Recent Board Gaming

I wouldn’t say it is intended, but inevitable, so they may as well print it into the tower. In fact the tower itself is kind of a conceit so people wouldn’t start card-counting. You could play the same game with an open stack, but since the tiles are numbered to provide a turn order sequence, going from the top of the stack down is a bad idea since people who knew what each tile looks like based on the number it has would have an advantage. Even if you just pulled the bottom tile, knowing the last tile could be a slight advantage.

If anyone wants to learn to play 18XX I am teaching someone tonight in the GeekNights Discord server around 5pm New York Time.

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Join uss…

Text? Audio? Video? I have to hit the grocery store but if you’re doing voice chat I can pop in earbuds.

Voice chat, but you’ll want to see the screen. If you’re only going to the grocery, we can wait for you to get back.

I may not join the teaching, but I am ready to join the teaching game to take actions and facilitate interesting situations.

Damnit, my day is pretty packed. I’ll try to be there if somehow all the annoying things I have to do today don’t overlap with 5pm

No, it’s grocery and some cooking and stuff, so it’ll be a couple of hours at least before I’m ready.

Oh, ok, just listen then, and you’ll probably still learn a bunch.


A couple days ago I played Small World of Warcraft, which a friend of mine bought. As you can guess, it’s Small World, but with World of Warcraft theming. I don’t really care about WoW, but I was interested in playing Small World at some point which I hadn’t done before, only having seen the game on TableTop.

Small World is pretty well known, but for those that haven’t seen it before: The game generates a tribe from a combination of a race and special ability. Players chose tribes and conquer territory with the units that combination provides. Holding territory and abilities grant victory points. At some point you will have lost units or are in a disadvantaged position, at which point you can put your active tribe “in decline” and select a new one to continue.

Compared to the base game, there are some additional rules. The game comes with six different smaller boards which are double-sided printed making for twelve. Depending on number of players a different amount and types of boards are used, so this ups replayability. There is also a WoW-specific mechanic where the races are split between Alliance, Horde, and Neutral, and conquering a territory held by a Horde race with an Alliance (or vice versa) grants you extra victory points. There are also apparently optional game modes that put greater emphasis on this separation as well. According to my friend, this version also includes some stuff that were added to the original game through expansions.

We only played a two-player game and it was fun enough. I think my friend made a couple tactical errors, but in the end it was closer than I expected. Still won pretty handily though. We have plans of playing it again at some point in the future with a mutual friend who is big into WoW, but was unavailable at this last session in the game store, and we couldn’t find anybody else to join in.

I think Smallworld really shines in a 4 player game, It doesnt have enough depth to make a 2 player that engaging after youve played a bunch and 3 player cames can quickly become pick the loser.

That said, I think its a good intro for players in “Dudes on a map” games since the combat rules and modifiers for the races/abilities are super simple and there’s only ever 1 single die potentially rolled each turn.

Years late to the party I picked up the Terraforming Mars app version in the Google Play store. Really well made and beautiful app where my only complaint is there is no undo button.

So far only been playing VS AI after the tutorial but churning through games when work is slow and enjoying learning different strategies and the high replay ability using Corporate Era rules.

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Yesterday evening I managed to actually play 5 hours of board games, first time in a while. The impetus for this was the promised match of Small World of Warcraft with my WoW playing friend. The game is still pretty much as described above, and a decent game. I won it by some shrewed tactical maneuvering, as I managed to have my tribe go “into decline” a turn earlier than the other two players, and thus was basically unopposed with a fresh set of troops in the turn that my opponents were forced to go into decline with their active tribe.

After this we played a couple of rounds of Infinity Gauntlet, a Marvel branded hidden information card game. I am told that it is similar to Love Letter, but I have never played that game and only ever saw it played once on TableTop, (and I am not really interested in rewatching that episode as it has the Fine Bros. on it and those guys can go fuck themselves).

From what I understand Love Letter everyone is pretty equal. In Infinity Gauntlet it is one-against-all. One player plays Thanos who wins by either defeating the other players or assembling the six Infinity Stones betweens cards he plays and his hand. The other players play heroes who try to stop Thanos by defeating him before he can meet his win condition. Thanos always has two cards in hand while the other players have one, and each players turn starts with drawing a new card, and then playing of the two (or in Thanos’s case three) cards in their hand. Every card has a number value, and combats are done by comparing those values, though there is also a “power marker” mechanic that can increase that value through previously played cards. The game is mostly about either finding out the values in the other players hands through peeking with card ability or information from previous combats, and then engineering combats or using card abilities to guess the value in order to defeat those cards from the players hands. It sounds complicated, but once you start playing it is very easy and fast to play and a lot of fun.

Finally we played TIME Stories Revolution: Damien 1958 NT. I’m sure a lot of you are familiar, but it was my first time (hur hur) playing this kind of game. TIME stories are deduction games, basically a cooperative “choose-your-own-adventure” book with some game elements and puzzling. This game was a smaller, stand-alone version of the game. It was pretty decent, but I soured on it very much by the end. We screwed up as we overlooked a clue, but that was okay, our fault. What really annoyed was that this particular game doesn’t have an actual end, but instead concludes with a fucking commercial for another TIME Stories game.

Nominally these games are about time traveling detectives trying to fix something in the past that is causing time paradoxes affecting the future. What I found not well done in this game is that the game has a bunch of minor events where the characters see some horrifying visions meant to evoke these paradoxes. However, the biggest events include seeing ghosts, killer clowns or zombies or whatever, instead of things that hint at changes in timelines. The only ones that seem like this are the face and name of your own character showing up in a newspaper instead of the missing boy you are trying to find.

Just a note: I’m not gonna put spoilers in this post because it’s for something so aggressively stupid that it isn’t worth anyone’s time to discover it on their own.

Our group gave up on the original run of TIME Stories after the Egyptian module, but all throughout the first game’s releases you could find these missable, mysterious cubes you were told to hang on to for an important reason.

After the final expansion came out for the first iteration of TIME Stories, I looked up what purpose those cubes eventually had, and it turns out that you have to input a code using all the cubes you’ve found when prompted on the TIME Stories website.

Your reward for sticking through all those releases and being thorough enough to find all those weird time cubes? An advertisement for TIME Stories Revolution.


Drink your Ovaltine.


Picked up Twilight Struggle digital version on Steam during their board game sale. Been enjoying learning the game vs the AI a lot and looking forward to start playing vs real opponents soon.

Glad I got it for 10 dollars on steam for a game that I can probably never convince any of my direct IRL friends in my city to play with me vs shelling out 60 or whatever for a cardboard version.

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Playing against the AI is a good way to learn all the ways you can lose the game for yourself by misplaying a hand straight into DEFCON 1. My most novel “gotcha” loss was activating the event on “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You…” late in the hand and drawing straight into too many scoring cards to play.

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I cant remember what card, but there was definitely a card that I played that allowed the Russians to make a coup attempt and it was at defcon 2 and of course the coup’d a battleground because it was on MY TURN so naturally I lost. Such a great learning experience. Playing against the AI has been great to learn from the US side that early war is merely about survival and not allowing russia to dominate anywhere if possible while triggering events like Nasser and Korean war when advantageous to you.

Probably Lone Gunman… and CIA Created causes the same problems for the USSR.

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Yes it was lone gunman. I was replaying today and almost made the same mistake again but stopped myself before committing to it.

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