Updated: Sep 19, 2019
Lots of games this weekend including our monthly Game Night.
TMNT: Shadows of the Past
Continuing our foray into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe my friend and I took on Adventure 4 in Book 1. The Turtles had to get across the map and destroy a shipment before the foot clan could put it to bad use.
I lost, through poor planning and to some extent bad card draw. My spawn points were blocked up with minis I couldn’t move, thus preventing me from spawning. Additionally I should have created a choke point around the doorway in the middle of the map and held the turtles there, but instead I allowed them into the back room where the shipment was being held.
After Leo dealt a deadly blow to Alopex I struggled to keep the other teenage mutants away from the precious cargo.
Lord of the Rings: The Steward’s Fear
The first adventure in the Against the Shadows Cycle, the Steward's Fear is a pain in the ass. All the enemies are stripped out of the deck and placed in their own underworld deck. This means that the adventure deck is full of locations and treachery cards making it easy to be buried by locations or painfully battered by treachery. Worse still when you clear a location it spawns enemies all of which feature awful “When engaged” effects.
Add to that the fact that the quests themselves cannot be cleared simply by making progress but actually require you to clear active locations or plots and you’re in for a tough game. You need plenty of willpower plus the ability to clear locations out of the staging area. Having some oblative allies can be helpful but they can’t be relied upon not to stab you in the back or be eliminated by the turn of a card. This means you’ll need to be able to hold back some heroes for defending and attacking.
This is like trying to tap your head and rub your stomach at the same time. I was running a Leadership Deck while my friend was running a Spirit/Lore Deck. After several failed attempts we retooled, with me taking an experimental build using Elrond, Aragorn and Hirluin. With this build I was able to play cheap outlands allies from any sphere by paying for them with Elrond and Hirluin, while Aragorn was able to quest but still ready himself for combat later.
Finally, after one more restart our decks came together and we were able to smash our way through the quest with a single turn remaining!
City of Zombies
Continuing my little brother’s exploration of Numbers we played City of Zombies again this weekend. We added in the Level 2 Zombies and we were able to beat the game easily. Andrew’s counting skills are improving and he is finally beginning to understand the concept of subtraction. I think he has an over reliance on his abacus so rather than learning 2 + 3 is 5, he just pushes the beads on his abacus to find out the answer.
Ah Stak Bots, my favourite form of stackable robots. For those who don’t know, Tom Norfolk, who designed Stak Bots, is a good friend of the blog and we love his games.
This time we played it simply to pass the time while we waited for the game night crew to rock up. Even just with the base game Stak Bots is an enjoyable and highly replayable experience. We played two-stak mode which allows for a lot more options and tactics as the game unfolds. I’m really looking forward to Tom releasing his variants expansion which should hopefully be coming either this year or next year which will explode the replayability of this game to disproportionate levels!
So, the first game night game was Stone Age. I haven't taught this one for over five years and it wasn’t until I sat down to explain it that I realised just how hard that was going to be. Stone Age is a beautiful game and it is a wonderful experience, however the scoring is not straightforward. There are two scoring methods in Stone Age, in game scoring via building huts and end game scoring via the cards.
In order to play the game with any amount of strategy you need to understand the end game scoring, which means, right off the bat, you need to explain the cards. There are two types of cards, Green Cards and Worker Cards. The Green Cards simply sqaure themselves for points, so depending on how many unique green cards you have you score 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 48 or 64 points. Then the Worker Cards have 4 different workers on them that score points by multiplying themselves by various in game metrics (meeples, food track, tools and huts).
All of this is rather a lot of information to receive at the start of the game so I made sure to keep prompting throughout the game and offering strategy tips where I could. I was beginning to pull ahead towards the end of the game, building up my multipliers, but it wasn’t to be, one of the other players accelerated the end of the game by buying the last hut and leaving me trailing by a handful of points.
New York 1901
New York 1901 was a new game to me this weekend. I have to say, right off the bat, that it is a gorgeous presentation. The box insert, the art, the graphic design are all beautiful. The gameplay is simple and elegant, perhaps a little too simple, but I can see this one getting super cutthroat as players become more familiar with the game. Blue Orange really smashed this one out of the park.
Settlers of Catan: Harbour Master
We closed out Game Night with two games of Catan, I won both but it was a close run thing. I decided to introduce the concept of Harbour Master, which bumps the game up to an 11 point victory limit, but awards 2 points to the player with the most harbours. Incidentally I had Harbour Master in both games. The first game was a fairly straight forward one, no over or under abundance of things, while the second game featured a severe lack of wood. My foresight in staking a claim on the only decent wood producing hex and the two for one wood port allowed me to take Longest Road in the closing seconds of the game for a tight victory.
The obligatory game of Legendary saw us going up against Nimrod in an Epic Superhero Civil War. Nimrod proved tricky, defeating us with ease the first go around. The Scheme simply KO’d heroes and the players would lose when the hero deck ran out. Nimrod himself requires you not only to have 6 Fight in order to attack him, but also 6 recruit. For this Captain Britain proved to be a godsend as we were using heroes from 5 different teams.
With only a little time left on Sunday we broke out Forbidden Island and won one lost one. Forbidden Island is a nice, fast co-op with beautiful artwork and high production values.
With just five minutes remaining we broke out Timeline and you can read my thoughts on that game right here.