January 2018 board game night post

January 14th, 2018

For many years I have been getting together with a group of people that I met online when I used to play a lot of the paper-and-pencil role-playing game Hero System. It started getting harder and harder to get everyone together to play, which makes any kind of long-running campaign impossible to maintain. If you don't know from session to session who is going to be available, how can you plan anything?!?!

So a few years back I decided the path going forward was for us to play board games instead. That way if someone can't make it, it's not as big a deal as having a character whom you built an entire campaign around not showing up.

An email goes out saying it's time to play, we all indicate what Saturdays work for an upcoming month (it's always a Saturday) and once we get consensus we make plans to show up at someone's house (we all take turns) and a good time is had by all attendees.

I apologize for the lack of pictures of the various board states but the group is usually on my case to "put your damn phone away, Chris!!!" so I am trying to be a better friend and tame my obvious phone addiction. This time out 6 of the 8 members of our group showed up.

One of the more interesting challenges is making sure that we have games that can handle that large number of people.

Hadz

We played this game while we waited for the last two members to show up.

My mother got me a beautiful hand-crafted board game called Hadz that reminded me of the old game Sorry with some betting involved.

The game looks like it would take a while to go all the way through and I am pretty sure we are missing out on some of the strategies that might lead to better outcomes. It was fun yelling at the top as it failed to knock a marble into the locations you had bet on.

Joking Hazard

If you've played Cards Against Humanity you will be familiar with this type of game. In Joking Hazard you are trying to build the best three-panel comics with cards that contain the type of material that is best played either by people who know each other very well or by people who are easily amused by toilet humour or aggressively-sexual content.

Not really my game but man some of the comics that got created were quite dark. We played two rounds of that and then prepared for the main event.

Space Cadets

In this game you are a bunch of Space Cadets who are trying to complete a mission as the crew of a spaceship. Each turn the crew members are trying to solve a puzzle specific to their assigned station (helm, engineering, weapons, etc.) in order to advance the mission. It's frantic, you always feel stressed and I'm not sure I really want to play it again.

We've played it at least 4 times and have never one. In fact, I have no idea how anyone ever completes the mission because the quality of puzzles that need to be solved is quite uneven, and the critical station (tractor beams) requires you to memorize the number, colour, shape, and location of puzzle pieces by flipping them over two at a time.

The game can be exciting while you yell at crew members who don't complete their tasks and put the crew in danger, but I think I'm done with it.

Quartermaster General

This game can be best described as "Axis and Allies that you can actually get done in one night." Quartermaster General is a game where all the players take the role of one of the Axis or Allied powers in World War 2 and play out the war using a series of cards and units representing tanks, ships, and aircraft. The game itself took us about 2 hours but the first 30 minutes was just going over all the rules and doing some sample turns.

I really enjoyed this game. I got to be Germany, and I saw how the game creators did a great job of representing the various power levels of the combatants in the war. All of us made plenty of mistakes, and in the end the Allies won victory by 8 points over the 20 turns. The owner of the game said that he'd never seen a game go to turns. I will definitely want to play this again.

There is an expansion set for that shakes things up via additional cards that allows things to be more of a 50-50 proposition for the Axis. It was pointed out to use that there were basically for scenarios all based on on how well one side starts

Axis fast + Allies fast = Allies win Axis fast + Allies slow = Axis wins Axis slow + Allies fast = Allies ROFLstomp win Axis slow + Allies slow = Allies win

Making it 50-50 allows for strategies to matter rather than simply duplicating history.

Summary

  • would play Hadz again with a smaller group to kill some time
  • not that enthused about Joking Hazard
  • don't want to play Space Cadet any time soon
  • would definitely play Quartermaster General again