Saturday, October 25, 2014

Systems Saturday - Shipyard (2009)

I've played Shipyard (2009) about a half dozen times and find it to be a complex but enjoyable game.  There are a lot of working parts in the game and not all of them are pulling in the same directions, like several machines sitting side by side, open to the eye, all necessary to the manufacturing plant, but needing different kinds of expertise to make it perform at top efficiency.  So, the massaging of the various Shipyard mechanics needs to happen in concert but requires a level of multitasking to lead to victory.

From the description on Board Game Geek:
We’re in 19th century, sea transport is more and more important. Both corporations and naval forces require newer and newer ships. Try to put yourself in the role of their manufacturers. Hire employees, buy accessories, get favour of evaluating committees. Don’t forget to rent a canal and you can heave anchor.
Players take turns, beginning with a randomly selected player and continuing around the table clockwise. On their turn, they will choose one of the available actions from the Action Track. The action will get the player something they need to help build their ships. On the player's next turn, they will move that Action Card ahead of all the others and choose a different action.
If a player completes a ship on their turn (ships consists of little cards depicting bows, sterns, and (preferably several) middle pieces with several options to add equipment or crew), it is taken out for a shakedown cruise in a canal, during which they may score points for speed, crew, equipment, or safety.
As players take their turns, the line of Action Cards will advance around the Action Track. When the lead Action Card reaches the Starting Space again, the countdown marker moves down one space, and play continues.
The game ends when the countdown marker reaches the finish space. (It can also end early if the players run out of Ship Cards.) Bonus points are scored for Government Contracts, and the player with the most points wins.
It's not a long game, taking under two hours for a few players, and that's part of the charm and frustration of Shipyard.  While you will be pleased with your successes, it's one of those games where you always will feel you could have improved your management, even when you win.  This is a keeper game for folks who like complexity and replayability in a base game that I don't think needs any expansions.  There is but one modification we've made to this game, and it seems to be a near-universal one, in that there is a ship building contract in the game, a hidden victory point mechanic, and we treat it as if the number "32" simply is not on it.  I think some folks pull the whole contract from play be we find this more moderate adjustment to be plenty enough.

A look under the hood of various Games, Rules and Systems.
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Friday, October 24, 2014

Tabletopper Friday - Wil Wheaton's TableTop Schedule

Some time ago, some of the games to be played on the upcoming season of Wil Wheaton's TableTop were revealed, but now a more complete schedule has been put forth here.

  • Tokaido – Jason Wishnov, J. August Richards, Chris Kluwe
  • Concept – Joseph Scrimshaw, Rett and Link
  • Roll For It and Sushi Go! – Jason Ritter, Jennifer Hale, John Ross Bowie
  • Forbidden Desert – Felicia Day, Alan Tudyk, Jon Heder
  • Love Letter and Coup – The Fine Brothers and Felicia Day
  • Hare & Tortoise and Council of Verona – Jessica Merizan, David Kwong, Alison Haislip
  • Sheriff of Nottingham – Meredith Salenger, Ashley Clements, Derek Mio
  • Stone Age – Nika Harper, Jesse Cox, Jordan Maron
  • Geek Out – Anne Wheaton, Bonnie Burton, Clare Kramer
  • Five Tribes: Jenna Busch, Richard Garriot, Satine Phoenix
  • Epic Spell Wars: Jonah Ray, Emily Gordon, Veronica Belmont
  • Mice & Mystics, Chapter One – Anne Wheaton, Ryan Wheaton, Nolan Kopp
  • Dread – Molly Lewis, Ivan Van Norman, Laura Bailey
  • Catan Junior – Emily Anderson, Brett, Baligrad, Adam Chernick
  • Libertalia – Karen Gillan, Seth Green, Clare Grant
  • Kingdom Builder – Yuri Lowenthal, Tara Platt, Paul Scheer
  • Dead of Winter – Dodger Leigh, Grant Imahara, Ashley Johnson
  • Legendary – Allie Brosh, Mark Fischbach, Brea Grant
  • Tabletop After Dark: Cards Against Humanity – Aisha Tyler, Ali Spagnola, Laina Morris

Mostly about card games and board games,
unless they have a decidedly wargamey feel.
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Nostalgia Thursday - Visiting GW in 1979

Over on the excellent blog Dear Tony Blair last month, David Wood posted a series of scans of some literature from May of 1979 focused on Games Workshop.  See more here.

Focusing on the roots of current tabletop gaming
with an eye toward the last century and before.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wargaming Wednesday - Sid Meier's Civilization: The Boardgame (2002)

Just last weekend, I finally got a chance to play Sid Meier's Civilization: The Boardgame (2002).  As a fan of the mother of all Civilization (1980) wargames, I was glad to finally get the chance to play it.  While there is definitely more combat complexity to the Sid Meier game (and that doesn't mean there is a lot at all), I was struck by how the balance of the game could be quickly upset by a few combats and quick acquisition of the technologies cards.

The description of the game from Board Game Geek:
Please note: This article covers the 2002 release of Sid Meier´s Civilization: The Boardgame by Eagle Games. This game is unrelated to the similarly named 2010 FFG game Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game.
Finally, a boardgame version of this award-winning PC strategy game. Create a civilization to stand the test of time! The game begins in 4000 BC where the players found a pair of villages of a fledgling people.
Each player’s civilization :- Explores the world around them, discovering resources and the native people that defend them.- Expands by sending settlers out to create new cities.- Researches new technologies to gain advantages over the other players.- Builds unique “Wonders of the World”.- Increases the size of their cities (4 sizes from village to metropolis) to increase production.- Builds military units to defend what’s theirs, and to conquer what’s not. 
Features:- 2 sets of rules (standard, and advanced) allow anyone to play the game.- 784 plastic pieces featuring 22 different, professionally sculpted playing pieces that represent cities, settlers, armies, navies, artillery, and air units from 4 different eras.- Over 100 full color Technology and Wonder cards.- A giant 46” x 36” gameboard featuring the artwork of Paul Niemeyer.
It's a good looking game and maybe it just requires a larger number of players than the three we had to make sure everyone is kept in check.  I'd give it another try at some future gameday or convention.

A closer examination of board and miniatures Wargaming.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Terrain Tuesday - Medieval Maps Quiz, Custom Fantasy Terrain, & Tabletop Workshop Castles

Over on the, there is a quiz you can take to guess 15 locations based on Medieval maps.  See more here.

For someone who prefers pre-made terrain but cannot find exactly what they want, check out Custom Fantasy Terrain here.

Tabletop Workshop is giving folks a final notice that if you wish to pre-order your Modular Castle and get it in with the first wave of shipping, now is the time.  Do so here.

For purposes here, the term Terrain is used broadly
to cover 3D and 2D maps, foam, felt, and such.
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Minis & Modeling Monday - Dwarven Fort Diorama Banners

The work on the Dwarven Fort diorama at continues apace with this installment showing some techniques for making excellent banners.  See more here.

A look at prepping and painting Miniatures,
crafting buildings and paper Models,
and other non-terrain stuff for the tabletop..
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Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Sunday Miscellanea - Conan: Hyborian Quests (2015)

Conan: Hyborian Quests (2015) is a game I am looking forward to seeing published.  It would appear it will combine some of the best elements of tabletop RPGing with miniatures skirmish gaming all wrapped up in a Howard-esque theme.  The Kickstarter is slated for January of 2015 with a general public release planned for Gen Con later the same year.

From the description on Board Game Geek:
Conan: Hyborian Quests, designed by Fred Henry and based on the Conan universe by Robert E. Howard, is a scenario-based semi-cooperative asymmetric miniatures board game. One player is the Opponent, playing the Opposition forces, and the other players (1 to 4) play Conan and his companions: Shevatas the thief, Hadrathus the Priest/Sorcerer, Belit the pirate queen, Valeria the warrior, etc. The game is based purely on Robert E. Howard's novels and short stories (and not the movies or other non-Howardian material). The publisher has hired Patrice Louinet, a Howard expert, to make sure the art and the scenarios are compatible with Howard's vision.
Each game is a scenario, played on a map. There will be several maps — Pictish Village, Underground temple, Tavern, Pirate ship, etc. — and each map can have several scenarios set on it. The game is fast, one hour approximately. It's possible to play several scenarios in a campaign, but you can also play each scenario individually. There will be a dozen playable scenarios in the base box.
At the beginning of a scenario, players choose their team (Conan and two or three other heroes). The Opponent gathers all the miniatures (picts, Necromancer, skeleton warriors, monsters, etc.), tokens, cards from the chosen scenario. The game usually plays in a limited number of turns (ten, for instance). Each scenario can have very different objectives: find the princess captured by picts and hidden in a hut and leave the camp before the pict hunters return; find the magical key to open a sealed door, steal the jewel and leave; kill the Necromancer by the end of turn 10; survive by the end of turn 10; escape the prison; etc.
During their turn, the heroes can activate or rest. If they activate, they can spend "gems" from their energy pool to do all sorts of actions: move, fight (melee or distance), defend, pick a lock, reroll, etc. If they rest, they can move a lot of gems from their "spent" pool box to their "available" pool box. When they take an action, they throw a number of dice equal to the number of gems they put in their action. There are three different kinds of dice: yellow (the weaker dice), orange (medium) and red (strong). Each character has a color based on their specialty: Conan throws red dice in combat while the Sorcerer throws yellow dice in combat; the thief throws red dice in Manipulation actions, while Conan throws orange dice; etc. Each player can have equipment cards (armor, magic potions, weapons, etc.) which give them bonuses on their dice rolls.
The Opponent plays differently. He uses a board with eight slidable tiles, plus his own Energy gems. Each tile corresponds to one unit (1 to 3 miniatures) on the game mat, and all of the miniature abilities are written on this tile (movement, armor, attack, special abilities). The tile position on the board corresponds to the numbers 1-8. The Opponent has a pool of energy gems and each time he activates one unit, he needs to spend a number of gems matching the tile placement: tile#1 costs 1 energy gem, tile#2 costs 2 gems, etc. Whatever tile the Opponent chooses to activate, he spends the corresponding energy cost (moving his energy gems from the available pool to the spent pool), then takes the tile out and moves it to the end of the sliding track: If he wants to activate this unit again, it will cost him 8 gems, because the unit is now on position 8. The Opponent can activate a maximum of two tiles, and he regains only a certain number of gems each turn (depending on the scenario).
In a typical scenario, the heroes need to accomplish something and the Opponent wins if the heroes fail to reach their objective — but in some scenarios, the Opponent has his own objectives and the Heroes win if they prevent him from accomplishing his goal.
The following is a Board Game Geek TV video shot at Essen with a company representative and uploaded to the BGGTV YouTube channel:

Essentially, a clearinghouse for topics on
not covered elsewhere or wanting a particular focus.
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