Board gaming 2021: minis are back, baby!

Hi Glenn,

First, I would say that Star Chamber was inspired by many European board games that I was into in the late 90s, early 00s.

Then, I would say that I tend to like multiple paths to victory and the concept of politics being a significant chunk of a game especially if the main thrust of the game is a military conflict. This maybe goes back to my adoration of the Avalon Hill Game Dragon Pass, which was a wargame but players would politically “bid” to bring NPC factions to their side.

So, I wouldn’t say that Star Chamber influenced my board game designs as much as it was just my first (published) design in which I tried to implement things that appeal to me and that I think are fun, such as a separate-but-overlapping paths to victory, hidden information, proper doses of variance, player interaction, etc.

Wow, I remember Dragon Pass looking it over in the local hobby shop when I was a teen. I bought it just to read over the rules but with no one to play with I can not remember that much about it. The Starship Troopers game was another I always wanted to play but I do not think I ever bought it (so hard to remember now that I am older). I kind of remember reading over the rules somehow because I do remember there was hidden movement.

Yeah, I’ve seen those. My eyes almost rolled out of my skull. One of those posts is from a guy who provides the most reductive take possible and then spends the rest of his post praising Carnegie. Like I get it, heavy Euros are amazing and I own quite a few myself, but that is clearly an example of someone who has no interest in this type of game going out of his way to troll. The other post was from someone who seems to only have looked at the campaign page.

I’ve watched 3 full playthroughs of the game, listened to a opinions from people who played the prototype and whose tastes for similar games I understand, and read just about everything posted on BGG. I’m feeling pretty good about how it plays. After all of that I’m excited to actually try the thing out myself and I know a few people who I think will be into it. Of course, there’s always a risk that it will be unbalanced in the long run or that the scenarios and the nightmare modes will not be interesting/different enough.

A lot of the complaints I’ve read about the game seem to fall into a few categories:

  • The campaign is not substantial and contains little narrative: I’m fine with this and I like the idea of just pulling it down to do a boss battle or two. Not looking for a story here, just smashy time. A few of the guys I play with are cutscene-skippers and this seems right up their alley.
  • Cost: always a valid concern but I’m fortunate enough to say that this game isn’t going to put me into debt. I’m also not going for the all in, which takes about $100 off the price. If we end up hating it I will very likely be able to make most of the money back by selling it online.
  • Card art: this is fair, each character has a deck of action cards but each deck only has 4 or 5 unique pieces of art between them. In addition you have weapon and equipment cards on your tableau and those are also unique art. But for instance in one character’s action deck you’ll have several cards of each color. The card attributes and effects are different from card to card but they feature the same art (example, the two red cards below):

I wouldn’t say no to more art for the cards but I also think they look pretty nice as is. I guess card art just isn’t a huge deal to me. Occasionally I find a game that I think looks really cool, like Ashes, but most of the time it’s just like “ok yep that’s a card with a gun on it”.

At this point I’m just sitting on the 1 euro pledge and I’ll let it ride until the pm launches before making a decision. That’s usually a month or two between the initial excitement and the purchase, so we’ll see if my enthusiasm for it cools. There have certainly been games in the past year or so where I was very excited up front, did the $1 pledge and then never completed the pm because I had more time to think about it and realized I just didn’t need those games. But so far pretty psyched for Primal!

Played scenario 1 of Dice Throne Adventures again, with a different setup card and my upgrades from the previous attempt, plus an extra 3 salves (which is how the campaign works - win, you move on with any upgrades and the salves you have, lose, you repeat the scenario but you keep any upgrades you got and get 3 more salves over your previous starting amount, at a ten point overall score penalty to the campaign). This time, things went way better. I ultimately cleared the whole Portal Crawl using one salve, ending up with more than I started with to carry into scenario 2, and both the Paladin and the Ninja had more health at the end than they started with.

Which isn’t to say things went perfectly. The Paladin for most of the scenario couldn’t seem to draw ability upgrades. Everyone got a bunch of First Strike enemies which would often guarantee attrition. And loot rolls were often poor. That said, the paladin managed to block the vast majority of incoming damage while healing occasionally, and the Ninja managed to alpha strike or Smoke Bomb damage cancel and then kill with Delayed Poison on more than one occasion. And the Paladin did end up with an Epic and a Legendary loot by the end (plus a couple commons. The Ninja, just commons and rares.) And sometimes I got lucky and the enemies failed their attacks, which didn’t happen almost at all the first session.

Still very entertaining. Looking forward to fighting my first boss, the Fallen Barbarian. That’s closer to a standard Dice Throne duel, but the good guys have a shared health pool and the boss has more health than you do. It also gets to start with possibly quite a few upgrades, randomly dealt and paid for out of a starting pool of upgrade CP. And will automatically either play or sell a card each turn, which will do various (usually bad) stuff, but get the hero a bonus as well, and provide the boss’s roll objective. It also has priority numbers assigned to each ability to guide which to select when it rolls something that could apply to multiple abilities. Looks pretty slick, and also scary. I’m not real excited about it being able to do between 8-15 damage many swings, especially since it goes every hero turn…

Been playing Carnegie on BGA. If you like Xavier Georges other games give it a look. Nothing new mechanically, but everything works well together. It’s on Kickstarter too, but I love that you can try before you buy.

Huh. I didn’t realize the physical game for that wasn’t out yet. My friends played it on BGA yesterday, but it crashed and the game was lost apparently during final scoring or something? I don’t have the whole story yet. But, yeah, apparently still ‘Beta’. Sounds like they liked it though, I might be able to play on Tuesday,

My understanding it is a bit like Kingdom Death, except that KDM is abouT 50% fighting tough monsters (with boobies and tentacles etc :S) and 50% manage a settlement, whereas this seems to have eliminated the settlement part and focussed on the fighting part.

This is a very 2nd hand impression, as I don’t have KDM, or or Oathsworn (which, thanks to you, I am about to late pledge) or Aeon’s Creed.

Dice Throne Adventures showed up today along with the Ninja/Treant pack.

It will sit on my bookcase comfortably camouflaged by my other games until my son comes over to play.

How does this work with only two players? Would we be better off playing two characters each? I have not read the rules yet and not sure how it scales between the number of players.

I’ve been trying Carnagie out as well. I also play City of the big Shoulders and Unconditional Surrender.

So first of all, four characters plus the portal crawl map or boss board, the status effect token holder, and the card caddy would occupy a huge amount of table space. I am currently about full with two. I think if I moved both the Season 1 Rerolled and Adventures boxes off we could probably fit two more characters if other people were playing them but it would be impractical for me by myself. For what that’s worth.

Secondly, the game is definitely designed with the expectation of one character per player. Like I say, I’m doing two handed, and it’s not unmanageable (mostly you act separately with each one) but it’s not necessary and you will likely not be making full use of both hands of cards each turn.

Thirdly, actual scaling goes like this: each individual character has less starting health for each additional character in portal crawl, and the team gets less starting gold. Starting healing salves are not scaled and cannot be traded once assigned. However, every character gets loot from treasure chests, and any cards or abilities that work on other players can be used on your teammates. Because of the way the turns work, each character either has to join an ongoing fight on their turn or do a fresh exploration, and turn order can make a big difference as to who’s front of the line and taking hits, which obviously gets more complicated to manage with more characters. Bosses have more health for 3 and 4 players, and you’re sharing the starting health pool between every character involved. They also get a full turn for every full hero turn, so four characters are eating four (or more!) boss attacks on one shared health pool every full go round. But, they are also applying four characters worth of damage back, and they’re healing, defending, etc the same health pool as well.

Hope that helps.

If you do auctions on the BGG the PEI auction tool is fantastic.

I went to use it today and saw this blip at the top. Anyone know the story behind this?

"WARNING: This tool creates content and links for, a site known to utilize fascistic oppression to suppress free speech and civil discourse. Our linking to BGG is in no way an endorsement of their malignant management methods and each user participates on that site at their own risk and peril. "

Love me some Big Shoulders.

I suspect they’re a right winger upset by maintaining basic community standards, but I have no specific details.

Welp. Greater Than Games is doing a reboot/revamp of Sentinels of the Multiverse. A “Definitive Edition”. More details to come. I have real mixed feelings about this. I love Sentinels, and I can see where they could revamp some things to make it a cleaner experience and like, bring some of the early characters a little more in parity with some of the stuff they’ve done later or whatever. On the other hand, I have a giant heavy black box of Sentinels cards that was promised to me to be the complete Sentinels experience, period, we’re done with the product line. And now they’re not. And of course, I bought all those old versions, and don’t super want to pay for them to be obsoleted.

I really like the new art style. The original had a very indie comic vibe, this is polished-but-retro.

As for the gameplay, I admired Sentinels of the Multiverse more than I enjoyed it. Got rid of my core box long ago, and I won’t be getting this new edition. Still, it’s nice to see the game getting a new lease on life.

The follow who made the script has been banned multiple times from BGG for his less than civil discourse on current events. He’s left the script in place, but left for other pastures since.

Im super excited about

Anyone played it yet?!

Discovered today that although the description nowhere says so, the Dice Throne official TTS mod includes a two scenario demo of Dice Throne Adventures. it’s a very pared down selection of loot cards, minion cards, portal crawl tiles, and of course officially available heroes, plus two of the four scenario 1 scenarios and the first boss (scenario 2). So, my friend Ed and I did a trial run so that I could actually play it in coop and show someone else in my friend group what it’s like. He took Santa (no really*) and I took the Gunslinger.

We had pretty good luck with the first scenario, getting a little banged up towards the end but never hitting true existential peril or needing to use salves. We didn’t really get much loot, just temporary buffs and the like, but it did mean we could buy most of what the shop had to offer. Then we saved and quit. We’ll do the Fallen Barbarian next time the opportunity comes up.

(*Santa is a comprehensively reskinned Barbarian, complete with mistletoe on the cards.)

I played a game of Architects of the West Empire on Friday, and another Saturday morning. Really enjoyed it. And it’s a game I’m going to be returning to because I like that it has a deceptive simplicity about it, while I think I see some fairly deep strategic elements too.

So, cool.

But Saturday afternoon I was thinking that while I get why that game does Victory Points as a win condition, for my own tastes I still kind of like the narrative objective in games, whether it’s saving the world in a Fantasy Flight C’thulhu thing or actually surviving one of those rare times in a game of Robinson Crusoe.

And so I dug out my copy of the Mummy’s Mask big box of Pathfinder to get my narrative tabletop gaming fix. I’d stopped playing that particular Adventure Path/box back in October, and I wondered why. I remembered pretty well where things were left off, and realized I was just two scenarios short of completing the 4th of 6 expansion decks in the series. I’d been playing using the 2nd Edition, core box rules conversions. Which seem daunting at first, but most are pretty common sense conversion rules that you’d do anyway if left to your own devices.

And so I wondered: why’d I quit? And then I remembered: back in the fall, I had a devil of a time tracking down the 5th and 6th decks that complete that Adventure Path. And so I put it aside until I could find them, and never got back to it, even though I meant to, because I was having a blast.

So I decided to go looking for those decks to see if I could find them online.

And then I did something colossally, astonishingly stupid. Probably. :) More in a bit.

Oh, man, I hate it when they don’t post the whole season at once. Having to wait a week for the next episode is sooo pre-streaming.