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rllmuk

Cosmic_Guru

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    RPGs and the best of the rest, has to be interesting though these days to get a look in.
    Board games - dungeon crawlers or anything good for solo play.
    Reading history, fiction in translation, science fiction or more or less anything if stuck on the proverbial Desert Island.
    Films.
    Tennis for 2 weeks a year.
    Football and in particular supporting Arsenal & Sutton Utd.

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  1. Coming out 11 August. Dev work by Kaiko.
  2. It's not gossip - 2019 accounts were delayed in mid April following going concern issues. A superficial Google doesn't reveak any update.
  3. I set myself a limit of KS for the calendar year and, allowing for forthcoming Hexplore Vol IV and the Serious Poulp offering, I've almost reached it already . $26 taxes on Frosthaven should be sufficient motivation. Still, got a couple of products - Philosophia and The Artefact which should be with me this month.
  4. After seeing positive reviews of Paladins, I got Architects of the West Kingdom, the earlier and simpler game. It's rather good (no photo unfortunately). On first glance it's nothing we haven't seen a million times before - worker placement to obtain materials, and use those materials, with the assistance of apprentices to construct buildings for points, or to work on the community endeavour. There are a couple of delicious twists however. The first is that the more meeples on a space the more powerful it becomes to you (more resources or more actions available) - however these meeples represent an easy source of cash to other players - they may capture them and sell them to the guard on a later turn (you can get them back sooner but you have to pay dearly). Secondly there is a "virtue" system in place whereby certain actions such as raiding the tax coffers or using the handy black market reduces your reputation, whereas certain buildings and apprentices will increase it. These factors mean you can't just work away on your board and ignore other players - or you do so at your peril. The single player game is very clever - its both simple and yet it mimics the actions of other players well by regularly whipping away your meeples and contributing to the guildhall) the completion measure. After a couple of run throughs you should be able to beat it using the vanilla character and then you can experiment a bit with other "builds" - it's too quick a game really for complex engine building but there are some testy synergies if the cards fall your way and you want to be bad (the character sheets encourage this approach in some cases). A nice contrast to the likes of Post Human Saga and Cooper Island which are real ball breakers. And that leads on to On Mars, my second game. I got hold of a KS version of this and its a right bastard to wrestle with in some ways. The USP is the difference between actions which are possible on the colony itself and those which are only possible on the orbiting station, and one travels back and forth using a shuttle (or by other means). It's wise however not to consider the gameplay too literally because some of it just doesn't make sense. It's also a mistake to consider it a worker placement game, because although there are colonists to place in certain spots, not all actions require this. In addition there is a resource cycle which requires you to spend resource of type A to obtain the services of a scientist to work on a building of type B, and this scientist will score for all buildings of type C in the end game. A really non-intuitive system. I've been playing the SP mode and it adds another complication in that your opponent has different behaviour in some instances, and doesn't always travel with the shuttle. However, one nice touch is the introduction of progressively harder objectives to the SP game, which is the sort of thing I've being doing when playing Mage Knight, just to ease into it. Not giving up on this but it was certainly a rocky old start - "snaggy" would be the term. On the other hand there is a certain joy about moving your rover around on Mars to collect free tech upgrades (as you do) and the ubiquitous crystals. I haven't played terraforming Mars by the way.
  5. Yes that board is rather ridiculous, and the instructions are presented in an old fashioned manner but the core is solid gold.
  6. The (to be) annual Medieval Conspiracy game is done with! This is a brilliant game and, as with Scythe, one which is approached differently with the benefit of more experience. At heart it's a cash grab - you need to become elected Emperor when a vacancy occurs, by means of influencing more of the 7 Electors than any other players and you gain influence via cold hard cash. You start the game with a random number of fiefdoms (depending on player count) and typically these are scattered across the map - you are lucky if you get 2 or more adjacent and can start to forge a mini empire with trade routes connecting your territories. There are n event cards auctioned each round and these enable you to add castles, knights, relics, to start a feud (expand militarily) and which later dictate the end game through the death of an Elector or of the Emperor himself. Each player then rolls to determine a life (new heir to go into education) or death (expansion prospect provided you have a certain action card in hand) event. The final stage of each round is to obtain and play lovely illustrated Action cards. These cards are brilliant and enable all sorts of meddling with other players - for example the "death in cradle" takes an heir out of training, the "marriage" enables you to swap an unwanted peripheral territory with another player (without their consent of course), you can also play cards at other times e.g to cancel the income phase for someone (after they think they've doubled it). It's genius, and only rivalled by Dark Domains in my collection in terms of the fun from "take that" opportunities. I like the way you can't always take advantage of good opportunities (you need a Right of Succession card to be able to expand into a new profane fiefdom as well as an heir in training), you can't simply fight your way to victory, and ultimately, once all players are rich enough to be able to bid for the electorships as they arise, your success will, as in real life, be dependent on sheer chance as you hope to be in the strongest position when the music finally stops. Against this it's undeniably lengthy and fairly leisurely, particularly if the event deck is exhausted and reshuffled, and also fiddly to keep the income accurate since not all territories are linked with all their neighbours - again, as with the differences between profane and clerical territories, this is a nice little touch where the northern and western trading hubs seem to be advantaged somewhat over the south and east sections of the Empire.
  7. Id like to see a list of games where the developers acknowledge the influence of Mage Knight. You can see clear influences in the likes of Shadows of Malice (cost of moving across different types of terrain), Hexplore it series (different types of structures encountered)*, as well as in the card play of Gloomhaven. Pretty certain MK will come back to the table for 2 or 3 sessions pretty soon. * in addition, the term "mastery" is used in both of these games which may or may not be co-incidental.
  8. I finished up the TMB campaign which is well worth while albeit ultimately not particularly challenging using 3 easy to play characters. The scars you apply before each game and which accumulate as you go along make things more interesting for sure. I've ordered some more specialised characters to include in a new team and also have all the solo encounters to work through at some point so plenty more to come from this. I've also dabbled in the solo game of Post human saga and encountered a fiendishly hard puzzle. Every action has to count and you need some luck on top too. The MP game would be far more relaxing since its just a point scorer albeit a bit of a race, whereas in solo one has to prevent the mutant destroying the fort within a 14 day time frame by battling enemies on territory tiles of certain types. I reckon this requires over 30 actions but only 28 are available and even that presupposes a good supply of food and upgraded weapons for the second week. Finally I've started identifying games * played rarely or not all recently, making a list of them and rolling a die to select the one for the day. This works really well - the highlight so far being beating This War of Mine for the first time albeit with a huge dollop of luck with finding the broken guitar which everyone loved and spamming the hospital location both for meds and for its vegetable garden. Boarding up holes and using the hatchet on guard duty also seem good strategies. Tomorrow is a real oldie - Medieval Conspiracy. * non campaign games that is, campaigns have their own cadence .
  9. I'm running with Patches, Tantrum and Picket, which is.not ideal since they are all melee. However they all correspond to the clichéd roles of medic/buffer, tank and damage dealer so there is that. The campaign framework takes you through all the (randomly selected) tyrants back to back but each run will have different conditions determined by the individual campaign card used. This means you may have less time than normal for a particular tyrant. You typically retain 2-4 training points and some loot. There are also scars which the gearlocs pick up before each run and this is where it gets really interesting - for example Picket cannot train Dexterity, which leaves him with just 2 dice to roll each turn. If your party is totally wiped you may draw a boon and some of these remove scars. There are also more day 1-3 encounter cards to stop this part of the game getting totally tedious. So far I've defeated Mulmesh and Marrow and today's target is the goblin king. I'm not particularly confident about getting all 7 down but in one run but I like the structure - as opposed to randomly picking a single target.
  10. I don't mind nasty usually. I mean games such as Dungeon Degenerates and S&S can turn really vicious really quickly, and those moments, alongside the upswings of luck along the way provide memorable moments (I completed a.game arc of DD for the first time just recently after maybe 4 attempts). Maybe I should have given bag of dungeon longer.
  11. You could look at Near and Far which is a story based campaign game which doesn't require a lot of housekeeping between sessions since only experience points carry over and are recorded on the character cards. It's also fairly compact in play and lasts for 2 hours max a session. Might be a good intro into the whole skills check genre and offers both story and character campaigns in the same package. -- - - - I also backed bag of dungeon and it didn't work for me at all. I can't remember the exact details but the first couple of games were a complete wipe extremely early, like the first enemy or something ridiculous and there was just no way to progress at all. I thought that was poor design to be honest. ------- Currently mid way through a first story campaign of Near and far, and also started a Too Many Bones campaign (the last hitherto untouched UK con purchase ). It''s rather good.
  12. A round up of games played over the last few weeks (together with proto-BGG ratings). First up X-ODUS : rise of the Corruption (9-10). This KS is absolutely excellent. It’s a co-operative game for 1-4 players controlling 3 or 4 spaceships (6 available of 3 categories - fighter, rogue or specialist craft). You reveal and explore the universe whilst levelling up your ships, fighting enemy craft, and obtaining the 3 or 4 precursor keys required to finish the game. As you progress, 2-3 avatars (bosses) come into play and move toward you each round. Mechanically it reminds me a lot of Kilforth, albeit with a very different setting and with more precision. You win by bringing these keys (blue crystals) to the central rift whilst either avoiding or battling the avatars (they move between rifts so its tricky to avoid all of them). You may form fleets to add battle clout at the cost of numbers of actions (this is essential for the final battle). This game screams high precision project - everything is just so. Your ship boards include sliding scales for energy levels and actions, there is a dinky little battle mat for enemy encounters with an enemy health dial, everything fits neatly into the box with no free space. The exploration cards are incredibly detailed and there are all sorts of upgrades for your ships (in addition to the skills levelling). The map tiles may be friendly, enemy, or corrupted (rifts), and no two maps will be identical. The randomness of tile placement and precursor key cards (you only use 3 or 4 in any one game) makes for a lot of replayability. Secondly Tang Gardens - another KS (8-9). This is another intricately designed game, heavily delayed from the target completion date. I thought it was just going to be “build a pretty garden” but it is actually a deviously clever VP (cash) scorer. You take it in turns to either place new tiles on the garden where the terrain matches up, or to add decorations to the garden if the matching space is available. These decorations are set collections and they have different scoring rules (tiny iconography on the small cards is not helpful but the instruction book is clear). You also control a character represented by a miniature, and after “levelling up” by doing the requisite amount of tile laying you may “influence” a new character, and this is where it gets really interesting. You place one of your 2 character miniatures in the garden, and orientate it a certain way. You score at the game end for the number of decorations in line of sight and the number of certain types of backdrops faced according to character preferences (these are placed as you work out toward the edges of the map) (e.g the Emperor wants to look at dragons). It’s very clever indeed and there is also a solo mode which is a good puzzle in it’s own right and doesn’t involve automata. Thirdly. Quatermaster General WW2 (won’t score since not designed for the soloist). Love this! Its so simple but so clever at the same time and somehow mimics the War with only the simplest of actions. Italy can get economically screwed very easily, Japan can invade the US, - Banzai! - and be a very good point scorer throughout, the US can be caught in 2 minds as to what to do, the Germans (and the Brits) may lack the best cards for their plans, the Russians will dig in and wait things out. So far most games have been narrow Allies victories but there is a lot more to come from this. Fourthly. Tapestry (5-6). Ugh. I shouldn't have bought this - its a complete mess. To make matters worse I managed to bust one of the box sides just by tweaking it slightly on the corner so it was clearly faulty.
  13. Baldur's Gate 2. Superb - immersive, fast and satisfying when your plan works and the inventory management is strangely soothing.
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