søndag 12. august 2018

Twilight Imperium (#2): Muaat's Revenge

We get together for another game, just one week after the previous one!

We give everyone 3 random races to pick from. I get Federation of Sol (Blue), Remi takes the Naalu Collective (Green), Dag-Erling goes for the Nekro Virus (Red), and Leif can not resist the temptation of starting with War Suns and takes Embers of Muaat (Yellow).

The galaxy is split with mostly hazards and empty space dividing it into one area with Sol and Naalu, and one with Nekro and Muaat.




Round 1

I get a pretty perfect start. My Strategy Cards were Leadership and Politics. After grabbing the nearest system, Warfare secondary allows me to build another cruiser at home. Diplomacy gives me two untaps. I tech to Gravity Drive, and then I am able to leapfrog next to Mecatol, and also grab a green tech planet. Six planets after the first turn! Four of them are Hazards so I score Corner the Market, too.

My secret objective is the one to finish off a fleet with a PDS, a really rubbish objective, I have no plans to go PDS route.

Sol: 1, Rest: 0




Round 2


I take Imperial and Trade. I start off by grabbing Mecatol on my first move. This is when it gets pretty weird. Nekro offers an alliance and agrees to divide up the planets with Muaat, even giving a Ceasefire. Instead of moving on Mecatol, as agreed, Muaat breaks the truce and blows up Nekro's fleet with his War Sun. Evidently Leif still remembered being stabbed in the face by Dag-Erling in the previous game, and he is out for blood!

I am quite happy, I was ready to abandon Mecatol after playing Imperial. Now I got to build a PDS there instead... perhaps it will hold...

Due to a misplay Muaat only brings one infantry to land on the Nekro homeworld... which was shot down by the PDS. Nekro survives... barely...

Round 3


We had a fairly uneventful round on my part, but Muaat and Nekro kept fighting.




I am pretty happy with how it's going. I skip a green tech so now I get 4 command tokens per turn. I score Intimidate Council.

Sol: 4, Muaat: 1, Naalu: 1, Nekro: 0




Round 4


I take Imperial again. I score, but get get evicted by Naalu's - he already has the super fighters. Glad to see at least one of my opponents is being responsible, or this will be a short game. I build a lot of fleet and grab some other planets from Naalu, just to keep him busy. Nekro manages to kill the War Sun in a last ditch effort, allowing them to rebuild at home. Muaat builds another War Sun.

Sol: 5, Muaat: 1, Naalu: 1, Nekro: 0

We grab pizza and Dag-Erling's excellent home made pale ale.





Round 5


Naalu moves out of Mecatol. I am not sure why. I move in. I score Develop Weaponry (2 unit techs) and my secret objective Learn Secrets of the Cosmos (fleet near 3 anomalies).

I am at 7 points, and when Manipulate Galactic Law is flipped I am pretty sure I cannot be stopped.




Round 6


I take Imperial to force Naalu to immediately go for Mecatol. The 8 infantry I end up with are not enough to keep away Naalu's flagship and fighter swarm. I get kicked out again.

I then play Imperial to score Manipulate Galactic Law before I can lose too many planets.

My 21 infantry at Sol get hit by the plague. Net result? I lose 2 troops after rolling 5+ on 7 of 9 kills.




In the status phase I score Lead from the Front, for 10 points!




Final Standings


Sol 10
Naalu 5
Muaat 3
Nekro 2




Another sweet victory, helped by the never-ending revenge of Muaat! Naalu did what he could, but my lead was too much.




This game is just too much fun!

Edit: One round was missing in there, I think it's correct now.

First Impressions: Dark Souls

Fredrik here at Megapop just got Dark Souls, all models painted by a friend of his. So, after work last Friday we went depressing dungeon crawling! The art design is bleak, which seems right and proper.

Dark Souls must be the first board game I have ever seen that actually copies the concept of grinding from the computer game. When you are defeated, or just think you cannot clear the next room, you go back to the first tile, get all your resources returned - and the monsters respawn! While very thematic, since Dark Souls the computer game is a game where you just die and die and die, I am not sure whether it was a wise move to keep it... once you have gotten a few upgrades the low level rooms are pretty easy to do, so basically you just waste time playing them again.


A Level I Encounter


After clearing a few rooms, our somewhat under-powered party get to the boss. Most of the stuff we had found was magic weapons, but the boss higher magic defense. So they did not really help a lot.

The mechanic here is that the boss has a sequence of moves that will be repeated, so when you know what the boss is doing, you can place your adventurers so that attacks will not hit your entire party.


We enter the boss room

The boss fight also took a while! We got it down to about half hit points, and then I got killed. We were not good at computing what the boss was doing, that is for sure.


Attack! Block! Dodge! Splat!


Yep. They have that in the box, as well.




We had fun, the game is decent, and the boss fight was quite challenging. The miniatures are quite nice, not quite the same as miniature games, but way better than most board games.

I have just played the dungeon crawler Gloomhaven all summer, and it's pretty hard not to compare games here. The combat and levels in Dark Souls are quite repetitive and simplistic, nowhere as challenging and varied as Gloomhaven. The Dark Souls campaign seems pretty much identical to just playing the base game more times, keeping your gear between levels.

Since players in Dark Souls only have the objective of winning as a group, all decisions are made as a group. This removes one of the most fun things in cooperative games - the option to sometimes be selfish and not cooperate.

Verdict: 3/6. An OK game, no huge flaws, and nothing that really stood out either. The game did feel a little bit repetitive, even on the first playthrough. I did like that the boss fight was really difficult. We definitely had a fun time, so I'd be happy to give it another go.

fredag 10. august 2018

First Impressions: Founders of Gloomhaven

Founders of Gloomhaven is a euro game where the players score points by building Gloomhaven. I was pretty excited to try the game, since I absolutely love the Gloomhaven legacy game.




The basic game is to build resource buildings that use resources from other resource buildings (for example, People + Stone are required to build Bricks. Scoring buildings are placed as the game goes on, and if one is connected to your resources of the correct type, then you get points.

It was not that bad in the beginning when options were rather limited, but the complexity soon explodes. You need influence on resources to be able to build the more advanced resource buildings, and then you need to build roads, and you need to time everything so that another player does not grab things before you. This can be pretty hard to control since other players also decide what order actions happen in and what those actions are.

As the game progresses it gets pretty crazy. I found myself having to think and check and think and check all the time in order to figure out what was actually connected where, and who could do what. Add in a lot of restrictions on where buildings can be placed, voting, special action cards, special connections only one player can use, workers, special building abilities, special racial abilities, and it just becomes way too much stuff to keep track of.

I played Twilight Imperium for the first time last weekend and even that monster of a game was way easier to get into than Founders of Gloomhaven.

Maybe there is some fun to be had if you play it a lot of times and start learning the strategies... but there is no way I will bother to put in all those play sessions when there are a bunch of more accessible and fun games to pick from.

Verdict: This game is not very good. Three of the four players seemed fairly confident they would never play it again. I'll generously give it 2 out of 6 for being pretty and with good quality components.


onsdag 8. august 2018

Twilight Imperium!

My first ever game of Twilight Imperium! I got a demo of this game on Arcon this year. My son thought it looked awesome, and I was pretty impressed too... so when a used copy appeared in the Cardboard Cræck group I snapped it up - after some bidding, even, which seemed appropriate.

We took the 6 suggested starting races and default galaxy, and everyone got dealt a random race. Going around the table, I got Empirates of Hacan, Leif got the Sardakk N'orr, Dag-Erling got the Universities of Jol-Nar, and Lars got Barony of Letnev.




The game started with me sprinting for Mecatol Rex and getting there first, also playing an Imperial. Looking nice! Everyone got worried. I did throw up a PDS at Mecatol, and a fairly big fleet.

There was a lot of fun with the agendas. My ambassador even got shot at an inopportune moment! Nothing really gummed up my plans, though.

It took some time before I got evicted by the Sardakk N'orr, who got duly stabbed in the face by Jol-Nar. Never trust a fish!

I had 7 points at that time. I turtled up as well as I could and scored the last 3 points right after. Jol-Nar thought they would win on the next turn... but there was no next turn!




The final score


Hacan 10
Jol-Nar 7
Letnev 4
Sardakk N'orr 3

We did a couple of rule mistakes (everyone was new to 4th edition). Everyone got 1 command instead of 2 each turn (yeah, that misprinted tech card tricked us). Also, we started with commodities. I discovered only after the game that you don't get them at the beginning.




This game is great fun! Epic, the rules are good, and the game flows well. Randomized objectives are great in games like this, continually forcing people to do stuff they rather maybe not do.

I especially like the excellent rules for trade and diplomacy. The trade good system forces players to interact all the time to get their extra resources, and all that silly crap and backstabbing going on at the Galactic Council is just hilarious.





tirsdag 29. mai 2018

Guild Ball: Brewers Cup - Falconers sighted!

We had a double event this weekend. Steve Margetson, who works as a game designer at Steamforged Games, was invited by our excellent LFGS Outland to give a talk. Also, he would join us Norwegians on Sunday for the Brewer's Cup hosted at Brygg. Our first international Guild Ball visitor ever, I think. Also, he brought Falconers, making this the first ever tournament for that guild.

I had met him once before at BonesCon, nice to see him again, such a nice guy!

We talked for a couple of hours about GB game design, the future, and got a spoiler - Horizon will only be worth 1 VP. Local pundit Stig was giddy with excitement, that man loves his spoilers. :D

Brewers Cup


I brought my now pretty much fixed Fishermen lineup to the tournament.

Captains: Corsair, Shark
Mascot: Tentacles
Squaddies: Angel, Greyscales, Hag, Jac, Sakana, Siren
Union: Gutter ( while it lasts... :D )


Looks like you can learn to brew beer here, this must be tested at some point


I had spent some time looking at Falconers in case I was lucky to get a game. Corsair seems like the better pick, Falconers are fragile, and Corsair and Jac can tank better than the Shark lineup.

Pub opens, I go for one of my summertime favorites, Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc, game on!

Match 1: Corsair vs Theron


Gaspard has been away for a couple of months, nice to see him back!

I don't like Shark into Hunters, so it's going to be Corsair. I pick Angel for the first turn goal threat. He picks all the damage dealers including the new Veteran Minx. Jac gets scrum control duty.

Fishermen: Corsair, Tentacles, Angel, Hag, Jac, Gutter
Hunters: Theron, Fahad, Hearne, Veteran Minx, Seenah, Zarola




First round, Hag grabs the ball and passes it to Angel. Corsair pulls in Theron and he and Gutter get him down to 5 health. Angel scores as the last activation, and moves up to engage the bear. I had forgotten about the automatic 2" push so that was not a great idea.

Next round, my first activation is to put Angel on 6 defense, to make the Hunters spend as much influence as possible on her. She has already scored so she is not so important now.




Gutter takes out Theron, then Shark waddles up and starts beating on Zarola. I lose Angel. Jac resets the scrum, moving out Hearne and the Bear and leaving Minx and Zarola engaged.

Corsair takes out Zarola and Minx, and then everyone piles up on Hearne after Hag pulls him into the crowdout. Hearne goes down. Fishermen win 12-2.

I think having more control maybe makes for a better Hunters lineup than going pure beater like this list.

Match 2: Shark vs Tapper


Corsair is not happy with Tapper and all the Tough Hide, and Esters ignores a drag and has good control. So I drop Shark, even if I am not receiving. Next beer on tap: Brooklyn Lager.


Fishermen: Shark, Tentacles, Greyscales, Hag, Sakana, Siren
Brewers: Tapper, Scum, Friday, Hooper, Spigot, Veteran Decimate





Shark kicks, Hooper grabs the ball, passes it to Spigot, Shark does Shark things, goal! A good start. Since I saw a goal run I went for it immediately, even if it meant Shark would almost certainly die.




Shark survives the first round, for some reason. Friday is holding the ball but I can get to her with Greyscales, so Fredrik is forced to use Friday to take out Shark. Sakana gets the ball and kicks it away so that Siren can get it. Decimate pushes Sakana off the table. Score is 4-4.

Fredrik was really nice to give me a takeback after I head miscalculated the dice when Sakana was trying to get the ball - I thought I did not get a critical dodge, but I had forgotten Anatomical Precision for some reason. Maybe the beer was getting to me. Great sport!




The ball is passed around the pitch until it ends up with Greyscales, who scores. Shark is then able to zoom up the pitch and get hold of the ball again, making it 12-4.




Finally, I got revenge! I am pretty sure the last time I beat Fredrik was last year, I think he had at least 5 straight wins against me.

We had a discussion about the game afterwards. We agreed his main mistake was not using Friday to kill the ball. 5/1 is tricky to deal with for Fishermen, since my tackles are at 2. The worst option is Greyscales with a 21% per attack to get the ball. Shark has 32%. My best bet is Sakana, with 53% due to Anatomical Precision. Siren only gets one shot with her Seduction, however it has a 70% chance to land. If Friday is in cover or I am forced into crowd outs, it gets a lot worse.

I think the matchup is playable by either faction. Certainly the threat and flexibility of Veteran Decimate makes it a lot more even than it used to be.




Match 3



Last match I get Gaute playing Masons, and since we are the only two who are 2-0 this will be the last match. This matchup is list chicken. Corsair does not want Hammer, who outfights him, and Shark versus Honour is at best even. At least I am receiving. I drop Shark and get Hammer, which makes me happy. Another Blanc 1664, and off we go!





I blind Hammer and Shark lands the first turn goal. I am not able to get away from his threat range, though, so Shark gets boxed in.






Round 2, Mallet takes out Shark and Hammer drops Siren, so we are back at 4-4. I get the ball with Sakana and score again. Hammer hammers Sakana into the dirt.

Flint receives the ball but is engaged by Shark. He has to run out of my melee to reach the goal. I bonus time the parting blow and get a pretty lucky 5 hits (25% chance). This allows me to get the ball away from his guys and over to Greyscales.

Shark is taken out again, but now Gaute runs out of time. It's probably impossible for him to get 2 takeouts in time, but I do my goal run anyway since he cannot really get hold of the ball even if I miss. The final score is 12-8 to the Fishermen. Victory!

Post Mortem


Well, that went well! Both Fredrik and I were checking Longshanks in the bar afterwards. Damn it, but he is still ahead of me!




And Steve is now the #1 Falconer in the world!




Steve had time for a game afterwards - so I got my Falconers match, which I will post soon!


mandag 28. mai 2018

Guild Ball: Hungarian Nationals 2018

I went to the Hungarian Nationals this year. This time I brought my wife & kid along for the trip, making it a long weekend in beautiful Budapest. Pro tip for the married: Getting time for tournaments is easier


View of Budapest from Gellert Hill


Things got pretty stressed during the tournament, 5 games in a single day, with very little time for breaks. So going through the pictures I see that I have way too little to do the normal battle reports here, but I'll give a brief overview.


If things go south, at least I'll have this.


Match 1: Corsair vs Ferrite


My first game was against Gordon Johnston, super nice guy who even gave a little gift before the match - a postcard from Northern Ireland, a couple of dice, and a proxy base!

Fishermen: Corsair, Tentacles, Angel, Hag, Sakana, Gutter
Blacksmiths: Ferrite (Captain), Alloy, Cinder, Furnace, Hearth, Iron

My picks here were both the Anatomical Precision models, of course. Not so sure about why I picked Angel here, I usually prefer her when receiving.




Corsair kicked. The first round I grabbed Cinder and took her out with Gutter. Gordon tried to keep his pieces far away, giving me control of the center of the board. I know Corsair is scary - but I think giving up control of the center is pretty dangerous. 2-0 to Fishermen.




Second round, Alloy tried to flank to the far right on the pitch - so close that Angel was able to charge in and push him straight off the pitch! Not often Angel does a takeout... but today it happened. 4-0 to Fishermen.




After this, the Blacksmiths started punching back. Iron took out Hag, then I got the ball with Sakana and landed a goal. I cannot quite recall what happened next, but I pretty sure Blacksmiths scored. I finished the game off with the Cap'n himself using his legendary and scoring. Final score: 12-6 to the Blacksmiths.




Match 2: Corsair vs Ratcatchers


Fishermen: Corsair, Tentacles, Angel, Hag, Jac, Gutter
Ratcatchers: The box.

Played this game against Attila Kovacs from Hungary.




My notes here are pretty limited. I kicked. The game started off with Corsair taking out Miasma quickly. Piper then did a goal run with Pelage doing the kick.




The Corsair ball then kept trundling up the center, while I did takeout after takeout. Tentacles babysat the ball. Piper fell in round 2.




He did get one more takeout, I think it was Gutter. I kept beating up his models, controlling the ball, and using Jac to reposition pieces. I then finally passed the ball over to Angel, who closed out the game. Final result was 12-6 to the Fishermen.

Match 3: Corsair vs Shark


Piratey Fishermen: Corsair, Tentacles, Angel, Hag, Jac, Gutter
Kicky Fishermen: Shark, Tentacles, Angel, Greyscales, Sakana, Siren

Next game was a mirror against Sylwester Szewczyk from Poland.

I was sure it was going to be a Corsair mirror and was pretty happy when my opponent dropped Shark. Getting the ball of Corsair is not easy for a Shark team, outside Siren. My plan was simple: Hold the ball, kill his models.




Shark scored the first goal, as Sharks do. But that was it.

I wish I had taken a picture if all my 5 Fishermen standing in a circle - with Tentacles holding onto the ball in the middle. The end result was 12-4 to me, after doing 7 takeouts - including the mascot.

I think this matchup is terrible for Shark. Getting the ball off the Corsair murder ball is just so difficult, and he has to do half of my work for me by feeding me his models to do so.

So, it's three matches and three wins! I have done much better than I expected, so already I am pretty happy. :D

Match 4: Corsair vs Pin Vice


Fishermen: Corsair, Tentacles, Angel, Hag, Jac, Gutter
Hunters: Pin Vice, Mother, Compound, Hoist, Locus, Ratchet


Fourth game was against Wolfgang Weber from Austria.





I was getting the fight I was dreading - I have hardly played against Engineers. I think I haven't had any games since last year. I know they are good and a rough matchup for Fishermen. So I let blogging be blogging, took no pictures and focused 100% on the game.

My opponent got a good setup with Hoist and Ratchet behind a wall shooting things away, preventing drags, and I was not careful to keep my models 3" away from each other, taking a lot of damage that I should not have taken. Also, Pin Vice is quite the monster when she goes in with Tooled Up and Deletion. When I have played against her before it has been more football, but this setup was all damage and tanking.



I got Hag, Gutter and Tentacles taken out landing behind 0-5, before I scored with Angel and took out Ratchet going to 6-5. Pin Vice then scored a goal, there was one more takeout on each side, and then Tentacles again. I ended up losing 12-9 in the end, after Wolfgang had timed out.

It was extremely close, his only possible takeout at the end was Tentacles - who I forgot to heal back up. If I had not messed that move up then it's likely that I would have won on activations. But hey, with only two minutes left it gets hard to remember everything!

Wolfgang played an excellent game, and went on to win the entire tournament. Nicely done!

Match 5: Corsair vs Theron


Fishermen: Corsair, Tentacles, Angel, Hag, Jac, Gutter
Hunters: Theron, Fahad, Chaska, Egret, Jaecar, Zarola

Last game was against  Jan Geric from Slovenia.

I am totally exhausted now. The Engineer match was really hard and went to time, and the next game was starting right away. My opponent Jan was kind enough to suggest I take a 10 minute break before we start the final match. Thanks Jan, I needed that! :D




I got an early takeout by using the Hag legendary and Fisher's Reel to get Corsair into position to drag. But, I got to see how ridiculously hard Jaecar hits when all the debuffs are stacked. I missed a critical 2 dice Blind, which allowed Jaecar a charge on Corsair, and then he spiked like mad - rolling one single 1 with all his attacks, he rolled 28 dice or something. This was exactly enough damage to take out Corsair.

I thought I was way ahead, and suddenly things were pretty even again!

There was a lot of crazyness with dodges, Pinned, Goad, pushes and so on to get things into the right places. Jan did a great job trying to make things hard for me.




The match ended with Corsair himself landing the decisive goal, on a 3 dice kick needing 5+ to hit. If I had failed then Angel would definitely have died on the next activation. In the end, luck was on my side, and I won 12-10.




Post Mortem

I am happy with how this all turned out. Going 4-1 and placing 4th was definitely better than I had expected!

It was a really great tournament. Well organized, and friendly people all around. I can recommend making the trip, and Budapest is a really nice destination too!

Afterwards we went out for some well deserved steak and beer at Stex House.

After that the vacation continued... here my son is steering some bike-car thing we hired out on Magaret Island, dodging pedestrians and buses.

We biked around, looked at the ruins, and spent a day relaxing and swimming at the pools there.




I hope to be back next year!

mandag 23. april 2018

Guild Ball: Kristiania Tiger Cup - April

Kristiania Tiger Cup is back, and this time I am the organizer!

Our local pundit Stig was happy that someone else was doing it for a change. He has been doing great work building the Guild Ball community in Norway, but really there is no reason why he should do it nearly all by himself.

I had not used Longshanks for organizing tournaments before, but it was super easy and totally intuitive. Thanks Sam, for making such an awesome tool!

I also played, bringing my regular Fish lineup, no surprises:

Corsair
Shark

Tentacles

Angel
Greyscales
Hag
Jac
Sakana
Siren

Gutter (Union)

Outland was so kind as to provide prize support. One free Guild Ball 6-man box to the winner!


I have been very busy lately, so I don't have time for the full match reports! Quick recap:

Match 1: Corsair vs Piper



The first game was vs. the Ratcatchers! I dropped Corsair, because I think he is a much stronger drop than Shark. The Ratcatchers can shoot Shark clean off the table, and he certainly does not want to be snared, diseased and momentum starved. Corsair, on the hand, can pull in the fairly weak Ratcatchers and beat them up.




Some serious gang up bonuses in progress after Scourge elected to charge into the scrum. Poor Scourge!




Piper got a goal in!



The end result was 12-4 to the Fishermen in the middle of round 2. Angel scored 2 goals in 2 rounds, and Corsair had a couple of takeouts.





Match 2: Corsair vs Piper


More Rats, this time against Fredrik!




The game become very tight, with no-one able to command a lead.




We both timed out, but I was one point ahead - until Fredrik managed a takeout on Tentacles and swapped the pressure onto me.

The end result was 12-11 to the Ratcatchers. Close one! I think this is the 5th game in a row I lose against Fredrik. Damnit! :D


Match 3: Shark vs Hammer


This would be the last game of the tournament. I wanted a fun Shark game, and Masons is one of the matchups I like him in.

Shark lands the first one, and Hammer gets blinded.




Unfortunately Shark gets pushed into range and then boxed in anyway.




Sakana mangages to land the next two goals.







End result, 12-4 to the Fishermen!


Post Mortem



Ratcatchers sure have a lot of tools, but it seems like it will be tricky for them to get the ball back off Corsair after scoring the first goal - and I think Corsair beats harder, so he will be my drop into them in Hungary next week.


Event results on Longshanks. Fredrik wins with the Ratcatchers, and I take second.