Boardgaming in 2019!

Actually I like most Stonemeier games :)

I really like Scythe.

Me to!

Me three! Playing through the Rise of Fenris campaign for Scythe was great. The story was interesting, the two new factions were different from the old factions and well integrated in the story.

This is a bad time for this, as I just received my copy of Viticulture and Tuscany yesterday. :)

I own Viticulture Essential Edition (not the Tuscany expansion yet) and I think it’s a great game. I love how the theme is implemented and everybody I’ve played it with has had a fun time. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. :)

Yet the winning strategy is often not to make wine :p

Viticulture is a very strange game where you initial card draw completely dictates your game, and there’s not much you can do about it, because if you can’t get any grape/fill card.synergy in the first few turns you’re just wasting turns trying to pick up cards, so instead you have to pivot into non-wine strategies. But the newbie trap is that it’s a wine game so surely I should be making wine?

Tuscany definitely fixed that, but I’ve always felt a bit upset that I had to buy an expansion to fix a game that was in its 3rd or 4th edition and had already gone through multiple redesigns, Kickstarters and expansions!

As for Kickstarters: Nanty Narking (the Discworld reprint) arrived last week, and Chocolate Factory arrived this week’s that just leaves Catacombs 3e to arrive next month or so.

Well, it would, but I backed the FlickFleet expansion …

Is there room for me on the Scythe train? I think it’s pretty brilliant.

-Tom

I enjoy Scythe, but I have never been able to wrap my mind around an area control game with teleportation.

Also I really hate the build bonus, which just seems tacked on like a pinkie finger sewed to a person’s elbow.

Meh, I’ve played Scythe about a half dozen times, and have never felt really satisfied with it. I know that it is almost universally praised, but there are several things I really dislike about it:

  • Turns feel too mechanical and are not satisfying. What you do in one turn just doesn’t seem to affect the game state that much.
  • Very little indirect player interaction. Sure you can fight with people (I’ll get to this), but there are very few ways to fuck with other players indirectly.
  • Weak combat mechanics coupled with a lame power mechanic. It is rarely worth it to fight with others until you have received the power star. And once you have won a fight (or is it two, I can’t remember), then it is not worth fighting any more, since you’ll just open yourself up to defeats in future fights.
  • “Star” game end condition is anti-climatic. The game just kind of ends with little rhyme or reason. I have never played a game with a satisfying arc to it, and I think this is a major reason.
  • Art does not fit with the mechanics of the game. There are big mechs features prominently, but you rarely can actually fight with them. There are farms and farmers, but there are no actual farming mechanics. The characters have non-functioning pets because “why the hell not?” Also, the plastic mech designs look really silly, especially the black ones.
  • Despite being tested extensively, it is still debated how balanced the game actually is. I haven’t played any of the expansions, but some of the base game factions are distinctly easier to play than others, especially when paired with the right boards.
  • Exploration mechanic is really lame. Move your character to a location and draw a random loot card? Is this the 80s?
  • The “collect resources when players next to you do certain actions” mechanic (can’t remember the name) seems like a lazy way to make players “feel engaged” during other players turns. There is not thematic reason why you get these resources, and many times people I’ve played the game with even forget they should be getting them. It’s lazy, bloated design, and it should not have been included.
    -Shuffling workers around the map after the first few turns is boring and tedious. Also, once you have enough workers, then their main purpose becomes occupying space instead of actually improving your production engine, which is much less interesting.
  • You can build nice little wooden buildings on the map, but other players can’t destroy them or control them (unlike everything else on the board). This makes very little thematic sense, and is unintuitive (especially for new players).

I can probably think of other reasons I dislike the game, but there’s at least a sampling. I think if the game had a less attractive production, than no one would be talking about it and it would have already faded into obscurity.

That’s a fair point. But I would argue the area control is a relatively minor gameplay system. It’s there, sure, and it accounts for two of the victory point stars, but it’s much more of a race than people throwing elbows at each other.

That said, it certainly looks, and sometimes feels, like an area control. You’d certainly infer as much from the mechs and heroes and eventually zeppelins. But to my mind, it’s more of an engine builder.

-Tom

Pretty much. I’ll add to it that with how little you do during your turn, you would think turns would be quick. That having to wait your turn, you would have your turn planned out by the time it came back to you. But thanks to that adjacency recruit bonus mechanic, you’re forced to pay attention to others’ turns when it’s not yours instead of planning.

It’s a game that got significantly less enjoyable once people started to actually play to win. The Krimean faction is ridiculous (and are vitually unbeatable with the Patriotic mat). The Poland faction’s strength is entirely dependent on player count. The mats are unbalanced. The expansion factions are finnicky and super hard to play for very little benefit.

I think you’re right. If it was just wooden blocks on a board without the artwork, it would have fizzled.

Like everything else on the board, actually. In particular, your resources are all physically located on spaces and can be captured.

Oops, typo. Should be “can’t”.

My advice. Do a runthrough with Viticulture first before bringing in the Tuscany expansion. In my opinion, Tuscany expands on Viticulture in a positive way. Better yet, the Tuscany expansion is modular, and I introduced my group slowly to the new things - started with the new board, then added in buildings, and finally the unique characters. I think Viticulture plus Tuscany is an excellent, laid back game to play with enough going to be engaged for the whole duration.

Learned last night I really don’t like Tiny Epic Western…

The Tiny Epic games are so hit or miss, aren’t they? I liked Galaxies well enough, and Kingdoms probably holds up as a bantamweight elbow-thrower race-to-win game. Tiny Epic Zombies is just trash. Sheer trash. Tiny Epic Defenders is pretty blah…until you add the Dark War expansion, which gives it tons of personality, replayability, and interesting challenges. In fact, Tiny Epic Defenders with Dark War is, to my mind, the best Tiny Epic anything.

Out of curiosity, what’s wrong with Westerns?

-Tom

It just wasn’t fun for me, and took too long to play to begin with. It’s pitched as a 30 minute game and took us over 2 hours.

New games this week:








Play Mat for Outer Rim:

And while not exactly a board game, the Star Wars Legion Clone Wars stuff came out:

I own all of the Tiny Epic games and continue to support them on Kickstarter (related: Tiny Epic Dinosaurs is being funded right now), but have only gotten to play Kingdoms, Galaxies, and Zombies (which I liked more than Tom did, but haven’t rushed to play again). Galaxies was the only one of the three that actually fit their thirty-minute playtime the first time through, but the others definitely felt like they could hit that playtime if everyone at the table already knows the rules.