Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Month: July 2017 (Page 1 of 2)

Catacombs: Wyverns of Wylemuir Preview

I got a nice surprise in the mail the other day, an advanced copy of the next Catacombs expansion, Wyverns of Wylemuir.  I helped Elzra Games proofread the manual and components and as a fantastic thank you gesture, they sent me my copy early. This is a full expansion similar to Cavern of Soloth so you need the base game to play it.  I believe there are a couple of other copies floating around as it was available to purchase at Dice Tower Con.

This cover is my favorite box cover of the whole line.  I like how Kwanchai is continuing with the circle motif of the series and the inner picture is dramatic and compelling.

Because there is a brand new board in the box, it came out in the same large footprint size as the base game.

Elzra Games is learning from some of the challenges of their previous offerings and have included a box insert to keep the wood pieces from crashing around too much. I know a lot of people hate box inserts but these games can really use it for care during shipping if nothing else.  A little side note for those that pick this game up later, the new board is under the box insert.

Now that we have everything open, lets look at the contents:

  • 1 double-sided game board
  • 2 Heroes
  • 2 Catacomb Heroes (used in the Catacombs & Castles set)
  • 8 Wyverns
  • 2 Catacomb Lords
  • 5 Monster Groups
  • 11 Room Cards
  • 5 Items
  • 2 Catacombs & Castles Catacomb Warriors
  • 4 Attack Templates

In terms of raw extra content, it’s not quite as heavy as the Caverns of Soloth expansion but it makes up for it in the brand new content like the Wyverns and Attack Templates as well as adding a new game double-sided game board to the mix.

Here we have the stars of the expansion, the new Wyverns.  Elzra Games did a clever thing here where there are eight unique Wyverns and two copies of each so that both the Hero and the Catacomb sides can each run the same Wyvern if they want. Each disc has another Wyvern on the other side.

A sample of some of the new monsters.   Most of the monsters employ the new Attack Templates, which I’ll get into later in the post.

Two new Catacomb Lords and two new Heroes. One thing that both the Heroes and Catacomb Lords have in common is they all get to start the game with their own Wyvern.

Two new board layouts (double-sided), each detailing a great new outdoor scene.

Another nice addition is some of the promo cards that have been released at conventions. Elzra Games has moved away from a strictly exclusive model for promos and Kickstarter items and here we see some of the results of these releases like the Shadowlithe Fist ability for the Thief and the Teleport Chicken ability for the Chicken Hero. Adding to the group are two new template-centric options, one ability for the Skeleton Hero and the other is an item that the Dwarf Miner can start with.  Both are really interesting options for these lower tier heroes, especially the Dwarf Miner’s Rune Axe as it is a permanent item that allows him to use the ability all the time.  Quite a boon for a hero I put at the back of the pack in my strategy guides.

Here we have an example of Hyba, one of the new heroes, riding one of the Wyverns, the Wylamander.  The card abilities for the Wyverns are divided into three sections starting with the upper left ability section.  This section is the same for all the Wyverns in that it allows the hero to perform a melee shot with the Wyvern followed by the new “Wyvern Strike” shot.  The Wyvern Strike acts like a Rush shot but if you strike an opponent disc, you gain a Wyvern Claw token.  These tokens can later be spent to activate one of the other Wyvern abilities.  In the example above, Hyba spent one claw to use the Wylamander’s second ability, placing the ring template and hitting two Succubus monsters.

Later in the game, Hyba has earned more Wyvern Claws and spends them on the Wylamander’s third ability, using the spread template to hit more Succubus monsters.

In this last example, we look at one of the coolest items, the Wyvern Familiar.  This little guy looks like a ton of fun as he’s permanent, like all familiars, but if you look at his life, he has “-” like Antients and the new Wyverns which means he is invulnerable to damage.  An unkillable familiar seems very interesting but his only way to deal damage is through the short template.  This will make for a very challenging attack as you will want to get close to a monster to use the short template but with a bit of finesse since if you hit too hard, you risk knocking your target out of range.

As is likely no surprise, I’m really excited about this expansion and all the new options it brings.  The template powers bring a bit more finesse to the game as power flicking discs will generally be less effective than subtle shots that put you in perfect template range.

I’m not sure when this expansion hits the full release or Kickstarter but Elzra Games is currently running a quick Kickstarter Campaign for another game in the Catacombs series, Catacombs Conquest.  Conquest is a light, quick, card-driven version of the game meant for new players and quick, open-table play.

Dropzone 2.0 Is Coming

Last Friday, Hawk Wargames capped off a week of image teases with a major announcement for their flagship game, Dropzone Commander:

image from Hawk Wargames

The game is now five years old and the publisher/designer felt like that was long enough to gain feedback and refine the system’s clunkier rules.  Dave Lewis from Hawk Wargames sat down for an interview from the folks at Beasts of War and it looks like several welcome changes are coming:

  • Renewed emphasis on using Dropships
  • Dropships disassociated with Battlegroups, lessening their restrictions.
  • Revamp of how Fast Movers operate
  • Streamlining force building and making it less restrictive
  • Updating Command Cards and allowing for customization

There was a bit more in that video link and none of it is fully vetted but Hawk is looking to release the new ruleset in time for the Christmas holiday.

Over on Facebook, Hawk did confirm that the two supplement rulebooks, Reconquest Phase 1 and 2 are not getting updated but rather, an errata sheet will be provided.  Dave said in the interview the stat lines for units will largely go unchanged but we’ll see how that plays out.  My faction is the Resistance and all of their content is in the Reconquest books so not updating them is an interesting decision.

Overall, I’m pretty excited and will definitely be hanging around the Hawk booth at Gen Con for more details.

Just Milling About

So it’s been a few weeks since my last post but only because I’ve been head-down in a new project: learning CAD and CAM for milling on a CNC machine.

Way back at the beginning of the year, I was excited to have a brand new tool added to my pimping arsenal: a CNC Machine. The only issue was it was a kit I needed to build and I’m not so handy with building things this complex.

The project progressed in fits and starts until just a few weeks ago, I finally got everything all together and running.  I had to take a quick detour and clean out the garage and cobble together a quick workbench table to have room to run it all but I was able to knock that out in a weekend.

With everything prepped, I grabbed a template off BGG and set it up using a trial version of Fusion 360.  I have to say, the resources MillRight CNC have put together on their site is outstanding and the direct responses from them for questions I’ve sent have been amazing.  They really go above and beyond supporting their customers on what could easily be a nightmare project.

The my workspace ready and my machine up and running, I imported Flashhawk’s PitchCar mini-converter SVG and got to cutting to test it all out.

As you can see from the video, the machine definitely did its job.  The cut was nice and everything worked as it should.

Punching out the piece was easy and cleaning up the “tabs” that hold the piece in place while cutting will be easy.

Just one little issue…

So obviously there are some scaling issues but the test was successful and I’ve been working up several new concepts that I’m eager to complete.  The first step has been taken, now the real challenges begin.

6×6 Gaming Challenge: Mid-year recap

Now that we’re in July, I thought I’d take a quick moment to recap where I’m at with my 6×6 Gaming Challenge. I always keep the running total up-to-date at the top, under my “About” header.

The good news is every game on my list has been played at least once. Even better news is I’m sitting at 20 games/sessions played out of 36 for the challenge so I’m beating the curve by a good 5%.  Let’s look at the details:

The Walking Dead: All Out War:
Dropzone Commander:
Santorini:
Batman Miniature Game:
Pandemic: Legacy:
Championship Formula Racing:

As you can see, Dropzone Commander and Batman are a bit behind the curve.  Batman may be the toughest to get all the way through before the end of the year since it is completely self-driven.  Dropzone Commander still has regular monthly get-togethers so I’m not too worried about finding a game.

CFR, Pandemic, and The Walking Dead have been going quite well with a lot of interest still peaking for those games.  The next few months are going to be a little tough as I prepare for Gen Con and a vacation later this summer but I still have a lot of plans for all the games on the list so at least the drive is still there.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 Half-way Point

As part of my 6×6 Gaming Challenge, I decided to add Pandemic Legacy to try to get a commitment out of my game group to go through this game from start to finish.  We tried Risk Legacy long ago but it eventually fell apart and we never got to fully explore the game.  I’m not sure how common this is with gaming groups but the fear of opening a legacy game, permanently destroying, adding, and altering the game state but never finishing it is so heavy that I’d rather have the game sit in shrink and never played than be played half-assed.

Something about the permanency of the decisions makes these games hard to enjoy (beyond those that would never want to deface their game in the first place).  It’s odd how much pressure there is for a legacy game as it wants to be played in its entirety, regularly so that each new sessions rules aren’t forgotten, and with the same group of people.  With my game group, this is difficult since we all have games (usually new) that we want to see on the table and since we don’t get together often enough to make sure everything has its chance, committing to 12 to 24 games of Pandemic Legacy was becoming increasingly difficult.

I decided to switch gears with this legacy setup and instead of going to my game group, I went to my wife.  She is definitely a gamer but life and work have turned her into an adult (one of us had to do it) and so gaming was less and less available.  She did, however, always like Pandemic so I thought I’d give it a shot.

After some convincing, she was on board.  Funnily enough, it wasn’t the commitment to playing through the entire season that took convincing, it was the legacy system itself.  I relived the whole geek culture reaction to the first legacy concept happen right before my eyes as she processed what this game was going to make us do.  It’s funny that I’m so obsessed with games and the industry that I forgot just how foreign the legacy concept can be.  She went through shock and disbelief (“We have to do what??”), anger and cynicism (“That is just dumb. You know they’re doing this just so you can buy the game over and over again.”), bargaining (“what if we just take pictures of the board state before we tear it down…”), and finally to acceptance (“fine. whatever.”).

Note: I’ll try to keep the rest of this as spoiler-free as possible but it will be almost impossible to not spoil even the tiny details. In any case, I have “[redacted]” major elements of the game in the images for your protection.

We started the game off picking our characters and working them up.  This is one of my favorite aspects of the game as it gives the characters a quasi-RPG feel.  I began the game with my favorite character of the Pandemic series, the Medic.

Bobdoh Johnson, or “Bobby D” as his friends call him, has been a terrific member of the Pandemic team.  In the last 6 months of service, he’s been instrumental in fighting back the ravages of disease and staving off terrifying outbreaks.  Through his heavy travels, he’s made many contacts and has helped even the weakest medical centers work through crises. Though he’s saved countless lives, his dreams are still troubled by a particularly brutal outbreak of Mad Fever in Seoul.  That abnormally hot March would forever scar Johnson. To this day, he can’t help but stop and help cities on the verge of outbreak as his mind flashes back to the horrors of Seoul. Hopefully this won’t be his undoing.

Johnson’s best friend, the brilliant researcher, Dr. Iris, has been the key to the curing of these new diseases.  While Johnson has been clearing out disease, Dr. Iris has been curing all the diseases in record time.  This dynamic duo has led to a four month winning streak as the team can typically cure a disease in the first few turns and eradicate them quickly thereafter.

As new threats are uncovered, Piper, the Specialist, joined the team in May.  Dr. Iris took a sabbatical to study these new threats more closely but Piper has kept the streak alive as the team cleared through May and June.


Game Summary

January (loss then win)

January was actually our toughest month as we ended up losing our first game. It was a combination of getting back into the rhythm and forgetting what to focus on that led to our downfall.  Late January went much better and we were able to get in a rhythm.

February (win)

February was  a breeze as we started with enough to cure a disease on the second turn and eradicate it a turn later.  Quite possibly the easiest game of Pandemic I’d seen.

March (win)

March set up well but I got cocky and Johnson got caught in an outbreak in Seoul.  It hasn’t seemed to slow him down much but it did make me play him a little more conservatively.

April (win)

This one was a bit odd in that we had things pretty well contained and then things started going bad very quickly.  Luckily, we were able to end the month quickly before too much damage was done.  From a design note, I was kind of curious if you could get into a situation in a legacy game where the game is no longer winnable due to damage done in the previous months.

May (win)

Due to some of the new events and damage done, we switched tactics and brought in Piper’s Specialist expertise. It took us a little bit of time to get used to the role and how it would interact with Johnson but the combo seemed to be even stronger given the upgraded board-state. Outbreaks have been the biggest issue in our previous game but we seemed to have that under control.  We almost totally botched it by forgetting to pay attention to the player deck and the number of cubes out on the board. We ended up with only 5 player cards left in the deck by the time we sorted it all out and won the game.  That cut it a little too close.

June (win)

Prepared for both the excess cubes we needed to manage and the inefficient time management we had in the previous month, June turned out to be a bit easier than the other months in this quarter.  I kind of keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and we start getting our ass handed to us but so far so good.

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