The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Archive for the ‘Session Reports’ Category

Thirty Eight …

and counting


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

Thirty-Seven …

Written by taogaming

May 20, 2018 at 3:54 pm

Posted in Session Reports

Catching up on ‘Advance on Hannukah’

Got in another two games of Mimsy Harmonica (the East Expansion), over the last week, which is good. First of all I’m moving towards 50 games, but also because I’ve been rethinking strategy. I still think the nerfing of tokens to “1 VP per” is reasonable (and not as big as I expected) but I think we’re seeing our groupthink adjust. (Also, see this strategy thread for details). Both games were 5 player.

I am convinced the East Expansion open more options than the base game … but both of our games saw the winner end the game with the 7 point connection. But I think that just means that players are undervaluing that. No, what interests me is that the second game saw two players going for diametrically opposite strategies. One player went tech and got to 5 Actions before anyone else got to 4 (in fact, nobody else did). He then maxed out bags, movement and privileges for 16 points of tech. However, the game ended too fast for that to matter, as I had (after I got my first action and the orange privilege) completely ignored tech.

(Link to BGG Map image, to help follow along).

I did do a “grab two sides of the token and slap a few down” trick until blocked, but I use the special ability of the Malmo/Visby(?) route to place in a green city to slap a dude in Warren (the action city). As my token ends were in Stettin (adjacent to Warren, the action/bag city) Rulm(?) this got me about 1/2 way to connecting the Reds without needing a second disk, and guaranteed a reasonable steady stream of points. (I also took one of the cities next to the Magdeburg (the privilege city) and another side of Warren. All told by the time I made the Red city connection I had ~16 city points. In fact, I was almost unable to make the final connection,  as I only had 3 cubes + 1 disk left. But it would have required a concerted effort to block all my options, and it didn’t happen (and I could have simply scored points between my doubled cities).

So — apart from my first game — I’ve still never seen someone win with only two actions, but this means you can go quite light on technologies even against an action fiend. May only be true in 5 player, but its another nice option. I’ll admit that H.T. could reasonably be called JASE, but the “get in someone’s way to cost them a little and gain a little” intrigues me, even after 40 games.

I do need to play the UK map more. Only played that twice.

Also played — Sagrada. Meh.

Written by taogaming

March 27, 2018 at 9:19 pm

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March Madness

In January and February I played Mage Knight (with the TaoLing), Sentinels (with the TaoLing), Bridge and Factorio. Now that March is nearly halfway over, I’ve finally managed to play a few multi-player games. The most interesting of which is Sidereal Confluence. I’m not likely to play that often — I suspect I will be going to game nights a bit more often, but we’ll see. And I’ll try to get a game or two at the Gathering. Random thoughts after one game:

  • Kudos for the word “Adhocracy.” I’ve used this word a few times in the last decade (to discuss politics or the organizational structure at my job) and I enjoy it. I suspect TauCeti and I came up with it independently, but maybe one of us caught it from the other (or both from a common source I’ve forgotten).
  • But … offsetting that are Anti-Kudos for the colon in the game title (and sub-title). That bane of book titles must perish from the face of gaming.
  • For a simple game it felt daunting to learn, but I think I got it after about 30 minutes.  Even when you grok the rules players face the “Race Tableau” problem — you are staring at your own stuff and can’t work out what other people are doing. That will (like Race) probably take a few games to overcome.
  • My initial reaction to the number of trading goods was like the Emperor’s reaction in Amadeus. “Too many notes.” But as most of the items are just chaff for industrial processes (ships and VPs excepted) I don’t think its a problem. And I suspect that when playing with more than 4-5 it feels a bit looser.
  • I do like the trading mechanisms of “Trades continue until all players but one are done.”
  • I’m not proud. I picked the Caylion (a low difficulty race) that (I now see in the rules) has “no particular direction” so I could take what was offered. I won. Coincidence? You be the judge.

Anyway, I expected to be intrigued by this, and I was. Will play a few more times before rating, probably suggest (but not buy).

Werewords — Fine. I’m not in the Werewolf target audience, but One Night Werewolf (etc) is fine. Indifferent.

Meltdown 2020 — I had actually played this before. We played with a rule or two wrong, but this was fine. Indifferent.

Written by taogaming

March 12, 2018 at 11:01 pm

Posted in Session Reports

Fifty by Fifty update

As man ages, he ponders the ever-decreasing chances of finishing his fifty by fifty challenge.

Vhojha Moi! Three years since I posted it. And almost no games added.

Some were probably over fifty when I posted, but I waited a few years to get a few more plays. There are a handful of titles sitting at 40+ plays. For those, a small effort will get me there, but probably no more than 5-10 more.

Which means I need to play 5-10 games 25+ times each in the next two years to make it.

Unlikely, considering my declining gaming habits. (And number of games played so far this year? Zero, not counting a bit of Bridge).

But …. 25 games is slightly more than 1 play a month for each game. The alternative is to find a new game and crush it. There may be 1-2 of those in the next year, but I doubt it. So, I think I’m going to replace most of my ‘new’ games in the bag with ‘classic’ games.

Probably won’t make it to fifty, though. Not in time.

Written by taogaming

January 16, 2018 at 8:29 pm

Posted in Session Reports

2017 Year in Review

Well, here’s the damage:

  • 70 different games (counting the various Quartermaster General titles as separate games).
  • 225-ish total games, including 75 games of Jump Drive and 48 sessions of Bridge

The low total is mostly accounted by the general malaise of the times, the TaoLing’s new schedule, and Factorio.

The notables:

  • The aforementioned 75 games of Jump Drive
  • A mere 48 sessions of Bridge
  • About 30 games of Mage Knight
  • 19 games of High Frontier, mostly in a few months around the Gathering
  • 9 games of Magic Realm, mostly in January
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse squeaked in with a dime, at 13 games, but probably 5 of those were last week.
  • Magic Maze gets a dime, as does Boggle
  • Other nickels: Android Netrunner, Fairy Tale, Bowling Solitaire, Power Grid the Card Game, Star Realms, and Poker.

The bad noteworthy

After buying the Colonists (based on a single 2-era game) I played only a quick learning game with the TaoLing. Poor showing for a new game, a poor showing. I managed to squeeze in 1846 on New Year’s Eve. With a ton of rules wrong. For older games, I also played a game of Combat Commander Europe. Not many purchases. Colonists, High Frontier, Jump Drive (technically that was right before this year, I think), Magic Maze, Wild Blue Yonder, maybe another small game or two.

Anyway, Happy New Year!


Written by taogaming

January 1, 2018 at 1:36 am