Boardgaming 2021: minis are back, baby!

It’s actually called Alien Kings in real life, but that’s the marketing image from their site. It’s basically replacement minis for big critters. No actual gameplay value.

Just Nemesis - Nemesis | Board Game | BoardGameGeek

Kings must be an expansion.

I am intrigued.

You’d need three copies though…

Replacing the Queen + equivalent for the other two alien types, I’m guessing. Pass, then.

Here’s pics if you are curious:

Kings is just a new “Queen” model for when she gets pulled. Gorgeous sculpts, but no gameplay content.

I would recommend the Terrain expansion. Having 3D doors and Life-pods adds so much to readability of the board.

So have you guys seen that the new Descent is getting review bombed? For… reasons? BGG pisses me off sometimes. Really? You need to crusade against app-centric games by filling it with 1s?

Yikes, what ugly political issue has reared its head this time?

Okay, now that’s beyond the pale. Rating an app-centric game with a 1? Unconscionable. BGG really needs to give us the option to use 0s.

(Kidding, of course, but user reviews have never been anything but GIGO.)


It being app-centric is definitely not the part that turns me off the new Descent. it being close to $200 and bloated full of minis and 3D terrain while having almost nothing interesting to contribute to the genre either mechanically or thematically, on the other hand…

Only $139.99 for discounters! But yeah, it’s more expensive than Twilight Imperium.

Like, here are three big expensive fantasy dungeon crawlers that for my money are doing way more innovative and interesting things and have either better or at least on-par settings to Terrinoth:

  1. Gloomhaven. MSRP $140, most places you can get it for closer to $100. My favorite tactical combat system in boardgaming and probably in gaming in general. More content than most people probably even want. Months of game. 90-odd scenarios plus random dungeons, plus you can get addons and still probably end up under new Descent pricing. I hate to bring it up because it’s silly cheap for what you get and it’s not really fair to compare but, dude.
  2. Middara. I don’t know if you’ll ever be able to get this at retail but at KS pricing the first act is $115 and it’s again like 4x as much game as you’re getting in new Descent, with just incredibly robust mechanics, pretty cool storytelling, and a whole lot of extra modes and sidequests and stuff. And you’re still getting piles of minis if you really want. And it’s a crazy world but it’s not generic fantasy, that’s for sure!
  3. Chronicles of Drunagor. Again, mostly a crowdfunding thing but the reprint cost in the current campaign is about $110 for 16 or so scenarios, which is about comparable, it’s got 3d terrain trays, it’s got foldout door pamphlets for hiding mid-scenario setup until you get there, it’s got a cool action-cube based player action mechanic, it’s got beautiful artwork for interaction scenes you can only partly explore in any given run, it’s got a weird darkness spawning tetrominos thing going on…it’s just doing way more new and different stuff than new Descent, for less money, with at worst as generic a setting, and it’s cheaper. (And that price includes a big ol’ box of stretch goal content like heroes and new monster types etc.) And it’s got tons of minis. Which I still don’t consider a selling point but if you do… (And yes, Drunagor and Middara you can spend a lot lot more on addons and whatnot, but we’re just comparing base boxes to base boxes because I guarantee if new Descent pays off for FFG there will be endless expensive boxes of minis for that too.)

That’s just three. I’m positively sure there’s others.

Speaking of dungeon crawlers, I just picked up Altar Quest (we got our kickstarters 8 months late. Blacklist Games is… not good). Going to give that a try this next week I hope.

Also regarding Gloomhaven. I like lots of things about it, I just wish it didn’t have the ‘cycle your options into oblivion so you have nothing to do when you get to the last room’ mechanic it uses.

That was basically my whole game as Rome vs Persia, allowing me to rush through pretty quick to the end… I finished my game off last night and ended up winning 72-55. This was the easiest ‘chieftain’ level mind you, where the bot only gets 3-4 cards each turn.

Yeah as Rome I only ever acquired, except for once at the start when I had no idea what I was doing. :)
Then I saw there were heaps of Unrest cards and they weren’t going down that fast since the Bot always returned them. And then I got Bread and Circuses, which lets you get rid of up to TWO unrest cards during Solstice every turn if you can arrange them right! (The negative being if makes you discard a card every turn regardless)

I only managed to get one exhaust ability, one that let me draw a card. I also got that hand size +1 card which really helped, given I was discarding up to two due to Solstice effects.

The cool thing about the cards I think is that they all seem similarly powered but different, so your power ramp is not based on cards that do the same thing, but better. Will be interesting to see if combos are a big thing and whether nations have multiple strategies, but I find the decisions you make each turn keep me interested. In the tiny sample of one game I played so far haha!.

Thinning seems the central mechanic to progressing your civilization quickly by getting to shuffle more often so it’s super important. I love that garrison exists basically to allow every nation a generic way to easily do it. Along with putting cards in ‘history’ which seems the more solid method since I gather it’s harder (or impossible?) to get cards back out of there. Whereas you or your opponents can screw with your garrisoning cards.

I rarely used exhaust, because I did not have that great of cards played, or I didn’t want to spend an action. 3 actions are really tight. I had a 7 cards hand, so always wanted to play something.
There is a card that gives you 1 more action, but it came out late. Or is ist a fame card? Don’t remember.

The free action cards are really useful. In my next game I will have a better sense what to do and to actually play the game…

Exhaust doesn’t cost an action though (beyond the cost of getting it to the table), it costs the exhaust tokens, of which you get 5 each turn.
So they are really awesome to have I’d think.

Are you sure it does not cause an action??? That would be a really game changer…

edit: checked the rulebook. Fuuuuuuu… You are right. I thought the exhaust tokens were mainly used not to trigger something twice. Ugh. I know what I am going to do next play again!!

Yep, actions let you play a card from your hand to play area. Exhaust lets you use cards that are already in your tableau.

another rule I misplayed. After promoting the carthage bot to an empire I still used the barbarian bot table. Grrr. Let this be a warning to all solo players ;)

The carthage empire table is actually pretty mean, giving you unrest, making you abandon regions… This will make the game more interactive.

I actually played one or two of my barbarian cards after reaching empire, before realising it wasn’t allowed, so it works the other way too! :D