Friday, 13 March 2015

Long Weekend, Freedom, and all the games you can squeeze into eight hours

Hey hey! I've had three weeks off the pressure of blogging. At first it was great, then I started to get this creepy sick guilty feeling. Like I was blowing off work, or avoiding visiting grandparents. You know it feels good when you do it, but it's also sort of inconvenient, and there's better things to do, and look puppies! I kind of got myself into a rut where I felt like my first blog back was going to have to be an apology for being away for three weeks. Then I realised that it's my life, and if I don't live it my blog will get really boring.

So, in three weeks I have:
  • Locked down a job as an "Editorial Assistant" - it's only a couple of writing jobs a month, but I'll be getting paid to do actual writing work, from home, in my own time, on (mostly) my own schedule. Yippee.
  • DIY'd my new house a bit. Let's be honest I mostly planted green things. I also got my first electricity bill, which hurt less than I expected, but I still swapped all my 60watt light globes for 7watt LEDs.
  • Played video games! The 'new' Zelda is out. Technically the old Zelda, but since I never actually bought a copy of Majoras Mask, owning it will be new for me. But since I don't want to pay $60 for a ten year old game, I've decided to replay all the other Zeldas I own. By the time I'm done the price should have come down :)
  • Read books! God I missed books! Word writing time really cuts into word reading time. I may end up justifying this by writing some occasional book reviews, but to be honest I really struggle to review a book without a million spoilers.
I had a board games day! Welcome to the main point of this post, so important it escaped the dot point list. Eight hours playing boardgames is a good thing.If you are wondering the correct answer for "How many games can you fit into eight hours" is a round of Cthulhu Fluxx, 2 Rounds of Seven Wonders, half a round of Betrayal at House on the Hill, a round of Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Star Fluxx, Barbeque dinner (that's not a game) two more rounds of Seven Wonders, and a round of Lords of Waterdeep. This isn't really a Reviewsday, but I wanted to talk a little more about all the games, because playing them multiple times changes how you feel about them.

Cthulu Fluxx
I haven't actually played or reviewed Cthulhu Fluxx before and I probably won't again. It's like Star Fluxx in most respects, but it has enough differences to make it more than just a reprint. In Starr Fluxx you have mechanical and biological Keepers. In Cthulhu Fluxx you have Investigators, bad stuff that gives you Doom points, and 'nice' stuff that give you Anti-Doom points. There is also Un-Goals, which generally really on having a lot of doom points on the table, and a specific baddie from the lore, like Yog-Sothoth or Cthulhu . If you meet an ungoal everyone loses. Yay!

Honestly I didn't really enjoy Cthulhu Fluxx as much as Star Fluxx. Mainly because I don't know my Cthulhu lore, but from a game-play perspective there was too much counting doom points, and fiddly bits that slowed the pace down. Maybe a few more play throughs would sort that out, but I like that Star Fluxx is quick-to-learn quick-to-play, and having to actually learn your way around a Fluxx game takes the fun out of it.

Seven Wonders
This was a new one for our group, with the obvious exception of the guy who owned the game. I was pretty wary, because there's a whole bunch of different coloured cards, split into three ages, plus juggling money, military, resources, building a wonder and trading with your neighbours. And everyone plays simultaneously, no taking turns, or waiting for other people. I expected it to be a full-blown clusterfuck. The first game was a lot of questions, and what does this symbol mean, and I can do this because of this right? The second, third and fourth games were amazing.

Seven Wonders is actually really quick to pick up, and really fast to play. In a nutshell, Most points wins, and you can get points by building a wonder, gathering resources, hoarding gold, beating up on your neighbours and achieving goals laid out on the cards. You have a handful of cards, pick one to play and then pass your entire hand around the table. On a simple level you just pay attention to what you have and need, but it gets more complex because you can trade with your neighbours or stash cards that they might want.

I'm really looking forward to playing this again, but I think it has enough nuance that I should play it a few more times before trying to throw together a review. For now I have Game Good. Gameplay Quick. Strategy Fun.

Betrayal at House on the Hill
I've reviewed this before and I loved it. New piece of information, don't let the traitor be a rules lawyer. You will never get anywhere and the game will be ruined.

Settlers of Catan
Ah, this game is so relaxing. You grow wheat, and farm sheep, harvest lumber and mine for clay and stone to build a beautiful, thriving, peaceful civilisation. What could be more relaxing? Everything. God this is stressful.

I just realised I haven't reviewed Catan yet, so here is a run-down for everyone living under a board-game proof rock. You start by building two settlements. These settlements will be adjacent to 3 resource tiles. Each tile has a number from 2-12 on it. Roll 2 dice. If the number on the dice equals the number on the resource tile you built next to, you get that resource. Use the resources to build up your settlements into cities and expand. Get the most points to win.

Why so stressful? Because dice are bastards. Your most common numbers should be six and eight, because maths. I have played an entire game where six was only rolled twice, and I was relying on that six for my clay! On top of that if a seven is rolled up, and you have eight or more cards in your hand you have to discard half your resources. Because I hadn't been carefully hoarding all those sheep! Argh!

Oh and your friends are also bastards and will pretty much never trade with you.

I love this game, you should buy it. Or just come around and play it.

Ticket to Ride
This is another oddly-peaceful-yet-really-not game. All you are doing is building train routes across America (or some other country if you bought an alternate version). You collect cards that represent trains, and then use a set of matching cards to build a train. So a three-long route needs three cards. They have to match the colour of the route. You get bonus points for completing 'tickets' by connecting City A to City B. Most points wins.

It's simple. It gets a little trickier when you realise that a 3 carriage train gets 4 points, and a 6 carriage train gets 15, so holding out for the big routes is better. But of course if someone else builds there first you can't have it. And there are only so many ways into New York.

The game generally starts really quiet and friendly, then towards the end every scrabbles and argues over routes and swears at each other. As games should be.

Star Fluxx
I have said so many nice things about Starr Fluxx before. And I even said good things about it above when I was talking about Cthulhu Fluxx. It's still good clean fun, I can still snicker at the sci-fi references, and I can still screw people over. After too many plays it is still fun that people can pull the whole game out from under your feet in one move.

Lords of Waterdeep 
On the weekend we played the base game with four people. It is such a different game compared to playing with two. All the scores were really low, and it was a struggle to get anything done. We were all corrupt, Skullduggery lords so there was a lot of scrambling to get black cubes. I actually prefer playing this without the expansions, it's just a tidier game that way.

1 comment:

  1. Yay for more blogging. You can do what you like with your time. I enjoy reading your blogs though :)


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