One Pink Tank = Kick Ass!

The second game of Warhammer 40k went great. Our girl has wanted to play since we started playing with the older rules. She patiently waited for the new rules while painting her first tank and some Imperial Guardsmen. Our boy wanted to play a second game and I thought I would stay on the sidelines and teach. They didn’t have any of that, thus for our second game I joined our girl’s side because she had less units than our boy.

Less is a measurement made solely on the visual observation that she had 2 tanks and 15 guardsmen to his truk, dreadnaught, helicopter, and 30 orks. Less, for 40k, has a new measurement, which goes like this one pink tank = kick ass!

As I said above, our girl was learning the rules, which if you read yesterday’s post, you know I think are really easy to teach and learn. This game proved that. By the end of turn 2 she didn’t need reminders. The only help she needed from me was flipping through the index book for stats on her units and finding stats for the rocket launcher. My only nitpick to date, is that some weapons are not listed on data sheets, and are located in an appendix.

Back to the game, having learned from the last game, our boy clustered his orks together on one side of the table with the exception of his truk full of large orks. Our girl deployed her guard in a tall building with a clear line of sight. Her infantry transport parked near her main battle tank, all covering the center of the table. My five-man squad of assault marines covered the side of the table with the truk.

With little preamble, her infantry transport shot down his helicopter. His dreadnaught crushed her infantry transport, the troops inside bailed out, only to get slaughtered by a mob of orks. His truk died to my assault squad. The truk blew up, our boy rolled really well for the damage, killing all of his orks inside, except his warboss, and all of my marines.

I haven’t mentioned the tank in a main roll, because the tank didn’t kill any one thing. The tank was the frosting to her destruction cake. The tank got the killing shot on the squad of the grots, dreadnaught, and took the squad of orks down to 2 in one turn, and brought the warboss down to one health before the game ended. Our boy, once his dreadnaught and helicopter bit the dust could do little against the tank.

So what have we learned from our first two games with the new rules:

A unit can advance, which means they move farther, but cannot shot or charge. Not being able to charge does not mean that unit cannot engage in the fight phase. As long as the advancing unit is within 1″ of another unit fighting can happen.

Mortal wounds means no save. We gave everyone saves, they still died.

Morale failure can be brutal.

Re-rolls are very valuable.

Transports are good, but not great.

And finally, multiple ways to crack armor is a necessity, especially for orks. 🙂

I Captured Bob The Ork

Our first game of Shadow War Armageddon felt…odd. With the new rules around the corner, using a combination of new and old rules felt at times clunky. But there was more than that.

Ten orks vs 5-man Inquisition team. Our boy’s orks, armed to the teeth with melee weapons. My inquisition team armed to the teeth with ranged weapons. He likes to close and chop and I like to set up lanes of fire.

He set up a massive jungle covered factory complex for us to fight in. I would share pics, but for some unexplainable reason (I asked he had no reason), he set up his team directly across from mine, taking a 6 x 6 board and reducing it to 3 x 6. I suggested otherwise. I asked. And he smiled like he knew something I didn’t.

He did not.

Summing up the action, he walked for three turns. I ran for one and shot for two turns.  He had 3 orks down before he decided to run and then bottled out or ran away to preserve his team.

Not very actiony. In fact, most of our play time was spent consulting charts. Lots of charts. Charts to hit because with all of the modifiers to hit introduced both of us had to roll over 7 on a single six-sided die. Yes, roll a 7 or more on a die that stops at 6. How do you do this? First roll a six, then roll again looking for 4 or more. Problem: When you roll a 6 that figure has to make an ammunition check, fail the check and the weapon is useless for the rest of the game. So even if you hit, you had a chance of running out of ammunition. See what I mean by clunky?

So now that you hit someone, consult a chart to see if you can wound them. Eventually the chart will get memorized. Next roll to see if they save the wound. If they don’t roll to see what kind of wound. In 40k a wound is a wound. In Shadow War a wound can be hide, lay there and bleed, or out.

I know with more games under our belt this will become easier, but I couldn’t help feel and still feel that this could be streamlined to keep the action and reduce the amount of time rolling dice.

Post game is interesting. In the vein of a campaign, each player goes through some end game steps. Get your reward of cash, a skill, or some other stuff. Those wounded figures find out what happened to them by rolling on another chart that can lead to rolling on one last chart.

With all of the above everyone had fun. That is most important. Our boy lost to me, but only because he didn’t charge the whole way across the board and he knew it. He also had Bob the Ork (his name) captured by my team so he has a reason to get back at me. Meanwhile onlookers were interested enough that an Imperial Guard team was created afterwards.

Games We Play: Forbidden Stars

Forbidden Stars by Fantasy Flight Games, no longer sold by Fantasy Flight Games due to some licensing thing, is a really fun game to play.  Set in the Warhammer 40k universe, Forbidden Stars is a strategy game . There are four factions, Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Orks, and Eldar to choose from. The board is modular and scales in size based on the number of players.

Getting this out of the way, if you have played or looked at any Fantasy Flight Games game you know that the components are top notch, no deviation from that here. Everything from the board tiles, cards, and game pieces look great, durable, and make games more fun to play.

Getting this also out of the way, if you have played just about any Fantasy Flight Games board game they have given you two rulebooks. I find this BEYOND annoying. Put all of the information in ONE book! I cannot stand having a rule book and a reference book, especially when the reference book has DETAILED information that should be in the rulebook. Why should the detailed information be in the rule book, because when looking up the rules I expect to find them in the rules and when I don’t it does not naturally occur to me to flip through a reference book. In other words, I would rather have one big rulebook with all of the rules in one place than have to check two books, which slows down or stops game play. Please game companies, stop worrying about if a huge rulebook will “scare” players off; having to search through multiple rule books is more of a detriment.

With those things out of the way, Forbidden Stars is reasonably easy to learn and most definitely fun to play. What is reasonably easy to learn? The rulebook contains enough information for play; turn order, explanation of pieces, and overview of combat. There are areas where reading the reference book immediately come in handy, anything involving combat.

Goal of the game, in 8 or less turns capture a number of objective tokens equal to the number of players. Objective tokens represent things of importance to your faction and have no value other than a victory condition. A turn is played in three phases:

The first phase, players alternate placing order tokens facedown in systems. Orders allow players to move, build, collect resources, and upgrade their combat decks and what their orders can do. Placement of order tokens is important, as they are resolved top down, meaning planning is important to avoid attempting to build something without the proper resources, infrastructure, or ability to move them around.

After placing orders, resolving orders; starting with the first player (a token that changes at the end of each turn) each player chooses one of their order tokens on top of stack revealing and resolving the effects. Play alternates until all of the order tokens are resolved. During this phase, combat can occur up to two times per player. Combat is where the majority of the reference book look ups happen.

Here is a break down of combat: each player gathers dice equal to the combat value of their units. Both sides roll their dice leaving the symbols displayed. Then each player draws five combat cards for three rounds of card playing and damage dealing. During the three rounds of card playing and damage dealing each player reveals a combat card resolves the effects, then deals damage. At the end of three rounds if any units are left the side with the highest moral total wins.

The final phase is resource collection, resolving any events, and moving the warp storms which are barriers to movement that move at the end of each turn creating an ever shifting series of barriers.

I have glossed over a lot and there is a lot to Forbidden Stars. Despite everything above, the game plays very smoothly and quickly, most games were over in under an hour. I recommend Forbidden Stars for people who like strategy games and have a passing interest in the Warhammer 40k universe (a deep knowledge is NOT required).

Games We Play: Roll For Get Bit Snakebite On the Oregon Trail…and more

Day one of game weekend went well. Before diving into the last two scenarios of Rise of the Goblins we played several mini-games (as in small bite sized (this will come up in a minute)).

Roll For It

Roll For It is a die rolling, gambling/press your luck game. The goal to score 40 points before the other players. To score points you roll up to six 6-sided dice and place the results of your roll onto cards that have images of dice on them. For example, a card might have an image of a 1, 3, and two 5s. To score the card, you must have a die with a 1, 3, and two more dice with 5s showing on the card. Here is the catch, once a die or dice are placed on the card, they stay there until the card is scored by you or someone else. The challenge, allocating your dice in a way that leaves you dice to roll with a good chance of success, while other players do the same.

Roll For It is simple, but not as quick as expected. Between luck of the die and luck of the card draw a few of our games went over 30 minutes. Over five rounds, everyone won a round with the last round being the tie breaker. We had fun, but there were several times where one or more us scored no cards, kind of a downer for that game. If you purchase, get the deluxe tin, save yourself some hassle.

Get Bit

You are a robot swimming with your buddies when a shark shows up and tries to eat one of you, try to swim faster than your buddies. Get Bit is cute, you get several robots that you can and will tear the arms and legs off of and one shark. Gameplay is simple, each player has a hand of seven cards numbered 1 thru seven. Each round, each player plays a card in secret, reveal and resolve. From lowest to highest number each player moves to the front of the swim line. If there is a tie those players do not move. At the end of a round, the robot in last loses a limb (tear off an arm or leg), when all four limbs are gone your robot is out of the game.

The kids loved this, the adults caught onto card counting and paying attention to player patterns a bit too quick, resulting in a lot of games where adults tried harder to be unpredictable in card play than the kids or they probably should’ve. Avoid the deluxe version, the regular version may not come with stickers, but is cheaper and the game is the same.

Oregon Trail

If you are old enough you remember Oregon Trail as one of the first text based video games. The goal then as now, get your wagon trail from one side of the country to the other. Like then, Oregon Trail is a vicious, but fun game. Oregon Trail was the surprise hit of the night and we lost.

Oregon Trail is a cooperative game, win or lose together. Players start the game with a hand of trail and supply cards. The number of supply cards varies with the number of players. On a turn a player may:

  • Play a trail card, follow any instructions on the trail card
  • Play a supply card, usually in response to one or more calamity cards in play

Play five trail cards, create a stack, start a new row of trail cards, create ten stacks of five and you win. The problem, life on the Oregon Trail is rough. Rivers need to be forded; failing to ford costs supplies (washed down river)-our first river took 5 supply cards. If rivers were not hard enough, there are plenty of trail cards that force players to draw calamity cards.

I died from typhoid, if the river had not claimed all of our medicine I might have lived

Our boy caught cholera, broke his arm, got cured, then died literally the next turn to a snake bite

Our girl and Barb got just over half way to their destination, when calamity struck in the form of dead oxen stranding them

Yes, we died, but we had a lot of fun playing. I suggest Oregon Trail for the whole family, hell if nothing else you get a dry erase board to write your created names on and tombstones on the back to write how you died. 🙂

Finally RISE OF THE RUNELORDS GOBLINS

We ended the night with Rise of the Goblins, we had two scenarios to finish Rise of the Runelords Adventure Deck One and we wanted to get them done. Here is the major difference between a non-goblin character and a goblin character, non-goblin characters do not do harm to others as part of their turn to turn activities. Some of the best goblin moments involve hurting fellow goblins to activate other abilities, such as setting off a spell bomb that damages everyone, but they got extra dice.

There isn’t much to say about the last two scenarios, we won and won well. The hardest moment was one of the first cards, Shopkeepers Daughter who nuked me for six cards. Things should get more interesting with deck 2.

Back to gaming.

Pulling Together As Only Goblins Can

We did it.

Black Fang, defeated. Oh sure, it took all of our resources, frogs, and right up against the time limit. What does that matter, nothing! We five goblins defeated a dragon.

For goblins they have some really kick ass abilities and some unusual ones to boot. However with five games under our belt, three taking on Black Fang, we are starting to get the gist of being a goblin. Such as, do not send or let Chuffy Lickwound do anything with Charisma. Why, because he adds a d8 to the difficulty of any Charisma check. Yes, so ugly he makes things worse.

Zabini can see the future, as long as someone at her location has gotten punched in the nose. Surely that cannot be right, but it is and her ability to the see the future is less impressive than it sounds as she is not looking at the future of the location, but the future of your character deck. Something akin to looking into someone’s pocket while they are looking for their wallet and telling them that the next thing they will pull out is a wallet.

Tup has a goat he can’t seem to get rid of and the ability to turn anything into a fire spell. Goat is a pain and fire spell out of anything is awesome until you realize only at the end of a game that unchecked you can literally burn through your life. And it makes deck building a pain in the ass to boot.

Reta can shoot anything except when Reta has an icy longspear. Why does Reta have an icy longspear? Her player, our girl, saw the icy longspear, missed getting one, and then got one via lucky end game loot draw and has loved it ever since. What else does Reta do? Unless killing is involved nothing much, but she is good at killing so that works for now.

Poog is a mixed goblin, part fighter, part divine spell caster, and when played by our friend part awesome at killing things and part “I’m casting Cure on me again.” One game sooner or later Poog will standout in a way that makes Poog make sense…we hope, but until now Poog can do it all including healing you as long as you play a blessing on a check that Poog is making; think of it as making a donation to the church (of goblins) to get healing…one card of healing.

On our own we are a very mixed bag of success, failure, and hilarity. Together there is strength. The pairing of Chuffy and Tup is powerful as they cover each other well and while one of Chuffy’s abilities is lost with Tup around, Tup’s ability to give a bonus to checks at the expense of a wound or two or three kinda balances out.

Next up, visiting Sandpoint where goblins who look suspiciously like us are attacking.

Games We Play: Rise of the Goblins, Me-Lee & Veterinarians

Welcome back to Rise of the Runelords GOBLINS! Our happy band of goblins are still stuck on the third scenario of the introductory adventure. I seem to recall a time LOOOOoooooong ago when our non-goblin characters went through something similar as we figured out how best to work out group. This feels similar, in that we are still learning what goblins can and cannot do. Interestingly enough, our group of goblins has one of everything other than someone who wears heavy armor and who needs that?

Our biggest issue is deck stall and the occasional crappy roll at a critical moment. Deck stall for those not familiar with the term is when you have a hand of cards that are not useful. Typically, in Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, this means that you have a hand of weapons or cards you want to save for later. Weapon cards tend to stay in your hand until you discard one in an emergency or as damage. Cards you want to save for later are your “cool” cards. You want to keep them because they do “cool” things, but for the moment they are not useful.

The effect of deck stall in a PACG is you make one explore a turn unless the explored card gives you a second exploration. One exploration a turn really slows a game down; a player would need 11 turns to get through a location deck, players do not get 11 turns in a game, thus multiple explorations and some luck are required.

Pair multiple deck stall with inopportune crappy die rolls, such as when Zibini faced off against a very early Ancient Skeleton and rolled 3 one’s. Five damage later and deck stall was a good thing for her. Or when Reta did kill her Ancient Skeleton, but botched (more than our share of botches appeared at the table) her To Close roll.

On the plus side we have learned to stop using Blessing of the Gobs to take blessings from the blessing deck, costing us turns. This is a huge step in the right direction. There have not been any moments of goblin math, goblin language continues to evolve…

Me Lee said in a cute girl’s voice, as our daughter has not pronounced melee correctly yet and will correct people who do, “Not melee, Me Lee!”

And don’t ask how or why, but there was a rash of veterinarians in our game. I wish I had an answer for why there were Mercenary veterinarians and undead veterinarians. Honestly, I did not think that animal doctors had so many varied backgrounds and yet there they were fighting us and saving animals along the way. Very odd indeed.

I wish I could say that Black Fang the Dragon was kicking our collective green butts and that is why we keep losing. He is not and we are losing, but we are still GOBLINS!

Games We Play: Sushi Go Party!

Try to imagine your daughter saying “sushi go…PARTY!” with a little jump and fist pump. Did you imagine that, awesome, because it is cute as all hell. That is also how our Sushi Go Party by Gamewright session started.

Sushi Go Party is not a new game. Sushi Go Party is an upgraded version of Sushi Go. We love Sushi Go. We played until a card was lost and then waited, patiently, for Sushi Go Party’s release.

As a quick recap, Sushi Go is a card passing and matching game. Start with a hand of cards pick one, pass your hand, and continue picking and passing until all of the cards are in play. Your goal is to collect sets of cards or to collect individual cards worth points only looking at the ever shrinking hand of cards passed to you. When all of the cards are played, count up your points and start a new round. Sushi Go is not a complicated game, our eight year old learned a year ago. The hardest part of Sushi Go is keeping track of the cards in play so that you plan your picks well and do not end up with a round of 0 points…I did not track that well.

If Sushi Go is a great game, what is Sushi Go Party? Good question. Sushi Go Party is a deluxe version of Sushi Go. If you have Sushi Go, pick up Sushi Go Party the new stuff is worth the cost. If you are thinking of picking up Sushi Go, just pay the bit extra and get Sushi Go Party.

Sushi Go Party comes with new cards for all categories of food, desert, and modifiers. These cards come with some new rules, such as Tea which scores 1 point for each card of the same color that you have the most of; example: you have three yellow cards, two pink cards, and tea at the end of the round Tea will score you 3 points for the yellow cards. Miso Soup is another new card, score 3 points, but only if you are the only player to play Miso Soup when cards are revealed.

Sushi Go Party comes with a menu style scoring board. The best thing about Sushi Go Party is this board, not only can you keep track of scores in a visible manner, you can show what cards are in the deck and how each type scores. Due to the new cards, players assemble the deck before each game. Chosen types of cards go into the menu board as a reminder of what cards are in play and how each card scores. The expanded rulebook has several suggested deck suggestions for a variety of games.

That doesn’t sound like much, however when a Sushi Go Party game is running at top speed: pick, pass, reveal, pick, pass, reveal remembering what cards score, especially with the new cards can be an issue, especially with new players. Speaking of which we had two new players and after a game both players could play without any major issues.

I highly recommend Sushi Go Party or Sushi Go for any game group. Quick play, easy to learn, fun mechanism, and generous scoring opportunities allow for close games.