Thursday, May 28, 2020

Time to Move? (Review of Railroad Ink: Blazing Red Edition)

railroad ink blazing red edition board game cover art
Roll 'n' Writes have been all the rage lately and one of the more popular series are the Railroad Ink ones. They have two versions out currently (Blazing Red and Deep Blue) and there are two more on Kickstarter right now (Lush Green and Shining Yellow). I'm a relative newcomer to the Railroad Ink game, playing Deep Blue with my family during the winter and getting Blazing Red for my birthday in April. In my review I'm going to talk about both games as the base dice are the same and it's just the expansion dice in each version that are different. I'll talk about those separately.

Railroad Ink is a perfect game for solo players or for those who like to do their own thing and not affect or alter what anyone else is doing. Each player is basically building their own railroad tracks and roads without interfering with each other. I believe the current Kickstarter versions do have more player interaction, but these first two do not. In the game you roll four dice (or six, adding two of the expansion dice) and draw the roads and railways pictured (you must include all four dice on each round - the expansion dice have different rules depending on the scenario). Your goal is to connect the exit arrows on the side of the boards to each other. The more of these you connect, the more points you score! You also score points for your longest road and railroad, for building in the middle nine squares, and you lose points for any dead ends. If you're playing with an expansion, you can gain more points depending on the scenario it puts you in. Winner is the player with the most points after 7 rounds (6 with expansions).

Transportation Planner (Playthrough of Railroad Ink: Blazing Red Edition)

Bert Grundleson couldn't screw this up. He had begged and begged his boss for the chance to be the transportation planner for the new town of Macmontham. He was well aware of the fact that he didn't deserve this opportunity, that his boss had only relented because of his special ability to be incredibly persistent and obnoxious. But that didn't matter! He was given the job and if he made it work, this could be his (train) ticket to the top!

After weeks of planning, it was time for the project to get underway. Engineers, architects, construction workers, everyone was hired and on-site.


What was that? 

A meteor just exploded into the ground, less than a hundred metres from some tracks and roads.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Dead Winner (Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated)

Hands down, our ninth game of Clank! Legacy was our collective worst. In a total reversal of the last bunch of games, Brennan perished in the depths of the underworld, not even able to collect an artifact before he was gobbled up. Even though he's won the most games, he's now the only player to die with zero points (and he's done it twice). Stirling was the only one of us that made it out in one piece, but due to the reckless pace he had to set to get there, he ended up with only around 60 points. That means that I, even though I was killed, won the game! I managed to crawl above the deep line before I was taken by the dragon and so I still scored my 77 points. Hurray for me! I move past Stirling into second place with two wins. He has one and Brennan is kicking our butts with six wins. 

So what happened? Why did game nine see our lowest scores yet when we had our highest in just the last game? Well, let me tell you!
clank! legacy acquisitions incorporated board game
Why did I let these clowns into my garage?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Piggy Power! (Harvest Dice)

We've chosen our close friends and neighbours, Clarke and Tara, to cohort with (I may be using that word wrong, but I hear it on the news all the time). Basically, they're the only family that we're really spending time with, going into their house, and playing together. Canada is slowly opening things up again, but we're still trying to be careful and safe.

On Victoria day we got together for a little appetizer potluck. Nothing like pizza bagels, chicken wings, and spinach dip to bring people together! I, of course, brought at least one game along in case the four kids were playing well enough that we could get a game going. This time I brought along Harvest Dice, which is a super simple, super cute roll 'n' write game. 
harvest dice board game

Thursday, May 14, 2020

We Made a Game! (Dungeon Bounty)

It's been hard to hold off on posting this one until it was absolutely ready, but the coolest thing about the last few weeks has been that Aaron (my co-designer) and I made a game! We, like many people out there, have been spending a lot of time at home lately. We've both been missing game night and while I've been working hard to make Clank! Legacy still work with my game group, I was aching for an easier way to do it.

So, Dungeon Bounty was born! Using a standard deck of cards and our PDF, you can delve through the dungeons alone or with one other player. In the co-op or versus mode, each player needs their own deck of cards and you can play it in person, sitting side by side or six feet apart, or via your favourite video conferencing program.
dungeon bounty card game

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Natal Day News

We all know that birthdays are different this year, so I don't want to try and focus on that. I currently have more board games than I have time to play as it is, but I do like trying new things or adding to my collection, so I did end up with some new games for my birthday or purchased/printed right around the same time. Here's what I've been picking up and playing.

My only real board game gift was Railroad Ink: Blazing Red Edition. Logan and Jenn (brother-in-law and his wife, regularly gaming chums) have the Deep Blue Edition and I've played that with them a few times and really enjoyed it! It's my favourite kind of competitive game - one where you can't hurt or hinder anyone else. Those type of games are not for me. This game is basically a solo game that you can play alongside others and compare scores. Basically, you roll dice that show a variety of railroad tracks and/or roads. Using a dry erase marker, you add these paths to your board, trying to connect as many as possible and score as many points as possible. This is a very easy to pick up game, but there is a lot of choice and strategy in how you lay out your paths. It's amazing how two people can have the same dice and come up with such different arrangements! Really like this one, excited to try the mini-expansions that come in the box.

railroad ink blazing red edition board game coverrailroad ink blazing red edition board game

railroad ink blazing red edition board gamerailroad ink blazing red edition board game

Thursday, May 7, 2020

So Many Secrets (Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated)

I'm sure I've said this before, but this is a very difficult game to write about without giving away any spoilers. Especially because different people have different ideas about what spoilers are. It's my duty, self-appointed, to find a way to do it. Since I posted last, we've played two more games, both different takes on social-distancing.

For the first of the two games, we did the video chat again. Google is constantly changing and updating their systems to support people during this pandemic, especially for educators. On this night, though, it bit us in the butt because we couldn't get all of us into a Google Meet together with my school account. Luckily, Brennan's wife also has a g-suite account and so we were able to get in there. This time I rigged things up a little bit differently. I set up on the floor so that I could roll my overhead camera more easily and keep my phone plugged in so it wouldn't die. It was also great for the back. Things went pretty smoothly and our game only took four hours, as opposed to the five hours of our first game!
clank legacy acquisitions incorporated social distancing
The overhead camera set up.

It Is Alive!

Wow, has it really been that long since I've posted? Trying to figure out this whole teaching and tutoring online thing has been quite the challenge! Plus, April was my birthday, yesterday was my wife's birthday, and this weekend is Mother's Day. Not to mention that I was the April host of the SGOYT (Solitare Games on Your Table geeklist on BoardGameGeek - if you haven't check it out, you need to!). Yup, I'm a pretty big deal now. Oh, also I have a Covid Cut. It was unintentionally performed by my wife.

Here's a little recap of the cool board game things that have going on. I'll do more in-depth posts on each of these as time allows over the next week:
  • Aaron and I made a free print 'n' play (PnP) that we will release soon
  • Finally got into some playing some PnPs of others
  • Played two more games of Clank! Legacy: Socially Distanced
  • Got some birthday board games
So, it's been busy. Too busy to post here, but I'll try and remedy that this week!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Get to the Choppa! (Review of Burgle Bros)

I need to confess something right up front - I really enjoyed the 2001 version of Ocean's Eleven. A film critic I am not, but I know what I like. Clooney and Pitt really crack me up with their character's in that movie. It's been a long time since I've watch the movie, however. Maybe it's time to break it out again?

Either way, you don't need to watch the movie to get a vintage, heist feel - you can just play Burgle Bros! I often describe this game to people as "Ocean's Eleven: The Board Game." Burgle Bros is a cooperative heist game. You work your way through two to three levels of a building, looking for loot. You have several different actions you can take on a turn and each character has a unique personality and special action. As you move around the building, you can rush into rooms (more dangerous) or peak first (more time wasted). You need to balance this approach as you try to avoid the guards moving about. You need to find the safe on each level of the building and crack the combination (using a distinctive dice system) and then find the stairs to the next level. The final staircase gets you to the roof and your chopper.
burgle bros board game

Sunday, April 12, 2020

To the Rescue (Playthrough of Flash Point: Fire Rescue)

Tom, Phil, and Anita arrived at the scene of the fire as quickly as possibly. It had been a slow night but when the alarm went, they were ready. They were a good team and worked to each member's strengths. Phil had an uncanny ability to suppress fires with ease. Anita's long hours in the gym had paid off as pulling people out the building usually fell to her. Tom balanced both of them out and was able to do a little bit of everything. As they pulled into the subdivision, neighbours lining the streets watching the fire grow, they realized they hadn't gotten here a moment to soon. They leaped out of the truck and burst into action.
flash point fire rescue board game