Ever wonder who would win in a fight between ninja and time travelers or between wizards and dinosaurs? Well now you can find out with Smash Up! Smash Up is a card game where each player picks two different factions, such as dinosaurs or wizards, smashes them together, and see who comes out on top. The base set comes with eight different factions: wizards, dinosaurs, robots, ninja, tricksters, zombies, aliens, and pirates. That makes for a good number of combos (28) but there are multiple expansions to add even more crazy combos to the mix.
Back to good ole’ Waterdeep! I know I’ve talked about it a lot, but I’ve played the heck out of it and it’s such a great game I just can’t stop myself. I talked before about specific plot quests but I thought this time I would take a step back and talk about a more general aspect: the quest types and how they play.
Sticks is a game I first heard of a couple years ago and it’s spread through my family and friends like wildfire since. It’s a card game that plays similarly to Phase 10: collect certain groups of cards (runs, sets, etc.) before your opponents and try to get rid of all your cards first in the round. But the unique part is the sticks themselves: instead of having a preset list of what to collect each round you draw a random stick and try to collect whatever it says. You never know if you’ll get an easy stick or a difficult one!
Catan Dice game is based on the uber-popular Settlers of Catan board game. It comes in a nice looking compact little box and includes the six dice used for playing, a special scorepad, and a copy of the rules. There’s no setup time at all, and games run around 15 or 20 minutes for 2 players (it’s meant for 2 – 4 players, with the obligatory solo version to play as well). So it’s a little different than the board game in those aspects😉 And really, it’s not to meant to replicate the Settlers experience; it’s meant to be a different type of game experience that is reminiscent of its parent game. The goal is to be a fun game that feels like Settlers while you’re playing it, and it succeeds well on both fronts.
Continuing the discussion of plot quests in Lords of Waterdeep!
Back to good old Lords of Waterdeep! Let’s talk about the plot quests that are available in the game. Plot quests are quests that have an ongoing reward for the rest of the game after you complete them. Completing a few good plot quests can go a long way towards victory. I’ll talk about them specifically, but first a few general caveats:
Having played the heck out of Lords of Waterdeep, I thought it might be fun to try another worker-placement type game and settled more or less randomly on Agricola. In it 2 – 5 players (there’s also a solo version) start out as a lowly farming couple in the 1300’s with a 2 room wooden hut and have 14 rounds to improve their lot in life by various methods: farming, raising livestock, adding more family members, improving their house, etc. it has a lot of different options and a ton of things to think about each turn. I got a chance to try it out over the Thanksgiving weekend and it was a pretty fun time.
Let’s talk a little more about Lords of Waterdeep! When you buy the base game you get the big board and you can have from 2 – 5 players. There’s also an expansion called Scoundrels of Skullport. The box actually contains two independent expansions called Undermountain and Skullport. You can add either one to the main game or even both at the same time. The expansions add a lot of new options (including the ability to have 6 players) but in different ways.
I played Lords of Waterdeep for the first time in September last year. A couple of friends were really into the iOS version, so when I had a chance to play the board game version with them I pounced on it. On my second turn of the first game I said to my friends “OK, you know it’s a good game when by the second turn you’re already going ‘Is it my turn yet?'” I quickly bought my own copy of it, adding the expansion not long afterward, and have been playing the heck out of it since. I’ve actually started to wear out the pieces and cards; I may have to eventually buy a new set to replace my current one! I have a pipe dream that WoTC will come out with a fancy deluxe version sometime, but I’m not exactly holding my breath on that one.
If you’ve never heard of Star Reporter it’s not too surprising. It’s a board game that was first published in 1937 with various incarnations coming out until the last version was printed in 1960. My dad played it when he was a kid (I didn’t realize until recently he never actually owned it, he always played a friend’s copy), and he’s mentioned occasionally over the years how much he enjoyed it and would like to play it again. So I found a nice copy of it on eBay and gave it to him for Father’s Day this year. As soon as he opened it and looked at it all he said, “OK, let’s play a game!” My mom was like, “Right now?” and Dad replied “Well yeah!” I’ve now played it twice and Dad has played it three times. It’s an absolutely classic board game, a real slice-of-the-times kind of thing, and pretty fun to play to boot!