Monday, May 22, 2017

What Did I Play This Week: May 15 - May 22

Fairly busy week (somehow I have had a busy May) this week with personal issues and my kid's diving meet that consumed most of the weekend. I'm hoping that moving in has settled a bit (though we still have boxes everywhere) so that I can get some actual table games and not just all electronic plays in. If so, I just might get Yokohama to the table yet.

Race For the Galaxy
So yeah, been playing Race a bit on the iPad. I'm trying to improve my win rate (head-to-head) against the Hard AI, but I still have a couple of slow going games against real friends as well. While the game works ok, there are a couple of issues I have with the app implementation. The online identity is by device, so I can't play my iPad games on my phone. Also, notifications are sketchy, so I don't always notice when it is actually my turn. This would get more play against my friends if it was better in those two departments. I'm on the fence about buying expansions at this point because the game is ok, but not great. I need to read some reviews of the expansions to see if they will be worth the money (at this point, I'm leaning towards no). I'm definitely getting better against the AI, but there is still room to explore by playing 3-4 player games instead of just head-to-head games.

Cthulhu Realms
I branched out a bit and have been playing against random online opponents. I've lost twice in close games. I'm about ready to go back to Star Realms, because it has a larger player base (or at least feels that way) and because I just think it is the better game. There are more options in Star Realms and the theme doesn't carry this game enough to matter. This really needs an expansion and I'm about ready to put this back onto the virtual shelf. And for all that talk, I'm really just burnt out a bit on the concept and Race is holding my attention just enough that I'm not sure I need to go back to Race either.

Kingdom Builder
Kingdom Builder is one of my favorite games. I love the puzzle solving nature of the game and I love that expansions mostly offer variations, not more complexity. it looks like an area control game, but it mostly is not. Really, players expand their areas in the ways that best allow them to score points (which can sometimes mean groups, sometimes lines, sometimes spreading out). How you score points varies every game. How you can manipulate things varies each game. In other words, it is a puzzle and whoever can do it the best (or make it hard for the others the best) wins. At some point Queen games is supposed to be FINALLY sending out the last expansion (from the Kickstarter which was supposed to ship in November of last year). With that thought in my head, I started an online game with my love. Maybe not the smartest thing to do - I absolutely destroyed her. Not the best way to get her to play it more often with me. Luckily she likes it almost as much as I do.

I had a small bit of time the other evening, so I challenged my love to a game of this on our devices (yeah, sometimes it is easier to just play on our iPads than get out a game and move to a table). I have not played this in a while and got smoked. I just didn't manage my turns very well and she did the opposite of me and scored more than double my points. Patchwork is a balance between filling in as much of your quilt as possible, while spending the time and currency better than your opponent. It isn't always possible depending on the array of pieces and your and your opponents choices, but it is fast and I like seeing if I can fill in my board better than the other player. This gets stale for me fairly quickly because there isn't much variation, but I like it in small batches.

Epic Card Game
My only "real" game played this week! Epic is a heads up card fight, not unlike Pokemon, Magic, et al. Where it differs from the CCG / LCG crowd is that it was released as a complete game. That's not 100% accurate, but it is close. Really, with a single box, you can get plenty of decent play. If you want a few more options, or want to build out decks, a couple more copies will let you do that, but with the way we play, one would have done it for us (and yet, I have three copies). Typically, my son and I (he's my only opponent) draft 30 card decks and play. This weekend, we just dealt out random "decks" and played. And this is where the beauty of Epic lies - even with 30 random cards, you can get a satisfying enough game played.The game is deep enough (deep enough that they have world championships for the game) that you can deck build and there is definitely some strategy to your play, but you don't have to have a perfect "build" in order to enjoy the game. In fact, there are TONS of cards that feel WAAAAYYY overpowered (thus the name - every card is "Epic"). We only had time for a couple games and we split the two. At some point in the next couple of months, the app form is going to hit, and I suspect that I'll be playing it a ton. This one is fast, fun and feels deep and we still enjoy it after a couple years of being around (and I haven't even looked at expanding it yet since we feel like we've barely explored it).

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