Boardgaming in 2018!

Just to clarify - the card that says which location/scenario to unlock is the card you tore up? Because, sure, that makes sense. I suppose you can also tear up road & city events that say “remove from game”.

I’m not doing any of this because I’d like my copy to be replayable. Not that I’m going to do so, but I figure the kids might want to play with their friends when they’re older.

I’m really digging Lords of Hellas and Dragon Castle at the moment, on completely different spectrums of board games.

Lords of Hellas is a Dudes-on-a-Map game with an adventuring hero running around slaying monsters and finishing quests as well. I have previously thought these sort of combos don’t work, but Lords of Hellas integrates them really well. There’s a small but significant point of overlap in the two games: your hero can gain adoration from the population by doing cool things which you can use to start revolutions inside foreign territory. This is cool because the two games don’t complicate each other with tons of overlapping features to worry about, but the point of overlap can lead to devastating upsets if used correctly.

Dragon Castle is a weird tile drafting game where you’re using the tiles to build a “castle”-like structure. It’s incredibly rules light, super easy to teach, and plays in like 30 minutes. I wasn’t sure if I liked it at first, but as we’ve continued to play it I think there’s a lot more depth there than is first apparent. This is sort of a good and bad thing. I’m not sure the game will be great to play as a one-off with non-gamers because it’s hard to understand how significant some of the scoring rules are to how you play in your first game. Also, my friends who would play this more than once are generally really dismissive of simple games. This may end being a game I only ever enjoy with my SO. Still, I think there’s a lot more to this game than it appears! I’d recommend it if you want a more think-y gateway abstract. Sort of in line with Photosynthesis, but not as clearly interesting after first play.

I am at the Dice Tower Con and just purchased Dragon Castle. It was a hit with those I played it with. I of course came in last. I think there is a rule that states the purchaser always loses the game ; )

Anyhow got to meet @arrendek today. Really neat to meet one of the voices on QT3.

Gloomhaven won a bunch of Dice Tower 2017 awards. I have been enjoying some of the Con shows as much as the gaming. I usually watch them on YouTube but there is something quite special being there.

Played so far:
Critical Mass
Century Spice
Ticket to Ride NY (plays in 15 minutes, could be great for office lunches etc)
Discount Salmon
Blood Rage (favorite game so far, was first time playing)
Dragon Castle
Vikings Gone Wild

I can’t find anything about this online or on Board game geek. What is it? :)


My bad…I misnamed it …it is Critical Mass (fixed in the post).

Mech Combat!

BGG seems to have two entries for it: Critical Mass: Patriot vs Iron Curtain (2018) and Critical Mass: Raijin vs Archon (2018) . Which did you get to play?

I wonder why they’ve split the game entries like that. Is it a collectible game, or something?

edit: Ah, looking at posts on the BGG forums they’re just 4 “decks”. Each game allows you to play 2p, but if you have both you can play 4p.

That’s an excellent list! Blood Rage is such a great game and really grows with each play. I want to hear about Critical Mass also and what you thought of Reef!

You guys convinced me to go buy Blood Rage for this weekend. Well, you and the first user review on the amazon page, which is a glowing, detailed writeup by S Craig Zahler, writer/director of Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99 and evidently a big board game fan.

Eric Lang is walking around at the con too, he’s a really fun guy.

Thoughts on the games I played at Dice Tower Con 2018:

I could see the family playing this game. It is easy to teach though I personally do not like the color and design of the tiles.

Living in an apartment I am also starting to judge a game on the size of the box. A small to medium size box makes a game an easier choice too. This game is medium size.

Critical Mass

Mech Warriors duking it out with each other. This is not a Battletech game and I do not remember what they call the vehicles so Mechs is what I am choosing.

Each Mech has 4 sections with varying number of slots that are worth 1, 2, 3, or 4 hit points per cube in each section. The sections could be a Weapon Mount or Generator and so so on. If you wipe out all the hit points of an entire section than there is some sort of penalty (for example you may lose the ability to use an evade card during play - though you can kind of repair it later in the battle depending on conditions and mech abilities.

Each Mech is different and the games comes with two mechs per pack. All the cards in a pack can be interchanged and it is possible to add customization.

In the pic below you see Section One with spaces for three cubes. Each Cube placed in this section is worth one hit point each. Section Two has more slots and the cubes that are placed into each slot would be 2 points and so on for Sections Three & Four. You must destroy all Four Sections on a Mech to win the game.

Example: if you hit a defender with your attack for 3 points; the attacker chooses to take three cubes from Section One; or 1 cube from Section One and 1 cube from Section Two. It is interesting because you have to chose between maximizing your attack spread versus having a penalty applied to your enemy by destroying one entire section on their vehicle. Any extra points are lost (so if you hit for 2 points and there is only one point left on Section One and you want to destroy it - you can - but the extra point is lost).


Attacks, Defense, Equipment are represented by card play. You can also upgrade on a turn by using an Activate card (this lets you select a tech 2 or 3). Each Mech has different abilities and there you can power on special abilites as you defend and attack).

You replenish your hand as well when you play your Recharge Card (you always have your Activate and Recharge Cards available). It has some elements of a TCG type came with various combos available. Each player has their own upgrade deck. You can use the suggested cards or add customization. The customization is very simple and not overwhelming. It is more about trying to get weapons and defense cards that work with your own special abilities.

Note: The game is simple to play so do not get turned off by my written explanation.

I believe the game sold out at the Con (I only saw two boxes left this morning and they had quite a lot). They had a demo available to teach and a practice area in the main game hall. A fairly good filler game for two (you can play it as teams or a free for all with more than two but personally I think it will probably shine best at two players

Century Spice Road
What a beautiful game and one I think I could sell the family on. I think I rather purchase the Golem version but wonder if the Spice version is an easier sell to non or causal gamer types. The box fits in m small small category.

Ticket to Ride NY
Plays in 15 minutes, could be great for office lunches etc.

Discount Salmon
Hated this game though my son like it a lot. card game but speed is important in playing the game. I think it would appeal as a quick filler to a lot of folks.

If you like your analytic game you will like Reef. I do not love those these types of games but it plays pretty quickly. It seemed to be a hit at the Con. you score points in the game but building a reef with four different colors. You score points based on three cards that are available for teh players to choose.

The problem with games with this kind of mechanism (IMHO) is that it makes it hard to pre-plan your strategy with 4 players. Two players is probably better if you want to plan ahead (so more strategical with two; more tactical with four if that makes sense). I look forward to reading everyone’s take on it.

Quick game. Small box. Dominoes! What is there not to like.

Blood Rage (favorite game so far, was first time playing)
Loved it!

Dragon Castle
When we started to play the game we played it wrong. So here is a hint - make sure you play correctly in you must choose your first tile on the highest level of the Dragon Castle. This is a huge game issue. Totally changes the game and makes it very interesting. Too easy if you start to play and think that you just have to get matching tiles like we did when we first started playing.

This game will appeal to gamers and casuals alike. Easy to teach as there is only one action of three per turn. you pick tiles that are fun to use and click very nicely. There is a ton of different setups to use and variable card and scoring options that will make each game different each time it comes to the table.

One thing to keep in mind - if you like keeping your games neat as you play it could drive you a little batty. The tiles will move as select them on their turn. The game is quick so I think you can pull through!

Vikings Gone Wild (played twice)
I like this deck builder more than Aeon’s End. At first my son and I were playing it with only two players and playing it incorrectly and really did not like it. But we had a chance to play it a second time with four and it was really fun. Goes to show you need to give a game a chance!

Aeon’s End (played twice)
I enjoyed my game but think it will not appeal to much in the family and box is large.

Not released yet. Was well like at the Con. It is similar to other engine building games to produce resources. Beautiful components, does take a little leaning curve (but most gamer types will get the idea rather quickly once you learn some of the icons).

One little caveat - the game use marbles and has a little gizmo to pick your marbles (kind of like a dice tower I suppose but more intricate). The device is made of sturdy-ish cardboard but I did notice some wear and tear (it was be played a lot at the con). I suppose it could get ruined depending on how often it gets played.

I think a lot of folks will like the game but I do not really think it brings a lot to the engine building type of genre (well done but nothing tremendously new IMHO).

BUT MARBLES! Who doesn’t love marbles! : )

Stockpile - played with @arrendek
Loved the game. It plays quickly and I think even causals would likxe it (since it plays fairly fast)

Escape Curse of the Temple - played with @arrendek
Not my cup of tea but my son wanted to play it after watching it on Sit Down and Shut Up. Thanks to @arrendek for teaching it to us!

Century Eastern Wonder (sequel to Century Spice Road)
My son loved the game I would rather play Century Spice Road. I do think the game will appeal more to the gamer crowd while the first game in the series is an excellent gateway game.

The game cost about $30 bucks but you can purchase a game mat for another $30 which does make the game so much more appealing visually. I do not want to put out an extra 30 bucks for the game but at same time do not think I would want to play without teh game mat.

The board does add a lot of strategy to the game and the added abilities you can gain by clearing a column of your outposts is extremely important to your strategy each game. The mat would make the game take more space so not for me.

I do think a lot of QT3ers would enjoy it.

Here is a pic of the game mat:

Hero Realms (played two missions of a campaign)
Own the game but first time playing it at the Dice Tower Con. We played with a wonderful couple and it was a fun. I will say that the Star Realms app was so good that I do wish this game would come to an app as well.

Spice Road and Eastern Wonders combine into a third game, FYI. (And the third game in the trilogy will also bolt on in some fashion.) Supposedly the Golem version of Spice Road isn’t compatible for that.

I am thinking of purchasing the Golem version because I am not interested in the sequels. I am trying to purchase games I think my wife would play and I can see her playing the first in the series.

I was looking at the rules for the combo and am wondering how complicated the two will be. I have a suspicion that the third will introduce bandits or pirates.

This is actually an upcoming game about Susan Sontag.

I lolled :)

I understand that “Looking at War: Photography’s View of Devastation and Death” from GMT uses a chit draw system, with a series of CRTs to regard the pain of others. Sounds a bit campy, but I’d hesitate to interpret their design before I play it.

Whoah, are you a Critical Assault playtester?

Competitive deck-building in Victorian London, with horror? Yes, please!

Also, I am excited for the expansion, Terrorforming Mars!

Does anyone here play Cry Havoc? One of the Nations designers just posted a bunch of variant faction designs for the game that look really fun! At the top of variants at the moment (all by RustanR)

Curious if anyone wants to tell how Lords of Hellas compares to other dudes on a map games.

I dig the idea of the genre, but every one I’ve tried (Blood Rage, Chaos in the Old World, Cthulhu Wars, Inis), has had one or more aspects that eventually made me give up.

I can do that. The biggest thing that sets Lords of Hellas apart from similar games you’ve listed is you have a hero running around doing missions and slaying monsters while your armies are fighting. This is similar to some older games like Runewars (I think? I get the Rune games confused all the time), but quite unlike the games you’ve listed.

Another big difference is that the game has set victory conditions rather than trying to get the most points. This is similar to Inis, but feels really different because in Lords of Hellas everything is getting bigger. Early on, you can only move one unit per turn, whereas at the end of the game you can move 5 plus with a priest you might be able to move another 5 and if you marched you could move even another huge group in one turn. This sort of escalation means the game is less about stopping opponents from winning because someone winning is inevitable and more about timing big pushes to coincide with your growth. It also means the end is incredibly dramatic and sudden (which some people hate and I happen to love). Messing up one big battle that would have won you the game almost certainly wins the game for another player.


  • The rulebook is really bad. This has been one of the hardest to learn dudes on a map games I’ve played because the use of language is, in certain places, incredibly obtuse.
  • There’s a lot to teach. This game is actually pretty quick and not heavy, but because it has two games going on at once, it can feel overwhelming. For instance, you have to teach two whole separate combat systems that use the same cards. It can be confusing, but feels really clean and simple in motion.
  • There’s some really effective moves and some really ineffective moves. I’ve seen players struggle to understand what effective looks like in LoH on their first play (more so than with most similar games). On the upside, because of the scaling action, your choices late game matter much more than your choices early game, so this can be corrected.

I really like Lords of Hellas. Dudes on a Map is probably my favorite genre of games at the moment (with Inis being the only one I’ve played and not really cared for), so take my praise with that in mind. If you can get over the downsides and are at all intrigued by the theme, I’d highly recommend it.