Board games

Talk about nerdgames FOR NERDS.
Steve C

Board games

Post by Steve C » Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:48 pm

I played Betrayal at House on the Hill a couple of weeks ago. It was really good. I recommend it. It currently has 4.7/5 stars on amazon and deserves it. It's very good mechanically and thematically.

The setup is like an episode of Scooby Doo. You find a spooky house and split up and start investigating it. The difference is that at some point you learn Freddy was just biding his time to trap and kill the gang. He's secretly a monster that stays young by eating human hearts. Next time you play it's going to be a different member of the gang that betrays the group and a completely different monster with a different way to kill it.
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StashAugustine

Re: Board games

Post by StashAugustine » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:33 pm

Twilight Struggle is my favorite boardgame. I mentioned this in the other boardgame thread, but it's a twoplayer card-driven game about the Cold War where the US and Soviet players play cards representing events from the time period, with the twist that you must trigger enemy events in your hand, so each turn is a crisis management minigame while you seek to advance your goals.

My current darling is the COIN (Counterinsurgency) series from GMT Games (the biggest wargame publishers in business) and Volko Ruhnke, a ex-CIA analyst. They cover Columbia, Cuba, Afghanistan, and Vietnam with Caesar in Gaul, American Revolution, Ireland, Angola, and the Philippines to come. They're a weird mix of traditional wargames but with some heavy Eurogame influence (highly deterministic actions, little wooden cubes, no hidden information, faster game flow.) They've got asymmetric multiplayer with four players, each with different victory conditions, troops, and actions; plus AI flowcharts for solitaire play. The games are chaotic, vicious, and very different every time you play.

Incidentally, if anyone was unaware a lot of boardgames can be played on VASSAL online- you can get it at http://www.vassalengine.org
Steve C

Re: Board games

Post by Steve C » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:08 pm

Other board thread? I *thought* there was one but could not find it when I looked.
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StashAugustine

Re: Board games

Post by StashAugustine » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:41 pm

I meant the "Help me find a 2-player game" thread, although it's good to have a separate thread for more general discussion.


uhh I suppose i should contribute more? Dominion is real good yall, play it.
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mwchase
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Re: Board games

Post by mwchase » Sun Jan 03, 2016 5:58 am

Hung out at a post-New Years party. We also played Betrayal at House on the Hill. I won both times, both times due to luck, though it was a different kind of luck each time. The first time, my professor's poor sanity resulted in him getting turned into a werewolf, which just compounded the fact that the silver bullets were upstairs and the revolver was in the basement. It's easy to win when you can't lose, I guess.

Next game, I played the priest for the heightened sanity, and after starting the haunting at something like 10 rooms discovered, a combination of good rolls, draws, and a magic item turned him into Mr. Magoo. When the paper-boy summoned a banshee that drove the other Heroes mad, I wandered around the house, exorcising everything I could, using decent intelligence and a sanity that never dropped as low as the starting value no matter how many screams I took. The moral of the story is, pious good triumphs over profane evil, especially when pious good has a pagan magic item and just doesn't give a shit about how scary everything is.

Seriously, though, the house barely existed when that all started up. It really was like Mr. Magoo wandering into a horror movie, and winning.
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SpammyV
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Re: Board games

Post by SpammyV » Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:01 pm

Betrayal is good for stories like that. Me and three other people were the Heroes in the haunt with the grabby plants, and although we lost, it was still pretty hilarious that we were all back-to-back having a Fist of the North Star fight against these creeper vines. And see if you can find the haunt that I'm always going to describe as being the Dubstep Aliens!

Since Dominions came up why don't you try Ascension (Any Edition)! Ascension is a deckbuilding game but it doesn't play like Dominions or Trains. Instead Ascension is basically a self-contained Magic draft. The cycling group of cards you can acquire feels less like Dominions resource piles and more like passing the packs around in a draft. One think you're really going to want to do is buy sleeves. The portal deck in Ascension has over a hundred cards and you don't want to sit there riffle shuffling them.

Two things I got over the winter break but haven't had a chance to try yet are Star Trek: Five-Year Mission and M:tG Arena of the Planeswalkers.

I'm excited to try Five-Year Mission because it's a pretty simple and fast-to-explain cooperative board game. It's also drop-in-drop-out, able to adjust to players showing up or leaving in the middle of the game, which is nice when you're playing at a club like I do. Also I can tell people that they have to do an imitation of whichever bridge crew member they get!

And Arena of the Planeswalkers is Heroscape. But Magic: the Gathering flavored. Two great tastes that go great together? Well that'll probably depend on your reaction to Heroscape. And although I haven't seen it in action yet I am interested in trying Arena because it seems to be balanced on the side of having ridiculous and powerful things happening. I was explaining why I felt like each planeswalker was broken to a friend and his question was "How is this game balanced?" "Because it's all in the same game."
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Supahewok

Re: Board games

Post by Supahewok » Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:27 pm

Man, I was so excited for Heroscape when I was 10, convincing my parents to get me the big starter set and a few expansion packs.

Then noone would play it with me.

I cajoled my brother into a single game I think, and it's languished in my closet ever since. What I would give to be able to play it...
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Lachlan the Sane
Location: I come from the land down under, where women blow and men chunder

Re: Board games

Post by Lachlan the Sane » Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:06 am

My girlfriend and I got Betrayal for Christmas :) . We've had two games so far; a corpse bride haunt which ended with the survivors relaying a body through the mystic elevator, and a voodoo doll haunt which the survivors won when my survivor tripped over a pile of junk and died.

One question; is it usual for the survivors to win so often? I've played about 5 different haunts, including from games before I got my own copy, and survivors have won every time (one was very tight, mind you).
Vulture

Re: Board games

Post by Vulture » Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:30 pm

Supahewok wrote:Man, I was so excited for Heroscape when I was 10, convincing my parents to get me the big starter set and a few expansion packs.

Then noone would play it with me.

I cajoled my brother into a single game I think, and it's languished in my closet ever since. What I would give to be able to play it...


Played it a few times with my stepson when he got it. And now my daughter has inherited it from him, so I've played a few games with her too. It's a lot of fun, but a massive amount of work to set up (and tidy up) compared to the duration a game lasts for. If we had the space to leave it set up for an extended period for multiple games then we might get more mileage out of it.

But it's a decent tabletop game.
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SpammyV
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Re: Board games

Post by SpammyV » Mon Jan 04, 2016 4:26 pm

Lachlan the Mad wrote:My girlfriend and I got Betrayal for Christmas :) . We've had two games so far; a corpse bride haunt which ended with the survivors relaying a body through the mystic elevator, and a voodoo doll haunt which the survivors won when my survivor tripped over a pile of junk and died.

One question; is it usual for the survivors to win so often? I've played about 5 different haunts, including from games before I got my own copy, and survivors have won every time (one was very tight, mind you).


I've had the opposite experience. I think that the heroes have lost most of the Betrayal games I've played in. By and large it's going to come down to how lucky you were with item/room draws and how cohesive the players are. Sometimes the traitor doesn't roll well enough and the monster doesn't charge the heroes. Sometimes the heroes have none of the items they need. Sometimes even the dumbest sack of bricks makes all the Knowledge rolls and sometimes everyone flubs their Strength roll to break free. I can't say whether or not Betrayal is weighted to one team or the other because the difficulty ends up being so random.

There is at least one Haunt though that I don't see how the heroes could ever win.

Also I didn't play Heroscape back in the day, but I've played it in what is now the best possible way. That is, someone else bringing their collection to set up and play with. It ended with a Roman legionary officer having a swordfight with a warbot on top of a mountain while my brain filled in the requisite metal album cover storm and lightning.
Steve C

Re: Board games

Post by Steve C » Tue Jan 05, 2016 5:57 am

I started this thread to praise Betrayal so it's no surprise I like it. It's funny that it almost a year later it is the game that resurrects this thread. I would say on the ratio of who wins Traitor vs the Survivors that it is random. The first bunch of games I played the survivors won them all by a large margin. Then there was a few where the survivors won barely with heavy casualties. Then the last bunch I played the Traitor won by a large margin. I don't think it favors one side or the other. Plus if you are a survivor that did not survive then you definitely lost.

Which Haunt don't you see how the heroes could ever win against?
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Retsam

Re: Board games

Post by Retsam » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:38 pm

I don't often click into this section of the board, so I wasn't aware there was a board game thread. I've also played quite a bit of Betrayal, and I enjoy it, but I really have to be in the mood, otherwise I find it a bit too random. Also, running upstairs immediately seems like a dominant strategy; the upstairs has the most good rooms while the basement has mostly bad room and the ground floor has mostly average rooms.

---

The game I pretty much never get tired of is Dominion... though it helps that I have about half the expansions for that. I used to play quite a bit online a few years ago; there was a fan-made online version that was really good; but then the official version came out and it was less good. Which is a shame, but probably better for my freetime overall.

---

The other game I've gotten a lot of mileage out of recently is "Bang!"/Samurai Sword. I'm lumping them together because they're like 80% the same game. (Same company a lot of the same rules) It's a lot like Mafia/Village of Salem in that almost everyone has a secret role and the game revolves around figuring out who is whom. There's one role (Sheriff/Shogun) where everyone knows who has that role, then there's one or more players secretly on their team (Vice/Samurai), the players trying to kill the Shogun/Sheriff (Outlaws/Ninja) and a player whose on their own team (Renegade/Ronin). But it's not the Mafia thing where people close their eyes, everyone just plays cards and you try to figure out what everyone is.

It ends up being a lot of fun; and particular I've found it works well to bridge the gap between "strategy games" and "party games". It's strategic enough to be interesting to the sort of people who like strategy games, but the mechanics are simple enough to not scare away people who don't care for strategy games.

Between the two versions, Samurai Sword is essentially a more balanced version of "Bang!"; Bang is the game more likely to create crazy stories end up talking about weeks later, but also the game more likely to leave you frustrated: the big difference is that players get eliminated from Bang as the game goes on, which can be annoying for those players if the game goes on significantly longer than they're still in it.
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Kelerak

Re: Board games

Post by Kelerak » Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:21 pm

...so, Risk is pretty good...

*awaits assault by tabletop fans*
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Supahewok

Re: Board games

Post by Supahewok » Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:54 pm

I liked Risk when I was younger, but I find it kind of boring now. Games all tend to play in the same way: When you've got the max number of players, one inevitably gets eaten up at the beginning just because there isn't enough room for them on the board, after a few more rounds two players emerge as the board leaders, one of them ends up with the correct timing for the card reinforcements and subjugates the other, then takes another hour to complete their conquest of the board while everyone else sits around without anything to do.

I don't hate it or anything, but after a couple dozen games it's predictable.
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Retsam

Re: Board games

Post by Retsam » Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:16 pm

Kelerak wrote:...so, Risk is pretty good...

*awaits assault by tabletop fans*


To transparently take the bait: Risk isn't bad per se; though I find that the vast majority of the fun of Risk isn't actually any part of the mechanics itself, but it's almost entirely the over-the-table negotiations, alliances, and sudden but inevitable betrayals which make the game fun. And maddening.

Which is why Diplomacy is soooo much better. It takes the fun part of Risk and makes it the entire game. It drops the random chance of Risk entirely, and the game revolves entirely around negotiating with, allying with, (and inevitably betraying) the other players. The vast majority of of the game is just open-ended negotiations with other players, then everyone secretly writes down a set of orders and all orders are resolved simultaneously. It's a pretty elegant game, and can even be fun, assuming you're still friends at the end of the game.

It's actually probably my all-time favorite board game and it's a crime that I forgot to mention it (in favor of games I've actually had opportunity to play recently) in my previous post, so I'm glad for the excuse to bring it up.
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krellen
Location: The City in New Mexico
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Re: Board games

Post by krellen » Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:18 pm

You can make Risk better by playing the new Risk Legacy version instead. It changes the rules in subsequent games through events and conditions unlocked as you play (it comes with new cards and stickers to reflect rule changes, and sometimes you're told to tear up old cards.)

The Legacy version of Pandemic is a much better game if you're doing the Legacy thing, though.
Vulture

Re: Board games

Post by Vulture » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:27 am

And I thought I was the only one who couldn't stand Risk. Turns out its a thing.

I occasionally had to play it with friends on games nights. It always annoyed me for a range of reasons, but the biggest one is that its mechanics were so completely divorced from it putatively represented. It presents itself as a strategic wargame of global conquest, but its actual mechanics promote behaviours completely at odds with that interpretation. It might work better if presented as a completely abstract game with arbitrary rules, but I doubt it because I find the actual mechanics to be not much fun either.

I honestly have no idea why anyone enjoys this game, but apparently some people do. Weird.
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Lachlan the Sane
Location: I come from the land down under, where women blow and men chunder

Re: Board games

Post by Lachlan the Sane » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:55 am

I've always found that Risk's gameplay is perfectly good if you're looking for a simple abstraction of wargame tactics, but the map is completely broken. Here is the map, naked:

Image

Look at all them balance issues. Turtling in Australia is an infamous strategy because there's only one way in and out, turtling in South America is also effective because there are two connections, and turtling in North America can potentially work if you're willing to dedicate your entire army to swarming the place in the early game. By contrast, Africa is an absolutely shit continent to hold, because it has SIX outside-world connections but produces the far fewer bonus troops per turn than North America does. The game is sooooooooooo much better if you use the cards to distribute territories randomly so conquering an entire landmass actually takes effort. I'd also consider a houserule (for those who have the dice for it) that conflicts can be escalated somehow as the game goes on (instead of 3 dice against 2, you can roll 4 against 3 or 5 against 4 -- not sure how you should decide when escalation is allowed, maybe it increases every second or third round?)
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dudecon
Location: Camarillo, CA. Paul Spooner IRL & blog comments
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Re: Board games

Post by dudecon » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:15 pm

Lachlan the Mad wrote:...the map is completely broken. Here is the map, naked:

Image
I love how your link to the image was broken. I thought it was part of the joke.

On topic, yeah, we noticed the same thing playing risk. Plus the combat is random enough that it felt unfair. It's much more interesting if you use Diplomacy style simultaneous attacks and deterministic combat.
Last edited by dudecon on Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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4th Dimension

Re: Board games

Post by 4th Dimension » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:33 pm

The link is not broken. You can open it by opening the image in it's separate tab. I think 1d4chan blocks requests for images that come from other sites, and that is why it wasn't displaying.
Steve C

Re: Board games

Post by Steve C » Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:39 am

Displayed fine to me both times.
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Supahewok

Re: Board games

Post by Supahewok » Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:47 am

I don't see it in the forums and get a 403 Forbidden error when opening in a new tab.
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Daemian Lucifer

Re: Board games

Post by Daemian Lucifer » Wed Mar 30, 2016 4:12 am

Supahewok wrote:I don't see it in the forums and get a 403 Forbidden error when opening in a new tab.


Quote the post,copy the link,and afterwards it will be displayed regularly.
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Retsam

Re: Board games

Post by Retsam » Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:59 am

Daemian Lucifer wrote:
Supahewok wrote:I don't see it in the forums and get a 403 Forbidden error when opening in a new tab.


Quote the post,copy the link,and afterwards it will be displayed regularly.


What sorcery is this? Why does copy pasting a link work but the exact same work in "Open in New Tab" doesn't? Though in any case "Risk Game Graph" in google image shows the same result.
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4th Dimension

Re: Board games

Post by 4th Dimension » Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:00 am

Probably because by opening an image in a tab you are still coming to 1d4chan from shamusyoung.com and it's interpreted as image leeching, while if you simply enter the address in the address bar the referral does not happen. I think if I remember correctly HTTP_REFERER is the field that does this.
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