Every Day is a Devery Day!

A running log of game plays and a smattering of recipes! Thanks New Year resolutions! And my (as of December 28th) husband!

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Week the Forty-Seventh: In which we have an American holiday I forgot about at least a dozen times!

Timothy 'Peachy' Devery
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Peoria
Illinois
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It’s Thanksgiving, I’m pretty sure! What a delight! Now there’s an excuse to eat turkey for a week and...love thy neighbor or something. I’m not the best at being American, but we can all be thankful for games, because they bring the joyness when both of us can be home for a full extended weekend. Oh, golly, am I glad to have one of these! I might have come off as rather terse or tense last week, but now we’ve freedom and home time and everything is coming up roses.

The last week’s festivities were, naturally, significantly better than my dark little mind expected! Lovely people, lovely food, and enough company to play Werewolf properly (though these kids take to Mafia theming instead, which is just dandy as well)! Wyatt is still a perfect puppy, and having a good time with strangers makes me wonder (as usual) why I get so uncomfortable and freaky leading up to such gatherings. Mysteries. We’re all damaged, so Veronica would tell me.

Anyway, seeing as we were in Indy for a day or two, we stopped by the best Game Preserve has to offer and did a Bad Thing. The place was teeming in copies of Mansions of Madness: Streets of Arkham, and now we have a copy too, even if I’m still unsure if the value has been returned on our current collection of that game, particularly with our not using a good chunk of the materials such as miniatures. Oh, the life and trials of a gamer!

Game the First: Mansions of Madness: Second Edition

Speaking of our Bad Thing, we played the very next day. Astral Alchemy was the scenario, with my Wilson Richards assisting and being assisted by Marie Lambeau. Short story: We liked it! Long, possibly spoilery story follows.

I like being the handyman. I don’t think I’ve played him before, but just the title is pleasing. Regardless, it put me on good footing with the guard wandering the grounds, teleporting around like a Cultist but totally not being one (I think). Knowing that it’s helpful to stick together in this game but knowing that it is impossible to actually have a chance of victory, we split up immediately, both ecountering the guard within a turn of each other. He can teleport. Totally not evil. Still.

Marie looked at him and smiled so hard that he became uncomfortable and fell over himself trying to please her, which was humorous enough, and Wilson just played it straight, barely getting what he wanted after the whole rigmarole. We can manipulate people to do as we please and/or break rules and laws! Success!

One thing this scenario wants you to know is that Improvements exist in this expansion. From the very word go, we both saw our stats increase, and then regularly throughout the scenario we had little choice but to eat up potions and tonics and books that increased even more of them. Honestly, it was almost silly. I think each of us quickly gained three Improvements, then kept around that number while we gained and lost them through Mythos events and whatnot. Silliness. I do very much enjoy being able to shore up weakness, though, or make the strengths all the better. In a game where action resolution is on the dull side and characters are only slightly different from one another in any given challenge, any little bit helps.

So we sneak around this university, helping a crazy lady with her science, and find a wonderful amount of puzzles to solve throughout! Not, like actual puzzles to figure out with clues given by the game, but pretty much one of every puzzle mini game implemented by the app! I liked it. Short Mastermind puzzles and a couple sliders (with different picture than usual, even!) and the new stacking one. I like these more than just...being in the right place at the right time, I guess? At least it grants something to do to earn the next piece.

One thing that is a rare thrilling moment are monsters. They crowd around and slow you down, since killing them usually takes two actions and we are rarely close enough to each other to help in any capacity due to needing the be everywhere at once to not lose to time. Marie, however, is specially made to make monsters less a pain, as she can cast any spell for free at the start of her turn, and since we’re never together to benefit from the support spells, she can blast away at whatever without cutting into her turn better used for exploration! It’s a delight. Plus, if her turns get cut in half due to Stun or Daze or whatever, she still gets her free spell, so happy times abound! Basically, even though she only had a few corpses at her feet throughout, Marie was a beautiful slayer. It was lovely.

Otherwise, we abused monster movement and fire to deal with everything else. Sure, when things spawned on my face and we’re too fast to warrant running, I shot them with my guns, but otherwise, with a large portion of the grounds aflame, opted to let them eat through their own HP while we danced about them for a bit, finishing our other duties for Crazy Science Woman. I’m sure everyone had a name in this game. Everyone usually does.

We are true heroes, running from fights and backhanding Crazy Science Ladies for constantly asking us to fetch and return, endlessly! Way to go us!

By the end (which was surprisingly sudden and not at all a lie, which I’ve come to expect), Marie won all by her lonesome, even though we was Wounded very early on, as Wilson went mad a turn before the end and picked up an Insanity condition not possible to fulfill within the remaining time. So...I technically lost. But I’ll just get counseling or something.

Fun romp! While we complain in game, once concluded, we had a good time, thanks in no small part to the small map and having combat not be the primary focus, giving us the chance at least to maneuver around them instead of everything plopping right on our faces every bloody time. Success!

Game the Second: Deckscape: The Fate of London

London is fine. You’re welcome. We saved it in about and hour twenty, complete with bickering and staring blankly at everything in front of us for longer than anyone would think necessary.

This is another try at escape rooms in a deck of cards, and overall it was fine. The core issue we had with it was finding the solutions to the puzzles in ways they didn’t intend. The twist in this game is that every puzzle can only be tried once, since once flipped, you either keep that resounding success or tally up a fail and unlock it anyway since the answer is right in front of you now. We opted to play in such a way that if one of us decided on an answer, he’d check it out and if he was wrong, the other player could still try it out. We preferred it that way, as it left us with only two fails that were wiped away later anyway for reasons and gave us longer with the system, namely over an hour.

So...not to ruin anything from the game, since it is very much a one and done item, I can say we liked it well enough, but the Exit series remains the best in our house. Exit, being the only set we know that has you manipulating the components, really utilized multiple ways of thinking, enhancing the experience with ‘out of the box’ ideas and thought processes required to prevail.

Here, as alluded to previously, there is one hard and fast solution, with one shot at any and all questions. We occasionally came to our own conclusions, were right, but not at all in the way the game wanted. It always felt weird, and when the answer was revealed with work differing from our own, it wasn’t the best of impressions, making us wonder how exactly we were supposed to connect those dots with none of that information seemingly being there.

Still, it’s a fine option, though less likely to be great with too many players. The cards are large, but I can’t imagine six players crowding around it. We had two and were in each other’s way!

Deckscape. It’s good, not great. Better than Unlock, which we have strong negative feelings toward. Worse than Exit, which asked us to open up more than we’d originaly assumed we had to.

Conclusion...

And that’s that! We will definitely continue our weekend on cloud nine, possibly retiring twice in Gloomhaven, pushing deeper into our other regular systems. Maybe breaking into a game I’ve owned for years and never played (though that list is thankfully getting smaller) time and again! We shall see. For one, we have a mission by the end of the night: Acquire a second PlayStation 4 controller. For reasons. We have our lives to lead!

Thanks muchly for taking the time to read this continued nonsense, as it can be fun to blab on and on to my tablet. Hellia is hanging around, too, watching her uncle unload boxes in the Shame Room as we attempt to be adults and declutter. We are amazing at this.

Until next time, game on!
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Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:06 pm
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Week the Forty-Sixth: In which we decrease game time in favour of absolutely nothing!

Timothy 'Peachy' Devery
United States
Peoria
Illinois
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I postponed this post in the vain hopes we might get up the gumption to actually play something these past two days. That didn’t happen. What I can tell you we did instead is equally as exciting, however! My husband did dishes while I baked some zucchini bread and then began typing this very message. Yeah, we are wild, untamed souls, ready to part-ay with the best of them! Even now, my cat is licking her feet like a rock star (legs extended straight ahead and bedroom eyes) on top of two enormous boxes packed with games that will no longer be with us (thank goodness). She’s a part of our highway to Hell!

This coming weekend, tomorrow in fact, we’ll be jettisoning off to Indianapolis for an early Thanksgiving celebration with...practically everybody we know thanks to a pal of ours who is much more enthused about humanity and socializing with it. He’s a very good man, one to be trusted with most things. Plus, as payment for getting out of the house and speaking with humans, we get to pet the puppy Wyatt, a Siberian Husky, which is coincidentally my favourite breed. Oh, dear puppy, I love you so. I’m willing to deal with humans for an entire evening, just for you! And some of the humans. I mean, I really like a good hand full of them. Though maybe my husband doesn’t count. Hmm...

Regardless, this is the post now. Us just chatting away about our lack of social graces. It’s always a treat, no? I am surprised at how my ability to deal with other people has faded. After getting away from food and retail jobs, the need to please people has all but evaporated from my will. I can live in awkward silences with only the vaguest pittance of discomfort. Sure, my inner guilt is through the roof, but I’ve come to expect that at all times anyway, so why should it bother me more now? It’s not so easy nowadays to keep up conversation, and starting it is simply right out. Unless we have a decided topic on hand, directly between us, silence will usually be my answer. I’m like a ninja, but without any of the cool ninjutsu and more of the shadow sulking and staring.

I live in the darkness around corners. You may feel a presence, but I am not there. My pupils are always large, to extend my vision through the secrets of the room. My knowledge is vast, my words few. Seldom does one seek me out from the gathering, as I can fade into any background as a chameleon that desperately wants to not interact.

Gosh, I sure am awesome. No wonder there are no parties until I arrive!

So, yes. We will be on the road tomorrow, hanging out and possibly getting some games to a table, at the very least Sentinels, because Sentinels. We’ve bred a pretty decent group of individuals through high school, let me tell you.

Recently the hubby and I went through our game collection again, mostly focused on the living area where we have our ready-to-play shelf full to the brims with games and junk, hoping to weed out the less than popular options and clear the area around the dining chair that unceremoniously became the dump site for various boxes that may or may not contain gaming material in them at the time. The only game allowed to take up residence outside the shelf or the shame hole is Gloomhaven, which still lives on the table, ready and waiting alongside my painting supplies. Our sorting was pretty successful, as we have indeed freed up that chair space for actual chair action, opting to perform an Evil Deed and clear out the coat closet top shelf of the...nothing but trash, really, and using the new space as our middle of the road games. Those that we enjoy, but will basically never jump to and won’t be requested of us any time soon. It’s a sacred place, full of those games that just need a touch more love to hit the table. Or those that we’ve yet to play even though we’ve owned them for months or years. The usual.

Otherwise, my current project is the continuing attempts to paint the Arcadi Quest heroes, having finished the core set a billion moons ago and just now venturing into Inferno and their lot. The neutral set is concluded, so we have cool cats like Saryia hanging around the house, and now we’ve moved on to the purples, where the likes of Hellen reside. Let me say that the purple faction has been a huge pain in the butt, as I have just the one purple pot of paint and need to constantly mix up lighter tints and darker shades to keep some sort of balance in these dumb characters, made awful by the simple fact that my purple pot refuses to actually dispense paint anymore, so I need to break in from the top and splash paint all over my fingers for any success. It can be a very exciting time at the painting well, friends. Very exciting indeed! But! We are almost through with this second batch, which will put us at a solid third of the way through? Maybe? I can’t quite remember if the last grouping (red) has twenty thousand or not. There are probably a good huge lot in red. Arcadia Quest sure does love its red. Especially in Inferno. Ugh.

So what else have I been up to? Well...we did a Bad Thing and picked up more Eldritch Horror, this time a big box so we could keep everything together more easily, and Andrew’s call for the Egyptian theme won out over my Dreamy one due to our FLGS only having the single option. Not that I’m not looking forward to breaking through with Nephran-Ka, but Gloria will be calling to me for the next forever through the Dreamlands. And Nyarlthotep is coming! How can you not be charmed by that?

Though that brings up an interesting discussion that I probably won’t discuss right now. Why is it that every game and its mother feels the need to shoe horn in a campaign system nowadays? It’s getting ridiculous, as not everything needs to chain together from play to play. In fact, many, if not most games simply weren’t developed with such an idea in mind and they tend to falter when those ideas try and work their way in, far too late for true success. I’d love to play the same game multiple times just as much as anybody, but I’d hate to NEED to play the same game multiple times in order to get the full experience, particularly when that game is so wonderful as a one off experience and doesn’t need the extra baggage at all that a campaign requires. For us, we have the long sanding Gloomhaven and the short spurt Arcadia Quest for campaign goodness. Too Many Bones, Eldritch Horror, Aeon’s End, those all excel at the single play, making it a confusing venture to ask them to limit themselves while you build up yourself and the party through multiple sessions instead of the prescribed one. I am confusion. It’s late. I’m cranky.

Something that doesn’t make me cranky however is reading! This past weekend I read myself into a brain anueristic coma, burning through the first half of The Kingkiller Chronciles book two (by Patrick Rothfuss) in a day thanks in no small part to airplanes being naturally boring after the wonder of clouds has gone. Boy, is it a good read! The current section I’m reading regarding a particular lady Fae has been going on for longer than I could ever think necessary, almost ambling along at this point, but I will be very sad when it is all over and I join the rest of the world in their seemingly endless wait for the final chapter in the Chronicles. I believe in you, Mr Rothfuss, and there’s no way I’ll be disappointed, however it ends. Heck, I even read Auri’s mini book in Crawfordsville to pass the time between shows and rehearsals in Indiana however long ago! I’ve got you, buddy. Here’s a hug from all of us! All of us being just me, I guess. And my cat, but she probably wouldn’t think highly of this idea. Sorry. Nothing personal. She just is dismissive of most people other than me. It’s endearing!

Well...that is...the week, in a nutshell. I guess. Ahem. Thanks for hanging out with me on this most blog-y of posts? It can be fun to sit at a keyboard and just type out your stream of thought for several agaonizing minutes. This is the result, as we go through yet another week of no gaming, ever. It’s a sad, dark time, my friends. At least we could take the time to touch most of the games as we reorganized them, though. That’s meaningful somehow.

Thank you, dear hearts, for reading through this week’s Day! ‘Til next time, I shall bid thee adieu and the like!
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Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:49 am
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Week the Forty-Fifth: In which we scale things right back down to the single digits!

Timothy 'Peachy' Devery
United States
Peoria
Illinois
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We played two games this week. Granted, they were Gloomhaven and Too Many Bones, so quality wasn’t an issue here, but our quantity surely did decrease. And that’s not a problem. We are warriors here at house Devery-Crow, and our prime nemesis is rock music, properly squashed like glowing square gems reaching a bar of some sort and getting poked with a drum stick.

We may or may not have been playing Rock Band recently. I’m...tickled to have it back in the house, honestly. And it was a steal! The store from which I purchased even threw in Pro Cymbals just because they were taking up stock room space since Black Friday. Sweet.

Ahem. Yes. We’ve played less board games partially due to general business, but also due to video game goodness. And horror. Etrian Odyssey IV’s fifth Stratum is proving a pain in the butt, but as of last night we are officially in the dungeon proper, thank goodness. And my darling mate made the jump into iOS Final Fantasy, picking up the egregiously expensive (but totally worth it because it is the best in the series?) Final Fantasy IX. I love that game, dearly.

But that is neither here nor there, you see, as we talk about board game experiences on this show. And thus, here we are. Just the two of us. I make the assumption that people don’t read blogs in large groups, but what do I know? Maybe there are Devery Day fan pages and fanatical helicopter drop spots when ones of these lands and everyone gathers around with their mugs of cocoa to read out lives of sordid and uncanny disappointment. Games!

Game the First: Gloomhaven

Spoilers abound, because I’m talking about our Gloomhaven experience. Just an FYI. We’re not unreasonable. I mean, no one’s gonna eat your eyes!

—Game 1–

#83, Shadows Within.

Moral of the story? When people ask for your help, you look them square in the eye and you spit on their rotting boots, making sure to get that chunky spittle between their dirty, mold-ridden toes. It is the way of the Truth. You are welcome.

Naturally, choosing to assist the weeping woman led to a nice little fight in a dungeon, complete with Cultists and all. This was a good, clean fight, nothing particularly special or noteworthy about it, honestly. My notes are sparse at best, and this was...many a day ago. I am terrible at this.

Of note was our camaraderie! We had a few potent one-two punches, such as Alms using her Poison Dagger to inflict Poison, followed by Catharsys removing that Baddie by adding it to the Fold. I love these little love birds! Surely not a romantic love they share, and if they did it is completely one sided, but more of an adoration for their ethics and beliefs given by Almsthrya and returned with a cold clicking and soulless stare from the hive that floats an inch from the ground in dark, tattered robes known colloquially as Catharsys. Cute.

One thing I do remember about the scenario was the Cultists sharing in a summoning ritual, as Cultists are wont to do, but our having no ability whatsoever to interfere. Once the Cultists were down, their summoned creature just appeared, no matter how quickly or slowly we dispatched the forces. It felt odd, is all. Still, it’s fine. Everything is fine.

You know what’s super fine? Alms and her Valrath ways of item manipulation. Sure, she doesn’t really have any inherently, since that was her previous guildmate’s hat, but just having the Moon Earrings is excellent. I can freely and happily use whatever items I’ve brought with me without need of a long rest, flip them all into use again with he Moon Earrings, and have a second go! It’s magical, sans any actual magic! It keeps me happy and Alms young. And alive. That’s nice, it is. She does have a tendency (and need) to take all the hits she possibly can from Catharsys, who is about as robust as a moist toilette in a blender.

After our clear and concise victory, we do manage to meet up with Morgan’s newest assistant, which got a squeal of happiness from yours truly, and making it so (I believe) we’ve interacted in some way with every retired character we’ve had up to this point! Quite possibly my favourite aspect of the game is the growing internal community and sense of life that something as simple as a mere mention of your previous efforts makes. So, we meet and greet with this new guy for fun and profit, even being nice to him and all that! See, though we strike an imposing presence, this demon lady and insect god are all about pleasing the people.

—Game 2–

With the very real possibility of Catharsys retiring very soon, within three or so scenarios, we decided now was the time to get started on Almsthrya’s retirement quest chain. Thus begins the trials of...

#52: Noxious Cellar

Honestly, I like the idea of this quest, but I do not dig it as a whole. It might have been aided by the enemies immediately and consistently shutting down my first couple turns to the point I stopped caring and just ran for the objective without retreats, but I soured pretty quickly.

Here’s the dig, man. This is one of those quests in cooperative (or semi, technically, yeah, whatever) games that bother me fundamentally, just a bit. Every member of the party is completely sequestered and on their own, no ability whatsoever to join up and reform a party. Everyone needs to capture a treasure tile in order to win the scenario, again, on their own.

Two problems I have initially stem from the required Loot action to achieve the treasure thievery, but that was quickly amended by saying ‘No, thank you. Neither of us even have a Loot card possibly at all but definitely not in our current kit. Let’s just spend a turn on it to pick up, great’ and the forced and awkward separation, such that we all happened to fall into the same general area but with such undeterrable debris that there’s no hope for a regrouping. Sure. Whatever.

Anyway, I dislike cooperative games side tracked by removing almost all cooperative elements. Too Many Bones does this as well sometimes (more to follow, actually) by removing Gearlocs from the battle entirely or Encounters with just one Gearloc participant. In this scenario, the only thing we as a team can do for each other is manipulate the Elemental Thingy, which we in our current party pair can’t even really do, and that’s not much of a boon with us, either. Alms can generate the single element she uses all on her own, thank you. When the players are forcibly separated like this, much of the communication and team work fly out the window, as we both just silently make our selections and wait on the other member since we can’t move on as we’re using the same sets of monsters.

The other problem here is having so many monsters on the board, all taking damage and status ailments and what not, cluttering up, well, everything. Without the two of us working together, enemies aren’t as regularly removed from the board, leading to much more upkeep than I’m willing to go through, made worse by the fact that I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to AI in board games, opting to control pretty much the full of it (such as my playing the villain in Sentinels and all the creatures in Gloomhaven, mostly to ease play for everyone else) when I play, made worse when I have to separate so much of them mentally instead of looking to just a small subsection of the full board layout. There’s suddenly too much going on and (it’s a personal problem, I’m aware) I dislike having another set of hands adding or removing things from the enemies that I’m unaware of the source or reason.

So, after a shoddy opening, I opt to just use my Jumping Boots (I cannot recall their name offhand) and leap over the enemies and traps and utilize the items and Armours I have to prevent immediate death as I’m ganked by most of the tiny board on my side. Frankly, it’s not too hard to do, because Alms is a delightful bit of a tank. Catharsys can fly sometimes, and does so, using his beautiful Invisiilty Cloak to not get killed on his side.

So, after a rather short four or so round scenario, we gather our treasures, look at each other, and give a group ‘Meh’ to everything that happened. I hope the rest of this chain isn’t focused on removing core aspects of the game with nothing to fill the void, but experimental is not bad. It is a very great thing to test the boundaries of the system, but in this venture, I wouldn’t call it a proper success.

One completely side note I have, through, unrelated to this quest as a whole, is just how uneven our Road and City event decks have become. With many of our recent ventures happening in Gloomhaven or being linked together, we’ve been avoiding Road events for a while now, but City events keep on happening. I’m starting to think I’ll run out of the non-core destroy options soon. Made worse that we totally return to town even in this linked scenario system just to keep Catharsys’ retirement goal possible to coincide with Alms’. Granted, we will have to brave the road next time! Just an aside.

Game the Second: Too Many Bones

Here’s our second baby! This is the game in which we try and complete our run of every Tyrant in the base box. Duster vs Nugget and Patches.

If you read my earlier side note in the Gloomhaven tirade, you might recall that I dropped mention that this particular game of Too Many Bones was an odd duck. Well, it was. Quite frankly, I enjoyed my time with this fight plenty, but I actually feel a little bad for that.

You see, Patches, played as usual by my husband (I’ve played him all of once, opening his eyes to the awesome of Buff HP), sat out a sizable chunk of this game, either through death or certain mechanics. It was...odd. Sure, he did his job a couple times of protecting the weaker, squishier Nugget from the big Baddies, but in one particular Encounter, he died early and Nugget ran through the entire fight on her own, pulling a win (after two hypothetical scenarios played out, yes I’m a big cheat right now) that was much needed. Even discounting our victory in that fight and cutting at her initial death, it can be a strange amount of time just cheering from the sidelines and shifting dice on an Initiative track for a dead Gearloc. Still, there can be some involvement, since the tactics are tried and true, and constant in battle.

One of our earlier Encounters was from Duster herself, offering a surprise attack that instantly KO’d our poor Patches before he really had a chance to do much of anything. I don’t think Nugget survived this one, either. The Encounter basically read as: ‘You lose this encounter. Draw another one. Duster laughs at you from afar.’ We were assaulted from behind by a horde of enemies, AND they all had guaranteed first turns with every Gearloc going last (thanks, Surprise!).

Still, we managed to burn through two of Duster’s unique Encounters, one of which involved (well, all of them, really) adorable little wolves, and I look forward to seeing just how Duster’s lovely compatriot functions in game (little baby Snarls!). That’s always a good feeling! Plus, it gives good insight on the Tyrant themselves, which is a rare sight. Not needed at all, as the core gameplay and character building are the main draw. (Side Note: The computer totally auto corrected ‘building’ with ‘cuddling’ when I wrote it with a ‘c’, and I almost kept it because it is completely true.)

Another notable encounter that kept Patches from doing anything was on turn 10, I think, as we faced a 20 Pt Baddie, the Undead Dragon. Naturally, it was a forced one on one fight for three rounds before everyone else can join for whatever reason. Nugget braved solo once again, ensuring the Dragon would die thanks to Bleed, and once Patches did come out, the Dragon did indeed die, came back, tried to kill us both (Nugget laughed and avoided the attack completely with her mad skillz) and then died again. Patches was there, at least, for a turn.

Overall, we didn’t have all that many combat encounters, instead seeing a number of ‘other’ challenges, including but not limited to seeing all our stash get raided by something or other, managing to find a stash of (presumably) our stuff and steal it back, just to have another encounter later about our gear pop up. It was oddly humorous, and I did have to play a dexterity game involving dice arrows and dice trees, so that was nice.

We did eventually make it to the Tyrant fight, ready to face Duster once and for all, and the fundemntal oddness that was this particular game reared its head once again, as Duster kidnapped and removed Patches on her first turn, once again leaving Nugget to fend for herself on a battle mat for the third time? Nugget is incredibly resourceful, so...not the worst, but still. Thankfully, Duster doesn’t bring a huge army with her, opting to make the fight much more akin to a one on one brawl of shadows. Minus the one on either side. Except ours, I guess, after the fact. Sure.

I lowered Duster’s attack stat with my Tinkered Bolo, making her much more manageable against my tiny, feeble, Gearloc arms and defenses, caused the Bleed effect to make my life even easier since it’s like Poison but ever lasting, and making use of her draconic friend’s Engulf ability to deal some damage (or help remove her Defense) while she was untargetable (which was often enough). Add in Longblade, and you have a winning combination so long as the battle boost Nugget gives herself is worthy (and it was, netting her a free health regen every turn to even further offset the lowered damage Duster could do). Tack on more healing with Nugget’s Revitalize Back Up Plan, and we have a slow but steady victory on our hands!

So this game was great fun, but it was basically a solo game with me and Nugget, with sporadic guest support from Patches. It was strange, and, again, I feel a little bad for enjoying it as much as I did while my dead or dying husband Patches sat to the side, wishing he could play, too.

Sometimes it seems that Too Many Bones was made for a solo gamer and then expanded to include more people around the table, so the not-entirely-uncommon-but-usually-not-so-front-loaded character omissions weren’t looked at too harshly. When they all hit in a row, it could leave a less than stellar taste, y’know? Still, Too Many Bones is just one of the most charming tactical battle games and character builders we have, and I’m remiss to turn it down when hubby wants to game. Plus, he likes it! He really likes it!

Conclusion...

That’s the week! For the next...rest of this year, it feels like we will be constantly on the move, with familial visits to Carolina, a wedding, not going to PAX Unplugged, visiting a friend or five, etc throughout. That’s...something that will be happening. I can already hear my internal whining about being too far from my snuggly kitty for too long. I mean, look at her. You can’t see her, but she’s adorable, and often my only living comfort within these walls. Just...just love your animals, people.

And with that, I thank you kindly for reading and reviewing my entries on this, the most Devery blog there is on the site. Or elsewhere. I’m pretty sure if I were to Google myself nowadays, most of my theatrical work wouldn’t show up anymore, as so much has probably been removed to the in print archives instead of the limitless expanse of internet. Huh. More BoardGameGeek!

Should I join the Secret Santa this year? We’re thinking yes. Because it’s been a good year. Thanks, guys. You really helped settle my mind. It’s been great talking with you all!
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Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:08 pm
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Week the Forty-Fourth: In which we use multiple pages of notes!

Timothy 'Peachy' Devery
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Peoria
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This weekend was wonderful. It was full of friends and food and games and a cat! What more could anyone wish for during this month of fog and light chill? I can probably say it was the best weekend I’ve had for the past couple months. But on with the show!

Game the First: Sentinels of the Multiverse

Naturally, the perfect opening and/or closing to any proper extended game time is Sentinels. It is the everything. So we played it. A few times. Like always. You’re welcome.

— Game 1 —

Citizen Dawn is one of those villains we rarely turn down. And coming from us, where making simple decisions such as with villain to play can take weeks of pre-planning, that’s a good thing. In order to shake things up, we went with an environment most of us were unfamiliar with, Northspar, and jumped straight in!

OmniX, First Response Vanish, and Desperate Prey Naturalist all took up arms (or crocodile teeth as the case may be) against the growing regime of Dawn, meshed between the blazing heat of the Sun and the cold snowy atmosphere of Northspar, where Frozen is a popular keyword (though apparently not popular enough, since we had a Blizzard almost the entire game, which is just fine because we are professional heroes and know when not to complain about nature).

Dawn opened with Spring and Anvil, a very defensive display for her. Opting to not particularly worry about her flipping when she has such protection in place, we went to town on Anvil, trying (and succeeding) to invalidate his damage reduction to make Dawn a more prime target. A trap we still fall into to this day is ignoring Dawn for too long and having her Citizens just pile up and up, hammering us to death through distraction. Dawn herself, really, doesn’t do much in the way of damage. It’s almost all from her powerful little army! Sure, she has The Card that pulls a full party wipe of all our hard earned junk, but when it comes to the the damage race, she loses by a lot without her Citizens as backup.

Naturally, to capitalize on her defense game, she showcased her Leadership not once, but twice, granting a very healthy HP regen for her and everything she loves every turn. It was...interesting. Still, though, we are heroes, and we have our little specialties.

You might have recalled that OmniX was in play this day. Well, he has Flechettes with Sedatives and can basically neuter anything he wants with them, destroying pesky Ongoings and dishing damage where needed as well! So...thanks, Omni! You always were a hero of the people. The digital people. With robotics. And humanity. It’s an eclectic mix.

That was basically OmniX’s job description. Destroying anything he didn’t like whenever he didn’t like it and only getting all his toys taken away (due to damage) once. Heck, as we will soon see, this little toaster even threw out his Self Destruct button this game! It’s a hard sell getting any player to toss out all of their toys that they’ve been grouping all game!

As almost entirely support due to necessity, my role as Vanish was to keep our damage taken down with her innate Power and cancel out damage mitigation from the enemy with Vanish stuff. She can be quite good at keeping plus and minus 1s where she wants them, and I can appreciate that. Keeping teleportation at an awkward minimum due to the cards we were hemorrhaging through various means meant my Powers were usually very focused on our current target most wanted.

The Naturalist, as our hammer of justice, so to speak, played fast and loose with his Forms, and as the game went on was able to rather frequently get two and three bonuses active for a short spurt! With Rhino keeping his HP up, Gazelle giving him his draws, and Croc instilling those delicious attack buffs, he was, as always, a one man wrecking crew, and with good support, Naturalist only explodes more often. We love him, especially with the Desperate Prey promo. It’s just...too good to pass up, ever. Obviously, The Naturalist killed anything and everything he wanted, usually when he wanted, and kept the Citizen population down enough to flip Dawn and wait for her to calm down again.

All the while, Northspar was doing it’s damnedest to keep us chilly. The Blizzard parked itself on the table early and often, dealing one to three damage to everything every turn (First Response Vanish keeping one of the team from too much pain and Naturalist able to protect himself, so mostly good stuff) and introducing the Waypoints. We played a lovely little pretend game were we kept trying to resuscitate the bad Third Waypoint, which was a little funny, since none of us knew or recalled that there is in fact a very GOOD Third Waypoint as well, probably a better choice to keep in the deck if the bad one finds it’s way into the discard. As such, we did eventually have to deal with the Environment Big Bad...Tam or something. I can’t remember his name, but he was a butthole for all of a round before he was offed through some shifty means or other. We’re great like that, writing down details in my little black book that no one, including myself can read. Ahah. Tak Ahab. Something Ahab. Anyway, he died and was removed from the game permanently due to our Environment layout, which was quite nice!

All things considered, I’d say we remained quite healthy for a three man team against Dawn, and when the opportunity presented itself after she flipped back from her Fused side and we all wailed away for OmniX to burn his toys and get the killing blow, he did so, earning us another win!

— Game 2 —

Of course, one cannot play just one game of Sentinels in an extended weekend. Game two featured Dendron versus ExPatriette, XTreme Fanatic, and Sky Scraper...in an Environment of some type. I...somehow don’t have that information written down. Huh. I am, as you can clearly see, the best at what I do. Gifts for all!

XTreme Fanny is just a blessing. Not only was she able to immediately look to the Painted Wolf and make it her personally pet through Chastise, but she kept that little puppy the entire game, alternately paying it’s HP cost for herself and making Dendron pay it for her. You see, that is what XTreme Fanny does. All damage she deals goes straight to a single chosen target instead of wherever it’s originally targeted. All of her suicidal keepaways become miniature bombs and it feels amazing. I very much look forward to seeing the OblivAeon content so I can have a regular version of this in the box forever, since Fanny has always been at the near top of my list, being the first or second character I play at any large special Sentinels gathering! All of her promos are great. I love Fanny!

Ahem. In other news, Paddy Wagon managed not only first blood on Dendron, but also last. Spoiler Alert: We totally beat Dendron. Even if Dendron gets to play a billion cards, especially when she flips, it’s of little matter when you shoot her in the face several times every turn. It’s oddly easier to not get distracted with her Tattoos than it is against Dawn and her Citizens or especially La Capitan and her ungodly Crew. I’m not entirely sure why, but her critters are mostly just damage instead of relentless armies of Death.

Sky Scraper managed to get a hand that kept her Huge for longer than I usually see, plus able to absorb the damage for the team when she actually needed to, such as when she unleashed an upgraded ground pound to the table followed by Dendron’s fresh army dealing multiple instances of damage to the whole party, made more potent with her Owls enchancing damage. Scraper just shoveled that whole lot into her open arms and wiped it away into (almost) nothing! Totally worth it. Would recommend.

So that’s the touching story of an angel and her beloved wolf friend as they journeyed long and far to quell the raging urban beast of mobile tattoos, with assists from her good lady friends, a gun enthusiast and a giant. Romantic!

— Game 3 —

You might think ‘Gee, only two games of Sentinels? What gobbledegook is this? They must have posteriors for hats!’ True, true, but that might be why we played a third game of our favourite super hero co-op!

Vector, the bloody brother versus Mr Fixer, the Adamant Sentinels, and Titan, all wrapped up eatly in Cybersphere.

This wasn’t as easy for us, let me say! Vector’s whole gig is trying to get his HP high enough to just run away and probably infect the world with gross blood stuff, so there’s already a greater need to focus him out while he summons terrible things to eat you. As the game wore on, we sometimes opted not to immmediately deal with some of his critters, letting a robot or two live longer than might have been advised. Still, what with Vector playing cards when we punched him, his having a full arsenal is something to be expected, eventually. We can’t let him improve his HP total while we play his alternate game with Ongoing removal!

With all of the mess Vector continually grew while we wailed away, it wasn’t incredibly long before three of my four Sentinels died, all at once, leaving only Mainstay with a single HP standing and no way to get anyone back, even with the Sentinels’ incredible card draw. That’s fine, though, because Mainstay is possibly the best choice for last man standing (except Medico, probably, who can get everyone else up and running again, but oi)!

So Fixer did his usual fixing, swapping his Styles more and more as they got destroyed to keep Titan’s more important and less replaceable Ongoings in place while Vector tantrumed occasionally. I’m unsure if he ever really got the chance to use Equipment, though, which is an interesting prospect for Fixer especially. Good work, as always, Fixer!

Mainstay, even alone, is able to dish out good damage (because The Sentinels are crazy) and sometimes heal himself, but it was still just a matter of time before he was taken out and the full Sentinels team was knocked out. I’m so curious how each of these guys will play when all on their own, and occasionally I have night terrors about it. Well, I’m not sure why I wake up with a yell sometimes through the night recently, but I can always hope its visions of OblivAeon.

Titan ended up without Titan Form for most of the game, though he isn’t reliant on it as one might expect, still well able to take care of things when needed and keep the plate full with whoopass. When he gets Titan Form, though, it is a beautiful thing, and it’s much easier for him to pop it back on from discard than it is to get it through the whole deck.

Our biggest misstep had to be from the full leadup to Super Virus, with many of Vector’s cards mentioning it and none of us particularly knowing what it was exactly. His flip condition is tied to Super Virus. All of his reagents and stuff can get eaten by Super Virus. It sounds awful.

It is. On his final turn, Vector draws the infamous Super Virus, making all of our plans and right out attacks to keep Vector within Titan’s kill range the past round or two null. With Super Virus out, killing Vector would only lose us the game! In fact, we now needed him to flip after his Virus gained enough power and deal with it then (or, rather, have it deal with itself, since it just explodes on flip). Sure, Vector had enough fodder on the table for that to not be too long, but it was quite the shake up!

Instead of playing Vector’s game, however, the defeated Sentinels blew up the Virus with their incap powers and Titan gave Vector the Coup de Grace chokehold needed to secure our victory. Still...a bit scary, this old Vector was. I still like him!

Game the Second: Dale of Merchants

These damned merchant animals are so bloody cute that I often want to smash my head against the window and see the glas spider web out from my bleeding cranium. This is a good thing.

Sloths, Macaws, Polecats, and Platypus all joined together to create the most adorable set of merchants the world has ever seen, and with the help of ours truly, they will live on forever as almost all almost having almost the perfect stall for almost all of history!

This game has a tendency to be pretty tight. If you don’t buy goods from the middle row with some forward thought for later stall use, you might fall behind, but even if you lack the foresight, it isn’t hard to catch up at all, with so many useful and interesting uses the various abilities grant on the goods. Within this one game, every single one of the three of us were going to win on our next turn, but Andrew beat us out, just.

My game plan involved a lot of Sloth abilities, supplemented by Cookies front the Macaws to keep my hands large and my deck small through things like Cleaning. It was beautiful! And with my stalls focusing on the Polecats for the middle regions and the Sloths for the end, I felt pretty good as i built out faster than the others before making an oopsie with my counting and needing to go for a shuffle in my deck but with too many cards to make that the easiest thing to do. And having lost my Platypus to my stall by that time, so no easy discarded manipulation. Whoops.

If I hadn’t made that mistake, I might have been able to pull just far enough ahead to finish my stall before Andrew and V drew into their winning hands just as I did. Still, though, this was a close (and non-hostile) race to the finish! It was adorable, and I think everyone was smitten, and since we play rarely enough for the charm to prettty much never diminish, it’ll be a hit for a while.

Sloths are the best, though. I will fight about it.

Game the Third: Mysterium

The game oft requested, never owned. Thanks, V! There’s not much more to say about Mysterium that we’ve not already said, but I can share the Cliff’s Notes mini story that ended the game. Once we collect the three parts of the mystery the Ghost is trying to share (different for everyone because the Ghost is quite addled after having been murdered, I suppose), we often round them up into a tall tale for our own amusement.

Ahem.

For my Pink and White stories, we saw a school marm, curious as to the nature of animal folk mixing with the fey in the woods increasingly more often, took her gun (often for bear, but not this time) and shot a man at her front door, just to check his feet for hooves or other cloven clues. Perfectly natural!

On the other side of the pond, we have a soldier writing his memoirs on his fancy type writer, just trying to find a peaceful spot so he could write and concentrate without distraction. Finding the laundry room spacious and quiet, he begins his work there only to be interrupted by a loud, clanging worker woman which tosses him into such a spiral of war stories that he cludgeons her to death with his instrument of creativity. Whoops!

Naturally, with our great play, we eventually lose anyway due to the both of us (Andrew and I, V was out Ghost) completely forgetting we had a female suspect (the aforementioned Teacher). We were granted two clues at the end, even though we could have a third, focusing on a lady and a door. Clearly, you’d think about the Teacher and that Front Door I was talking about before? Hah! We opted for...something else entirely. And lost. The Ghost will never know peace.

Our bad.

Game the Fourth: The Bloody Inn

This is our first time with three players! Really, there’s basically no change except a slightly larger deck of Guests. Everything moves so swiftly and with such tight rounds, I could never imagine the game moving on for too long. Granted, I have since our first game adopted the mantra of always playing the Short mode.

We had a large run of scores, though, my leading with 57 with Andrew behind at 25 and V with 10. I’d managed to murder a few guests early, and with the Mason guy making Annexes easier to build, I opted for small, one occupant Annexes when I could get them and filling them up quickly and efficiently, though with less efficiency because I didn’t recruit a purple person until near the very end in order to hide whatever bodies I found myself with before the coppers knew what hit them. I killed a few police. I regret nothing.

Andrew kept his body count low, aiming, I think, for one big Annex filled with corpses instead of the many small things I was going for. And, really, he got caught twice with bodies in the back, losing a lot of progress whenever we drew a very gun heavy guest list. Really, he had a sizable collection of deaths, just most didn’t make it into the ground, costing him plenty of cash and probably the game.

For our dear V, though, there was a fundemental lack of killing. He had plenty of buildings built out, also starting with a Mason as his first Bribe and bringing plenty of Blue people into his fold to keep Bribes quick and easy! He had a huge stumble, though, believing he needed to match the colour of his agents with the action he wanted to perform near the end, thus leading him to not kill in the late rounds because he didn’t have the purple people to bury them. Very unfortunate.

Still though, this was one of those rare games that were actually mentioned for replay! Really and truly, I think this was the only thing we picked up during the mental decay of our initial separation however many months ago that has real lasting merit. I, for one, am excited to have the chance to murder people, scmhooze others, and generally be a prick with little to no repercussions whenever I have a spare half hour!

Game the Fifth: Flatline: A FUSE Aftershock Game

So it took the two of us a few games to mete out a victory, and it’s looking that we’ll need a few more to net a three player win. We opened with an absolutely atrocious first round, probably due to the length of time we’ve not played and the general disorder of a game that gives you nothing but a full minute to play all of the important bits. Our first round left us with over ten dice wasted, unplayed, left for dead, while we lamented our useless medical degrees.

Still, we pressed on, eventually curing a patient or two and gaining more and more boons while we focus fired the Stat emergencies that erupted every bloody turn. On the whole, we left every regular Emergency alone, unless it added more Emergency cards or removed our hard won cures. With this strategy employed, we eventually fully healed five out of nine patients, stalling for three or four rounds on the two Emergency space with the two reload chambers and a Stat gift that could recharge one of said chambers.

With things picking up and only two or so rounds left...we...uh...lost our final turn after spiraling out of and into control. The last cube was eaten by an Emergency, losing us everything, but giving us the restful partial victory of having every patient in need of tending at least touched, prodded, and seen.

We care, here and the DeveryCrow table. We will get to you. Eventually. Calm your tits. Oh wait, we’ve exploded.

Game over.

Game the Sixth: Eldritch Horror

Because there are so many expansion paths to take when purchasing Eldritch Horror, everyone I know who owns it has a different experience. One friend in Indy that I never see because I’m not there but we did run into each other the GenCon before last has everything all the time. That was the first time I’d played Eldritch (as Daisy, obviously, since Gloria didn’t exist yet) and it was long at the high player counts, but mostly a hoot. The player with Diana next to me assisted in building this full narrative back story of Daisy and Diana, two girls that just didn’t get along all their time knowing each other but had to work together for a greater good. Then Daisy died. That’s a running theme in my life, you know. Spoiler alert.

Anyway, my best friend V is also into Eldritch, and while my collection veers completely toward a few small box expansions, his is welcoming the big box variety as well, which coincidentally gives him access to Daisy Walker. You see where this is going, right? Since he recently acquired the Shudde M’ell expansion, we all agreed for our weekend play of Eldritch to be of uncharted ground, with all the pleasures of other people’s games that brings.

So we played against Shudde M’ell, bringing the forces of Daisy Walker, Agnes Baker, and the Fed Roland Banks. Naturally, there are other guest stars, but we’ll get to that when we get to that. Did you know? People die in Eldritch Horror! Almost regularly!

Interestingly, Shudde M’ell wasn’t quite so terrifying...at first. It’s Doom Track is pretty long, though it has extra (awful) Events that pop up when it passes certain thresholds. Sure, every Reckoning, losing two total Health/Sanity wasn’t great, but as Daisy, Resting is one of her favourite actions, making it a minor deal at best. The Cultists aren’t too bad, and Shudde’s general motif is advancing its Doom as much as it can.

This was assisted a little too much by our first Mystery throwing a boss fight our way in Europe, amassing some Cultists and a general beastie that all tried to increase Doom on Reckoning, a thing that isn’t exactly rare. Luckily, Agnes and Daisy were nearby the boss, but Daisy isn’t one to fight anything, so she opted to read up on the hunt in a neighboring city, increasing her Will and being generally awesome. Agnes, meanwhile, took the fight to the baddie immediately, because she is insane and in the hands of my occasionally berserk husband, a man that very much enjoys bashing things over the head with magic whenever and wherever possible.

Amazingly, Agnes with no further push past her starting equips manages to almost completely eradicate this 5 Toughness beastie on her first round. I mean...good on you, lady! Hope your dark and tortured past lives don’t come and bite you in the blue padded butt! This also, coincidentally, began the running reign of Agnes, our Slayer Supreme. Sure, she didn’t yet kill anything, but she brought the fight to the enemy with recklessness befitting a princess and lived to tell about it!

Leaving the boss to its own after that, as Agnes herself was near death’s door after their little snafu (she isn’t the most sane of casters, you see) she dipped upward and began to sleep off her crazy, picking up some tickets for travel as she dreamed, like a champ.

Roland, meanwhile, abused the crap out of his passive ability to just poo out Clues everywhere and sit on his federal behind, making efforts to go and clean up the mini boss that was still hanging around after the Agnes Show was canceled mid season. I will never hook my nose up at more Clues. Never. They are magic and you will always need them, even when you don’t. Just...just touch ‘em. You know you want to.

Taking advantage of the absolutely accepting display of books, tomes, and allies that do nothing but give you more tomes, Daisy made sure to attempt to buy things whenever she could, amassing a healthy dose of knowledge rather quickly while she went deeper and deeper into debt and traveled further and further East in hopes of eventually using her knowledge to prevent gates from spreading all throughout Asia and beyond.

On the way she met her newest friend Proto Shoggoth! He’s a keeper, for sure. Not realizing that it was a bit closer than it appeared in her mirrors, Daisy sort of walked right into it’s path of destruction and ended up getting ganked and losing most of her health in one go while she (successfully) staggered around flailing her arms on the attack. This would all be fine, as she could easily out run the Shoggoth before the next Reckoning, but this being Eldritch, well laid plans rarely go full force. Naturally, the Mythos ensures that every enemy will heal, and then get free activations on top of that, leaving Daisy dead on the second or third turn. Sad day. And all those books still ripe for the picking!

Welcome to the table Mr Finn Edwards, smuggler extraordinaire! Due to a fascinating series of events, my new boyfriend somehow stumbled into becoming a spell caster. He was granted several gifts from strangers over his encounters, meeting Death face to face and staring it down, gaining arcane knowledge and a choice of three Talents, one of which gifted him several spells even without keeping it. He did keep it, though, because it added a + 2 (or 5?) to his Lore whenever he called upon magic. It was...very nice. He could scary for Clues anywhere, Bless those in need, etc, and was very happy about it. This was all made possible by the Fates looking at him, seeing how unbelievably attractive he is and showering him with their golden Improvements, quickly giving me the mini goal of having each of his stats improved at least once. I almost did that, by the by, short of one stat! This universe loves Finn!

We did knock out the mini boss, moving into our second Mystery which practically solved itself because I remember nothing about it other than Clues and America, and then moved right into the third and final Mystery.

The Heart of Africa. Cool. Everyone go over there for some special encounters! We need to get two Eldritch Tokens on this Mystery for victory! So we did, Finn speeding Roland along through the waterways, Agnes coming from above. Soon, we’d all be there and ready to tackle the Mystery in very possibly a single round.

So Shudde M’ell hasn’t exactly been doing nothing, but it also wasn’t running down its Doom all that quickly. Once we get to surrounding the Heart of Africa, though, we draw a Disaster (and Da Sista) which immediately deals two damage to Health and Sanity of every Investigator near the Expedition token. Guess where it was? If you guessed Africa, you were spot on! And, if you guessed that Roland was already at Death’s door, you were right again, earning you a cookie! This encounter killed Roland, causing another Disaster (and Da Sista) to be drawn with that Doom advancement, and then repeated its effect three or so more times. Holy cripes.

Probably not the worst of things to happen though. Roland has recently survived a Mythos that did literally every Bad Thing to him, stealing one of just about every card type imaginable, Cursing, damaging, etc. Pretty stellar, really. It was in all the magazines at the time. His death probably wasn’t the worst thing that happened to him that week, we’ll say.

In his place, we welcome Akachi, a woman after my own heart, as we might already know, and she was paramount to our next two turns. Taking advantage of a nearly deceased Cthonian blocking passage to Africa, Finn purchased the last remaining card from the Reserve (everything else was getting eaten up by a Rumour we were ignoring) and beat the Cthonian to death with some Handcuffs. It was both kinky and awesome, and I’m sure the video will be hitting the internet any day now. Use your imagination until then!

With that excitement behind us and having survived the double Destruction master turn, we were all still very near Africa’s Heart, and soon all of us were standing around shuffling through the trees for Clues and further Eldritch tokens. Finn found one (he is a beauty, isn’t he?) and wouldn’t you know it, Akachi just saunters up and finds one as well, giving us the win from a foreign lady no one else in the party had ever met!

Win! Shudde M’ell, you are our personal sand worm now! We ride you to victory and African smoothies! For celebration! And for the fallen, or whatever.

Game the Seventh: Covert

This is still such a good game, I’m amazed we never play it. In fact, it’s so rare on the table that I basically have to relearn it each time. Thanks for the little quick-learn blurbs in the rule book, I guess?

The difficulty of Covert for me is being asked to manage so many little things at once, all in your head. You need to fulfill missions with a variety of requirements that you can gain through plopping spies in certain colours and using an action to pick up the cards of that same colour, cracking the codes on various pieces of equipment to unlock them for later use, previous missions gifting fitting rewards that make every subsequent mission potentially easier, AND the whole dice placement for actions thing that is so very wonderful.

Naturally, I opt to ignore a good half of these and work with whatever I have going at the time. It works for me, to a certain point. Even playing as the specialist Code Breaker, I still opted to ignore that aspect until I was called on to manipulate it each round, instead of putting any sort of planning toward it. Save once, when the opportunity presented to use a Special Ops token to make an extra move on the grid, giving me three alterations and the chance to finish up two codes at once. That was nice.

The other thing we as a group seem weak on is moving. Every time your spy moves, he poops out a cube of your colour, and collecting two cubes of another player’s colour grants you a free Special Ops token once you politely return their poo, not in a paper bag you’ve lit on fire. Probably. We manage, every game, somehow, to have at least one player almost run out of his colour poo. Never quite reaching zero, but we seemingly don’t move around enough to capitalize on our background poo sniffing careers. Maybe that makes us good people, focused on the task at hand? I don’t know. Movement is hard enough just getting everyone you want where you want them when you need them there for missions and the like, poo sniffing is the least of my worries. But it’s a nice boon when it happens! I got a token! Yay!

So we played our little hearts out, all staying pretty close to each other as far as completed Missions went, sticking together through about the fourth. Once I reached five Missions, I realized I can’t count, as that was supposed to be my sixth and I had put my everything into ensuring I could complete my Missions that round to surprise the table for a victory.

It didn’t work, as previously mentioned by my lack of ability to count to high numbers such as six, so we had another round, wherein V was more than able to run a clean sweep on his carefully curated Missions he’d been picking up, completing three in the round for a sincerely magnificent victory.

Andrew’s Katherine gave us 46 spy point, my Carter a 68, and V’s Alexander a robust 80. Spies! With dirty feces! All over the world! Covert.

Game the Eigth: Gloomhaven

We’re back! Life is in order again! It feels so warm and inviting, even if we remember jack all about whatever it is we were doing before!

Spoilers. We play a legacy game and talk about it.

Scenario 71: Windswept Highlands.

This scenario gave us an interesting dilemma. The Spitting Drakes all over the place were all asleep and would only wake up if we ended our moves adjacent to them or attacked them in some way. To complicate this rather simple venture, the Windswept Highlands were indeed both high and swept with wind, as at the end of every round we were forcibly moved a space in one cardinal direction. We might have woken a Drake or too more than we’d like.

All in all, Almsthrya went along her Valrath brothers’ history and started out using her items recklessly, knowing her Moon Earring would bring them all back if she didn’t have time for a long rest (spoilers, she didn’t, because who ever does when surrounded by enemies and with a short time limit to break the targets and get home?). Dealing with the enemies directly around us wasn’t too bad with Alms cutting them with her Poison blade and Catharsys able to just deal four wounds to them as they succumbed to the sweeet release of toxicity running through their veins. Which Catharsys immediately stole away from them, like a pro drug dealer, giving them the pure joy of his Faith and stealing it just at their new peak, so these Wind and Sun Demons would yearn for the delicious feeling of yet more Poison.

And we obliged! We are kind and benevolent overlords of the Demon realm, and while Alms is really only able to Poison with her blade, she respects so much the systems and beliefs that the Plagueherald people bring that she is willing to use this dagger for Good. I mean, Alms meaty strength plus Catharsys’ insta-damage made short work of whatever Drakes we did awaken, if we were near each other.

On the last legs of the mission, we really needed to split up in order to have any real shot at victory. Catharsys flew off the shorter path, dealing with just a simple Drake, while Alms trudged up the longer path, taking cues from Morgan and dancing around the Demons there and ensuring no Drake awakened around her. Really, she didn’t want to take more damage than necessary from too many targets, as early on she tossed one of her only free heal cards, her remaining stock all lost after a single use.

We decided early on to stick with our initial plan, even as the winds and Wind Demons Pulled and pushed us away from them. In order to get the first objective within our estimated time frame, I had to throw a card on my second turn, just for movement, which is crazy train territory in my world. I’m a cautious player, but it was rewarding throwing away multiple cards over the course of the game, using super abilities (mostly movement, actually) far earlier than I usually deem fitting. I like the power. I am changed. I feed on entropy.

So, Catharsys begins his trek back to the newly found exit, skirting around the Sun Demon while I caught up, killing another Demon on the way because I could. Then we manage to Immobilize the remaining Sun Demon, leaving him far behind us as we barrel head first into the Wind trap standing in front of the exit. These guy. These guys.

More than capable of going before us, the Wind Demons made it their personal goal to Pull us nearer, then further away from our goals, at a time when we couldn’t really dally anymore. Both of us were running out of cards in our hands, though we still had a few rounds in us each. Could we toss a card for a one off ability? Probably not, if we wanted victory, but we could discuss if these Wind Demons kept being turds!

With a monumental urge to kill rising, we knocked one Wind Demon right on it’s butt and watched it evaporate, then Alms rushed ahead and made the winning play of Tacital Maneuvering Catharsys onto the exit tile with her. It was pretty great.

All in all, we kept three of the Drakes asleep out of however many there were, so that was nice. The Elites were dealt with through status ailments over brute force, and Stun was the best thing since sliced bread! We win, with about three cards each in hand!

Back in town, we do what any responsible traveler would do and immediately go gambling. An old woman shows up, asks us to help her, and we do. Humorously, this is one of the first times Alms character class has shown up on a card, and it made it impossible to turn this lady down, not that we wanted to in particular, because side quests keep us afloat. Seriously now, I’m not sure if either of us could tell you where the core story is right now. We probably haven’t been on the up and up story path in a trillion weeks. I think it’s in Gloomhaven proper right now? We’ll find out. Eventually. Until then, our prime goal is getting Catharsys to retire, then Alms will immediately follow suit and we will begin anew with two fresh classes and the whole world ahead of us. I’m very excited about this. I mean, holy carp. Roughly two more sessions before a full party recheck!

[b]Conclusion...[b]

With many fires erupting through work, we weren’t able to sink our teeth too far back into Gloomhaven, but it sure feels great to be using that behemoth of a box that has been perched on the right end of the table this entire time again! It’s beautiful.

Today is an incredibly foggy day, and that makes me smile a little bit, which is good, because last night many parts of me died as I attempt time and again to traverse what I believe to be the final Labryinth in Etrian Odyssey IV, built from the ground up to torture and abuse the player to a breaking point, which was met last night as I angrily tossed my phone into a blanket on the other side of the couch with such apparent force that it bounced OFF the blanket and into a lamp after I was thrust into an encounter I wasn’t allowed to run from (for some reason) even through super means and lost two floors worth of progress, forcing me once again to traverse the Golden Lair, which is coincidentally the worst thing that has ever happened to my beloved troupe, just to touch a single...thing. Damn, I hate things sometimes. But now I know! Just...leave everything alone for the time being. Ignore all the sparklies. Honestly, I am beyond the point of caring, which is the clear indication that a game needs to be wrapping up soon as it has gone on long enough or is pulling too many sneaky tricks. We’ve a combo here!

So...video games. They exist. I’m coming back around to the extensive amount of board games we have, and that’s even more clearly in existence! Next year could be magical, with OblivAeon and Middara both adorning us, ideally with the latter after we’ve seen at least AN ending to Gloomhaven. Eventually we will part, but that isn’t for a long, long while yet, Gloomy. Kisses.

Thanks for reading, friends! This was a big one, at least the biggest in a long while it seems. I feel like we’ve played more games this past week than the past two months combined. I think I need my gaming time to keep a smile on my face! It’s so much more soothing. Mmm. Good times.

Until next time, I wish you all a good time, with or without games, but hopefully with, because...games, man. Why wouldn’t you play them?
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Thu Nov 2, 2017 5:13 pm
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Week the Forty-third: In which we discover one can never have too many of the bones!

Timothy 'Peachy' Devery
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Here we are, past the halfway point of October, and staring at a loose wrecking ball like appendage through the window. It’s like a crane game for the Excellent, seeing just who or what they can fish out of a mostly derelict, possibly closed business. Honestly, it’s hard to tell what still exists and what is gone forever around here. Regardless, these buggers across the street are being gathered up by gigantic empty punching bags. It’s fascinating.

But games!

Game the First: Too Many Bones

Ah, is it good to be back or what? Following up on some suggestions, I took a good long look at Ghillie from the small stable of Gearlocs I’ve yet to play and saw him journey brightly alongside Patches (naturally) against Goblin King Jareth. Nothing could go wrong because these two have officially proven themselves to be gods among Gearlocs!

I think both Andrew and I agreed that this was the most calm game of Too Many Bones we’ve ever played. Yes, things can get hairy at any time, but we were never in a spot where we had to pause and share a look detailing the abject horror we were both sharing at the atrocities being committed to our tiny little bodies, cut down well before their time. Instead, we somehow bathed ourselves in upgrades, trained to high heaven, and almost laughed at the Goblin King himself!

Firstly, I have to thank everyone that ever mentioned Ghillie to me, as he is a true beast. I stand by my statement that Ranged Gearlocs are the biggest and baddest of the bunch, and with really only Boomer as his competition, Ghillie smokes the rest. He’s absurd. I’ve never felt as powerful in this universe than when I rolled for Ghillie however many nights ago. Sure, having no defense and the very real prospect of getting shot out of the fight in a single blow did loom over me the entire time, but Ghillie can put out so much pain that it really didn’t become a problem at all.

We were blessed with very few ranged Baddies, it’s true, which helped keep Ghillie standing, but even if they were abounding he can easily handle them. Not only did I have the sweet, sweet Rock Slinger Loot allowing me to counter ranged attacks with a single die, Ghillie can also set up a ranged counter on his own, leading to double the pleasure, double the fun!

Beyond his awesome death dealing from afar, ending with 5 Attack and 6 Dexterity, Ghillie can opt to swap targets or split his dice to multiple targets, making him quite possibly the most fatal of the the ‘Locs no matter the roll. It’s crazy. He’s crazy. If he were the purple one he’d be my favourite right out! It’s just so relaxing to be a ranged character as all of your Dexterity goes toward defeating the Baddies, exactly where you want it, rather than scooting around the board.

Add to all of this splendor the fact that this kid can befriend animals, and we’ve the best deal of the century! Even if his pets left me wanting. A lot. I opted for Li’l Yeti, the Wolverine, and it was great for a fight or two, but very quickly it became nothing more than a meat shield to set in front of Ghillie just in case there was a melee Baddie after him, as Li’l Yeti was almost assuredly dead before it could actually take an action. With Hardy and two or three HP, it’s really nothing more than a matter of time. He has two other pet options, but I can’t see them as viable for the long term, really. Here’s hoping that Duster’s little buddy will be a more potent and intrinsic part of her kit! I’d delight at having a pet that remains useful and adorable, though I suppose Tink does just that, even if it is difficult to manage at times.

So, yeah. Ghillie is amazing, and that’s not even mentioning his traps, which can wreck Baddies to Hell and back! What with his Innate allowing a free Scout before battle, Ghillie is guaranteed to know at least one Baddie and their position, making his (completely free, no Dex needed) traps almost an assured victory upon placement, these things, if you choose to invest in them, seem unable to disappoint.

Ghillie. He’s the other white meat. But for killing, not for eating. Of the enemy, that is. Don’t kill Ghillie. We need him.

There. I’ve gushed. Even with lackluster pets, there’s no keeping Ghillie down.

Patches felt mostly in control the entire game, even going so far as to trying out E-Cells for the first time. Sure, they never actually happened, but with Patches being in every single game we’ve played thus far, it’s impressive that there is still more for him to explore. Heck, there’s an entire skill line Andrew hasn’t even touched yet!

If it isn’t obvious, we won. Decidedly. On the 10th day. I might have made a cheat on the final turn, as Goblin King Jareth had his special skill die attack the strongest Baddie, and he was the only thing on the board (with his throne) so I had him target himself. Even though he can’t hurt himself with his bombs, I opted that he could totally explode his throne! I need to look up if Tyrants are completely their own thing or if they are an elite form of Baddie. Either way, I doubt we’d have lost with our feelings of superiority at that point.

After Jareth’s throne exploded, Ghillie tossed a spectacular attack, failing miserably, which really only gave him a huge attack anyway in his Back Up Plan for Broadhand, dealing six damage (one from his failed attack roll and a whopping five from the BP). With Patches taking the oppportunity to get up to Jareth without him blowing him right back, we were able to wipe our the Goblin King right then and there!

Like a boss. Two of them. The Cain and Abel cavaliers of Too Many Bones!

— Game 2 —

The next night, having lived through the most lighthearted romp around the river and forests of Daelore, we jumped right in again! Since the only two Gearlocs I’d yet to try were Tantrum and Patches, and Andrew has some secret affair with Patches, I opted for the tiny barbarian. If it isn’t obvious by now, Andrew chose Patches and we set out against Marrow, one of two Tyrants we’ve yet to defeat (along with Duster).

Allow me to begin by saying Mischief sucks balls harder than drowning at the Olympics. Tantrum’s Rage is something you need to manage and play around, but when it’s taken from you before you have a chance to do anything at all in the battle, every single fight (save one), it really grinds you down. I might have to say I hated my limited time with Tantrum, and it isn’t really his fault. Is he a good choice for Marrow, or any Tyrant that brings out the arrowhead orange enemy group? Nope. Unfortunate, but a hard pass. It was miserable being shut down before the fight really got going, time and time again.

That’s not to say Tantrum has nothing to do beyond his Rage! Quite the contrary, unless you dedicate your life to Rage, it’s something you could practically ignore, though you’d lose out on a solid chunk of his BP and skill line. He has great defensive skills, the Mimic line, which is hilarious what with his initial 0 Defense and reliance on killing things before they can touch you (in an ideal world that was not this night)!

With Tantrum being shut down far too quickly and Patches unable to do everything himself after his one and only heal gets eaten up by a bleeding little barbarian each fight, we quickly slumped into the Pain Spiral of Failure. Battle after battle left us defeated, and early on we lost a lot of spirit by failing to cross the Sibron without being caught, leading to a Tyrant encounter that destroyed us on day four. And then showed up again some time later and murdered our already pulpy bodies.

Really, there was little point in continuing past that point, as we’d need too much Progress and too few days to make that work without double progress granted us. It was awful. Still, we pressed on for a total of ninety minutes because I’m stubborn, though we had no real shot of victory from probably the first third of that on.

Awful. Miserable. I strongly urge you to give up if too much poo gets dropped on you at once early on. If the math doesn’t work out with progress and remaining days, just call it instead of hoping for a miracle. On one hand, that miracle game would be very exciting, but on the other, if it doesn’t work out, it can easily leave you bitter and defeated.

I love you, Too Many Bones, but the Painful Spiral of Failure can be too much sometimes. This is only the second time I’ve been through it, but it was by far the worst. The worst.

As of now, Tantrum is on the very bottom of the Gearloc pile, blacklisted for no crime he committed beyond showing up to a murder show. Sorry, buddy. Blame Mischief and Marrow!

— Game 3 —

So once again, a night or so later, we pull down the incredibly heavy box from the tippets top of the shelf to play yet more Bones adventures. It’s particularly heavy, you see, because I did a Bad Thing and bought the extra sexy Health Chips, as I was previously living a life of regret. No longer! They are perfect, they’re beautiful, they look shockingly like Linda Evangelista.

Possibly due to my recent splurging all over Ghillie, Andrew chose to play him after I gave him my personal pros and cons of the whole two ranged units we could have. Since he relinquished control of his earlier one true love Patches, I opted to finish out my play of every Gearloc and began my first ever adventure with the healer, my preferred class in all things.

Marrow was once again our target, and I think it is safe to say that these two characters can be incredibly potent at all times! I do wonder how interestingly it would play out to have a third Gearloc, letting Patches play the off tank support instead of main draw of every enemy for fear of the other party member immediately getting ganked to death. One of these days, Martha, we might see how that could play out. As it happens, we are but two men, both refusing to join the outside world for fear of integrations or the need to...chat.

Regardless, we set up, we set out, and we naturally show off for our first fight, and with Patches already packed with a heal and Ghillie a Multishot, we felt good! Obviously, being God and his Goat, we succeeded without the help of those pesky village archers and basked in our extra training, beginning the long struggle of Patches just trying to get another point of Defense and constantly being denied and shooting through the red and blue lines on his skill tree instead.

We almost made it over the river without getting spotted, but failed because I’ve never not rolled a two here. Ever. But we really need the extra progress whenever we can get it against Marrow, who is asking for 10 in 12 days, with some encounters, as we know, not giving what we need when we need it. Safer is best, even if that means not being safe to start with!

So, we fight the Tyrant encounter that may or may not be full of Orcs. For a first day out of the training wheel encounters, Tyrant options are usually not the best. Marrow’s first isn’t too terrible, especially so early out when Orcs might be less common, so less likely to resurrect during the fight within the first three rounds. Still, though, with the introduction of Buff HP into our arsenal from Patches (a thing that we’d never played around with before, actually, as the line scared Andrew with its potential to turn on you when used), we managed to best the encounter and move on without Marrow quite on our heels. Indeed, we were ahead of the curve! Victory smelled quite similar to garlic roasted potatoes.

Naturally, this being Too Many Bones, we soon encountered a turn of luck, in this case we shall call it Mischief. I think I’m beginning to really hate Mischief as a trait on Baddies. We’ve learned to work around Break and Hardy and other obnoxious things, but Mischief, or the threat of it, is such a pain in the butt that I just can’t even. Often without any roll needed, these buggers just remove your defense or carefully laid plans and then whack you directly in the face about your new nakedness. It’s awful. Tantrum was a wet blanket because of it and Patches DIED. Perhaps I was overly cautious, but with a Baddie with Mischief targeting me right after my turn, it made little sense to me to bother rolling Defense for anything other than Bones, since it would just be removed anyway, similar with prepping my skills. I’d love more HP, Stim Patch, but it will all be forcibly removed, so...next time?

Repeat. Etcetera. Followed by two Baddies critting me and you have a dead healer and a lone archer in the far corner, suddenly the prime choice for dinner. Whoops. It is funny to me that I tend to roll plenty of twos for the Baddies attacks (that or Bones, so...that’s nice) while I stick to ones almost exclusively for Gearlocs.

So, yeah, that was upsetting. Still, we were slightly ahead, and even if I did complain for a little bit with my newfound hatred of Mischief, we pressed on, just without the lead on Progress against Days.

I should note that Buff HP is really great. Since Patches can only really have two good heals on him in any given battle, gifting extra HP above and beyond the maximum really lessens the amount of times you need to heal, keeping Patches’ Dexterity open for his other, often more offensive options. Sure, it’s great to lock in the Fast Hands multiplier when you can, since...why not? But being able to just shove five HP Ghillie’s way and letting him face tank archers while he counters them from afar is just too grand to pass up, all the while slicing away at melee critters before they kill us all. As you do!

Speaking of critters, just before we achieved our final progress needed to face Marrow, we drew the encounter card that left us hungry and wanting, but with little HP critters roaming everywhere, ripe for the hunting! Having a ranged Gearloc and being otherwise surrounded was fantastic, as each critter killed just added itself as Buff HP to your mat, giving us more than enough of a push to get right into the boss battle, feeling confident and healthy!

This was day 10, the best day, it seems, to fight the Tyrant in a two player game. Beyond Marrow himself, all we needed to contend with was a 20 point Baddie. Sure, they are all absolutely terrifying, but we managed to use the night to get the poisonous worm at the top again, the one Baddie in that level I’ve seen that doesn’t completely make me wet the bed. If we charge at it from the get, it isn’t too tough to take out, and it feels wonderful to empty the battlefield early like that! And to not be poisoned. That’s always nice. I can only heal so much!

Ghillie, being adorable and possibly a bit over excitable, jumped at the chance to Pierce through Marrow’s armour and deal some damage at the start, since killing Marrow instantly wins us the game and everything. Following suit, against my judgement, I took the chance to wallop on Marrow too, now that he was wide open for us.

Yeah...Marrow can and does heal himself quickly and effectively, shuffling back to his start and healing 3 HP, about three times in a row, after he summoned a minor annoyance in a 1 point Orc. With the Poison coursing through our veins, I pleaded with Ghillie to focus fire the Worm Thing out of the fight, and we did in quick succession, letting the new baby Orc slap me occasionally while my Innate healed me from any lasting damage.

Once our Poison was through our systems, I felt bloody great and ready for the world! I still had both my heals as emergency options, we were working on my Buff HP buffs with the critter stuff gone (thanks, Poison!) and easily able to take out the wandering Orc while Marrow healed himself in the corner.

Did I mention that Ghillie is amazing, trapping Marrow at battle’s start, making his attack less likely to immediately kill me every turn? Because he did and I thank him for that.

With only one enemy on the mat and two angry and harried Gearlocs, we turned our fire toward Marrow and let loose. Ghillie released his arrows like wildfire, burning through all the defense Marrow had accrued and plinking some HP from him in the proces. Patches, determined to use his E-Cells that he had gained much earlier in the game and collecting Bones for later use throughout the fight chose to slam everything he had into this attack, tossing three attack dice and a Zap Pack, gaining the Bones needed to Overcharge and murdered Marrow from 8 to 0 in the swing of a syringe.

It felt good.

Damn, I love Ghillie, and Patches is such a peach. I worry for parties without that reliable healing option. Is there enough healing Loot to make up for it? I mean, fights can be down right brutal, but we’ve yet to play a game without him, so this might just be a matter of personal comfort seeing him acros the table all these months. Whatever. Next game I’ll play Nugget, regardless.

Only Duster remains! To the ‘copter, copper!

Conclusion...

We played Too Many Bones thricely! What a life! Next week, I think, since we have company this weekend, we will get back to Gloomhaven, which is something we’ve both wanted for a long time, and we can finally have weeks of open space to keep it consistent, which is sorely needed. Maybe we can reach a double retirement? That would be just amazing. I’d like very much to just be on some even footing again, just two fresh faced adventurers after a million years of not playing at all. Feelings!

Ahem, though I’ve spent plenty of time since home playing our newly acquired Bad Thing Rock Band 4 and Etrian Odyssey IV, board games are still the ultimate bomb. That’s a cool things the kids say. Bomb diggity, yo. Word. Golly, I’m the coolest.

Thanks for reading, team, and may you game well while we sip orange infused green tea with our party guest this weekend! And beyond! For both of us! Peace out, friends!
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Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:53 am
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Week the Forty-Second: In which we return home!

Timothy 'Peachy' Devery
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Peoria
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That doesn’t mean we play games yet, though. The show is officially wrapped up, we’ve been invited to two Halloween parties we probably won’t attend, and I’m back to my cat on a mostly daily basis! What could be better? Heck, I saw my parents before the final show for breakfast (which was not a very good one, I must say) and was handed a packet of adorable baby pictures from my darling Hellia when she first chose me as her Supreme! They made me a smiley little man again!

Regardless, time keeps on slipping, slipping, and there’s a blog in its tenth month just waiting to be written. By me. Now. At this very table. Chores completed, hair damp. Look how ready I am. It’s amazing. The crocodiles tremble with emotion in their stage right nook. The cat is actually frickin’ eating something.

Here we go. Get ready for the immense gaming we shoved into these however many hours possible this past week!

It’s just two games, one of which took maybe ten minutes from set up to conclusion. Whoops!

Game the First: Spirit Island

Hello darkness, my old friend! You’re looking significantly brighter than I remembered, lots more colour choices abounding. How I’ve missed you! It’s been so long that Andrew and I looked at each other and shared a moment that read as ‘I can’t remember how to play this game well, if we ever knew in the first place’ after we set up with our Spirits of choice, he with Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares, myself with Lightning’s Swift Strike.

We opted to have a Blight card but no Invaders, which is completely fine to me. I think we should get used a Blight being a nuisance, and I’m unsure if we’ll ever get to a high level Invader, or even bother with the Scenarios included in the box. It’s crazy. Everything is crazy. All of the above, plus Events and Tokens from Branch and Claw one day? Dreams, Antony. Except I don’t have dreams. Only nightmares.

With our rocky start and my immediate, mostly internal freak out thinking our whole island is doomed (DOOMED I say!) because I couldn’t immediately answer any of the problems on my half of the island and we were just struggling to prevent Blight with little action at all against Building Invaders, I’m happy to report that we weren’t beyond a disgusting rust colour in our play. Sort of.

Bringer of Dreams (and Nightmares) was exceptionally pleased with his abilities, and I was honestly a bit surprised by his starting cards. Never having read them, just hearsay from people playing him, I’d imagined a monstrous destruction behemoth, only all destruction turns into movement, etc. He’s so much more subtle than I’d thought, with options on a few of his cards, allowing him to set up some great moves for his fellow spirit or keep things at bay practically indefinitely. Well, there was always a play that was immediately beneficial. Also, Dreams is bizarrely fast. I loved it.

Dreams was so fast, even, that I eventually burned Lightning’s power that grants Fast to cards played by a Spirit! A couple rounds after Dreams asked me to speed him up and I couldn’t, but we figured it out nonetheless. With an obvious focus on building destruction, I took to shuffling Invaders when I could and burning their Towns before they could add Cities. With the gifted ability to Grow into a Sacred Site every turn if I wanted, I planted myself in the middle of both boards and was able to have influence pretty much wherever I wanted with my Power pulls granting me good range and even better Element coverage.

I have a thing for Innate Powers, for some reason, opting to learn Powers that give me the Element(s) I want and focusing on their ability after that initial curation. It’s working for me and I’m-a keep doing it to prevent twenty minutes of reading and surveying all permutations of the rest of the game while everything else stands awkwardly and stares at me thinking through every turn from now to the end of times. It can be dangerous at times, which is why I often take a ‘Do a thing and see what happens, with a smile’ approach to my games, often with silly short term goals involved.

So we barreled through the game, managing to curb the rampant growth of the Invaders before Stage II could get too advanced, though it took a bit longer before we had that glorious feeling when an action from the Invaders is completely voided due to a great set of plays wiping out or holding in stasis the pesky angular hordes.

Dreams was crazy good, as one might imagine, at generating Fear, and it was just about every round or so that we had a Fear card granting us the bounty of soiled underpants from Europe. Let it be known that Fear is such an important element in saving your island! While totally possible to win in Fear I, why make life so much harder when you can practically blitz to Fear III with a combo of Dreams and Swift Strikes? Beauty was made that night. Lightning through the ever darkening sky of Nightmares.

Anyway, once we made it to Fear III (before Stage III even began!) I was able to use a recently learned Power Oblivion Mist to clear out the final City and thank the Blighted land that it could gift us with the knowledge that our Backs were Against The Wall in order to advance enough to really shove our victory home!

What with Dreams learning a Power to give out Elements and my needing basically only one at a time over what I could play, and with three choices we could give both of us everything we wanted, this felt like a power team of set up and destruction. A lovely one-two punch, if you will.

I am considering carrying Spirit Island’s baby full term.

Game the Second: One Deck Dungeon

So we set up One Deck Dungeon another night, before beginning our cooperative run through Borderlands 2, easily available on PlayStation for practically pennies nowadays, and were in for a surprise. Not so much that the game was hard, but that we were very right and properly raped of any thought of success within moments of beginning.

Yeti Cavern. Mage and Rogue. Time spent, blah blah, giant Golem as our first enemy. We opted to run away and fight another day (and another enemy, because no, thanks, I’d like to keep my insides on the inside for now, while I can still see the light coming from the cavern entrance). The problem is that after a nice fight against a Wight, everything we saw was level 3/4 and needed incredible Strength to overcome, as defense, before we could actually DO anything to them.

Things looked bleak as we reached the midpoint of the first floor, one Skill and one Item between us, less than halfway to Level 2 for that sweet, sweet bonus die.

Then we died! A wild Phantom appeared (our second of the floor!) and managed to discard more than half our dice, the Mage even going so far as to cast her solitary spell just to have everything fizzle away as well courtesy of Phantom II. What a boob. And not the fun kind. So, with the ability to cover maybe one space together, the damage quickly overcame us (especially with us both being nearer death’s door than we’d probably like) and we perished before we even saw an inkling of the stair.

Worst part? I’d even forgotten the Yeti specials for the first few encounters! We probably would have died just before reaching this second Phantom! How embarrassing. I suppose a party of two very squishy characters rarely would prevail in just about any game, but here our lack of swords brought us no happiness.

Still a fun option, and I look forward to at least watching that Penny Arcade play through of the Forest expansion soon!

Conclusion...

Then we shot a bunch of fools that were trying to kill us, me with my little mech baby rushing out to assault enemies and Andrew with a sword...gun...things. I have a hard time with first person anything, really. There’s something about needing to control myself with two separate sliders that has never resonated with me on a gamer level, digitally. It’s a problem, I guess. Good things we have dungeon RPGs instead, to still feel part of the group!

So...week over! Everything is falling back into normalcy until my next big hit, and we have something strange to do the next two weeks. Oh...and I did a Bad Thing and removed my regret for not having the premium health chips in Too Many Bones, and it feels great. The box is currently acting as my desk as I type this on an iPad, because I don’t have a computer anymore. Or for a long while. Computers tend to dislike me. Technology, really. What a potty face.

Regardless, I thank you for journeying with us this week, and hope to serve again with the next! ‘Til then, Rangers!
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Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:50 pm
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Week the Forty-First: In which we have a chat about King, music, and comics!

Timothy 'Peachy' Devery
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So next week is the final show for this Witness run, and then a long moment of mystery as to my work. Good, right? At the very least, I hope we can get back to the map on the wall with the waiting red marker and a sheaf of stickers below, waiting to be adorned all right and proper to their numbers. I’m fantasizing about board games, because that is who I am, friends. A gamer who feels more alone when his games are taken from him due to personal or business reasons. What a travesty!

I did manage to watch some terrible television this week, though, namely Scream the TV series. It was...a thing that happened. My very first reaction was how in all the world anyone could believe that most of the cast was in high school, some even more comically old and grown than later seasons of 90210 (which I’ve never actually seen, thank you Alexis Michelle)! This thought mostly stayed with me throughout, but grew to greater heights near the end when a few students apparently frequent a bar at the tender age of seventeen (one even has a ‘bar story’ to get laid) while another can waltz into liquor stores for brandy with no explanation. Overall unimportant, but it made me laugh nonetheless. Seriously, these bodies are fully matured, people. And beginning to wrinkle. Silly, television!

Ooh! We also had a date night to go see IT in theatres! That was nice, and I had my first soda of the year? I think that’s true. Now we have a Stephen King catch up movie pile, with The Shining, Misery, and Carrie. Those three have been my favourite of the adaptations, possibly Pet Semetary as well. My husband isn’t too keen on horror, while I grew up with it, explaining a bit of my nuances through school and today, probably. Heck, Leprachaun traumatized me for a few years as a wee lad, fixed quite a bit by a stuffed panda named Timothy that was a staunch protector and still lives in the back room, I think.

So...board games, right? We did play one this week, (yet) another new acquisition from our most recent trip to the grocer and thus the board game shop. We can’t be stopped. It’s a huge problem that has no negative side effects beyond buyer’s guilt. Such a pity. If the hint in the title didn’t clue you in, my fuzzy happy memories of a certain musically enthused comic led us to purchase a little deck builder (because one always needs more of those, right?) themed after Scott Pilgrim.

Game the First: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card Game

Since Wallace and Kim have special mechanics in a buddy system different enough for the rule book to ask them not be used with less than three players, our choices were instead focused on the other, also awesome four: Pilgrim, Flowers, Chau, and Stills. Knowing that I’d play her at the very least, I removed Ramona’s deck from the box and promptly handed it to Andrew, as he was immediately struck with a pleasantly adorable smile at her hair and handbag (of Death). I took Stephen’s kit, opting to bring the talent to this show of romance!

Our character selections out of the way, we were both pleased with the prospect of having our own individual decks to play tied to our characters. Being a deck builder, these decks aren’t as interesting as, say, Sentinels in their individuality, but anything that can differentiate players starting out in this genre is well worth it, honestly. Plus, both of us had different duos of the three resources we focused on and a different take on Drama, the typical trash card in a deckbuilder.

Drama was actually a mechanic we both liked and chatted about throughout play. Since it encompasses pretty much everything about young life, the cards themselves are just a very comic inspired blast of the word Drama in your face, up to you to figure just what it entails at the time. Certain cards became more or less powerful when Drama was in your hand, and it was possible to Match Drama to certain cards for benefits. Because Stephen Stills is Stephen Stills, Drama wasn’t the best fit for him, a couple cards in his starting deck actually losing potency if he had any unmatched Drama when they’re played. Beyond just being able to do things for you, Drama also tied into the second turn any player can optionally take, overcoming challenges in life through brute force. Certain challenges required a VS Draw, revealing zero, one, or two cards from the opponents deck and increasing the difficulty of the challenge accordingly to how much Drama was added in. Having combat targets chosen before you get your hand of cards for this phase AND the possibility for certain challenges to get more difficult was a fun struggle to have, especially with the double sided cards and such.

So, yeah. An important distinction from almost every other game is that every card is double sided, so there aren’t any card backs. As such, you know exactly what you’ll be top decking at any given time, and so does your opponent. If you see a Drama just waiting to happen on your opponent’s deck, maybe you don’t try a challenge that is already tough, made tougher by Vs Draw. Most cards are just a resource gathering card on one side and a combat card on the other, but Challenges and Power UPS also feature with each other. It’s fun buying a card for one side and being pleasantly surprised at the later usefulness of the other, or completely ignoring it forever, such as when I bought a Butt Slide for the B button it granted me (and I never used) and not once recognizing it’s other side for any reason. I’m fickle like that.

Anyway, we have an Evil Ex standing before us and a life to lead, so we did just that. The What’s-It Twins wouldn’t get us down, not while we had Music, Work, and Romance to keep us kicking! The Twins told us how many victory points we needed for a, well, victory, and then we paraded on to life, free to ignore the Ex for the whole game if we wanted! The Twins increased the difficulty of Robot Challenges, at least.

A fun little aspect of the game is the mundanity of many Challenges. For instance, early on, Ramona was having a lot of difficulty just talking to her parents, and after two failed attempts, Stephen stepped in and got rewarded with a Crappy Apartment. How banal and perfect! In fact, a cute little irrelevant story sort of pops up while playing, and afterward you can remiss over to Memory Lane and relive your short, art-lifted-from-the-panels-beautifully life.

Stephen, after helping Ramona with her terrible parents and taking up life in his new Crappy Apartment met Stacey Pilgrim, fell into the Power of Love with her over Tea, made it Big Time with his music and managed to upgrade to an equally Crappy Apartment while occasionally busting skulls of robots and ending his whole adventure with a true feeling of Joy!

Ramona’s life was rocked by her awful parents, having her opt to work her life away as a Barista, subsisting on coffee and her eternal Buzz. Her only solace and friend was herself, Ramona Flowers, living out her youth alone and guzzling her caffiene. Tragic.

With such a happy life before him, it’s no surprise that Stephen won the day, earning his fifteenth VP cascading him into Joy. Ramona wasn’t too far behind, of course, though it was interesting to see our styles diverge. Early on I opted to Combat my issues, using Stephen’s unique Combo Moves to deal decently consistent Left, Right, Left combos and a solid five damage (+ Button Mashing!) while Ramona chose to flip her Challenges when she could and just buy up the rewards instead of fighting for them. With every card being new to us, we were never quite sure what to eliminate and what to strive for, but we enjoyed experiencing them as we could, with many remaining half a secret, even in the purchase row!

We enjoyed our one play of Scott Pilgrim, hoping for more, as usual with us and games. The game is easy to play, though occasionally throws you for a loop, having basically two separate and optional turns every round, one for acquisitions, one for combat, and if you skip either you draw an extra card for the following turn. It was good fun to have something equally down to Earth and ridiculous on the table, which is probably why I enjoyed reading Scott Pilgrim however many years ago. Heck, this would have been around the time I read Ghost World, too. Maybe after. I’m basically a male Thora Birch with just as much a crush on Steve Buscemi.

Conclusion...

With my short visit home ending soon for our finale showing, I gear up with an iron heart and hands aching to pet the soft little kitty directly next to me (at all times while I’m home, it’s adorable). Onward and upward and sooner to conclude another show run to make it back home for comfort and love! It’s not the most pleasant time living away from home, especially in something like cast housing, which is nothing more than the basic necessities of life. No frills, because you don’t need them, you wussy! I am a wuss. Not always, but I’ve been beaten down now after so many long walks through dark hallways with a dance studio mirror on the far, far end in an centuries old building that makes more noises than any building really should.

Ahem.

Good morrow, dear hearts! Thanks for taking the journey with me this week through the trials and tribulations of real and game life. The usual! Although someone should talk to me about this KickStarter nonsense getting out of hand again. And we’ve not even begun with more Too Many Bones on the way and a Greater Than Games something or other! Dear merciful Zeus. I’m awful.
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Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:32 pm
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Week the Thirty-Ninth and Fortieth: In which we play catch up!

Timothy 'Peachy' Devery
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Peoria
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So Catch Up is unfortunately, not a board game, but a real life thing. What with the show going into overtime and then having the surprise bomb drop of a shortened run before we've even begun just puts things into this odd hyper gear. Honestly, board games and fun times were not at the top of my mind lately! But, here we are, a full week late, to share with everyone the few bits of explorative fun with games I have managed lately! And, with the show in full runs now, that opens up more time for relaxation activities like this. Here we go!

Game the First: Aeon's End

-- Game 1 --

Long ago, Aeon's End: War Eternal happened. By long ago, I of course mean just a scant few weeks. Naturally, I wasn't around when it arrived, but late one night on a short visit home for a day, I unboxed, sorted, and mostly put away all the new content. Several days later (at least), the two of us jumped into a game or two!

We decided suddenly to try and fight through all the Nemeses in difficulty order, thus catching up after our very few games to take on the Carapace Queen again after however long. I hate her stupid face and her even stupider faced babies that shoot out of her like diarrhea bubbles that can walk.

Game the first, I naturally took to the pudgy guy with the shadow beast and shield, an archtype that speaks to me. Beyond purple and children, shadows controlling a normal human are always a bit of fun. It's like Persona, but without any of the drama! So Ulgimor was my man, Andrew playing Mist.

This was a miserable loss. Well, maybe not too bad, but it sure felt like it. I was a bit flushed by the end, demanding a rematch after dinner. My husband has this silly habit of eating food, you see, while I tend to just drink a lot of milk and call it a day. The Queen had 43 life at the end, thanks in part to her La Capitan effect.

Much like the aforementioned Smiling Turd Smear of Time, Carapace Queen tends to have several targets pop up that call your attention, while she just stands back and lets you get distracted while she slowly wins. With her ability to instantly and suddenly win the game, too, with her Swarming after spawning thirty meat sacks within a given turn, it's easy to want to destroy her Husks whenever you can, but in reality you have to mind scan her well enough to know where to keep her Husk Track without severe damage to you and your town.

In this case, beyond her Husks doing as they do, she had the help of a Bane Sire gifting her more Husks and a Mage Ender doing exactly as his name might imply and ending mages. Ulgimor, for instance, really enjoys having even amounts of HP, just to be able to keep his special gem active for as long as possible without the need to over heal or utilize any extra action. If he has two or less life, his personal gem will destroy itself, leading to sad times everywhere, as he then is completely at the mercy of the game state, which was less than ideal at this time. Thus, taking just a stray bolt of damage to Ulgimor began a crazy downward spiral that led to me almost instantly falling to exhaustion and being unable to assist in any way while Mist attempted to hold back the oncoming swarm for the next...round? Maybe two? Once someone exhausts, the damage to Gravehold can get pretty crazy!

We had some good market options, too, in Conjure the Lost and Leeching Agate and Convection Field, but we mismanaged most of our resources too early and suffered a painful loss. My disdain for Carapace Queen was barely altered after this one.

-- Game 2 --

So, with something or other in our bellies, I set Aeon's End back up for another rush against the Queen (from Hell). This time, I gave in to my joy for playing psychotic children and chose Dezmodia, while Andrew caved to his attraction to the elderly and welcomed Maza Haedron to the fold.

This time, we were ready. I felt a fire within us both. Maybe it was dear hubby's gas, I can't recall at this juncture because everything was so long ago, but boy, did I want to destroy the damned Carapace Queen once and for all. We looked into each others eyes and both knew that this was the very last time she'd hit the table. Win or lose, she'd be at the end of the (giant) stack of Nemeses, or tossed out the window, on fire, for some carrion bird to swoop in and carry her off before she even hit the ground almost a dozen stories below.

I'm not sure if this is the typical play for Dezmodia, but I pulled her immediately into an almost pure support role, opting to grind out as many Charges as I could in order to upgrade Maza's Breaches while he rather handily purhcased some expensive spells. Then, with the help of Molten Hammer, I destroyed Maza's Crystals so her could more quickly break out his already high damaging spells on Sigil Breaches, which add two to the damage. Heck, even the basic Spark has great use when it can shoot for three damage!

Being careful with when and where to take a hit to remove multiple Husks and gearing again and again for Sigil boosted Conjure the Losts, while Maza purchased spells for Dezmodia while she focused on her Charges made a beautiful harmony develop, and I'm pretty certain I saw a rainbow over the table by game's (or is it Aeon's!!!) end.

So we managed to quell her stupid onslaught this time! Sure, both of us had less than five HP each, the Queen in her level three card pulls, and Gravehold in the teens, but this time the Carapace Queen will slumber forever! Hopefully it will never be restful and she will bemoan the fact for the rest of her non-existence that a child and an old man bashed her carapace in so hard that she will never be able to functionally shoot baby sacs out of her rectum again, even in dreams.

Celebratory night in!

Game the Second: Fire of Eidolon

Sometimes you don't want to have to think too hard or sit too long. Sometimes you turn to the comfort of the fire on the table in order to realize that it really CAN pay to split up at times. Fire of Eidolon is there for you in these times. Like show times.

I played the Soldier (for Soldier, eh?) while Andrew pulled out the Sage again, sticking to the old man motif that will someday be his signature. Let me say that the two of these guys are just magical when it comes to a one two punch setup and removal! Since the Sage can choose to alter the placement of Cultists on his turn and the Soldier can (using two AP) hit two consecutive spaces with his gigantic sword, we were able to really keep the Cultists away from the places we wanted and wipe them out before they could spread too far, even if we occasionally over explore.

Playing on Hard mode this time, our quick camaraderie was helpful. Though we oddly drew a crazy amount of blue tiles early, the Sage able to collect five tokens before tea time, by the end of things (when we get lax with protecting the dungeon) quite a number of locations fell to Gloom. Seven tiles total, which I think is the most we've lost. And only a few of those were directly related to the Sage moving a Cultist somewhere only to immediately draw that card the turn after.

So, yeah! Full victory points here, with the whole party on the exit with the Fire proper! Still we've not used out Supers, but just knowing they are there is such a relief. At least in this game we talked about having the option of a big, linear bomb of death from Soldier's Omnislash, and the ease with which we could achieve it if desired. Heck, with a dungeon layout with more than one path completely dependent on a single tile meant the Sage's Super was also a keen idea, rescuing something once Lost.

Possibly the best moment was near the end of the game, after a beautiful Trade action so the Sage could finish off two pieces of What's-It and the Soldier could take the long path to the Green Thing, just to make it back to the Vestibule tile and move two space out to find the Fire, practically neighboring the spot we needed. While the Sage tried to catch up and win, he laid a path of Cultists so the Soldier could pick them off every turn while he waited, then they both walked calmly together, hand in hand with the Fire, to the delicious touch of morning sun from wherever they came from. Just the prettiest of pictures for these boys!

Game the Third: Massive Darkness

Scenario 3: The Chosen One!

Being silly children that we are, my husband and I recently acquired metal figures for Harley Quinn and Rocket Raccoon, opting to play them as stand ins for Li'l Ned Harley the Bonecrusher (yours truly) and Moira the Sorceress Raccoon (husband, naturally). I love using outside resources for player bits in games, for some reason, especially for ones that have so many miniatures in them that serve little to no purpose. Namely this game and Mansions of Madness. In that game we play as soap stone llamas.

So I, the bone crushing Dr Quinzel, was the Chosen (or Regeneration/The Slayer/Sacrifice, etc) for my sweet, sweet survival skills. The Sorceress Raccoon lived as my sword and shield, often clearing the path so Li'l Quinn could shuffle off wherever she needed to go and clean up on aisle six.

For the first time in our play history of this game, the both of us felt really potent, right from the get. The Sorceress could Transmute effectively, and the both of us just had so many free extra damage and symbols. Heck, with a couple pieces of equipment that we found, Sorceress Raccoon was able to gain a number of free Bams for every attack, heal herself or me, AND gain extra damage even with crap rolls showing up. As long as the ever-defensive enemies didn't make perfect rolls every bloody time. But that was practically rare when you play a Mace specialist Bonecrusher, removing their shields and gaining bonus swords in the process!

While Sorceress Raccoon did die once, and we fought no less than four Roaming Monsters, once the artifact was assembled, I ran straight up to the exit after a lucky set of Stuns, drank a potion for more actions, and almost made it right out that turn, but was Ambushed by the door instead. Still, with Sorceress Raccoon not needing to exit with Li'l Quinn, it wasn't too terrible to see her get almost torn to pieces by two Roamers and a mob of something or other. Who cares about anything when your artifact makes you completely immune to magic?

Fast forward one turn and see us with victory on our faces. The goods!

Honestly, much like Masmorra before it, I don't really get much from Massive Darkness just yet. Granted, we've still yet to reach any map that allows us our full level, but even so, most of our decision paths are automatically made for us, primarily being smash it in the face quickly, efficiently, and do not stop until it ceases movement. It's difficult to maneuver around well enough to keep things off your face, and often it will take more time to do so than smashing, thus leading to extra Roaming Monsters because that's how this game punishes you for dawdling. Or for being too good. There have been a few times now where we destroy a Roamer just to spawn a brand new one that same turn because we no longer have one on the board. If we weren't trying to focus fire through the book, I fear this would be another clear candidate for the Room of Shame. But oi! There's plenty of missions to discover yet, and while the core gameplay likely won't shift drastically, depending on how our goals are structured, this could grow into something at least moderately interesting.

Andrew has commented that he doesn't like resetting everything every game, and I've mentioned the Story Mode, but shy away from it due to how slowly it would develop the classes, which are not the most interesting things to have slowed down to a trickle. Having to play a half or full scenario just to improve a single skill line? Couldn't do it. There's generally not enough variance within a class to keep me wanting to play more just for another unlock! One day...we'll probably still not do it, because a certain Gloomhaven is still on the table waiting for me to not be busy anymore and give it the proper focus it deserves of at least two sessions a week. Soon, my sweet! The Plague Pair is restless, I know!

Game the Fourth: Steampunk Rally

Because my current work is so much closer to Lafayette and the game group I've grown to love still plays out of the Purdue Union on Wednesdays, occasionally I manage to slip down there and enjoy a night instead of stare at the bugs on the ceiling in cast housing and hoping they won't touch me if I eventually do fall asleep.

Thus, we played new games. Games I might never have even heard of. This is one such game, though I think I'd read about it once or twice.

Naturally, because there were a billion characters to choose from, I went with the most purple option, which happened to be the great Nikola Tesla. My runner up was the also fantastic Ada Lovelace, but I suppose that's for a later time! Seeing that this was a card drafting engine (eh? eh? Because racing cockamamie inventions!) builder, I was prepared to lose horribly, and I stated my goals upfront: I wanted to have a few bursts of speed, then just stop working and have the tortoises surpass the hare while I fed them fresh lemonade or something in my burning husk of a vehicle.

It worked! Everything I dreamed came to pass, proving my latent psychic ability. Soon I'll be able to charge three bucks a pop every time I open my mouth and great portents just dribble out! Gosh, I make myself sound just too sexy, don't I?

So the game follows a few phases every round and is mostly a free for all in actions, as everyone just does as they wish during the race, handling their own engine as best they can while hopefully planning ahead enough to not stall out the next turn. We have the Build phase, where everyone has one card from each deck, focusing on Fire, Electricity, Steam, and...Boosts, I think. They are basic action cards while the former three are parts for your ship. Since you can freely move about your pieces whenever you want, it's difficult to find yourself unable to add whatever part you wish to your ship, unlike Galaxy Trucker, where it can come to pass that you've made too big a mess of your connections to expand beyond your current load out. And that's incredible fun! Both options, really.

Each card can also be discarded during this phase instead of used for any purpose and gain you dice in one of three colours coinciding with the three elements previously discussed, or for Cogs, which are immensely useful for the next two phases. You want as many as you can get, so long as you don't neglect your vessel and just never leave the start line due to over planning.

After drafting five cards (at least in this five player game), everyone is able to Vent, yell about their terrible choices while also using Cogs to reduce the value of their dice. You see, in order to move forward, or do pretty much anything, you need to roll the dice you earn and place them on your ship's pieces. For the value in pips that you place, you gain presents from that piece. I needed Steam to power my ship, and every two pips I placed earned me an Electricity die that I could use to move ahead with every three pips assigned. The problem is that these dice just sit in the spaces you place them, gumming up your parts until you can Vent them away with Cogs, each Cog removing up to two pips from your creation. Cogs are life.

Once the Venting is done, we go into the free for all Race, rolling our dice, placing our dice, gaining our boons and moving our spaces, until everyone is satisfied (or at least no longer able or willing to do more with their resources enough to call it a race).

Unlike a, y'know, race, the game doesn't end once the finish line is crossed. Apparently, one must then coast ahead as far as possible and gloat about how much of a grease trail they left with their skidding mass of mostly damaged parts a half mile past the finish.

I really liked this game! I was sad to hear it was a KickStarter, even, and that many of those character options weren't available easily, thus not exactly having it jump onto my list of desires. Sad, but I can put some research in once things calm down again if I remember, which I can assume I will, because science AND silly carts?

Since I am a psychic genius, everything I wanted came to pass, and I shot out ahead, leading the pack until the very last turn when most other players caught up to me as I stalled out, unable to form a coherent engine that could both place dice AND remove them, thus relying completely on Venting through Cogs (which I could produce, though in very limited quantities.) Due to my ship being relatively small, I also had to avoid damage as best I could or fear being unable to make any further progress as everything falls apart at the end of the round. With Tesla able to add an Electricity die to roll OR remove, and my uncanny rolls of almost always sixes, my early lead was beautiful and long.

As an added boot kicker, though, I was able to be the first past the finish line, only to end in last place anyway, as I spent everything I could just to make it there and was unable to free up enough space on my rather tiny vessel in order to shoot ahead more than a few spaces.

Purple Tesla Coils for all!

Game the Fifth: Go Nuts for Donuts

Naturally, with the night still young that Wednesday eve, the same five of us played a quick little game of doughnuts and laughter, in a similar vein to Sushi Go but better because doughnuts are delicious while sushi makes me queasy. The little faces that all the vittles had were just too much! Look up Boston Cream right now! Do it! Blargh!

Of course I stated before anything happened, right after set up, that I was determined to lose spectacularly, opting to choose the doughnuts I wanted to consume instead of any sort of strategy or tactic. Foolish people, playing for points! I just want that delicious Maple Glazed...

So the play is incredibly simple, though surprisingly hard to succeed, especially with five of us fighting over six choices. Everyone has six cards labeled numerically and in the middle of the table we have six doughnut options in numbered windows matching our hands. Each round everyone will choose a window using their matching numbered card and if no one else chose that same window, you get it for yourself! If any other player tries to grab what you want, however, it is discarded. Thus, if you opt for a doughnut, it will be removed from the lineup whether you earn it or not. Thus, the game keeps moving, and once the full lineup cannot be filled, the game ends and you score!

Much like Sushi Go, you are trying to collect sets that can score some big points, or one off doughnuts that are less swingy and just a delight to have. Many options grant negative points but have a keen ability you can use once you pick it up, which can be extremely beneficial.

Or, if you are me, you collect nothing but Plain doughnuts and Classics, earning a fine, low total at the end of a dozen points, losing out to those silly people with disgusting jelly filled monstrosities and drowning in points closer to the high teens or early twenties. Disgusting. I couldn't be happier with my selection of doughnuts, really, and hope everyone was as satisfied with theirs!

Oddly enough, the player to my right and I continually chose the same offer for at least the first four rounds. I turned to him and said we'd be the best of friends at a bakery, and if I wasn't married, the date day would be the kind that would melt women's panties from the fiery adorableness of doughnuts everywhere. I think we're friends now.

Conclusion...

So...that was two week's worth of playing for me! Not very much, but I relished anything and everything I could get while suffering through this court room drama on and off stage. Though the cast is a beautiful collection and people, and we do have some great, solid fun on and off stage! In the middle of the shortened run, we are, which is...agreeable, I think. I'm tired of not being home when I want to be! Yes, in case you haven't noticed yet, I'm like a six year old trapped in a twenty-eight year old body. What can I say? I thoroughly enjoy the creature comforts of my sofa, husband, and kitty, all wrapped up into one perfect burrito of happiness! As it stands, for the past few weeks (and weeks to come), I've lived off of carrots and water, both figuratively and for real-reals. Sustenance, people! I needs it!

Thank you, dear friends, for reading my...ongoing lunacy, and many pardons if I ruined your year by disappearing for a week. It wasn't my intention, but once it slipped, I figured it would be better to mesh them together (since there's so little in the way of content right now anyway) rather than confuse myself and others with a more slapdash schedule. I'm an odd duck at times. Did you know I only recently realized we could have had a full set of, like, Legendary Ducks in Pokemon? We had Golduck and Magmar representing water and fire, and with just one more ducky, a perfect trio of silly could have surfaced from generation one. Just a thought!
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Fri Oct 6, 2017 3:06 am
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Week the Thirty-Eigth: In which we have a court room drama!

Timothy 'Peachy' Devery
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Peoria
Illinois
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So I'm back at Myer's Dinner Theatre, rehearsing Agatha Christie's Witness for the Proesectution in which I will play Leonard Vole, the accused. Naturally, being away from home and the ONLY human staying in the cast housing, AND going against the subtle advice to cart Spirit Island around with me on this journey, I've not been up to much beyond trips to the library and antique shops. Life is exciting, as always!

Game the First: Riftwalker: A Storm Hollow Card Game

Before my leave, we did get one little trip to the FLGS, during which we picked up this little beauty because reasons. We also visited a specialty shop featuring African art and crafts and now have a set of crocodiles rotating from a planter hook in the corner. We love them.

So Riftwalker is an interesting, tiny little game! Featuring nothing beyond a deck of cards, it was surprising how much meat we could pick from our teeth after the rather short session. With just the two of us, our goal was to explore and then score at least seven rifts, and whoever did so first would begin the end of the game, where every other player has one last shot to best the ender. We do that, naturally, through walking through rifts and invoking elements from a 3x3 grid.

Every turn you must invoke an element by either using (and flipping) an element currently on the board, or by replacing an element with one from the remaining stack of element cards, choosing both the side to use and the placement. With this element invoked, you may then either Explore or Shift a single Rift (I decided to start capitalizing things, because it can be fun and profitable) by playing a matching Rift from your hand or rotating one currently in your possession on the table, respectively. After that, the only decisions left to you are choosing which, if any, cards to discard and draw back to three!

With such simple mechanics, it was very much an enjoyable surprise to have so much to chew on, then, with the Rifts we had to choose from. Each element seems to have some sort of theme to it, though I've not explored the deck since play. I tended toward Water, which rewarded a very heavy exploration play style, giving me bonus points by game's end if I had five or more Rifts still in exploration, extra Shifts on other Water cards (making them worth more points when scored), or playing additions Rifts when I Shift! While only really my focus on the latter half of the game, I'd say I was still predominantly Water enthused, which was a delight to go through.

Basically, whenever you Explore or Shift a Rift, you may use the special ability of that particular card. Once a location is fully Shifted, though (and worth it's maximum pointage, most often 7) it cannot be shifted again, thus it's ability won't happen anymore either. It can be a delicate balance to choose which element to invoke and which command to Shift or Explore in order to remain efficient and not stay too lax, for fear that your opponent could make a sudden Shift train and score more Rifts than you!

About scoring, or Bursting, Rifts: Once per turn, you may Burst and score a Rift, moving it to the score pile (which are all unique arts, even though they do absolutely nothing, thus winning me over during unboxing). In order for this to work beyond a special Rift ability, however, is the element grid aforementioned. If you can make a Bingo (three of the same element in a line, horizontal, diagonal, doesn't matter) of a matching element of the Rift you want to Burst, there you go! Enjoy your points!

Surprisingly, that was simultaneously easy and difficult to do! Oft times, we might not put a Bingo into place just to prevent multiple Bingos being available at a time. Plus, it was hard enough getting Bingos while needing to invoke and element BEFORE one can actually utilize the Bingo therein. I liked this one!

Basically, I sealed a victory with Castles of Sand, giving me 12 additional points for only Bursting 7 value Rifts. With my heavy exploration style, I had water boons all over the place, Reading Leaves for extra Shifts and speed, bonus plays and points with Aurora Across Skies and Explore Isles. Those bonus points from Castles, though, won me everything, as our scores weren't too far off, 64v52.

Would I play Riftwalker again? Absolutely! My primary worry would be about adding players. It can play up to four, but the chaos that would ensue seems like it would take away so much of the pre planning. Neither Andrew nor I are huge on needing to preplan our turns too many in advance, but in this one or two plays forward thinking game, it was more than fine. We weren't optimal, sure, but we had ideas and they could be enacted once our turn came up. With two or three manipulations to the element grid before your next activation, that seems almost impossible. I suppose the game plan would just need to shift to more of a jack of all trades, keeping yourself open to many elements instead of a few, but we shall see. If we ever play anything with more humans.

I like it! It's cute! It's portable! It's quite pretty with all of the scenery!

Game the Second: Roll Player

The both of us have some strange fascination with this game. Whenever we put it on the table, we probably have a n accumulated ten minutes over the course of set up and tear down just stating our love for it. It's weird. Not entirely undeserved, either. Just odd. We're odd.

So we played! I was a male Frog, Savant Protector Barbarian, Silent, Steadfast, and Foolishly, Obnoxiously Courageous. It was a hoot. Andrew played an Elf Druid, which is a class that doens't really have a dump stat, giving equal reward to all of the different stats. I don't think we played one of those before, but who knows? The internet does.

For I think the first time, I played to Trait cards almost exclusively, forgoing armour sets completely (I am a Barbarian, after all) and thanks to my opening roll, I tried to go for a crazy long shot of making each of my attribute rows a different colour, three dice each. Honestly, it mostly worked! The Elf managed to take a die I really needed, leaving me with only gold options which would give me absolutely no points (but money is nice, I guess), but I was able to score all but two of my attributes in a full colour suite! Thanks to Obnoxious gifting me 8 points and Steadfast another 8 (being a Barbarian, I can use four hands worth of weapons, so I decided to do just that, which also kept my money high, doubling my reward when choosing the gold initiative, etc), I was on high, even without full scores anywhere else (except alignment, I guess).

Andrew's Elf focused a lot on his stats and backstory, choosing to try and nail as many as he could, picking up traits to shore up his makeshift dump stats and thus earn an equal score in every stat he could. Actually, it didn't seem to trying for him to manage a full score for his attributes, really! Late in the game he began collecting armour sets, for flat boosts to his score, and there might have been one or two tricks throughout with skills.

With I think our highest score yet, I pulled out a win 34 to 28. Obviously, the Elf was leading up until traits were scored, where I managed to pull ahead! If it hasn't been said yet, we really enjoy Roll Player, every time. Plus, it might be the only game we've introduced to our friend that has been personally requested again, which is always nice. I'm often a sucker for variety, what with the crazy amount of games we have, for some reason or another. Damn it.

Conclusion...

So, yeah...that's what the weekend was, before driving down to Indiana and...hanging out at the library, reading in the corner, or waiting around for rehearsals to begin, purusing a script or a forum, because I'm boring like that. Oddly, though I manage a visit back home Wednesdays, the very short time away was more difficult than last time! I suppose we like each other, just a little bit, my husband and me.

Regardless, thanks for catching up with us in this...minute baby upload. What can I say? I can't stress just how boring I really am, folks! Do you know I have BGG as my default web page? Because I do, and that's...a thing that happens. Daily. Almost. Golly!

Ahem. Good night, as I have another drive ahead of me, and possibly a Philly cheesesteak on the road. Maybe. We shall see.
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Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:20 pm
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Week the Thirty-Seventh: In which we are tardy!

Timothy 'Peachy' Devery
United States
Peoria
Illinois
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Whoops! I've been doing this and that over the past weeks, leaving me with a confused amount of time for this writing. In the midst of another show (soon to be departing for another bout of theatrical no-games!), living life on the outside and somehow finding my spare time in front of video games, like a loser. But! I am here to continue our little chats, because I don't hate them and probably like them a lot, in fact, but am just too cool to show how flustered I can be when talking about our feelings, you silly goose.

Onward!

Game the First: The King's Armory

One day (or many, many days), I discovered a little gem of a mobile video game called Kingdom Rush. My husband and I have played so much of that (and Frontiers) lately that it's a bit embarrassing. Naturally, our desires to defend the point (and/or castle) pushed us more and more toward trying to find a representation that we can play together, thus board games. We've had the King's Armory for a couple years now, as it debuted at my After GenCon Party '15. We've played it once or twice or thrice, but there's always a long amount of time between each play, leaving us a bit cold each time. But tower defense!

So, I took it off the shelf, alone, while Andrew was away last week. Whoops.

I opted to play a full seven wave game, in for the long haul, using two heroes: Robin Hood (for ranged damage and assured shots if need be) and Asphar the Barbarian (which might be the best character, just saying). Here are there stories. But...mostly truncated because it's been almost two weeks and these notes are threadbare because I am terrible at everything.

Wave 1 wasn't a big deal. Well, it was, in so much as I didn't stop all the enemies and a flyer just blitzed right through and dealt four damage to the Armory, but we won't talk about that embarrassment, since Robin shot down the other flyer and Asphar made sure no melee unit could make it all the way through. It kind of sucks a bit to start with three enemies at the highest level available for that wave since we seem to have nothing at the start beyond our bodies.

Still, we pushed on, gained presents, and found a net to help tank flying enemies, which naturally was thrust onto Asphar. I can't remember if this was actually the first thing I bought or if I more importantly picked up towers. Towers are vital in the game, after all. They fill up your holes in attack types at the very least, increase your action count every time at best. This is more and more important since your character's power level doesn't really increase, only bettering through equipment, but there is more and more to deal with every wave. It can get crazy, quickly.

Welcome to the party Mathew the Soldier, James the Mage, and Cynthia the healer! These guys were key to our game, naturally, and most of them received extra gold for levels through the game.

So we move through the waves, each is more or less similar, with rolls on my part issuing more and more high level enemies instead of the simpler, more welcome 1s and 2s. I don't want to fight three 4s in the opening minutes of the game, game! They're hard!

So, Asphar gets more distracted as we go, needing to raise his aqua swords against bigger and badder enemies. I begin to really use his ability to turn his melee damage into supernatural, allowing him to much more easily take out big melee baddies. Did I mention that his base attack damage is six? That's basically three times as effective as anyone else, and it can still crit! He's only got the two actions, so if he needs to move (which is often) or use another ability (which also happens) he can really only swing one or fewer times, but still. It's impressive. Work the board to your favour and make the enemies come to Asphar, and you can watch them melt mostly.

When we hit.

Damn it all, do I hate dice sometimes. To be honest, when I bought the Dice Hate Me micro badge (one of my first) I had never heard of the company and have it strictly for how much dice actually hate me. They rarely give me the results I need at whatever time. This game is a prime example of that hatred, in fact! Enemies come in every wave with just below half or more than half on the highest level, and with all of the attacks I have each wave, only sixty percent actually hit. This is a bit annoying, to say the least.

I cheated on a late wave because Robin missed three consecutive attacks. It was absurd to see Robin waste an entire turn (again) doing absolutely nothing, so I let him go again (and he still missed one, but it's better). I have to assume that he was flirting it up with Cynthia the healer, as she was nearby and the only lady in the party.

But she had to be near at all times because the amount of damage any one character can take in a short time is easily fatal. At more than one point, both Asphar and Matthew were under their maximum HP for the upcoming wave, which is a huge detriment. She needed to be level three just to stave off death after a single attack, let alone the half dozen a hero might take. At least, the damage mostly comes from the beginning of a wave, when it's hard to know where to put your characters because the enemies haven't arrived yet, but they all crawl in, a giant driving force of death, and happen to end their movement within attack range, or, more likely, I have thirty high level ranged enemies that take aim at someone somewhere (in mid wave it might actually be my healer, and she can't take much damage before falling!) and always murder.

Thus, another cheat! I lost my soldier in one wave, Asphar in another, Cynthia at the same time. With the exception of heroes, any deaths are permanent. You'd need to train up a new tower from scratch. I didn't do that and let them resurrect just like heroes, with practically no health at all. It felt fine.

The point is, this game can be brutal at times, especially if you aren't playing to your positions well. Tanking is a very dangerous affair, stopping the enemy in it's tracks but guaranteeing you'll take their damage. Early on it can be negligible, but against bigger and badder targets, tanking could easily lead to the loss of that hero. Don't do it unless you need to, basically. After the opening of the wave, I'd often had every character with damage, thanks to poor positioning in order for everyone to get wherever they might need to be.

Take the inherent (and mostly appropriate, being a tower defense game) difficulty and then add on how much dice hate me, and this can become a frustrating experience at times. That's why I cheated. Frankly, I probably wouldn't have made it to Wave 7 without keeping my towers wave to wave after death. Dice hate me, but I love dice. Sort of.

This brings in the general malaise that can crop up while playing this game, though. More often than not, your heroes are going to need to attack as often as they can, especially early in the wave. Later on you can get to tactical positioning and traps for enemies, but when there are four to your one, time is of the essence. Thus every turn, you name a target and roll a d20 up to three times, cursing when you (often) miss and celebrating when you nail a critical. As fun as that can be, it's not so much when dice hate you and when it's the second hour of the game. Missing sucks, and since so much rides on each individual hit, there is this cycle of punishment that can come up and bring sadness all over.

I think converting a tower defense game into cardboard is surprisingly difficult. Towers are naturally needed, but in a typical tower defense, they are pretty much completely automated, dealing their damage to their target(s) and central to your victory, but nothing you need to manage during play. Needing to pay both your heroes AND your towers, giving them all the options therein, slows things down too much for my liking. It sounds easy to fix, but it really isn't. Making a more deterministic system might go too far, making the game too passive.

I also understand that Mr Wrot! (the exclamation point is totally and properly part of his screen name) enjoys the stories that can come from the fates of a die. And they do! Robin turned into a womanizing asshat, unable to actually shoot an arrow for any great means, though he does have the option to attack with all three actions concentrated on not three hits but one single hit that cannot miss, but still.

In the end, I have very mixed feelings on King's Armory. The five wave game is more agreeable (this two hero solo game with just three towers was still over two hours, but I'm not sure on the total time count), but there is an amount of mundanity that creeps into most waves that is hard to ignore after a while. Turns are mostly the same from Wave 1 to Wave 7, just with more to take care of.

Speaking of Wave 7, something that I think everyone should probably do is buy Armory cards! We put all of our savings into an Armory card that final wave that saved our lives! The Sword Golem walked out, moving his allotted steps and actively murdering anything and everything that crossed that path. We would have definitely lost without this golem, and I love him.

That said, I did totally and completely cheat again in order to win, by choosing his movement path instead of his automatic movement like a monster. I had a cross section that needed a push and the golem would have moved right past every enemy on that path without touching them, which I couldn't have, so I let him swap to the red path for a bit just to help clear out. It isn't like we didn't have enough to deal with anyway!

Also, we had a boss for I think the first time! The Faerie King was actually not too big a problem. From my recollection, the boss doesn't appear at the start, so you need to wipe out as much as you can before the fourth turn or so when the boss appears, in this case not with a cadre of dudes. He was fast, could fly, and was basically untankable, but with Robin and James tag teaming and Asphar with a net, we were able to take him down well enough.

It was fun, for the most part, but I feel there is much that might be done to...more evenly better the experience before I go back in. It's a great start, but feels just a bit too much like Groundhog Day in a way, the waves melding together instead of creating wonderfully horrific stories in game world.

We shall see.

Game the Second: Massive Darkness

So I made a deal with myself and my husband when this went up on KickStarter. If I managed to nail an early bird, I'd keep it to the end. Otherwise, I'd probably drop it. Well, I lucked out, I guess, and here is the end result! Plus, it has a unicorn, so I'm already happy.

Since we have still yet to get back to Gloomhaven, what with my leaving every few weeks and not wanting to get too deeply into it just to wrench it away from my soul again, having a lighter, less crunchy miniature campaign isn't too bad an idea. So, last week we played a few games. It's...fine.

-- Game 1 --

Firstly, we took the tutorial quest, introducing ourselves to the mild obnoxiousness that is defensive equipments on enemies and how much dice hate the both of us. I'm oddly impressed with how many blanks we can see in a given game, unless of course your hero has an ability that goes off of blank results, in which case you'll get the one sword, which is...fine.

Anyway, we opened up with Baldwin the Battle Wizard and Silas the Ranger. Due to the hard limit on our level in this quest, we could top out at level 2, which isn't much, but it gave us enough to play with to at least have something to strive for, namely removing defense dice with the Ranger.

Yeah, being a tutorial, it wasn't that interesting, but we did have at least one Roaming Monster pop up that we had to deal with before we were really ready to do so. Really, they have a tendency to pop up just to slow down progress, which is...interesting.

Basically, we opened the game with Troglodytes and a Roamer, both with defensive equips. Our measly level 0 bits weren't enough to actively obliterate them, so we got to a point where we celebrated one or two damage, at least enough to burn through one of the enemy shields. In some ways, Roamers are easier than Mobs just due to being able to target hem whenever you want and not needing to burn through their two or four shields before drawing first blood. Mob Bosses can stand around far longer than they have most rights to. The turds.

Eventually, though, we did manage to gain equips decent enough to overcome defenses and kill what we needed to kill for the rest of the quest. Thanks to the Flame Bow and Shadow Hunter with Range Speciality, I felt pretty good about life, and using ranged weaponry allowed me to attack no matter my distance from the enemy, so long as I could see them. That was nice!

The key figures we learned through this start was that Transmute is key to victory, as most of the junk you find is not useful for your small party, and that Slippery as a skill puts you in a very wrong sense of safety. Oh, and you need a tank. Really. Even a mage can be a useful tank, since melee enemies cannot and will not counter you if you attack them from range while they are locked in melee with another hero. Yay!

-- Game 2 --

So we moved on to the first proper quest! I opted to keep playing Silas as a Ranger, since maxing out at Level 2 didn't allow me to explore the class the way I might have wanted. Andrew swapped to Karl, but kept the Battle Wizard line, because he loves magic and me calling him Wiz so he can reminisce on Chomosuke bobbing some large breasts back and forth. It makes him smile, which makes me smile, and happiness abounds!

By the by, we aren't playing in campaign mode since it mostly sounds like it slows things down to a point of sheer boredom, based on the class sheets not being all that interesting to begin with. Slow down my progress to plus one hit by five? No thanks, I'll just swap around instead then. I also tossed Transmute from a free action into the Item action, making that an catch all Trade/Reorganize/Transmute/All-Items-All-The-Time action, which feels pretty right.

So on the first mission, Karl got into some hot water semi regularly, since we couldn't kill things quickly enough with yet more defensive equips on their persons. When he got locked in melee after a counter, I'd do what I could to clear it out. And, when there were enemies around and I'd just met them, I'd just sneak right through their ranks and open treasures instead of draw their ire, to not get attacked twice when I could just be hit once instead. It was lovely!

What wasn't so lovely was the dearth of ranged equipment. Yes, I could have taken up countless swords or axes, but as a ranged specialist, I prefer to specialize in range. I used a level 2 javelin for almost the entire mission, actually, which was...fine. Who needs red dice? Yellow are just as effective, except for how much less effective they are. Perhaps not actually a big deal at all was also the lack of enchantments on things that weren't magical. It might just be my feelings after being paired with a Wizard, but he had cool stuff to do with his rolls while I hoped for nothing but swords because that's all I could do. My uniqueness came from being able to ignore shields and other, out of dice stuff.

Eventually, near the end (the second of three tiles, I guess), we were pincered by two Roamers: a Werecat and a Hellhound. Karl was beset with enemies already from opening a door for more treasure, and when he inevitably got locked in melee, resorted to dual wielding swords to get out of it while I juggled with a kitty in my corner. We managed, somehow to survive that endeavor, with Karl easily tanking the Hellhound from magical range and destroying it with enchants on his turn, and me finally managing to find a ranged weapon that wasn't butt, thanks again to Karl opening that door earlier.

So, we open the final area, see our target space get filled with enemies, and naturally almost immediately spawn another Roamer. The WereKitty came back, but worse! He's such a cutie. I love this guy. And then I murdered him with a brand new level schmaw javelin, because bows apparently don't exist in this universe.

In order to wrap things up faster (it was late at night and we'd interrupted the game in order to have a video chat with Sentinels with our friends out of state), Karl teleported to the necessary space and we called it a night, Trogs be damned.

-- Game 3 --

So we enter the second quest, tasked with besting a spider Roamer before she can exit the board, putting us on a very strict ten turn timer. You have to fight this spider well before you might feel confident and ready to do so, because she will leave before you can get armed up, likely by design, because screw you.

I think Andrew went back to Baldric as his Battles Wizard this time, and I opted to play Julian, the Nightrunner Rogue thing. He starts the game with a (helpful, I guess, but mostly useless) treasure equal to his level, which will always be one, so...thanks. More importantly, he can possibly steal the equips from Bosses with double Bams on his attacks!

Finally, I play a melee character, and it works out, because we still never found much in the way of ranged weaponry, with a pleasant focus on magic stuff. Baldric was a glutton this fight, even with our very, very few treasures earned, thanks to the strict time limit. We had two rooms worth of treasures (both level 1) before we had to bring the fight to the spider.

Once again, Transmute is the most important bit of the game, because without it there would be no chance at all of success. This was the only way we managed to have equipment that was able to at least possibly overcome what was before us! It's an interesting dilemma, even with the glut of items flying around each room.

Like always, we were attacked by two Roamers, not counting the spider which starts on the board. The Oni came back, along with a Troll that enjoyed menacing us from afar before I finally had to block both of them with my body while the wizard slowly chased the spider, tanking her counters as best he could and double Bamming, damaging, and stunning her almost every attack, making the aforementioned counters much easier to handle, since most never happened.

Because of awesomeness, I was able to steal the treasure from the Oni, and now that he didn't have thirty defense dice, I was able to overcome his defenses thanks to shadow mode defense dice elimination from the Rogue tree and take him out of the game. We had an ongoing discussion on whether it was worth it or not to open that last set of doors, but we decided that by the time we'd be through the new enemies, the spider would have rounded the last corner, giving us no time to catch up AND kill her.

So, we didn't, I bought Slippery with the Oni experience, and ran past the Troll to catch up to BatWiz the Supreme. Together, (mostly the Wizard), we were able to defeat the spider with just a few more attacks before she managed the home stretch. Actually, Andrew gave me a bit of a sad look when he dealt more than enough damage to kill her, since it was oddly anticlimactic, happening moments after I got there and poked her with a dagger.

Speaking of daggers, why are there practically none in the game? Basically, I'm sad that the weapons I enjoy most are almost nonexistent in our experience, while the mundane swords are growing out of the walls. Questions. Also, the mace seems to be the best weapon to start with for the Rogue, which made me giggle a little bit. It feels wrong, but I'll allow it.

Game the Third: Millennium Blades

I'd been itching to play this one for a long time, and finally my husband obliged me! This was easily our best game yet, not necessarily in score or anything, but in ease of play. Neither one of us felt overwhelmed as we typically do with the immense amount of options thrown at you all at once and then a (pleasantly long) time limit put over that as well. Since I wasn't allowed to play Rariti in BattleCON, I opted for her here, where I almost always ignored her abilities and I don't care, because I was a beautiful woman playing cards. Andrew chose Pritchard Leftfield who gains sets of cards every round instead of the top six from the store, which I think made his collection making much faster and easier, which was probably one thing that helped keep him from feeling that feeling of too much stuff which happens often with Lvl 99 games. Gosh, they are adorable with their bloat and genuinely forthcoming love for their designs.

So, since we don't believe in removing aspects of the game for a two player experience, we changed no rule at all and just played Millennium Blades with two people. It's great, folks, and since half the fun is collecting (mostly how I played Pokémon, in fact, which was the only real CCG I got involved with back in the day) I hate to dismiss that portion and focus on the tournament. So we didn't!

Pritchard started with the Dark deck and managed to keep parts of it through all three of the tournaments, which was oddly impressive. He always does enjoy that one card that when flipped rewards you with RP. He also purchased a card that allowed him to gain extensive amounts of RP if the other player(s) had more than he did, which fit right into his strategy of late game RP gain, allowing that card to hit three or four times all by itself! It was pretty great.

Sorry I don't remember any of the names of these cards, for the most part. I...don't play enough to keep track.

I stumbled upon the Princess Peach (one of my gaming icons, you see) of the Not-Mario set, Fig Shitake, and naturally took to making a deck centered around her, because I had to. It was my gaming duty. So I did. Rariti's tournaments had a lot of singles that activated off of flipping, whether they be extra RP, or just a benefit with a detriment at Scoring phase if left alone. Since Fig can slip everything on the Tableau when flipped, it was harmonious from the outset! Get everything on the board, play Fig, then one of my starter cards that flipped the card next to it if it's star rating was something or other.

While Pritchard earned his RP later on the tournament, I went in strong from the get go. I also cheated. Hard. By accident. You see, I neglected to remember for the first tournament that Actions are FLIPPED AFTER USE, managing an absurd score in the first tournament by abusing the crap out of the Power Play deck box, doubling the next RP gain (maxing at 40). Almost every turn of doing this blew my score up quickly enough, and our cheat carried to everyone, too, allowing Pritchard to protect multiple times, etc.

Whoops. Still, I would have won the tournament anyway, and when we remembered how to play properly, we did without argument, though I carried my shame with me for the rest of the game.

For the second tournament, I opted to retire most of my deck, picking up different flipping triggers in order to still use Fig, while Pritchard tried only slightly amping his deck, focusing on a big collection. Something that was never entirely easy to do before was trashing your whole deck or most of it and just going off the cards again, from the start. Somehow, we must have reached that game number threshold, however, where we could mange it well finally, as I had a blast going through the few freebies the game gives you each Deckbuilding phase and choosing one or two cards from that to form a deck around. It's easy! Heck, when your special ability allows you to save money by using card's star values to buy from the Aftermarket, it's all good!

Thus, we go to the end game, where I retire Fig, Pritchard continues to tweak his starting deck, and Power Play goes away forever, replaced by my remembering that I could play two cards in a slot thanks to being Rariti and combining their values, causing a big star flipping party, the one time I want it most! Or by making sure everything on my tableau was a Mage. That, too. Using one of the Duckies, I opted to try and keep all my cards face up this time, using something from Not-Zelda to discard everything in my hand and earn RP for each Type or Rarity discarded, earning me a crazy amount of RP, preceded by a card that allowed me to React and pull back any cards I discard to my hand. It felt simple and lovely!

So, after the dust cleared from our three tourney streak, I managed to pull ahead enough to gain a victory, 141/102. The one aspect of the game that always feel forgotten is the Meta, actually. Either nobody does it and nothing is effected, or everybody does and still nothing happens. It's funny that way.

I secretly love this game, since it does sorta remind me of the pack hunting days of yore, but without knowing what I'm looking for this time. The store deck is huge and there are so many other sets still in the box that I can't imagine playing enough to actually retain what cards do what or from which set they hail. And there's another expansion coming out? That's crazy! But again, Level 99 is clearly in love with their IPs, and that's great, even when I don't care about them at all, like the ever-running Pixel Tactics or something.

Game the Fourth: Sentinels of the Multiverse

Late some other night, we opted to play Sentinels, as we often do. When it's close, if not past, time for bed, the one thing we can definitely still manage is a game of Sentinels, because it's a comfortable place full of heroes and might and peace. And punching little men with guns in the face...with more guns.

Advanced Ambuscade at Wandering Isle v Grandpa Legacy, Titan, and Expat.

We didn't want anything too painful, because sleepy boys are sleepy, but we also needed some bite, or else we'd be bored. Possibly. Probably not, really.

Naturally, as is always the case, Teryx decides to show himself as the first card from the environment, because I guess he likes us, even if it would be MUCH better for him to just stay underwater for as long as possible and let the explosions just sort of happen, instead of make us cry when we each take three damage and Teryx takes TWELVE. Little things. Simple things. At least we had a lot of Barnacles to deal with, which we could mostly ignore, thanks to guns from Ambuscade often being their target, and when not, just a single damage we could easily take. It was probably the extra card plays for the Villain, however, that made our time on the Isle less than stellar, but still probably the best we've ever had. It's not a vacation spot, no matter how adorable Teryx really is. It is, however, incredibly charming to soothe the giant turtle beast with the loving tippity-tap of Assault Rifle fire, healing his wounds through rote violence.

Ambuscade might have made news headlines for the amount of times he was cloaked AND being able to actually set a trap off for I believe the first time in the history of the game! It was just a little explosion near a mail box, but I was so proud of him in that moment. And his turn wasn't even done! He got to play yet another card, because Ambuscade. Overall, though, he's still Ambuscade, and even on Advanced mode, isn't too much a pain.

Thanks muchly to Grandpa Legacy, however, canceling out Ambuscade's innate damage reduction and being able to Gung Ho Expaddy Wagon into healing AND shooting everything of import with the aforementioned Assault Rifle. Toss in some Flying Smashes and Legacy being Legacy (with the Legacy Ring of all things!) and you have a beautiful man with just as beautiful legs.

Titan was a smash to play, too. He's a big guy with guns and brimstone, and the clear combo of Volcanic Judgment (or what have you, my memory AND penmanship are terrible) with Titanform dealing a glorious 5 + 2 + 2, pulled of twice over the course of the game. Granted, with Ambuscade able to pierce armour well enough, especially on Advanced, Titanform itself was mostly a piece to be destroyed for greater effect, but it was still charming as a whale getting close enough to the ship for a near petting. It can be hard for Titan to NOT get Titanform, in fact, which leaves the door open for many shenanigans, which is a delight. This was my first time with him, but we'll see what can come from him later in life, too.

Mystery to no one, we win against Ambuscade. Everyone is decently healthy, even Teryx, and though he clung to his Cloaking Device like a baby Baron Blade to napalm, it wasn't enough for him to manage a run away.

Victory!

Game the Fifth: BattleCON: Trials of Indines

Speaking of BattleCON, there's one thing I hate about it above anything else. Each iteration introduces some massive change to the game that makes it even more difficult to reintroduce to a group. While the game itself plays better and better every time, it someone learned it or prefers it one way, well...sucks to their asthmar.

Trials gifts us with a new Dodge base and the loss of the dials for HP and Force, also making Force a part of every match forever after. We've piles of HP tokens and Force, and once Force is gone, the match will end if victory hasn't been achieved yet. With only two to four Force going out every beat, it shouldn't be longer than a regular match by much if overtime does occur, but it is a thing.

Regardless, BattleCON is that game I love to pieces, am terrible at, and want to play far more than I ever do (and probably ever will). I love the fighting game feel (made even better with a select screen style box, now that it's full of tuck boxes with everything [EVERYTHING] needed to play a character) and the mechanics are simple and fantastic. I still hate the rule book, because it's a pain for me late at night to find specific things I need answered, but whatever. You know how to play, and sometimes calls need to be made!

So we played our first game of Trials on night. I wanted Rariti, but opted for Hayden, while Andrew took on Khimbe. Both Beginner level, which seems appropriate. Ehehe.

Neither of these two ladies are particularly complex, but in Hayden's case, she needs to keep track of things at least a turn in advance, which isn't a big ask or anything, but it is fact. She has five double sided tokens in front of her, one side her Rage, the other her Control. Most of her cards then can grant her bonuses to her Power (Rage) or Priority (Control) among other such things. Whenever she uses a Rage or Control, it flips to the opposite side. She's capable of plenty of ass-kickery, and I appreciate that!

From what I saw with Khimbe (I'm not good enough at the game to actually pay attention to the reference sheet I'm given on the other combatant, choosing to focus on what I can do as my character instead and dealing with whatever consequences), she has her staff on the board, and that staff grants a power boost to whoever is on it, but Khimbe can change the benefit it grants OR move it around like a wild banshee. She is, however, woefully slow, so it seems.

Thus, Hayden was able to get an early lead, charging right ahead and smacking Khimbe for a decent chunk of health, utilizing the staff on three total attacks over the course of the game. What's fun about Khimbe, though, is that even when she takes 5 Power attacks to the face, she has enough Stun Guard to counter attack anyway.

Unfortunately for her, she seems to favour ranged combat instead of in-your-face style punches. I imagine Khimbe could play a game of keepaway with the staff, keeping the benefits for herself, but I can't be sure, because Hayden was in the mood to punch things really, really hard.

Throughout the match, Khimbe was hit most beats, but stunned only once. Oddly impressive. And with Hayden playing fast and close, Khimbe only landed a single punch on Hayden, but it was an impressive one taking out a fourth of her HP in one swing.

What was funny to me was after explaining the game as a little refresher, we both ended up using half or all of the random attacks we used for reference purposes. It's silly, because I didn't want to read my cards just then and Khimbe just liked what her duo did.

Anyway, Hayden pulls a win, thanks to the staff that was under her feet after Khimbe put it there like a dear. Hoopla!

We're thinking the next time we play, we'll just swap characters. I think I have a decent understanding of Hayden, but the overall concept of what to do and when is still evasive, especially for Andrew. While a simple game in concept, BattleCON really has depth in the decision trees for each Beat, leading to a potential brain drain when faced with all of your options AND the likely options your opponent might be using. Which is why I just...fly by the seat of my pants with the game! Counter play is not ever going to be my strong suit, especially with this beautiful beast only making it to the table every few months instead of nights.

Conclusion...

Want to hear a secret? Kingdom Rush has stolen at least three nights from each of us thus far over the past two weeks since we found it. It's reintroduced us to the joys of defending with towers and how great magic can be when supported by arrowfire. Beyond that, what have we done? I've been studying for a show opening up in another couple weeks (or less?) and dreaming of sleep, petting a cat when she's around.

Oh, and last night I had a little game of downloading demos for three separate 3DS games and having them duel the following morning to determine which one, if any, I might purchase for my two week disappearance from home. A winner has yet to be determined, but Ever Oasis is leading the charge over Hey Pikmen and Monster Hunter Stories. That's all.

Many pardons on taking even longer on this one than last time....I've been even more prone to distraction and work lately. Because I'm a sucker! But, reagardless, I thank you for reading the insanity herein, and if you chuckled, well, that's just gravy!

I could do with some gravy, even. I think I left a simple gravy recipe here one week, right? I'll assume so. I mean, it's just fat and flour! What could go wrong?

Good night, team awesome, and fare well!
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Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:46 pm
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