Boardgaming in 2018!


Hm, I am surprised that I am the only person who has voted for Gloomhaven in the 2017 Quarterlies. There’s still time!


If I had a copy of it, I might vote for it.


My wife and I are enjoying Pandemic Legacy Season 2. It feels more difficult than season 1 - maybe it’s just because it plays differently than Pandemic. It also seems like there are more options for the actions you can take during your turn. Still, I love the added tension from knowing that effects carry over.

We haven’t lost a month yet (we’re in May now), but we have lost the first games of March, April and May. Out last loss we can so close to pulling it out but fell 2 turns short.

I like Pandemic, but I love the legacy versions of it. Once I see what Gloomhaven retails for and if it isn’t too crazy I hope that I can convince my wife it isn’t insane to spend that much money on a board game. She loves coop games. I prefer competitive games but it is so difficult to get her to play them even though she does well.

Is there a writeup somewhere about Gloomhaven that gives a good feel for the game without giving away too much? It sounds like it may be pretty cool.


Not a write-up, but the top video here gives a good and spoiler-free description of the game. The second video goes into the nitty-gritty of the rules and gameplay, also spoiler-free:


Thanks for the link. I just watched the campaign overview and it definitely seems pretty cool. The character management seems a little like an amped up version of One Deck Dungeon. Later on to day I’ll check out the other video.


Something I learned last week:

When you complete your character’s personal quest, they’re done. New character, thank you goodbye.

A friend of mine was playing her character up in our little Gloomhaven group and having a great time with it. Like me, she’s way more into the interpersonal interactions and faux-roleplay than the crunchy card-combat mechanics, so she was so proud of killing her 8 demons in like 4 missions, really happy to see what was next for her gangly ibex-a-like. . . and then the guy who owns the game was like “Cool! You get to retire her and pick a new one!”


That aside, I’m really digging Gloomhaven. Like Dark Moon and Betrayal at House on the Hill, I insert a lot of my own roleplay tendences into the game where they’re really not necessary or even optimal, but it’s what makes it fun for our group :)


Yeah, I am looking forward to seeing how the retirement of characters works with the party dynamics. I am excited for it, since I think it will add to the feeling of the world developing. But at the same time, Brööt, my Inox Brute has just gotten a puppy and bribed some cult to take care of it.

It is not really a spoiler, but one of the starting classes. But might just as well blur it.


I just completed two solo-runs of Too Many Bones, losing both.

I enjoy the game quite a bit (I have to enjoy it for that price tag), because it does character building, some roguelike elements, and the element of chance!

Two things that bug me

  1. I’ve been running the shorter Tyrants for solo, and it means I barely have the chance to scratch the surface of my skills

  2. The obvious winning strategy is that you crank up Attack as much as possible, followed by Dex.

That is why I lost my last game, I was fighting Nom who basically nullifies 3 of your attack. I had 4 attack and needed some very precise roles to cause damage, and eventually I just got worn down (lost on the final roll).

Excited because this weekend I’m visiting a friend, and we will have a chance to play Too Many Bones, as well as:

Mechs vs Minions (We are on mission 6)
Downforce (I bought this for him for his birthday, very excited to try it out)

I really want Gloomhaven, but I already have a backlog of games (Pandemic Season 1 and Mage Knight) - so maybe I can scoop that up this summer


We’re really liking it, too. I think these Legacy games really shine when they take systems that are mechanically simple at heart (Risk, Pandemic) as a base and then build the rest on top of them- part of the reason Seafall fell flat, it was just too complex for its own good even at the beginning.

We just finished June in PLS2. We won January handily, then lost the first half of Feb/March and all of April. Things were looking dire. But our recent session we blew through May and June with no problems at all. That said, in bracing for a reckoning- I have a feeling that all those city cards we’re squirrelling away in the box are going to come back and bite us in a few months . Also, a good portion of North America has become Infested and Forsaken in our game- that can’t be good.


My group and I played the first four games of Charterstone this weekend. Here’s my spoiler-free review. Background; I tend to like Stegmeier games (I like Scythe and Viticulture). My group has played Risk Legacy and Seafall (but not Pandemic Legacy).

  1. The game, basically, works. This might seem like a low bar, and it is, but it is one that Seafall didn’t meet. In Seafall, the rules were confusing, in some cases contradictory, and it was usually confusing what you were supposed to do with unlocked materials; and usually the unlocked materials would unbalance the game in some unexpected way. Charterstone hasn’t (yet) done that; the game is fairly straightforward, the unlocks are generally clear, and the game remains more or less balanced.
  2. It is a fairly standard worker placement game. If you don’t like these types of games, it’s probably not going to be for you, despite the campaign layer. My group does often enjoy worker-placement games, when they are good, and this one is pretty good. The worst thing I can say is that player interaction is fairly low, except in the sense that there are certain timing-based bonuses you’d like to get, but the timing is based on other player’s actions which you can’t control and which are difficult to predict (and missing out on those bonuses can be frustrating). But you are, in general, trying to run an economic engine to generate victory points based on the buildings on the board (which everyone has access to), and your personal tableau, which brings some needed asymmetry to the game. You’re also managing your ‘influence’, which is a limited resource and adds some interesting decision-making. There is also a minor element of setting yourself up for the next game.
  3. All four players in my group enjoyed it (we did after all play it four times in one day), and are looking forward to the next session. So that’s good.

Overall I give it a thumbs up. If you have a stable game group, and you are ok with worker placement games (and legacy games, or are at least willing to try them), I’d say go for it.


In which Armando is surprised to learn he has never played a worker-placement style boardgame.


Hey speaking of, can anyone point to a nice article or guide for genres and terminology in tabletop games? I’ve picked up bits and pieces from context as I’ve fallen into the hobby last year, but I’m still not extremely confident I’m using them correctly when someone asks me to tell them about a game.

I have very fuzzy definitions of things like “Eurostyle”, “Ameritrash”, worker placement, area control, etc.


I literally had to go to the BGG Wiki to figure it out just now, actually. Some helpful ones I’ve found: (AKA Ameritrash)


I’ll hold out hope for something more reader-friendly than BGG, but that’s a start, thanks!


I think I struggle because some of these descriptions are not intuitive from the common usage of the words.

“Thematic” description from BGG:

Thematic Games contain a strong theme which drives the overall game experience, creating a dramatic story (“narrative”) similar to a book or action movie. Some well-known examples are Battlestar Galactica, Twilight Imperium and War of the Ring.

This type of game often features player to player direct conflict (with the chance of elimination), dice rolling, and plastic miniatures.

A Thematic Game is usually created around its main dramatic theme, which its rules and mechanics aim to depict. Themes typically involve fighting or good-versus-evil conflicts with heroes and villains. Science fiction and fantasy themes are common.

So it has a strong theme or narrative, often features conflict, dice (chance), etc. Maybe after I’ve played dozens of games, I’ll see that those things often go hand-in-hand, but for someone new to all this, it seems odd that those specific attributes would relate to each other often enough to be codified as a genre, and “Thematic” certainly isn’t the word I’d use to describe it. The element of chance seems to be a very important part of the thematic/Ameritrash genre, but what in the world does that have to do with a main dramatic theme, good vs. evil, or science fiction/fantasy?

Scythe and Dead of Winter seem equally “thematic” to me from a layman’s perspective, except obviously chance is a big part of combat and resource gathering in Dead of Winter and not in Scythe. So I get that distinction, but the nomenclature is baffling.


Well, I linked to the nicer named definition, because those games are more commonly just called “Ameritrash,”
mostly to set them apart from Eurogames.


“Ameritrash” and “Euro” are worthless vague categories, ignore them. “Worker Placement” means that the primary way you interact with the game is by choosing what actions you want to do by placing your limited supply of workers (usually meeples of some description) on action spaces; where you place them generally indicates what you can do on your turn. The term “Worker Placement” generally doesn’t indicate what you’re actually trying to do to win (which might involve combat, or area majority, or some kind of point salad).

The original worker placement game is Caylus, which is terrible and you shouldn’t play it. Other, better ones are Agricola, Tzolkin, Marco Polo (in which your workers are dice!), Russian Railroads, or Lords of Waterdeep.


Oh man the dark days of gaming when Caylus and it’s ilk were considered the absolute peak. That period nearly put me off for life as it’s all anyone I knew wanted to play. Thankfully games got better, and I found more people to play games with that had similar tastes to me.


Also confusing (particularly with BGG as a reference): genres vs. game mechanics. Maybe that’s just my friends muddying the waters, they refer to anything with a betrayer mechanic as if that’s the genre of the game, for example.


I think categorization is a significant issue across all gaming.

Is WW2 Game, FPS, Cinematic Cover Shooter, or AAA Action game the best possible descriptor of the latest COD? Some combination of all of the above?

Betrayal at House on the Hill and Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate obviously both share a betrayal mechanic (and most others besides), but feature different fictional genres along the same map of game-actions/genres.