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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 33: Duplicates

All my Gen Con purchases for this year have been opened and punched, rules have been read and the models are assembled. Now comes the hard part of fighting for gaming time in the next couple of weeks. It’s going to be an uphill climb since the group I play with probably bought between a dozen and two dozen games between the five of us at Gen Con. Add to that all the other games that we want to get to the table and for the first time since I started, I’m a bit worried that I won’t get everything played.

To the list –

We started a new campaign of Descent this past week using the Labyrinth of Ruin expansion. In an effort to actually play through an entire campaign, we recorded which heroes (and the class) that we were playing ensuring that we kept notes on what the heroes and overlord accomplished. It was a close game, but the heroes managed to get the victory in the first scenario. The heroes didn’t really get much in the way of gear or money after the initial mission which could hurt us in the end (I’m playing as one of the heroes), but getting the win was quite helpful.

Descent: Labyrinth of Ruin –The Heroes are in a desperate fight to keep the goblins at bay!

Descent: Labyrinth of Ruin –The Heroes are in a desperate fight to keep the goblins at bay!

As I noted before, I own a lot of the board game Descent. Ever since I picked it up at Gen Con 2005, I have collected most of the various expansions for first edition. When the second edition came out I kept my original edition stuff (they made a conversion kit) and then started purchasing the new expansions. Since the second edition came out in 2012, there are 4 complete and different campaigns to play through. Even though the original game’s campaign has only about 8 full missions, I can’t say I have finished that one – or any of the campaigns for that matter! A bit of a confession, I kept all the different campaign quest expansions as separate games to play on the list even though they all require the base game to play (which would technically exclude them from the game list per my personal conditions set in the original column). Why then, are they all there (four in all) – I really like the game and wanted to get the most out of all the expansions so this was a secret plan to get to play all of them. The only problem is without actually going through the entire campaign for each expansion, I feel a bit cheated more than anything!

Agricola – Building fences, farm food and raise a family all without starving in the process. This is right before the final harvest.

Agricola – Building fences, farm food and raise a family all without starving in the process. This is right before the final harvest.

Last off the list was Agricola. This is a fantastic game about the joys of medieval farming. I’m not kidding – it’s a really great worker placement game that has each player as a medieval farming family. I’m pretty sure most people can say they have played or know of this one. I went ahead and played it solitaire and I really enjoyed it. As a solo game, it really makes the game a puzzle to solve since you don’t have to deal with the actions of other players. The minor improvement and occupation cards give this game so much re-playability and force you to have a different strategy each time you try it (though those cards are not even remotely balanced – you have been warned). I have been told that Caverna: The Cave Farmers is a wonderful replacement to Agricola, but I have yet to play that game so I don’t know yet.

Not on the list, but a worthy mention is that I played a new scenario of Dead of Winter. Still a wonderful mix of mechanics and substance that really makes you work together for a win. In all the games I have played, there hasn’t been a traitor, but I’m sure that it going to happen soon enough. Will it make this game better or worse? Only time will tell.

Dead of Winter – All we had to do was survive 8 turns…

Dead of Winter – All we had to do was survive 8 turns…

I did manage to Kickstart Dungeon Saga from Mantic Games before it ended. In the end, the deal for all the additional monsters, heroes and extras was too much to pass up (with a final amount over 1 million dollars, the stretch goals were impressive – unfortunately so were the add-ons). I would have been kicking myself if I let this one slip by (like Myth which I admit didn’t know it existed until much later). I have some time before Dungeon Saga is complete and at my house so until then, I’ll play Shadows of Brimstone, Descent, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and Myth!

There is a small convention being done at the Indiana University Union on the weekend of September 27. There will be a Magic: the Gathering tournament on Friday, board game demos, miniature game demos and a bunch of Pathfinder on Saturday. I will be bringing a selection of games to play (and demo) so if you are in the area and want to get a couple of games in, stop by!

Until next time – Play a Game!

Brendan Mayhugh


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