Friday, 22 August 2014

For Sale : 10,000 sq/ft Industrial Unit - slightly war torn

This week for the most part NoBoGers elected to play the old* favourites** with Pandemic, Lords of Waterdeep and Betrayal at House on the Hill first up on the tables in the Wherry Room.

*old - in terms of board game fads and newness about 12 months at most
**favourites - in terms of fickle gamers some will really like, and others declare absolutely broken ( mostly because they didn't win )

Betrayal at House on the Hill in particular has now been played so often at the Ribs, it's a wonder the regular players aren't all thoroughly experienced veterans that can list all the betrayals from memory. There may be lessons to be learned here for budding game designers about the compelling nature of the game as for my money there are not too many other games like it in terms of mechanics and how it plays, plus as a bonus the theme really works well.
A full and buzzing Wherry Room

Betrayal had two plays, one with a Dracula bad guy who was roundly beaten by the good guys, and a second... with an invincible traitor that must be killed with a statue. Sounds weird. I guess you had to be there.

The world of Pandemic meanwhile was being threatened by the very twelve monkey-esque bio terrorist challenge, where one of the players instead of tripping around the planet curing diseases is instead actively working towards bringing the zombie / mutant / pathogen apocalypse joy to the world at large. Happy days. Richard the IV was the bio-terrorist with a grudge ( don't blame me if you're now on an NSA web search watch list Richard... ) but failed in his task to bring a slightly insane Bruce Willis into time travelling reality.

Lords of Waterdeep had a blast at the far end, Lewis complained he was getting his butt kicked by a bunch of newbies mid game, but by the end had successfully shown them what a bunch of newbs they were and had won.

Upstairs a table of six took on some shorter games. Firstly there was Space Cadets Dice Duel - new for everyone at the table except myself. A stressful hour of dice rolling passed with two games, some role switching and a single victory for both teams. Mr Bond was very chuffed with the experience and declared the game to be the best thing ever. I think he was still adrenalin pumped at that point from all the split second dice rolling decision making. If you want to know what the game is about, a small vid of our first outing of this was posted a whileback.

Sentinel Tactics : Uprising
Afterwards we had some crazy camel racing in Camel Up - my first go at this. Cool stuff, and a little more involved than it first appears. The game is a fun, quick and light betting / racing game that manages to keep any Randomness to a reasonable minimum, and the capability for planning and working out odds to a maximum.  Even half a lap behind, it's still possible for some ridiculous camel to gallop into the lead, albeit very unlikely. A game of calculating risks, managing them, and trying to make more money than everyone else whilst doing it.

Lastly we gave Sentinel Tactics : Uprising a bit of a test play. Sentinel Tactics Uprising is a tactical super hero combat game, where each player controls a super hero ( or villain ) type, runs around a hexagonal based urban landscape, and attempts to Zap, Pow and Ker-Splat others into non existence. The game can be played in a few different ways - co-operatively against a story based challenge or competitively in a death match style. If you've ever played or heard of Heroclix, then, you'll get the idea.

We played in two teams of three in a death match style, grappled with the rules of orders, movement, range and shooting, and sallied forth to beat each other to a pulp.

Sentinel isn't based on any mainstream comicbook IP, so it won't have any names you are familiar with, but they follow tried and tested formulas of heroes and villains. Mr Bond got to play the "Invincible Bunker" which looked to be a slightly fat Ironman. I on the other hand got to play some random computer name, and it turned out I was an automated factory gone bad.

Just how an automated factory turns bad and then goes onto terrorise a neighbourhood is a very good question that is not really addressed. By necessity we made up our own narrative for my "character".

Covering a sizable chunk of the board, and for 10,000 square feet of prime Industrial Zone, surprisingly fleet footed, I managed to rocket jump half the map and attempt to grapple with Nicky's "The Wraith". Who promptly slipped away... Wraith like. Then again, it doesn't seem like that arduous of a task to actually dodge a 10,000 square feet industrial building that has menacing feelings towards you. Indeed you might not even realise a factory is harbouring menacing feelings towards you, such is their lack of general mobility. Or sentience. Dodging an evil factory should be a case of just slowly walking around it as opposed hitting your head on its door jam. Less Wraith like to dodge it then, and more just observing the Watch Your Head signage pasted on the front door.

Rich playing a rather suspect Ra "The Sun God" ( I am too a Sun God, look at this lovely tan... don't rile me, I'll give you such a sun burn ! ) turned out to be no such thing, and just plain old Bob from the Melanoma Sun Tan Clinic in a stupid outfit. "Ra" or Bob as we now know him jumped onto a building in turn one only to be turned to goop by the Wraith and the impressive weaponry of the Bunker.

After burning Ra, everyone turned their attention on my prime real estate, and begin firing flak cannons at my offices. This was unfortunate as at that point, having failed to engage The Wraith I had instead turned my energies into producing iPhone accessories for the mass market. Nicky trying to shut down production for good started throwing knives at me. Hmm. Not exactly something large industrial units tend to worry about - throwing knives. Nevertheless she did some damage - we concluded that she must have killed the caretaker or security guard - but this time failed to slip away and instead got buried under pile of automated production line and masonry. Bits of her will be showing up in iPhone accessories for the next six months.

After Rich dusted himself off and tried giving The Bond a blistering sun burn ( failed, of course ) we halted the game with 1 knock out each. A cool game if you like that kind of thing, it seemed a bit ill balanced for player versus player shenanigans unless you really know what you are doing and balance the teams accordingly. I'm not sure there is enough in it to make it tactically challenging, it comes down to getting there first, having most of your dice hit, and pummelling someone into the dirt before they can return the favour.

This game to me is pretty much the same as Heroclix - it's a slightly larger map scale, and a bit simpler than Heroclix, but eh, I think if you wanted to play something like this, I can't see why you wouldn't play Heroclix. Heroclix has the well known IP, a deeper more involved range of choices, and does the same job. Maybe I am missing something.

The evening finished for some with Splendor and Avalon Resistance, where Luke got to make one of his now customary faux pas by announcing that we - the bad guys - only need one more vote to fail. Thus condemning him to be identified as a filthy spy. Another one of those, oh, did I say that out loud moments.

Love Letter might also have briefly appeared.

Next week I shall be bringing the new and spanky Dead of Winter - a semi co-operative ( yay ?! ) game about surviving the zombie apocalypse. Or possibly just bringing the whole camp down and being an evil zombie loving betrayer. Boo. Featuring one player character of a Mall Santa, who is so appallingly bonkers / annoying / drunk, that the camp actually has morale improve when he "goes missing". Dark.

Other weeks :
 Rex has got a play 3 out of the last 4 weeks which I find surprising but very cool - it almost got played this week, but we opted for shorter things instead. Rex still intrigues me - simple, yet tricky. Limited, yet lots of choices. I think the whole game works on two things - the very asymmetrical player powers ( that are amazingly balanced ), and the possible alliance permutations ( and seating order and turn order and what that means for the game at large ).

Bora Bora made a return visit - only the second time this highly thought of game has been down the Ribs. A mystery why it hasn't turned up more often. Still haven't played it.

Rich got to teach Caverna. And kicked ass. Predictable. Possibly one ( the only ? ) flaw in Caverna - its predictability.

Sam got to play Mission Red Planet, full of confidence on having won before. And crashed to a defeat his confidence balloon popped. He had got engaged in a bit of a power tussle. And distracted. It happens. Mission Red Planet is a nice little game. And is rumoured to be getting an FFG reprint.

The other Sam kicked ass at Kemet. A victory at his own game. Avoiding the embarrassment of being beaten by newbies - although Luke was also playing who has quite the experience with the game now.

Lastly, have some pictures from the last few weeks.


Bora Bora

Camel Up



Numbers for the last 3 weeks - 20, 25, 23. Less busy than usual !


Ewan Craig said...

Definately up for dead of winter, sounds amazing. Any squirrels?

Minitrue said...

Alas no squirrels. Just a dog. Which you could pick as one of your starting characters....

I am interested to see how well the game plays - I am always dubious about card driven games. Had to get it because it reminded me of the infamous squirrels. Plus, it's a semi co-op betrayal game. Cool.