Monday, March 10, 2014

When Eric's Away, There's Still Much to be Played

To commemorate Eric's departure from the world, I mean, from Singapore, haha :P , I held a games day at my place for a group of somewhat newbies. They have played at my place once ( possibly twice ) before, but that must have been in a span of within a year perhaps.
Anyway, games day is still on! With or without the joyous presence of Mr Eric. :)


There was supposed to be 6 of us, but one bailed due to work and one came earlier than expected when I went out for an errand, so she went off to do her own errand and thus we started with 4. How weird is that? Anyway, I was secretly joyous about having 4 and 5 rather than 6. Ssssh. Tell no one. 

First game was Origin. It's basically a quick game of stuff collection (it would be a bit of a stretch to call it set collection) and hidden objectives. I played this at Eric's and liked it enough to buy it off him. 
It plays quick and has a very friendly racing vibe to it. Each turn you can expand, or move your tribe, or swap places with others, all this so that you can collect point tokens on the board and tech tokens to use cards or for greater points scoring. There are cards that let you use constant or one time abilities and also objectives for you to complete. 

Each turn is basically about how you can increase your points or put yourself in a position to finish objective cards or perhaps some points denial. Nothing really ground breaking or different, but for some strange reason I am quite taken by it. I think it's cos it's newbie friendly, yet not something that is extremely boring for me to not want to play. We all enjoyed it and I got thoroughly beaten. Came in third and I was actually trying. Hmmm. 

Also, none of my friends thought the tribe tokens were buttplugs or some form of dirty toy. Time for me to get my mind checked. :l

Super Rhino

Our fifth and final player came so I took out Eric's copy of Super Rhino.
I really like this game quite a bit. When I saw Eric's photos of it I was certain it would be a game I will enjoy. I guess I still know myself quite well. Haha
We had a blast with this. Our group of 5 was 2 males and 3 females. The ladies were extremely nervous as the tower got taller. I think guys don't have such a feeling, maybe we just can't wait to see it fall down in pieces. Haha. One of my friends is in the early stages of pregnancy, I was quite afraid that she was getting too excited for her own good. Haha. I'm quite nervous around pregnant people. I'm not a klutz but I think I'm the kind of person that when I finally do something klutzy it will be at the wrong moment in time. Best not to put myself in such situations. :l

Anyway, we did really well despite the presence of wind through my side door. It got to about ten stories high and the girl who brought it all crumbling down was showing signs of Parkinson's throughout (no offense to those who actually do have it). She was a wreck. Haha. She actually jumped up and down when she nearly dropped rhino on the card instead of placing it. Take a chill pill girl. We would have definitely played it again if there weren't so many new games to explore. I can see this coming back to the table the next time they come over. 

Unpublished Prototype

I played a game that was sent to me for an opinion and perhaps a review if I can get enough plays of it. It's a push your luck style game of bank looting. I didn't get any photos in cos I was trying to get a good feel of the game. Initial opinions is good from my newbie friends, they liked the theme and the simplicity but they did say it felt longer than it should have been (I concur). I on the other hand feel some small issues with it, perhaps too much take that each round apwhcih cause a delay in the game or some rather frustrating moments. Would love to give it a go again and see if it gets better with experience. It's not a bad game, but could use some polish. Keep a lookout for further opinions and perhaps a preview/review!

Dungeon Guilds

Next up was a game of dungeon guilds. Nothing screams fun like the presence of chibi girls! Haha. 
Some people might be turned off by the art style but it's gone over fine with all the people I have played it with. Not sure if it's cos we are Asians? 
Anyway, dungeon guilds is a push your luck + negotiation game. Players try to amass the largest amount of money by looting rooms in a dungeon. Teamwork is required to ensure the successful slaying of the monsters and also to perhaps throw a wench into the plans of others. 

Through clever card play, players will either be really successful in room raiding, or intentionally unsuccessful so that all the rooms after the unsuccessful room will also fail automatically. The game is quick but there are still important decisions to be made. It is entirely possible to be successful in nearly all the rooms, but is that what you really want to do? Haha
I like it best when players are trying to throw others into absolute and utter misery. :P
I spent a good portion of the game throwing the kitchen sink into the plans of my friends, and it was hugely entertaining. :)
The game doesn't outstay it's welcome and provides much laughter in the process. Keep a lookout for a review soon! 

Sushi Go!

Up next was Sushi Go!
Sushi go! is a really fun drafting and set collection game. The art is beautiful and the mechanics very seamless and easy to understand. The game was up and done before we all knew it. We played using the variant I introduce for all my games of Sushi go! ( you can find it in one of my fix'it posts on our website ).

In Sushi go!, players draft ( take one card, pass the rest, rinse and repeat ) a certain number of cards depending on the player count. Through this process of drafting players are trying to collect sets that score points in a different number of ways. Some require you to collect pairs or sets of 3s, while others want you to simply have more than everyone else on the table. You do this for 3 rounds, and the player with the most points thereafter is the winner. 

Sushi go! is hugely entertaining as the cards passed to you can really mess with your plans or could just be absolute stinkers. I once received a hand of 5 dumplings and I guess there wasn't really much of a choice for me. But for such simplicity, it's amazing how much I enjoy this game. It doesn't require you to do much thinking, you just have to decide what you want to do and stick with it, bit for some strangest of reasons, I like the collecting of these adorable sushi pieces. I will eat you even if you smile at me! Haha
But yeah, I think it's just my love affair with set collection in games. I see, I want, I take! Thank you very much. Well, a poor last round ( above ), cost me the game. Scores were surprisingly tight at 32, 31, 30 and 27. 


If you have been following my posts, you will know how I feel about gringo, I did a review not too long ago. Well, this was our last 5 player game before one of my friends had to leave for a dinner appointment. Gringo is simply a retheme of skull & roses, a GREAT retheme if you ask me. Much nicer artwork and much more family friendly. :)

I love gringo a lot and it's quickly becoming my go to game for big groups. It can play up to 7 with the polar bear expansion. A sublime bluffing game that I will recommend to anyone who has friends. Haha
I started off well with a win in turn 1, but I couldn't captialize on it and didn't take home the win. This went down well with all and my normally risk adverse friend was surprisingly quite a high bidder. Haha. She didn't win but I was genuinely surprised by how she opened up to the dynamics of the game. 

Little Prince: Make Me A Planet

The remaining 4 of us weren't hungry so we jumped straight into little prince. 
The 4 of us were basically one married couple, myself and a female friend. It started off very normally, seeing who needed what and some guarding through my skills of persuasion. But as you can guess by now, I mentioned one of them was a married couple for a reason. Haha. It came to a point where they were watching each other's back. Helping and aiding when necessary. I was slightly troubled by the lack of subtleness in what they were doing, so I did what I always do, be a total tool. Haha. :P

I got myself into a position whereby I could influence what the married couple could do to each other. I basically convinced my female friend to choose me after she was done ( when she was first player ), so instead of choosing a tile that would benefit me, I decided to have some fun and give the couple tiles that hurt both of them in different measure, and watch the free fireworks take place. Haha
There were certain instances when a particular tile would damage both of them, and it was a matter of, do you take it and hurt yourself so that you can save your partner? Or do you pass it on and say sorry. Haha. I'm such a jerk. And well, you can see who loves who more? :P
It was hilarious. Haha. I was having too much fun at their expense. But as a disclaimer, I have known them for the longest time, and we are cell group members, so I knew they would take it in their stride. :)
It was highly entertaining. And I will say the husband did the right thing. Good for him. I would have done the same ( tank it for your wife's benefit ). As they say, happy wife, happy life. :)

I managed to net the win regardless, a focus on stars and rose gave me a comfortable win. I managed to juggle the rose quite well I would say, I have always found it difficult but the right tiles at the right time helped me to manipulate my game state enough to leave me standing with but a single rose. Now, who can I give it to? Haha. 

The Castles of Burgundy

Well, with the ideal compliment of 4 players, I decided to see how far I could take things and whipped out the castles of burgundy. I was very hesitant initially but decided, heck, the worst that could happen is that we stop after round A. The rules explanation went pretty well, managed to get them to follow the iconography for the buildings and remember the flow of the game. So we dove head in!

So, it was the one experienced player - me, versus 3 absolute newbies to medium weight euro games. A stroll in the park right? Like, what could possibly go wrong? EVERYTHING. 
I had my behind handed to me on a silver hexagonal platter. Here I am, being cocky thinking I could afford to go last each turn, build up at my leisurely pace since they probably wouldn't know what they were doing. I was so mistaken. Granted, I did help them with their initial turns for round A, and pushed them to rethink certain actions they wanted to take and make them reconsider another better option, but most of the work was their own plans and execution. 

I didn't managed to score any points until the end of round A. I had 3 wasted turns discarding tiles I didn't want ( due to poor decision making ), and I chose a poor path of execution for my own player board ( see above ). It was my most disastrous play of castles ever. The horrors! I didn't even end up second, I was a distant third. Winner had 269, second place 225, myself 220, and the last player 190. I was soooo far away. By the start of round D I knew she had the game in the bag and I was playing for pittance. 

The whole game took 2hrs 50mins plus explanations, one heck of a long game. One of the players had a serious case of AP. The thing about castles I find, is that the time taken by an experience player and a not experience player is significantly different. That can be said for most games but I think more so for castles. My average turn was probably 30secs tops, but the others were taking upwards of 2mins each. Hopefully we can trim that down by having more plays in the future. They really enjoyed it but it took a lot out of them. And when I say a lot, I mean like, you could see they were deflated after that one session of castles. Haha. Well, it was fun and I'm glad I had the courage to take it out despite my initial reluctance. :)


After that thoroughly long & mind numbing ( for them ) session of castles, the ladies requested for a mindless game. Well, that opened the door for none other than Coconuts!
We played 2 games of this and for those who don't know what it is, its a simple dexterity game where each player uses a Monkey Catapult to shoot coconuts into cups. Yes, you can't make this up.

Out first game was surprisingly long, we were absolutely horrible at chucking nuts. It ended when all the coconuts were gone and I lost with my last coconut filled cup getting stolen at the last shot.
The second game went much faster, possibly due to our "warm up" game. I nailed the win with the red cup and yellow cup combo. All hail your new monkey king!

I'm still loving Coconuts a lot, but am starting to feel that the special cards are rather pointless. We seldom use them in the flurry of the shooting and they are mostly reserved to stop the leader from trying to win the game. So it seems like its just there to prolong the game and make the leader suffer while giving others a chance to steal cups from him/her. I guess its a good catchup mechanism, but for such a silly and chaotic game, I think prolonging it feels redundant when you can just play another round. I might play without the cards in the future. Will give it some thought.

Dungeon of Mandom

The last game for the day was a double session of Dungeon of Mandom.
I have also reviewed this game previously and nothing has changed since then. A very very enjoyable push your luck come bluffing game. The first game was over quickly when we let the other guy go scot free in 2 successive dungeon delves that were easily handled by the torch and cup combination

The second game was quite a nail biter. 3 of them sat on one win each, and myself and another girl were on one wound each. This game took much longer at around 30mins. But it was won by the same guy with a very tricky dungeon delve that he won by the skin of his teeth. The cup turned out to be the most valuable treasure that day, saving his skin in 3 of his 4 delves of victory. I ended the day with not a single successful dungeon delve. Haha. A weak adventurer is me. :(

We actually had another delve ( pictured above ) with no weapons but just the body armor. That was a tough tough decision to make. The delve was successful in the end but that was easily the most interesting round for the day. Its amazing how low the equipped items can go but yet everyone is still strongly considering the notion of going in.

I've played this game a heck of a lot of times already, but I still can't get over how much I enjoy this little gem. It's constantly in a battle with Gringo for the top spot ( or maybe second spot ) on my list of best bluffing games. Who will emerge victorious? Only time will tell.

Well, that was my first weekend of games with Eric not around.
A very successful day of games I would say. We played almost 9 hours without any break except for a quick pizza dinner. I wasn't expecting my newbie friends to last 9 hours but they came through pretty well. I think there is a possibility to level them up a bit more, well, maybe 2 of them, haha, 1 of them needs some remedial training. Reduce AP, increase productivity. :P



  1. How'd you get a copy of Dungeon guilds?

  2. Hi Will

    You can try to contact David at moaideas@gmail.com
    Not sure if he still has copies but that's where I got my copy from

    If you do contact him, do say Jonathan from push your luck podcast sent you

    Thanks !

  3. Wow! 9 hours of gaming, how I wish I can afford that kind of a luxury (without being brain dead at the end of it)! Well done!

    1. Haha, well, they were all mostly lighter affairs. so not much brain burn there. :P
      My friends were drained by then but i think its because they are not used to hours upon hours of gaming. Haha.

      I was still hyped and wanted to see if i could teach them something like Trajan or Legendary. next time perhaps

  4. Wow ........ this must be seriously quite a fun fill day! ........ But I think you will probably tired out all the new players with Trajan ......... Lengendary is probably a better choice.