Saturday, 7 October 2017

#ReducingThePile August Update

Yep, still behind on this, but slowly catching up.

This series is all about getting games off my piles of shame and new to me games. You can find the other posts under #ReducingThePile.

Today I talk about the new to me games I got played back in August 2017 including a short review of each. August was a busy month and I didn't get out to many gaming events so this is going to be a very short list. I only actually got in 6 plays of 3 different games in August. Not as bad as June but still not a good month for gaming. 

The Dragon & Flagon - Not sure if you have noticed or not but I love programmed movement games. Robo Rally is one of my top games of all time. I also really dig Lords of Xidit, Volt Robot Battle Arena, Colt Express and probably a few more I'm forgetting right now. It's one of my favourite mechanics.

Seeing that mechanic used to represent a fantasy RPG style tavern brawl was interesting. That's exactly what The Dragon & Flagon is: a D&D style tavern brawl that's resolved using programmed movement. Each round players plan out their actions and then they resolve them. There's a neat initiative system here where, depending on what you do, it will take longer for you to get your next action. So a simple move is quick and you get to go in the next segment, but dashing across the room lunging may take you three segments. 

The game looks awesome. It comes with 3d cardboard scenery and wooden components for tables, chairs, tankards, and barrels. The characters are just standees and I think it would have been extra cool if they were miniatures. I plan on stealing components from Dragon & Flagon for use in my RPG games.

The mechanics make this one a lot more fiddly than you would expect for such a light theme.  I've played RPGs with easier combat systems. That said; it's quite fun.  Just be aware getting into it that it's got a learning curve and it is not as light as it appears.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past - my daughters love The Turtles. I have no idea exactly why. No clue where they even learned of them. There must be some kind of universal appeal to them. I already play TMNT heroclix with the oldest and picked this up after hearing it's a much better game. Having now played I have to agree, mostly. 

This is a one vs. many co-op games in the veins of Descent or Imperial Assault. It's a campaign game with one multi-scenario campaign included in the base box and the promise of more to come. The actual gameplay is an action point based miniature skirmish game with The Turtles facing off against many mooks and named villains from the comic book series. That's worth noting, this is based on the most recent IDW comics which are a bit different from the old TV Series or comics I remember as a kid. 

The really neat bit here is how co-operation is built into the game. Each Turtle player has a set of dice they roll at the beginning of each round. They have symbols on them that represent the various actions in the game (swords for melee attacks, throwing stars for ranged, skateboards for movement, etc). Once a player rolls his dice he has to arrange them in a row. This order matters as the two dice on the end are shared with the players on each side of that player. Note there's one very thematic exception to this: Raphael refuses to use anyone else's dice, instead he rolls more dice than anyone else. 

It's a very cool game but there are rules issues. We found an infinite loop problem where the bad guys couldn't lose in our second game. There are rules updates and the designer is really good about answering questions on BGG but I find you do need to do that research before you can really enjoy the game.

Eclipse: Ship Pack One - This is the second expansion that was released for the Sci-Fi 4x game Eclipse. The main thing this includes is new plastic ships for all of the factions in the base game (oddly omitting the factions in the first expansion). It also includes plastic counters for starbases which were originally represented by counters in the core game. There are also a few new rules including some new technologies. The best of these new rules is a new initative system, where the first player to pass becomes the first player next turn, the second player to pass the second player and so on. This expansion comes with some boards and counters for tracking this in a rather elegant way.

I hadn't played Eclipse in a long time and I have no idea why. I remember really liking the game, but man, it's even better than I remembered. We had a fantastic time during our last play. The new ships are cool. The new initiative system is fantastic and overall Eclipse is still one of the best 4x games out there.  I saw nothing to complain about with this expansion. Everything in there was a welcome addition and now my game looks so much cooler.

So that was it for new games for me in August. I realize it's going back a bit, but do you remember what was new to you this past Summer?

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