Boardgaming 2022: the year of "point salad really isn't very filling"

It’s been a while since I last played, so I may be a little fuzzy on the details.
The game play, though simple is interesting. You have a limited number of cards (family members) to play on events and depending on the event and the person they may require additional people and servants to be placed with them. The cards give special abilities so you’ll want to acquire more and and cycle the ones you already have. Also those servants are required a day off (there not slaves) so you have to make sure you have additional servants to replace/cover for them. You’re spending money you don’t have to throw these events and increase your prestige level. So you’ll need to make some money and earn prestige. Hopefully your American Aunt with the drinking problem doesn’t show up and botch you your badminton tournament with the duke.

As you can probably guess, the theme is on point. Every game gives you your own little episode of Downton Abby or Upstairs Downstairs. There’s definitely decisions to vacillate over. It’s not Rosenburg or a LaCerda level complexity game and it doesn’t need to be. The base game alone I’d rate a 7. I think you really do need the Upstairs Downstairs expansion which adds more cards/ events and worker types. It really does a lot for the game. I have the other expansion but it’s not as necessary unless you want more families (players) to choose from or you want to play with more players.

Obsession does theme so well - not just in the art and text, but in the mechanics. Hosting a gauche American heiress will bring you oodles of cash, but tank your reputation. Your peers will admire you for bringing the old war veteran to your garden party, but he’ll require extra servants to help him get around.

The round-to-round gameplay is solid and satisfying, but it’s the theme - how well it executes its theme - that keeps Obsession on my shelf.

Obsession holds a special place in my heart because it is one of two medium-weight games (the other being Viticulture) that my wife and college-age daughter love to play. Prior to those games, we played only simpler and (to me) excruciating games like Ticket to Ride. My wife, in fact is pretty, uh, obsessed with Obsession and wants to play it constantly.

I enjoy it alot, though the point salad ending leaves me a bit flat. But the play itself, and as others have mentioned its awesome merging of gameplay and theme, far outweighs the less-than-satisfying ending. I have yet to try it solo.

I love Downton Abbey, that’s why I got interested in Obsession.

Does anyone have a copy of The Great Zimbabwe to sell or trade? Lemme know!

I wish I had one I could give you. Like all Splotter games, it is brilliant.

Not the busiest week.

I was pleasantly surprised by The Wolves. It’s an area control game, but you don’t ever receive very many pieces; instead, you spend much of your time moving your pack strategically to surround prey, occupy dens, claim points, or howl at rival wolves to convert them to your team. Is it biologically accurate? I suspect not. But I had a great time with it. Can’t wait to try again.

My game of the week, though, was Return to Dark Tower. Wow. I’m not often a fan of adventure or dungeon games, but this one blew me away. I keep thinking about it.

Crap…my kid is a furry and wolves are his juice…better check this one out.

Return to Dark Tower is definitely a luxury board game, but a darn solid experience. My other half keeps asking me to table it again which is not only rare, but really high praise for the fun factor.

I also went to Lowe’s and bought a giant wooden disk used for making tables. Then I bought a fairly cheap TV swivel/ lazy susan on Amazon to put under it. Now I have a nicely rotating base to put the round board and tower on. I even got a large enough one for the neoprene map and it has just enough room at the edges to stack extra enemies and game tokens. This makes playing the game on the far side of the tower much easier.

Yeah, a nice, flat, 14" or 16" lazy susan is kind of a must-have aftermarket item for Dark Tower. I think I found one on Amazon for maybe ten bucks, and I’m so glad I have it.

And yeah, the more I play Return to Dark Tower, the more I’ve come to appreciate what a terrific design it is. Especially with the expansion, which REALLY takes things up a notch.

I got my copy of John Company 2nd edition. I spent all day Sunday off and on setting up the game, reading the rules, and playing through one round with the AI. I could’ve saved myself the trouble. This excellent series by Ricky Royal (who designed the solo mode) is an excellent tutorial for the game.

It’s a beautiful game. Not sure if I’ll ever be able to bring it to the table, but the solo mode seems pretty good.

OK, boardgamer hive mind. I need some advice.

So I have an extra room, which I was originally just going to make a guest bedroom…but I have a super comfortable couch in my living room, so screw it. When I have to put up out of towners, they can have my bedroom and I’ll sleep on that couch.

So that extra room I think is going to be a combo study/gaming room. So. I need a table to put games on.

But wait! There’s more to know. I live on the top floor of a 3-floor walkup, and those are three legitimate floors. And I don’t anticipate living here more than a couple of years as it stands. So one of those giant felt-topped gaming tables? Yeah, probably not. Not to mention, this room I’m going to use as a gaming room isn’t huge. Like, literally if there were four people in there playing a game, it’d feel pretty crowded. I don’t anticipate using it for much more than solo play, or maybe up to 2 other folks for some Sleeping Gods or some such.

So here’s what I’m thinking about, and tell me why this wouldn’t (or would) work. I’m thinking about getting two computer “desks” that are really just rectangular tables that are 24 inches deep each, and about 52 inches wide. Put them back to back, and voila: 48 inch x 52 inch gaming table, which should accommodate most games I’d play on it.

Sounds like it would work just fine. I have one of those table type computer desks and love it. Consider making a felt cover for it with elastic gussets for the edges so it’s unified and you can lift cards off it.

That’s a great idea! My one big complaint was you’re blind while adventuring on the far side of the map. That could be a cool notion if done deliberately – you know the lay of the land in your area, less in neighboring kingdoms, and next to nothing in the farthest land. But, y’know, it’s more bug than feature here.

From another thread, my two recs for Dark Tower:

This lazy susan from amazon works quite well.

In my studio/gaming/modeling room I had a fold-out gaming table installed. It’s pretty flush to the wall when folded, so it doesn’t make the small room feel cramped, yet it opens to a nice size. If I remember I’ll upload some photos in the afternoon.

(This being a temporary arrangement for you might make something you have to screw to the wall not work out, but you always can unscrew and take it with you to whichever new place you go)

Really excited to try The Wolves. Does the pack “upgrade” or have any asymmetry? Would love to hear more, but the little I’ve seen so far looks cool and hoping it is as fun as it looks.

Any Essen releases you’re looking forward to? Lots of games this year I didn’t know were on the horizon. Don’t tell Tom, but Rosenberg has you farming with bat poop in Atiwa and the surprise Essen release (well surprise for me anyway) iof Deal with the Devil by CGE. I love Alchemist. I think it a brilliant and crunchy design and Deal with the Devil looks to be just as devious and crunchy by the same designer.

The asymmetry is muted but important: every pack starts with their own favored terrain. Mountain wolves are better at moving over mountains. Desert wolves… I think you get the idea.

The more traditional asymmetry comes in the form of upgrades. Every den you place increases one of three stats (movement distance, how many wolves move with each action, and howl distance). You can freely choose which upgrades to pick, so by the end your pack won’t look quite like anyone else’s. The bigger deal is positioning. Because it’s an area control game with lots of movement, the way your pack spreads out to hunt prey or claim territory is pretty important, and can impact whether other packs try to convert your wolves and dens.

It’s pretty slick. Not too heavy, but has some cool decisions throughout. I want to play more, which is a good sign.

As for Essen, I’m still waiting to see what rises to the top! I wouldn’t mind trying Voidfall, and I agree that Deal with the Devil looks great. I’ve already played the solitaire Resist!, which is quite good. Oh, and Undaunted: Stalingrad is coming at some point… although I’m bummed the publisher only sent out early copies to bigger spots like Dice Tower and SU&SD. Oh well, it’ll come when it comes.

So, the new HeroScape is crowdfunding, which seems like a crazy thing for a big Corp like Hasbro, but okay. And it’s $250. For unpainted minis. Looking like I can’t justify this, no matter how much I’d like to.

Crap that is really pricey, I guess like all these bloody minis these days. Unfair to complain about HS having minis though! :D

Recall the OG Rise of the Valkyrie set had 30 pre-painted minis, 80 odd hexes of terrain and two wall/ruin pieces, retailed for <$50 and could regularly be picked up for well under that.

New set admittedly has double the minis and a lot more tree/ruin pieces, but at 3x the price (adjusted for inlfation)! It’s probably $100 too expensive and for sure capitalising on the HS community and their nostalgia.

Thing is, I have fucking boatloads of HS, particularly terrain - I’d really only need the new minis, and I can just proxy those at the end of the day, or hit up Heroscapers for a million third party minis/cards.

Can’t see how this is in any way going to draw in a new generation of players and I suspect Hasbro have a very healthy margin built into this.

Edit - Holy WTaF, Batman!!