Boardgaming in 2017!


Playing more Fireteam Zero and enjoying it more and more. Ordered a couple COIN games, Cuba Libre and A Distant Plain…with Fields of Fire, I need some serious time to learn these things.

Waiting for Gloomhaven…not sure If I will keep it or sell it still in the shrink wrap. I’m not a RPG, Fantasy, Dungeon Crawling type of board gamer but figured I needed to buy this just for the hype. I have pretty much bought all the good solo games the last 3 years…a few Uwe’s and some other worker placement games I have not tried but Ireally need to slow down and “play” the games now. 7 kickstarters showing up soon and those COIN games…darn it…when am I going to find time for the wife, kids, 3 dogs, etc.


If you like tactical coop combat you will love Gloomhaven. 95% guarantee.
(Hey, some people are weird.)

I got to try Aeon’s End tonight. This is a coop deckbuilder where you play “breach mages” defending Gravehold, the Last City, from the onrushing hordes of the Nameless things from the outer dark. It’s roughly similar to other deckbuilders with a touch of Sentinels or similar, but it has some interesting twists. For starters, you never shuffle your deck or the Nemesis (boss) deck. When you run your deck out of cards, you flip your discard pile over as your deck. If the Nemesis runs out, and there are no active Nemesis cards left, you win. Secondly, you have a turn order deck that is shuffled every round, which means you can never know exactly when you or the Nemesis will act in a given round.

You also have breaches, which are the slots you have to prepare spells in. Most characters start with one breach open, but mine started with two, and some have no starting breach at all. Other breaches start in an orientation indicated by your character, and can either be opened directly (for a large cash expenditure) or focused (for a smaller amount or card effect) to rotate once clockwise. If you focus a breach, for that one turn you can prep a spell into it. It also becomes cheaper to open going forward. The expensive breaches also grant extra damage to spells prepped into them. Casting prepped spells happens before your main phase where you prepare spells, so generally casting spells takes at least one full turn (although some effects let you cast prepped spells - yours or others - during the main phase). Once cast, they immediately go into your discard pile. You don’t have to cast prepped spells in open breaches, so it might occasionally be tactically worthwhile to hold off a turn or two for optimal effect or discard position, especially since they don’t count against your hand while prepped.

There’s a generic card pool for Nemeses, as well as unique cards and mechanics for each one. We fought Rageborne, the most straightforward, who builds Fury and then when it hits a certain point burns it off by playing a random Strike card from a little subdeck. He also has special cards that do nasty things based on his current number of Fury tokens. We came very very close to losing, as the city we were defending got down to 2 life at one point (and any number of effects could have done that or more in one of his turns), but we sacrificed a few relics that gave back city life and managed to do some intensive direct burn damage to bring him down in a dramatic climax.


I just got my Kickstarter copy of Aeon’s End Eternal War (plus the original stuff). Lots of reviews talk about how good of a co-op game it is as it blends deck builder and Sentinels with some interesting breach mechanics. I look forward to checking it out!


I was just playing War Eternal last night! Not sure if we had a bad setup, but we tried twice against the Hollow Crown with the same market and made nearly no progress before both of us were killed. We beat most of the bosses in the base set on our first try (and the rest on our second) so this one has really thrown me for a loop. We’re discussing setups and strategies that might work better for a next game but I think we found a nemesis that perfectly counters my and my wife’s default strategy.

I’m really enjoying War Eternal so far primarily because the character designs are very different. How to play them well feels like it takes a pretty dramatically different approach.


Oh! I read that War Eternal bumps up the difficulty a bit over vanilla Aeon’s End. I guess it is because they are more comfortable with their system after the initial releases and are tweaking mechanics and difficulty. I plan to start out with vanilla Rageborn even though I pledged for everything. I figured, like Sentinels, more spells, breach mages, and nemeses are just that much better for modular/ replayable setups.

Part of what drew me to the game is that it seems to be a great spouse/SO cooperative experience. I grew tired of the ever deepening money pit of LotR LCG, so I hope this one fits that spot nicely.


Missed out on the KS for War Eternal…and never tried the first game.

I do enjoy Shadowrun and Xenoshyft so hope to pick this up sometime soon.


Axis & Allies but with round map?


Oops. My Aeon’s End set and attendant expansions appear to be completely intact, but when I went to sort out War Eternal, I turned out to be missing 7 out of the 12 player (mage) mats, three of the nemesis mats, and a tracking mat for one of the nemeses I did receive. Mostly from the base War Eternal box. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is something they left themselves open to by putting the expansion contents into the relevant box at ship along with the collapsed expansion box, rather than shipping them separately boxed as most companies would. I’ve emailed them for replacements, hopefully that won’t take long. When I had my Kickstarter copy of a Flash Point expansion stolen from my doorstep they took care of that right away, so I have faith in their customer service.


Played a 4-player game of Mansions of Madness last night that just kind of came together spontaneously as some buddies and I were planning on playing it for gaming night tonight. 2 of the players had humored me to play the game on Wednesday, and we all had so much fun that they wanted to play again. I also wanted to see if playing the same scenario through again would be fun, so we ran the intro scenario again, which was my 3rd time through, and 2 of the other players’ second time. While the overall story doesn’t change, the layout of the mansion changed completely, as did the encounters, and although we generally knew what we wanted to do, we went about it much differently. I also think selecting different investigators helped.

Anyway, tonight we’re going to do some grilling, set up with a lot of beverages and snacks, and take a bang at the Escape from Innsmouth scenario with 5 players. four of us now have a strong grasp of the rules and how to resolve actions and the Mythos phase, so hopefully we can get this in 3 hours, give or take.

One thing I’m trying to figure out: we can either use the app for this on an ipad, where one person kind of reads the narration to the group when needed…or we can also put it up on a 27" monitor at the end of the table for everyone to read along together. Trying to decide which will be more atmospheric.


I backed Tiny Epic Defender v2 last night, since I’ve had fun with v1 and their other games played solo.


Looks like Voyages of Marco Polo is back in stock after, like… years? Been waiting for my chance to get my hands on it for a long time.

I was made aware of the new edition by Shut Up and Sit Down’s review, which come in as a Don’t (quite) Recommend:

They recommend Concordia over this and I’ve got that and still haven’t played it. So I guess I have to give that a whirl first.


Huh. I consider Concordia and Voyages of Marco Polo quite different. I recommend both!


They actually have an interesting conversation about what it takes for them to recommend a game at the end of this review. They don’t “recommend Concordia over this”, instead they say this game is good but they can’t recommend it.


And which is why I don’t take stock in much of reviews of SHSD anymore. They just don’t like any games my group considers FUN. Marco Polo is still one of the few games that if brought to the table will get a unanimous yes from everyone. Concordia on the other hand is the SHSD grail game. They’d play that every day all day if given a chance. We find in just OK…


Personally, I kind of agree with their review. I find most of Marco Polo to have good enough systems to be interesting, but they don’t make me excited. However, I really think SU&SD undersells the character powers. This is a fun game to teach because after explaining the basic rules, when you explain the character powers they all sound completely broken. They’re the reason I’ve held on to the game.

If a game had character powers this exciting with more interesting (for me) Euro-style mechanics, I would much prefer that. I don’t think that game exists (and it certainly isn’t Concordia). I guess Scythe is another contender, but I really didn’t enjoy it. I’m hoping Clans of Caledonia may be the one for me. In any case, asymmetric powers in Euro games seems to be relatively popular at the moment so I think Marco Polo is likely to be eclipsed soon.


I like the designer, but i found marco polo to be such a boring game. The mechanics are fine, but it felt so empty


And that’s pretty much exactly what the SUSD guys said. That mechanically the game was very sound, but by simply making it a points chase (and yes, most games are points chases, but well-themed games dress up the points in interesting ways) it’s just dry and left them wanting more.


I could understand that critique coming from Michael Barnes. But come on, five months ago SUASD were raving about Terra Mystica, which is equally a themeless point salad. You can’t simultaneously argue that these games are interchangeable and suggest that one is indispensable.


I didn’t watch the video review, but they called Marco Polo “dry”? I mean, I guess that’s a subjective term, but I can’t imagine anyone applying it to that game. The character asymmetry, the variable set-up and economic structure, the theming of resource management and travel, the camel basis for all trade, and the dice shenanigans are all pretty imaginative systems, and they’re expertly intertwined. I’m a card-carrying Voyages of Marco Polo apologist, and although I have no idea whether someone would find it “boring” or “exciting”, dismissing it as dry seems pretty weird to me.

I wonder if it’s a matter of some people not playing it enough times, or with enough characters, to really appreciate how that works. For instance, playing a couple of two player games with the same characters. I can’t imagine anyone would do that, but so much of the game is which characters are in play. Plus which city cards are in play.

Scythe is an interesting comparison, but it kind of makes your case about other games not breaking the rules as much. The Scythe dudes have interesting tweaks. The guy who can do the same action twice in a row kinda breaks things a bit. And the two add-on dudes have nifty powers with new markers. But I don’t feel any of them is as subversive as the Marco Polo dudes.



Joe Diamond is a liability in Mansions of Madness. Discuss. (Seriously, it felt like we’d brought a kid brother along who was constantly getting a restrained condition, constantly taking horror and damage, and pretty much teetering on the edge of dying. By the end of the scenario we had to have Ashcan Pete babysit him while Mandy did her thing to win it.