Games We Play: Tanks, Best 2 out of 3, II

Earlier I told you about the first two games of Tanks with our boy. Here is the rest of the day of Tanks.

Game 3, Assassination. We choose a tank that the other player has to eliminate to win. Sounds good and turned out to be more fun than expected. As in previous games, our boy rushes forward. I hang back a bit, especially my target tank. He rushes his target tank way forward and before he realizes it, BOOM. Target tank blown up. Win, Me.

Best 2 out of 3 vs our boy, WINNER: Me. ūüôā

Next up, our girl…

German Invasion

Our girl has a tactical mind. In her words, “I have a plan with branches. When you break a branch, I make a new branch.” She adapts, as best she can, to changing game situations. She like units with firepower and maneuverability, that means Germans.

Her Army, number 1

  • Tiger
  • Panther
  • JagdPanther

tanks-5Game 1, Assassination. My target her Tiger of course. Her target a Sherman 76mm with “War Daddy.” This was a long game with lots of maneuvering for position. She set me up a few times, positioning her tanks in a way that I could gang up on two and get shot by all three of hers. In the end, the game came down to the JagdPanther.

As an assault gun only targets directly in front can be shot. This makes position extremely important. She did her best to get the JadgPanther in position for shots and keep it from getting ganged up. Unfortunately, cumulative damage took it down. Once that happened the Tiger went down under a fusillade of fire and a lucky hit or two.

Game 2, Objective. Our girl changed her army list, she did not see the Panzer IV on the shelf.

Army, number 2

  • Tiger Tank with¬†Michael Whittman (commander)
  • Panther with “Bobby” Woll (gunner) and Clever Hans (doctrine)
  • Panzer IV

tanks-6Upfront, she lost this game. Not due to bad play. Due to bad luck. Tanks has a high element of luck at times, mostly in the Critical Hits area. On a roll of 6, a critical hit is scored. If the critical hit is not canceled by defense, draw a critical hit card. Critical hit cards range from 0 to 3 points of damage and often come with secondary effects, such a crew bailing out or losing movement.

To illustrate, one shot on the Panzer IV resulted in three critical hits for 7 points of damage. If the Panzer with 5 Health had survived, it would have not been able to move, shot, or anything else.

She took out one of my Shermans, which was an under performance by her tanks. Normally, an unmodified Tiger takes out 2 tanks and heavily damages a third. This game, one kill.

tanks-7In the end, bad luck more than bad play cost her the win. Part of bad luck is the rules themselves, a maximum of six dice can be rolled at one time. There were times due to positioning where she should have rolled 7, 8, or 9 dice to my 2 or 3 dice for defense. Suffice to say, we are working on some house rules to increase the value of positioning verse luck.




More Mouse Frustration (edited)

If you are where the POLAR VORTEX has parked it’s butt, stay warm and only go out if you have too.¬† I stepped outside for less¬†than five minutes and I regret the thought process that lead to stepping outside.¬† Last night while waiting for the POLAR VORTEX (you really have to say it in an evil voice) to arrive, Barb and I played Mice and Mystics again.¬† We decided to play without the kids to be able to discuss any problems we encountered.

Prior to playing, we read over the rules again, familiarized ourselves with the pieces, and sat down to play the first Chapter.  Here is the good news: we got to the last board before losing.  Yep, lost again.  A lot farther into the Chapter, but still lost and more importantly, still frustrated.  We were positive that we were doing something wrong.

Here are the problems we encountered, those familiar with the game will understand, I will try to explain as best I can.

  1. Tilda is a healer, according to the wording on her card she cannot heal herself. WTF?  A healer that cannot herself is a liability and a liability she became.  Tilda got captured (knocked out) out once and spent the rest of the game, once she got wounded again, hiding and contributing nothing during fights.  Capturing advances the page counter one page or in other terms you lose one turn.
  2. If you defeat the last minion with the last acting character in a turn you trigger the following rule: If at the end of the turn there are minions on the board, add a slice of cheese to the cheese wheel.  Any time the cheese wheel fills up, advance the page (number of turns in a Chapter) one page, and trigger a surge which is the sudden appearance of a larger minion.
  3. The rules for surges do not state, one and done, or a new minion each time the cheese wheel fills.  Thus at one point, due to a lot of bad rolls we went through two surges.
  4. If there is a minion on a tile you cannot exit the tile.  So no running for the exit.
  5. There are items to heal mice, BUT they are in the Search card stack which is over 60 cards big and each mouse can only search one time per tile.  Odds are slim.

Determined to make Mice and Mystics work I did some more looking for answers. Mice and Mystics has a FAQ, but our issues were not addressed. Time to hit the forums.  Here is what I found:

  1. Tilda can heal herself or at least most people allow her to heal herself.  Since that is not in the FAQ it is not official. That she can heal herself makes a lot of sense though.
  2. That rule is meant to be.  That finishing off the last minion with the last acting character is a punishment makes no sense.  I read that other players were doing what we were doing, which was avoiding using the last acting character to defeat the last minion.  The best solution found, ignore that rule.  We happen to agree.
  3. There is no official word on whether a new minion is dropped each time a surge (wheel of cheese fills) or if the minion only drops the first time.  The best solution I found was that the first surge triggers a minion drop.  Subsequent surges on the same tile only advance the page.
  4. Nothing on this.  Given that we only wanted to do that one time not a big deal, but a string of bad luck and I can see it cropping up again.
  5. Again nothing on this.  Personally I think the search stack is way to big for the limited amount of searches that you can perform in a single game.

There is so much to like and love about Mice and Mystics.  We are going to try a third game using the answers that we found and hope those fix the problems we were having.  Otherwise we will either shelve the game, sad thought but it does happen.

Fun and Games with My Boy III

A lot of time has passed since I last wrote about my boy’s card game creation.¬† Honestly I thought he had given up on finishing the game, but he is back at it again and this time his sister is helping out a lot.¬†¬† See here and then here to catch up and see some of his cards.

“I did write down the rules,” he says to me in response to my response of “I am not going to play your game until there are rules written down.”

“Let me see them.”

Rule 1: No Cheating

Rule 2: No Taking

Rule 3: No Breaking

“Son, these aren’t rules to your game.”

“Yes they are.¬† Number three isn’t a rule.”

“How do I know how to play your game from these rules?”

And then he does what he does every single time, a pantomime, dance, and rules explanation.¬† This goes on for about three minutes before I stop him, bare in mind the entire time that he is flailing his arms about, pantomiming monster attacks, and making suitable sound effects he is “explaining the rules.”

“Son you need to write them down.¬† How am I or your mother or anyone else supposed to play your game?”

And thus began my son creating his first game with rules that can be followed, well sort of…

“How many rules does a game have dad?”

“As many as it takes.”

“Mine has eight.”

“Just eight?”

“Well that is all that I have numbers for.”

This is going to be a process.

Star Trek Deck Building Borg…and Some Interesting Things (Edited)

“Resistance is futile.”

Those words have never rung truer than our foray against the borg.  Three of us out to stop the borg from taking over the galaxy.  After constructing the borg deck and fixing the starbase deck (see below) each of us picked out a starship with an ability that we thought would allow the three of us to stop the borg.   The borg scenario is a cooperative game where there is one explore phase and all of us share the starbase.

How hard could it be?

Well by turn two my flagship had been blown up and all us had three borg cards.  Borg cards do nothing for you, they cannot be removed the game by any means other than a card effect, and while they are in your hand they have two other effects: making borg cubes bigger and if you should ever have five at one time you are removed from the game.

By turn four another borg cube showed up and due to all of the borg cards in play was able to take it’s attack and destroy two out of the three flagships and that was that for us.¬† The game started with 20 borg cards and by turn four all were gone, meaning that each player had at least 6 cards and we were only four turns in.

We were pretty bummed and wondering what we had done wrong and how any group could possibly defeat the borg.¬† So I went onto the forums where…well all of the questions we had and more got answered and I found the complete rule book.¬† Why do I say complete rule book, because the updated manual is hard to understand and there online in three sticky posts were clarifications that averaged a page of text and one was close to two.¬† Those 4 to 5 pages of clarified rules NEED to be in rule books not online.¬† These clarifications did not answer the borg questions, those answers were elsewhere.

Here is what I learned.

1. We have been doing missions wrong.  During a regular game a player gets 1 free explore which means they can do 1 of the following:

a. Flip over the top card of the space deck.

I. Do the flip effects regardless of type of card.

II. If the card is a ship enter into battle where you can either diplomacy or fight (see below)

III. If the card is an event either you succeed at the event or have the fail effect applied.  Discard if failed.

IV. If the card is a mission move the mission to an open mission spot.

b. Instead of flipping over the top card attempt to complete a mission already in play.

2. When encountering a ship from the space deck you can either attempt diplomacy which allows you to capture a ship or you are forced to fight the ship.

a. Apply the flip effect if any.

b. Compare your ship’s Speed to the flipped over ship’s Speed.

c. If you ship’s Speed is equal or faster than the other ship you can:

d. Diplomacy the ship, which means you compare your ship’s Diplomacy to the enemy ship’s Diplomacy:

I. If your Diplomacy is equal or higher you can make the ship your new flagship or move to points area.

II. If Diplomacy is not high enough got to step e.

e. Fight.

I. In order of highest to lowest each ship takes ONE attack at each other.

II. Ship does damage equal to Attack rating this reduces enemy ship’s Defense by same amount, unless ship has Shields which reduces damage. Example: Ship has an Attack of 8.¬† It does 8 damage to enemy ship with Defense of 9.¬† That ship takes 8 damage leaving 1 Defense.¬† If Ship had Shields 2 then damage done would have been 6.

III. If flipped ship’s Defense is reduced to 0 or less you win and put ship in points area.

IV. If flipped ship’s remaining Defense is¬†1 or more put that ship at bottom of space deck.¬† Your ship keeps the damage done to it.

4. House Rule: There are two sets and the box says you can combine them, but there are no suggestions how.¬† It is obvious how to divide the various scenarios apart, what we and other people wanted to know was how to combine the Explore deck and the Starbase deck.¬† From the developers: “You tell us what you did.”

a. Here is what we did, there are two sets of maneuvers and set-up cards.  We removed one set (count number of cards only put half back-rounded down).  We only put in 2 wormhole cards.  There are no duplicate character cards so all of them went in.  Removing the duplicate set of maneuver and set-up cards drastically shrunk the size of the starbase deck making for a much smoother game.

b. The Explore deck got all of the missions, events, and ships.  No changes.

5. Borg scenario stuff.

a. Borg scenarios are really made for 5 or more players. 3 or more is suggested, but based on the forums rarely works without making some serious tweaks to each players starting ship or starting hand.

b. Borg cubes come in two types: one with that removes all damage done between each player’s attack and one that keeps all damage until end of combat.

c. While players share a starbase, searches, and can plan out their purchases together in combat they are all alone.

I. Players make their attack at their ship’s Speed.¬† Only if two or more ships have the same Speed can they combine their attack on a cube.

II. A cube’s attack affects one flagship and any leftover damage is applied to the next ship and so on until all of the damage has been allocated.¬† This can lead to what we experienced which is one cube’s attack eliminating two ships and seriously damaging a third.

III. Players can choose who takes the damage, which is the only group thing they can do during combat.

d. Non-borg ships that are revealed still apply their Flip affects when revealed, but can only Diplomacy can be done on them.

e. No matter what there are no cards or card effects that allow you to peek at, look at, or otherwise interact with the Space deck before the card is flipped over.¬† These types of cards should be removed before play.¬† However, the designers don’t say that they only say they did it that way on purpose.

And there you have what we experienced fighting the borg and what we now know about the game.  Not happy that I had to go online to their forums to find the rest of the rulebook, but some of the information will make the game a bit smoother.