Galeforce 9 gets the Dune license

Remember back when Fantasy Flight was an independent company and tried to go for the Dune license to make games and could not do it– instead making REX?   While the engine to REX is the old DUNE board game one, the space kittys and frogs and stuff are a far, far cry from the Sardakar and Fremen of DUNE.

Out of print for close to 40 years now, Avalon Hill’s Dune is one of the best asymmetrical board game experiences you can have and holds up fantastically even today.  We played it so many times that we ran through the entire set of player aid pads that came in the box and had to start recycling!

This week it was announced that Galeforce 9 got the license to Dune and will be making board games with it.  Great news as they have done some excellent work recently with Sons of Anarchy (still real cheap on Amazon!) and succeeded there DESPITE the game being a licensed property.

Yet the biggest question is there: will Galeforce 9 be able to or choose to resurrect one of the best board games ever created?  Will they be working with the original designers (the Cosmic Encounter guys)?  Or will they try to make a totally different (and likely inferior) game to the original AH Dune?

Dungeon Degenerates new expansion

While I haven’t played enough games of it to write a review (I never review a game I haven’t played at least 10 times unless it’s like Terrible Swift Sword or Here I Stand which usually can only be played a few times in a lifetime due to length), I’ve enjoyed the sessions of Dungeon Degenerates quite a bit and they are out with their first expansion on Kickstarter.    35$ and look at the cover art…

And another couple kickstarters…

Brutal!  Too many….

First one I can’t vouch for as a game, but it LOOKS good.  (Remember Dungeon Degenerates? that was well worth the kickstarter price based on the art alone, and was a solid game to boot!).  DEUS LO VULT.  

this one is around 50$ shipped so it’s not a bankbreaker like the CMON ones…

The second one is a no brainer.  Steve Jackson got the license back for “The Fantasy Trip” after many years as an out of print microgame and started a kickstarter to bring it back into print.  30$.

Remember these in the hobby shops back in the day? This is it.

MAAAAT 2018

Today was maat’s birthday.  We played a bunch of games at 42 Alehouse last night (well, 3) including a massive 6 player game of RISING SUN which was chaos incarnate.

Then we busted out the STUDY IN EMERALD and it was pure gold. The first game was a grind with two restorationists and three loyalists, but the second game saw Cthulhu destroy London, destroying all of Shawn’s agents and ending the game (as he was a restorationist), and yet he still won on points!  Pure gold.

We love you matt even though you take too long to take your damn turns.

March 2018: I loathe most of the top 10 games on BoardGamegeek

Boardgamegeek has a ranking of games that’s been around for a long time.  During living memory, Twilight Struggle has been the top game with the usual suspects filling out the other slots (Brass, Agricola, Power Grid, Caylus, etc.).

I had a peek at the top 10 games today and of the games I’ve played or know enough about, all of them are absolutely terrible.  Not only that, Cosmic Encounter has dropped out of the top 100 games which indicates to me that something has gone very, very wrong with the BGG algorithm (all of the top 10 games are from 2012 or later except for one).

1: Gloomhaven

This solves a problem for many gamers without game masters to play a real RPG or to avoid continuing to play with a group’s really awful GM, but after two excruciating plays of this, I can say I hated every moment of this game, from the set up to the leveling up to the combat.  Like Mage Knight, everything about this one stinks.

FAR Better games:  Descent, The Others, Massive Darkness, Dead of Winter, Heroquest, Advanced Heroquest, Talisman

2: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

Legacy games (where the game changes forever as you play) are great fun, Pandemic is not.  What Pandemic is, unfortunately, is a solo game where one player plays against the board like CHAINSAW WARRIOR, except it pretends to be coop instead of like CHAINSAW WARRIOR, it’s supposed to be solo.  All the other players are not only superfluous, but hamper attempts to win the game.   Needless to say, Pandemic is the ultimate quarterbacker game.  No thank you.

FAR better games:  The Others, Dead of Winter, Descent, A Study in Emerald

3: Through the Ages

Never played, can’t comment.

4: Twilight Struggle

This is a good game, but it’s 2 player and a bit programmed.  I’ve only played it once and while I would play it again, the subject matter isn’t all that interesting to me.  I was surprised this stayed on the top of the pack for so long, and I’m surprised it’s number 4 at this point.

Somewhat better games: MTG, Pokemon CCG, Seasons, Advanced Squad Leader

5:  Terraforming Mars

Never played, can’t comment

6: Star Wars: Rebellion

This is a lot like Twilight Struggle and is probably a good 2 player game.  I watched a multiplayer game being played though and it looked painful to me.  Very painful.  It was simply a quarterback on both sides and one of the players on each side were not needed at all, and they knew it.

Better games:  Pericles, Eclipse, Fief, All the Quartermaster General games.

7: Terra Mystica

Played this once and out of my mouth came ‘never again.’  This is like an accountants Fantasy Empire game, a game that is so dry in play that it’s akin to getting an I.V. of gin for a few hours, or a gin suppository.   This is by far the worst game in the top 10. So dry, so tedious, so boring.

Way better games: everything else in the top 300 games on BGG is better than this and probably a few hundred games sub 300 as well.

8: Scythe

Another game I’ve had to sit through a few times in mental pain and anguish.  This looks like a Euro/Ameritrash mash up, but it’s not AT ALL.  It is a garbage euro with nice pieces and cool art.  I know a lot of people that talk about how they love this game, but then does it hit the table?  Very rarely because it’s just not very good.  This company’s previous game (Euphoria) is pretty solid, so I don’t know why they went so wrong with this one.  There’s just so little interaction for what this game looks like, it’s sad.

Better Games:  Eclipse, Nexus Ops, Blood Rage, Rising Sun, Fief, Struggle of Empires and even Twilight Imperium 2nd edition, Caylus, many others.

9: Great Western Trail

Haven’t played, can’t comment.  I want to play this one though!

10: 7 Wonders Duel

Another 2 player game in the top 10.  This is a good game, fun, fast to play but with a really messy and confusing set up.  Is this the 10th best board game every made?  Nope.   I can see why this one ranks high though.

Slightly better games:  Netrunner, MTG, Seasons

I bet we see only games released in the last 5 years in the top 10 going forward because I think that’s what the algorithm is built off of.

A Study in Emerald Sequel: AuZtralia!

A Study in Emerald has quickly become one of my favorite games.  It’s combination of solid deck building and treachery just warms my cockles!

After the events in A Study In Emerald, Northern Europe is in ashes and the peoples need to rebuild civilization in Australia with trains and stuff and of course, the remaining Old Ones waking up.   Auztralia also by Martin Wallace, looks great and will be good for a twofer Saturday of aSiE.  It’s not out yet but should be in 2018!

DIRGIBLES

Sons of Anarchy board game

I was looking at Blood Rage’s successor: Godfather by CMON. Area control, destruction of business and gangsters, etc. Seems great but shit man it doesn’t fit the theme well. The 5 families in the movies had issues from time to time, but to constantly be in conflict would have sunk them all very quickly, especially since the gangs of New York had shrunk to a minuscule amount compared to the era of the Dead Rabbits and Native Americans who numbered in the thousands.  I was thinking it would need to be FAR closer to something like Republic of Rome or Dead of Winter, where you work together, have your own goals, but also have serous external threats that could sink everyone in the game. If the Sicilians wiped themselves out like portrayed in the Godfather game, we’d be watching ‘mafia’ shows centered around the Irish gangsters, Polish, Jews or Greeks or any of the post WW1 immigrant groups instead.

That said, if you’ve looked at Godfather and are interested in that type of game MUCH cheaper: have a look at Sons of Anarchy.  14$ on Amazon, it’s a steal currently (which probably won’t last) and after a single play so far, I can say it’s well worth that measly amount.  The components are solid, nothing felt cheap either in the plastic and none of the sturdy cardboard was de-laminated at all.

More importantly, the gameplay is smooth and gives interesting choices for the players.  You start with a gang of prospects and full gang members and have a goal of having the most cash at the end of six turns (cash is analogous to glory in Blood Rage except you can spend it).  The game has locations, randomized at the beginning of the game, that the gangs can exploit for guns or cash or contraband, but you have to be the only gang present to do so.  If other gangs are present you can bribe them to move out or duke it out on the streets.   Fighting can be as tame as just a barfight style beatdown, or the guns can come out which can, at the right moment, nearly wipe out an opposing (or even both gangs).  You have to balance your muscle and economy at all times, and attempt to get an economic engine going of areas that you persistently control.

Like Cosmic Encounter, each of the five gangs in the game break the rules in some way, such as not having to pay to move gang members to other locations during a throw down, or bonuses when you are the first player in a round.

Despite the almost immediate dismissal of a board game based on a show or movie, Sons of Anarchy is a solid area control game and the theme works well, as the biker gangs aren’t as concerned with ‘business’ as the Sicilians of the Godfather game would be, so the catastrophic violence seems quite a bit more appropriate.  The price (right now) is certainly right.

Dungeon Degenerates!

I was one of the proud backers of this game TOTALLY ON THE ART ALONE and did so with no regrets.  However,  we have here an  interesting game on our hands in addition to being a beautiful one!  The art is basically gamer porn if you love Aly Morrison and John Blanche stuff from GW of old.  Chaos Marauders feels like a strong influence for the art style, both ooze theme, but this shit goes to 11 in metal.

If I was to compare this game to anything I would say it’s like a coop version of Tom Wham’s Search for the Emperor’s Treasure with a much darker backdrop and a bit more complexity in a few areas.   If you’ve never played SFtET that’s OK, it should become obvious what type of game this is with a brief description.

You are a group of escaped prisoners from the city dungeon of Brutellburg in the province of Wurstriech.  Wurstreich is getting worse and more dangerous all the time. The party can choose to fulfill various missions (or not) as you run away from the law and various monsters.  These missions lead to other missions and then you have a long story arc for your party through the game. You level up(sort of) and buy new gear as well.

Glorious!

 

The rulebook is a bit daunting. I read through it as a PDF a while back but didn’t have the game in front of me so very little STUCK up inside the brain. I have given it a go solo and here are a few things to look for in your first play.

  1. Paths can be used, but you cannot fast travel (force march) on them until they are explored
  2. It’s very important to understand the threat / town level system for the game as it determines encounters (the meat of the game). Which spaces have their distinct threat level and which share with their territory is critical to note.
  3.  Roads and paths are ‘spaces’ so you draw a danger card every time you move on to one. (I know this seems obvious but…)
  4. Combat – note that most combats you are rolling 5 dice. 2 are defense, 2 are offense and one power die. It’s a straight forward system similar to Search for the Emperor’s Treasure.  There are LOTS of conditions and effects to track as well as ‘approach’ effects such as ambushing.
  5. The Danger cards are worth reading and re-reading about as they have some things that will seem odd at first.  the TAGGING of the main threat number is critical as that’s the deck you draw from.   At it’s most complex, it is an encounter (card) draw, plus an Epic monster, plus normal monsters that are NOT of the area you are in. You need to know how to match the threat level on the card to the threat level on the space or area you are in. This is the most complex thing in the game, so study it closely for faster play.
  6. You SPEND your XP when you rest and you SPEND your gold when you rest in a town area for loot.  Your XP does not accumulate to level you up, you level up by buying skills.
  7. Read and re read the hand of doom rules.

Tuesday night will be the first play through with people (though my kids may force my hand earlier) and I’ll post feelings then on more than just the presentation.

Last I want to say this.  I got Massive Darkness and this within a few weeks of each other.  Both are Co-op Explore/Kill/Loot/Mission games.  Dungeon Degenerates I actually set up and played immediately and will do so again asap.  Massive Darkness — I doubt it will get busted out even with the kids until Xmas or something.