Game Design Notes (and other random thoughts)

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Epic Gaming Session

David Gregg
United States
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My wife and eldest daughter went to some Christmas craft thingy all day yesterday, so my youngest daughter and I decided to make a gaming day of it while they were gone. I knew we'd have plenty of time to play different games, so let her decide on what we'd play and the order.

Too long, don't wanna read: S3rvant's plays for 11/27/11

Still with me? Here's how things went down:

Just got JAB: Realtime Boxing a few days ago and have been enjoying it a lot since. Both of my girls love it as does my Uncle-Dad. It's a bit fast paced for my mother and wifey has yet to try it out.

We played 3 games of it, with me winning each. In game #1 Awna was doing a good job of smacking me around, ending with more health then me, but I had taken more combos and secured a round win. In the 2nd round I popped out several back-to-back haymakers, draining her to zero health followed quickly by a KO. Games #2 and #3 were both fast KO's as Awna was trying to work toward combos, ignoring her dwindling health as I haymakered and counter-punched to victory.

Awna and I both give Jab an (8) on the BGG rating scale.

I've had Mr. Jack a bit longer then Jab, so we've had some time to play it more (though we still aren't any good at it). Mr. Jack has also been very well received with the family, with everyone liking it that's played it so far.

Awna and I both played 1 game as Jack, with Jack winning both games. I had managed to rule out all but 2 of the suspects by turn #2 with Awna as Jack; unfortunately I had left Jack in the dark and she managed to escape on turn #3. Awna wasn't as good and separating the players and so still had 4 possible suspects on turn #8 and guessed incorrectly for the loss.

Awna rates Mr. Jack a (9) while I give it a (7).

Elder Sign is still very new to us with this being our 3rd play so far. Only my daughters and I have actually gotten to play it, but all 3 of us have enjoyed it so far.

In this game we played against Azathoth with Awna playing as Dexter Drake and myself as Joe Diamond. I was a smidgen confused over Joe's ability as clues allow you reroll multiple dice, but he's worded as if you only get to reroll 1 of the dice a 2nd time. I decided it was trying to mean that you got to reroll twice per clue token instead of once, which we liked and didn't feel overpowered, so we kept it that way throughout the game. This match wasn't overly tough and we secured a win with only about 6 doom tokens.

So far Awna and I both rate this one an (8).

We've had Haggis for a little while now and while it isn't my favorite game, it is liked to some degree by everyone so far. My wife and daughters like that it's easy to setup and play and I like that it resembles one of my favorite classic card games: Zhēng Shàngyóu.

We played the short game to 250 points and I dominated with final scores of 305 to 111.

Awna rates Haggis a (7) while I rate it a (6).

Thunderstone is one of the families favorite deckbuilders as the wife and girls aren't as fond of direct confrontation, but enjoy the thematic dungeon crawl-like game play. I like it as well, as what you purchase makes a big difference throughout the game as to how well your deck will function, as you cycle through your deck many, many times throughout the game.

We played with a variant setup to assure a good variety of items, including light sources, weapons, spells, etc as well as different classes of heroes. I went with weapons that gave good gold return at first, then went back for heroes that could use them, ending with 58. Awna however went with mass heros and ended up steam rolling me, killing a lot more monsters over the course of the game and ending with 74 points.

Awna rates Thunderstone a (10), while I give it an (8).

Zombie Dice has been one of our favorite fillers for quite a while now and made no exception today.

Awna was pretty well spent from the previous plays, so wanted to relax a bit with this one. We ended up playing 5 games, with Awna having insane luck in the first couple and then dwindling down as mine shot up for the next couple. She managed to roll all 13 dice from the can, scoring 11 points both times and easily winning the first 2 games. I slowly won game 3 and had my own 13 die, 11 point roll FTW on game 4. With us being tied up at 2 games a piece, we played 1 more just to settle things and of course, Awna's luck returned for a 3rd win for her.

Awna rates it a (6) while I rate Zombie Dice a (5).

Crokinole has been an amazing dexterity game and a joy to own (not to mention a beautiful wall hanging). Everyone that's played it so far has loved the game and always requested to play more.

It just so happens that I rather excel at Crokinole, usually being able to make the more difficult shots and frequently being paired with the worst players to even things out. Today was no different, as poor Awna tried her best to keep up, but just couldn't score on me. We ended up playing 3 games, the last of which ended 185 to zero...

Awna and I both rate Crokinole at (7).

We've had Pandemic for a long time. It has been a fantastic gateway game for our us as well as our friends and has been one of our favorite cooperative games. We eventually started to get a bit bored with it, so it hasn't seen much play time lately. Awna decided to right that wrong.

We played with Pandemic: On the Brink mixed in, though really we just used the new roles and special action rules. We played the game on normal difficulty (5 epidemics). Though we started out well with an early grasp on the diseases as well as a very early cure, it took us too long to get the other cures together and we saw a huge chain of outbreaks directly after our 3rd epidemic. At that point we pretty much just made a mad dash to share cards with each other and managed 2 more cures before losing to an 8th outbreak. Still good times.

Awna rates Pandemic an (8) while I give it a (7).

We wrapped up the session with a game of Trollhalla, a game that I first encountered at our local FLGS and immediately found a way to trade for. Everyone that's played it so far has really enjoyed this one, though I prefer it with 2 or 3 players as I feel like I lose more and more control over the game's outcome as more players are added.

In this game we both rushed for the 10 point bonus and actually both achieved it at the same time, though I had my troll at the front of the boat, giving me the bonus first. Not really sure if we played that bit right or if the active player should get priority (not that it mattered in the end). After that little race Awna rushed for the 25 bonus for collecting up the goats while I worked on the 10 and 12 point bonuses. We both did very well in collecting up our sets and mostly stayed out of each other's way (though I did manage to maker her take additional goats). I thought I was winning, but she managed one last bonus when the game ended and actually won by 1 point...

Awna and I both rate Trollhalla a (7).

Received Panic Station recently via a very generous BGG'er and was hoping to get in a game once my wife and daughter returned, but they were too busy putting up the Christmas tree and decorations. Oh well, perhaps next time.

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