The Tao of Gaming

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Probably could have been added when the list started, just because I must have played it fifty times. But I wanted a fair number of recorded plays on it too….

Check it.


Written by taogaming

December 12, 2018 at 9:49 pm

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Gaming A to Z with a quick stop at U

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Some Quick thoughts:

Azul — The Stained Glass of Sintra — I was not a huge Azul fan. I’m not a fan of this variant. I think it doesn’t help that I played both games (once each) with the max number of players. Indifferent.

AuZtralia — I’m kind of a Wallace anti-fan, such that I often turn down his games (although I’d play Age of Steam again and wouldn’t mind getting Struggle of Empires back to the table) and so when this was pulled out I got a somewhat deranged “glance around the room and check the exits” vibe. And honestly, by the end of the rules I would have happily jumped out if someone else wanted to play. And during the early part of the game … I felt nothing. This is one of those “Whoever has spent the last time goes next” but unlike the more interesting games, as soon as you are out of last you are done. So it often goes A-B-C-D-D-B-C-A but sometimes you spend 2-3 time and it goes A-B (spend 2)-C-D-D-C (spend 2)-A-A-D-D-A-B….

And you pay a penalty for taking the same action multiple times before you “sweep your board clean” of action markers (at the cost of a time), which frankly makes me think Wallace is going soft. It’s like a non-crippling loan — totally out of place in his work.

And frankly I’m not wild about the thematic mixing of Age of Industry with Cthulhu. (Really all Lovecraftian stuff is done to death). But I admit that once we hit the part where the monsters started activating, it became more interesting. We all lost (rather quickly) to C, but I’d give it another try or two. Tentatively Indifferent plus.

My copy of SpaceCorp arrived, sadly lacking in either the letter ‘Z’ or ‘U’. Haven’t played it, but some quick thoughts:

  • No inserts, and a box big enough to support the punched game. Nice heft.
  • Having totally distinct rulebook for Multiplayer and Solo (even though 80% of the rules are the same) is an … interesting decision. I do worry that I’ve only skimmed the solo and would miss out a subtle different, but it does really look like it’s just a cut and paste. If you only play one way or the other, that’s no doubt better. But if you play both (which I intend to) … I’m not sure how I feel about it.
  • In order to get a feel I quickly (well, punching and reading rules was slow) set up a 2 player game (to avoid the whole “automated opponent” rules) and played out a fair chunk of the first map and … it seems easy enough. Maybe too easy. Frankly that may be a function of comparison to High Frontier, where getting to the moon is an hour or two of assembling various parts and here its. “Oh, I need to have 4 points of move and I start with 2 move cards already.” Everything is easy but its a race. But by the second map it starts to add more rules and bigger numbers and rule-breaker cards…
  • But since I got it for solo games, we’ll have to wait until I have a chance to play that a bit.
  • Update — The components are mostly good and readable, but the colonies have a small legend like “124” indicating it is used for 1,2 or 4 players, and I really had to get out my jeweler’s loupe to read them. I posted a solitaire game session to BGG.

Unrelated Update — Looks like the Root balance fixes are posted.

Written by taogaming

December 11, 2018 at 10:02 pm

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Shards of Infinity 3 Player

Played a few 3er games, using the rule that all damage (and destruction effects) hit both opponents (you assign for each) to make no kingmaking. Just a few games, but some thoughts.

  • If I thought early beat down was effective then … vhojha moi!
  • Therefore shields are much better. Cryptofist monks were in high demand.
  • Going last feels much worse, for two reasons:
    • There are often 2-3 good cards in the initial offering, so getting second pick is reasonable. But you will get a worse card much more often.
    • You are always a turn behind on getting beat down.
  • I’d suggest start player rotates each round, except…..that would do weird things to shields (at some times, a shield would protect you for two turns). As a practical matter perhaps the last player should get three mastery instead of two (which gives them a shot of getting to five on T2, prior to playing their shard reactor), or 2 mastery but starting at fifty three life (unable to go above fifty once you drop to it).

I would definitely suggest that 4 player with teams of two that Players 1 and 4 should be teammates.

Despite the early beat down propensity, one game ended with the TaoLing knocked down to 1 Life, at 13 Mastery facing an opponent with 20+ life and the ability to do at least one damage next turn …. The TaoLing played a few cards, then dropped Omnius the All Knowing to draw two cards and earned five mastery for Dominion. He bought  master and earned one from a card, then played Ojas to copy Omnius twice, which put him at 30 mastery with his entire hand in his deck, save one card … his Infinity Shard.

So he bought the cheapest cards available and luckily (for him, not so much me) a Data Heretic showed up and he burned it to draw the Shard and win one of the best comebacks I’ve seen in any game in a while.

Written by taogaming

October 22, 2018 at 7:00 pm

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Written by taogaming

September 4, 2018 at 7:59 pm

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A rather big month of gaming

In the last month, I’ve played:

Written by taogaming

September 3, 2018 at 9:37 pm

Thirty Eight …

Written by taogaming

June 9, 2018 at 10:17 am

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Memorial Weekend Gaming

I finally tried Evolution — we played a six player “Quick start” rules (since there were several new players). Apparently — for I did not read the rules — the difference is that all card plays are roughly simultaneous, as compared to around the board each turn. This does speed things up (and may perhaps be worthwhile to play with 3-5 players). Honestly, I like many of the evolution games I’ve tried. (Which reminds me, I need to try the Bios line … isn’t there a 2nd ed of megafauna coming out?) And judging by the umpty-million expansions, this is a popular title.

I’m firmly in the “It’s perfectly fine” camp, but both the TaoLing and the Cute One liked it, so I may pick up a copy.

Also played Songbirds, although I played a Japanese copy that had “Birdie Fight” (much better name).  You take turns playing birds in a grid, and the bird (suit) that wins each row/column scores it, but you score the bird (and value) of the card you kept. More clever than gripping.

And speaking of expansions, played Ticket to Ride: Rails and Snails. Firstly, the possibilities for knicknaming this game overwhelm the senses. (“Trails of Snails” is my favorite so far — and possibly a good band name — but it’s early days).  This is the 8th different version of TtR I’ve played; and its fine although does start to feel like a “too many notes” situation. Fiddly setup (having to count out trains and ships and then select some) and trains and ships in 6 (?) different suits, some ships being double and some cards being harbors and pretty big hands sizes. That being said, it still works. (We got a rule or two wrong, but it’s a resilient design).

I think all the new games were indifferent-ish, but I’d play them all another time or two.

As for old games….

We dusted off BSG, for my first play in years. (Sadly, one player had to leave mid-game, which made it … odd, and a Cylon rout).

Played my 100th game of Coup. Played another game of Food Chain Magnate, Too Many Cinderellas, some Jump Drive …. all told, lots of gaming.

Written by taogaming

May 29, 2018 at 10:10 pm