A Long Second

So I’d intended to write in this blog more, but many, many things have gotten in the way, including a distinct lack of desire to write.  I’ve also just been playing a lot be it board games, video games, and even softball (I help coach).  RPGs…not that much.  So let’s start there…

RPGs

I’ve been involved in just one of the sessions that my co-worker GMs.   Most of this is due to almost all the other sessions taking place on a Saturday where I’m either busy or just wanting to do other stuff.   I’ve suggested one other week-day game, but it got little to no traction from the other players.

I’d still love to take Blades in the Dark/Scum and Villainy or Pendragon for a spin, but my free time is dreadfully short and I tend to default to playing other sorts of games right now.

Video Games

Roguetech – I experienced a big revival with the Battletech PC game after discovering and installing this super mod.   I’ve even got 3 games going, though one is on a computer that I rarely use.  If you like Battletech, but want more mechs, more toys, and more detail, this mod is for you.  Battletech has quickly grown to my second-longest playtime on Steam.

Divine Divinity 2 – Since I last wrote, I’d put this down for awhile after getting off the initial island and doing a little exploration.  In the last week or two, I’ve polished off my game and tried to do some things, but feel a little stuck frankly.  I’m either entering into fights where I have to be super specific in how I approach it or I’m just wandering around (until i get into one of those fights and then I have to re-wander).

Slay the Spire – This game is #1 for playtime on Steam for me.  It’s just super simple, but super fun and the challenge of eeking out a reasonable deck is challenging but enjoyable.

Lego Harry Potter – My daughter got this for her birthday and she and I have been playing this off and on.  We played lots of Lego Star Wars on the Wii and now this has become our Switch game of choice (along with Mario Party).

Board Games

Went on a recent, family-fueled spending spree at one of my FLGS, with the following results:

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – We beat the final game awhile back.  During the spending spree, we picked up the expansion (it was the game we went to buy), but have only had time to play the expansion once.

Codenames: Harry Potter – Also part of the spending spree, we’ve played 3 or 4 games of this one.  It’s the usual fun of Codenames with a Harry Potter theme and turned into a co-op game.

Terraforming Mars – The final thing we bought on the spree was the Hellas and Elysium board for TF Mars.  Also backed the Turmoil expansion on Kickstarter and will be getting Venus Next and Colonies.  Finally, the Game Trayz finally arrived from the BGG store and are definitely worth the money; we didn’t really have a problem with the flat player mats before, but both appreciate the extra surrity the Game Trayz give us and we finally had a couple table bumps that made the Trays well worthwhile.

This is still the go-to game for my wife and I when we have a couple hours to burn.  Our recent game on Elysium was a relatively low-scoring affair where I tried to do plants and heat, while my wife killed my plants and also did heat.  Despite snaking Ecologist from my wife, she came out on top by 6 or 7 points.

Prior to that, on our first play on the Elysium board, I’d managed a resounding (and rare) 20+ point margin of victory and on our first play of Hellas, my wife eeked out a win by 2 points.

Let The Games Begin!

This blog is going to be a place for me to record thoughts on games.  What kinds of games you might ask?  My answer: Whataya got?  I play board games, video games, RPG games, and war games.   I may even cover reindeer games if I get a herd of reindeer (probably not happening).  About the only thing I don’t (usually) play are miniature games…board games with miniatures maybe, but pure minis games just don’t jibe with me.

For now, let’s do a survey of what I’m currently playing.

Board Games

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

My family and I are currently enjoying Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle.  It’s such a simple little deck-builder, but we all are enjoying the Harry Potter theming and it’s set of 7 programmed games.   It’d be a great intro to deck-builders if for some reason you’ve never played one; it might even be a good gateway to board games, especially if you have a penchant for the Harry Potter world.

One thing though is that games are uneven in difficulty.  And I’m not talking about the nice difficulty curve from Game 1 to (I assume) Game 7.  I’m talking about playing the same Game number twice and having one be super difficult and the next being a cake walk.  This especially seems to begin at Game 3 (which by the way is the suggested starting point for those already skilled at deck-builders).  The game has rules for increasing the overall difficulty by starting locations with some control, but I assume that’s only for those who tweak their decks; we typically buy what seems fun with little eye towards whether it’s the optimal choice.

One optional rule I think I’d add is the option to clear the Hogwarts cards on offer if you choose (or can’t) buy something.  Sometimes you’ll get an early offer that’s got lots of expensive cards and it really seems to make the game less fun IMHO.

Terraforming Mars

My wife and I play this anytime we have a spare 2 hours (which was fairly frequent over the Christmas break, but averages once or twice a month at other times).  We pull our our two card tables, sit side-by-side and terraform the Red Planet.  And have a blast.

I was originally going to await the digital release to get this, but then a huge sale popped up and I quickly bought it after a quick consult with my wife.   I was worried that this longer game would rarely get to the table; I needn’t have worried.

It’s engine building, it’s tile placement, it’s Euro but with just enough take-that that it’s not exactly Euro but not so much that you spend much time worrying about if the other person is going to screw you over.   The other person can still do that, but it’s usually in service to building their own engine and placing their own tiles.

I quickly bought Preludes in the hopes that it’d shorten the game a bit; it doesn’t exactly do that, but it does make the first few generations more fun.   I’m longing for the Hellas and Elysium board and beginning to gaze fondly at Venus Next and perhaps Colonies.

War Games

Heroes of Normandy

I’m also playing Heroes of Normandy, a game my lovely wife got for me for Christmas.  This is one of the core modules of the Lock’N Load Tactical series (hereafter LnLT).  I also own Heroes of the Motherland and Day of Heroes that I won a couple years ago.   I recently finished a playthrough of the Erwell’s Charge scenario and completely missed part of the scenario order of battle.

LnLT is a fabulously simple tactical system, yet the simplicity does not mean it lacks interesting things to do.

Enemy Action: Ardennes

I’ve recently started playing this game again after a hiatus of a year or two.  This is a fabulous system and I can’t wait for this to actually become a series with Enemy Action: Kharkov.

Video Games

Divinity Original Sin 2

I picked this up during the recent Steam sale.  I’ve got about 25 hours or so into it and have not left the starting area.  Some of that is reloading when I hit a hard fight or wanting to try a couple approaches to something.  But it’s mostly because this game is so fun.   Definitely pick up the Pet Pal talent early (if not at the start), you won’t be sorry.

Gary Grigsby’s War in the West

I won this in one of the pre-Christmas Flare Path Foxer contests over at Rock Paper Shotgun.  This is a massively deep and complex computer wargame.  I’ve played around with the intro scenario for about 2 hours and (as expected) still feel like I’ve only seen the surface.

RPG Games

D&D 5E

I recently played in the first session of a new campaign that a co-worker started.  It’s a Borderlands style campaign that will likely have multiple threads going.  I’m playing a fighter and was knocked down 3 times during the 3 fights.  We were probably a bit over our head, especially in the last encounter, but we managed to retreat without any permanent damage.

Blades In The Dark/Scum & Villainy

I recently picked up Blades In The Dark and am very intrigued by it and by its sister game Scum & Villainy.   The system is sort of a hybrid of the Powered by Apocalypse system paired with a dice pool system.

A few years back, I ran an Apocalypse World one-shot for some interested co-workers, but was not sure I do my best job as GM.  Things were chaotic and while I felt like I handled the split party decently well, I’m not sure how well I handled the various moves.  Just not sure I was in the right headspace for a loose, narrative game.  The next year, I played in a Dungeon World game at GenCon GM’d by none other than Dungeon World’s creator.  It was more fun and I think I’m a little more in the right headspace now for this sort of game (and specifically one of these games).

That’s it for now.  Game on, my friends.