Saturday, May 17, 2014

Boardgames and more boardgames

Recently I've introduced my best friend to GMT's Twilight Struggle.
It's a toss up between whether this is my favourite game or if Commands and Colors is. As there is very little dice rolling in this game, it's probably this one. 

A couple weeks ago I picked up Kingdom Builder from Queen Games.
In this game you have a number of settlements that you have to place on a randomly selected board. The goal is to have the most gold at the end of the game. To achieve this, there is a trio of goals that are randomly selected at the start. These goals define how you can make gold. Whether it's have a number of settlements in a row or have the biggest cluster of settlements, each game is completely different. You place your settlements in locations as defined by a terrain card that you get every turn. There is also specific structures that you can place your settlements besides to give you bonuses. For example if you build a settlement beside a henge, you take the henge tile and can now build an additional settlement on a piece of terrain that's the same as your terrain card.  

The components are really nice, the rules are simple and layed out nicely. You can play a game in anywhere from 30-45 minutes depending on how many players are playing.

My friend also picked up a couple games at Mission Fun & Games yesterday and we tried those out . First is The Walking Dead from Z-Man games.
We had played the Walkind Dead Board Game from Cryptozoic Entertainment and we hoped this game was much better. Don't get the Cryptozoic game (which is based on the show), as it's really bad and is a lesson in futility. This version is based on the comic book and is considerably better.

The goal is to scout 3 locations. Sounds easy.  As you move around, you go to locations to acquire gas, food and ammo. When you get to these locations you have encounters. Encounters can be anything from fighting zombies to rolling to see if you find food. There's tons of encounters so it isn't super repetitive. The only downside is some of the encounters are not very clear what you have to do. The zombies don't roam the board, they slowly build up wherever you moved from so eventually they can become a problem.

The components are pretty decent and the graphics are right from the comic. This game can be played in about an hour.  And don't get the Cryptzoic version, it really is a piece is sh*t.

The second game my friend picked up was Lords of Waterdeep from Wizards of the Coast.
He had played the iPad version and was intrigued by it's worker placement mechanic.  In this game you are a lord in the city of Waterdeep. Your goal is to acquire adventurers to complete quests for you. You start the game with a number of meeple 'agents'. You place these agents in various locations throughout the city to acquire adventurers, new quests, gold, construct buildings and acquire Intrigue cards.

Each quest requires a number of adventurers and/or gold to complete. Adventurers come in 4 flavours: clerics, fighters, wizards and rogues.  When you complete a quest you get a number of victory points and maybe some other benefit.  When you construct buildings, anybody can use the building but the owner receives a slight payoff when someone does use it. The Intrigue cards give you a number of ways to acquire more resources or gold, but their main use is to attack other players.  

When you pull the game out of the box there's lots of pieces and it may look as if it's reasonably complicated but on the contrary, it's ridiculously easy. The components are pretty good although the cards could probably be a thicker card stock. We played with only 2 players but it can be played with up to 5 players. With only 2 players we didn't have too much of a problem with meeple placement.  I can see how a 4-5 player game would be very tense as players vie for the few spots available. The game as it was our first time probably took roughly an hour and a half.

I mentioned the quality of the card stock above. My friend also had picked up Risk from Hasbro (owner of Wizards of the Coast), pictured below.
The quality of the cards was really not very good and the figures for you troops were really tiny.  The board was nice but the rest was rather poor. Hasbro could learn a lesson or two from Fantasy Flight on quality of game components.

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