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English first edition
Year: 2011
7
Dec 2013
N/A
Owned
Oh! Hi there!

Chances are you just clicked on my Games Owned or Commented, saw a bunch of Munchkin stuff and recoiled in disgust.

It's not what you think, honest!

I assure you I am a discerning gamer who lives for true strategery and decisions so meaningful they make grown men weepy. I must admit, however, that I do enjoy "stupid fun" just as much as a rarified mind-fight.

So, the Munchkin thing: It's a sweet little bonbon when played by 3 or 4 RPG geeks inside 45 minutes as a storytelling/party game. And while you could play it with 6 angry people for a multi-hour marathon of boredom, bile and eye-biting I can't in any way recommend that.

With that out of the way I bid you welcome to my Carnival of Comments—where the Strong Man has a pituitary disorder, the Bearded Lady isn't, and the Geek strangles hobos on his day off.

Enjoy!


_______

(In the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)
2015-05-30
First Edition, First Printing
Year: 2009
7
Dec 2013
5.555
Owned

Fig. 1 — ♪ Speaw and magic hewmet! ♫

FINALLY—pawns for the battle-princesses in my life. And maybe those mildly uncomfortable (yet secretly titillating) sex-swap incidents.

I SAID I'LL BE OUT IN A MINUTE

(In the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)
2014-03-11
First Edition, Second Printing
Year: 2012
7
Apr 2013
5.528
Owned
2 copies:

(In the Munchkin Conan set.)
(In the Munchkin Pathfinder set.)
2014-01-03
English first edition
Year: 2012
7
May 2013
N/A
Owned
A must-have. More than just more, the cards that come with it utilize a double-fistful of dice, satisfying to shake 'n roll, terrifying to behold from the other side.
2013-06-13
First Edition, First Printing
Year: 2012
7
Mar 2013
N/A
Owned
Parted out between the kick-ass Xmas & Technicolor curb-stomp sets.
2013-04-11
Asmodee English edition 2011
Year: 2011
8
Aug 2012
7.624
Owned
Plays: 11
I rate the base game a 7, but it's an 8 with Leaders thrown into the mix. If you're lucky, you get to pick leaders that work well with your civ's baseline goal (like Greek philosophers in Babylon, or generals in Rhodes) or at least people who work well together so you can build synergy across the ages. If you're unlucky, or have a neighbor who understands how to poop downstream, you'll end up with a cartoon mishmash of random historical figures.

"Hatshepsut running Rome? More like Hatshepsut's enraged mummy drinking Roman orphans all day!"

And WTF Archimedes:


Who the hell wears a towel in the bathtub? Puritans haven't been invented yet—I want sausage and a side of eggs with my historical references, please!
2013-09-28
7
Oct 2012
7.745
Owned
Plays: 2
I really like how you can dump your neighbors' bodies in the moor. Finally, we get some meaningful direct conflict in this game. A very welcome addition.

UPDATE: Not harder, not really more complicated, just different. You end up with two different games—vanilla Agricola & Agricola + Moor.
2012-09-16
German first edition
Year: 2010
7
Jan 2013
6.684
Owned
Plays: 4
How does it happen? How? How can a two-player game blow out like a prolapsed colon, 43-21? We started with the same potential, nothing but fertile humps of land and 14 cards and then... sudden bloody spandex.

THERE IS NO GOD

Man, I had plans... When I fanned those cards I saw a shining path straight out of subsistence farming and into a fancy stone house filled with thick-legged daughters who could pull plow and carry water. Instead I got a surfeit of freakishly large vegetables and one single, stunted scion.

Oh, but how the neighbors carried on, with their prize sheep and eating meat at every harvest with the progeny sliding straight out of the birth canal and into the pot. Clipped the cord with the lid, they did! Damn them all and their noisy lot, their pink-rubbed children all wearing clothing and such. As if!

The boy and I go now to bury these man-sized carrots beneath the waning Moon like five neat graves and we'll see which Dark Forces come for whom. Oh, we shall see...

mb

The less that is said about the "Five (!) Begging Cards Incident" the better. After forty-some-odd games you'd think it was unthinkable—but there I was, helping a newb avoid disaster and starving children and BAM it was harvest time and me without any kind of food engine other than perhaps eating our own young. And so my offspring, my beloved child, haunted those woods as emaciated as a living skeleton, hollow-eyed and pantsless, with one withered arm bouncing uselessly against its side as it loped through the shadows.

And all the while those Others just watched and whispered, gathered round their groaning tables piled high with meat and veg in their cozy stone houses.

Disaster, I tell you, is the root of madness.

mb

"Daddy," the children wail, "make food come out of the ground again like you did that one time!"

"Shut up, shut up!" I rage, drunk on fermented moss. "I swear I'll set this goddamn place on fire!"

"If only you knew how to start one," snorts my doughty farm-wife.

(37-19)
2014-11-20
English first edition
Year: 2010
6
May 2013
5.824
Owned
Plays: 1
A novelty item that adds random weirdness to a relatively stodgy game, like using dice in chess. Agricola is no chess, but you get the idea. My opponent got several nice things while I got sent to gaol and cursed for butchering a tasty, tasty unicorn (-3 VP).

DON'T GO INTO THE WOODS
2013-05-23
English first edition
Year: 2006
10
Aug 2008*
6.973
Prev. Owned
Plays: 2
The Nyarlathotep expansion—we play with the Big N and the Dark Pharaoh herald.

Played this once, and incorrectly. The experience was... diluted. Looking forward to playing this for reals.

UPDATE: The problem with the first play was running the Permanent Exhibit with all the cards shuffled into the base game. This made the Dark Pharaoh cards very rare and the game near-indistinguishable from a base scenario. For our second play we used only the DP cards (replacing the Mythos, Gate and Arkham Encounter decks) and it made for a sweet bit of ugly: things looked utterly bleak by turn two, and when Nyarlathotep arrived (something that never happens to us anymore in the base game) we had only shut a single gate. Two players got scrubbed and it literally came down to the wire before we beat him back and shut him out of our world.

PURGED & replaced with the Revised Edition.
2014-07-05
English first edition
Year: 2006
10
Jun 2008*
7.541
Owned
Plays: 1
The Yog-Sothoth expansion—we play with the Big Y and Dunwich Horror herald.

Better than the base game alone, if by "better" I mean more uncontrollable wailing with less courageous investigators begging the brave for sweet release.

The new Injury & Madness cards are great—now when you go to zero Stamina or Sanity you can choose to dump half your stuff (Items & Clues) or end up with a crippled something-or-other or a mental illness instead. Ha-ha! That'll learn ya!

We play with one expansion at a time, so, Dunwich Horror alone, with Yog-Sothoth as the Great Old One...
2013-06-13
Fantasy Flight First Edition
Year: 2008
10
Aug 2008*
6.994
Owned
Plays: 1
The Dreamlands expansion—it's not the actual actual Dreamlands (dare we hope for such a thing?) and more like the threshold, the Gate of the Silver Key. Will probably play with Hypnos as guardian.

Don't much like Nodens or Bast—Nodens especially always felt like an anomalous tack-on in the Mythos. Unless you can think of his anthropomorphism as an unconscious overlay, i.e., he's just as horrible as everything else Out There but for whatever reason we see him as Poseidon/Neptune. But I'm really overthinking this, aren't I?

Looking very forward to playing this one!
2012-09-16
Fantasy Flight Games First Edition
Year: 2008
10
Nov 2008*
6.932
Owned
Plays: 1
The Shub-Niggurath expansion—woo-hoo!

"Free me, Shubby! Liberate me from the prison of this static form!"
2012-09-18
English first edition
Year: 2007
10
Jun 2008*
7.237
Owned
Plays: 4
The Hastur expansion—we play with He Who Shall Not Be Named and the King in Yellow herald. (Yeah, I know the link is tenuous... but there you have it.)

Rough business.

I don't understand why we can't handle this one the Old Fashioned Way, you know, with a truck full of dynamite or simply setting that accursed theatre on fire and shooting everyone who comes running out. Should only take a turn or two, tops...
2012-09-16
6
Apr 2009*
6.040
Prev. Owned
An absolute must-have to make the base game playable. You can't get the nuke to go off without cramming them together...
2009-04-13
English Boxed edition 2004
Year: 2004
9
Oct 2004*
6.635
Owned
Plays: 9
New characters, new cards, new mechanics, and up to eight players! Wonderful additions to an already perfect game. Be prepared to cycle through the deck faster than a grease-slicked polecat sliding down a lightning bolt!

ADDED BONUS: Get ready to have TWO dynamite bundles lit and in play SIMULTANEOUSLY!!!
2012-09-14
daVinci / Mayfair edition
Year: 2003
9
Sep 2004*
6.303
Owned
Plays: 5
Ya gonna skin that smoke wagon?
2012-09-25
8
Mar 2014
5.722
Owned
Plays: 5
The eerie tampings in the fields presage disappearances or doppelgängers—be wary.

(Included in Carcassonne Big Box 4.)
2014-03-05
English edition 2013
Year: 2013
9
Mar 2014
7.463
Owned
Plays: 12
Adds 18 tiles = 18 turns = 10 minutes

Which expansions, you ask? This one, The River, and Traders & Builders. The rest are gimmicky, counter-intuitive crap.

The point tiles are nice for taunting, though the sixth player is waaay too much. It's cool to have a different color, but after two games at 6p I'm pretty much done with "full boat" Carc.

UPDATE: I really like what this does. The all-or-nothing gamble of the eponymous tiles adds a neat way to blow out some massive points on your side while prolapsing the bowels of your opponents on the other:

"Here—" [drops cathedral into the outskirts of an unfinished megalopolis near game end] "—the Pope says you totally got this."

UP-UPDATE: Can't ever see playing Carc without this—the base game alone feels incomplete in comparison. It's the must-have, always-mixed-in keeper.

Besides, there's never a reason not to include the acromegalic BOSS MEEPLES in all games of Carc from this moment forward, forever.


Fig. 1 — "Just walk away..."

3 copies:

(In the grubby pub set.)
(Included in Carcassonne Limited Edition.)
(Included in Carcassonne Big Box 4.)
2014-03-16
English edition
Year: 2003
7
Mar 2014
6.365
Owned
Plays: 1
Good stuff in that it causes massive-project competition, though once the top-end threshold is reached there's really no stealing the titles away. Which I suppose is thematic; once your butt's in the seat you're gonna neck-stab everyone who has the same idea...

Has nice synergy with The Count as it gives everyone yet another reason to "cooperate" and complete features for each other.


Fig. 1 — Settlers bits work nicely as largest city & longest road markers.

(King only; gave Scout to George.)

(In the Carcassonne Limited Edition box.)
2014-03-12
7
Mar 2014
5.966
Owned
Plays: 1
The mage is a kindly old man, conjuring pennies from behind the ears of delighted urchins; the witch, not so much, what with all the flying around and vomiting clouds of biting insects.

(Included in Carcassonne Big Box 4.)
2014-03-12
8
Mar 2014
6.075
Owned
Plays: 2
I really like what this does for roads—instead of being just points-padding dump-features they become something to be fought over with almost the same intensity as cities & farms, especially when combined with Inns & Cathedrals.

It's also nifty in that it adds features to the tableau that other players can monkey around with.

(Included in Carcassonne Big Box 4.)
2014-03-05
7
Mar 2014
6.125
Owned
Plays: 2
Gold is for a-holes. It makes everyone horn in on your business, often finishing it for you while you watch in horror. And then they Scrooge-McDuck around with it, making really heavy, unstable pigsties and pressing peasants to death with stacks of ingots.

UPDATE: Gold is heavy—monstrously heavy—and when lifted can cause disastrous, spandex-shredding blowouts. While bowels in your pants is certainly de rigueur for Carc, it's as hard on the eyes as it is the stomach.

"I don't like gold," said Anna.

And she was the runaway winner, by something like 80 points.

(Included in Carcassonne Big Box 4.)
2014-03-10
7
Mar 2014
6.773
Owned
Makes for a single crazy-huge farm. And then the bloodshed begins. "Can't we all just get along?" Weep for the meeples—The River runs wooden with their sap.

2 copies:

(In the grubby pub set.)
(Included in Carcassonne Limited Edition.)
2014-03-06
8
Mar 2014
7.422
Owned
Plays: 1
Adds 24 tiles = 24 turns = 15 minutes +++

(Plusses are for the added time spent considering the three new elements: trade goods, pigs & builders.)

Which expansions, you ask? This one, The River, and Inns & Cathedrals. The rest are gimmicky, counter-intuitive crap.

PS. "The Sack" is worth the price of admission alone as it converts the metaphorical teabagging the game provides into a literal one.

UPDATE: This is really three modules that synergize well together—city tiles that grant trade goods, pigs to make the resulting city-rich farms worth more, and builders to grant extra turns to sneak into or steal features—but can be teased apart as you will.

Pigs & builders can be dropped into any game with ease.

Also: Trade good tiles work well with The Count, providing an extra incentive to "help" others complete cities in order to not only get the goods, but to stage a meeple in Carcassonne proper for later punch-bowl-poopin' deployment...

2 copies:

(Included in Carcassonne Limited Edition.)
(Included in Carcassonne Big Box 4.)
2014-03-12
English First edition
Year: 2005
7
Nov 2005*
6.804
Prev. Owned
Only really necessary if you play this game an awful lot, and love it accordingly. The wooden king piece is nice, but I already had a weighted Staunton king that I spray-painted gold and accessorized with purple felt... The replacement cards are nice, but I already keep 'em in sleeves... So, in the final analysis, all I really get are the new district cards.

I have to say, in all seriousness, my favorite part of this expansion is the box. It's much smaller than the original and has a nice linen finish AND IT HOLDS THE ENTIRE GAME!!! At last, I have a nice box that matches the form-factor of the game itself.

PURGED as redundant since acquiring the 2005 FFG Silver Line edition of the base game with the expansion included.
2015-01-06
English first edition
Year: 2012
10
Apr 2012
6.958
Owned
Plays: 1
Played our first seven-player (!) game of this with the "large group" cards mixed into the deck—fantastic experience. The extra cards were necessary as I think the deck would have been too thin without them. Even with the extras we very nearly had the entire thing dealt out at one point. So, big plus for the extra cards.

We will be ignoring the team rules... they just don't look very interesting.

(Even though we've thrown all the new aliens into the mix, I will only be counting this expansion as played when we use the "large group" cards for 7-8 player games.)
2014-12-05
First English Edition
Year: 2011
10
Dec 2014
7.282
Owned
(Even though we've thrown all the new aliens into the mix, I will only be counting this expansion as played when we use the Hazard deck option.)
2014-12-04
English first edition
Year: 2014
10
Dec 2014
6.629
Owned
Oof, I think I may be full. Or at least the original Cosmic box is. With all expansions including this one packed in there I think we're pretty much set for more possible games than could ever be played, even in a transhuman/post-singularity "lifetime" where the thing that thinks it's me is like three viruses infecting an immortal pack of robochimps—forever.

Pretty sure this game doesn't "need" anything else!

(Even though we've thrown all the new aliens into the mix, I will only be counting this expansion as played when we use the Reward deck or Special Ships options.)
2014-12-04
English edition
Year: 2010
10
Dec 2014
7.536
Owned
(Even though we've thrown all the new aliens into the mix, I will only be counting this expansion as played when we use the Reward deck option.)
2014-12-04
English first edition
Year: 2013
10
Aug 2013
6.456
Owned
Plays: 1
Space stations add to the fun & I love what the Swindler does to the metagame!*

(Even though we've thrown all the new aliens into the mix, I will only be counting this expansion as played when we use space stations.)

(Beta tester)


*I suppose I should admit that I have no experience with Cosmic beyond the FFG edition and all of the gut-bustingly hilarious sessions I've had with various groups... So you should probably assume I don't know what I'm talking about.**

**I'm the guy who glued actual googly eyes on the Squee card, for Pete's sake!

2014-12-04
Rio Grande Games edition
Year: 2004
7
Mar 2014
5.834
Owned
Plays: 1
Someone horrible wrote:
Come sundown the Count prowls the streets, bellowing gibberish and obscenities in his iron mask and purple, crotchless velveteens, whipping the slower peasants with a manskin bullwhip. To call him mad would do dishonor to every last one of us, for he is but a symptom of the City...

"We have all taken our turns as the Count—and his gimp."

Has some nice synergy with The King as the person completing the largest city or longest road becomes King or Robber Baron (not the one scoring it), providing an extra incentive for nonscoring completions, the trigger for consigning a meeple into the Count's "care". Should also work well with the trade good tiles from Traders & Builders for the same reason—"helping now to hurt later."

(In the Carcassonne Limited Edition box.)
2014-03-12
7
May 2006*
5.651
Prev. Owned
Like hydroencephaly—more Cranium.

[rimshot]
2014-12-08
7
May 2006*
5.577
Prev. Owned
Extends Cranium's half-life an extra picosecond.
2012-09-16
8
Sep 2014
6.240
Owned
Plays: 1
(Adds character abilities.)
2013-11-06
English first edition
Year: 2012
8
Nov 2013
5.955
Owned
The character customization options are mind-bogglingly awesome and well worth the price alone—no two games of this will ever be the same!

Add to that more of the Good Stuff (cards for every deck) and a box with bespoke insert that holds the entire game to date (base + all four expansions) neatly, perfectly...

Makes me feel like the monkey who caught a swung femur to the brainpan and amid the white light and buzz is rewarded with a glimpse of the gates of Heaven boiling open.

Well played, Smirky, well played.
2013-11-12
Libellud multilingual first edition 2010 with 8 languages
Year: 2010
8
Dec 2010
7.477
Owned
Plays: 4
Another deck of WTF?!

Best one so far: "Scott Crowe" for the card showing the Roman testudo.

(All plays gathered under Dixit.)
2014-04-28
English "This is an expansion" edition
Year: 2010
8
Dec 2012
8.122
Owned
Plays: 5
"Of course you see me, watching you and your scabrous, bandy-legged 'lover' from my fabulous gazebo—lovingly carved from the world's oldest tree, hand-polished (no, really—the rich brown stain was crimson once—it's amazing what hungry children will do for pennies)—and you're thinking to yourself, We are so not falling for the exploding swan trick again—how stupid does he think we are? And I can assure you that I am not thinking about how stupid you are, at all, right now—no, at this very moment I am thinking that even though I am a heartless cad with bad teeth I have enough lucre to grease the Viscountess's knickers clean off no matter how poorly I act or smell. The genes want what they want, no? Because, my dear, I am not actually in my gazebo but contorted in the backseat of my giant-fruit-shaped carriage struggling with the 30th buckle on what I hope is the final hoopskirt. How can this be? I imagine you ask as the Viscountess's beauty mark pops off mid-gasp. Well, my dear, it is because I spared no expense—no expense, do you hear me?—on the automaton that sits quietly ticking in my gazebo. Because while I would never expect you to fall for the exploding swan trick again I do imagine you will fall for the exploding me trick. Right. About. NOW."

UPDATE: Pimped my set with the Dominion Base Cards for the new art...


...for if we are to pooh-pooh silver and trash gold with abandon we might as well do it in high style.
2015-03-08
Rio Grande English Edition
Year: 2009
8
Jan 2012
7.915
Owned
Plays: 10
English first edition
Year: 2013
7
Jun 2013
6.999
Owned
Plays: 6
tl;dr — In terms of making the game harder, Unseen Forces misses the mark; but as an expansion that adds more of pretty much everything so that no two games (stories) are ever the same, it's a triumph. I would not hesitate to recommend it for those who use the game as a storytelling engine. In that regard it's a must-have.

mb

So far we've won almost every game with the expansion, and only one of those felt anywhere near close. BUT—from a narrative perspective, all of those games were highly entertaining. Groans, cheers, laughter—the sessions evoked real emotions and made for a memorable evening every time.

The curse die, an element that looms so large in the rules—as in oh, man if someone gets cursed they are boned—ends up being a paper tiger. It's almost never an issue, is easily avoided, and except for when Tsathoggua is AO, easily remedied.

PS. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the fact that the new cards are exactly the same size as the old ones. One thing that put me off buying FFG expansions was mismatched card sizes—even when they're off by just a little bit they clump up when shuffled and are obvious in the deck. And I hate sleeves. But the Unseen Forces cards are perfect.

PPS. The expansion box top makes an excellent die rolling tray. We had been using the original box top but the new one is a much more convenient size for passing around the table, especially with larger groups.

UPDATE: The Master Mythos cards make the game as rugged as it needs to be—if they show up. It's still a cakewalk without 'em.

Investigators - 5, Mythos - 1

Solo - 0 (0-0)
2p - 0 (0-0)
3p - 3 (2-1)
4p - 1 (1-0)
5p - 0 (0-0)
6p - 2 (2-0)


83% Win Rate


(Beta tester)
2013-11-13
6
Jun 2014
5.721
Prev. Owned
Plays: 2
Giving this a tentative 7. It's got a lot going for it on the surface—portability, theme, art—but the simple system feels just the littlest bit clunky. If it smooths out with more plays, I could see this being a staple... we will see. (2-player with adult, 3-player with kids. Everyone had a good enough time.)
2012-09-16
6
Apr 2013
5.609
Owned
Bits of the 2011, 2012 & 2013 in the Technicolor curb-stomp set.
2014-12-04
English first edition
Year: 2013
8
Jan 2014
6.568
Owned
Adds a weensy bit of variety, perhaps imperceptibly so, but in a "flip a card, roll a die, tell a story" game every card is potentially golden.
2014-01-25
7
Nov 2006*
6.053
Owned
We've only played with Laglor (the peg-legged six-million dollar ape whose standard is a scything sheet of hot lead) and the Orc, but that's more than enough to make me a believer. Sure, some of the powers are weak and the d20s and dice bags are shrug-enducing superfluosities—but the figures look great on the battlefield and are just plain fun. And isn't that what Heroscape's all about anyway?

The negatives have nothing to do with the game and everything to do with marketing. Making these Toys R Us exclusives and charging an insane dollar amount made me grind my teeth while cursing the anal retentive 12-year-old that dwells within me (and seems to be responsible for all of my more questionable decisions). As hard as it was to pay full price and as much as I was sure I would suffer from buyer's remorse, in the end I'm glad I picked them up. The reason? One word: dice.

The battle dice that come with each figure are fab. Now everyone who plays gets their own set of dice, in unique colors, so no one can put the bad mojo on the communal blue-n-red dice. No more having to wipe the dice off after Sweaty McGamer gets his man-funk all over them. These are MY dice, there are many like them, but these are MINE. Such a small thing, but in all honesty it's what I love most about this set. YMMFV.
2012-09-16
8
Mar 2007*
6.186
Owned
The sculpts and paint jobs are flat-out amazing. Which leads me to the question: Is this for kids or is this for ME?!

Best wave in a long time!
2007-03-06*
7
Oct 2007*
6.157
Owned
Templars in full plate on horseback & VAMPIRES! There is lots to love in this set...
2007-10-26*
8
Sep 2006*
6.652
Owned
Plays: 1
You can build some crazy-ass edifices with this set—toy gaming does not get any better than this!
2012-09-21
7
Sep 2006*
6.313
Owned
GREAT stuff in here—beautiful minis that are a blast to play.
2012-09-16
7
Sep 2006*
6.534
Owned
Now Roman Centurions can fight dinosaurs and robots! Sweet!
2006-09-18*
8
Sep 2006*
6.554
Owned
The trees are cool for blocking LOS, and the bridge/wall is pretty nifty—especially if you manage to get the Minutemen all lined up on it...
2012-09-16
8
Sep 2006*
6.384
Owned
It's got a frickin' GIANT in it!
2006-09-18*
7
Sep 2006*
6.365
Owned
Pretty, but not a must-have.
2006-09-18*
6
Sep 2006*
6.187
Owned
Probably the weakest Wave yet; the paint-jobs aren't so nifty, either.
2006-09-18*
7
Sep 2006*
6.452
Owned
The Minutemen and the knights make this set.
2006-09-18*
7
May 2006*
6.275
Owned
I'm here to tell you that I'm pretty sure the lava is infested with robot piranhas. For reals.
2012-09-16
7
Sep 2006*
6.224
Owned
Lots of good stuff in here—I especially enjoy the Gladiatrons... I like to imagine them talking like Stephen Hawking while chop-chop-chopping with their RED HOT MACHETES!!!
2012-09-16
English first edition
Year: 2013
8.5
Jul 2015
6.025
Owned
Plays: 6
TERAWATT THRUSTER POPS BERNAL


10,000 DEAD

So, dipping the tippy-toes in with our first game using all the new expansion rules but no modules—yet. We'll add those in one after another for an experience snowball—Bernals & colonists, freighters, GW thrusters, Futures—to get both the full effect of each and to prolong the experience. That means, what, like 12 plays before we're spun up to the full game? Shucks, I guess we better get crackin'.

Some notes from the first play:

• With the Income op at 2 and white cards selling for 4 out of the gate the economic system—so tight and shavey in the previous incarnation—is kinda bloated. WT is easy to come by, speeding up the game and mitigating the effects of crap-blowin'-up but at the cost of tension. I'm imagining that this will tighten back up with all modules on. (?)

Extropy Inspiration via Events and triangle burns is genius—definitely speeds things up. It's cool to move, cycle a deck and then Research the next card.

• Having single factories poot out multiple black tech cards is TREMENDOUS.

• The new Solar Cycle is kinda brutal, with events kicking off every other round like clockwork. I had a Martian resupply/rescue mission* get a hole punched in it three times in a row from back-to-back CMEs and Space Debris.

That's High Frontier!

UPDATE: I really like the Idea Turns to get things started quickly, though I'm still suspicious of how much bloat the full game will add—our Legacy games never went more than two hours, even with 5p and all Expansion modules on—and it would be a huge bummer if this tight, tense experience became an all-day sucker.

UP-UPDATE: (6 plays) Though it's been a rough start, I really like what Colonization does. It's got a ton story built into it, with an exponential arc of explore-industrialize-colonize-ascend. There are real reasons to push politics, as well as to go to war. (Operation Scrub the Space Pope, anyone?)

It's ponderous and clumsy until you get the process of establishing dirtside Bernals down, but once you're there, it should sing. (Much in the same way getting factories was initially so daunting in the base game, but once you got that down the game rolled hot.)

I get the impression that this might fit into a three-hour timeframe with experienced players and all modules on; at least I hope that things radically snowball once labs get built and everyone's promoting cards. We shall see...


*Yeah, people still get stranded on Mars in this one. Sigh.**


**I know you're scratching your head and thinking, "But Chris, that's a total rookie mistake—how the hell did that happen after 30-some-odd games?" And all I can say is that when you're the UN, your first patent is a solar sail, and Mars is open for business, you just kinda go for it. It's not until you slide your Corvette into the valet lane at Chez Valles Marineris that you realize your hot date is just a blow-up doll filled with hydrazine.
2015-06-26
First edition
Year: 2010
10
Dec 2011
6.202
Owned
Plays: 20
After bending your head far enough around the flagpole to be able to grok the base game, this one comes along and ties it in a knot. And I mean that in the good way.

Nothing short of amazing, though the initial experience replaced the frustration of lack of funds with the frustration of a lack of tech that all worked nicely together. Adding in supports—and the supports of the supports, as well as the need to radiate the increasing heat-load of those support-supports—was akin to buying pants by winning a pie-eating contest; eat enough pies and you win the pants... That now don't fit. So you eat more pies to get some new pants and you see where this is going.

Once you do manage to cobble together a rocket that works you just go with it—the only thing I ever optimized on my Frankenship was the robonaut. I was afraid to monkey with anything else lest the whole thing bloat out and bust the seams in an undulating cascade of stuff needing more stuff.

All the tech that is magical and game-breaking in the base game (Zubrin, anyone?) is brutally balanced in the full game. That thing burns hot and even after dumping fuel through it as coolant you're gonna have to come up with four more therms of cooling. Also, the Metastable Helium thruster has a rad-hardness of zero, as in "nope". Suck it!

Fantastic, recommended, head-spinning—though only after the base game becomes too easy. You really oughta play that five or so times before diving into this.

[After one play without Politics, Combat or Events (though we did keep Solar Flares/CMEs because watching the angry Sun decommission someone's thruster is hilarious).]

Play time still hovered around two hours, even with all the extra doohickeys. Nice.

UPDATE: Gets better and better with each play. We bust Luna as a matter of course and don't use Politics, Combat or Events (we do, however, execute Solar Flares/CMEs). At some point I think I'll push for a "full game" with all options... and the Chinese.

UP-UPDATE: Playing the full game now, with all rules on—Politics, Combat & Events. On paper it looks like it would make the game longer (losing cards from Glitch, Space Debris and Budget Cuts... as if Solar Flares weren't bad enough) but in actual play these things only happen a couple of times per game. The rules overhead for all the extras is minimal and really pretty simple, with the end result being a tasty slathering of narrative. (When a spanner going 30,000 kph scrubs someone's crew module out of LEO, well, what's not to like?)

I am glad we stair-stepped it, though:

- Base game to
- Expansion without Politics, Combat, or Events to
- Full game with all rules,

waiting until we were all comfortable (and eager for a little something extra) before adding the next bit. For the life of me I can't imagine trying to learn Everything At Once as a n00b in a starter game. HF is truly a "deep experience" that requires familiarity and comfort with all the various details to realize its potential.

Rush it & play once... have patience & play for life!

mb

Live the adventure!

Portraits of the Stupid-Brave: Drunk in Mission Control

CUBES OF DOOM

"My God, it's full of stars!" and Other Things Screamed Out the Bunghole

WHY THIS GAME IS HOPELESSLY BROKEN
2014-04-22
8
Jan 2009*
5.988
Owned
Lots of good stuff in here... Whatever you do, don't let the Gnomes get the undersea gold foundry! And if you own it expect to have Gnomes all up in your biz constantly. The good news is that they're such cheapskates they tend to hire convenience store clerks to assault in Cold War-era Soviet subs. Listening to the valve sproings and reactor blowouts on passive sonar is a real Kurskapalooza!
2007-10-17*
First edition
Year: 2007
9
Oct 2007*
6.136
Owned
Plays: 9
The best expansion for a great game. Finally, after two other expansions, you get to assemble the Fellowship entire. As has been stated ad nauseam elswhere, the battlefields are abstract flowcharts, a fact that bothered me at first—but all doubt fled as we commenced play. We played two games back-to-back and I didn't even notice. It felt very much like arraying troops for battle. Shouts of "Get Aragorn on the left flank," and "We need Gandalf in there NOW!" were common. Cries of triumph erupted from the group when an enemy was supposed to be activated but was already dead or hemmed in by the warrior heroes of the Fellowship. Likewise, the first time the Balrog turned up in Moria we crapped our pants.

What at first appears to be a Power Point presentation on the logic flow of an abstraction of a "battle" mechanic concept actually turns out to be the other five members of the Fellowship coming to the rescue, leading to real feelings of elation and dread as they give their all to delay the forces of darkness long enough to let the Hobbits run for their lives.

Highly recommended.

For more info try my session report:

In Which a Gaggle of Hobbits Snack Their Way to Mordor...
2014-12-08
English first edition
Year: 2001
9
Mar 2007*
6.872
Owned
Plays: 5
Bree is a nightmare! We stared, slack-jawed, as Sauron came screaming down the corruption track at Mach Evil:

WHEEEEEEEEE sauron

We never recovered—and have been playing this expansion mercilessly ever since. Very nice addition.
2012-09-16
English first edition
Year: 2002
9
May 2003*
6.445
Owned
Plays: 9
We were so used to the cooperative nature of the main game that we were unprepared for the hatred and scorn directed toward the Sauron player. I personally felt "bad" when playing as Sauron, killing off my friends and essentially ending the game for them.

This expansion ROCKS!
2012-09-16
English first edition
Year: 2013
8
Sep 2013
7.861
Owned
Plays: 4
This looks like an insta-win with just more of what makes Waterdeep a great game—top-notch art and production values*, as well as solid gameplay that's pregnant with opportunities for lordly shenanigans and emergent narrative—but only time and actual plays will tell.

At this point I'm pretty sure I'll only want to play the modules separately and just ignore the variant where you play everything all at once. Part of the base game's charm is in its sweet concision—playing a 6-player, all-bells-and-whistles "long game" is probably like trying to drink an entire bathtub of maple syrup.

Undermountain — 3 plays

Just as quick and tense as the base game, with players adapting easily to the new material. Two 40-point Quests were scored despite Mandatory Questage (horrors!) and scores were higher in general—yet it was still a close game with the victor only squeezing the win by a single point. Nice.

Skullport — 1 play


*Yeah, the cards aren't the same size as the original game and that makes real shuffling a bit of a thing... but it's such a minor annoyance for one who poops in clean drinking water daily.

2015-04-12
English first edition
Year: 2007
9
Sep 2013
6.789
Owned
Plays: 6
(Play count reflects actual scenarios out of the rule book; otherwise we add air rules into almost every scenario we can, so this gets tons of mileage...)
2014-03-18
First Edition
Year: 2010
8
Jun 2012
6.529
Owned
Plays: 9
English first edition
Year: 2011
8
Feb 2014
6.183
Owned
Plays: 18
GOOD GOD

I really don't know what else to say. I mean, 46 new scenarios—that's more than twice the plays that even the most ardent fan would get out of a "favorite" game. Should you manage to wear this book out you'd be a master of M'44. Even if you lost every match.

For any given single scenario there's only one way to play, and that's twice, once as each side and then comparing total medals from both games for the win (this handles the historical "balance issue"). But for the game system as a whole the only way to play, really, is campaign mode, and man, this book delivers potential years of replay value.

Currently dipping our toes into the "Island Hoppers" Grand Campaign and we couldn't be happier—not even if we had magic motorcycles that gave Nirvana-inducing blowjobs and shat gold coins. No sir.

PS. Oh, yeah—and an entire Breakthrough campaign in Normandy, to boot?

[Jumps around like Mario with pants down.]
2014-02-25
First edition
Year: 2005
8
Nov 2005*
7.312
Owned
Plays: 2
Человек в черных ботинках НКВД—посмотрите другой путь.

(+1 copy for Sword of Stalingrad & Tigers in the Snow.)
2014-03-12
English/French first edition
Year: 2012
9
Mar 2015
6.035
Owned
Plays: 1
English/French first edition
Year: 2012
8
May 2014
5.665
Owned
Plays: 2
English / French first edition
Year: 2008
9
Mar 2013
6.790
Owned
Plays: 19

Fig. 1 — "Shall we spread a little alarm and despondency?"

UPDATE: Played scenarios 4-8 as a campaign (using the rules included with the Winter/Desert Board) and the attrition dice between rounds made for some interesting decisions. In at least one instance, they directly helped the whipping-boy underdog score a stunning victory.

Details here:

Battle of Gazala: 5 Scenario Campaign

Battle of Gonzala: 5 Scenario Campaign--the flip side


UP-UPDATE: After playing through the Battle of Gazala campaign a second time I'm convinced that this is what the expansion is all about. The first three scenarios get you used to the new units and rules so you can dive into the full campaign. The fact that the five connected scenarios can be played to completion in three hours makes for a fantastic evening with scads of drama & narrative potential.

I figured that after we played both sides we'd be done with it, but I find myself wondering if I couldn't do better and am itching to puzzle out the problems inside the five battles again. And again.

From here on out, "playing Med Theater" means doing the Gazala campaign in one go, flipping roles in the following session & comparing scores.

The experience completely blows away single-scenario play.
2014-03-05
8
Jul 2006*
6.822
Owned
Plays: 2
Superb!
2006-07-25*
First Edition
Year: 2010
9
Mar 2013
6.420
Owned
Plays: 24
Wow. Just... wow. Everything about this set is completely off the charts. The art on the terrain hexes is gorgeous and evocative, the winter rules make the game feel exactly like you'd expect—vehicles are slowed and you can't see much of anything beyond immediate contact. You can fire into the fog and hope for the best, or you can maneuver into close combat and savage each other. Tense and brutal.

The Winter Combat cards add a huge amount of thematic immersion and crazy turns of event. I have watched what should have been dramatic, game-winning turns (Their Finest Hour) end up completely repulsed and negated by a couple of flopped Winter cards. Out of Fuel, Out of Ammo, and, oh, an Ambuscade, to boot! Sorry 'bout your offensive, there.

Love it.
2013-05-22
8
Jul 2006*
6.659
Owned
Plays: 36
Like Hitler and Napoleon, now you too can experience the joys of Russian winter.

UPDATE: Sure, it's cosmetic—but damn, does it ever look good. And the nation-specific medals (Victoria Cross on the desert side & the Hero of the Soviet Union on the winter side) add that extra little bit.

The campaign rules that come with the board seem wonky at first glance—with no hope for anything approaching balance—but in actual play they work great. We played scenarios 4-8 from the Mediterranean Theater as a campaign and the attrition dice between rounds made for some interesting decisions, and, in at least one instance, directly helped the whipping-boy underdog score a stunning victory.

If you want campaign rules that are better balanced and more robust, go with one of the Campaign books; otherwise this works just fine for linking three, four or five scenarios into an unbalanced night of great, narrative fun.

This is, after all, a Sgt. Rock comic, not Churchill's Memoirs of the Second World War.

UP-UPDATE: Now that we're into Memoir '44: Winter Wars I must reiterate my assessment of how effing gorgeous this looks when it's all set up. One glance and you're helplessly drawn into the magic circle... I swear it makes me want to put on a sweater it looks so cool.
2013-01-23
7
Jan 2010*
6.280
Owned
Plays: 12
No other game lets you be a half-halfling cleric/cleric.*

If you really, really like Munchkin, this, along with Munchkin 3: Clerical Errors, are the only two "must-have" expansions. They add a decent amount of variation (and good humor) without game-crippling bloat. Everything else beyond these two only makes sense if you actually are a Munchkin, your players froth at the mouth for it, and every session leaves you dry-heaving from laughter.

3 copies:

(In the dirty children's set.)
(In the pure sepia set.)
(In the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)


*And, apparently, neither does this one... Rules check!
2014-03-05
7
Jan 2010*
6.272
Owned
Plays: 12
If you really, really like Munchkin, this, along with Munchkin 2: Unnatural Axe, are the only two "must-have" expansions. They add a decent amount of variation (and good humor) without game-crippling bloat. Everything else beyond these two only makes sense if you actually are a Munchkin, your players froth at the mouth for it, and every session leaves you dry-heaving from laughter.

3 copies:

(In the dirty children's set.)
(In the pure sepia set.)
(In the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)
2013-05-21
6
Apr 2013
6.279
Owned
Adds two new kinds of cards (steeds & hirelings) along with mechanics and support cards for dealing with each. The only issue is that when included with the previous two expansions we end up with a prodigious amount of deck dilution, making actual synergy a rare thing.

It also smothers the beautiful symmetry of having one hireling (the Hireling) and one "Kill the Hireling" card. (And, yes, I pull the second hireling from Clerical Errors to maintain that delicate dance between predator and prey.)

I leave out steeds & hirelings entirely as they just seem to gum up the works; also removed cards deemed "stupid, but without the funny". I'm probably using about half of this. The humor gets pretty thin after the third expansion...

whistle

(About half the cards in the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)
2013-05-21
6
Apr 2013
6.175
Owned
Adds a new class, rangers, with mechanics and support cards, as well as more steeds, hirelings and associated cards.

Pulled out everything having to do with rangers, steeds & hirelings—it's just too much when mixed in with 2 & 3. Maybe 4 & 5 would work best with their own base set... Maybe.

(About half the cards in the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)
2013-05-21
English first edition
Year: 2008
7
Jan 2010
6.059
Owned
Plays: 2
The global-effect dungeons are cool, flavorful, and actually speed up the game (a Good Thing). Sure, the Portal cards will get lost in massive decks, but you can always shuffle them into the top 150-or-so or just do the "discard four cards" trick to change dungeons. (Or houserule it to three if four is too onerous.)

2 copies:

(In the pure sepia set.)
(In the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)
2013-09-24
6
Apr 2013
5.868
Owned
Plays: 1
As a fantasy purist I have a bad reaction to any of the alt-Munchkin "blender" art—my spleen swells up and could rupture with but a hard word or dirty look. So I pitch those cards for health reasons.

(About 2/3 of these in the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)
2013-04-22
7
May 2010
5.875
Owned
56 FINGERS IN THE EYE

(In the pure sepia set.)
2013-05-14
6
May 2013
5.936
Owned
Adds two new races, centaurs and lizard guys, and a bunch of other stuff in support of expansions 4 & 5. If this were heaped on top of all previous expansions I think the bloat would be... epic... but unmanageable.

Pulled out everything having to do with rangers, steeds, hirelings, centaurs and lizard guys. That left less than half the set, but still enough nifty cards to make it worthwhile.

(40-some-odd cards split between the kick-ass Xmas & Technicolor curb-stomp sets.)
2013-05-21
English first edition
Year: 2014
6
May 2015
5.583
Owned
I'm a sucker.
2015-03-09
English first edition
Year: 2014
6
May 2015
5.599
Owned
English first edition
Year: 2013
7
Apr 2013
5.547
Owned
When we play I like to make sure everyone has at least one piece of game-altering swag; these extra bookmarks will go a long way toward that ideal seeing as how the ones that don't change hands get destroyed.

surprise

(Parted out across various Munchkin sets.)
2013-04-25
English fourth edition
Year: 2013
7
Sep 2013
5.709
Owned
(Set 2 in the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)
2013-09-21
English first edition
Year: 2005
7
Jan 2010*
5.918
Owned
Plays: 7
Much slicker than pennies, poker chips, glass beads or hobo molars. Way more convenient, too. And the "spend a level to roll on the chart" adds to the stupid fun.

(In the pure sepia set.)
2013-05-14
English first edition
Year: 2011
7
Dec 2013
5.567
Owned
(In the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)
2013-12-09
English first edition
Year: 2013
7
Sep 2013
5.714
Owned
(In the Munchkin Pathfinder set.)
2013-09-21
English first edition
Year: 2013
6
May 2015
5.686
Owned
Second non-foil edition
Year: 2010
7
May 2010
5.901
Owned
YES!!!

This is the way to expand Munchkin—small, affordable "booster packs" that don't bloat the game decks but live off to the side on their own, entering the game through special circumstances.

MORE PLEASE!!!

(In the kick-ass Xmas set.)
2012-12-13
English first edition
Year: 2011
7
Mar 2012
5.597
Owned
Play nice... or else.

(In the kick-ass Xmas set.)
2012-12-13
English first edition
Year: 2013
7
Apr 2013
5.610
Owned
(In the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)
2013-04-23
English first edition
Year: 2013
7
Dec 2013
5.618
Owned
(In the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)
2013-12-09
English first edition
Year: 2012
7
Nov 2012
5.656
Owned
Plays: 8
Like a sandwich baggie of powdered plutonium in a dirty bomb, this is the core component of the kick-ass Xmas set.

It's beginning to look a lot like Kra-a-ampus!
2012-12-04
English first edition
Year: 2014
7
Nov 2014
N/A
Owned
(In the kick-ass Xmas set.)
2014-11-23
English first edition (red)
Year: 2011
7
Dec 2012
5.535
Owned
6x:

- 2 red (with cards)
- 2 green (with cards)
- icy
- gold

(In the kick-ass Xmas set.)
2012-12-10
Purple edition
Year: 2011
7
Mar 2012
5.536
Owned
purple

(In the kick-ass Xmas set.)


yellow, blue

(In the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)
2015-03-09
English first edition, third printing
Year: 2012
7
Dec 2012
5.643
Owned
Holy crap this thing is sturdy. Makes sense if I'm going to be hitting people with it... or getting it chucked at my head.

UPDATE: Man oh man is this thing dead handy. How did we ever Munchkin without it? I dunno, but I now know those were dark days. Beyond gimmick, beyond branded swag, this thing is not only indispensable (especially when you have two—one for the party and one for the monster(s)) but genius the way it allows you to manipulate the gaming metaspace using the Scroll of Reversal. That, and the forlorn looks around the table when the Kill-O-Meters read something ridiculous like 81-80 and the antagonists are all tapped out.

This is the only extra Munchkin bit that I would consider to be a must-have.

(In the kick-ass Xmas set.)
(2x in the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)
2013-03-03
English first edition
Year: 2015
6
May 2015
N/A
Owned
(In the Munchkin Pathfinder set.)
2015-03-06
English first edition
Year: 2013
7
Aug 2013
5.576
Owned
A wee bit pricey, but I'm going to assume that Steve Jackson knows what he's doing (even if it's only filling his tube socks with Krugerrands)—regardless, this is dead useful. The board is essential for visualizing relative position in the game; you can tell, at a glance, who must be picked on and who will be most amenable to being your lickspittle.

And it fits inside a standard Munchkin box!

I don't really care for the Epic Munchkin track on the reverse (for play to Level 20) as the game is only really fun for about 30 minutes.

(In the Munchkin Pathfinder set.)
2015-04-16
English first edition
Year: 2011
7
Dec 2012
5.757
Owned
(In the kick-ass Xmas set.)
2012-12-10
English first edition
Year: 2013
6
May 2015
5.595
Owned
(In the Munchkin Pathfinder set.)
2013-12-09
English first edition
Year: 2012
7
Apr 2013
5.622
Owned
OH HELL YES

(In the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)
2013-04-17
7
Mar 2013
5.612
Owned
In the Technicolor curb-stomp set:

The Gun
Henchmonster
...In a Booster Chair


In the kick-ass Xmas set:

Bull-Headed
Eat Santa's Cookies
Pumped Up
Twisp & Catsby
Zombie Santa


In the Munchkin Conan set:

Whim of the Elder Gods


In the Munchkin Apocalypse set:

Biggoth
Love Thy Neighbor


In a drawer somewhere:

Candy Apple
Curse! Bad Hare Day
2014-11-24
7
Jan 2010*
5.503
Owned
I got the Buried Treasure one—stupid fun!


You tear it in half—

surprise

—and put one end anywhere more than 10-deep in the treasure deck. When the bookmark turns up, you get the treasure underneath it while the poor sap who's draw it was gets nothing!

(In the pure sepia set.)


BRAAAAAAAAINS!
Esoteric Empowerment

(In the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)


Barbaric Bludgeoning (x2)

(In the Munchkin Conan set.)


BRAAAAAAAAINS!
Ladies of Ragnarok
Re-Sealing (x3)

(In the Munchkin Apocalypse set.)


Goblin Turkeys!

(In the Munchkin Pathfinder set.)
2013-12-09
Promotional item (Year 2008 edition)
Year: 2008
7
Jan 2010*
5.595
Owned
More Munchkin swag, and really just silly fun.

I got the 2008:


(In the pure sepia set.)


2013 "Duck of Doom"

(In the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)
2013-05-14
English first edition
Year: 2012
7
Mar 2013
5.628
Owned

OMG MURDER FAERIES!!!

(In the Technicolor curb-stomp set.)
2013-03-07
English first edition
Year: 2013
6
May 2015
5.615
Owned
English first edition
Year: 2011
6
May 2015
5.725
Owned
There's something about watching a barbarian slap the teeth out of a necromancer that never gets old.

(In the Munchkin Conan set.)
2013-04-17
English first edition
Year: 2010
7
Jun 2012
5.875
Owned
Plays: 1
(In the Munchkin Conan set.)
2013-04-17
8
Feb 2010
7.914
Owned
Plays: 9
Played so far with the new roles and action cards, and we're still losing half the time with only four epidemics (n00b setting/sleepin' kitten mode), so I can't even fathom the virulent strain, or the fifth (!) disease, or the bio-terrorist... let alone Legendary setting with seven (!!!) epidemics.

Tons of great mix-'n-match mayhem in this box. Should keep us busy for the next little while.
2010-02-19
9
Jan 2011
7.537
Owned
Plays: 1
More Grid more good!

Cheaper connections & double the churn in the power plant markets make for a faster game.

Something we missed on the first time through:

I thought the rule to remove the smallest plant during bureaucracy was instead of the rule to remove the largest plant... it turns out it's both.

You remove the smallest and the largest, so two new plants at the end of every turn!
2012-09-16
9
Jan 2009*
7.445
Owned
Plays: 1
The China rules make it a different enough game that I came in last—and I have something of a reputation, wrongfully applied, of winning more often than not.
2010-03-28
English first edition
Year: 2013
10
Jun 2014
6.632
Owned
Plays: 7
Ship's Log, Scientific Cruiser Skłodowska-Curie, on-site at Alien Orb

Day 1: It's a goddamn circus out here. Ships from every upstart empire, commonwealth, federation, confederation and solar sway are buzzing around the thing, each declaring sovereign volumes and eager to plant the first flag. There are also a disconcerting number of derelicts in eccentric orbits. Initial scans show some of the crews appear to have committed mass suicide...

Day 3: After being violently rebuffed by what we thought were docking tubes, we decided to breach with a volley of science torpedoes. There is now a good-sized science hole in the structure through which we can begin our survey.

Day 7: We have begun packing up everything that isn't bolted down or running away. Not really sure what any of this junk is—at our scale cleaning protocols and warbots are pretty much the same thing. It all looks expensive, though.

Day 421: The damn thing shifts and shifts and
shifts—losses stand at just under a thousand souls. The jumpdrive techs keep using the term "tesseract". Also, it turns out the "feeding tubes" dispense pellets that eat. I could go on but suffice it to say that Hell would be more hospitable—at least that place was made for people.

/\Å/\ mb

An epic sci-fi smash-n-grab. I really enjoy the unique flavor of the orb game, so much so it's the only way I'll play AA from now on. After all, it's the whole point of this arc! If I have the urge to go small-deck/simple I'll just play the base game or base + Gathering Storm.
2014-11-05
English first edition
Year: 2009
10
Jun 2010
7.642
Owned
Plays: 20
"We dropped out of jumpspace and started the orbital bombardment before they lit us up. The asteroid we piggybacked from outsystem fell away as the fleet braked in high orbit. We traded fire for four hours until their cap city ate the rock. At mission time four hours, one minute, we opened the comms."

mb

Takeovers ROCK.

(2 copies)
2013-11-13
English first edition
Year: 2010
10
Jul 2010
7.333
Owned
Plays: 10
With the addition of the prestige axis the game executes a quantum upshift into the heady and intricate. The experience is best with experienced players, so you're either playing this with the people you've always played with or you're gradually indoctrinating newbs... Don't be in a hurry. So much of this is about knowing the massive deck, the strengths and weaknesses of the various strategies, the probability of ending up with a certain card. (Not to mention being able to intuit which actions will be played to maximize your parasitic benefit while minimizing how much you help your foes.) Jumping straight into the deep end is bewildering and much of what makes the game great will be lost on the drowning man.

The final result is a triumph in every possible way—gorgeous, evocative, vexing and just plain fun.

To paraphrase my friend Jas: Now it feels like a complete game, on par with the heavier Euros.

And I could play it forever.

mb

PS. Keldon's brilliant AI implementation is my go-to digital time-waster—two AI opponents, all expansions, takeovers on. Though it lacks the delicious human element of outguessing, the rest of the experience is deep enough that it doesn't matter. And it's a great way to learn the deck and noodle with crazy strategies.
2013-05-12
English first edition
Year: 2008
10
Jun 2010
7.863
Owned
Plays: 52
More of the good stuff. The best kind of expansion in that it doesn't so much alter the game as make it more of what it already is, makes it better by amplifying the best parts of the original.

Adding VP objectives to "fight" over (most planets, etc.) is probably the closest we'll get to direct confrontation in this system*... but then, it's an optimization race, not a brawl.

If you didn't like the game before, this won't do anything to change your mind—but if you do like it, this is a must.

mb

UPDATE: Sure, the "robot" is just a couple dice and a flowchart—but I hate him so much. Doesn't he understand that I can chuck his dice into the ocean and burn his smarmy card? DON'T THINK I WON'T

UP-UPDATE: I consider the base game the "training wheels" version and this the default. I've started new players here with good results as the additional overhead does not make the game opaque to the uninitiated.

(3 copies)


*At least until Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium added takeovers. Now if you're gonna put on your galactic big-boy pants and stick a gun in the waistband you should expect to get teeth slapped out of your head by the civ next door that raises babies on steriods, orthodoxy and murder.
2014-11-14
First edition
Year: 2010
9
May 2011
6.033
Owned
Plays: 6

Fig. 1 — Turn 1 first player auction bid-flex.

Works great with two sans cards—a nice, tight screw-fest; with four everyone's openhand-slapping from the get-go. There's no breathing room—only space enough to wind up for the next crotch-kick.


Fig. 2 — Turn N debt-spiral bum's rush.

¡Olé!
2012-10-26
English first edition
Year: 2014
10
May 2014
5.813
Owned
Plays: 3
An absolute must-have for fans of the base game.

Lots of cool stuff: new characters, PvP, and, of course, the eponymous nemeses.

As for 5-6p games... new stuff and play modes notwithstanding, I just don't see it working in a reasonable time frame. Like Talisman this is a storytelling game, and sitting idly by while spectating on the herky-jerky chapters of four or five other stories makes for oppressive downtime. In my experience 4p is the absolute maximum, with 3p being the sweet spot. Naturally, YMMV.

Three Games, Two Wins and One Semi-ironic* Pop Culture Nun

(Beta tester)
2014-05-12
7
Apr 2006*
6.094
Owned
A nice thick wad of variety, and best of all—it's cheap!
2011-08-28
7
Mar 2008*
5.894
Owned
More challenge cards (greens, yellows, blues and a red) just mean more meaty Runebound goodness. Hardly necessary, but more means no two games will ever be the same!
2012-09-16
8
Jan 2007*
5.896
Owned
Plays: 2
This is the expansion that truly fulfills the promise of the Runebound system, showing just what can be done by swapping out a few cards while adding a few small components and a single breath's worth of new rules. The result is an entirely new adventure that feels nothing like the base game. A must-have for all Runebound owners.
2012-09-16
7
Feb 2008*
6.002
Owned
Threw this into the mix, don't even really notice it. But then, that's the hallmark of a good expansion, right?
2008-02-29*
7
Mar 2007*
6.018
Owned
The banners are about as useful as cartoon-character bedsheets on a stick. Everyone groans when they come out—especially the poor sap who wasted their Market Step pulling it. Otherwise a great expansion.

UPDATE: Removed banners to reduce poor sappage.
2012-09-16
7
Mar 2008*
5.971
Owned
The new ritual mechanic is nifty.

SIDE NOTE: Runebound is one of the few "system" games that I don't feel bad buying every last expansion for. Most system games hit a point where more stops being better (Carcassonne, anyone?). With Runebound, the excellent minds at Fantasy Flight have found a way to make "more" mean "nuance". Kudos & pass the dice!
2015-06-09
8
Apr 2007*
6.566
Owned
Plays: 2
Very different feel from the base game. It's an often awful choice whether to travel by day or night... do you bake in the desert sun, stumbling along with withered lips and wild eyes or do you chance getting ambushed in the pale light of the desert moon? Also, the travels and travails of the legendary quests are a great change of pace from the "kill reds until you get the game-winning one" strategy of The Rise of the Dragon Lords. You only have to kill a single red (any one will do) to set yourself up for the endgame, but even that doesn't seal the win—you still need to complete that fourth quest. All in all, great fun.

Recommended.

PS. A nifty detail: the more legendary quests you complete, the more narrow your possible story becomes; some legendary allies will leave you if you kill certain encounters, for example. Sometimes you have to flee a monster in order not to upset the very entourage that makes you a legend... The result is that power comes at a price—the more you can do, the more judicious you have to be. So instead of just juggernauting across the landscape and leaving a trail of dead, you actually have to pick your fights based on the legend you are building. This helps keep the stories thematic and prevents (to some extent) run away leaders.
2012-09-16
7
Feb 2008*
5.720
Prev. Owned
A subtle (30 card) sprinkle of spice. Definitely upped the fun factor.

(Gave this to Joe & kids.)
2013-09-21
7
Feb 2008*
5.973
Owned
Hardly necessary, but good stuff nonetheless. It doesn't create a noticeable impact on the game so much, but, like a hint of spice, it's in there, altering the experience in its own small way.
2008-02-29*
7
Sep 2006*
6.101
Owned
Adds a bunch of evil faeries, like everyone is gorked out of their minds on absinthe or something. Still, good stuff.
2012-09-16
8
Jan 2007*
6.073
Owned
Plays: 2
A terrific expansion. The new story works well and it's just plain fun being a giantkiller. The non-apocalyptic endgame plays out much better than the original Rise of the Dragon Lords scenario. A must-have for all Runebound owners.
2012-09-16
8
Feb 2008*
5.830
Owned
Looks fantastic—and it plays co-op!
2012-09-16
7
Sep 2006*
6.078
Owned
Adds a necrotic dollop of undead flavor to the mix. Mmm-mmm good!
2006-09-19*
7
Mar 2008*
5.933
Owned
The traps bring a new flavor to the mix—very fun.
2012-09-16
7
Aug 2008*
5.953
Owned
Runebound is like pizza & sex: Even when it's bad, it's still pretty good.
2012-09-16
7
Mar 2008*
5.887
Owned
The new "equipping allies" mechanic is cool and some of the new weapons are, like, whoa. The Soul Eater is the nuclear weapon of Runebound. If ever there was a reason for PvP, it's to take it away from anyone who's not you.
2012-09-16
English First edition
Year: 1999
4
Dec 2007*
6.851
Prev. Owned
My first act as Lord of Catan is to declare Prima Nocta—ON ALL OF YOU.

All joking aside, this really wants to be a four-player ONLY game. It just doesn't work with the extra folks.

UPDATE: PURGED
2014-07-02
English first edition
Year: 2014
7
Mar 2015
6.249
Owned
Added select cards to the deck.
2015-03-06
8
Sep 2012
7.072
Owned
7
Sep 2012
6.997
Owned
7
Sep 2012
7.093
Owned
8
Sep 2012
7.010
Owned

HORTON HEARS A CONCUSSION MISSILE

I've always loved the Y-wing: armored and plodding, the thing is a pig that packs a wallop. Feels just right on the table, especially loaded with a double brace of proton torpedoes. There's nothing quite like locking a target, blasting 'em with the ion cannon to stop 'em dead and then cooking 'em off with a volley of torpedoes... unless it's doing it again!
2013-04-24
English first edition
Year: 2012
10
Feb 2013
6.176
Owned
Plays: 1
HORRIBLE BLACK VOID!!!

Yeah, now we can play the game as intended—as true men.

While I was initially worried at how it would fit in, the Time Card is actually pretty nifty (day/night sides that flip whenever an Event is drawn; creatures get -1 in combat during the day and +1 at night).

But the star of the show is the Werewolf, especially when combined with the Reaper—now you have two forces of nature stalking the board for victims. It's especially good when using one or more corner boards... if everyone clusters up in the City, for example, you can expect the Werewolf & Reaper to converge there, creating a hideous oubliette where a simple shopping trip can end in horror.

2013-04-25
English first edition
Year: 2013
10
Feb 2013
6.179
Owned
Plays: 1
One word:

☆ GLITTER THE UNIC♡RN ☆

Fantastic! Very different feel from the main game and other corner boards; tons of ways to make money and tons of stuff to spend it on. Pretty much solves the problem of being filthy rich and having nothing but crap to buy, akin to an old school episode of "Wheel of Fortune": "Yeah, I guess I'll take another water bottle." It's the standard destination for loin-girding if you're not getting any love grinding for levels in the wider world.

Also, the Wharf space is terrific: Pay one gold to warp to any space in the outer or middle regions (!). This goes a long way to minimize the amount of dicking around required to get to the Warlock's Cave or Portal of Power.

BUT BEST OF ALL ~ There are several cards (Corrupt Sheriff, Drunken Revelry, Taxation) that can yank clowns off the Crown of Command and send them straight to jail.

2015-05-08
10
May 2015
5.592
Owned
The bridge or the hole?

These are the kinds of choices every aspirant of ultimate power must face.
2015-05-08
English first edition
Year: 2011
7
Nov 2014
6.146
Owned
Plays: 1
Kinda-sorta super-fiddly. It bogged the game down—but that might be because we had six players and Talisman proper can drag, time-wise, with more than four. Looking forward to rerating after a play in the sweet spot.

Otherwise, yeah, dragons. I was never really into them, don't think they're cool. I'd probably feel differently if I were a huge Anne McCaffrey nut, or had smoked a dragon-shaped bong in junior high, or owned a collection of those pewter-n-crystal statuettes... but, alas, I'm not, I haven't, and I don't.
2015-05-08
English first edition
Year: 2009
10
Apr 2009*
6.639
Owned
Plays: 4
The 10 is just a randomly-generated placeholder rating until I actually play it this weekend. With beer. And children.

UPDATE: This is probably the easiest 10 I've ever given a game or expansion. The extra characters and spells are almost worth the price alone, with the entire dungeon region and massive stack of dungeon cards acting merely as sweetener...

So much to love in here, like when the Summoning Circle gets clogged with an entire zoo of awfulness that no mortal can conquer, or the fact that it ups the burn rate on characters (we went through four character deaths—before the purple-lightning-leaping-from-my-mouth-when-I-scream-your-name ending—in a three-player game).

Makes the game longer, almost twice as long for us, but I don't know how much of that was due to the fact that we all crammed in and oscillated in and out of the dungeon instead of ramping cleanly toward the Crown of Command.

UP-UPDATE: Played it as a stand-alone with the kids. Talisman in 30 minutes!
2012-09-16
First Edition
Year: 2009
10
Feb 2013
6.454
Owned
Plays: 5
Pretty sure this will be a 10, but I'm waiting to play the Leprechaun before I commit.

UPDATE:


So the Leprechaun pops into existence ♪ Hidilly-Hodilly-Hee ♬ and skips across the rainbow to his pot o' gold; after filling his pockets he heads off to the raucous stink of the City where he is savaged by a werewolf, robbed of his funds, turned into a toad and evaporated by the Holy Host.

DEFINITELY A 10
2013-02-21
First Edition
Year: 2008
10
Dec 2008*
6.746
Owned
Plays: 9
Four new characters, a ton of new adventure cards, a huge number of new spells... not to mention the brand new Warlock Quest deck and, of course, the Grim Reaper Hisself!

This is a no-brainer for every Talisman fan—fighting over the Grim Reaper (shifting him back and forth in an attempt to get him to land on someone) adds even more balls-out screwage to an already nails-in-a-baseball-bat game.

An absolute must-have for every Talismanite!


"Well, well, well. Look at you all dressed up in spats and ignorance."

mb

The baby is crying because she knows you're about to make your rivals cook off like kiln-fired clay statuettes with secret air bubbles—flaws we mortals call "souls".
2013-05-31
English first edition
Year: 2010
10
Feb 2013
6.391
Owned
Plays: 5
The stables and Quest Reward cards are cool. Also, one of the alternative endings is a true co-op game. Nice!

As for characters, the Dread Knight is pretty much the only one my #1 son will play—he comes with a graveyard-regenerating warhorse and gains a spell for every enemy he defeats. Bad. Ass. I'm partial to the Magus purely because he gets lugged around by a bevy of oiled slaves in his fabulous sedan chair.

"Tread with care, fools! Dump me in the mud again and there will be hell to pay! This time I swear it!"
2013-02-20
8
Apr 2011
6.932
Owned
Plays: 3
Nifty additions all around, though when treasures clump up in the dungeon deck it can lead to one player killing something insignificant and ending up with more magic crap than he knows what to do with.*


*FIXED: We play with just one of each treasure card, making them extra-special instead of so commonplace you'd swear they were selling them in the dungeon gift shop.
2011-04-23
8
Apr 2011
7.017
Owned
Plays: 3
Traps sound cool at first but can end up more annoying than anything else.*


*FIXED: We use only one of each trap card. So, yeah, this means some of them go from six instances to a mere two in the dungeon, but having them twang off twice in an entire game is more exciting than watching a clump of four grind someone's turn into a drudgery of card-flipping for everyone.
2011-04-23
Days of Wonder first multilingual edition
Year: 2011
8
Jan 2012
7.296
Owned
Plays: 19
The team game is great for couples, either as a battle of the sexes (with two couples) or as "Ribs: The Elbowing" combined with The Look (for two or three couples).

Teammate #1: [flops grand caravan of cards off of communal rack, begins to place trains]

Teammate #2: What the?! Habbitygibbit! What are you doing?!

Teammate #1: [taken aback] I'm, uh, I'm doing the thing we were working toward?

Teammate #2: But that's not—I mean—gaaah!

Teammate #1: Uh, I love you, Punkinpuss?

Teammate #2: [unholstering & leveling The Look] Losers don't deserve love.

redtrainredtrainredtrainredtrainredtrainredtrain

The Legendary Asia map is neat even if they only hint, in a sideways fashion, at the Yeti taking his due from every trip over the frozen passes. It's just a little bit sad, though, that the majestic beastmen have become accustomed to the regularity of train timetables, captive and lazy with the development of a taste for human flesh.


Fig. 1 — With the sounding of the dinner whistle, Urrghlik
readies himself for music with his meal, wrung from a chorus
of tasty throats.
2013-12-01
Multilingual first edition
Year: 2011
8
Apr 2012
7.355
Owned
Plays: 2
Multilingual first edition
Year: 2013
7
Nov 2013
6.651
Owned
Plays: 2
About that 2p dummy player:

I was extremely leery of the dummy player aspect as I dislike fiddly overhead—especially in light two-player games—but I ended up pleasantly surprised.

Players take turns running the dummy player by drawing a ticket card and claiming a single route as indicated by text at the bottom of the card. If there is no text then no route is claimed; otherwise the human player chooses which color the dummy snags. This allows for some mild blocking as you'll tend to choose the color your opponent has been collecting and/or the one you don't have much or any of (so you don't block yourself).

In the end it's painless and necessary if you're playing competitively; if you're doing it purely as a pastime it's probably too much and you'll want to skip it to prevent rage-pooping.

The dummy player made the game tense, tight and forced both of us to rejigger our plans as we played. I can't see doing two-player without it as the bridge toll tokens add a delicious extra dimension of planning, hard choices and scoring.
2013-11-30
7
Jan 2014
6.165
Owned
Plays: 1
Multilingual first edition
Year: 2007
7
Nov 2007*
7.182
Prev. Owned
Plays: 4
The second-most tense way to learn Swiss geography.

(Gave this to Derrick & Carey.)
2014-01-14
International first edition
Year: 2008
5
Dec 2011
5.596
Owned
For Trade
Plays: 3
Takes a light game and froths it into ghost-meringue. Rolling dice is fun, and that's pretty much all you're gonna get out of this. The whole experience is nothing but scrotum-tingly gamblin'... but even that bit is castrated by only having one re-roll.

In the end this is just about the equipment: if you like the clatter of dice in a cup and want to do that while you ride tickets, go for it. Otherwise, I had the mad desire to play real Ticket to Ride while playing this.

UPDATE: I'm liking this more and more. It makes the game super-short, and it's really easy to pull off some spectacular blocking. If the game were longer with screwage of that magnitude, it would just piss people off. If the game were just as short and everyone had to play like Fonzie, it'd be boring. As is, it's the perfect mix—a completely different game from Ticket to Ride proper.
2012-09-16
Limited edition tin box
Year: 2006
7
May 2007*
7.755
Owned
Plays: 1
More variation to breathe new life into a not-so-old classic. A fistful of new destination tickets and a couple of different play modes mean this one's got a few more miles left in it. (To be fair, the new play modes are nothing more than small tweaks—they don't make it feel like a whole new game, just the old game with a minor twist or two.)

The US-themed full-sized cards are a nice touch—we had been using an extra set of TTR: Europe cards.

(+1 copy in the camping bin.)
2014-07-28
First edition
Year: 2006
10
Feb 2008*
8.071
Owned
Plays: 2
A must-have for the base game—in fact, I don't really consider this to be an expansion at all as it's so well integrated with the original. It doesn't so much "fix" or change the nature of Twilight Imperium as it just makes it more of what it already is. Not just recommended, but required. (It bumped TI3 from an eight to a solid-forever 10 for me.)
2012-09-16
English edition
Year: 1994
6
Jun 2014
5.622
Prev. Owned
Good fun from back when 40k was about superheroes supported by waves of cannon fodder. We played the hell out of this!
2014-06-22
English first edition, 2nd printing
Year: 2012
6
Nov 2012
6.227
Owned
Plays: 1
Why was Santa pregnant?!
2012-11-28
7
May 2010
5.845
Owned
Plays: 3
Speeds things up nicely with a second chopper.

Oh, also—GLOW-IN-THE-DARK ZOMBIES!!!
2013-03-06
7
May 2010
5.844
Owned
Plays: 3
Picked up for the Guts tokens and some cards.
2010-05-12
7
May 2010
5.813
Owned
Plays: 2
Picked up for the Sewer tokens, cards, and subway tiles.
2010-05-12
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