Boardgaming in 2019!


I just got my Aeons Legacy delivery this week. TOO SOON.


Also, Suburbia is free on iOS and Android today only!


Soooo. My wife and I went to try out the first mission of Gloomhaven at a friend’s place yesterday.

Today, we went shopping and the local game shop had it in stock. My wife bought it (she is now officially worse than me when it comes to boardgames. Can’t tell me off for purchases anymore :) ) and I’m carrying it home. 9.8kg cardboard box. Yay?


Good spot! Thanks for that.


That’s a very large cuting mat!


@Nesrie posted an in depth write up or her first Vindication session in the Kickstarter thread. I thought it was well worth having in the main boardgaming thread too:

Nesrie’s Vindication first play impressions

As mentioned there, I’m very much looking forward to trying it when I finally get the chance.


Finally got Sword & Sorcery: Immortal Souls to the table, replete with (almost) all the characters so far released to retail. It was fairly long and decidedly fiddly, but I think we all enjoyed it. The main points that stand out compared to other fantasy dungeon crawls are:

  1. Heavy story influence. When you set up the mission you place story events and waypoints on the map that correspond to entries in a “Book of Secrets” that deliver narrative and mechanical surprises, and the story will let you make decisions (with options that depend on party alignment but generally at least two) that can continue on in a chain of conceivably several events. This is one of the reasons it’s fiddly, because you’re cross-checking the actual rules, the scenario book, and the Book of Secrets.
  2. Characters that have strong unique designs and level up within missions (albeit one at a time). This doesn’t quite reach the intensity of Gloomhaven’s completely unique class decks - you’ll probably only have a few class powers in play. But it’s still enough to draw substantial lines between characters, more so than in say, Dungeon Saga or Descent or Imperial Assault. Moreover, each character has two different classes (mostly but not always alignment-split), each with a different core power, potentially a different Soul Form power, and a 60%-or-so different power selection. For example, I played a mage who can either be a Summoner who can summon an Efreet companion and buff the mutually available Nightwalker companion (basically a WoW voidwalker, let’s be honest) and toss around all sorts of fire abilities, or a Necromancer, who offers abilities like a Drain Life ranged attack that heals him, Corpse Explosions for area damage and poison, Skeleton Guards that defend him from attacks, and the fantastic Reanimate Dead, which temporarily respawns the most recently killed enemy (using special tokens that I spawn when enemies die) to follow their monster AI but with the monsters as their foe and then return to the grave. Our dwarf could have been a healer type priest, but instead is a Runemaster who spawns buffing runes and can then detonate them. Our rogue is an Assassin who gets to dual wield daggers and attack with both at bonuses. There’s a character who can be a Druid who (among other things) can turn into a bear, or a Shaman who summons totems (and a bear companion), etc.
  3. Monsters with three tiers of difficulty with special abilities and AI that change between them, and individual monster cards with slightly different stat spreads. (And sometimes, drawing from a deck of additional powers. They also power up if they kill a player.)
  4. If you die you enter a Soul Form and have a more limited influence on the game until you can respawn, including a bespoke power for each class. (There’s some penalties, too, but it beats sitting out the game or instantly losing.)

I think Gloomhaven is still a better game overall and certainly a far better value, but I like S&S for sure. And while I think the game is more expensive than it really ought to be (minis! curse you!), I do appreciate the separation of expansions that add quest content and (much cheaper) expansions that add playable characters that are cross-compatible with future “seasons” of content. (They do come with a few minor items and such but you’re not buying them for like two treasure cards, I would hope.)


Yeah it’s my buddy’s. I have a mouse pad sized one I use. His worked well for board games


We’re a bit behind the times, but my wife and I played our first learning game of Spirit Island on Super Double Easy Mode (we took an extra growth to start the game, and the invaders didn’t explore prior to the first turn). Given those conditions, it’s not too surprising we won. Next time we play, we’ll step up to Normal Single Easy Mode (no extra growth), and then up to the real game (which beat me up and took my lunch money when I played it two-handed on Sunday to familiarize myself with the flow of it).

Despite the difficulty, I’m happy with the purchase. It’s one of those games whose rules seem complicated on reading but end up feeling obvious and straightforward at the table. We ended up with a bit of unexpected synergy: I was playing Ocean’s Hungry Grasp and she was playing Lightning’s Swift Strike, so she could make my slow powers fast and I could feed her energy (having picked up a few energy-granting minor powers).

I’m looking forward to playing again and trying out some new combos, which is the mark of a good game in my book.


It’s not obvious at first, but Lightning is actually a huge team player. Everyone benefits enormously from having their slow powers turned into fast ones- killing a single explorer quickly stops the whole growth cycle, giving you significant breathing room.


I really like Spirit Island, but I have to actively force myself not to go into crazy AP mode analyzing everything when I play or it becomes too strenuous and too long. Strangely, I think this means I like it better at high player counts (3-4) because once there’s enough variables this urge feels impossible to meet and it’s easier for me to just commit to things. Once I can get my brain in the groove it’s so fun. Often we’ll plan half our synergies and the other half happen out of happy accidents that we then plan for on future turns, which is a really pleasant learning experience.


Are you sure you weren’t playing River Surges in Sunlight? Ocean’s Hungry Grasp is a high complexity spirit that can only exert influence in the oceans and on the coast.

This is what I’ve found too. I have to step back and relax and just play it. I love it; it’s a really great game to play with my son, but I mostly try to let him pick the strategies and just try to support what he’s doing.


Yup, Ocean’s Hungry Grasp. I decided to try something harder to start with, and Lighting was plenty capable of handling the interior, as it turned out.


What have we done?

We were up until 2am on Sunday punching out components then playing the first scenario. Until half past midnight playing the second scenario last night. And we’ve loved every minute of it.

I really hadn’t been that interested in Gloomhaven since it came out. Too big. Too fiddly. Too complex. Too long. It will never get played by my family, I thought.

How wrong I was. There is so much gaming goodness in that box. My 12 year old daughter is loving it as well

Late to the party, but we are now fully on board the Gloomhaven hype train!


I was only vaguely aware of Now Boarding, but after watching this review, I want to try it with my gaming groups:

Sounds like a lot of fun.


Getting into a Kingdom Death: Monster campaign for the first time.

This outdoes even Cthulhu Wars for desperately needing a cheaper “lite” version.

Then it just needs the My Little Scythe treatment.


New games this week:

And after a long absence, Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger is back in print:


This looks adorable and nephew and mother approved AND 6 players. I kind of told myself to lay back on the board games this year, let the couple of Kickstarters roll in and open those other games you haven’t played yet and really get some rotations going but if I… say pick it up for a different household it does not count… right?


I like games by Faidutti. I’d be tempted to give it a chance if there is a bit of depth to it. I’ll have to look for reviews of the French edition.

One of my favourite games by him is a game that largely flew under the radar and doesn’t hit the table often in the age of the new and shiny. But I really enjoy it every time.

It’s a bidding type of game where the players all try and control the exploring party on a mysterious Island to fulfill their secret goals. It’s called Isla Dorada and it looks really cute, especially the figures (especially considering the year when it came out).

The mechanism by which your are bidding cards to drag the shared figure to move around also leads to some fun negotiations. Really nice and different little game that’s easy to teach. I doubt it’s easy to find nowadays though.

(The blog post also has the text in English).


The really great thing about backing Kickstarters is receiving my copy of games like CO2 before you lowly retail peons get them and then not actually getting to play them until after said retail release, if ever. ;)