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Gavin Breeden

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    Presbyterian Pastor
  • Favorite creative writing
    American Lit.

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  1. That was our intro to card drafting games and we enjoy it quite a bit. Perfect for non-gamers, your parents, etc. And the artwork is just adorable. I hadn't made a connection between the artwork and Nintendo but now that you mention it... I've never been remotely interested in those until that new one Diamonds came out this year. That one looks fun. Stuff I've played recently: Agricola. A buddy of mine recently found a copy at Barnes and Noble for $20 and picked it up for me. Huzzah! My wife and I enjoy the little brother Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small and we love At the Gates of Loyang so we were eager to try this. After playing the "family" variant a few times we played the full game with cards and everything last night. As others have said, the cards are what make the game great. They can help you develop a focus and a game plan. However, the game can feel frustrating. The game is designed so you have to do a bunch of stuff to build your farm but there's nowhere near enough actions for you to do everything you need to do so you have to use your cards and be creative to find ways to combo and make smart plays. It's fun and I think it could be a lot more fun once you really get a feel for the strategy, but man, it can be a brain burner. Indigo and No Thanks! I mentioned these in this thread a couple of months ago but I just wanted to make another mention here. These have become two of our go-to gateway games. Just a few days ago we had some non-gamers over for dinner and played these and it was the most successful introduction to gaming experience we've ever had. Whenever we go to someone's house or have someone over I keep No Thanks! close by and it's always hit the mark. Highly recommend these as light, funny games with a fair dose of "take that!" Galaxy Trucker. Our first Vlaada Chvatil game. Very fun. It's like a real-time puzzle while you build your space ship followed by the hilarity of watching your ships get destroyed by meteors and space pirates.
  2. Samurai Spirit is at the top of my list. Antoine Bauza is my favorite designer and this new one looks great, like a strange combination of Ghost Stories and Blackjack. Sign me up! Dead of Winter has been on my wishlist for a long time but my game group has kind of broken up since the other couple we play games with has moved away. This game still looks great but I can't imagine it being very fun with just 2 players. The new mechanic that most excites me is the crossroads thing. Something another player does on their turn may trigger a crossroad card that your holding and now you have a decision to make as a group on how to respond to that. Be looking for similar mechanics to start appearing in games all over the place soon.
  3. This description sounds remarkably similar to how I would describe Smash Up, which I know you love but you seem a little cool on Sentinels. How are they different? Here are a few updates from my own recent plays: Sushi Go! - Fun, little card-drafting game featuring art can only be described as adorable. Great filler game. No Thanks! - Another popular filler with a nice push-your-luck mechanism. A game goes very fast and can be quite funny. Great for taking to family get togethers with non-gamers. My mom loved it. Jaipur - Josh has already mentioned this here and it's been on my wish list for a while. Finally got it and am quite impressed with the beautiful components. On the surface, it doesn't appear to have a tremendous amount of strategy but, for whatever reason, I cannot win this game! My wife and I have played probably 7 games (each composed of 2-3 rounds) and I have won exactly one round, the very first one when I was teaching her how to play. Strange. Indigo - A tile-laying, route-making game similar to Metro or Cable Car but instead of trains, you're moving gems along routes and trying to get them into your own "gateways" at the edge of the board to score them. Designed by famous designer Reiner Knizia, it's a pretty straight forward game with absolutely gorgeous components. Seriously, really pretty board and pieces. What's really fascinating is as the game scales to 3-4 players, players must share some of the gateways. So gems scored in those gateways will score for both players who share it. Creates an interesting dynamic and makes for some fun choices. ' Race for the Galaxy - Easily one of the most difficult games I've ever learned, not because the gameplay is difficult to understand but simply because this game has TONS of iconography and just about every card out of the 100+ card deck is a little different. However, once you get passed the steep learning curve this game really opens up. It's amazingly balanced and has a ton of different strategies. My and I were a little unsure of it initially but it has quickly become a favorite for us. We love it. Jason, I saw on BGG that you own this one but it didn't seem like a big hit with you... Sorry to hear this news, Jason. Certainly hope some opportunities pop up for you soon. Castles of Burgundy is one of our favorite games (my wife says its her #1). Brilliantly designed game, Definitely made me a fan of Feld and "point salad" games. Think I finally pulled the trigger on it based on your own recommendation here, in fact. So, thanks!
  4. Two games that are definitely on my radar. Eager to hear what you think of them, Josh. Well, we finally picked up Jaipur based on several recommendations (including yours, Josh) and we're quite taken with it. Could see it becoming our favorite light, 2-player game. At times it feels like it's heavily luck based since you might be holding out for a particular card to come into the market place only to see it come out on your opponent's turn and watch in horror as they snatch it up. However, I'm less inclined to think that it's too luck-drive since my wife has one every single round of the game we've played except one (each game consists of 2-3 rounds). Anyway, it's a fun game, light and fast, with beautiful components. Here's another little bit of something interesting (maybe). A few months ago, I discovered the active community over at the board games subreddit (70k subscribers and counting) and it's become a website I check everyday. There are posts about game deals, links to new reviews and videos, questions and stories about games, and all kinds of stuff related to new, old, and upcoming games. My favorite two features over there are the "What Should I Get" posts in which someone will post a list of likes, dislikes, and games owned, and ask the subreddit for recommendations -- sometimes very specifically, like I'm looking for a complex game for 3 players that has a space theme that plays in 2 hours, what should I get, etc -- and the other frequent feature is called "Check Out My Collection" in which people posts photos of their board game collections or their game rooms for others to see. It's not meant to be boastful or anything (but prepare to get super jealous when you see the quantity and quality of some of these collections, and some of these game rooms need to be seen to be believed), just an enthused person sharing photos of their collection with other enthused persons who are interested. Anyway, I did my own COMC post the other day and I thought I'd post it here for anyone who might be interested in seeing what my games look like on the shelf. (As I glance at that photo again I realize that there are a few newish games that I haven't mentioned here yet. Will do that soon, in another post.)
  5. One awesome thing about second edition On the Brink is that the box is designed to fit everything (base game + On the Brink + In the Lab), which is cool. The bad thing about the second edition version of On the Brink is that the card backs don't quite match, they are slightly lighter in color and while it may not be a huge deal I can almost immediately tell at a glance if the next card in the draw piles is from the expansion or not. Not a huge thing, but yeah, kind of annoying.
  6. Pandemic is a favorite in our house. In fact, it's the second most played game that we own (after Dominion). We recently got the On the Brink expansion for Pandemic and it looks like it will add even more longevity to a game that we're nowhere near getting tired of. Because of my love for Bauza I've really wanted to try 7 Wonders but haven't had the opportunity yet. Seems like quite a number of people speak of it as highly as you do. Good set! Cosmic Encounter and Shadows Over Camelot are in the same camp for me: games that I desperately want to play/own but fear the 3+ player count required would mean I don't have many opportunities to play them. If I find myself with a consistent gaming group in the future, those would shoot to the top of my wishlist (along with 7 Wonders). My wife and I dig Lost Cities. Great little 2 player game. The only downside is the scoring is always a bit awkward. We have to pull out calculators or a piece of paper and such. The upside is this is one of the few games that I can almost always beat my wife in. As for what I've been playing lately... - Escape: The Curse of the Temple. Finally jumped into the "real time" end of the board game pool and we're pretty delighted with this one. It only takes 10 minutes to play and every game has been a blast. Took it to my parents' house over 4th of July and got a number of people to play it. While not everyone loved it, none of them could accuse it of being boring. - Steam Park. Speaking of real time games... this game -- about building a steam-powered theme park for robots, how is that for an awesome theme? -- starts with frantic real time dice rolling each round before players use those dice to take actions building a theme park. There's a ton of randomness in this game (which doesn't bother me too much, but I know some won't care for it) but there's plenty of opportunities to strategize and use bonus cards and special powers to mitigate some of that randomness. Fun game. - Pandemic: On the Brink. As mentioned above, this expansion breathed tons of replayability into one of our most replayable games. I love everything about this (though we haven't played a game with the bio-terrorist yet).
  7. Nice. I've heard great things about it. One of my buddies loves that game. Need to get him to bring it over sometime... My early Father's Day gift was indeed Android: Netrunner. So we played it last night. After reading through the rule book I was skeptical about this being a good fit for my wife and me. While I was (poorly) explaining some of the rules to my wife, the expression on her face was not comforting... HOWEVER! Once we just started playing and looking stuff up as we had questions it started getting smoother and smoother. Our first game took a while (I was corp and she was runner) because we were reading card texts and consulting the manual, but by half way through it started to get fun and I noticed a growing confidence in my wife's voice as she started announcing her runs. Eventually, she beat me (pretty bad, if I'm being honest). I'm eager to play it a few more times and see how our thoughts about it solidify. I'm cautiously optimistic that this will be a game that we can enjoy together. But we'll see...
  8. Yeah, the more I read about it (and watch online tutorials) the more I get interested in it but I also get more of a feeling that my wife wouldn't have the patience for all of the jargon, etc. Maybe I'm wrong though... As still a relative newbie to the boardgaming hobby, the first designer that I've called a "favorite" is Antoine Bauza based on the merits of Ghost Stories and Hanabi alone. So 7 Wonders is definitely on my radar. I'd heard it doesn't play well with two but then Richard Ham (of the increasingly popular Rahdo Runs Through) thinks it plays best with two. And I've grown to really appreciate and trust his opinion. All those games sound perfect for what you're looking for. I'd be remiss if I didn't recommend my favorite game, Dominion. It fits what you're looking for while providing a different flavor than everything else on your list. Lots of replayability in the base set plus tons of great expansions out there if you really get into it. Ticket to Ride is also a pretty standard family board game (recently replaced Settlers of Catan as the current top dog in sales, I think). Once you get tired of the regular board there are some map packs you can buy that are really tough.
  9. Thinking about taking the plunge into Android: Netrunner soon. I'm a little hesitant because I'm not sure how much my primary gaming partner-- my wife-- will enjoy it. I've described it to her as best I can and she seems interested. I know there's a steep learning curve and lots of jargon and I've tried to prepare her (and myself) for that. Any of y'all play it? Do your wives? Is there lots of fun to be had in just the Core set?
  10. I have not. I love tile-laying games and that's one that I thought looked fun. A friend introduced my wife and I to Stone Age last night. It was our first proper Worker Placement game. It's pretty straightforward but it was fun. My wife was a big fan. We're realizing that we really like games in which you build things. Even if you lose you have this thing that you've built up. It can feel rewarding.
  11. Before Josh loses any street cred for claiming to "merely like" King of Tokyo, let me just jump in and say that he used a somewhat risky play style which resulted in him getting eliminated and sitting on the sidelines for much of the two games we played. And, while I love KoT, my least favorite thing about it is player elimination but I see how it's necessary and, thankfully, the game usually doesn't last too long so it's not like someone is sitting out for an hour or anything. The fact that I fared poorly in it isn't why I dislike it, necessarily-- or, I should say, I understand that it was my fault more than it was the game's!-- but I feel like it's a game where there's not really much to think about or strategize about when it's not your turn, so I wasn't quite as sucked into it as I was some of the others. But again: I did like the game! PS-- Sorry to hear about your Smash Up woes, GB. That is actually a fair criticism of the game, one I think Quintin Smith of SU&SD shares with you about KoT. There are some cards which give you certain powers, etc. that do give you more to do between your turns but since it's a dice game, there's always going to be more luck than strategy.
  12. Before Josh loses any street cred for claiming to "merely like" King of Tokyo, let me just jump in and say that he used a somewhat risky play style which resulted in him getting eliminated and sitting on the sidelines for much of the two games we played. And, while I love KoT, my least favorite thing about it is player elimination but I see how it's necessary and, thankfully, the game usually doesn't last too long so it's not like someone is sitting out for an hour or anything. As for Smash Up, until you are somewhat familiar with the factions the game can be a little confusing and frustrating but once you have a feel for how each one plays it becomes immensely fun and addictive. Case in point, my dear wife played only her second game last night (and won!) and then informed me in no uncertain terms that she doesn't like Smash Up. She promised she'd give it a few more plays and I hope she begins to enjoy it more. As for what I've else I've been playing lately... (Some of these I've purchased, others I've played from a friend's collection): The Castles of Burgundy is our latest acquisition and after only two plays my wife and I are pretty enamored with it and my wife even declared it might become her favorite game of all time. It's amazing how balanced the game is, in both games my wife and I have used different strategies and we always end up within a few points of each other (I won the first game and she won the second). I can certainly see how many folks would not enjoy this since, as one reviewer said, it looks like a math textbook and a piece of motel art had a baby, but we will definitely be checking out more games from Stefan Feld soon. I'm thinking Rialto, as our next one maybe... (Thanks for the recommendation, Jason!) Quantum. Dice + Space = Awesome. A simple game with some surprising depth. The modular board and command cards make every game a bit different. Lots of replay value here, I think. Arctic Scavengers feels like, in some ways, the meridian of the deck-building genre. I'm not saying it's the best but it's probably the most tense and cut-throat that the genre will ever get. At the end of the day, I still prefer the elegance and simplicity of Dominion but I'm very glad that AS is right there for when I want bluffing, combat, and deck-building all covered in a thick layer of thematic ice. Libertalia. Citadels was one of the first real games that I played and ever since then I've been pretty interested in games that feature secret role selection. This game takes that idea to the extreme giving each player a deck of 30 character cards with different special abilities. It's not as chaotic as it might sound since you only have 9 of those character cards for each of the game's three rounds. Still, it's a fun and often funny game. Cascassonne/Metro. Finally got to play these two classics several days ago and they didn't disappoint us. The biggest flaw in our collection right now is the absence of a tile-laying game. I'd love to get Metro if it were still in print and easier (cheaper!) to acquire. But looks like Carcassonne or maybe the newer Indigo will have to take its place. Any other tile-laying games I should check out? Tsuro? Hanabi. After a handful of plays this jumped into my top ten games and made me an unabashed Antoine Bauza fan. Plays well with 2 and 4. I want to bring it out every time I get a chance. Forbidden Island. This little Pandemic-lite is great for families but don't be fooled, it's no pushover. I've lost more than I've won. My most memorable loss occurring this weekend with Mr. Hurst in which there was only one tile left at the end of the game -- Fool's Landing -- but, sadly, we were one treasure short of nabbing victory.
  13. Glad you're digging them, Andrew! For what it's worth, Arkham Horror plays really well with two. Glad y'all are enjoying those games. My wife and I have played Ghost Stories maybe half a dozen times and finally won a game! Felt rewarding in a way that most games don't. I'll certainly defer to Jason re: Arkham Horror but if I were to pick today, I'd probably buy Eldritch Horror over Arkham Horror (I've never played either of them, though). Eldritch Horror is the new kid on the block, sort of a loose sequel(?) to Arkham, I think. I've heard Eldritch is shorter in length than Arkham (180 minutes vs 240 minutes, according to Board Game Geek) and I've heard Eldritch Horror fixes a few of the issues that some folks had with Arkham Horror. But, again, this is from someone who hasn't played either game. Jason have you played Eldritch? What do you think? Looks cool, thanks for sharing. I love dice games.
  14. Well, we added Ghost Stories and the relatively new 2-player game Targi to our collection this week. We broke them in last night. Targi was a blast, it features sort of a lite worker placement mechanic and a set collection mechanic. Some good ideas combined in an interesting ways by first-time designer Andreas Steiger Seems like it'll be good for a lot of plays for my wife and I when we want something a tad heavier (it takes 45-60 minutes to play). And then we played Ghost Stories. And that game is HAAAARRRRD. But it was fun. We're getting to where we can spank Pandemic (without the expansions) even on harder difficulties. It will be a long time, if ever, before we can spank Ghost Stories. Pretty excited about these two. Next two I've got my eye on: Quantum and Arctic Scavengers. Both of which we're brought to my attention by the wonderful board game website, Shut Up & Sit Down.
  15. I've been hitting the Xbox 360 pretty hard for the better part of a year now. Been catching up on a lot of games I missed throughout the generation. Most recently, I just poured hundreds of hours into Borderlands 2 (and honestly feel like I could pour hundreds more into it, leveling characters up up up) but that'll have to wait a bit since I just got Titanfall. I've never been a huge Call of Duty guy but I enjoyed Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops 2 somewhat. Titanfall leaves all those games in the dust. It gives the player choices to make and really seems to balance the playing field. Playing as a Titan or a pilot is incredibly balanced and it's crazy how easy they've made it to switch back and forth between the two in a match. The addition of NPC grunts in the matches makes it feel wonderfully chaotic. I'm loving it. Update: I've also been super addicted to FTL and Hearthstone on the iPad. Both have crushed me over and over but I just keep coming back.
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