I’d like to apologize in advance for the link I am about to share with you.
A friend came and got donuts from me this morning, and dropped off a printout he made for me of Bargain Basement Bathysphere, a solo print-and-play roll-and-write game with Legacy elements. Apparently it starts as a straightforward push your luck game, but adds complexity (and minigames and collectibles and add and…) as it goes on. Looks like a fun way to kill an afternoon.
Oh yes. That one was mentioned in this recent SUSD video on print and plays and it sounds great:
Finally reclaimed enough table to get 7th Continent out. I got tired of failing at the Voracious Goddess quest, so picked another one at random – Armageddon. What could go wrong?
Well, everything. Unfortunately, the clue for the quest is not very helpful, so I was just wandering around randomly with no idea what I was trying to do. Also, I did it very badly. I found the hot air balloon, so I spent some time messing around with that and figuring out how the mechanics for it work, and by the time I landed it I was pretty much out of cards, starving, tired, scared, etc. I never really got any cards back in the action deck and died pretty quick, without ever having made any actual progress towards lifting the curse.
Curse you, 7th Continent!
For me, this is where every attempt to play 7th Continent ends up sooner or later. :(
At least with Voracious Goddess they give you a map, and once you get oriented (or if you’ve played before) you have a pretty good idea where you’re trying to go. I mean, I’ve never gotten there, but at least I know which direction to head.
With this one, you get a dagger with a comet carved in the handle. Go… to a comet? I don’t know where that is. Maybe if I’d played enough times before, I’d know where that was, but I don’t.
Edit: I should say, I got to see part of the continent I hadn’t seen before, and I did get to check out the hot air balloon. As long as the game still has stuff I haven’t seen, I’ll probably be willing to go back to it.
The reason why Voracious Goddess is the first recommended quest is because you see so much of the continent you form a mental image of the map (or hell take notes!) Each other cures adds/or uses a lot of the various territories from there. It’s quite a nice idea. I don’t “love” the game. But how they did it was pretty neat.
Is there a crashed Death Star nearby?
Maybe I can fashion a rudimentary lathe.
Yeah, in all honesty I’ve tried the Armageddon curse once and realized that it was going to be a toughie. Maybe the toughest of all of them.
Voracious Goddess is a great starter curse, and honestly, there’s no shame that should be attached to playing it on easy mode, either. Because easy mode is still hard, and quite the challenge!
I’ve managed to win 3 curses across all the various expansions. I do very much enjoy this game as a solo experience.
I barely beat the Crystal one (the real starter curse, which for some reason is in the expansion) once. I guess I’ve only played 4 times? That plus 2 fails at Voracious Goddess and one at Armageddon (a bad random pick, I guess). I will return!
Just picked up a set of custom tile bags for The Castles of Burgundy off of the bgg store. They’re a big improvement over the Plano box I had before, which was great for just storing the tiles in the box but became really awkward to use while playing. It’s at least an 8.6% increase in duchy building fun!
I’m really liking the solo mode for this game. It was a little slow the first few times until I learned all of the tiles and now it plays at a great pace. One of my favorite things about it are the combos you can put together, especially as you get near the end and start filling out all of the colors. On one of my last turns I placed a castle, which gives you a free action. Placing the castle scored me 3 points, enough to trigger a solo mode rule that also gives a free action. And, because it was the last free castle space on the board I was able (due to another solo rule that replaces the bonus point tiles) to take another building off of the main board and play it directly onto my player board. And that building triggered another action. So cool!
It was close, but I still lost this round. I’ll definitely be playing again tonight.
I took a serious run at The Voracious Goddess in 7th Continent. Doing much better. Successful hunting, got some cool helpful stuff. Followed the map, made some wrong turns, but eventually made it to the place marked on the map! I win, right?!? Um… no… not even close… Ack!
And of course, when I started to go back, I started to run out of cards, but I found a hunting spot… but I needed to draw 2 cards and there was only 1 left in the deck. The very first card I drew from the discards was a curse. Dammit.
I’m not sure how many times I can stand to do that stupid starting island again :(
Planet Apocalypse is so good that @tomchick refused and/or wasn’t even able to counter recommend it during last month’s Patreon…uh, what do you call those? Counter recommendation sessions? This one. Of course, it’s entirely possible that Tom never saw my recommendation because I accidentally hit reply on the Patreon email instead of messaging Tom directly. We’ll never know.
Planet Apocalypse is a tower defense game that’s massive in size but actually quite streamlined in terms of mechanics*. Waves of demons come pouring out of a hell gate (much like the one you have in your own home) and you throw dice at them until they stop or you get overwhelmed. Each of the 6-14 playable characters (depending on how many expansions you have) has unique skills and one weakness and a super cool leveling system where each time you level up you get one immediate bonus and one ongoing perk.
*Ok, like, yes, there are a bunch of unique abilities and skill cards and sometimes you’re going to come across confusing interactions between them but so far I haven’t had any issues where a combination seemed broken or where the official answer didn’t make sense.
My favorite character so far is Hanna Hazard. She’s a kind of roboty person sniper lady who can shoot at stuff a zone away and if she doesn’t move for the turn she gets to increase all of her dice by a level. But I also dig Professor Maxwell, who’s really good at rallying support troops and spreading them all over the map so you get extra help each turn to help chip away at waves.
As you level up and get stronger, waves of enemies get larger. So before you know it you’re staring down a mess like this:
This is the best part! It’s when you get to do cool stuff like trade in resource tokens to add extra dice to your roll, and all of your buddies chip in to bump your dice up a level (say from d4 to d6, etc). Add in a luck token and now that big guy on the right only takes one hit to kill instead of the usual 2. The interaction between the characters and the 4 levels of basic enemies is what takes up most of your time and it’s fantastic. And if anything is left after we’ve given all we’ve got we back up one area and let our cosmonaut buddies take a shot at them. Did I mention we were on the moon? Yeah, those are space demons.
Oh, and those dice on the left? Those are the despair dice. You roll a bunch of them (starting with 4 but growing to 12 by endgame) and for every two with matching symbols you summon a demon and a baby demon. I still don’t know why, but it’s so much better than just drawing random enemies out of a hat. Normally I can’t stand the part in these games where you have to summon enemies, but this system is just cool. Maybe it’s because when you find two dice that match you have to smash them together and make like giant smashing sound effects. Can’t remember if that last rule is in the rulebook or not but…probably?
Also this game looks pretty great. The artwork was done by a guy named Keith Thompson, who only has one board game credit on BGG. I asked where they found this guy because he should definitely be doing more work. Turns out he’s a TV and movie artist who worked on Pacific Rim and some horror stuff.
Anyway, this game is cool, maybe check it out if you like a lot of dice and minis and you don’t mind if sometimes you’re gonna roll a whole bunch of 1’s and want to flip the table or something.
I had a similar experience with the two times I tried that one, but I am looking forward to going back to that game. My favorite thing about 7th Continent is that there’s no “enemy phase” where you draw random bad guys and then take their turn, etc. It’s just turns and more turns and when bad stuff happens it’s a consequence of your actions. That’s so cool, and even though the open ended nature of that game means you can kind of get lost and run out of steam before you even know why you’re there…I kinda like it?
Haven’t tried the other curses yet but I’ve heard that Voracious Goddess is kind of difficult. Have you considered trying another one instead? I’ve thought about just spoiling myself on Voracious Goddess and reading a walkthough or something just to see if it would change my approach and make me more likely to play later scenarios better. But I’m saving that as a last resort.
I have tried other ones! It is good for breaking up the repetitiveness. However, I haven’t gotten a chance to play in ages. Most of the other quests seem quite hard also, though!
I made the probably unwise decision of just buying a bunch of the expansions a while back and mixing them in. I’m not sure if they make things better or worse, but one of them came with a hot air balloon you can ride around in and as far as I know that’s never made anything worse.
I watched a pretty negative video review, stating that without the (expensive) expansions there is not enough replayability. The base game is not cheap either, so not sure anymore. Youre write-up was great, though!
I think that’s Planet Apocalypse’s core flaw, for sure. The base box isn’t enough for more than a few plays, and even that is extremely expensive. I don’t know that I could recommend buying in at non-Kickstarter prices because, supposedly, the complete set that I purchased for $300, which is still pretty wild, is like $600-something at retail pricing. And it doesn’t need to be that expensive. (Though, I’m thinking most of that is tied up in the absurdly huge, detailed minis for the various higher circle demons and Lords, and they are admittedly very cool.)
If you have Tabletop Simulator there’s a (sanctioned) mod with all the current content if you want to try it.
What got me to look into the game seriously was hearing Quintin Smith rave about it on the Shut Up & Sit Down podcast. Their site rarely covers giant kickstarters full of minis and when they do they usually recommend against buying them, so I was surprised when he spent a good ten minutes praising it. He did of course mention price as a downside, so I just bought the base game and enjoyed it so much that I tracked down the big box expansions. I’ve been adding those in one at a time and I’m still only on the first expansion so you don’t need to buy everything at once. But yeah, I’ve definitely spent more on less.
It’s a big stupid game of throwing dice at stuff and it’s a great time. Obviously you’ll have to figure out if it’s in your budget, but if that’s what you’re in the market for this game is solid.
Well it’s a good thing there’s a second kickstarter campaign coming up that adds more expansions! They haven’t given a date yet, only “fall”. I’ll definitely be picking up the new content and if they offer some of those stand alone extra bosses again I may throw a few in. I agree that those especially are not worth buying at retail, but also I don’t have any of them now and the game has plenty of content without them. Plus, if you don’t mind reusing minis you could easily proxy those bosses by just looking up their rules online as most of them are just a mini and a boss card.