Recent Board Gaming


My local gaming store is becoming less and less exclusive to Magic the Gathering, and so it happened that I played a miniatures game for the first time yesterday. The game was Massive Darkness. I am not super-familiar with these kinds of games other than knowing that they exist and there is a dedicated fandom to them. I had a lot of fun with it even though I felt kind of useless for a bit of it.

We were three players including the owner of the game (who had supported it during the Kickstarter campaign) and two newbies which includes myself and my friend who owns the store we were playing in. Store owner played a female nun/paladin type of character, I played a giant “bonecrusher” (read: berserker) and the owner of the game rouned out the party by playing a mage. I felt my role was engaging the enemy due to the ability of my character (automatically deals 1 damage to the enemy when engaging and later got a skill that lets also attack in the same action as moving in on an enemy) but I felt like I was having not the right gear for most of it and was taking a lot of damage and had bad dice rolls. The game owner had at the same time specced out his mage and was already doing tons of damage. A bit of this was also that I was doing damage but others got the final blow and thus the XP points for it. Thankfully our healer kept me alive for most of it.

Game was very dicey at some point because we encountered a ton of very strong roaming monsters, one of which almost wiped the party and killed us if not for a single health point. The game also relies on a “shadow/light” mechanic that changes what your character is capable of depending on a quality of the square you are standing on. Unfortunately at some point we had to do a lot of battles on a light square which also made my character weaker.

Later I had finally managed to level up so I could use the gear we had found. Then I was able to do a lot of damage due to an item set, but unfortunately that was then at the very end of the level we were playing, about four and a half hours after we started setting up. It probably didn’t help that we two newbies had to constantly check whether we were rolling the right dice for the situation. We called it a night but I had fun and want to play again to waste some mobs.

Edit: Apparently we also made some mistakes with the XP system while playing, as I found out after reading the rules myself today. For one we only awarded three XP points for killing a mob to the player dealing the killing blow, when every player should receive that. Also, during the story mode we played the game uses reduction of the XP gained by splitting it into five pieces. At least I counted it as a roll-over (so I would get one full XP whenever I would exceed the fifth point) instead of getting the full XP when I reach the fifth point. Basically I earned three or four XP points too few. Will address that during the next session.


Also after we finished it was quite obvious that we needed to get a dice tower or at least a dice cup if we wanted to play again because we had a tough time rolling due to the table space beign occupied by the game. The store owner said that he had one disassembled because he said he was too clumsy to put it together (apparently a promotional item he got from a dice vendor).

Anyway, I asked if I could take a look at it and promptly put it together yesterday. It’s kind of cheap but it works.


Fun fact in Jenkintown, PA the largest collection of Malflux players in the world play there regularly. It’s another miniture game that is ok.


The past two weeks:

1x Spirit Island
1x 1846
1x Outpost
2x The Ruhr: A Story of Coal Trade (new)
2x Haspelknecht (new)
2x Wasteland Express Delivery Service
1x Lisboa
1x Luna
1x Poseidon
2x London Dread (new)
1x Koryo
1x The Lost Expedition
3x First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet (new)
1x Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game

I finally got to play Outpost again last weekend and we finished with scores of… 80 / 74 / 74. Which is about the closest game of Outpost I’ve ever seen.

London Dread is quite nice for a co-op, real time coordination and planning with a fun theme. I was kind of sleep deprived during the second play and I kept messing up the plan.

First Martians has been pretty divisive on BGG. I find myself somewhere in the middle - it’s fine as a single scenario but the two we have played felt a lot more like tutorials than the equivalent scenarios in Robinson Crusoe. Feels like the campaign is the “real” game.

The Ruhr and Haspelknect have nothing to do with one another, other than sharing a designer, publisher, and theme. The Ruhr feels very tactical. There’s a tech tree but nearly everyone will unlock 80% of it by the end of the game, and the rest comes down to timing.

(we started putting 1846 away before I remembered to take a picture, so it’s missing stations and share values)


The winding southern part of the map…


RE: The Ruhr

The flag that we thought might be France or Russia, is actually the Netherlands. Which makes sense because it’s right next door to Belgium and the Ruhr river.


Yeah, B&O and IC cleaned up down there haha.


I had to listen to our old review of Ground Floor yesterday. I remember in detail now what bothered me about that game. I definitely NEVER need to play it again.


Last Week:
Dilluvia Project (new)
Solarius Mission (new)

Junk Art, Traders of Osaka, Sheriff of Nottingham, Samarkand
Cobras (new)
Unlock! The Island of Doctor Goorse (new)
Sidereal Confluence (new)
Timbuktu, Between Two Cities: Capitals, 1846, Favor of the Pharaoh, Haspelknecht, Luna
Caverna: Cave vs Cave (new)

This Week:
Caverna: Cave vs. Cave, First Martians
2x King’s Road (new)
2x Tulip Bubble (new)
1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties (new)
Archon: Glory and Machination (new)

Dulluvia Project, Solarius Mission, and Archon: Glory and Machination were all games I picked up in an auction lot. Solarius Mission is great (slight preference over La Granja from the same designers, but I haven’t played either very much) Dilluvia Project and Archon are fine, but missing the enjoyment of puttering around the map in Solarius Mission.

Sidereal Confluence is a hell of a game. The designer diary suggests that he started with a huge game (AH Civilization in space) and pared it down until it was just the trading phase.

I’m quite fond of Timbuktu, and was more than happy to play it with five players (it feels a bit ‘off’ with four, since you have a dummy hand to pass around)

I have now taught… eight or nine people 18xx using 1846. This weekend I even had an “aha” moment prompted by working through a new player’s question (Why do the corporations run in reverse order in the first Operating Round?)

I received my copy of 1862EA earlier this month, there’s a lot of unique rules to digest (three kinds of trains and 20 corporations with a random setup that assigns different train permits to each). You get a lot of money from growing stock value very quickly, it seems like a strong incentive to ensure that one of your corporations gets an H train (mine did not).

We played King’s Road incorrectly (twice!), I must have expended all my rules comprehension on 1862, with nothing left for such a simple game. (You’re supposed to score EVERYTHING left on the board)

When we played Tulip Bubble, I made an EV calculation: I had a 25% chance of caching out and getting $115, and a 75% chance of finishing in the negatives. I lost, penniless, but it’s such a quick game that it’s hard to be mad.


Is there an XX46 with space trains? asking for a friend.



I sent a train to the Michigan Starsystem outside of the St. Clare cluster…



I am now 100% sure we played Timbuktu with pencil/paper aids when we had our solution. I drew it all out yesterday with a template from BGG, and I can actually reconstruct my “perfect” play strategy. It is definitely impossible to do it in fullness without a player aid.

Without the player aid, the game definitely comes down to willingness and ability to memorize and not get distracted, probably also to compromise on which information to forget.


That’s mining, not a space train.


True; outside of 2038 I can’t think of an 18xx game set in space.

In Crayon Rails, you have Lunar Rails and Martian Rails… but those are not ‘space trains,’ rather terrestrial trains on other planets.

Age of Steam has a Solar System map which implies actual space trains.


If I make a board game called “Galaxy Railways” will I get sued by Leiji Matsumoto?


normal-sized update:

Schnappchen Jagd
4x Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 (new)
2x For-Ex (new)
The Great Zimbabwe (new)
Starship Merchants
The Quest for El Dorado (new)
Escape from 100 Million BC (new)
Run, Fight, or Die!

Anthony brought Pandemic Legacy: Season 2. It’s an exploration game - a strong positive for me - and about as different from Pandemic as you can get while still feeling familiar. Enthusiastic about finishing it.

For-Ex went over very well the first time, and then we played with Dan who hated every minute (there were only about 30-40 minutes to hate). I really appreciate how this game gives you about five rules, and then says ‘good luck’ and throws you in the deep end with everyone else, who will be just as confused as you. Nothing happens except as directed by the players, and you get to make interesting trades like “5 USD for 17.5 JPY” and make tactical use of insolvency to play with money you don’t have.

I managed to run all my trains out of Fort Wayne in 1846, and I would have done well… if I had any significant investment in NYC, which climbed all the way to 510 at the end with the help of the Mail Contract.

Escape from 100 Million BC is good fun (I appreciate any game that uses the same dice pool as The Burning Wheel) and The Quest for El Dorado has such broad appeal that I’m a bit surprised it lost to Kingdomino (which I also enjoy)


Best way to play chess:


I love listening to old reviews we’ve done. This was the “hot new game” when we first played it back in 2012:


I assert that Cards Against Humanity is the best game.