Board gaming 2021: minis are back, baby!

I ordered Dune Imperium as I have read it makes for a good solitaire experience plus I am interested in trying it with my son two player with the AI I have seen mentioned in various articles on the game.

Sadly, Dune Imperium is a terrible solitaire game. This applies to the two-player game as well, since the minimum player counter is three, so you have to use the AI deck. The AI deck is just a collection of arbitrary moves that have no regard for the game’s deck-building and economy. And there’s no provision to cycle the cards on offer, which makes me think whoever designed the solitaire mode didn’t even know he was making it for a deck-builder. :(

That said, I’m super stoked to play it with other people. I think it’s a nifty design with really slick Dune theming.

-Tom

@tomchick

I read somewhere that there is an app that can be used in addition to whatever they had in the instructions?

Oh, well - I was going to get the game no matter what as I love Dune and wanted to try the new game. Maybe there will be a way to play it online. I am signed up for the Dice Tower Con in Orlando but not sure if it will be safe to go in July.

There are currently multiple Tabletop Simulator mods. I don’t know what the odds of it turning up on other online platforms or getting a proper digital version are. I think a possible issue is the license - which obviously is owned by Frank Herbert’s estate, not anyone making Dune games.

If it was UK, where we vaccinate fast, I’d still think it would be very unlikely to be allowed. You need the type of population that attends those cons to all have gotten their 2 does of vaccine, plus another 3 weeks and you need infection levels to be well under control. Neither of those will be true for months. What’s the chance that large scale events are a safe thing in 5-6 months? Not very high, IMO.

Of course, I have no idea how permissive the state will be and whether anyone will care in the US. The attitude over there has been a tad more lackadaisical…

But I know I’ll not be happy to attend a con in 5-6 months.

I think Florida is among the least likely parts of the US to be COVID-safe by July.

And yet sadly, one of the most likely places to possibly set safety protocols aside in service of potential tourism dollars.

Sorry you had a terrible experience with it. I designed it. My design priorities were ease of play and the opponents providing a challenge. I dislike solo modes that use complex methods to make an opponent’s move to simulate smart moves. So I chose a quick/easy process to determine an opponent’s moves that aren’t individually smart but the sum of its parts puts up a challenge.

As for no deck cycling, again that goes to my preference for simplicity. The game is already complex enough, adding deck cycling rules did not feel critical (and would have added fiddliness). But we did choose to put some cycling into the companion app.

To be clear, I’m not in any way saying that the solo mode is perfect. It was quite a challenge to make for the game structure that I’d designed for multiplayer (and I think deckbuilding games are generally difficult to design for solo, because one of the nuances of good competitive deck builders is, imo, reacting to what your opponents have drafted, and nobody wants to manage actual deck drafting and shuffling for bot opponents). But a lot of people do seem to enjoy it solo from what I have read and watched.

Yeah. I mean, I was just addressing the question of whether going to a con there would be safe by then, not whether Florida is likely to allow one to be held. The answers to those questions are very different. :P

Hi, Paul - Thanks for stopping by the forum. I will give solo and two player a try when it arrives. They seemed to have available copies where I purchased it so hopefully I am not wait too long for my copy (most places are out of copies).

Question for you. Star Chamber - how much did that digital game influence your board game designs?

Man, I did not want to be interested in that game. It’s expensive and bit of a shelf hog and I could do without both of those right now, but I’ve been obsessing over it since the kickstarter went up. At first glance it looks like another massive campaign game that goes on forever, like Frosthaven or Oathsworn or Aeon’s Creed Odyssey, and I also don’t need that. But instead this seems to be living up to the Monster Hunter comparisons in more ways than one.

What got my attention was that the campaign and town stuff is kept to a bare minimum in this game (there’s literally only one board for the entire game and it’s so simple you could recreate it with pencil and paper in about 15 seconds), which tells me that either it’s incomplete and rushed out the door or they’re so confident in the gameplay they’re happy to let you skip the conversations with the barmaid and the band of dwarves you meet on the road and just get to the good parts. From what I’ve seen it’s the latter, this game is as streamlined as it’s packaging is not.

From the playthroughs on youtube a session of Primal is going to be about 45 minutes and I really dig that. I don’t want to have people over for “Primal night” for months on end. You can actually have a game night, play some other stuff and cap the night off with a 45 minute dragon battle. That’s perfect. Also really digging the way the monster doesn’t get its own turn, but instead it reacts to the cards you are playing. That’s so cool! And kind of mimics the way you can eventually learn a monster’s tendencies in Monster Hunter and use them against it.

I’m also really impressed with the content of the core set and for the first time on a big Kickstarter I’m considering skipping the all in pledge. If I do pledge I’ll likely only get the cheapest of the four expansions since it adds 2 new character classes (for a total of 6). The base game already has 13 monsters (and one more that’s a kickstarter exclusive), you’ll likely fight each of them more than once, and then there’s a nightmare mode for each. So that seems like a ton of replayability. The other 3 expansions add a total of 6 new monsters for an extra $100 if you go all in or $150 bought separately. Plus it’ll save me 3 boxes of shelf space.

So yeah, I’m almost definitely in for some level of backing on this one. The minis add a lot to the cost and I get that’s not everyone’s bag, but I’m down for some cool minis and I may even try to paint some of them. Bonus side hobby!

The comments on Reddit seem pretty down on this game. It’s not for me, so I haven’t dug too deep into it. But you might want to check out whether anything in the top 2 comment threads is a concern for you. They seem a lot less sure about the quality of the gameplay.

That said, it might be awesome or just what you are looking for. As I said, I haven’t really looked too much into it. I don’t do silly expensive KS projects at all. If they are good at release, then I keep an eye out for them.

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):
    image

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.

@malkav11
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.