This is the last week before we move into October and that means we are in the final three months of 2014 – the fourth quarter. There are a bunch of silly sport catch phrases that deal with the fourth quarter about how it all comes down to this or some such (unless you are playing hockey or soccer). Let us just skip over those and move to the real crux of the situation. I am over 75% of games played in my collection so I consider myself ahead of the curve in terms of my goal. Even with the additional games that might show up from Kickstarter before the year ends, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. I definitely do not want to be playing games off the list on New Year’s Eve – actually, playing games of 12/31 does sound kind of fun.
The first game was Sentinels Tactics: Flame of Freedom. I enjoy the Sentinels of the Multiverse card game so when I heard that the company was coming out with a tactical board game with the characters from the card game, I jumped at the chance. I could see myself walking to the nearest comic shop to pick up the titles that deal with Legacy or Mr. Fixer so I really wanted to see these characters actually do combat in a table top setting. I haven’t played enough to decide if the characters play differently or if there is enough strategy, but it was fun seeing Legacy beating the tar out of Baron Blade! A player’s turn is divided into four phases. First a character may power up by replacing one of their current cards with a different one from their hand (each character has a hand of power cards and all are available to said player). Next any “Surge” effects take place – say give a character an attack or defense token. Third is the action phase where each character has between 2 and 4 actions to do things like move, sprint or use an ability that costs an action (like an attack). Unless otherwise noted, each action can only be done once in your turn. Lastly, you determine your movement for next turn (rolling a number of dice and keep one per your movement option – most characters get the highest rolled die, but not always). I was not disappointed, but it might get stale depending on how each character plays (like sticking to two or three cards for the entire game).
I also played the updated version of Wok Star. I have wanted this game for years ever since hearing about it. The issue is that it was an innovative when it came out, but these days there are a lot of cooperative games that use both dice and time against the players. I talked about this in a previous column (4/21/14) and though some of the mechanics and components were updated the main game concept hasn’t changed. The game was fun, but I don’t think it was any better or worse than all the other cooperative games that I own these days which is sad considering how long I have been waiting for it. I really want to try it a couple more times before I make my final judgment.
Last game played was Stratego. This game was described to me as that game that sat on the top shelf of the closet unplayable. I played against someone who knew of the game, but had never played it. That seemed odd to me considering it was probably one of the first strategy games I learned when I was a kid (Risk I would say was the other one). To have a game in the closet but unplayed for years and years is quite strange to me. My family was more of a Scrabble or Clue family than Risk or Stratego to be sure, but I can safely say that I had played Stratego with my friends more times than I can count. I won’t bore you with actual game play or anything, but I will note that it wasn’t a bad game. In my head, it’s as a staple of a strategy game as chess or checkers since it has been around for 30 some years of my life.
I also got to play a couple of games of Shadowrun: Crossfire. I still haven’t decided to use the stickers and characters in a permanent way or download the really nice character sheets that have been created on Boardgamegeek.com – I do like the idea of using the stickers and provided characters in a legacy way, but I just can’t go for it. What if I want to trade/sell this in the future – without the clean characters/stickers, I will have a hard time of it. The other issue is determining who gets to create a character on one of the provided sheets (you only get 10 character sheets – two per race). I would hate for someone to write a character name down for their first game and then never play again.
In other news, I went ahead and purchased the upgraded minecart level for Shadows of Brimstone. The game is still fun and I can only assume that the extra stuff that will now come with my copy will make it even better. I just hope that some company teams up with Flying Frog Productions to produce a carrying case for all the miniatures – I can’t give you the exact count, but it is way more than will fit in the provided game boxes!
Until next time – Play a Game!