dragged; by the last couple of rounds we were all wishing it had already ended.

I could see that. I didn't have time to play the full game. It sounds like it's intended to be intentionally short. For example, we guessed the first word, and the other team did not, so we advanced a space. Then neither of us got the word, so the monster moved up. Then we guessed the third word, so we advanced another space. We were likely a couple of spaces away from the monster, and the monster comes closer to us if nobody gets it.

But while the game has a mechanic to speed up the game, I don't know if there's a mechanic for speeding up the ending itself. We were facing the dragon, which limits the guesses to 3 instead of 5. In theory, we could've gone back and forth an infinite number of times failing to get the final word. And then there's the first-player advantage, unless there's a mechanic where first player alternates, which would be pretty reasonable.
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