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Board Game Updates, posted by CJ Ovalle

My wife and I were married on Halloween 8 years ago, and yes, we had a costume wedding. Every year since then we’ve had a themed low-key Halloween party where we often play games and provide chicfila and other food and drinkstuffs. She’s really great at both costumes and decorating, while I’m mostly along for the ride in those areas. Last year she made a giant glow in the dark monster octopus which hung from the ceiling of our entryway, tentacles spreading through all over, gaping maw towards the front door. It looked pretty awesome under the blacklights. ^^ Halloween is our favorite holiday.

I and some friends have picked up a few board games that were recommended by several people, among them our resident boardgame expert (who owns hundreds of games, including many antiques). One of them was a game that Derek mentioned awhile back, Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer. Interestingly, it also has an iPad app, which has been really useful in learning how to play the game. (Slight aside: recently acquired an iPad, and I’ve been using it constantly. Used it as my sole computer at a conference in New Orleans, and it worked out beautifully. Looking for more apps, so feel free to offer suggestions.)

Some friends of ours picked up Ghost Stories. Cooperative games are relatively rare, so they were pretty excited to get this one. The couple that bought it have been trying it out on their own, and they say it’s been fun. I like the premise- your group needs to stop an evil undead creature from resurrecting in this Asian-themed game, and you cooperate to fight off waves of invading spirits. Looking forward to it. The other coop game they’ll bring is Pandemic, which we’ve had fun with in the past, fighting off virulent disease outbreaks around the world (hmm… we could show Contagion in the background when that comes out…)

I also picked up Elder Sign (go cthulhu!) and Nightfall (horror competitive card game), but I haven’t had a chance to play them yet. ^_^ We’ll probably break ’em out at the party itself.

One the video game front, I’ve been playing League of Legends… eagerly awaiting the Old Republic, though!


  1. Derek

    Ascension is excellent. It has an expansion too. And the iPhone app is spectacular.

    Nightfall is harder – the rules are amazingly confusing at first, but once you start to play, it’s much more logical. Plus, you beat the hell out of each other with vamps, weres and hunters. It’s got an iPhone app coming out soon too.

    Also, I’ve heard great things about Ghost Stories, so let me know how that goes.

    Another awesome (and brutal) coop game you might want to check out – Death Angel: Space Hulk. It’s a stripped down version of the Space Hulk board game. Up to 6 players, between 6 and 12 space marines, and more Xenos than is remotely reasonable. I’ve won one out of five games so far.

    And then if you’re enjoying Deck Building, check out Rune Age – it’s in the Runebound Universe (Descent, Disk Wars, Runebound, etc), and has various scenarios that determine how the game plays. Basically there’s competitive with light conflict, competitive full conflict, cooperative, or competitive no conflict. I’ve enjoyed it.

    Posted on 30-Oct-11 at 4:38 pm | Permalink
  2. Jimmie

    Ascension is a fun one, very replayable. Though I have found that if you play with more than two players, the center cards cycle too fast to be able to strategize much. My house rule is to add 2-3 cards per additional player to the center cards, which seems to successfully maintain the feel of the 2-player game.

    I’ve tried Ghost Stories at BGG Con when it came out. It was fun, but more challenging than Pandemic (assuming we had not misread any rules). Be prepared for several losses in your first games.

    I want to pick up Elder Sign, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. Nightfall looked like it had some novel mechanics for a deck-builder.

    Quarriors has been an interesting take on the deck-building style of games, using dice rather than cards. I’ve not regretted that purchase, even if I don’t get to play it as much as I’d like. And I saw another take on it, themed with Super Puzzle Fighter, called Puzzle Strike at our Halloween game day at work. The game itself seemed fun, but the price seemed a bit high for the limited components.

    I’m also looking forward to TOR, can’t wait to form a Trooper squadron.

    Posted on 31-Oct-11 at 1:02 pm | Permalink
  3. Elder Sign was good. It was a little confusing at first, but we had a decent time. I think they probably need to errata a couple of the investigator powers (I had to look one up online because it seemed too powerful, and forums seem to agree). It’s really random, though- one of the complaints that an acquaintance has is that there’s less strategy with Elder Sign than other games, because you have to rely on the dice so much. That being said, playing it there was definitely some room for strategy in how you use your clues/special abilities. I enjoyed it.

    I did get to play Ghost Stories a couple of times- we lost one and won one. Very challenging, but definitely fun. The couple that brought it over said they’re something like 2 for 6 now (including those two games we played). When things start going wrong, they can really go wrong. ^_^; We enjoyed it, though. Some player powers are definitely better than others, and some end bosses are definitely easier than others. I think we (or they) may pick up the expansion.

    I’ll check out the other games. ^^

    Posted on 03-Nov-11 at 7:50 pm | Permalink
  4. Zabe

    A Touch of Evil and its expansions remains my current favorite. I love the fact that by swapping characters and the main bad guy the entire game changes dramatically.

    The same company puts it out (Flying Frog) apparently has a zombie game that looks fun as well. Half the players play zombies and the other half play humans. Humans get different victory condition, while the zombies always have the same condition (eat all humans). Looks fun.

    Posted on 08-Nov-11 at 9:20 am | Permalink
  5. Derek

    Elder Sign is actually available on iOS and Android now. I hear really good things about the app.

    I played a new game this recent game night. I’m not sure, but it may be the most entertaining game I’ve ever played. It may not be the *best* game, as I first thought, but I can’t remember a time I’ve had more flat out fun in a long time.

    It’s called Space Alert. It is chaos and awesome rolled up in to one.

    If you don’t know it (and I didn’t), it’s a coop game that does it right. All players are crew members on a ship. A ship that is, perhaps, not top of the lilne any more. And you may not be the absolutely most valuable crew. So you’re tasked with flying a ship that’s programmed to randomly hyperspace to a section of space, spend exactly 10 minutes there, and then hyperspace out. Everyone in the game has roles (Comms officer, captain, Lt, Security officer, etc) that give them a specific suggested task in the game, but it’s not required. Captain keeps track of everyone, Comms plays the threat cards, and, in theory, reports on them. Security officer does the same for internals. Etc.

    You have 16 actions per game. You have 5 cards to determine the first 3, 5 for the next 4 (plus what’s left from 1) and 5 for the last 8. As you go along, threats will randomly appear (ships, monsters, etc). You have to deal with them. You can do one thing each round – move, first lasers, launch missles, power generators, etc. Each person does one thing. With face down cards. That can’t be adjusted after the phase is over. Phase 1 is 3 minutes, Phase 2 is 3, Phase 3 is 4. Then you resolve.

    It’s simple, but awesome. Because people quickly start yelling at each other.

    “Okay, I’ll fire the lasers on turn 7.” “Wait, which lasers?” “The ones in upper red.” “I’M FIRING THOSE?! WHY ARE YOU HERE?! GO POWER THE GENERATOR!”


    “Okay, I’ll charge the shields.” “Wait, I’m firing lasers. We don’t have any power.” “Yes we do, Derek charged them last turn.” “No I didn’t – you told me to go deal with the battlebot uprising!” “Wait, what room are you in?” “Phase 2 is over.”

    And then it resolves. And you watch how terribly awful you did.

    Bonuses: Every phase, in the first 2 turns, someone has to jiggle the mouse on the ship. Otherwise, the screen saver turns on, and the ship shuts down for a turn.

    You can keep track of XP, and level up, gaining abilities as you go (special cards).

    You can get achievements. Like “Lazy bum – Successfully finish a mission using less than 6 cards.”

    There’s a fan made computer program that is amazingly done, and handles everything. It runs for 10 minutes, announces threats, etc. After you’re done, you program in the cards, and it plays a summary of your doom, and people can focus more on the yelling.

    It’s just amazing. It sounds boring, but it’s so frantic. So prone to get people to yell and scream at each other, then crack up. And, with the right team, a game you feel awesome about beating down (Captain Joe runs a tight ship, so we ended the game in turn 10 with 28 points. Captain Andy left us blown up on turn 9).

    Posted on 13-Nov-11 at 9:04 am | Permalink
  6. Derek, that’s almost like a post. You should put it on the front page! ;)

    Posted on 15-Nov-11 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

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