Friday, November 27, 2015

Return to Android


So, we normally get a game in for Black Friday. This year it was a smaller group so we decided to play Android, first time in years.

The box comes out

The Murder - The World Changed Crime Did Not

A murder has occurred in a Blade Runner style world. Each player takes a detective tasked with solving the murder. Players also are randomly assigned which suspect they are to prove innocent and which to prove guilty. This kept secret from the other players. As the game progress through the two weeks evidence is found, alibis determined, perjury, and all placed on the suspects. At the end of two weeks the case is closed and the guilty determined.
The suspects with some evidence

 Not so simple - Life is always about Balance!

Characters also have their own weekly story with baggage tokens. Each weekly character story has special goals and rules. They also have four possible endings resulting in positive to negative victory points. With only so many hours in a day, focusing on just the investigation can cost your character greatly and your victory points. There are also conspiracy tokens, favor tokens, taking out hits on suspects, etc....

Light and Dark Cards

To play a special card to help your cause you need to shift to the light. However you can only go four steps. This cards are specific to the characters. However, to reset your cards to the dark you need to play dark characters cards on other players. These can be played when specific things happen during other players turns. This keeps you active in all turns. It also makes the screw your neighbor aspect not as mean since it is needed for your cards. They also add a good deal to the story.

The Board

How far the flying car can move.

One time aspect is crossing the board. You have a car that has a set travel distance limiting movement. The board is divided into the Moon and Earth. Besides an expensive drop ship the normal way between the two sections is the space needle. For my character's story he needed to make it to one location on Earth, another player sent me to a corner of the moon. This left me rushing across the board skipping clues but worked out in the end.

The puzzles piece on the board is the conspiracy section. You can choose to pull a piece instead of a clue. The conspiracy can cause other pieces to count for VP and give you some extra benefits. Numerous locations also have special rules giving you plenty of options.

Final View

I really like this game. First rounds were a tad slow as we relearned rules. The remaining went very quick. This game has so much theme. It also has so many directions to victory, and very hard to predict who will win. This game I focused on my character over the case and did well. We also have done games where the case one it for the player. This variety and story flow is great. However, the balancing of time and the numerous ways to win could cause analysis paralysis in some. Can't wait to get some more games in.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Year of Skirmish and Cards

Skirmish and Cards

So been a crazy few months, a decent amount of gaming but a little disorganized in projects.


So due to schedules I've found myself playing card game over board games. Legendary Marvel has been a fun co-op game. With the dark city add on the combination of missions, heroes, and villains give it great replay value. Even if the random pull can make some really hard games. Serves as a good one shot as opposed to Pathfinder Card game.
Meg destroying me in Call of Cthulhu

The other main card game is Call of Cthulhu Card Game. We don't really design decks. We have three different boxes. At the beginning of each game we pick two factions each to mix our decks. It keeps it nicely balanced and keeps the game quick. Basically takes 20-30 minutes from deciding we want to play till game finish.


So been playing mostly Skirmish games, which lead to a lot of terrain projects to make it all work. Infinity is the first one, which needed a lot of new terrain. Most of my 40k terrain is dark grim ruined future ruins. Infinity is more anime espionage, so a very different look. On top of it the reactive turn of Infinity require a lot of blocking terrain. I owned a number of models, but needed terrain.
First game

Luckily, the new starter set came with a good deal of terrain. I naturally couldn't resist getting some more to spice it up. The ad's were a pain to put together but are well worth it.

Adds a nice flair

At historicon I picked up some Old glory sci fi terrain and an official terrain objective building. With some reaper pieces, I can do a relatively good table. Just need to paint them up.

Frostgrave and Songs of Blades and Heroes

I have a number of plays I will discuss in a later blog, these are both fantasy small skirmish games. One for one off games and one for campaigns. Terrain for a ruined city, particularly the floor takes awhile to make. However, my wife gave me a great ten year anniversary gift. Secret Wars makes a plastic board made of 24 1x1 pieces. It has a great bottom connector set up.
Spray and first coat

Some drybrushing

Set up

The following are a couple of in game shots with terrain

Lucky sniper shot takes out the opponents mage!


The other skirmish game has been Muskets and Tomahawks. The terrain is my buddy Sal's (check the painting the lead pile link). The British are mine, one of the few things I finished this year. They now have flags.

My final work in progress, is the one of the Zulu building, built and primed at this point. This was a 4-ground set in Warlord Games.

Next time I'll talk about the fun of all these rules systems.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Board Games! Betrayal at the House on the Hill and Arabian Nights - Theme Heavy

Board and more Board Games

Both at the store and home group, we have been focusing on board gaming. Just looking at my boardgamegeek account I've played ten different games this month. Four I've never played before. I'm going to comment on them in groups that match. This one is going to be theme heavy games.

Theme over Rules

Both Betrayal at House on the Hill and Arabian Nights the theme of the game is far more important than the competitive rules. For a competitive player these would both be a nightmare. They are not balanced at all. The experience and tale you form is where the enjoyment will come, not the victory.

Arabian Nights

Fantastical map of the known world...

1001 Adventures! Actually there are about 2500 adventures you could hit. At the beginning of the game you choose a combination of destiny and story points adding up to 20. If you earn your number of each and make it to Baghdad you win. What happens to you on the way can be quite crazy. A typical encounter you will run into something with an adjective and a letter. You then choose a response based on a list. Some options on the list you need a skill or be a certain gender. Another player then checks the matrix.
Try not to have 1e AD&D Flashbacks!

The player rolls a die that has a +, empty, or -. This will change the number from the matrix up or down by 1. Another player then finds the matching adventure and reads the text and what the original player needs to roll.

This tends to be very random. Normal logic doesn't always work, but fairy tale logic does. However, it is hard to have a real strategy. There are some city cards and quest cards that can help. In general it is best to get as many skills as possible. This tends to allow better results in the adventures. 

You also need to manage your status effects. Your wealth is always a status which decides your movement and can effect stories. Others are cards that can be both beneficial and dangerous. 

As the cards show married, cursed, pursued, wounded, and yes even sex-changed can happen. My character got married. Which can continually earn you points depending on your kids etc. However, Aladdin was cursed with a sex change and then pursued by a new lover! Seems my Tale was Ranma not Aladdin. The winner of the game had been kidnapped, cursed to be a werewolf but still managed to overthrow a Vizier. Since she was female couldn't marry the  princess but became the new Vizier (of Rome).

Overall this was a fun game. Where you are could effect the type of encounter. However, it could vary quite a bit. In many ways it was about mitigating negatives and survive to get enough destiny and story points. The variety of story and effects made the game a fun time of what will happen next? The statuses made the game shine. I see this game seeing a bit of play. I would not take this out with gamers who want a very competitive game. The theme is strong, however it borders on the ultimate choose your own adventure.

Betrayal at the House on the Hill

Three or more characters enter and explore a haunted mansion....unknowing that one of them is a traitor. The identity and the nature of the traitor is determined at a certain point into the game. Could they be an alien warping you into another realm? A cultist getting his Mummy Lord a Bride? There are about 50 possible scenarios.
The quality of the rooms is horrible and warp easy.

The first part of the game is building the house by exploring. As you enter a new room you place a new random tile matching the level you are on, basement, ground, or second floor. Your turn ends if an event, item, or omen is in the room. Omens are items/people that you collect. However, every time you pull an omen you need to roll. You roll six dice and if you roll under the number of omens, the traitor is revealed. That sounds tough, but the dice sides are blank, one, or two. The omen with the failed roll and the room decides which Haunt scenario occur. This will say who the traitor is. The traitor gets one briefing to read, the remaining players get a different briefing to read. 
My tentacled little kid taking out the professor...

This is a very hit or miss game. I like the building of the house and the various adventures. However, half the games I've played were good, the other half were not horrible, but not great. The game is best when short since it isn't really balanced. Some haunts greatly favor the Villain others the Heroes. The searching of the house doesn't really have enough theme. This means that the Haunt has to make up for that. This often can make an anticlimactic game if the Haunt is too one sided. I prefer Mansions of Madness. While that does have a set overlord and each mission has a set house, it is a better game. It still has random parts the overlord picks which can greatly change the feel. However, they are set made for the scenario so the theme builds up the experience.

So Arabian Nights I see more plays, not so many for Betrayal at the House on the Hill.

Random Stuff

So played some French Indian War Mini games. A lot of fun. The only bad thing is I'm now painting my redcoats for it. The red is fine, but they have a lot of yellow. My other two big projects arrived as well. First my great Christmas present of the Rorke's Drift Warlord Games set. The second is my French 30 years war models. Too many projects.