Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My Go To Publisher

So everyone tend to gravitate towards a favorite designer from Feld to Friese, looking from Lang until Uwe but sometimes companies are so in sync with what you want from a game that they end up feeling like home. I thought I would take a moment to talk about my favorite publisher:

Most of the games they have published over the years have been on the heavy side but that is what I love about them. I can always depend on the game to be deep and crunchy and yet approachable from a rules stand aspect.

Some of the games that I find myself going back to are Vinhos, Madeira, Signoire, Vasco Da Gama, ZhanGuo, Asgard and Nippon. I only own a few myself but I jump at the chance to play other people's copies of them and I have enjoyed them everytime. I am looking forward to Brasil and Railroad Revolution. The company has seemed to developed a a relationship with designers who like push people with a hard choice and allowing a limited amount of choices to means something. Well done.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Sith PK Deck Breakdown

Back when I dabbled in Legend of the Five Rings the Scorpion Clan ran a heavy PK(Personality Kill) deck. This is what come to mind with the Sith deck that I am currently tinkering on, the deck has a lot of mains but the board removal tends to come in the form of events like Force Lightning, Force Choke, Force Manipulation and Deadly Sight. This frees up units to attack or defend and still have a way to keep the board presence in the dark side's favor.

The deck stands at:

The Emperor's Web x1
Agent of the Emperor x2
The Plan of the Prophetess x2
Encounter at Stygeon Prime x1
Power of the Dark Side x2
There is No Conflict x2

Now let us go through pod by pod.

Just a solid pod that does a lot of work. Only one copy of it because of the low damage capacity of the objective and although two of them can work I just don't want to have to field a copy against a quick light side deck if I have the choice. Everything else in the pod is great.

Good main in Mara with targeted strike(true it does have to be turned on), a resource and a unit with protect. Rage can come in handy but it can be situational. The objective can slow down a deck on occasion the timing of it really only allows foe Echoes or a similar trick to take a unit out of commission on the same turn.

Decent objective against Jedi and can really lock the force for the dark side against other factions. It can also help set up Power of the Dark Side, Force Manipulation and Deadly Sight. Solid removal with Deadly Sight in the area of mid range units. A tactics icon on Sariss and the reaction screwing with other players can be useful but one of the weaker mains in the deck. Another resource in the pod as well.

Another unit with tactics in The Inquisitor and his action can serve for cycling for edge battle or just trying to pull a needed event or unit. The rest of the pod just tries to dictate how your opponent has to handle future conflict phases. Making your opponent make choices they do not want or usually have to make can win game by itself.

The objective can help by all the cards that can commit units your opponent doesn't want committed to the force and can work in conjunction with Plan of the Prophetess for a little soft unit removal, it can also trigger the Hunted so you have another way to pile on focus tokens. Another version of Palpy of the deck and he can get you back a unit for defense if you take hold the force. Yet another resource and a unit you can bounce from the discard pile if you can get the force engine running.

The objective can slow some deck in the early game if you can get it to trigger but it really comes in handy by taking away event options during the combat phase. This version of Vader can be interesting but the pod is included more for the Jedi hate it brings and another way to remove some opposing units with Join Me.

While the deck can be a real pain I'm not certain I would consider it a top tier deck, competitive sure but most deck with Vader and Palpatine pods end up competitive by default. The deck is very resource dependent and if your opponent can put early pressure by taking an objective within the first two turns it can put you in a situation where you have to rush you board presence and hoping to hold out until you can remove a few unit and take back board control. A solid deck to learn some the new tricks the dark side can use to get things done the old fashioned way.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tiny Living, Tiny Gaming

So eventually we would like to move into a space with 600 sqft or less indoor living space. We have always been able to keep our collection around 60 games but if you had to cut down to just 5 games what would they be and why, here is the result of my list. Now these will not be games with a small footprint or our favorite games but games that I feel would see the most play with us and our group of friends being the focus, I also tend to store expansions in the main box so that does give the edge to games with a library of expansions released. So here is the current list of games that I will be working with so we will be keeping 5 of them, kids games are already removed because they serve a different purpose but we would trim those down to a handful as well.

Alhambra: Big Box
The Castles of Burgundy
Doomtown: Reloaded
Felix: The Cat in the Sack
Fire in the Lake
Fleet: Arctic Bounty
Founding Fathers
Gold West
Grand Austria Hotel
La Granja
The Great Heartland Hauling Co.
Guilds of London
Imperial Settlers
King Chocolate
King of Tokyo
Lords of Waterdeep
Love Letter
Machi Koro
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
Saint Petersburg
Star Wars: The Card Game
Sushi Go!
Terra Mystica
Terror in Meeple City
Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Washington's War
Wok Star

In no order the games would be:

Star Wars: The Card Game

This is pretty much the game for just the two of us, with all the expansion in the box it hits deck building and keeps itself fresh enough for me. The game has some interesting decision trees and has the added benefit of being set in the Star Wars Universe.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island

Hits all the co-op needs that we have while still being fun and thematic, again all the scenarios and even the fan created content just means the game will have a long shelf life. The risk element to trying to do more actions with your limited resource pull and rolling to see if things are accomplished weighed against taking less actions with assured success makes for fun debate and adds some chance to the game.


A bag builder game that has really tight game play at all player counts combined with different roads to victory makes for a great game. The fact that the mechanics are easy to teach but give the game an incredible depth of strategy make it an easy include on such a short list. I hope that the expansions can live up to the high standard the base game has set.

Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar

Another game with easy to teach rules but has a lot of variety with in the rule set. The game is about timing and knowing what you need to do, two simple things that the moving action slots and other players can change from turn to turn. So many games have come down to over extending by one worker or missing a chance to pull a worker to set up future turns. The expansion adds so many little changes that can all be thrown in or just a module at a time to keep things fresh by adding another level of decisions to the game.

Box of Delights

The biggest cheat on the list, we have our Dixit, Codenames and Mysterium all stored in one box, this is pretty much geared towards our game nights as Mysterium and Codenames have been really popular among the group. Dixit serves to freshen up both games and serve as another game by itself.

--Games for the youngling--
Animal Upon Animal
Heart of Attraction
Pharaoh's Gulo Gulo
PitchCar Mini
Rhino Hero
Ticket to Ride
Unicorn in the Clouds
Viva Topo

We would probably end up with:
Rhino Hero
Pharaoh's Gulo Gulo
Ticket to Ride

All are fun for adults and can be competitive as she grows.

So there are my five, what are yours?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Star Wars and the Destiny of the LCG

"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened. "

Many are worried about the effect that Star Wars: Destiny, seen below,

will have on Star Wars: The Card Game, I honestly don't think the game will shift many players away from the LCG unless they stop the game or break it before Destiny comes out. As a company that paved the way for non-collectible card games with any amount of success it just seems like a step back to release a collectible model now. It won't steal the people who are tired of blind buying packs hoping to pull Han or Boba Fett. It is a dice driven game so those who hate heavy luck games will need to be assured of ways to mitigate it before they give it a try.

Now it does break from the pod system of SW:TCG which some people will appreciate. I am of two minds on this, I find the pod system gives the design team a lot of ways to balance cards but it does limit the deck building side to 10 choices. This brings about a stagnant meta when really good pods like 'May the Force be With You' come along but not much can be done from a design aspect in this manner due to the pod system. If you don't design a self supporting pod it tends to lead people into running the same supporting pods, the only thing that can be done is good steady design and that is a hard thing to do.

I do feel that SW:TCG never really took of due to how good this guy is:

X-Wing was really starting to roll when SW:TCG came out and with good reason, it is a really fun well designed game addressing an aspect of the Star Wars Universe that is often glossed over for Jedi and other flashier things. If you were into Star Wars and gaming chances are you were playing it and had an established group or day at your local store. Why risk upsetting the balance of the force with a new game. Armada came along and gave another option of Capital Ship level engagements but it still hasn't come close to X-Wing.

Then you have great board games like Imperial Assault, Rebellion, SW: Risk and a few versions of RPGs flavored to whatever aspect of Star Wars that really speaks to you. Honestly as fans we are spoiled for choices of good Star Wars games. Unlike Game of Thrones which has a long board game or the LCG so that fan base isn't as split.

Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Star Wars Jank Specter.0

So I enjoy jank, I think Specter might have made it easy for me this time around. Okay so here is the list:

Rebel Affiliation

The Last Warrior x2
Spark of Rebellion x2
Explosive Artist x2
No Match for a Good Blaster x2
The Gardener's Secret x1
To Arms x1

So lets look at the pods, starting with Spark of Rebellion.

The action has 14 unit in the deck that will trigger it, with Kanan and Sabine can give a jump in resources. The only card need a resource match for Jedi is Kanan's Concentration which can be nice for freeing up defenders in your opponent's deployment phase.

The Freelance Slicers have 16 cards that they could hit to trigger their ability, so more cards possibly for free. The Bo Rifle can be played from the discard pile with its own text and any of your Specter or Smuggler units. Bringing us to Zeb, situational targeted strike but you should have it active that to all the enhancement tricks in the deck as long as Tarkin doesn't hit the table early.

Sabine gives a lot of flavor to the deck, being able to add combat icons to all the mains and being able to hand out edge to 3 unit is good. Being able to recycle the Custom Paint Job and Improvised Explosive with the Junk Dealers can lead to some fun shenanigans.

With this pod we get another unit with Targeted Strike in Han, a unit that can seriously mess with the opponent's force phase in Chewbacca and some limited event protection in the form of a blaster.

We have another card in Monmaw that has 12 cards in the deck that he can search for and the Junk Dealers will allow you to be able to play 16 cards from the discard pile giving you some wiggle room for edge battle choices if you can keep them on the table.

There are 8 card that Hidden Cache can fetch that can all trigger the Sullustan Weapon Tech. Han and Chewie's weapons can do some heavy lifting if you can get them on their namesakes, otherwise they can put extra combat icons on other units.

You think you cannot see because you blind, but you are blind because you cannot see. What the deck lacks is tactics and twists. This will leave you open to first strikes often so try to choose survivable battles. No May the Force be with you means you will not be able to over commit to an attack and expect the card to save you but the deck is fun and should be something to break out during casual play.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Impessions of Shin Godzilla

...Shin Gojira, Godzilla Resurgence whatever they ended up calling it.

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(I feel for ya big guy)

Not even sure where to begin, I didn't like the film but I didn't hate it either, so that is where I will begin. This was definitely in the tone of the original Gojira and for that it gets my respect, the whole thing felt like a social commentary with Godzilla being the catalyst for change in the way policy is handled and bringing to light some United States/Japan foreign relation issues. The unfortunate thing is Hideaki Anno has some solid ground work but falls short(shades of Evangelion). The randomly mutating Godzilla is something new and by no means the worst Godzilla to grace the screen and the Prime Minister's endless cabinet meetings to discus the implementation of new policy to deal with this while missing opportunities to deal the situation when it is more manageable was brilliant, political back channeling to get the time needed to finish the plan inspired, but for some reason the whole thing just seemed average to me but lets face it, humans are weak animals.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Doomtown: Reloaded...

...or the failed Harrowed pull.

When Doomtown: Reloaded(DTR from here on) was announced I was over the moon with excitement. I want to breakdown my perception of the time line and make some suggestions that might have made the game more approachable(but definitely a different beast). The game came out at GenCon 2014, even with streamlined rules people struggled with DTR, despite having a strong showing at GenCon it never really had solid traction to build a large player base. My first change would be the attachment rules, I would not require the location to be controlled by the player trying to attach the goods. Often during demos I would have to stop players from attaching something because another dude had moved to the location to take control of it. While this does limit some of the chess aspect of the game I think it would have help to streamline the game and eliminate some of the more awkward growing pains of the movement game and made camping town square a little more involved since you could play goods onto dudes in the town square. This would have also opened up design space for goods and spell removal in the core set. Another core rule I would make spells boot the caster after use so deathstar type dudes are limited. The next streamline I would make would be to remove the public and private from deeds, every deed would be private in the sense that if you did not own it and called someone out they would incur the bounty of that action. Again try to limit the small book keeping of the game without changing too much of the core.

So we had a few local events but nothing ever took off, having both Landslide and Clown control as strong early archetypes led to most of the field playing one form of control or another and made the game look like some sort of sprawling chess game that more than one person just decided it wasn't their thing. So you had Sloan Rush as one of the other consistent decks, so the Law Dogs needed to be good, I don't play as much these days buy I think I am still waiting for this to happen. So my changes for the core set, Allie gets an upkeep and Influence making her less likely to show up out of faction and a higher upfront money investment. I think the core rule change to spell would slow Clown control enough for the other groups to keep up. Landslide I think is easier to play against than some of the other archetypes and with the ability to drop goods on dudes at deeds you do not control does give you some design room if it stayed a problem. Now Law Dogs, how to make them good in the core with just an idea and no testing is a tall order; I would start by making the home ability make it so your dudes don't become wanted when calling out dudes or preforming jobs, this shows the laws ability to serve warrants and preform tasks that would get the common folks thrown in the hoosegow. That along with keeping the ability to make dudes wanted should help give them a unique feel. Next is the income problem, always seemed to be short on money but being able to transfer a bounty onto the home for permanent income could be an interesting thematic fix but would need to be tested.

Exposure, after GenCon the hyped died, at the first Origins after the release there was no real push to demo the game to anyone. They didn't even have a banner. AEG has always been rather hands off with the tournament scene in all of their games I was just hoping for a little more support than I saw. The game seemed to be selling well at all the stores I visited but the AEG reps(I think they are called Vanguards now) in the area were unfamiliar with it and did not want to invest the time to run events and the stores were just okay with selling packs. So I ran 4 events and 2 demo nights at a FLGS but I could never get a consistent night off to really anchor a day so no luck with home growing a play group. This past year's Origins rolled around and I decided to skip DTR because two of the Origins events from last year that I played in only had one other person show up in one event and I was the only person in the other events. The main event was well attended both years but I had an event during the same time this year. After the event the cancellation was announced, which would have made it the sunset ride for me since I don't go to GenCon these days. AEG could have done a lead up announcement before Origins and at least let the community have a few more chance to say goodbye.

Anyway, those are just a few postmortem thought I had about the game.

Long Time No post

So over a year has passed and no posts were made. I did make my 10x10 challenge final count ended up being:

1. Castles of Burgundy -- 12
2. Founding Fathers -- 10
3. Keyflower -- 11
4. Robinson Crusoe -- 15
5. Saint Petersburg -- 10
6. T'Zolkin -- 13
7. Terra Mystica -- 18
8. Nations -- 10
9. Doomtown: Reloaded -- 45
10. Machi Koro -- 10

I have mostly switched to Instagram since I never got around to replacing my camera and I didn't have the time or energy for in-depth game analysis. Things have changed a little and I find with the kid in school and the desktop up and running I want to try my hand at some thoughts and reviews. Also I was busy trying to champion Doomtown in my area but not much came from the effort. So my first article is going to be about the Doomtown: Reloaded and my experiences in the short time it was around.

Until then,