Monday, April 19, 2010

Gaming For The Week 11th-17th April 2010

It was another AGoT heavy week with the usual 4. I had time to tweak my Lannister deck while Ben customized a Baratheon deck for his use. I attempted to lower the average cost of my characters and at the same time, include a couple of sorely needed claim soaks. As it turned out the deck worked relatively well though I was pretty much pinned back in the 2 games played.

In the first, I teamed up with Jo and his Targaryen deck while Ben teamed up with Ivan who played Greyjoy. In the second, I paired with Ben against Jo and Ivan.

Ivan introduced a new card Wharf Rats which was a real pest. Basically you play the character under the control of your opponent and gift your opponent with a 2M character which cannot be killed. Sounds like a boon so far? Here's the kicker - as long as Wharf Rats remain under your control, you discard a card each time you win a challenge, be it in attack or defence. I ended up discarding a third of my deck. While I suppose it isn't a deathblow by any means considering its 3 gold cost and the additional character granted to your opponent. Nonetheless, being on the receiving end of it, I can attest it was a real annoyance. It also effectively nullified the ability of my Lion Heralds to search the deck for desired cards. In fact, since Wharf Rats is a non-unique card, Ivan could foreseeably play 3 of them on me. Yikes!

Ivan left after the AGoT LCG games while the remaining 3 continued with Tribune. Jo continued his amazing streak at the game, acheiving the 5 victory conditions at the end of the 3rd round. We wanted to try the victory point varient for a change but feared there was inadequate time. Nonetheless I doubt it will change my impressions significantly about the game.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gaming For The Week 4th - 10th April 2010

Ben was available this week so it left Ivan, Jo and I to trade blows over AGoT LCG. While waiting for Jo, I had an opportunity to customize a Lannistar deck for play but as it turned out, a 60 card deck with few income producing locations and high cost characters was a rather bad combo.

Jo played Targayen while Ivan opted for Greyjoy which seems to have usurped Stark as his fav house. The game started with us closely matched but Ivan blew it open in the 7th and 8th rounds, playing the Rise of the Kraken plot card consecutively. That is a claim 2 card with an extra power token for each unopposed challenge. Yup, it plays as strong as it sounds. He was basically unstoppable especially with the ridiculous inititive of 8 on that plot card too. He picked us apart and romper to victory with Jo and I still at single digit power tokens.

Is Rise of the Kraken overpowered? Probably but perhaps not extremely so that it warrents a ban. Nonetheless, I do wish that the initiative wasn't so ridiculously high that the Greyjoy player not only gets free pick of the titles but also starts the attack. I figure that the other players need to pin down the Greyjoy player early in the game in preparation for the big swing when that plot card comes into play, possibly in 2 consecutive rounds.

The Lannistar deck I played with still needs tweaking. Hopefully I'll have a chance to do so next week.

We ended off with Hansa Teutonica which Van joined us for. This game just continues to shine. I went hard for actions from the get-go, being first to 5. Racked up a nice number of bonus markers too as the flips were attractive, contributing to my score.

I really have no major complains about the game. It IS abstract but doesn't feel that way like true abstract games in the vein of Ingenious and Blokus. The abstractness of Taj Mahal got to me but this one hardly bothers me one bit. I'm seriously thinking of taking my rating up to a 10 on this one.

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Gaming For The Week 28th March - 3rd April 2010

My cell had a connect gathering over the weekend. Most were non-gamers but they had a good time with Jungle Speed and Liar's Dice. Both games play nicely in the 6-8 range. With Jungle Speed, more players ramp up the difficulty since you have more cards to pay attention too but with too many, decks tend to rather thin and the endings of such games feel somewhat premature. I suppose getting the expansion solves this problem to some extent although I'm not sure if I would prefer to put the dough to a different party game altogether. I would say that Jungle Speed needs to be played quickly for maximum excitement. Over-deliberate flipping can slow the game down to a crawl and make it a far less enticing experience.

I organized a usual games session midweek and there was a nice turnout this time round with 6. The early ones started with a game of Dominion:Intrigue which I won with a low score. Once everyone arrived, we split into 2 tables, with a group of us playing Le Havre while the others took on Confucius. I broke my previous high with a 257 score for Le Havre but it was largely due to the fact that Ivan and Ben failed to challenge me for the use of crucial buildings since they were new to the game. Le Havre, like games such as Puerto Rico, is one that rewards repeated plays. Nonetheless, Ivan did well for his first game.

Both tables ended around the same time. Ivan, Ben and Jo proceeded with a game of A Game of Thrones LCG while the rest of us had a run at Nexus Ops. I heard the AGoT LCG game was a close one with Ivan taking the win by a point. They however couldn't play till 15 power tokens and decided to end the game on a pre-decided round. Marcus was first to 12 points in Nexus Ops. Nexus Ops is a nice alternative to Risk especially with its euro-elements. I like the fact that the objective of the game isn't to wipe out your opponents, but picking battles wisely in order to nab victory points. Nonetheless, the game can be prone to downtime and I can't imagine playing a game with 4. Perhaps playing in teams may help somewhat...

On Good Friday, the cell came over and before we began our themed dinner, we manage to squeeze in two games of Monopoly Deal which Van dominated and a game of Ra.