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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!

The Plan – Part 39: The Same Old Excuses

To say that this was an off-gaming week would be a misnomer. I actually played quite a few games, but unfortunately no additional games were played from the list. In my defense, the remaining games require me to dust them off and actually learn the rules before I can even think about bringing them to any game night. Of course that means that I need to spend time reading rules instead of playing games. I am not worried but if you see a frantic message in a couple months, I am need of some die-hard players to play some really “interesting” board games. You all have been warned.

Games for the week:

The first game played was Star Realms. This is a quick deck builder for two players with a lot of fun and strategy in a very small package. Each player starts with 50 health and a starter deck of 10 cards. For the most part, cards are separated into three main resources/icons – gold coins to buy additional cards, crosshairs to attack and damage your opponent and shields to replenish your health. The first to get their opponent to 0 health wins. The key to this game is that most cards belong to a faction and playing multiple cards in the same faction on your turn result in additional triggers for previous “in-faction” cards played. Add in cards that remain in play and give a decent bonus turn after turn (Outposts – that must be destroyed before you may attack the player’s health and Bases – that don’t) and you have the recipe for a very solid game. An additional deck brings this game to four players and I can’t recommend this one enough!

The second game played was Soccero – a simple but elegant soccer game. If you have the ball, you have two choices – roll a die for movement or have the ball handler kick the ball. Choosing the first offensive option, you can move any number of players equal to the total number rolled (so a roll of a five allows you to move 1 player 5 spaces, 5 players 1 space or any combination in between). A player must move in a straight line and the ball handler can only move with the ball once before they must kick it away. If the offensive player decides to kick it, you can roll one or two dice along with a special ‘kick die’. This tells you the type of kick (straight, angled or airborne) and the amount of spaces it can move. The defense rolls a single die for their turn with the same rules for moving players as the offense. If the defense manages to roll the exact number needed for a player to enter the space with the ball, they steal it (as long as you don’t roll a 6 on a second die meaning you caused a penalty). Add in a bit of soccer rules (like offsides and throw ins) and you are ready to play. The rules for how you score a goal are a bit weird and for the most part pretty simple, but I feel that most of the game is designed around jockeying for position. All in all, it’s a fun game, but the idea of playing full 45 minute halves is a bit much (then again, I played a full game without complaint with the end score being 1-1 so what do I know).

Soccero – A real innovative game about soccer. The game is even supposed to be played in two 45 minute halves!

Soccero – A real innovative game about soccer. The game is even supposed to be played in two 45 minute halves!

The remaining games were repeats, but still worth mentioning. First repeat was another scenario of Shadows of Brimstone with four players. The posse (Rancher, Indian Scout, Preacher & Lawman) were told of an influx of restless dead streaming from a nearby mine and were offered a sizable reward if the problem could be fixed. In the end, the darkness could not be contained by the heroes and the dead streamed out into the surrounding countryside! The posse spend a couple of days in the nearest town (not overrun with the walking dead) and readied themselves to tackle the next obstacle. Is it sad that we are starting to call out “I believe in a thing called love” every time we need to check the “Hold back the Darkness”?

Shadows of Brimstone – This game has still a huge following with my game group and I am not going to skip a chance to play it!

Shadows of Brimstone – This game has still a huge following with my game group and I am not going to skip a chance to play it!

The second repeat was Descent: Forgotten Souls. After looking at my collection, I realized that I have never used the Descent Conversion Kit that allows one to play the first edition heroes and monsters in any of my second edition games. I decided (after watching a play through that used three heroines) that I would do duplicate the plan. Since I felt that I needed something to break the streak of failures, I’d took a page straight out of the Lord of the Rings (“No mortal man am I”). Amazingly enough, it worked and the three heroines from first edition defeated the scenario. I honestly cannot wait for the next cooperative game scenario to arrive for the general public. I even told a local game store that I would run the next Descent Organized Play event if they would purchase it!

Descent: Forgotten Souls – Three ladies (from the first edition using the upgrade kit) journey into the depths to stop the evil dragon!

Descent: Forgotten Souls – Three ladies (from the first edition using the upgrade kit) journey into the depths to stop the evil dragon!

Lastly, I got to play a 35 point game of Warmachine/Hordes. Actually since I was playing Trolls and my opponent played Legion, it was just Hordes – not a warjack in sight… It was a fun game and really enjoyed myself (we played a King of the Hill scenario with a four tiered hill – it was pretty inspiring). In the end, the Trolls managed to defeat the Legion with a couple of well placed bombs! I look forward to my next game.

On a side note, a new box set of Car Wars is being released by Steve Jackson Games this month (I met Steve Jackson at least 15 years ago at a convention in Indianapolis called Inconjunction, but I digress). This is pretty appropriate considering Car Wars is still on the list (and I am in the process of rereading the game’s rules). From the sounds of it, it looks like they will be updating the rules which is really exciting. I will probably purchase the starter box and will more than likely purchase the full game when it comes out – it’s definitely one of those exclusion games!

Until next time – Play a Game!

Brendan Mayhugh


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