Gaming in the Doghouse - August 2015

Gaming in the Doghouse - August 2015 Hot

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Mad DogMad Dog   August 23, 2015  
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This month in the doghouse we played Imperial Assault, Merchants & Marauders, DungeonQuest, and more.

Star Wars: Imperial Assault

Wanting to continue our momentum in the campaign I had this game all set up ahead of time. Also seemed like a good habit as the usual suspects can just show up an hour earlier when we have other people expected. It is a downside that you can’t really add people into the ongoing campaign and you don’t want to start a campaign with anyone who isn’t a regular show-up. Fortunately for this session it was just myself, Snoopy, the Tramp, and Lady. We played the side mission Indebted, which is Gaarkhan’s (the wookie played by the Tramp) personal mission. The rebel criminals had to access three terminals while at the end of every round pulse cannons would fire at them if they were in line-of-sight. I had elite Stormtroopers, a Nexu, and used my opening deployment for Royal Guards. I really like the Royal Guards ability to, ahem, guard people. My Stormtroopers definitely benefited from this and I’m really learning as a player how to best keep my dudes in a few tightly formed squads so they give each other bonuses. Later on I brought in some regular Stormtroopers, but played an agenda card that let them attack twice. As usual the rebels, which also include Jyn the scoundrel and Diala the wannabe Jedi, went straight into combat. They mostly stayed out of sight of the pulse cannons for the first half of the game. Thanks to being able to keep my stormtroopers alive with the Royal Guards standing behind them I damaged both Gaarkhan and Diala pretty badly. I eventually wounded Gaarkhan, but by that point they had moved past wanting combat and were splitting up to make dashes for the terminals. Did some nasty pulse cannon damage and then wounded Diala when a royal guard used his full movement to follow her across the board. Because they usually start out taking on my guys I don’t have to move them much to fight normally. So they were focusing on getting her out of line-of-sight of everything not realizing I could move right next to her. I had done a late game movement with Vader that caught them off-guard in a previous mission too. They had a couple turns left and I hadn’t done much damage to Jyn yet. Snoopy is good at keeping her out of the line-of-sight (must be from all our DOOM sessions) and making use of her ability to attack on my turn. I just couldn’t get to her to do the damage I’d need to wound her for. So the rebels win…again…and rescued Gaarkhan’s friend and he got the Life Debt reward. Still loving this game. I’m a big fan of grid-based tactical games as well as adventure games and this game is both. At our current rate we’ll probably do one campaign per year and that’s fine with me. I do still need to try the 2-player skirmish game though.

 

Exploding Kittens

Apparently everyone in this group except me kickstarted this game. I use the term “game” in its loosest possible sense here. Basically everyone draws cards until they draw the one that kills them. The last person left is the winner. We opened a bottle of 2011 Ommegang Three Philosophers to taste while playing. Under the assumption this game would be improved by alcohol. I guess if you’re a fan of The Oatmeal or cats or dick jokes this game is probably worth the $10 it should cost. I was told it cost closer to $30 though. Which means people in your game group will be forcing it upon you repeatedly in the near future in a futile effort to make up for the cost with number of plays. I don’t recall who won. I was the first to die and felt like that was a small victory as it got me out of the game. Lady and the Tramp were okay with it, but admitted it’s not that great. Snoopy really liked it because he likes jokes about whale boners. I’d prefer to actually explode a kitten over playing this ever again. The beer, which I’ve had before, was really good though. A quadruple ale with a tiny bit of cherry lambic added.

 

Carcassonne the Dice Game

Lady and the Tramp picked this up at GenCon. Its basically Poker Dice except you try to make the biggest city with your dice instead of the best card hand. I set aside a meeple as my first turn which would double my score on my second turn. I won the game on my second turn. Snoopy hated this, perhaps due to a bad start with rules confusion. Or perhaps from the lack of dick jokes. We may never know which. I’ve had sort of an anti-filler rant brewing in me for a while now so this game had a mark against it from the start. I'll just leave it at Carc the Dice Game being a perfectly cromulent game that really isn’t for me.

 

Merchants & Marauders

This was the second time Snoopy, the Tramp, and I played this. We opened a 2012 bottle of Ommegang Three Philosophers and went over the rules pretty quick with Lady then jumped into it. I played as the games’ designer pirate and the others ended up with more merchant-ish captains. I had won the previous time by a wide margin so had a target on my head from the start. Thanks to slightly better stats then my last captain I was able to acquire and confirm some rumors this time. Really a boon to the game to be able to do those and a loss when you fail the roll trying to acquire them repeatedly. Once again neither of the two starting missions ever got touched. I qualified for one of them, but it didn’t seem worth it to take down a naval ship when I can make easier points elsewhere. We did have a lot more naval ships captains coming up in the event deck this time. As I was the only pirate for most of the game and halfway through bribed my way into some pardon’s for my crimes there was never and battles with the naval ships. No pirate NPC’s ever came up so they weren’t an issue. I mostly stuck around the middle of the board doing merchant raids and rumors. Upgraded my ship to a frigate as soon as I could. Almost had to revenge attack Snoopy because he bought an improvement at port right before I would have. He managed to always be in a port when I’d get to him for the next couple turns so I left him alone. Outside of that I thought I was doing pretty well with only 2-3 more turns until I announced my glorious victory, but out of nowhere Lady declared she had won. I should have guessed this because she asked to look at the rulebook on the previous turn. No doubt to see what the end game conditions were. I made a last effort to get the final glory points I needed to reach 10, but failed one of my die rolls so ended up in second place with 9 glory points. In this session I learned not to be greedy with the merchant raids and take what I can get even if I don’t get glory instead of risking getting nothing by taking more cards and them escaping. I could have taken that gold and stashed it instead. The 2012 beer was oddly significantly better than the 2011. We were going to open the 2013 that the Tramp brought for our impromptu comparative tasting of the three, but never got around to it.

 

DungeonQuest: Revised

I picked this up on a whim recently and convinced everyone it would be a quick game to end the night with. None of us had ever played any version of DungeonQuest before. I did warn everyone that they would most likely die. I started out rough, but ultimately was the first to reach the treasure and got great loot cards. On my way out of the dungeon I had 2 life left and decided to give the Unstable Potion I’d picked up a shot. This killed me so I was also the first to die. The Tramp went into the catacombs just before reaching the treasure room. He was never seen again. Spent the rest of the game down there. We checked afterwards and all the Exit cards were grouped together at the bottom of the deck. Bad shuffle. He said he didn’t enjoy it because he was stuck down there for so long and would have preferred the game just killed him off. I thought it was funny that someone got lost in the catacombs. To each his own, I guess. Lady was the first to get out of the dungeon with some loot and Snoopy wasn’t far behind. Snoopy ended up winning by a small margin of loot. He thought the game was very tense because you knew it was going to kill you, but you didn’t know when or how. I agree with that. There is a lot of randomness and unfair things happen. Yet the game is random and unfair to each player equally so I feel that it’s okay. It also seems to me to be what dungeon crawling would actually be like. I mean if it were easy then everyone would do it. Most adventurers die and that is what I believe you play in this game. You play an average adventurer not an epic hero. I would enjoy dying in this game any time.

That's it for this month. Well technically I'm supposed to play Incursion soon with a friend, but that will be saved for next month's blog.

Posted: 26 Aug 2015 17:30 by Gary Sax #209359
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I really enjoy Three Philosophers. The doghouse sounds like a hell of a place to play games with that kind of beer menu.
Posted: 26 Aug 2015 18:21 by Michael Barnes #209360
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I think you're going to like the mini-campaign in the new IA expansion..it's MUCH more compact than the one in the base game, I think it says that it's only about 6-8 hours total. We haven't run it yet, but I looked over it and I think the scope of what it's trying accomplish is more congruous with the game.

Skirmish is getting better as they add units...it still occupies a kind of weird space, but I've warmed up to it.
Posted: 26 Aug 2015 18:31 by hotseatgames #209362
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I played Exploding Kittens. I hope I never do again.
Posted: 26 Aug 2015 18:43 by Michael Barnes #209363
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HA HA! Exploding kittens! That is HILARIOUS! Because they're all like cute and sweet and then BOOM! They explode! Whoa ho ho! TAKE THAT, KITTY CAT!

Wipe a tear from my eye...I've been waiting for something like this since Killer Bunnies faded from public view. SO MUCH COMEDY to be had in subverting the cute and cuddly with RAW VIOLENCE.

Maybe next they can do a game about that joke where the baby has forks in its eyes!

Or maybe they can take junk like this in a burn it in a fire for the good of all mankind!

(Protip- pick the second option)
Posted: 26 Aug 2015 20:37 by SuperflyTNT #209371
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Fun murderers, the lot of you.

Exploding Kittens is dumb, but its not meant for you clearly way too cool cats. It's meant for people like my neighbor who like to sit and play LCR, Euchre, and 'Screw Your Neighbor' for quarters while getting completely pickled drunk. Feel free to express your derision for the game, that's fine, but know that its the same as bitching about the inadequcies of Budweiser while sipping on a 50$ can of the latest craft ale. It's not meant for you, and you don't appreciate it because you're not gaming to have drunk fun and take some quarters home.

It's about the same as Uno, from a complexity standpoint. Uno has been reprinted for decades, so obviously people like it.

There are a lot of decision points, despite what you think. There's a decent variety of cards in there and there's a really nasty streak to the game, When you're down to the wire and your opponent draws a dreaded Exploding Kitten, then smirks and plays a Defuse, when you say "NOPE, MOTHERFUCKER!!" and play the Nope card, it's quite satisfying to see the opponent's look go from smug to fucked off.

Just sayin'.
Posted: 27 Aug 2015 09:57 by Egg Shen #209397
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Great write up Mad Dog. I enjoy reading these. You put into words all that is great about DungeonQuest. It's a classic through and through. I'm glad FFG cleaned up their reprint with the revised edition. I just re-ordered a copy and I should be back dying in that dungeon by this weekend!

One note or tip I give anyone playing DungeonQuest: throw a pen and notepad into the box. Have everyone keep high scores of what they escaped with. Essentially you can make DQ like a classic arcade where people will fight for the top score. It adds another layer to think about and I've seen people make risky decisions trying to go for the high score.
Posted: 27 Aug 2015 10:09 by Mr. White #209398
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I agree with Egg, a 'high score' sheet is a must for DQ. We had one in our GW copy.

Another thing we did was create teams. Essentially, we would draft a team of three characters, and play three rounds of the game (it plays fast enough). The winner of the evening was the player who's team scored the overall highest take. It added a little drama to the evening as each run was building towards a total score. It almost takes on a gameshow/Running Man type feel. Was a lot of fun.

Of course, we were able to do that with the GW edition because we had the Heroes expansion with all those characters. I don't have the FFG version, but I've long said that I'm one hero expansion away from buying in. Oddly enough though, FFG keeps releasing new editions of the base game instead...

EDIT: Has anyone at The Fort done a review/comparison between the earlier FFG edition and the new revised one? What are all the changes?
Posted: 27 Aug 2015 10:34 by the_jake_1973 #209399
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I made up Hero cards for all the Runebound characters to use in our copy of DQ. My wife and keep tally sheets in all the games we play to track wins. In the case of DQ, we also keep track of the loot value we escaped with. There is a pair of items that increase in value if you have both. We found that if a character does indeed grab both, it is a guaranteed death sentence.
Posted: 27 Aug 2015 11:23 by SuperflyTNT #209405
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the_jake_1973 wrote:
I made up Hero cards for all the Runebound characters to use in our copy of DQ. My wife and keep tally sheets in all the games we play to track wins. In the case of DQ, we also keep track of the loot value we escaped with. There is a pair of items that increase in value if you have both. We found that if a character does indeed grab both, it is a guaranteed death sentence.

Please elaborate because I'd love to do something like this.
Posted: 27 Aug 2015 12:39 by the_jake_1973 #209409
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I think they are on my Google drive.

Linky goodness: DQ files

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