holistic summaries by zefquaavius
Nathan Morse
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Sometimes great games get an expansion (sometimes terrible games do, too, but try not to hold it against them); sometimes they get multiple expansions. In a case like Age of Steam, the expansions are pretty much all independent new maps or scenarios, not meant to be combined; however, often enough, expansions are meant to be combined, which can lead to a lot of fun. The problem is coming back to such a game after a long hiatus because exciting-looking expansion number 11 is released. Looking through multiple rulebooks is tedious, confusing, time-consuming, and wastes precious gaming time while your chums sit there, bored, waiting for you to simultaneously refresh their memories of how to play, and explain the new rules / rules changes.

So, here are the games for which I [remember having] created a holistic summary. Subscribe to this list if you love this format of summary, and want to know when the next one comes out. (Although the list is sorted by title for newcomers, your subscription will take you directly to the new item, wherever it ends up being.)
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1. Board Game: The 7th Continent [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:36]
Board Game: The 7th Continent
Nathan Morse
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Much of the brilliance of this engine is how free its form is; however, without a rigid umbrella to the play structure, it can be tricky to remember the rigid steps to everything floating in that soup. This summary attempts to address that, especially "saving" and "loading", which I always had to look up.

The 7th Continent holistic summary (includes What Goes Up Must Come Down and all the little expansions)
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2. Board Game: A la carte [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1966]
Board Game: A la carte
Nathan Morse
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This had been much requested at our house lately, so we finally brought it out. I was reminded not only of how much silly fun it is, but also how unpleasant it is to use the rules as a reference while playing. Fortunately, I've been on this holistic summary kick recently….

A la carte holistic summary (includes Side Dish and Dessert)
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3. Board Game: Alerya [Average Rating:8.22 Unranked]
Board Game: Alerya
Nathan Morse
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Ohio
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holistic graphical terrain guide/summary for Alerya and Essentia
 
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4. Board Game: Anachrony: Infinity Box [Average Rating:9.13 Unranked] [Average Rating:9.13 Unranked]
Board Game: Anachrony: Infinity Box
Nathan Morse
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Includes all the rules in the Leader box, as well as the 2020 expansions:

Anachrony holistic summary (includes all expansion modules and variants from base game and all expansion packs through 2020)
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5. Board Game: Arcade [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:11789]
Board Game: Arcade
Nathan Morse
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Whew! This is not a complex game, but there are enough little moving parts when you consider the extra units and the advanced rules that it was just too easy to get things wrong. So, I created a holistic summary for it… which needed much correction by Néstor Romeral Andrés, proof of the need for this summary! (Thanks, Néstor, for taking the time!)

ARCADE holistic summary (includes Interceptor, Arachnoid, Minelayer Sidecard, Artillery)
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6. Board Game: Baltimore & Ohio [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:2532]
Board Game: Baltimore & Ohio
Nathan Morse
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Baltimore & Ohio holistic summary (including expansions)


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7. Board Game: Barrage [Average Rating:8.23 Overall Rank:52]
Board Game: Barrage
Nathan Morse
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Barrage holistic summary (includes advanced rules, The Leeghwater Project, Automa, Kickstarter Exclusive Executive Officers, 5-player expansion)
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8. Board Game: Belfort [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:525]
Board Game: Belfort
Nathan Morse
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Belfort holistic summary

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9. Board Game: Between Two Cities [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:605]
Board Game: Between Two Cities
Nathan Morse
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The base game's rulebook has an excellent summary on the back. I wish the expansion's similar summary were just an integrated version of the first one. So, I created my own summary….

Between Two Cities holistic summary (includes Capitals)
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10. Board Game: Bios:Genesis [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:1729] [Average Rating:7.13 Unranked]
Board Game: Bios:Genesis
Nathan Morse
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I have a pretty functional draft (I've played a few solitaire games with it), but there are some subtle but nasty rules contradictions for which I await clarifications. It's starting to become a long enough wait, though, that I'm getting tempted to upload the draft. Any feelings on the matter?

No responses, so maybe there's no demand for this. Nonetheless, I wasted a truly incredible amount of time and effort creating this summary, so here it is, scratch notes and all:

Bios: Genesis holistic summary (includes Short, Solitaire, Cooperative, Introductory, Advanced, Macro Variant, Crystal Catastrophe Variant, and Macro Parasite Chimera Variant)
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11. Board Game: Bios:Megafauna (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:1478] [Average Rating:7.75 Unranked]
Board Game: Bios:Megafauna (Second Edition)
Nathan Morse
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Bios: Megafauna holistic summary (includes Achterbahn, Tooth & Claw, Long Game, Mars/Venus/Earth Solitaire, Venus Plant vs. Animal, Venus Animals)
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12. Board Game: Bios:Origins (Second Edition) [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:1807] [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Bios:Origins (Second Edition)
Nathan Morse
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Bios: Origins holistic summary (includes Merfolk variant, Yrr variant, Custom-Hex map, Custom-Craton map, Bios: Earth campaign, Solitaire variant, Cooperative variant, Advanced game, and Long [1st Dispersal] game, catastrophe location tables)
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13. Board Game: Black Angel [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:673]
Board Game: Black Angel
Nathan Morse
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Ohio
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Black Angel holistic summary (includes 2-Player, Solitaire, and Advanced rules)
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14. Board Game: Blocky Mountains [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:6631]
Board Game: Blocky Mountains
Nathan Morse
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Numerous little expansions and variants, and I kept avoiding them because I could barely understand the base game's terse, yet somehow convoluted rules. No way was I adding other things that affected the game in miscellaneous ways! Well, now it's easy to include any and all of them!

Blocky Mountains holistic summary (includes Team variant, Starting Player Route card, The Big Game Adventure Book, Timer Add-On, Dream Route Card, The Rock Slide)
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15. Board Game: Boxcars [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:7484]
Board Game: Boxcars
Nathan Morse
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Ohio
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Don't let its gigantic charts for payoffs and such scare you: Boxcars is a fairly simple game (and there's an official app you can use instead of the charts). It's so simple that I easily fit all the rules on one page.

Boxcars holistic summary
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16. Board Game: Brass: Birmingham [Average Rating:8.67 Overall Rank:3]
Board Game: Brass: Birmingham
Nathan Morse
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I got tired of conflating some of the subtleties between these games (worse still, because I teethed on the original Brass, with its wonky virtual link and such), and I was having a hard time finding answers to questions in the gorgeous and impressively brief rulebook.* So, this lets you quickly see the differences between the games, and helps you switch quickly between them.

Brass: Lancashire/Birmingham holistic summary

* They're in there, for the most part!
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17. Board Game: Brass: Lancashire [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:19]
Board Game: Brass: Lancashire
Nathan Morse
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Ohio
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I got tired of conflating some of the subtleties between these games (worse still, because I teethed on the original Brass, with its wonky virtual link and such), and I was having a hard time finding answers to questions in the gorgeous and impressively brief rulebook.* So, this lets you quickly see the differences between the games, and helps you switch quickly between them.

Brass: Lancashire/Birmingham holistic summary

* They're in there, for the most part!
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18. Board Game: Camp Pinetop [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:6872]
Board Game: Camp Pinetop
Nathan Morse
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Camp Pinetop holistic summary
 
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19. Board Game: Castles of Mad King Ludwig [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:141]
Board Game: Castles of Mad King Ludwig
Nathan Morse
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Ohio
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Recently, my good man…
JB Lawton
United States
Dublin
Ohio
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…read the rules to this while I made dinner, and then a few days later, I taught still more friends. Unfortunately, a small error JB and I made was compounded by my having not actually read the rules. Of course, this motivated me to create a holistic summary that integrates the new expansion's rules. No more embarrassing mistakes now! …I hope.

Castles of Mad King Ludwig holistic summary (includes Secrets)
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20. Board Game: Catacombs [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:1017]
Board Game: Catacombs (Third Edition)
Nathan Morse
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Ohio
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There's not a whole lot to the holistic aspect of this series' summary, because so far, there is basically one published rule that is not part of the base game; however, that rule and at least one other were implied in the base game's rulebook and/or shot summary sheet. Nonetheless, I distilled the vast majority of the 24-page rulebook and shot summary into about 1¼ pages, because playing from the rulebook had proven tricky, even having played the first edition before. Did we have fun? Absolutely. Were the rules hard to understand? Not really. It's just a rulebook set up to read during casual, away-from-the-game time. Yet you must remember all the rules, because it is not a great reference, although the index (far too rare in game rules*) helps a bit.

Catacombs holistic summary (includes Cavern of Soloth, Crypt of Shaurath, Keystones & Keeps, Wyverns of Wylemuir; other expansions don't affect the rules)

* The award for Best Index in a Game Rulebook goes to The Ares Project.
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21. Board Game: Catacombs Cubes [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:6704]
Board Game: Catacombs Cubes
Nathan Morse
United States
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Ohio
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Catacombs Cubes holistic summary (includes all game modes, solitaire, Monuments)
 
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22. Board Game: The Cave [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:2366]
Board Game: The Cave
Nathan Morse
United States
Powell
Ohio
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Gah! The rules to this game are so simple, and summarized almost perfectly on the player board… but presented in the rulebook in such a way that the rulebook is nearly useless as a reference. So, refreshing your memory after a hiatus is far too difficult. Summary time! Plus, by explaining the action points differently, the rules distill quite a lot, and the convoluted expansion rules are reduced to a single line to cover the one tile type that's truly special. Now, in a single page, you can refresh your memory, and not miss a thing!

The Cave holistic summary
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23. Board Game: Cerebria: The Inside World [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:814]
Board Game: Cerebria: The Inside World
Nathan Morse
United States
Powell
Ohio
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Cerebria holistic summary (includes Forces of Balance, beginner rules, Ego solo/co-op rules)
Cerebria spirit action aids for each side of each spirit board
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24. Board Game: Clinic [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:3612]
Board Game: Clinic
Nathan Morse
United States
Powell
Ohio
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I have had an unduly difficult time teaching this game, so I got determined to play my way through all of it solitaire. In doing so, I stitched together this summary that includes everything in Medical Dossiers #1, #2, and #3:
4th Floor
Amenities
Urban Design
Janitors
Pharmacy & Capsules
Elders
Pillars
The Virus
Satellite TV
Intensive Care Unit
Public Works
Pregnant Women
Solo Variant

Clinic holistic summary (includes everything in Medical Dossier #1, #2, #3, #4)
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25. Board Game: Clinic: Deluxe Edition [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:1024]
Board Game: Clinic: Deluxe Edition
Nathan Morse
United States
Powell
Ohio
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In this edition, Alban, Ian, and I really focused on building as many rules into the components as we could, and streamlining any rules we could. Nonetheless, especially once you get the expansions in there, there are still a lot of details to sequence correctly. This covers all of the following, in addition to the base game's most basic rules:
Solitaire Mode
Blood Transfusion
Fire Extinguishers
Workaholic Doctors
Zombies in a Clinic
4th Floor
Amenities
Ambulance
Urban Design
Janitors
Pharmacy
Hospice
Pillars
The Virus
Satellite TV
Intensive Care Unit
Underground Utility Work
Obstetrics

Clinic Deluxe holistic summary (includes Solitaire Mode, all expansions included in base game, all expansions from The Extension and 4th Extension)
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