The quarterly report:
Now that we are into April and I can say that a quarter of 2014 is complete, let us see how we are doing. Forty-six games complete and if I don’t buy a single game for the rest of this year, I am 41% complete (there are currently 113 games on the list). I have played games with 23 different people in two different cities (I’m looking into increasing both of these honestly). Still on target to complete all of them before the year is out so there is no need to panic. I can’t help but feel that it will get harder from here. Of course, this might be me just being paranoid, but only time will tell.
I did make it to a local game store for International Tabletop Day and I didn’t get to play as much as I wanted. Of course it didn’t help matters that I was double booked for the evening. Oh well, there is always next year. Note that the new month makes for a new rally for the World Rallyman Championship. I am going to try to get this race finished and see how I do against the best. It can’t be as bad as my practice stage went after writing last week’s column – I did poorly – like my 8 minutes to the leaders around 4 minutes (I slid off the road three times in a row).
I had the chance to play Acquire as the first game this week. Acquire is a quite simple game about corporate mergers. On your turn, you place one of your six tiles in its corresponding location in an 8 by 12 grid, buy up to any three stocks of the active corporations and finally refill your hand of tiles. If you place a tile adjacent to another tile those tiles form a corporation. If two corporations ever become connected, the larger (in terms of tiles) takes over the smaller one. The smaller corporation (in terms of tiles) grants a payout to the majority and minority (in this case, it is whoever has the second most shares) shareholder. The game continues in this way until all corporations on the board are 11+ tiles (and thus safe from merger) or one corporation is 41+ tiles. A final scoring round occurs and whoever has the most money wins. Easy to explain and fun to play – you can run into problems if you can’t start a corporation (and with six players, this is extremely possible) or if you don’t hit a majority/minority payout in the early game. With either of those scenarios you can find yourself with no cash and a small portfolio – for the entire game.
The second game off the list is DreadBall. This was a Kickstarter that I didn’t back until the very end of the campaign. I must admit that I wasn’t all that exciting about this game since it was so similar to a different game that I already owned and enjoyed – Bloodbowl, but a friend of mine convinced me to get in on it. In the end, I backed it and got a bunch of stretch goals for my trouble. DreadBall is a futuristic sports game where two teams of six players are attempting to score points by shooting a ball into one of three scoring zones. On your turn (called a rush), you get five actions. A coach (that’s you) may give two actions to any single player on the field. Some of the actions are: slam, run, sprint, throw (also used for scoring), dodge and steal. Game mechanics are pretty straight forward – a player gets a number of d6s depending on the action taken, the type of player (there are guard, strikers and jacks) and the positioning of players on the board. The nice thing is that most of the actions that involve your opponent are opposed actions meaning both coaches get to roll dice to determine the outcome. Add to the game exploding 6s (aka roll a six, get a success and an additional die to roll) and you have a game that is exciting and fun! I can’t tell you how many times I have rolled 4 successes to slam my opponent just to find out that my opponent has rolled 6 or even 8 successes themselves (that happened in the teaching game on International Tabletop Day). After these last couple of games, I’m certainly glad that I Kickstarted their newest game – DreadBall Xtreme.
I also got to play Star Realms. It’s a deck building game with a couple of really cool mechanics. Each player starts with 50 hit points and a starting deck of 8 money cards and two attack cards. Players have 5 cards per round to inflict damage to their opponent and buys better cards from the tableau in front of them. Cards that belong to the same faction can key off previously played cards to get bigger and better results. For example: my opponent played three cards all from the same faction that by themselves would only heal 12 points, but combined on the same turn yielded 24 points (the first card healed him 4, the second card healed for 4 apiece and the third card for a total of 12 points – 4 for each of the same faction cards). I did manage to pull out the win when I had a faction that allowed to you draw cards and a second faction that did a bunch of damage. I couldn’t tell you the exact amount, but it was definitely around 19 damage points to kill him off (and I think I played like 12 or 14 cards that turn). It’s too bad that it is only a two player game with a single starter set.
Do newer games that come out ever replace older games in your collections? I bring this up due to a discussion that I was having with a friend of mine. He was talking about going to Zlurpee Bowl (http://www.zlurpeebowl.com) – a really fun Bloodbowl tournament in Indianapolis taking place on July 12 and 13th of this year. I told him that I wasn’t sure that I was going to make it, but it was definitely on the radar. Then I asked him if he had played DreadBall since the games are super similar and I enjoy the Dreadball mechanics. To make a long story short, I went out on a limb that I enjoyed DreadBall more due to the shorter playing time and the updated and enjoyable mechanics. Since he hasn’t played DreadBall – he couldn’t comment, but as I write this if given a choice I think I would play DreadBall about 75% to 80% of the time over Bloodbowl . If that is the case, should I keep Bloodbowl (I own the actual board game along with a couple of additional pitches and a bunch of teams – most of which are painted)? I haven’t decided for the time being…
Until next time – Play a game!