Every Night Is Game Night: Star Realms

IMG_20170508_212149

I’m playing a board game every day this month and blogging about it (I did a similar challenge last year)Feel free to join me during my Every Night Is Game Night: My Daily Play & Blog Challenge. And tweet me with what you’re playing these days!


Star Realms is one of my favorite deck builders for so many reasons: it’s fast, it’s compact, it’s cheap, and, best of all, it has the kind of player interaction that other deck builders lack.

Players start with the same basic deck of spaceships: 8 Scouts (worth 1 money each) and 2 Vipers (worth 1 combat strength each). A row of five cards for purchase are laid out and any time one is bought, another card from the deck replaces it. Each player starts with 50 Authority (hit points) and any combat dealt out by a player will be assessed to their opponent.

What I love about Star Realms is how fast the action ramps up. The four factions in the game offer various abilities and bonuses when played in combinations. Better spaceships can be bought and outposts and bases can be used for additional protections from an opponent’s attack. It’s fun figuring out how each faction behaves: Blobs bring the most fire power while the Trade Federation can heal those precious Authority points.

Tonight I played one of the solo scenarios from the Colony Wars expansion: Pirates of the Dark Star. Solo play is like a normal two-player game, but for the dummy player, you’ll trash one card and draw one card. There are set actions for each of the four factions and whichever faction is drawn will determine the action. For example, draw a Blob faction and you’re hit with damage equal to three times that card’s cost.

The solo scenario seems easy, but that damage piles up quickly. Even with the standard starting Authority of 75 vs the dummy player’s 25, it’s easy to lose and any wins are usually close. Tonight I got the better of those pirates, winning by 18, but it could’ve easily gone the other way.

 

GenCant 2016 Day 1: Egypt and Rome

Valley of the Kings

Valley of the Kings

Day 1 of Gen Con was today and it looked awesome (although I have no desire to be in this). I loved seeing all of my online gaming buddies posting photos and reporting the latest and greatest from the con.

Valley of the Kings

It was also Day of GenCan’t 2016 and I participated in the #GenCantSoloCon by playing a solitaire game of Valley of the Kings. I’ve  played this deckbuilder several times solo and I enjoy it as a get-your-highest-score game. Set in ancient Egypt, it’s a deck builder with set collection, in which you only score points by putting cards in your tomb (trashing cards) and you earn more points for collecting similar items. This sets up interesting choices throughout the game: do you play your card for its money value, its action, or trash it to start accumulating points?

Valley of the Kings is one of two deck builders I recommend to Dominion fans (the other being Trains).

Rome: Rise to Power

Rome: Rise to Power

Rome: Rise to Power

After my solo game, I went to my Thursday night gaming group and I was able to get Rome: Rise to Power to the table. I’ve had the game for a few months and have been itching to play. Unfortunately, it’d been awhile since I’d gone through the rulebook (which isn’t exactly the easiest to follow), so there were a few pauses during the game to clarify some points. I’m usually pretty good at explaining games (I’m the designated rules guy during family game night), but I wasn’t at my best tonight. Thankfully, my gaming buddies are smart enough to figure out things on their own and we were able to play the game within the suggested time (45 minutes).

Rome: Rise to Power is a game that combines dice allocation, card drafting, set collection, area control game with variable player powers. Players are in ancient Rome trying to use its military to win regions throughout the Roman Empire, win influence with senators, and put on the best arena battles.

The dice allocation system is unique and it’s what appealed to me most when I’d heard about it. Yes, there’s luck involved with dice (duh), but there are several ways to mitigate the luck factor, mainly through the special powers each player earns through their combinations of senators and regions won. The third way to earn points, through the arena battles, is sort of wacky, but somehow it works: you buy cards to build a poker-like hand and play them after rounds three and five (the final round). So, three barbarians and two beasts are the “Battle Royale,” which is a full house in poker, and there other hands that score.

The overall consensus was okay. I liked it and agreed with two of my buddies; we’d like to play it again now that we have a better understanding of the game. The fourth guy didn’t care for it, but I’m thankful that they were all up for playing. I’ve got more than a few games in my collection that I haven’t played so it was good to scratch this one off the list.