Boardgaming in 2018!


Well random chance can be good or bad.

In Battle Brothers rng Jesus can really f*ck you.

I had 6 attacks, at 65% chance, in a row, miss 1 target.

I’ve also missed an 80% chance to hit…

Then the enemy shot some arrows. 4 of them, 30% chance to hit, got a head shot on one guy and instantly killed him.

Then there’s the flipside, where my archers have landed 14% shots.

I’m enjoying it immensely, trading off fewer attacks for more damage, contingency planning for when things go wrong.

On the other hand I was irritated by XCOM, and I enjoy AoW 3.


I got people together for a four player game Friday night, everyone really liked it.

I came in dead last and it wasn’t even close, because I overcorrected for what might not actually have been a very big mistake in my first game.

In the first game with Tyler, right out of the gate I rushed for Moscow and some other close city because I wanted to get the bonuses before Tyler, and then a few turns into the game I started to realize just how difficult travel can be. I realized I should’ve left Venezia in the other direction, because heading for Moscow—it seemed so close—meant there was almost no hope of completing my goal cards.

So in game two, I paid more attention to my goal cards from the start and really dedicated myself to the traveling. That looks like it was actually a bigger mistake. I had pretty difficult goal cards to attempt to get them both, and halfway through the game it was starting to become obvious that I was really screwing myself up by prioritizing those goals. I decided to chalk it up to a learning experience and just doubled down on the strategy, and still came one “movement” short of reaching my fourth city at the end of the game.

In retrospect, I think I should’ve seen sooner from the goal cards that the route to get all four of these specific cities would’ve been almost impossible in the best of circumstances. But more broadly, I think even with easier cities to visit, pursuing those goal cards isn’t quite as vital as I imagined it was going to be.

How much weight do you give to accomplishing the goal cards?


I pick goal cards at the beginning and then never look at them again.

Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration. But as you discovered, getting all four cities is nearly impossible unless there are a lot of extra move actions available (through city actions, or contracts). If you’re the guy who can pick his die rolls you can get the extra move from putting three ‘5’ dice on the gold market (but that costs three dice!).

So in general, you should be traveling to get the city actions (or the bonuses for getting there first) that help your strategy, not to complete your goal cards. Of course if you have the characters with the traveling bonuses (the teleporter guy, or the guy who puts houses down in the cities he moves through) then you kind of have to travel. But I find those guys kind of weak unless there are available city actions that help you move.


I got Simulating War as a Qt3 Secret Santa gift a few years ago. Great choice!

I dislike deterministic games, which is why I don’t like Napoleon’s Triumph and its ilk (which we had discussed in the Grognard thread) but I guess you could use Sabin’s argument that the setup is chance because it is hidden. I don’t agree but, that’s another discussion. Or maybe it is the same one :)

It actually had little to do with the Japanese troop strength. In Pacific War the main determinant of battle outcome is troop morale. I outclassed the Japanese 8:6, which would have given me a favorable column, but the first landing on Guadalacanal is an Amphibious Assault, which halved my morale and made it 4:6, which is a much less favorable column :( To mitigate this, I could break the Japanese troops with Bombardment, which I tried for two turns, but was unsuccessful. That would have halved THEIR morale and made it 4:3. From a troop numbers standpoint, I did have 12 steps to the Japanese 4, which would have given me a -2 die roll modifier, but the Japanese player sacrificed two heavy cruisers contesting the landing and sank one fast transport carry one step of troops so I ended up at 11:4 and only got a -1 DRM.

Lots of die rolls. Lots of sharp turns in fortune. Very Pacific theater :)


In regards to deterministic games, I am curious as to how you feel about Lord of the Rings, the Confrontation.

Tom Mc


Saved by the simultaneous card play mechanic.


I’ve been really getting into Gaia Project recently and this discussion made me realize why: although the setup is randomized, there is no randomization at all once the game starts, and yet, due to the player interactions with positioning and charging power, it does not feel deterministic (until the last turn).

I like dice and randomness, but I think in terms of getting really deep into a strategy game I like the low or no randomness option.

I’m curious, what other good board games are out there with no or low randomness?



It is not nothing, but it is something. OK, that number is kind of pulled out of the ether. Most of your points are going to come from contracts. But, a player who can find a way to get 3 of their cities visited can nab something like an extra 10 points. On the flip side, visiting all cities is worth only like 20 points, and winning scores are in the 80’s, if my memory serves. It has been awhile since I’ve played this.


This is probably the main issue in terms of wrapping your head around Voyages of Marco Polo. Travel is really difficult and there simply aren’t that many turns in the game. The goal cards exist mainly to add a little uncertainty to the scoring at the end. I think it’s a bit misleading to call them goal cards, because that sets up the expectation that these four places are the places you need to reach, your “goals”. And if you don’t reach a goal, you have failed.

But as @JoshL and @Greatatlantic said, you don’t want to focus on them, unless (there’s always an “unless” in Voyages of Marco Polo) you’re using one of the guys with a travel advantage. The guy who teleports among the oases for example. Different characters lend themselves to different kinds of gameplay, and the goal cards are an element of that.

The goal cards are designed to screw you. There are basically four routes to the east, and they’re mostly shut off from each other. The goal cards will always put the goals on different routes, which is a real jerk move.



So, owning Empire of the Sun and not Pacific War am I missing anything really?

Tom Mc


The entire 18xx series does this.

Tom Mc


Well, they are better equiped to reach their goal cards, yes, but maxing out goal cards still only provides something like 22 points. Those travel bonuses are probably better spent picking out the choicest cities for bonuses and combos. Now, the guy who drops houses along the way? He probably could put together a pretty good travel package (of points). However, I’ve not seen that happen.


Anyone Palyed the Arkham Horror LCG and have any thoughts? I’m trying to talk myself into either picking up the game (or not).


I’ve enjoyed my plays of it, both solo and in a group.

If you’re okay with the LCG business model then I think AH is a good one to dive into.


“Owning” a game means you are missing playing it. If you just “own” it, that is.

As far as playing, Pacific War and Empire of the Sun are completely different games. Pacific War is more “wargamey” and in my opinion a better game.


Dragged out Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull and Shackles for the first time in ages. We tackled a scenario which had us fighting off a ghost ship and its undead crew while rescuing people in a thick fog bank. This was frustrating and ultimately unsuccessful, but also displayed some of the reasons I think Skull and Shackles is a much better (and more challenging) set than Rise of the Runelords. The central challenge here was that you can’t close either location until you’ve completely emptied them, and you’re dealing with a ridiculously obnoxious pirate captain who makes you do FOUR separate checks and then doesn’t even get defeated unless the location’s empty and a crew of swarming zombies that are immune to both poison and fire. (Plus various random other monsters, undeadified by their location.) Usually, you’re hoping to close at least a couple of the locations through early to mid-deck henchmen and if you have to clear every location in full, you’re probably going to lose. Here, with just two locations (though with a bunch of extra cards based on character count) your timer isn’t quite as tight, but you still have significantly more cards to clear than time to clear them. And any time you encounter the villain, welp, that’s a turn wasted -and- a turn cleared from the timer (because you can’t defeat him or close locations, so it’s always a blessing from the deck, not the box). And that’s best case, if you manage to succeed at literally every check of the four, so as to not take damage. He is a supreme ass. Furthermore, his henchmen are, as I say, immune to poison (irrelevant in ROTR, mostly, but a bunch of stuff does poison here) and fire (a wide range of combat spells and alchemy, etc), making them surprisingly challenging.

So yeah. That’s rough. On the other hand, like I say, it demonstrates the improvement in design since the first set. Lots of checks that aren’t combat. Traits that become very important to your tactics (immunities, for sure, and also a bunch of items, weapons and so on with handy conditional bonuses, or monsters with additional weaknesses/penalties based on checks you’re contributing). Bunches of ways to contribute to one another’s checks (e.g. the warpriest displaying cards for plusses to checks, the gunslinger contributing damage at range, the alchemist throwing potions as bombs, various bonus items contributing their bonus at range at a slightly steeper usage cost). Items in general being more useful, particularly consumables, which were never worth an item slot in your deck due to being banished on use…until the alchemist, who recharges them instead. A rechargable Potion of Heroism (+1d6 on all checks for a character for a turn) is a beautiful thing. Etc.


I really like the Arkham Horror LCG. The continuing stories with your character decks slowly evolving that still leave constantly you on the edge of failure can be replayed with slightly different outcomes.

You can get quite a few hours of enjoyment either solo or with a friend from the base game and then decide whether you’d like more scenarios and characters to play.


I enjoyed AH LCG. It had some good stories and interesting mechanics. It’s worth it to try the base game as it does not cost too much.


Bear in mind that a single core set for AH only allows two decks to be made at once, and while there are options there, it has to be a particular set of 2 decks, not any 2 you want.


Also, as I have ranted above, Fantasy Flight go out of their way to not provide storage for the game so you will want to buy your own. Great game, though. Probably the best and most thematically appropriate take on the source material they’ve done, and I enjoy all of them except Elder Sign and their previous Call of Cthulhu LCG.