First plays of Zombicide: Invader and Imhotep. Giving Lotus Another Shot and Eminent Domain – Tabletop Gaming Weekly

This past week I got some new stuff to the table. Up first was my friend Mike’s copy of the cooperative board game Zombicide: Invader from CMON. Then on Sunday, I got to try both Imhotep and the Eminent Domain Escalation expansion for the first time.

In addition to these new gameplays we also played the base game of Eminent Domain a couple of times and we gave Lotus another shot with Tori and Kat.

Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links. Some games mentioned in this post were provided by publishers for review purposes.

Zombicide: Invader is the newest and best game in the Zombicide series of cooperative board games.

Learning to play the cooperative board game Zombicide: InvaderThis past Monday my friend Mike taught four of us to play his copy of Zombicide: Invader. This was the Kickstarter copy of Invader I did an unboxing video for earlier in the week. Mike has been itching to play it now that I opened everything up for him.

Mike taught Tom, Sean (Hamilton, not from Hamilton), Deanna and I the game and we played through the first scenario. After a very long teach we had quite a bit of fun playing the game.

Overall I found this new Zombicide game to be the best of the bunch so far. There are some cool new rule elements that seprate this version from previous versions, yet the basic mechanics and some of the feel is still the same. I did find this version to feel like more of an adventure game than a puzzle and that’s a good thing.

I had enough to say about this first play that I wrote up a separate post detailing my initial thoughts. Check that out for more of my thoughts on Zombicide: Invader: A Look at the Miniature Based Board Game Zombicide Invader from CMON.

Giving Lotus from Renegade Game Studios another shot.

The last public play event I hosted at EZY mode I attempted to teach the competitive card game Lotus. It didn’t go as well as I had hoped so I wanted to give the game a second chance with the same group of players. I got that chance Sunday night and it went much better than last time.

This time everyone playing was focused on the game and ready to learn. It’s not that Lotus is hard to learn but there are some idiosyncrasies with how things are scored. This is because it’s the player who completes a flower that gets all of the cards used to create that flower and each is worth one point, yet it’s the player with the most guardians on that completed flower that unlocks the bonus. The bonus is either five points or the chance to unlock one of three powerful abilities that will help the player for the rest of the game.

It’s actually these two disparate scoring systems that make Lotus so fascinating to me.  There is a lot of strategy and tactics in trying to figure out what cards to play. Do you want to play most of a flower, taking the risk that someone else will complete it and “steal the point.” It may be worth it if you can make sure you at least have guardian control of that flower. Deciding when to use your guardians as well as how many wild petals you want to collect during the game is another important planning aspect.

This game really is a thinky filler and I’m pleased to say that this time all four players really enjoyed the game, I even got thanked for bringing it out and giving it another shot.

My thoughts on Imhotep Builder of Egypt after a couple of plays.

This past Saturday we had the pleasure of joining Tori and Kat for another double date night. You all should know Tori and Kat from our Gloomhaven actual plays as well as mentioning them multiple times here on this blog and our podcast. This was our second double date game night, the first being back in August. We ended up doing basically the same thing as last time. we met up at the Sandwich Brewing Company, had some great beer and some amazing charcuterie boards and played some games.

One of the games I brought for this date night was Imhotep Builder of Egypt from Thames & Kosmos. It’s one of those perfect games for playing during a social event, where you can not only play and enjoy the game but also have outside conversations and be social as well.  We ended up playing Imhotep twice that night and both games were quite fun.

I talk a lot more about Imhotep in my initial thoughts review: First Thoughts on the Board Game Imhotep Builder of Egypt from Thames & Kosmos, and I suggest checking that out if you want a more detailed look at that game. What I will say here is that it really is a solid gateway/family weight game. There are a lot of meaningful decisions to be made, the components are top notch, and the game includes two sided boards that really ramp up the replayability. There’s also a mechanic in it that reminds me of Zooloretto in a good way.

All four of us really enjoyed Imhotep and I’m looking forward to playing it more and trying out some of the B sides of the player boards.  There’s also an expansion that I’ve got in my pile of shame but that’s going to wait until I play the base game a few more times.

Eminent Domain from TMG is still one of the most unique deck-building games on the market.

Tori loves deck-building games. I’m not sure exactly what about them he loves so much but often when we are talking about what games to play he will ask if I have any deck-builders that he hasn’t tried. So Saturday night when we got back to our house from the Sandwich Brewing Co. I decided to show off one of the most unique deck builders in my collection: Eminent Domain from Tasty Minstrel Games.

Eminent Domain is a sci-fi deck-building game that feels like someone took Race for the Galaxy and turned it into a deck-builder. The reason for this is that the heart of Eminent Domain is a role selection mechanic, where the one that selected the role (the Leader) gets to do an action, then every other player can do the same action, while the Leader gets a bonus for being the one that selected that action. One change up here is that players can choose not to follow the lead action and instead “descent” by drawing a card.

What makes Eminent Domain unique is that these roles are represented by cards and that’s where the main deck-building is. When you chose a roll you take a card representing that role and it gets added to your deck. The more you do an action the more cards you get for that action. This can mean that you get better and better at that action but it can also lead to your deck being cluttered with extra cards for actions you don’t need.

The other deck-building aspect of the game is through buying technology cards using the Research Roles. Most technology cards end up in your deck and offer improved versions of the actions on the role cards. They can also be used to boost two different roles instead of just one like a normal card. There are also permanent technologies that get played on the table and modify the game in some way.

I personally really dig Eminent Domain, mainly because it is so different from other deck-builders on the market.  We played two games on Saturday night, the first being a learning game for Tori and Kat (and a re-learning game for Deanna and I). Those both went over really well, with the second one being much tighter and more enjoyable. This is definitely one of those games you have to see once to fully understand all the card interactions.

We finished off the night with one play using the Escalation expansion for Eminent Domain. The expansion adds a bunch of new technology cards, an updated warfare system with updated rules for the ship counters included in the base game, a new scenario system and the ability to play with five players.  As I’ve only played with Escalation once and it was the last game of the night on a night with quite a few beers ingested, I think I’m going to save my thoughts on the expansion for when I’ve managed to get a few more plays under my belt.  I will just say that I’m looking forward to exploring Escalation and learning to adapt to how it changes the base game.

So this week I got some new stuff to the table but also returned to a couple of classics from my collection. What did you get played this week?

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