Last weekend Sean came down from Hamilton and we celebrated his birthday. A big part of this was playing some games.
We got in games of Alhambra, Clank!, Sentinels of the Multiverse, Immortals, Lords of Waterdeep and Core Worlds. In this blog post, I’ll be taking a short look at each of these games.
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Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure
When I first got Clank! it quickly became one of my favourite deck building games. Sean is a huge card game fan, playing a ton of Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle and The DC Comics Deck-Building game with his kids, as well as playing a ton of Ascension digitally. Due to this, I wanted him to try some of my favourite deck builders.
This was an odd game of Clank!. It was unusually quick. I’ve got to admit I prefer when the game goes a bit longer and there’s more actual deck building done. We all still had fun though I don’t think Sean’s going to rush out and buy Clank! any time soon.
My main reason for wanting to play Alhambra this weekend is in preparation for #ThrowbackThursdays. I’ve been slowly resurrecting old reviews from my Windsor Gaming Resource forum and blog.
Last week I skipped ahead with my Race for the Galaxy review. Up next should have been Alhambra. The problem was that I haven’t actually played Alhambra since like 2013. So, I’ve been itching to get it to the table.
One of the things I’ve been enjoying doing with Sean is getting some of these old classic games played. He missed out on most of these back when they were new and it’s been cool to show him some of the better classic games in my collection.
We played a three player game, Deanna, Sean and I, and all had a good time. In my head, I knew I still enjoyed this game, but this last play just confirmed that. I was pleased to hear Deanna thought even more of the game than I did. She didn’t have as fond memories of it but really enjoyed our play on Saturday.
What this told me is that I need to start bringing out Alhambra again, especially to events with new gamers.
Sentinels of the Multiverse
One of the reasons Sean has been playing so much DC Deck-Building is due to the fact that his son is really into superheroes. So I wanted to see if Sean thought his son may enjoy my favourite superhero card game: Sentinels of the Multiverse. At the same time, I also had a hero deck for Sentinels sitting on my pile of shame, The Scholar, which I wanted to get played.
This game was a mixed bag. Our combination of heroes was not well suited to the villain we chose, despite sticking to a level 1 villain and both Sean and Deanna taking easy to play heroes. It didn’t help that the environment we chose happened to have the arch nemesis of Deanna’s hero in it (she was playing Ra and we chose the Temple of Anubis environment deck).
I think one of the main problems was my hero. This was my first time using The Scholar and it’s a very odd deck. Almost every single power The Scholar has heals him. He’s all about healing, or healing more, or preventing damage in the first place. I think I only found four cards that did damage in the entire deck. The character seems like a great tank.
The problem was that Sean took Legacy so we already had a tank. So, once Ra got taken down by Anubis we just didn’t have any punch left to finish off the villain. It also didn’t help that we made some Xtreme mistakes (most notably having Anubis’ card apply damage for each card removed from play, not just the first one each turn). We actually ended up giving up on this game part way through. At the point where we quit, I was the only character standing, and while my healing powers may have meant I wasn’t ever going to die, it also didn’t look like the villain was going down either. I think had we continued to play it out one of us would have won eventually but it probably would have taken hours.
Overall I think Sean liked the concept of the game and understood that this wasn’t a normal play, but no one was interested in playing a second round after giving up on the first. It’s on my list of games to play with him again next time he’s in town.
Xia: Legends of a Drift System
After giving up on our game of Sentinels, our friend Eugene had shown up and that’s when I set up Xia. I had been talking about Xia quite a bit on the podcast since getting the latest Kickstarter with Embers of a Forsaken Star, The Sellsword and the new Mission and Powers card pack and Sean had mentioned multiple times how fun the game sounded to him.
Eugene, Sean and I played a nice long exciting game. I think we almost hit the four hour mark despite deciding to start with only a 10 Fame point game. It was one of those games where we were all having a good time so we decided to just keep playing. We even considered going for the full 20 Fame game but figured that since Sean had limited time we should probably play something else.
This was one of the most random games of Xia I’ve played yet. In the first turn of the game, Eugene blew up due to a blind jump into some debris. Then on the next turn, I blew up while trying to grab an exploration token in another field of debris. This set the tone for the entire game. The galaxy we generated was a horrible mash of dead planets, debris, asteroids and ice fields. By the end of the game we still only had one Lawful planet on the table. All three of us had a great time, most of it spent laughing at our own misfortune.
To me, this was the one real flop of the weekend.
I’m a huge fan of Wallenstein and Shogun. These are well known folk on a map games that use a unique Cube Tower for resolving combat. Immortals is the third game to be released in the series and when I first heard about this game I just had to have it. Based on what I had heard and seen of the game (including talking to Queen Games staff at Origins) was that this was a lighter, simpler quicker Wallenstein, with a really neat mechanic where your units never die. The board is split into two sides, a light and a dark side, and when a unit dies on one side it comes back on the other.
Saturday I set up a four player game, with Sean, Deanna, Eugene and myself. Only Sean had not played the previous games in the series. Very quickly into the game we learned that Immortals is not actually a simpler version of Wallenstein, rather it’s a much more fiddly and combat heavy version. While it may be a bit quicker it’s not any easier to learn or play. I think Euge actually said it best when we were part way through the game and he exclaimed: “Wow this is like playing two games of Wallenstein at once!”
What this meant is that the game was much more involved and heavier than I expected. I wanted something that would be a good gateway for Sean into folk on a map games like Shogun. Immortals is very much not that.
Now, this was a learning game for all four of us, and a learning game of a rather complex game. We messed up a lot of rules. So many that I think Sean refused to log it as a play on Board Game Stats as we didn’t really play Immortals, we fumbled around with Immortals and probably figured out how to play it next time.
While all of that sounds rather negative, it was more a case of bad expectations. I think had we known what to expect going in we all would have had a better time playing. As it stands I think I may actually like the game, it just wasn’t what I wanted at the time.
On a positive note, both Deanna and I are really looking forward to trying it again, this time going in with the right mindset.
Lords of Waterdeep
This was our last game of Saturday night. Eugene left after we finished Immortals, but the rest of us weren’t quite ready for bed yet (despite it being after midnight). Lords of Waterdeep is another classic game that I thought Sean would really enjoy. He’s also a roleplayer and D&D player from back in the day so I thought he would dig the theme.
Lords of Waterdeep went over very well. One of the most fun games of the entire weekend. I somehow forget just how easy to get into this game is. It’s really just a basic set collection worker placement game but that Dungeons and Dragons theme really sells it. We had a relatively close game that featured a ton of buildings. Unfortunately for Sean the two of us seemed to be competing for the same type of quests I know I ended up stealing some stuff from under his nose.
All three of us had fun in Waterdeep and this play really made me want to bring this game out more often.
We squeezed in one final game on Sunday morning, Core Worlds with the Galactic Orders expansion. This game was on my must play list when I first learned that Sean was going to be able to make it down. Core Worlds is one of my all time favourite deck building games. It’s much longer and more strategic than most other deck builders. With Sean’s current infatuation with card games, I wanted to show off to him something different in the genre.
We played a three player game that took us just over two hours. While our scores were not very close at the end (being a heavier game, Core Worlds really rewards repeated plays and system mastery), I was glad to see that Sean seemed to really enjoy it. For me, this play just reinforced my love of the game. Having played Clank! and Core Worlds just a day apart, I have to say at this point that I think Core Worlds is the better game. As long as you have time to play it.
So, that was how we celebrated Sean’s Birthday. It’s also my list of games for #WhatDidYouPlayMondays along with our weekly Gloomhaven game, which I’ll be talking about later in the week. Did you get in any cool games this weekend? Let us know in the comments!