Updated: Sep 19, 2019
Welcome to a new segment I’m calling Weekend Warrior. Most of my gaming takes place on Friday-Sunday as I spend my weekdays away from my regular group, so when I come home I try to cram in as much as possible. In this segment I’m going to try and give little mini-reviews, play sessions or just highlights of my weekend gaming.
A lot of the games I played over the weekend were new to me, so I’ll throw in some first impressions. I also played one prototype, which I won’t talk about in detail but it’s worth mentioning
As occasionally happens in my gaming life I become obsessed by a game and it’s all I read about and can’t wait to get it to the table. Such a thing happened recently with Warhammer Diskwars. I, like many others, ignored this game on release thinking that the movement system sounded dumb. Diskwars is a simplified war game, which uses Disks as units, which move by flipping end over end. If you can land your disk on your opponents disks they are pinned and a fight will occur.
I recently found a copy of the game for less than half price and given that it was now OOP i figured it might be worth a punt, so I bought it. While I waited for it to arrive I began to read the reviews and shortly thereafter I sought out the two expansions and another copy of the core set to double up on Terrain and rare units. It’s fair to say I fell hard for this game.
So, I was already pretty deep in the hole by the time I actually got the game to the table. I had already played a couple of test games to get the mechanics locked in my head and it was time to play against an actual opponent. I lost the opening battle, playing with the training rules, but after that I won the next two. We played Orcs vs Empire and then Orcs vs Dwarves. I switched up my units between battles wanting to try out the different options. This I think is the beauty of this game, every unit is a cardboard disk and every army is a collection of disks. You get 4 fully playable armies right there in the core box and plenty of options for engaging game play. Even with both expansions, that's 6 armies and 4 ally regiments, the whole thing still fits in a rucksack, try doing that with a miniatures game!
I picked this tiny game up on Kickstarter last year, it’s a small formfactor worker placement game that takes 10 minutes to play. I was sceptical about this given that most worker placement games take an hour but the whole package was $12 including shipping so I figured it was worth a shot.
I can confirm that the game does indeed play in 10 minutes and that it is mechanically sound and quite fun to play. My main problem is actually the game length itself. Mint Works has a civ light theme, you’re building a little town with gardens and factories and garbage dumps. You’re building a little engine, trying to balance getting VPs over increasing resource production. However, before you can even blink the game is over, your mini engine had bare begun to rev before you’re packing the game back into the little mint tin it comes in.
Sure, you can play it again and again and when you’re done with it it fits in your pocket, I just wish it lasted a little bit longer. However, for what it is Mint Works is a great little game.
Legendary - Dr Doom & Arnim Zola
363 plays in and Legendary is still the family favourite game. This weekend we faced off against Doctor Doom, who was trying to unmask the superheroes. We pantsed Doom with one Hero still to go (Doom would have won if he’d unmasked four heroes). Zola on the other hand gave us more of a challenge as he started a Civil War, bringing with him 3 other Masterminds, Evil Deadpool, Red Skull and Doctor Strange. Strange was the first to go, but the other three were a nasty bunch, each Masterstrike saw us ko-ing cards, discarding cards and gaining wounds. This left us facing four turns with often little more than a couple of basic fight or recruit card in our hands.
Still we turned it around with the help of Green Goblin whose ability to reclaim all his discarded cards allowed my little brother to get some serious attack power and between us we wiped out Zola and put an end to his shenanigans.
Sushi Go Party
Sushi Go Party has become my go to filler game of choice. The original Sushi Go was a great little game. You get dealt a hand of cards, you choose one you pass the rest to your left. When the cards run out you score points based on what you chose. It’s bright and colourful and fun. Sushi Go Party however takes all that and expands the game to include a huge array of variety and just to be clear, Party is a new version of the base game and not an expansion. Party provides dozens of variations and really helps make Sushi Go a wonderfully diverse experience.
A Place in the Sun - Preview
Vermin Games who are based in Bulgaria shipped me a preview copy of their upcoming KS, A Place in the Sun which I tried out this weekend. We played Humans vs Bugs and the first game was a drag. It went on for nearly three hours and we put it down to the fact that we were learning the game. We tried it again last night and completed 4 more games in about 2 hours (30 mins each) so hopefully it was just an anomaly.
I’ll be posting a full preview soon but A Place In The Sun is an asymmetrical card game where you are attempting to be the last player standing. Each player has a dial which controls the number of cards they can play per turn and a lot of the game revolves around manipulating that dial. For example, the Humans have amazingly powerful cards, but they also have cards which will hurt them. Controlling your dial means you can discard the hurtful cards but at the expense of not being able to play as many cards this turn.
A Place in the Sun definitely has a good game underneath the surface but there are a couple of barriers to entry. The first is the rulebook which still needs a lot of work and clarification but the second and by far the biggest is the asymmetry. Each deck plays very differently, Humans have to manage their political situation in order to stay safe from bad events. The bugs need to manage their population level, spawning new bugs generates health, while increasing your defenses lowers your card draw for subsequent turns. If you overpopulate you also reduce your card draw so knowing when and how to play cards and manipulate your dial is crucial to your strategy.
The chances of a new player picking this game up on their first play through is next to zero, the interplay between the deck and the dial is a fine art and the iconography can be a bit overwhelming. However I definitely plan to give this game a lot more chances as I think it could be really good.
Whoa is Hanabi hard! This little card game retails for less than £10 but it won the Spiel des Jahres a few years back. It was game night this weekend and we were doing Co-op Games. Initially I had planned to run Fuse but with the unfortunate incident at the weekend I decided instead Hanabi was a better choice.
In Hanabi you are simply trying to play cards from 5 suits to the table in order of 1-5. Here’s the problem, you can’t see your own hand. You must rely on helpful clues given by your friends as to what the contents of your hand are. The number of potential clues that can be given is limited so you need to make best use of your clues. The information you give and the timing of that information is vital.
Hanabi can be hugely frustrating as you are often trying to infer information. For example, if I told you “You have 1 blue card”, it’s probably because I want you to play it next. However because you can’t explain your reasoning behind your clues you can only hope that the other players understood!
Pandemic Legacy Season 1 - Spoiler Free
Our Group is playing Pandemic Legacy in real time. So we just completed the month of May with an easy victory. So easy in fact that our players were worried we might have played something wrong. However, I think we just had some good luck. Due to our upgrades we now have a very easy to cure Blue disease, which was cured and eradicated early on. We also had a favourable spread of starting cities and we didn’t have multiple epidemics in quick succession.
This leaves us in a really good place going into June after the horror was April. What I do feel about the legacy system is that I’d like a little bit more time in each month to play. Each month introduces new rules/components, it’s like adding a mini expansion every month. But you get one, maybe two games to play with that mini expansion before you have to open up the new one and add that in. The game is growing quickly but I feel like maybe you don’t get as much time to enjoy it as you should.
Space Hulk Death Angel
Continuing my mini-reviews of Games Workshop Games you can no longer buy (Thanks for taunting us Chris!) we move on to Space Hulk Death Angel. Now this is a game you really need to play a couple of times before you really get it Each player takes control of a pair of Space Marines. Each turn you can take one of three actions, move, shoot or support. Aliens known as Genestealers are attack the ship. You must eliminate the alien menace and reach the final room in order to escape or die trying.
I like Death Angel, I like the interplay of the abilities, I like the sudden nature of the deaths, some against odds you should have survived, while others happen in epic scrums where the best you can hope for is to take some of the bastards with you!
All of that said I think this one failed entirely with the group. With five players you can be waiting a long time for your turn which could be something as simple as rolling a dice or placing a token. I think once all the players are familiar with the game it would go faster although the tactical discussions would probably go on longer. Overall I think the game probably plays best with two or four which offers the best compromise between time and actions.
Flashpoint Fire Rescue
Our final game night game was Flash Point Fire Rescue, which has hit the table at lot since I picked it up two years ago. This time we were on the Submarine which features a difficult board (Sidenote: Why was this expansion not called Smoke on the Water? Missed Opportunity). There are three pieces of equipment which, if destroyed, end the game. The board is also long and thin, meaning to get from one end to the other takes precious time you simply don’t have. In a further twist of cruelty, when you rescue victims you take them to the infirmary but they are not removed from the board. If the infirmary catches fire then the victims are all lost!
We worked well, with the exception of our main firefighter who would occasionally wander off instead of focusing on putting out the fire. Fortunately the Fire Chief managed to wrangle him back in line. However, after only rescuing 4 people and a cat the engine exploded and we all drowned!
Until next time, have fun gaming and do let us know in the comments what games you enjoyed this bank holiday weekend!