The Semi-Amateur Gamer

A blog of a guy that loves simply being involved with board games. Whether it is playing an CCG/LCG competitively, organizing a local convention, running a monthly game day, designing games, playing games with young kids, or going to conventions.

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Hexcellent!

Adam Daulton
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I recently sold several games and used the money to buy Anachrony and Anachrony: Exosuit Commander Pack. After all it was my favorite game from 2017! Getting the miniatures though means I had all the regular cardboard hexes that are the regular exo-suits for the base game. (Side note, anyone else prefer to use the cardboard resources in Ananchrony rather than the cubes that are basically impossible to tell apart?) So as I was putting them away in my "game design pieces" bin, I determined I'd make a game out of them someday. That someday turned out to be about 10 days ago.

I was sitting at lunch, thinking about game design, and limiting myself to those tiles. I quickly built in my mind what I wanted them to do, realized I'd want a little more umph to the game, and so allowed myself to add player tokens and VP tokens, and 15 minutes after getting home that night I was playing the new game with my wife! It worked very well. Much better than any of the previous games I've ever attempted to design the first time playing them.

I like having some theme on my games, even if they are basically an abstract, and so the idea of the prototypical bad guy saying "Excellent!" to his minions as his plan came together came to my mind. I quickly ran with it and now you are trying to get that bad guy, a warlock in this case, to say "Hexcellent!" to you as the best bad-guy-lair-with-hexes-designer out there!

I've played or watched folks play a total of 8 times so far and have made a few tweaks. All these plays have been with the Anachrony hexes marked with numbers, left over game pieces, a bright light (the blue and black hexes in Anachrony are tough to tell apart!). I want to expand the game to 4 players, which there are just not enough hexes in Anachrony to do, so I spent most of Friday night and a lot of Saturday on designing hexes on Component Studio. I now have 64 hexes ordered (because I figure as I make changes I'll probably sticker them anyways or use them in other games) and hopefully in the next week I'll be playing an even better prototype version that includes all the amenities of a middle-class evil warlock's lair: dangerous forests, poison storage, broom closets, dungeons for prisoners, towers (for prisoners of course), creature lounge areas, and cauldron warming spaces.

As you can tell, I'm very excited about this game and how quickly it seems to have come together compared to others I've attempted. I think that is partially by at least starting the process by limiting myself to hexes. It triggered something. I've got too many irons in the fire right now when it comes to game design, but I think the next time I attempt to sit down and design one I'm absolutely going to do the same thing. Maybe next time it'll be marbles, or perhaps just some paper and a marker, or maybe I'll spill out my game design bin, grab a variety of things, and get going.
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Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:27 pm
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Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 is now in the Books! - My Thoughts (No spoilers unless you want them by clicking the spoiler boxes)

Adam Daulton
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Some History
I am not a huge Pandemic fan. Part of that comes from not being a huge co-operative fan in the first place. I like it just fine, but after it is all said and done I think I prefer to play Forbidden Island. So when we got Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 (S1), I wasn't expecting to be blown away by it, but I was! Became one of my Top 50 Games of All Time and made me want Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 (S2) so bad! We finished our campaign of S2 last night - so on to what we experienced and thought!

The Game Play
Just like S1 players get characters, name them, and then essentially try to save the world. This is a bit different, because rather than 4 viruses out in the world, there is a single plague that if 8 cubes get on the board you lose that individual game. Those cubes go on the board when a city card is flipped over, but only if there are no supply cubes in that city. Each game players start with supply cubes that they can place out in the cities to prevent plague. The number of supply cubes dwindles as the campaign progresses, just as the number of cities that are "on the grid" increase. Players can take actions to make more supplies, move supplies to other cities, etc. There are also special player cards that let you fill up havens (which are basically islands in the ocean that the characters are from) that you destroy when you play the card. Another change is the recon action, where you discard cards while at a supply center to discover a portion of the unknown world. To win each individual game there are different objectives, the mainstay being create 3 supply centers by discarding 5 cards matching the color of the city that you are in. Thus far, with some twist, it has a very similar feel to original Pandemic or S1.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Now on to the spoiler stuff. First, the number of supplies cubes dwindles, but not completely as there are stickers revealed throughout the game that add back to your supply. Two of them of +15 each. As the game progresses you get more and more actions that you can take including: building satellite center to transmit cards to other players across the world, connecting cities on the map by road or boat, building forts to protect your characters, removing cards from the game, etc. Your characters also receive upgrades that let you do a lot of variations of this such as connecting cities for cheaper, getting cards back that you removed early so it is easier to get 5 of a kind, moving much more quickly around the world, etc.


Our Campaign
The plan for our campaign was to just be Krista and I. That is mostly how we played S1, with the occasional joining in by friends who liked Pandemic or weren't planning on playing it. S2 felt a bit different, like we didn't have that option of adding others, because well first it would have been more learning for someone since there is more of a significant difference between regular Pandemic and S2 and also because of the success of S1 a lot of our "replacements" were planning on doing their own campaign.

We started out playing the teaching game that doesn't do anything legacy. Then we got going in the campaign. As we progressed through S1 with mostly only two players we felt like it was a bit too easy sometimes (I think we only loss 1 two player game). As we progressed through this game, especially at the end, we felt really hampered by only having two players. Here are our starting characters:

Spoiler (click to reveal)


Spoiler (click to reveal)
We quickly switched over to our long term characters as we got a feel of the game. I named mine Professor JVK and focused on supporting Krista's charter Mia since she was much better at building supply centers. In my opinion, we played conservatively, and didn't take too many risks. We opened up Western US first, then went to Europe, but eventually had South America opened for us through events. As we found more havens, we would immediately try and move to them so we could trigger the opening of their secrets. Krista especially played conservatively with Mia, growing close to her and only taking a single scar sometime around October.

As the game progressed we unlocked a few things, some which were expected, but some that weren't.

First, we unlocked the search function which showed up on player cards. You could scratch them off to get something or receive information. For the most part we didn't focus on searching though. One thing about the searching I really did like is when a person would be revealed that would basically act like an NPC in a role playing game, giving us an advantage while that player card was in our hands.

Second, when we unlocked the satellites, I really liked that. They let you give cards to your team from a satelite as long as those cards match the city's color you are in. Maybe we liked this so much because we were playing a two player game, but this really helped make the world seem smaller.

Third, the forts. These were just meh. Basically, they stopped you from getting a scar from plague cubes or the Hallow Men. These did not feel useful at all honestly.

Fourth, speaking of Hallow Men, the biggest reveal came in October for us when we found out that we were....THE FADED and the Hallow Men were the "humans" of Season 1! By far the best story element of the game that had us stunned. However, looking back maybe we should have seen it coming being we were out in the middle of the oceans quarantined off from the world.

After such a high in October, the last 2 months of the year really fell flat. We struggled to get out to all the red cities on the map and November honestly left us with not a lot to do at all. If I had only played November I would rate this game a 2 it was that bad. All we could do was just sit still and draw cards.

Then December hit and the rules were a bit confusing, but we decided to roll with it. I got up to Lake Baikal to get the cure put in me, despite already having two scars, but died when they administered it. We quickly lost that game. Then the final game of the campaign came, I chose Kat as my new character, because we had to first connect to Johannesburg and then build a supply center. She was good at that - meanwhile we'd use Mia to go get the cure. She got the cure, lived, but then due to lack of red cards sat in one place and could move until the game ended because no red cards were drawn.

Those last two months were such a big disappointment of unfun that it really hurt our overall impressions of the game. Our final score was 483, which is really horrible, so perhaps that also impacted our feelings?


So there you have it. How are S2 campaign went. We both liked S1 much better than S2. S1 is a game that contends for a place in my Top 50 games of all time, Pandemic is a game I don't even think would make my top 250 games of all time, and S2 is probably closer to regular Pandemic for me than closer to S1. Like all the legacy games I've played, I'm glad I did so, because it is great playing games with my wife and enjoying our time together! The next legacy game on the docket for us is Charterstone, which we'll probably be starting in the next couple weeks. Right now - I rank legacy games as first PLS1, second PLS2, and then Seafall. I'll leave you with pictures of our characters and the final board:

Spoiler (click to reveal)



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Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:31 pm
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Game Play Stats - 2017

Adam Daulton
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2017 is in the books! I've continued to use BG Stats App and I love it. I've now been tracking for almost 12 full years now. A few notes on this year.

First, I play what I consider a lot of games, but even with 632 plays this year it is my lowest amount since 2011. Now granted I've not been playing a serious LCG like Android: Netrunner or Warhammer: Invasion. I'm still playing quite a few of short kids games though and so it really jumps the plays up.

Second, I play with a lot of people! The app allows me to enter the folks I play with and there were 142 of them in 2017 that I knew their name. There were of course even more that I didn't know from conventions. This is the greatest part of the hobby. Those numbers represent family (both immediate and extended) and friends (both of many years and brand new). They represent laughs shared, strategies discussed, backstabs carried out, and fun times had.

Third, I played games at quite a few locations, but mostly at home and mostly on Saturdays. My house is still where I play the vast majority of the time with 67% of my plays coming in there. The second highest location is Gen Con with 6% of my plays. Saturday gets 34% with Wednesdays coming in at only 6%. Wednesdays being the slowest day surprised me a bit, because I've been playing at a new group on Wednesdays and also playing at McDonald's with my wife on Wednesdays while the kids are at church.

Finally, let's talk about the games I played. For the first time ever, Unpublished Prototype took my number one spot at 26 plays. I've been focusing on design more this year and thus have gotten more plays in of my prototypes and others. As for already published games, Dominion and Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 tie with 17 plays. I know sometimes people rag on Legacy games, but this is just another stat showing they get played more than other games even. Last year SeaFall was high on my list and now another one. I'm also excited to have Dominion because those plays were mostly with my oldest daughter. She is 8 now and we're finally getting into the "good stuff" of gaming!

So there you have it, I love stats, the BG Stats gives me a lot of them, and now I've shared them with you.
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Wed Jan 3, 2018 1:11 am
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Gaming Goals - 2018

Adam Daulton
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For the past few years I've set some gaming goals. I've found it to be way more helpful than regular new year resolutions, because these are things I actually want to do, instead of things I need to do like work out, become a better person, etc.

Have Lunch Swap Signed or Self-Published
I've been working on my short, ultra-filler card game called Lunch Swap for over a year now. I believe I'm now done with it. I'm sure, just like any creation that I could keep working on it forever, tweaking here, tweaking there, but I have other designs I need to focus my time on. So with that said, my main goal will be to get it signed by a traditional publisher, but my back up plan will be to have it for sale on the The Game Crafter. That will help me improve on art and graphic design anyways. Either way, that will result in it having a BGG entry, and at least give folks some opportunity to play.

Play Even More Games with My Kids
For the last couple years I have had a goal to play 100 games with my kids. In 2017 I went well beyond that, so this year I'm upping it to 150 plays. Sometimes playing with the kids can be painful. For example, yesterday we pulled out Codenames Disney, the kids insisted they wanted to be the clue givers and let's just say it didn't go well at all. However, most of the time it is fun to play with them. It makes us spend family time together and more face to face family time is a good thing.

Play Some "Different" Games
If you've read this blog for any amount of time, then you probably have seen a general trend of my absolute favorite types of games tend not to be co-op games or completely story driven games. So this year, I'm going to attempt to branch out and play some of the bigger titles that have come out in the past few years such as Gloomhaven, Time Stories, Exit, or 7th Continent. See what I'm missing and see if it changes my mind.

Finish the Game Room Remodel
This goal isn't to complete the decorating of the game room, still got a ways to go there, but actually the remodel of it. I still need to paint green on one wall, add vent covers in the ceiling, add a piece of trim against the custom shelves, and replace paneling on a storage box. I'm going to get those four things done in 2018!

Play One Game 10 Times
I know I'll likely play at least one game 10 times, but this is a purposeful goal set at the beginning of the year for a specific game. Eminent Domain is one of my favorite games, only takes 30-45 minutes to play, and yet I only played it once last year. Not happening again this year. There is another expansion coming, I already have the previous two expansions, and I'm going to make sure I get this one played 10 times this year!

So there are my gaming goals for 2018. Do you set any gaming goals at the beginning of the new year and if you do what they are?
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Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:21 pm
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The Top Games of 2017

Adam Daulton
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It's time again for my favorite blog of the year to write! The top games of 2017! By "2017", I mean played by me for the first time in 2017 and by "top" I mean according to me and by "games" I mean board or card games since you are reading this on boardgamegeek.com though I hope you already knew that.

General Thoughts on 2017
First, a few general comments on 2017. I've played more "new to me" games in 2017 than any year since 2007! 91 of them to be exact. You can read my first impressions of all of them in my New to Me Geeklist. Overall, I think 2017 has been a less stellar year than 2016 for me. I knew for sure the top 5 games I'd have on my list, maybe not the order, but for sure the games. After that though nothing was jumping out to me in the same way that the top 8 jumped out to me last year. The industry overall still seems to be doing very well, whether it is Kickstarter or traditional publication resulting in a LOT of games. So, of course, my 91 games played doesn't even put a dent in what is out there.

Honorable Mentions
I have quite a few honorable mentions this year for a variety of reasons, but I figured I'd mention them here quick: Dinosaur Island, Downforce (Would have made the list 3 months ago), Railroad Revolution, Thunder Alley, La Granja, The Pursuit of Happiness, Insider, Terraforming Mars, and Century: Golem Edition. All the above games were good fun and I could see when I look back in 12 months a couple of them moving up on the list.

The Top Games of 2017
10. Slide Blast

This one is on the list because of how well it does what it sets out to do. It has been a success with gamers, family, and friends. The game plays quick, plays a high count of players, and has nice chunky tiles. If I had a surprise hit of the year, this would be it.

Favorite Part: There is something just fun about counting your score off at the end of the game as you slide down the crazy slide you built!

9. Whistle Stop
This is the only game on my list that I've only played once. I hesitated to put it on here and leave other games off like La Granja or Terraforming Mars, but man this game has been on my brain even with just that one play. It left me wanting more plays and kicking myself for not buying it at Gen Con. It seems to be a solid train game at the level I like my train games. Not 18XX, but a bit above Ticket to Ride as well.

Favorite Part:
The joy of building your route out and trying accomplish your goal through the chaos of your opponents and the tiles you draw.

8. Kingdomino

I had heard a ton about this game throughout the year, but for some reason didn't think it would be for me. I was wrong. I played this quick tile laying game at Gen Con and it took all of 7 minutes and was great! Good and fun decisions with some groans possible when things don't turn out the way you want. This is a game for everyone in my opinion.

Favorite Part: The two player version where you make a 7x7 grid. I know I said it above, but there is something satisfying about a perfect 7x7 grid with your castle right in the middle.

7. Coldwater Crown
I bought this for the theme and keep coming back for the game play. I liken this game to something like Thurn and Taxis - a solid Euro that takes right around 60-75 minutes to play and while it probably won't ever be in my Top 50 games of all time, I imagine it'll always have a place in my collection. The place a worker and then take a worker mechanic works so well in this one and really does feel about as much like casting as you can get in a board game.

Favorite Part: The theme. We needed a good fishing game and now we have one!

6. Time's Up!

I've heard about this game for years and years. My buddy Nick had told me it was his favorite game of all time. I was expecting a lot out of it for a party game. It lived up to expectations. A party game that is a smart party game. I've pulled it out at conventions this year and at family cookouts. Doesn't seem to matter where it is people laugh and have a good time.

Favorite Part: How really like how it grows on itself so that what you did in round 1 now comes back to help in round 3.

5. Path of Light and Shadow
I wrote a review of this earlier in the year, so I won't go into too much detail on it, but suffice to say this one fits right in to "my" kind of game. It is a cool take on deck building effecting a board. There is a healthy dose of luck in this game, but at the same time experienced players have won every time I've played.

Favorite Part: I really like how you have to destroy the value of a territory in order to take it.

4. The Godfather: Corleone's Empire

This was one of my most anticipated games of 2017. I pre-ordered it from my FLGS, got it, and after one play my dog chewed up one of the pieces. CMON quickly replaced it for me at no cost! That is excellent customer service and this is an excellent mobster game. It doesn't give you specifically the Godfather feel, but it does absolutely give you the mobster feel. There is plenty of player interaction, a cool way to determine area control by being located in multiple areas, and a fun way to store points.

Favorite Part: How you want to have more money, but you can only get so much laundered away each turn.

3. Days of Ire: Budapest 1956
This game was a complete surprise for me. I had never heard of it, but when I was working with sponsors for IndyCon this one was sent in. The art intrigued me, I learned it was a card driven game in the vein of 1960 or Twilight Struggle, and then I made sure to try it. It has both a co-op and competitive mode, I've only played competitive and only as the Soviets. Playing this game made me research and learn more about the history it tells.

Favorite Part: Two things. I really like the graphic design of strings connecting pictures for locations. From a game play perspective though I like the way events are placed on the board, the Soviets must have them to win, but at the same time it allows the Revolutionaries to trigger them and get bonuses.

2. Inis

Played this for the first time at Geekway. Played it again immediately. Then bought a used copy off a guy there. I knew this game would be for me, but for some reason I never got it played the year before, but am glad I did this year! The game essentially boils down to all other players ganging up on the leader to hold them back. Each round feels like it is played on the edge of a knife, where you know if you make a mistake your chance at victory that round will vanish. I'm really struggling with deciding between this one or Kemet as my favorite of the "trilogy" by Matagot.

Favorite Part: I love that you have to spend a whole turn to take the pretender crown and declare to everyone that you will win the game unless they stop you this round!

1. Anachrony
I don't know why, but I never really sought this game out. However, in October a friend brought it over and wanted to play. I joined and I was hooked! At the core it is a just a heavier worker placement game with cool plastic pieces (if you have the extras). There is time travel! Unlike a lot of worker placement games, you start with more workers in the beginning than the end which makes you feel like you can do more early on, but still feels very constrained in the end. I do not yet own this one, but it is on the top of my "to buy" list! Also, I just realized this tonight, but David Turczi designed both this and Days of Ire, so I'm going to be on the lookout in the future for his designs as they seem to line up with what I like.

Favorite Part: I really like the mech suits and how they modify where your workers can go. This adds a very high level of tension in the game on getting the right numbers of mechs at the beginning of the round.

Worst Game of the Year
Every year I give out the Dust Award. This award goes to my least favorite game for the year. That game this year is Ubongo 3-D. Wow, this game is just not for me. I really hated it. Now, in its defense, my wife loved it, because she is so good at it. The game however makes me feel like an absolute idiot.

So there you go. My favorite new to me games from 2017. It was a great year playing games with friends and family, experiencing new games, and meeting new people. If I keep my pace up, in 2018 I'll probably play my 1,000 unique game!

Edit: Realized two days ago that I forgot a game as I was playing it. Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 absolutely should be on this list. It is my most played game in 2017. We just finished October (MIND BLOWN!) and look forward to at least two more games of it. So I'd put it in the number six spot and that'd move Slide Blast to an honorable mention.
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Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:18 am
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Gaming Goals 2017: How'd I do?

Adam Daulton
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The past couple years I've put together some gaming goals at the beginning of the year. Not something that I hold myself to a lot, but at least they are in the back of my mind. It is no 10x10 challenge, though perhaps this year I'll do that, but rather it is some general fun.

So how'd I do on last year's goals? Let's see below.

1. Play 100 games with my daughters. thumbsup
Success! I've played 148 games so far with my kids and I'm sure I'll get a few more in before the end of the year. We played 48 unique games, with Dominion, Slide Blast, and King of Tokyo getting more plays than any others. It has been a great year playing with them and I'm excited to see where next year goes. I'm sure this will be a gaming goal again.

2. Have a working prototype for a game I'm designing with a friend.thumbsup
I'm going to give this a success. Not sure the "with a friend" part has gone as well as he or I would have liked. We bandied some ideas about, but both got really busy with life. However, in the past year I have put together a prototype and played it three times!

3. Show Lunch Swap to a publisher.thumbsup
The prototype is with a publisher right now! Maybe it'll come of something, maybe it won't, but this goal is accomplished.

4. 5 x 10 Challengethumbsdown
I've failed miserably at this one. Which is why I don't do a 10x10 challenge. Here are my plays: *Eminent Domain x1, Roll for the Galaxy x3, Suburbia x7, Innovation x4, Traders of Osaka x2. As you can see not a single one at the 10 play mark. Perhaps next year I should do a 5x5, which will get me closer, but still failing.

So there you go. 3 out of 4 isn't so bad right? In the next few weeks I'm sure I'll put together a goals for 2018 post.

*This makes me really sad. Only a single play of EmDo! I've got to do much better than that in 2018. Love that game.
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Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:58 pm
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Best Gaming Moments of 2017

Adam Daulton
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As the year is drawing to an end, I like to reflect on the best gaming moments from the year. These might be come from behind victories, unexpected surprises, or just good down home gaming.

1. Playing Ninja Camp with Ella. She is 7 this year and whether to please me or because she really likes it, she has been regularly requesting to play my own design with me. It makes me feel good she seems to like it, she is slowly understanding it, and keeps requesting it. My favorite moment specifically was on a game day where my buddy Jerry joined us in a three player game and Ella got the victory! She was so proud of herself and I was so proud of her.

2. This past year's Indy Con was the 10th one. It's been such a big part of my gaming life for a full decade! This year specifically was great because I got to play my wife in the Tichu championship. She was attempting to win her 2nd championship, but never had beaten Logan and I in the tournament herself. Annie and she dominated us and won the tournament! So, yeah, I guess my first two favorite moments are me losing games, but Krista is a great gamer and it was cool seeing her win with Annie.

3. This one is not a specific game, but a more general one experience. Gaming with our close friends the Montzs on a regular basis. I try and take a picture of our games and use the hashtag #MontzDaultonGames on Twitter. These game nights are always something I look forward to at the end of the week. We rotate picks, which means variety in what we play, and we just enjoy each others company. I'm pretty sure this is like the 2017 version of a 1955 Bridge group.

4. One day, can't remember when exactly, we were down at my parents house and my mom pulled out Perspective The Time Line Game. Her and I sat down on the floor and played a two player game. My mom isn't much of a gamer, but she really does like to word and trivia games. This game sucked, but I'd absolutely play it again with her.

5. Playing on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium during Gen Con. Yeah, it was a long walk each day from the dealer hall, but there is just something really cool about playing in a huge stadium. Especially a stadium I'm normally watching the Colts play on and instead I was sending other gangsters to swim with the fishes in The Godfather: Corleone's Empire or teaching 7 Wonders to some folks I had just met.

So there you go. Turned out to be pretty sappy, but still some great moments with games in 2017. There are still a few weeks left, so maybe I'll get the chance to add to these! I'd love to hear your favorite gaming moment of 2017.
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Fri Dec 8, 2017 3:08 am
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Four Things I Learned From Game Design NIght

Adam Daulton
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We had our third design night last night. In no particular order here is what I learned.

First, having a game design night is great for forcing yourself to design! I spent the 4 hours before everyone came over working on getting the Heptarchy design updated based upon feedback from a couple months ago. Lots of printing, cutting, and writing, but well worth it. If it wasn't game design night, there is no way I'd got it done. Especially, because it so happened, that I knew my games would be the only games played that night and so really put pressure on me to get something playable together.

Second, when you change rules, not only does that effect what is on the components of the game, but it effects how many of the components you need. In Heptarchy (its first play with 5 players) we ran out of cards in round three because of a couple changes kept more cards in play, especially with that many players. I've often thought about balance in game design when it comes to things like cost/benefit, but last night made me think about it in another way.

Third, it is really awesome of friends to play your prototypes. I was thinking about it today and I'm very grateful I've got friends willing to use up their valuable gaming time to play a game where I'm crossing out text and writing on cards and that we didn't finish.

Fourth, and now we're into more specifics on the games themselves, games don't go like you expect them. In Pyramids one player essentially built a big wall rather than a pyramid like expected. Not sure yet if it is a bad thing or not, but still not expected. In Heptarchy, the there was an area of the game that was barely used. When I changed one mechanic it also made that area of the game much harder to use - which I didn't expect - but now see why. So I'm going to do some tinkering there.

There you go, four things I learned from game design night, which all you really experienced designers probably already knew.
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Wed Dec 6, 2017 12:02 am
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I Know Myself More as a Gamer

Adam Daulton
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On Sunday afternoon a friend of mine brought over Star Wars: Imperial Assault to play the skirmish mode with me. I've played Imperial Assault before, but it had been a couple years and back then I'd played the campaign game. After some rules explanation we started. I had a Wookie squad with Leia and was going against his Jabba led crew on Hoth. I lost and I knew I had lost 30 minutes before we called it.

I walked away from the game realizing more about myself as a gamer. I just don't think tactical skirmish games are for me. From my plays of the Imperial Assault campaign a couple years ago, I would rate the game a 6 or 7, but my experience on Sunday would result in a 3 or 4 rating. It just isn't for me as a skirmish game.

When I think about it this has been my feeling really in a lot of games. Several years ago a buddy of mine bought into Warhammer 40,000, painted it up, and asked me to play with him. We played three times. Just wasn't for me. Before that I tried The Lord of the Rings: Combat Hex Tradeable Miniatures Game and despite being a HUGE LotR fan the game fell flat for me. I've also tried Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42 and again, while I could see it's merits, I haven't sought it out ever again. Probably the closest thing to a success for me for a tactical skirmish game is Memoir '44 or another Command & Colors system game. That of course is super light compared to these others. So Sunday afternoon, while I was watching football, I began self reflecting and figured out at least two reason for my dislike of these types of games.

First, I am just bad at them. Yep, terrible. I consider myself a decent board gamer when it comes to competition. Most games I'm in the race, I can win the game, sometimes more than my fair share. However, these tactical games where you got to make sure your long range guys are covering your melee guys and at the same time making those melee guys are protecting the long range guys and all the time being sure your line of sight is open...I suck at it. I feel like this is a skill that I just lack. Give me a piece of wood I need to turn into a high rise apartment and I'm all over it. Tell me to storm that hill and I'm screwed. So, yes, this reason might be shallow, but I still think it a somewhat legitimate reason to not like a genre of games.

Second, I am a big picture thinker. That is how I think at work, that is how I think at home, and that is how I think in board games. Details shmeetails. I want to focus on controlling all of Hoth, not some small control room in some rundown tunnel under the snowy surface of a planet. I get into these skirmish games, where you must focus on the details, either facing the right direction, being the exact right distance away, dipping and dopping (Is that a word? Chrome is saying no, but I'm going with it!), sneaking behind the piece of debris so someone can't see you. That results in me mostly just charging, hoping I live, but mostly dying. Give me the big picture strategy of Star Wars: Rebellion or War of the Ring (Second Edition) over their smaller, more specific counter parts any day.

For the most part I am very much an omni-gamer, which I've talked about before here on the blog. I like very light games that last 5 minutes. I like 4 hour games that you have to schedule way in advance. I also like a lot of what is in-between. However, I've always known I am just not a big co-operative fan and this weekend I learned I'm just not a tactical skirmish game fan either. Does this make me more me now that I know more me?

You can have your dice, your LOS, and your stinking "X" on the black die which makes me miss doing all damage to you THREE TIMES in a single game. I'll stick with making sure the Emperor doesn't enslave the whole galaxy. You go ahead and take care of that droid in the corner with a bad disposition.
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Tue Dec 5, 2017 11:38 pm
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The Best Games of 2016: Revisited

Adam Daulton
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My favorite time of the year for writing and reading blogs is now here. One of my favorite year end blogs to write is this retrospective of the games I chose as the best "New to Me" games from the previous year. I enjoy looking back and seeing where I made a poor choice, was right on, or perhaps still just unsure. So that is what you get here. A quick look back and my favorite games from 2016 and how many times I've played them in 2017.

1. Millennium Blades - 3 Plays in 2017
I made a great choice here. I still absolutely LOVE this game. It is tough to get to the table though. There is so much going on, it does take a particular taste, and it is an almost 3 hour committment when you take into account set up and tear down. Even so I bought Millennium Blades: Set Rotation this year and I foresee this one moving up further in my favorite games of all time list!

2. Star Wars: Rebellion - 4 Plays in 2017
I made this my number two game in 2016 after a single play. Now looking back in 2017 I think I was right. It is Star Wars in a box. A box that I now own thanks to winning a $100 gift certificate to a local game store, which I immediately used to buy it! I love the tension, I love the two player nature, and I love the game. My daughter has been bugging me non-stop for the past month to play. She is only eight, so I think it is out of her reach, but I'm hoping that in the future this will be a game we enjoy together!

3. 7 Wonders Duel - 3 Plays in 2017
This was has waned for me and if I was making the list today would not remain in it's number three spot. I think it would remain in the top 10 though. I do enjoy the game quite a bit still, but it does feel a bit played out for us right now. I am considering to get the expansion to breathe new life in it. In the end, if I had to choose, I'd choose 7 Wonders over it's two player sequel.

4. Scythe - 3 Plays in 2017
This was the hot game in 2016 and it continues on. I'd move it up to number 3 if I was doing this list again. My wife ended up buying it for me at Christmas last year (along with the expansion) and I'm very happy to own it. I love the speed of each individual turn, the tough decisions of what action to take, and what order to take it in. The expansion adds more variety with who you'd like to play. I got a chance to play a 7 player game and it was finished in 1 hour and 41 minutes! So the flexibility of the game from a three player one all the way up to a 7 player one is great!

5. Broom Service - 0 Plays in 2017
I still like this game. However, it just doesn't seem to have caught on with those that I play with. Whenever I suggest it, I get a lot of shoulder shrugs. It might be that the deep strategy Euro players don't like the player chaos, while the more thematic group feels it is just too Euro for them. Either way, I'm glad it was on my list last year, I'd probably drop it one or two levels, but overall still a great game.

6. Mombasa - 1 Play in 2017
I've still only played this game a total of two times. It is one I do not own, only know one person who does own it, but would like to own. I'd move this up on the list from last year, even after those two plays. I love how the game plays, the tough decisions it provides, the way every different aspect of the game combines to make a whole of goodness.

7. Animals on Board - 2 Plays in 2017
This one seems to have been forgettable for me. Though looking back now, I'd still put it in my top 10 games of 2017 and I'm really glad I bought it, because I did play it more than most games in my collection. Not sure why I haven't brought it out more often as a filler at game day. It isn't one that I think about for some reason - perhaps because it only plays four players and not more? Still - I should try and get this played more.

8. Arcane Academy - 0 Plays in 2017
This one would still be in my top 10, but as you can see it didn't get any plays in 2017. Mostly comes down to two reasons. First, again I only know one person who owns it, and she hasn't been to many gaming events that I've been to this year. Second, I must not like it enough to buy it. I had the chance to get a relatively good deal on the last day of Gen Con this year for both it and the expansion, but didn't do it as I'd already reached my budget for Gen Con. I'm still convinced though that this would be a great game to play with my wife and will look to see if I can pick it up cheaply somewhere.

9. Mystic Vale - 11 Plays in 2017
Without a doubt belonged in the top 10 for 2016 for me. I bought the base game earlier this year and the expansion later in the year. This game fits great for my wife and I as a two player game. We've played it on a few date nights this year and I expect that to continue. Including the expansion, this one would move up on the list.

10. The Ancient World - 0 Plays in 2017
I haven't really sought out a play of this one in 2017. I've had the the chance to play, but just haven't done so. It is a solid game, and one I'd leave on the list, but just because I also haven't played Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure or Washington's War again either and those are the two that would be competing for that last slot. I'm sure I'll eventually play this again as the couple we game with a lot owns it and likes it.

Overall, the games as I chose for the best last year remain the best for me. There might be some slight movement in the list, but not a lot. However, the there were three games from last year that have really shined for me (Millennium Blades, Scythe, Star Wars: Rebellion). They all will compete seriously for a slot in my Top 10 Games of all time list when I do that in March. Not sure if any will make it, but I like them enough I'll seriously consider them.

I think I might play Broom Service tonight...that zero plays has to be remedied.
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Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:37 pm
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