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Trash Talk :: Topic: What BOARD GAME(s) have you been playing? (264/264)
Last night I played Duel of Ages II for the first time in just shy of two years. It got me thinking about the game, I think more than I ever have.

When I first reviewed the game 3-4 years ago, I really sold the goofy side of it, because at the time that was what really appealed to me. I liked that I could send a Velociraptor to chase down the quarterback, or that someone could use a football helmet to somehow protect themselves from a blast from a bazooka. Those things are lots of fun, but as I observed last night the game does not provide those beats in a nonstop barrage. If anything the pace of the game makes it seem like a lot of work for not that much payoff, if your main goal is the silly stuff.

What I did notice last night is how deep the game is. It really rewards playing over and over and over again. In fact, if you take the attitude of "throw crap at the wall and see what happens," there's a good chance you will come up with a team that really isn't very good, or you'll end up with platters that create strange bottlenecks. You have to do some of that on the front end just to see how it all works and learn the game, but it's a much more fulfilling game when you are intentional about choices, when you play toward the achievements, and when you coordinate with your team members.

The problem is I think I've spent the last several years emphasizing the goofy side of the game, and not emphasizing the depth of the whole thing. If all I wanted was a goof-off, you might as well just play Talisman or Wiz-War, which are WAY easier to learn. Of course it's not JUST a heavy strategy game, because the silliness is always going to be there. The silliness isn't the main point though, and I feel like I've kind of misrepresented the game to friends when I've taught them over the last several years, and possibly here as well.

I think my big turning point was the last game I played, which was at BGG.Con back in 2015. That was a game between all experienced players, and the guy whose copy we used had a lot of things that made sure we kept our eyes on the achievements. We also did the full setup for whatever scenario we were doing, where each team gets to select platters and keys, and sets them up in an advantageous way. We also played for like five hours, which really does give the game some time to breathe.

Last night I actually wrote the names of the different achievements on index cards, so that the new players could have a visual representation of the victory conditions. It gave the game a LOT more purpose than it would have had otherwise. The downside was that I was very rusty on rules, and I needed to look stuff up almost constantly.

This will sound weird, but all of the talk about the new version of Twilight Imperium has gotten me thinking about how Duel of Ages II has some of the same qualities. If all you wanted from Twilight Imperium was just to cut deals and fight, there are much easier ways to do that. But the depth of the whole system, the time commitment, is what makes it worth the time. The sprawl and the detail is kind of the point. In a similar way, Duel of Ages II is way more than some beer-and-pretzels game, even though it has those qualities. But if you lean into the complexity, that's when it gets rewarding. I don't know if that makes sense, or if anyone thinks I'm crazy. At any rate I think both titles make a compelling case for why we still need EPIC games in this hobby, and how rare it is that a game can do that effectively.

Anyway, I still love Duel of Ages II. I know a lot of people have moved on, or that it's kind of sat in the realm of shelf-toad for many of us. That's understandable, it's obvious now to me that I sort of misunderstood the whole thing at the front end, and maybe that's how other people have experienced it. But I do really love it, and it's definitely on the forever-shelf in my collection.
boardgames  duelofages 
yesterday by craniac
Trash Talk :: Topic: Zimby Mojo Dedicated Thread (3/3)
Two things about Zimby Mojo:

1. Try playing the game where each of a shaman's mojo tokens generates 2 mojo rather than one. If you do this, also allow yourself the ability to pay one mojo to re-activate a depleted zombie on your tribal board. The extra mojo opens up a lot more opportunities.

2. Miniature market has four copies of the game on clearance right now, so if you want a copy at a great price you may want to check it out!
zimbymojo  boardgames 
3 days ago by craniac
Trash Talk :: Topic: Zimby Mojo Dedicated Thread (2/3)
Thanks for the comment, Pete! I can certainly see where it might become an issue! I've been working with a few ways to put the brakes on part 2.

Method 1: (This was in the original design but removed based on play test feedback.) Do not reshuffle the discard pile to create a new scroll library. When the scroll library is depleted -- the first refresh that one or more shamans cannot draw a card -- the game immediately ends. You can declare a complete loss or award the win to shaman who is in possession of the Crown or who's tribal board is closest to the Crown if it is lying on the ground.

Method 2: When the King dies, his blood mojo is no longer available to maintain the blood tickets and blood vines so they die off over two rounds. Suppose his blood mojo also sustains the scroll library, and it begins to decay and crumble when the King dies? Here's how that could play out: during wrap up in the round the King dies, reduce the Scroll Library to just 4X or 5X cards, where X is the number of players (e.g., 4X = 16 for a 4 player game). The game ends when the Scroll Library is depleted (a la Method 1). Advantage: shorter part 2; disadvantage: predictable end timing and inability to plot long game strategy.

Method 3: This is the same storyline as Method 2 but unpredictably rots away the Scroll Library. In this story, all the scrolls in the Scroll Library have been protected from decay by the King's blood mojo. When that blood mojo is no longer available, the scrolls begin to decay and rot away. This adds a new mechanism to wrap up: a) roll X=2d4, b) remove the bottom X-many scrolls in the discard pile from the game, c) remove the top X-many scrolls from the Scroll Library and place them on top of the discard pile. The game then ends when the Scroll Library is depleted (a la Method 1). Advantage: faster part 2 with random end timing; disadvantage, inability to play out longer strategies.

I'd love to hear back from anyone who tries one of these out! Personally, I am partial to Method 3. If I ever redo the rules, I will add these (or something very similar) as optional ending rules.
zimbymojo  boardgames  rules 
4 days ago by craniac
#GenCantRnW – Finalists and Entries – GenCant
Games submitted for the 2017 GenCan't contest for solo games for people who can't make it to GenCon. 2017's theme was roll-and-write.
boardgames  games  solo 
7 days ago by avram

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