Brick Wall Board Games

On my list of things to do today, I have, write a blog post about a board game called Seasons. Overall the things I have pumped out and written since I started this blog up, none of them have made me hit a brick wall when it comes to getting the words out. So I will be talking about that problem, but I do want to discuss the future of a board game day in general with all of you amazing readers.

Here is the problem.

Tabletop games are a large part of my life and I am around them often. I work with them and they are always there, yet somehow I draw a blank talking about them sometimes unless it is the week or months current demo. I get into my salesman mode over a game when writing when really I just want to talk about why I like it and how it is fun to me.

I noticed this in two places. One was that they are the least read topics out of anything I do. That is fine and somethings will be noticed and others will not. The interest of the readers and having conversations with you is the most important part of all this to me. I think I could easier talk about why Bastion is probably my favorite or second favorite game soundtrack over why Seasons is one of my favorite drafting games.

The reason why I can is that one is a passion. Something that I enjoy talking about and getting reactions from and seeing how you all react to them too. Having someone message me in an email and having it say they picked up a game after I talked about it made my whole day awesome. The other just still makes me feel like I am trying to sell something to you. Which if you saw me during the day at work, that is exactly what my goal would be. I want this blog to be a passion and not just more work.

That leads to the second places that I noticed this problem and that was my blog about Star Realms. I adore that game! It is something that I would gladly play if someone asks me too and enjoy it the whole time through, and yet still I made the thing sound like a sales pitch to my dismay. I felt that I was drifting from what I want this site to be and to grow into and that is a place to talk about games for fun and why we all enjoy them.

I don’t care if you play Minecraft to level out a mountain, beat the Ender Dragon, or to dig a hole. I care that you are happy and having a damn good time during it.

I don’t care if you go out to the movie for the plot, the date night, or the popcorn. I care that you enjoyed yourself and it gave you something to leave with. That you left with more than you brought.

Each time I post I worry that I will waste your time and that is the worst thing that I could possibly do with this site. So I need to really get down to my brass tacks and figure out what I like talking about so you get the best I can provide.

As the site expands and now has twitter and twitch is about setting up and ready to go I think making the time I do post matter more is the most important part. This summer along with my 40-50 hours at my game store job I plan to work another job as well to get a vehicle paid off and to upgrade my car to a newer one. I miss road trips and getting out to see everything, so I want to return to doing that as well. Turns out that is a lot simpler if you have a safe vehicle to rely on.

Photo by Laurenz Kleinheider on Unsplashlaurenz-kleinheider-426386-unsplash.jpg

Does this mean the end of board game posts?

I don’t think it does really. I like talking about things and at times boardgames will pop up and I will show why I love them, to try to share some of the joy with you. I know there will still be a post about the Game of Thrones boardgame, one that I have dumped hours and hours into. Really what I think the board game side of things will come down to is I will reach out to my network of friends and have someone who writes about them with a passion about boardgames instead. A few people already come to mind and they can hit the topic harder than I can anyways.

With this, I hope today wasn’t a waste for you. Sometimes all this website may turn out to be is a journal of sorts, but I will always be transparent with you guys and let you know what is going on. The other good news is I don’t think I will have any gaps in posting this week as a motivation based one for Friday crept into my mind, and I want to talk about it.

No matter what, go out and enjoy what is there. Play some games and be happy!

-SCH

Feature Photo by Susan Yin on Unsplash

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Dark & Stormy Night

From the start, I knew who the enemy had to be. That man Dash had been running around the mansion as fast as he possibly could, collecting every trinket he could find. I heard him constantly opening and slamming doors, not stopping for a minute between, even when he plummeted three floors down to the basement I just heard him continue his exploration. When the door slamming ceased and we all heard the werewolf howl, we knew what had to be done.

Betrayal at House on the Hill is a game that has so many different outcomes each time you sit down to play. No two experiences will end up the same as the layout of the mansion changes each and every time. This constant replayability has allowed me to enjoy the game for years and killed over a hundred hours with others as I’ve grown and shared the title. So for this Table Top Thursday, let me share a little bit about what happens when you are at the house on the hill.

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Betrayal puts you in the shoes of up to six unlucky explorers. They are all lead to the house for different reasons and with that, each has a slight difference in stats. The stats in the game don’t matter a whole lot before the haunt begins, due to you being unable to die before then. They have things that affect how many rooms you can move through, how strong you are or even your characters mental sanity. Regardless of what happens to them when they first enter the house things change quickly.

The game lets you spend the first few turns exploring around on the three different levels in the house. Fall into the basement, begin your trek on the ground floor, and lastly find the tower and master bedroom in the upper floor. When you move a character in the game you go until you open a new door, which leads you to flip over tiles until a new piece is put onto that level. When you enter a room little things called events to happen, that describe a spooky scenario you go through and usually result in you having to roll to prevent something bad from happening.

The other thing you can find while exploring is omens. As these build up and the roll to prevent them from happening builds you will soon find yourself in the middle of a haunt. When you start this the game has a built-in fifty scenarios that determine which player is now the villain or betrayer and they get their own book that tells them how to now win the game. The survivors are who are left and they then get a book telling them how to win.

I always love this part of the game, you get a real sense of camaraderie if you are on the survivor’s side. Whereas if you are the villain you learn about your new added buffs and how to mess up their day. It’s always great having the villain leave the room and read his part, laughing when they try to return in too soon and a survivor yells, “Not yet we are still planning!”

Photo by Lewis Roberts on Unsplashlewis-roberts-1213819-unsplash.jpg

When everyone returns to play different scenarios will have different conditions on how to win. I can honestly say that I’ve lost and won this game about 50/50. Sure sometimes things just go your way as the villain and the survivors can’t find what they need to defeat you. Other times they have what they need already, it is a sweet mash-up of surprises every time. With all the mix up again leaving me ways to replay it again and again.

The expansion adds even more to this title or you can take a trip over to the DND side of things and try Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate. A sister title that makes you feel like you are playing through a DND session instead of just classic horror tropes. No matter what for the price you pay this will be a staple on your board game shelf for years and a title that sits close to my all time favorite.

Short and sweet this Thursday, but if you haven’t given this game a play with friends or family I strongly urge you to go give it a shot. Or if you see me in person I would love to get a game in some time. Either way, that is all for tonight and I will see you all tomorrow.

 

Table Top Thursday – Star Realms

Thursday has always been a hard one for me. Friday is so close you could taste it and the drag of the whole week before you is wearing you down. We even managed to have a blizzard in April! It is no surprise that getting into something can be hard at this point when the bed and finishing the week sounds so much easier than playing a game or finishing that book.

To combat the Thursday “bad feels” I like to try to stick to a schedule and checkmark off all the things I need to get done. With that, I plan on making every Thursday a Table Top Thursday so I can have a focus outside of the video gaming world a bit. Board games and card games are a huge part of who I am and part of my personal story. Plus, I like talking about them to help people get off the stigma that a board game is Monopoly and that’s it.

Leading away from this I wanted to take some time and talk about my personal favorite deck builder, Star Realms. A nice cheap game sitting at 14.99 for a physical copy or a digital one for free you can play on the go. It is one of the few games I have purchased multiple times as I played so many games I wore through the cards. When you are getting into a high stake match you may be flicking the cards in your hand a bit hoping your opponent doesn’t play another huge Blob ship you shut you down.

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What is a blob? First I want to help make sure you know the gist of what a deck builder is. After all, there are tons of games that fall into this category. Things like DC Deckbuilder, Legendary and of course Dominion all hit the list of a deck builder. One that starts everyone out with a clean slate and you “purchase” cards to add to your deck as you go. Eventually having a unique deck by the end of the game that runs like no one else.

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Many times these games have unique heroes you can start the game with that give you a little extra help to start out with. Sometimes they grant more gold or hit harder for damage, nothing too much to have a major advantage in the beginning. Remember the core of a deck builder is you start out equal. The base game of Star Realms starts out with just currency plus damage and is a death match between you and the person you are sitting across from.

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The “gold” for this game comes in the form of trade such as the golden one icon you see on the Trade Bot picture. Damage is the red markers that you see and the green five on the Alliance Frigate gains you Authority, which is your health in this game. The game uses mechanics like scraping to remove cards that you no longer want in your deck to draw more of your powerful card options. Why draw a simple one trade card when you can drop a Blob Mothership. The game has different factions that if you buy them into your deck you can get synergies to play even better.

 

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A lot of what makes me like this game so much is the quick learning curve that is put into it. I have a hell of a time getting friends that don’t see themselves as “boardgamers” to sit down across from me and spend time face to face playing a game. There isn’t any animated tutorial or quick time events, just me talking to them, which I suppose is torture for some. One friend begrudgingly sat down and within thirty minutes walked over to pick the game up. Later texted me first when the digital version was released. He is now a lifetime fan.

The only downside I have found to this game is sleeving can be a bit tricky. You need a couple boxes worth to get them all covered up, but the longevity it gives the game is a must. The first copy I had I went through after about two weeks. I lost count of the number of games that I played during that time, but three copies later I always try to keep the game sleeved up.

There are multiple modes you can play in the game and a ton of new expansions that add a variety of gameplay elements. The deck can get pretty big when you have every Hero and Gambit and Crisis pack shuffled in. The more you add the better the reason to keep it sleeved as well! The modes can have you play three on three or go through different warp gate technology, but my favorite will always be the quick one on one.

One of the few rare titles that I am willing to pop out and ask others to play or I rush to demo, this game will always be close to my heart. A few years back at GAMA I even sat down and went undefeated with it during the annual tournament they host. The biggest regret of me not going this last March by far. So if you see me in person any time soon, ask me for a game. I will gladly teach you the rules in five minutes and shuffle up a few hands with you any time.

Last, I apologize for the late night posts. Some days I get them done nice and early, others I get them done minutes before midnight. Today was a productive one, fixing up the store a great amount and making the merchandise look amazing for the weekend to come. I also got a game out of the way that I will be talking about this Sunday, with a full Platinum of it even. Friday will not normally have a post, but we pick right back up this weekend, I’ll see you all then!

Last, thank you to White Wizard Games for providing all the images today. You were great to correspond with and make some of the very best products out there, keep it up.