Boardgaming in 2019!

Heh, thanks and thanks. And yeah, I guess by “mess” I mean that they’re organized oddly, at least to my PACG eyes. But that being said, the first big box of the first PACG setting was out for like a year and people were still finding inconsistent rules and we were getting clarifications, so if it manages to reduce those issues, I’m sold.

The South Park “Band in China” episode said a lot. For most of it, the message was straight forward. However, in one scene a character is working on a screen play, but all I could see is the many real world board games on the shelf in the background.

Does anybody have any idea why the show is including these seeming random board game references?

Open to Scene in Question

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I do know a lot of modern board games are made in China, especially plastic components. I also know a lot of the low quality knockoffs were coming out of China. But why these specific games?

I think the creators just like them

Honestly, the publishers of Great Western Trail should just use that cover instead of the one they’ve got.

A quick google shows this theory is correct, and that games have appeared before in the show:

Played a few different games this weekend.

Nemesis: Got a play in with my 14 year old. I “informed” him that since one of our goals was to head to Earth, we needed to check the coordinates and the engines to make sure those were A-OK before we headed to the hibernation room. I went to the bridge, he went to the engine area. The coordinates were fine but he was hyper focused on finding the Nest since we had to bring back an egg for some eccentric collector in Tokyo. He decided to just keep moving and explore more rooms and ignored the engines. The last room we explored happened to be the nest and he picked up an egg and headed to the hibernation room. I told him to at least check the engines from the room which lets you do that but a damn door was in his way and he would have had to take a long route so might as well head back to the engines themselves. Of course, about that time, the Queen came out and gave him a contamination card and there was an adult in the next room so he got scared and headed back to the hibernation room.

We both hibernated without incident but of course had to check the engines to make sure at least 2 of them were working. First one, working. 2nd one, damaged. We both were sweating bullets when he turned over the 3rd engine………DAMAGED. We both yelled out in horror as the ship blew up while trying to head to Earth and we were no more.
I was sure the kid would get tired of the game as the turns take awhile and he is very impatient with just sitting and playing board games. Luckily, he said he really liked it and we talked about what we would do the next time. And, amazingly, the wife, who hates any kinds of games, heard our story and now wants to join in next weekend. We’ll see. It’s a good game. Might be a little long with 3-5 players. But, playing while watching the Seahawk win was perfect length. I will be trying some solo runs soon.

The wars of Marcus Aurelius: This is kind of a SOS game with 3 lanes of barbarians moving down toward Rome and other areas to create issues. You have to juggle moving around your troops and leaders while also making sure the barbs don’t get too close to cause either an outright defeat or some public unrest. There are 10 years in the game with 3 seasons in each year. I made it to year 4 and then turned over some annoying event with lowered my public rating by 2….the exact number needed to get me to ZERO which means you lost all your support and are removed from leadership.

I enjoyed this quite a bit even though there is a good deal of randomness in some of the dice rolls. Especially if you have 4 or 5 areas in one lane with forts and then at the end of the year you do an attrition roll and if any of the lower level forts are taken away with a roll of 6, ALL the other forts above that one are removed….so that caused me a few issues. But, overall, looking to play this one again for sure.

Cloudspire: Did not play this year but unboxed everything. So professional and nice, the packaging is first class. And, NOTHING to punch. OMG…this is the greatest. As much as punching chits is a time honored tradition for unboxings…not having to punch any chits gives the game a big thumbs up before even playing. I’ve always loved Chip Theory’s heavy duty chips and there are a huge number of them in the game. Very excited to try this next weekend.

Did anyone else ever run through a complete Gen 7 campaign? My group finished ours a couple weeks ago and I kept meaning to write up some impressions, but then my draft got sprawling and incoherent so I put it off.

Short version: it was fine for us, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

I played with the developer at Pax Unplugged and never bought the full game. Doubt I could wrangle 3 to play that campaign, both my Dead of Winters are in shrink wrap

Tried the 2 new Arkham Horror scenarios in Dead of Night.

They seem a lot harder than the base game. We lost both (even with Calvin & Tommy).

A lot more ways to work toward a victory objective open up as the doom/clues progress. The gang war scenario seems to have FOUR different victory conditions you can pursue.

The downside is that managing and keeping track of all the codex cards gets daunting. “Okay we need to get clues and research them to put them on the scenario sheet which can be cashed in at the blue spot but not the red spot, and if I kill this type of monster we get a horror token on the sheet which triggers something separately from the doom but we can also go to the red spot for a different check and both blue and red spots have another check which changes based on the current relationship status of the factions.” Whew!

Location encounter decks have doubled in size. That’s nice. The unique asset deck has grown. That is…worrying, considering how out of hand those got in Eldritch.

One huge disappointment is the lack of new spells. There are only FOUR new spell cards. The spell deck was anemic in the base game and badly needed to be expanded, as well as the spells themselves needing to be more useful (only about one and a half investigators were viable spell casters, and still needed a hefty equipment setup to match the utility of one good weapon or support item). This was something I was hoping would be addressed in the expansion and it wasn’t.

(if you like being totally surprised by the scenarios’ story elements, DO NOT read the expansion instructions. They give away a very big and very surprising mechanic that will be coming up)

Got my kickstarter copy of Age of Steam delivered today. I ordered the extra maps as well, which brings my total up to a whopping 13 maps (!!) in the box. It’s a really nice production overall, though I’m concerned some of the side boards will warp at some point. Really like the minimalistic aesthetic, it makes the game look really clean on the table without looking like a prototype. Also, the mini poker chips are so cute!

I also got my kickstarter for Railways of Portugal yesterday, which is basically the Portugal Age of Steam map converted for Railways of the World. So much train game goodness!

I didn’t realize Age of Steam was ready for distribution yet. Based on comments on the last update, I thought the ship was running late. Oh, I’m talking about the US, are you in Europe?

I’m in Asia. It seems like we got shipments a bit early. Usually backers in Asia are the last shipped out, but maybe that’s changed lately.

We played a five player game of 18CZ this weekend. I enjoy the game, and we only had a couple of major rules snafus (wrong capitalization for the major companies that we fixed after a round, and we paid the bank for the shares it had in mergers). I enjoy the longer buildup and the different company sizes, and all in all everyone were satisfied, but expressed preference for 1846 next time.

I need this.

So, I’ve played Tapestry now 5 times, with three, four, and five players. I just wrote this to my game group. I would post it on BGG, but I don’t want to have an army of flamethrowers pointed at me:

Now that I’ve played a few times, my main complaints are:

  1. You get two civs to choose from at the beginning of the game, but there is no game state at that point to make a decision on. It isn’t like Marco Polo where you can see what the city bonuses are, and pick a character based on that. The game state at the time you pick your civ is exactly the same every game. So you’re just picking one that you think is better. But this only makes sense if some of the civs really are better, which they shouldn’t be.

  2. The tapestry cards are generally super situational. Which is fine, but somebody who gets an initial tapestry card that suits their civ is going to do much better than someone who gets one that does them no good. You only draw one at the beginning of the game, so unless you spend some of your very limited resources in the first age getting more, you’re just going to end up playing the one you got. And someone who draws a good one right away gets to spend their resources doing useful things instead, like exploring or conquering, or building buildings.

A very simple fix would be to draw two tapestry cards and keep one every time you would draw one, and to do your initial draw BEFORE you pick your civ.

  1. Although there might seem to be several paths to victory, it seems like whoever builds the most of their buildings is going to win. This makes sense since building buildings gives you both income AND victory points. Most games make you pick, so you have to switch at some point during the game from building your infrastructure to getting VPs, but in Tapestry, you’re always doing both, so there’s not much choice to make.

  2. Minor, but boy, those end-of-track bonuses are really disappointing. The space tiles seem to be about 10 points, getting a 2nd civ seems cool, but might be worthless, and the end of Science track is randomly 0-20 points. Technology (AI singularity) is the best one, but it really seems like they should all be more interesting.

  3. There is basically no player interaction. The ‘Marriage’ card is probably the most interactive thing in the game; other than that there’s no reason for me ever to care about what anyone else in the game is doing. Well, there’s the landmarks, but, meh.

I agree with all of that. Especially the end-of-track bonuses being disappointed. They sound so cool when you start the game! But are much less exciting in practice.

I still find the game kind of fun, though. For a multi-hour asymmetric Euro, I’d much rather play Terra Mystica or Marco Polo, but I’d be fine playing Tapestry since I think it’s much easier to learn and still enjoyable.

Yeah, this thread is much more in tune with Stonemaier fatigue. I’m not surprised by anything you’ve written–kind of reminds me of the kludgey way that Scythe is put together: objective cards, encounter cards, end-of-game building bonuses, klunky combat, etc.

I’m glad that finally the Stonemeier hype is starting to fade. The only game that I really enjoyed from them was Viticulture, but I even felt like the well-received Tuscany expansion was over-hyped. Their games pretty much epitomize why I’ve fallen out of euro games the past couple years – bloated designs, bland non-thematic gameplay, and over-produced (and over-priced) components.

There are definitely some things I appreciate about Stonemaier games though:

  1. They’re very nicely produced, usually for a very reasonable price. The artwork is usually excellent and very well incorporates the theme of the game. The components are high quality and facilitate play. More than anything SM has shown that the way a game looks and feels matters quite a bit to players’ experience of it.
  2. Jamie’s rulebooks are very good. They’re well laid out, beautiful to look at, easy to reference, and provide tutorials, good examples of play, and tips on strategy.
  3. They pay a lot of attention to the flow of the game. Turns tend to be very quick so that everyone stays involved in the game. The game state is usually easy to reference at a glance. The mechanics of the game feel slick, frictionless, and satisfying.
  4. They almost always have a solo mode that is useful both for playing alone and for learning the game.

The major problem with SM is that the gameplay design tends to be derivative and mediocre: asymmetry that turns out to be bland, balance achieved through bloat, and lately a high degree of multiplayer solitaire.

I agree with everything except “satisfying”. In Scythe, I felt that I wasn’t ever accomplishing anything significant during my turns. Sure, I understand that you don’t want player turns to last too long, but they have to be long enough for players to actually be able to do stuff. Also, I think if a main selling point of a game is that “turns are quick”, it makes me wonder how fun the actual turns are.