Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Cut and Play (Cloud Dungeon)

I was looking for a storytelling or RPG-ish game to play with my seven year old daughter, and so where did I look? That's right, I went to the best source: BoardGameGeek. Whenever I'm having difficulty finding something to play next, I just asked the wonderful BGGers and I always get amazing responses!

One of the games that really stood out to me from their suggestions was one called The Cloud Dungeon. Not only is it a light-RPG for kids, but you also get to cut everything out and colour it! My daughter is very crafty and so I knew that she would love it. I picked up the print and play version for $7 USD and we spent the last three days prepping and playing. I leave for vacation today and so I'd like to gather my thoughts a little bit more before I do a full review, but here are some pictures of the experience!

the cloud dungeon
Starting out on our adventure - my daughter is on fire and I can shapeshift.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Left Him in the Dust (Review of Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated)

clank! legacy acquisitions incorporated
While there is a lot of buzz around legacy games these day, there aren't actually that many true legacy games around. A legacy game is one that is a campaign style (multiple sessions connect to each other), but your choices and actions leave a lasting "legacy" on the game. This usually comes about through adding stickers, tearing up cards, and/or writing on boards. I could be wrong, but I believe the first, or at least most well known, of these games is Risk: Legacy. That is not one I've played, but I have played three more-or-less legacy games now: Charterstone, Gloomhaven (see that review here) and now Clank! Legacy. I've spent the last nine months playing through the game with my friends Stirling and Brennan and this past Saturday night we played our last game (read about that here). 

Sunday, July 5, 2020

What a Finish! (Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated)

Last night we finished our Clank! Legacy campaign and wow, what a finish! About half or our games were spent socially distanced - two through video chat and three in my garage - with me moving all of the pieces. Talking about Clank! Legacy without spoiling anything is SO HARD but I'm going to do my best because I really do want you to play this game on your own.

This last game added some new twists that we hadn't experienced before nor expected. We had to completely change our strategy, but we still wanted to work together to get the best outcome possible for the end of our campaign as a franchise of Acquisitions Incorporated. It was a wild game, but we had a solid plan and we were happy with our outcome. Brennan won again with a ridiculous score. That means (without giving away the exact number of games in the campaign) that he won about 60-70% of the games, I won 25-35% of the games, and Stirling had won 5-15% (are those ranges big enough that you can't tell how many games we played?). So, a not uncommon occurrence in our campaign - Brennan either thoroughly tramples us or we leave his deceased body in the depths of the dungeon (three of his losses were 0 point losses - neither Stirling or I had any of these).

BUT THEN!

END OF CAMPAIGN SCORING!

Wow, this did not go how I expected. I had an idea of what sorts of things would be added up or counted towards the final score and I was sure that Brennan would win the campaign but that I had a slight chance to catch him. Well, obviously, I don't want to give any specifics away, but I was stunned by the scoring categories and results! Who won our campaign? STIRLING DID! Wow! Yes, of course, winning games was important and was counted, by there were a lot of other factors that I didn't think about that ended up giving Stirling the victory. Wowza!
clank legacy acquisitions incorporated board game

A wild finish to a wild game! Take a look at my final review, coming soon!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The Father's Day Escape (Bandido)

bandido card game
Father's Day comes at a strange time because it comes right around the same weekend as 
my anniversary (June 18 - nine glorious years!) and my daughter's birthday (June 20 - seven years old this year!). It feels relatively unimportant compared to these days. This year it was even more so because we had my parents and grandparents over Sunday morning for donuts and coffee to celebrate Ardyn's birthday (we had my wife's family over on her actual birthday).

Well, all of this build up to say that my wife did not forget about me! I got some basketball socks, french fry seasoning, chocolate, a key chain made by my kids, and a pocket-sized gem of a game - Bandido! It was only two days before when we were walking around Indigo and I pointed out this game to her saying that it would be the perfect little stocking stuffer or something. She told me later that she had needed one more little thing for my gifts and was going to give up on finding something and just give me some cash to buy what I wanted. When I told her about this game, she went back and picked it up the next day!

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Focused Attack (Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated)

Another night of a Clank! Legacy and another wild and unique experience! We played the same strategy we've been playing for quite a while, but again, things did not turn out the way we expected! We're nearing the end of our campaign (I'm trying not to give away exactly how many games there are) and so the steaks are high. Brennan has won like 60% of the games thus far, so Stirling and I are playing catch up. Or, at least, we're playing to try and stop Brennan from winning. Here is the aftermath of our garage gaming session. If you don't want spoilers, don't zoom in, but I doubt you'd see anything anyway. Except maybe you could count how many chips were left in the bottom of Brennan and Stirling's bowls. As much fun as it is to be in charge of shuffling every deck, moving every piece, adding in every secret, it'll be nice to not have to do EVERYTHING anymore. Brennan is an ER nurse, so he's playing it pretty safe in terms of contact with others, so it could be a little while still. 
So what happened to make this session so wild and unique? Well, let me tell you!

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Playtesting Makes Perfect (Donisi)

donisi board game character
After a bit of a break from Donisi, the last few weeks have seen Aaron and I getting back to the grindstone. Aaron is doing his part, working on card and character art (see one pictured here) as well as a teaser trailer that will be coming out soon (keep your eyes open for that!). My main job has been the same as it has been for most of the last few months: playtest, playtest, and playtest. Here's a little rundown of my process lately.

Play through a mission with only one character. See how it feels. Too hard? Too easy? Do certain parts of the mission seem too hard or too easy? If something feels off, I'll make an adjustment. The adjustments I go to first are (1) number of enemies spawned and (2) location of spawn points. I'm not going to be changing the maps much at this point and the cards are pretty set, so this is the best place to do the tweaking. With this current mission, I actually tried completely changing the types of enemies that you'd face. It was a fail, so I went back to my original plan and tweaked the story instead.

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.

BOOM!!!

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