Thursday, February 03, 2011

some non-RPGs I played at Winter War

Betrayal at the House on the Hill - I've played this before and quite like it.  In many ways it better encapsulates and boardgame-ifies Call of Cthulhu better than Arkham Horror does.  At least the way I run Call of Cthulhu: first half of the game is a Scooby Doo episode, the second half involves things falling apart and centers failing to hold.  Don't get me wrong though, Arkham Horror is nifty, but it doesn't involve exploring randomly placed haunted house tiles and I will never get tired of that.

Dominion with Seaside expansionDominion has all the juice inherent in the structure of a collectible card game without the economic shackles of buying more boosters.  And unlike many, many games I occasionally win this one, so that's nice.  One time I even beat my sister, which I consider a braggable accomplishment because I'm pretty sure she basically lives her life looking for opportunities to whomp me at boardgames.  The Seaside expansion cards left me completely flummoxed and I got clobbered.  But I can't blame the game on that though, as lots of games confuse me.  Even something as relatively straightforward as Puerto Rico took me an embarassingly huge number of plays before I figured out what I was doing wrong.  ("Hey, maybe I should try shipping some goods and scoring some points!")

Incidentally, a reliable informant told me that Thunderstone is basically Dominion plus monster fighting.  You know I gotta get in on that action.

Dust Tactics - This is a simple minis game from the makers of AT-43 that dares ask the question: what if World War II had more lasers and robots?  I ended up playing the Nazis, running some laser troopers commanded by a busty Aryan dominatrix type and a couple panzer-mecha.  Bazooka Joe and his four-legged tanks chewed me to pieces, so yay for Uncle Sam I guess.  The figures were nicely done plastics and the dry-erase control sheets did an excellent job of encapsulating a lot of information.  The only thing that I didn't like was that one moved across a giant grid o' squares.  Hexes too fancy?

Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game - My opinion of fullblown 4e aside, I really gave this the old college try.  After all, if my major complaint is that 4e is too boardgamey, you'd think a boardgame version might be a hoot.  Good: if you want more figures and tiles for your D&D game, there's a lot of good loot in this one.  Including some sweetass monsters.  Bad: everything else.  Seriously.  If you want to play a boardgame about dungeoneering there are many better options.  I've never played Descent but several people at the table and kibitzing nearby said it was far superior.  Personally, I'd rather play Dungeon! or Mertwig's Maze than Castle Ravenloft.  Or even Munchkin Quest, which seems to have the same endgame flaw as the original cardgame.

Castle Ravenloft did have one interesting new mechanic that I can't quite figure out whether to put in the Good or Bad column: whenever you roll a natural 20 on any die throw your PC goes up a level.  That can only happen once a game since only first and second level are supported, but even several days later I'm pondering the possibilities of level advancement by random occurence...