Origins Day 3 (continued)

OK, sorry for the delay in finishing up my days at Origins, but trying to see so many games and talk to different publishers and designers is just crazy.  By the time my days ended, my wife was ready to go out for a nice dinner and have some drinks and who am I to say no to that!

But let's continue with what I was able to see and play here at Origins 2017.  Next up on my list was a game that after reading about it I was rather skeptical in whether this would even be able to be made into a functioning board game or not.  When I saw and read about Pinball Showdown on BGG, I wasn't really sure what to think.  After having the game explained to me and then sitting down to play a full game, I was pretty much sold that this card game about playing pinball actually worked.  The game has several mechanisms to it that will make learning the game quite easy.  But I can really see where this game will have some replay-ability to it due to the randomness of the cards dealt during setup to make your strategy change with each game play.  You are basically playing the game over the course of a multi-ball session with a game of pinball.  So, while the card game could last 20-30 minutes, you are really playing what would be considered 30 seconds of a pinball game.  While this may sound a little crazy, you are playing what most people will probably say is the best part of a pinball game.  During this time, you will be drafting and bidding on cards as well as using your resources of speed and control to attempt to get the best scoring card possible for the round.  There are combos and various cards that you can obtain for completing sets, but you are also trying to complete objective cards which will then enable Wizard Mode for the next round.  During Wizard Mode, cards will be placed in a 2X pile for scoring at the end of the game.  If the speed of your ball ever reaches zero, you will have to deal with draining.  If this happens during the first five rounds of the game, your ball just returns to play with a speed of five.  But, if this happens in the sixth round or later, the game will end at the completion of the current round.  I have to say, I was actually very surprised with how well this game played.  It takes the game of pinball and successfully lets you play it in a card game format.  From trying to control the speed of your ball to the actual control of the ball, you really need to think about when to push it and when you should maybe pull back a little.  This is definitely a game that I can say that if you are a fan of pinball games you should definitely try.  But, even if you are just looking for a nice quick filler with a push your luck component to it as well as a set collection and drafting, you should definitely give this game a look. 

Next on my stop, I checked out a few games at Stronghold Games.  One of the first games I demoed at their booth was Fields of Green.  I had read a little about this farming game, but I had honestly not paid too much attention to it, but I am so glad I sat down and played through a round of the game.  In this tile placement/resource management game each player is building a farm.  You are placing tiles into your tableau to build out a farm to collect victory points at the end of the game, but you need to make sure that while building your farm you obtain the appropriate resources to maintain it.  There are different colored tiles which will give you various rewards in the game so figuring out which tile to play where is crucial if you hope to succeed.  I really want to give this game a full play through and will definitely be looking for this game at my FLGS now.

Next on my list at the Stronghold booth was a game that made my list of one of the games I wanted to play and that was Pit Crew.  I can say this is definitely one game that if you don't like frantic games, then you may want to look at something else.  In Pit Crew, you are trying to get the tires changed, car refueled, and in later rounds repairing the engine all as fast as you can before your opponents.  The game can be played with a very interesting number of players being from 2-9.  In a nine-player game, you will be playing in teams.  I played a two-player game and the game still worked great and was a lot of frantic fun.  You have a hand of six cards and you are trying to get four cards on each tire by playing a card one number higher or lower than what is already there.  Cards also have a white or black number on them, for a set collection component.  If you can get all the same colored numbers on a tire you will get a turbo boost at the end of the round.  Once you repair all the pieces of your car being tires, engine and then matching the number on your race car, you can start rolling a die.  Each six that is rolled allows you to move one space on the race track.  You can continue moving along the track as long as one of your opponents is still attempting to repair their car.  The game is a crazy fun filler and I definitely need to try this game with a higher player count.

The next game I saw took up the remainder of my afternoon and became an instant buy for me.  I stopped by to see the guys at Capstone Games to check out Lignum.  This was another game on my list of games I wanted to try and I was very glad I did.  I walked up just as a game was about to begin so rather than have them wait for me to learn it, one of the guys from Capstone started playing my turn while I was taught the game at another table.  I jumped in at the end of the second season I think it was, and we played through the full two-year game.  Wow, Capstone has brought over another great game and I can already see that this one is going to get played quite a bit.  The strategy and forethought you need to put into the game will probably give me a headache each time we play, but it will be an enjoyable one.  In this game, you are running a lumber mill in the 19th century and you need to try to control all facets of this lumber industry.  You need to make sure you have workers to cut the trees down, then transport the wood to your lumber mill, then have sawyers cut the wood.  From here you need to figure out if you want to try to age the lumber by letting it dry or if you want to just sell it for some immediate money or utilize the lumber to complete different objectives.  The whole game is built around a rondel like board where each player moves to different locations on the board in turn order to complete an action.  The crazy thing is, you can move around the board as slowly or quickly as you would like to, depending on the actions that you want to complete.  You will need to decide, do I need to stop at this space for a piece of food to make sure I have enough food for the winter, or do I risk passing that up to be the first one to the sawyer square to possibly get an additional worker that you can obtain. There are so many decisions that you will be forced to make at times you may not realize when you have made a good move or a bad one.  There's also another really interesting mechanic in the game in that you can try to plan for the future and place tokens on various cards that if you can complete them in future seasons at the right time, you will get bonuses for it.  This forward-thinking aspect is one that I can see will be very tricky to master but very rewarding when you do.  This game will definitely fall on the heavier end of the spectrum, but after my first play through, I don't think that the rules are too difficult to pick up on, but it will be the strategy and optimization you will need to master that will make this a great strategy game to play for years to come.

Origins Day 3

So yesterday was a busy day with a lot of games played as well as several interviews conducted.  By the time I ate dinner and sat down for a few minutes I crashed.  So here's an early morning update from yesterday. 

The first booth I visited yesterday was the North Star Games booth.  I was shown an early preview of the app they are creating for the game Evolution.  It sounds like they are in alpha testing right now and it will be released on Steam(for PC), as well as Android and iOS.  The early preview that I was shown was actually very well done.  The UI was very intuitive and the tutorial explained the game quite well.  There were some really fun animations that were added into some of the cards to just give the app that little bit more.  One of the really cool things that I was shown was that the more food that is in the watering hole, the more lush the vegetation is around the screen, which may seem like a small addition, but when you are playing the game its these little things that set apart a good game to make it a great one.  I will definitely be following the development of this game as Evolution will make a great game to add to my app collection.

After that I was shown several of the new additions coming out to the actual physical edition of Evolution.  There is a redesign coming for the main Evolution game with a smaller box footprint as well as a smaller price point.  The game includes a smaller watering hole and screens instead of bags for you food scoring, but the game still looks great.  There is also a new neoprene mat coming out which can be used in place of the board for Evolution: Climate.  If you already own climate and you aren't keen on the puzzle piece board, then this very nice double sided mat may be exactly what you are looking for to use in your game.  One last thing you will notice in the picture below is a new boxed game with the Evolution name on it called Evolution: The Beginning.  This game is actually a stand alone game from the rest of the Evolution line and while game play looks similar to the Evolution, this game is played strictly with cards.  I didn't have time to demo this one, but I am very interested in seeing how this one plays.

The last thing I saw at their booth was a new addition to the Wits and Wagers Party game which is a huge two sided neoprene mat which looks amazing.  I was informed that this will be hitting Kickstarter and I have a feeling that Wits and Wagers Party players will really like what this will add to the game.  Check out the pictures below.

As you can see, North Star Games has been keeping busy and it looks like they are continuing to expand on some great lines of games.  I can't wait to see what else we are going to see from them.

I did see much more on day 3 of my Origins visit, but I am writing this one up before hitting the show floor on Saturday and I think I'm going to have to finish writing about the rest of my day later as I need to get to the show floor to see more games!

Origins Day 2

It's been a crazy day of game playing and I still haven't gotten enough or seen everything I have wanted to yet.  One of the final games we demoed at the end of day one was Unfair by CMON.  I have to say, this game kind of caught me off guard.  I had heard some really mixed things about it, but I really liked it.  I thought it was an interesting take on card drafting, set collection as well as hand management.  The tableau builder has some take that but we were informed you can control how much of that is contained in your game.  Since we only played a demo I really would like to play through a full game of this one and some of the expansions that they have in the works sound like it can really add to the game.

This morning I stopped by and was talking to Patrick Leder of Leder Games and we were able to be some of the first to sit down and play their new game, Deep Enemy Frontier.  This is a 4X space game where each player takes a different role in the game.  The components we were playing with were prototype materials, but we still were able to get a good feel for the game.  It sounds like this game is currently in competition to be their next Kickstarter and it's up against the expansion for Vast: The Crystal Caverns.  I will say, I really enjoyed playing The Captain role in this game and I think Leder games is going to have another successful game in their library.  The game has different play styles and win conditions for each of the roles in the game and at time you may be working with your opponents to stop another player and in the next round you may be fighting against the person you were just working with.  I can't wait to see this game in its final form.

We then turn around and saw that Pinball Showdown was being shown.  We got a quick overview of the game but we didn't get a chance to play it.  I will definitely be stopping back to play this one in between interviews tomorrow.  It actually sounded and looked like they turned a pinball game into a card game.  The art on the cards was very well done and the game play sounded fun.

After this we stopped over at the Renegade Games booth.  Sentient was there, but they weren't able to demo the game yet as it sounds like there was a component missing from these early shipped versions and it wouldn't be in until late Friday.  I will definitely be stopping back to demo this game.  But while we were there we jumped into a quick game of Flipships.  I haven't played too many dexterity games, but this one plays a lot like a game of Space Invaders or Centipede.  Enemy ship cards are moving towards you and you need to work together with the other players to destroy these cards as they advance.  Each player has a couple of discs they will flip to try to land on the different cards to destroy them.  These discs are on a card that matches that players color and each player has a different action on their card which can change strategy or how or where you flip your disc.  I don't think any of us hit the "mother ship" once, which is a big box like alien ship at the top of the table.  Sadly, we all died a horrible death and lost but everyone had a lot of fun trying to stave off the alien invaders.

One of the last games we had a chance to play before we completed our first scenario in True Dungeon was over at Daily Magic Games booth and it was a small card game called Kitten Clash.  Each player has a deck of cards with pirate or ninja kittens on them.  The cards are also varied in color and each player plays three cards in a row from left to right and once you match a color orthogonallyeither player can try to grab that column of cards.   It's a fast paced crazy little game that can fit in your pocket.

So as I mentioned above the next thing we did was spend several hours with the crew at True Dungeon.  This is definitely an experience that you need to try at least once.  The puzzles were definitely difficult but our group slowly got through them.  The combats were a lot of fun, but the size of our party was a bit tricky and we were one short of being full.  I was playing a druid and sometimes trying to get to the DM to cast a spell was a bit tricky as people who had already slid their pucks stood around him talking.  I was also a little bummed out when our party walked into the last room and the DM had already started going through a puzzle before the whole party was in the room.  By the time my wife and I walked in we didn't hear one thing that was said, and the battle went horrible and we actually had a full party wipe.  Up until that point, I had a great time, but we kind of stood there once that happened and thought, what just happened and we were pushed out of the exit.  I would definitely like to try this again, but I would suggest trying it with friends and not a pick up group. 

That's pretty much the end of day two. I stopped and talked to quite a few other publishers and designers about some games and will have more to talk about tomorrow, but until then you know what to do! Go play some gamesand let me know, what you're playing now!

First game played was The Godfather: Corleone's Empire

All I can say is wow.   I have read a lot about this game as well watched some videos on it and this game has definitely lived up to the hype I had for it. 

I just got finished demoing a five player game where we played through 3 acts of the game.  The second and third acts were definitely much more aggressive than the first and there were quite a few family members that ended up in the river. 

In this game you're going to be placing one of two types of family members around the board to take various actions.  Not only do you want to complete these actions, but you also want to have majority control in different areas as at the end of the round you get to place a token there signifying this.  We found out very quickly how powerful control was as when a player takes an action where you control, it activates for you as well. 

Not only are you trying to accomplish area control, but the missions you complete go into your suitcase to assist you in end game scoring for having the most of either of the colored missions in the game.  You also need to try to stash away as much money as you can each turn into your suitcase as each round you will have to go down to a predetermined amount of cards.  The second round of the game I had a huge stack of cards I couldn't play as I couldn't complete the missions nor could I bank the money so it was all contributed back to The Don. 

The game appears to also have quite a bit of replayability as the tiles that come out during the game in regards to actions you can take will be random, so you can't necessarily utilize the same strategy with each play.  Plus the randomness in the mission cards that will enter play will make you change strategy as you will need to obtain different resources to complete each one.

It sounds like this game should be released right before Gencon and I can honestly say I can't wait to get this game into my collection.

I'll try to upload some more picture once I get some taken with my good camera instead of just with my phone.

First night at Origins 2017

So we made the short trip down south and are just waiting for #Origins2017 to begin.  This will be my first time at Origins and I really can't wait to see some of the new games that are going to be at the show. 

As my wife and I were walking around earlier this evening I took several photos of what to expect if you are coming down to the convention.


Tomorrow morning we will get our badges and hopefully begin gaming.  I also want to try True Dungeons while I am here as that looks to be something I want to try at least once.  There are so many things I have planned I have no idea if I will have enough time in the day to cover it all.  I plan on trying to make nightly posts with updates like this and possibly some during the day as well if I have any downtime. 

So let's have a great con everyone and get to playing some games!