On the Table! (January 2016) – What games have hit your table since the New Year?

Hear that? That whooshing sound? The hurried footsteps? The door slamming shut? Yep. That’s right ladies and gentlemen. If you missed him, I’m sorry. But January has LEFT THE BUILDING!

With 31 days already gone off our calendars, we hope you’ve spent a couple of those days gaming. We here at UnGeek have been fortunate enough to have gotten our “fair” share of gaming. How about you? What have you folks managed to get on the table?

Here are some of UnGeek’s gaming adventures in the opening salvo of 2016!

 

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Descent: Journeys in the Dark (2nd Edition) + The Trollfens Expansion

We started the New Year with a BIG ONE!

I’ve owned my base game of Descent 2nd Ed for approximately two years now. And believe me, I’ve tried EVERY opportunity to get it on the table. You see the problem with Descent is the time commitment it takes. With each scenario lasting at least 2 hours, a full campaign can easily take 30 hours to complete. That’s much more than what most gamers are willing to spend on a single game.

But last December 2015, the gang had a BRILLIANT idea! Why not run one of those mini-campaign expansions instead? We realized we could run a mini-campaign from The Trollfens small-box expansion. And then we had an even MORE BRILLIANT idea! We would run the whole thing in just a day!

CRAZY, I KNOW! (But we thought it just might work!)

The wheels were set. We decided to meet at high noon in Makati to play the 4 scenarios required, hoping to finish by dinner time. I had to take the role of Overlord, as I was the one most familiar with the game. We also opted to run with 3 hero players only, in hopes of shortening the campaign considerably.

The Trollfens campaign is set in the spooky swamps of Terrinoth. The hero classes selected were the Necromancer (Widow Tarha), Stalker (Roganna the Shade) and Prophet (Augur Grisom). I preselected everything to save time and based all of my choices on theme.

 

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The campaign started off in great fashion (for me the Overlord mwahaha!) The heroes were quickly overwhelmed in the first scenario after failing to save the villagers. I was in high spirits! ROAR!

 

The big baddie of the campaign was this mean ole’ swamp troll named Bol Goreth. Pictured above is the heroes encountering him for the first time. Rob was using Roganna the Shade with the Stalker specialization. This meant he could plant traps all over the map and boost her attacks kinda like Diablo 2’s Assassin. REALLY COOL but SUPER ANNOYING (for me the Overlord :P)

The big baddie of the campaign was this mean ole’ swamp troll named Bol Goreth. Pictured above is the heroes encountering him for the first time. Rob was using Roganna the Shade with the Stalker specialization. This meant he could plant traps all over the map and boost her attacks kinda like Diablo 2’s Assassin. REALLY COOL but SUPER ANNOYING (for me the Overlord :P)

 

After 9 hours, WE DID IT! This was the gang ecstatic that we had achieved our little goal to finish a Descent 2nd Ed Campaign in one sitting! (BOOYAH!) And we even did it ahead of schedule! The heroes ended up being too much to handle for the Overlord, and Roganna the Shade (Rob), Widow Tarha (Keno) and Augur Grisom (Chard) all went home winners. That’s me flashing my Overlord (consolation) smile.

After 9 hours, WE DID IT! This was the gang ecstatic that we had achieved our little goal to finish a Descent 2nd Ed Campaign in one sitting! (BOOYAH!) And we even did it ahead of schedule! The heroes ended up being too much to handle for the Overlord, and Roganna the Shade (Rob), Widow Tarha (Keno) and Augur Grisom (Chard) all went home winners. That’s me flashing my Overlord (consolation) smile.

 

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Pandemic Legacy (no spoilers!)

Feeling a little bit brazen with my success in running a campaign, I decided to go ahead and gather a group of friends to play one of my MOST AWAITED games for the year – Pandemic: Legacy.

(For the purposes of this write-up, don’t worry I won’t be spoiling anything!)

Immediately, I realized that running Pandemic: Legacy would be a bit more difficult than a Descent mini-campaign. We couldn’t do it in one sitting like The Trollfens, since it has been taking people at least 15 games to finish the whole thing. After a couple of talks, I was able to convince three other people to commit to playing the campaign every Monday for the next 6 weeks. I promised that we’d try to finish as many missions as possible per session, which would considerably shorten the campaign.

The wheels were set once again. So last January 14, we played our first game with much gusto…

 

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AND well fer chrissakes look at what we draw on the VERY FIRST TURN. Good lord! Talk about bad omens. We would go on to win this game. BUT GEEZ LOUISE.

We then went on to string together a 6-game win streak (BOOYAH!), after starting the campaign with a 1 win, 1 loss record. It wasn’t always smooth, and I think we messed up one of the rules big time (UGH!), but, for the most part, it’s been ONE HECK OF A RIDE! Pandemic: Legacy has been taking us through some pretty high HIGHS, and some damn nerve-wracking lows, with our games always coming down to the last few turns.

Pandemic: Legacy has certainly been living up to the hype dear readers! Expect a full review from the UnGeek gang soon.

 

Taking a page from the forbidden parts of the interwebs, we have blurred the entirety of our world map for your (non-spoiler) viewing pleasure. This was our game after July. We have 5 more months to go. Does our win streak continue? We’ll keep you posted!

Taking a page from the forbidden parts of the interwebs, we have blurred the entirety of our world map for your (non-spoiler) viewing pleasure. This was our game after July. We have 5 more months to go. Does our win streak continue? We’ll keep you posted!

 

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Steampunk Rally

I also got to play a game I Kickstarted early in 2015 and it arrived just in time for the holidays. Steampunk Rally is a riff on the “building” mechanism popularized by games like Galaxy Trucker. In it, players are famous inventors and scientists who are on a race that reminds me more of Hanna Barbera’s Wacky Races and Mario Kart than NASCAR.

The concept is incredibly simple. Draw 4 cards per round (3 machine parts and 1 special effect boost), and do a straightforward draft. Every time you pick a card, you either use it to build your machine, discard it for resources, or stash it for later.

The game uses dice to represent the “energy” that powers your machine. There’s 3 types: electricity (yellow dice), combustion (red dice), water/steam (blue dice). And as is standard fare in these games, the card effects and parts let you manipulate these dice in different ways to suit your needs – either giving you more energy, letting you move faster, or giving you defense..

Oh defense. Right. Let’s talk about defense.

You see the trouble with this game is that since you are hastily running your machine through hazardous race tracks (of course they would, it’s for SCIENCE after all), it’s constantly FALLING APART! The game forces you to lose machine parts as your vehicle takes more and more damage! That means you are constantly rebuilding your ride into a patchwork Frankenstein of rotors, carburators, steam pipes and whatever else you can scrounge; all in the hopes of making the front page of Top Gear by the end of the game!

Some cons though, the game runs a bit long the first time you’re learning it. It also tends to lead to a bit of analysis paralysis as you try to figure out how to configure your machine the best. We ended our first game in around two hours. But I have no doubt we can slash that time in half once we’ve gotten more familiar with the game.

 

This was the beautiful patchwork of parts that I called my masterpiece at the end of the game. I used my Combustion Chamber and Naphtha Canister to generate steam and heat energy respectively which I then used to power my Aerostat and Treads to give me speeeeed. My Firebox and Blast Pipe gave me a bit more flexibility by either giving me more dice or freeing up dice slots so I could reuse machine parts. If that sounded complicated, don’t worry it rightfully should. IT’S SCIENCE AFTER ALL! (I kid. The game’s pretty easy to pick up once you get the hang of it. It just sounds cool).

This was the beautiful patchwork of parts that I called my masterpiece at the end of the game. I used my Combustion Chamber and Naphtha Canister to generate steam and heat energy respectively which I then used to power my Aerostat and Treads to give me speeeeed. My Firebox and Blast Pipe gave me a bit more flexibility by either giving me more dice or freeing up dice slots so I could reuse machine parts. If that sounded complicated, don’t worry it rightfully should. IT’S SCIENCE AFTER ALL! (I kid. The game’s pretty easy to pick up once you get the hang of it. It just sounds cool).

 

Well that was a fun January!

In the interest of web page constraints, I can only talk about so many games. But how about you guys? What have you guys played in the last month? The UnGeek gang would love to hear about your adventures too! Hit us up in the comments so we can start a bit of a discussion going.

And how did you like the games we played? Are you a fan of these types of games or do your preferences tend elsewhere? We’re curious! We want to know you, dear reader! We want to know YOU! (In a totally platonic non-creepy manner of course). So type away those comments, or shoot us a message on Facebook.

Till next month folks!

Keep gaming!

Up next: What kind of gaming will the gang be able to put in during the month of luuuuurv? Will we see the appearance of our significant others? Or will we be gaming #foreveralone? Find out in a month’s time!

Author: Jake Fernandez

Board game connoisseur. Has a 213 board game collection. Yes I could have used all that money to buy myself burritos. But burritos don't let me experience the thrill of victory, the sting of defeat, and give me an excuse to berate my friends as I crush their armies with cold farming efficiency. Think about that the next time you want to buy a burrito.

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