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News Bits: September 2, 2014

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We hope everybody’s Labor day weekend was full of relaxing and gaming!  I don’t have much preamble in me this week so on to the news.

Some Interesting Stuff

Days of Wonder acquired by Asmodee

I know everybody has covered this one to death but it’s just too big of a story to not headline the news section.  You can read the debates about whether or not this is a good thing for the board gaming industry.  I may be biased due to my love for Asmodee but I think the acquisition will be fruitful.

Bezier Games teases upcoming announcement

Bezier Games has been talking about how excited they are for news that they are going to share this morning.  I was hoping it would be up before I posted the news but it looks like you’ll have to waiting along with me.  The news is in, it’s One Night Ultimate Werewolf: Daybreak.

The Spiel fights for recognition from Essen

The dedicated and hard working folks at The Spiel have brought us top quality coverage year after year from board gaming’s biggest events so it is heartbreaking to see them not get the recognition they deserve from Essen.  Share their story as a way to raise awareness of the legitimate internet journalism and support their work.

Essen Spiel preview of BGG

With Gen Con behind us it’s time to look towards Essen which is just a month and a half away.  For the first time that I can remember it’ll be tough for Essen to top what came out at Gen Con but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be getting excited!  Keep up with what’s coming our way in October by visiting W Eric Martin’s tireless Essen preview over at BoardGameGeek.  Anything you’re looking forward to?

Fantasy Flight offers Mission Control for X-Wing Miniatures Game

It seems like Fantasy Flight’s dedication to bringing us high quality products doesn’t stop with their physical releases.  They are now launching X-Wing Mission Control in an Open Beta as a way for their fans to create and share missions for X-Wing in a powerful new way.  It’s great to see companies go above and beyond like this so go check it out if you’re an X-Wing nut like Wolfie.

 

Last Week on iSlayTheDragon

We had another full week of Gen Con reactions from Wolfie and I which should just about wrap things up.  We’ve got a short week ahead of us but there are still plenty of great reviews and articles coming your way.

Reviews:

Gen Con Coverage:

 

Game Lookout

  • Chunky Fighters – I’ve drooled at pictures from homemade Print and Play versions of this hilarious and cute looking brawler.  But I just couldn’t bring myself to work up the effort to try it out for myself.  Fortunately it’s being published by Robin Red Games and projected for February 2015.  Good news for lazy people like me.
  • Nautilus Industries Kickstarter - Icon – It’s time to dive deep and exploit the ocean’s vast resources in this thrilling game following Two Thousand Leagues Under The Sea. It’s been successfully funded and you can pick up your own copy for $49 CAD.
  • Spirits of the Rice Paddy – BoardGameGeekTV previews this uniquely themed euro game about building rice paddies.  It will be coming to Kickstarter around October.
  • Super Motherload – This drilling game has an old school video game aesthetic and and boasts both deck-building and tile-laying in perfect harmony.  It reminds me ever so slightly of The Battle at Kemble’s Cascade because of the scrolling concept which I really enjoyed.  Sounds like a really neat concept that just might encourage those burnt out on deck building to give the genre another try.

Rulebook Corner

  • Arler Erde – Don’t get too excited, I’m cheating a little bit with this one since it’s not an official rulebook.  But you might still find this translation of Uwe’s explaning his meaty new 2-player game to be nearly as informative.
  • The Golden Ages – I’m always interested in quick playing civilization games and this one looks quite interesting.  I thought the artwork and style looked similar to Troyes and it turns out I correctly identified the wonderfully minimalist style of Alexandre Roche.
  • Terra Mystica: Fire & Ice – To celebrate Terra Mystica’s newly acquired #3 spot on BGG’s game ranking here’s a peak at the game’s first expansion.  New factions, a new board, new end game scoring!  Lots to look forward to for veteran players.

 

What We’ve Been Playing

Portrait - Andrew Andrew’s Plays

Glass Road - ThumbGlass Road – My friend Denise has started a blog over on BGG where she’s challenged herself to play a game each day and write about her experience.  Earlier this year she started raving about how good Glass Road is solo and I finally got my hands on a copy at Gen Con.  I’ve never really been tempted to play any game solo before no matter how desperate I got to play games when no one was around (that’s what computer games are for, right?).  But following a drought of opponents following Gen Con I decided to give it a try.  I was planning to make a night out of it and try out several different games but after playing Glass Road once I decided to stick with it and revisit the stack of other games later.  The solo experience is surprisingly different from the multiplayer game and made for a very satisfying and puzzly session.  It was nice not having anyone bug me to hurry up my turn for once but I am looking forward to playing this one with real life opponents again in the future.

Hyperborea - ThumbHyperborea – I know, I’ve been raving about this one lately so it’s not surprising to see it show up in my post-Gen Con plays.  In fact, this was the first non-solo game that I’ve played since Gen Con ended.  It’s just as amazing as I have been saying and I’m unlikely to shut up about it until Essen or, more realistically, sometime next year.  I tried out the Golden Barony (Yellow) for the first time and adopted a more balanced approach than in previous games.  Thanks to an early cloning ability I was able to swam the middle of the board and get lots of extra actions from the bounty of cities there.  This game has so much variation and I’m really excited to continue exploring the incredibly clever design.

Animal Upon Animal - ThumbAnimal Upon Animal – I’ve seen pictures of cute little stacks of animals on BGG and thought “that would be the perfect game to pull out with just about anyone.”  I spotted it at my friend’s house after finishing up the world’s silliest game (Yetisburg) and asked if I could give it a try.  His wife joined us for probably the best dexterity game experience I have ever had.  This one is accessible and cute enough for kids but hilarious and challenging enough for adults.  I was feeling pretty good going into my last turn and had nearly won when my final animal caused the whole stack to fall down.  If I see this game available in the future I’ll be sure to pick it up!

 

Portrait - Wolfie FutureWolfie’s Plays

Space Cadet: Die Fighter - ThumbSpace Cadets: Dice Duel – Die Fighter – This week was my monthly game night, which is a larger group than my normal weekly game group. We had a good crowd so I jumped on the opportunity to play Dice Duels, and tossed in a recently acquired copy of Die Fighter as well. At least half the players had experience (although in retrospect I should have adjusted the teams slightly) so we were able to jump in quickly. The fighters added a whole new level of chaos – in a good way – that had people yelling “Fire!” what seemed like every few seconds.  Fighters attacked fighters, fighters attacked ships, ships attacked fighters! The game was a pretty close match for a long time, with both capital ships at 2 damage.  My ship used crystals to get dice back, but then we lost our fighter.  Fortunately, we lucked out with a perfectly timed navigation putting us at range 1 to the enemy capital ship on their unshielded side with 2 torpedoes loaded, dealing the last 2 damage all at once.  What a rush! I would play this game a lot more often if I had groups this large, and I think everyone would have more fun as they got more used to what was going on. Die Fighter is a really enjoyable addition and I think it helps keep the game moving along, as long as you have experienced players to man them.

Shadowrun: Crossfire - ThumbShadowrun: Crossfire – We split into smaller groups then, and I joined up with a game of Shadowrun.  In case you didn’t read our preview, it’s a cooperative deckbuilding game set in a cyberpunk universe.  What I like about it is that you really have to work together to destroy all your obstacles, and you can team up against them allowing you to utilize your cards effectively.  The “economy” of the game is simple – each card deals out damage, but there are 4 types, and you have to apply the right type of damage to the right obstacles at the right time. It’s very challenging, and as you play through missions (or “runs” as they’re called in the Shadorun universe) you gain XP and additional abilities by applying stickers to your character card in order to make your success even a possibility.  We tackled the first scenario again and wow, it is a desperate, difficult time. Fortunately, in the last scene with all of us at the brink of death, we managed to string together several cards that let players play additional cards on one players turn.  Thanks to this wonderful combo we took out 2 obstacles on my turn and were able to wipe out the rest quickly.  I really enjoy this game and I hope to get my hands on a copy of my own someday so I can get to the levelling up part.

Ca$h 'n Gun$ - ThumbCa$h ‘n Gun$ – This is a game I’ve been wanting to try for a while, but everywhere I go it seems I either have too few people or too many. At the end of game night we finally had a good number of people and set out to cashing and gunning. It was late, we were tired, and none of us had played before so I think we all played poorly – choosing targets randomly without considering who had the fattest stack of cash already, refusing to back down even with many guns pointed in our faces, and saving our Bang! cards for too long, but that’s okay.  We all knew it was a silly party game anyways, and we had a lot of fun bantering and threatening and laughing over the results. My wife ended up carrying away a fat sack over $200,000 in cash and goods. If only that were real dough!

Legends of Andor - ThumbLegends of Andor – thanks to Grant Rodiek whose excitement over the game caused me to pull it off the shelf once again to play with my wife, we decided to tackle the 4th quest of the game (there are 5 written quests in the box). It had been a long time but the setup was about as long as I remembered it being, but Quest 4 is one of my favorites – [MINOR SPOILER ALERT] – it requires a search for gems through a large cave network, but you can approach it in different ways.  We took the stealthy route to avoid setting off the alarm as much as possible. And, even though we did set off the alarm eventually, it was just as we were finishing up and making a run for the entrance. [END SPOILER]
Aside from a few quirky rules that just don’t fit thematically, it was a good reminder of how fun and adventurous the game can be.  It was also a reminder of how terrible I am at dice rolling – I was attempting to slay one last monster to get the final coinage we needed.  I had the advantage in strength and I just needed to roll a decent number.  You don’t add your dice, you take your best number, so I figured I had a decent chance with 4 dice being rolled.  Until every single die landed on a 1. The chances of THAT are 1 / 1,296 and it’s just sad how bad I am at rolling dice. Fortunately we plan for such things and we pulled out the victory anyways. Onward to quest 5!

Eclipse - ThumbEclipse – For some reason, I don’t often get extra gaming sessions with these long weekends.  But, this weekend was more chill so I managed to pull together a few extra sessions. It’s been too long since I played Eclipse, and I managed to get a couple new players into a 3-player game.  While Eclipse definitely shines with more players, it was still a solid experience and a good learning game for everyone.  One thing we learned – it’s not the best strategy in Eclipse to pool your fleet into one huge fighting force.  I mean, it’s kind of awesome to watch these battles unfold, but for the resources put into them the points that come out are pretty small. I smashed my opponents by keeping my small but powerful fleet of ships spread out to defend all the entrances in to my territory – somehow the galaxy turned out to be one long maze that was almost  a linear path with only a few round-about side passages.  I was then able to pour significant resources into researching technology and winning small battles to claim reputation tokens.  I also had some awesome Dreadnoughts that were almost guaranteed a hit on anything except rolls of 1 (which I fortunately avoided this game) doing 4 damage per hit.  In fact my cruisers and interceptors all turned out pretty powerful with solid shields, and I was able to win a every battle at the end. My score far eclipsed (ha! pun!) the other players, which I chalk up to their experience – but at least I have a few new people eager to play again.

 

I love optimization and engine games with tableau builders and card driven ones being my favorite. This usually means medium-heavy euros and medium-light card games.

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