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One of Raine's biggest hobbies has always been gaming. It all started with an Atari and spread out to Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magic: the Gathering, and Dungeons & Dragons. As an artist, Raine takes pride in painting models for games as well as making his own terrain. He's also been a writer for many years, working both in the journalism industry and writing pieces of fiction. He decided to create Initiative : Tabletop as a platform to talk about all things gaming that he simply thought were cool, and reviewing games became a part of it!

Guest Post: The Plan – Part 7: Straying From the Path…

This past week wasn’t as impressive as the previous week, but that is due to the fact that I had a convention to play games which really bumped my numbers. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t play any games off the list, just not as many as I would have like – again 2 per week is the current average so I am not going to complain or be worried… Yet. Perhaps there is something to be said about slowing down.

K2 - Yellow attempts to make it to the summit!

K2 – Yellow attempts to make it to the summit!

The first game played is K2. This 2012 Spiel des Jahres nominee has players attempting to summit the mountain of the same name without dying. Each turn, players select 3 cards from their hand of 6 cards (on the sixth turn, each player plays the remaining 3 cards available of the 18 cards in their personal decks). There are two types of cards: climbing cards (green) and acclimation cards (blue); once chosen, all player reveal their cards with the player with the single highest climb value taking a Risk Token between 0 and 2. Then in turn order, each player can move one or both of their climbers up, down or acclimate them to the harsh conditions using the cards chosen. Once all players have played their cards, each climber acclimation level is adjusted for the height on the peak and the current weather conditions. If your climber’s acclimation level fails below 1, that climber is a casualty of the mountain and you score a single victory point (no matter where they might have ascended). Since the weather conditions really affect how the game plays, you have to be aware of it at all times. I have never used the winter weather tiles, but I can imagine how bad it can be.

Last Frontier: The Vesusvius Incident - Private Mendez was carrying the seriously wounded Private Yee back to marine shuttle when he was grabbed by well hidden aliens thus ending the game.

Last Frontier: The Vesusvius Incident – Private Mendez was carrying the seriously wounded Private Yee back to marine shuttle when he was grabbed by well hidden aliens thus ending the game.

Second game off the list is Last Frontier: The Vesuvius Incident. This single player only board game puts the player in charge of twelve marines who are tasked with determining the fate of the crew of a lab ship. The ship in question is in a decaying orbit destined to burn in the atmosphere of the nearby planet. To make matters worse, there are escaped alien specimens, crazed robots and vile (and deadly) aliens. The player has between 16 and 20 ‘exploration’ turns to complete their objective to find the fate of the crew and get back to their shuttle alive. I have played this game a couple of times and never have I actually survived. This game play is no different; although I believe I made it as far to completing the mission as I ever have. I guess there was a new version of the game that was Kickstarter a year ago with updated components and rules (my copy as you can see is the original version with a paper board and thin counters). The game (at least my copy) is from a different age where longer and more complex rules were the norm. There’s a fun game in there, but the rules are definitely antiquated by ‘modern’ standards! I wish I would have seen the updated version of the rules before I attempted to play because those might have saved me a bit of time. Still the game was entertaining.

The new game syndrome… Every week, I head to at least one if not both local game stores in my area as well as my constant battle against Kickstarter or the online board game shops in order to keep my gaming collection manageable. Going to a game store during opening gaming allows me to try a game before I buy it. Sometimes that play is enough to keep me from purchasing it and sometimes that play makes me want to buy it. That being said, my friends are also looking at and possibly buying new games. When that happens, we have to take a break from my list to play the newest game in their collection.

Krosmaster: Arena - The Queen of the Tofus (that’s the one with the yellow hat) and a bit of the included cardboard terrain.

Krosmaster: Arena – The Queen of the Tofus (that’s the one with the yellow hat) and a bit of the included cardboard terrain.

At Who’s Yer Con, a couple of my friends tried out a demo of Krosmaster: Arena and enjoyed it. Imagine their surprise when the two who were demoing the game decided that they were going to separate themselves from the company and were looking to sell the demo copies at the convention. Not wanting to miss out on a deal when they saw it, each picked up a lightly played copy for a mere 30 dollars (for a game that retails for 80 dollars). A couple of expansion packs later and they have enough for some decent games. Having four people for one of the game nights, we decided to team up and play it. If you haven’t seen it, Krosmaster: Arena is a tactical combat game played on a squared board. When playing it, I really felt like I was playing a miniature version of Final Fantasy: Tactics. The game has a lot of depth and just enough luck to make it fun.

Next game I played that isn’t on the list currently, but quickly becoming one that I want to add is Android: Netrunner. This LCG (Living Card Game) is based off an old Collectable Card Game from the 90’s. This asymmetrical card game pits one player as the huge megacorporation against the second player as a lone netrunner. The corporation is working to promote their guarded agendas while the runner is trying to hack into that corporation’s data servers to steal those agendas. I have only played a couple of games, but I really like it. Perhaps it due to all that Cyberpunk 2020 role playing game sessions that I played as a kid (I still own that RPG I might add). Now that there are nine expansion packs to the base game, it would be an expensive game to get all the current cards, but worth it.

Until next time – Play a new game!

Brendan Mayhugh


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