Quantum @ NYU Game Center - After our trip to Uncommons, we went over to the NYU Game Center to demo Eric Zimmerman’s new game and every winner at each table got win a copy of the game.
A big thanks to Bobby from Passport Games for teaching us the game!! Playing Quantum felt like playing a quick mini 4x game with puzzle elements added to the play. Dies represented not only different types of spaceships, but also how fast and how strong each ship was. The goal of the game was to place all of your quantum cubes on the board before anyone else. The experience was cutthroat and very intense up until the last part of the game where two players had one more cube to put down to win. In the end, I came out to be the winner by dominating in combat, which allowed me to place my last cube for free.
I won a copy of the game and got it signed by the designer himself!
Hey, I went to this! I was on the other side of the room playing Guts of Glory.
Last night I attended the launch party for Zach Gage’s Guts of Glory at the NYU Game Center, a light card game about trying to eat in a post-apocalyptic world where the most appetizing things are old tires and refrigerators.
The gameplay is fast and fun. Each turn you take a card from a central offer (“spewing” a card from your mouth to the next player if you don’t have room), take two “chew” tokens and add them to your cards. Once a card has enough chews you swallow it for victory points or to claim a one-time ability. Condiment cards can help you in your efforts by giving you extra chews or do interesting things to other players or the offer. Cool art, fun amount of gross without getting obscene. Fun times.
I played Rampage and it’s AWESOME.
A very entertaining mini-episode from SU&SD covering Oss, Toc Toc Woodman, and the extremely fun looking Cube Quest (which is sitting in an Amazon cart waiting for a moment of weakness on my part).
I received my copy of Martin Wallace’s Sherlock Holmes/Ctuhulu deck-builder A Study in Emerald this week. It hasn’t gotten to the table yet, but these zombie meeples had to be shared.
I played designer Randy Hoyt’s Kickstarter-funded game Relic Expedition with the fam last night. I was expecting a Tikal-type vibe based on the jungle theme, hexagon-placement mechanic, treasure/relic gathering, and action point allotment based turns. On these points the comparison holds up. Beyond past these surface similarities, these are vastly different games…
Relic Expedition has a great sense of adventure, by having each player control one explorer, players feel far more involved in the individual moments than the more abstract resource allocation of Tikal. Players tread through the jungle, evade and engage with predatory animals, manage inventory in their backpacks, explore rivers, mountains, and caves, and gather relics. It’s all very grand. By the end of the game the board gets downright huge, and the open ended nature of the map building (tiles are always placed adjacent to any edge piece a player moves to, e.g. there are always tiles to move to), means the jungle will feel different every game. It felt a bit like Carcassone in that reguard, but a fair bit more random as the orientation of the tiles is determined by chance.
On each turn a player roll 2 die. One contains an assortment of numbers (2,2,3,3,3,4) which determine how many action points can be spent that turn. Movement through open jungle costs 1 point, movement through dense forest costs 2 (unless you have a Machete in your pack). Players can choose to draw a supply from the bag for 1 point. Supplies include Rafts (which give access to the river), Lamps (for spelunking the cave), Climbing Gear (for trekking up the mountain), and numerous ways of dealing with those pesky animals. Explorers can also fly between any of the available helipad tiles for 3 points.
The other roll is the animal die and this is where the game gets awesome. Whichever animal (snake, boar, panther, or monkey) is rolled causes all animals of that type to be moved. Players take turns moving one animal of the rolled type up to two spaces in any direction they choose. If your playgroup is anything like my family, this direction is directly towards the closest explorer who isn’t you. If an animal encounters an explorer they attack. The explorers can negate this attack with items that might be in their pack including tranquilizer darts, traps, first aid kits, and more. Knowing which animals are in striking distance and managing your pack accordingly is one of the primary challenges in the game. If the threat cannot be neutralized then something terrible happens to the explorer. This can mean losing a turn because your poisoned by the snake, being knocked unconscious by the boar and dropping all of your items (available to be looted by other explorers), being mauled by the panther (dropping all your items and requiring an airlift out of the jungle), or getting pickpocketed by the monkey (monkeys are a theiving people). Giving players control of the animal movements is a genius design choice and gives players a chance to be outright hostile to the other players without shoehorning in an explorer combat mechanism wouldn’t thematically fit.
The objective of the game is collect matching sets of 4 relics and then find your way to a helipad and get the f out of the jungle. It’s an interesting trade off that as you collect more relics you have less room in your pack for supplies. So the route back to the helipad can be a real nail-biter.
Production-wise this game is outright incredible for a first effort from an indie game studio. The tiles and pack items are thick card stock. The explorers, animals, and backpack components are all wood. The instructions are crafted into a very cool “field guide” format and written in a very clear and concise format. The game looks beautiful on the table. I’m really impressed by the quality and thoughtfulness put into this game.
All-in-all Relic Expedition earns a strong recommendation. It’s a fun mix of a familiar mechanics and new ideas in a very lovely, easy to learn, and replayable package. You can pre-order the retail production run at Foxtrot Games’ website.
Shut Up & Sit Down’s extremely twelfth podcast, in which Paul and Quinns discuss Race for the Galaxy (which they video-reviewed back in The Science Fiction Special), Nordic Larping, Coup(!), and more.
One item is of particular interest is Quinns recounting his recent attendance of BGG Con where he watch Colby Dauch of Plaid Hat Games demo Dead of Winter. He came away impressed.
A detail that was new to me was about the game’s hidden alliance system. Some players can be secret traitors, determined by your hidden agenda. The group can act together to kick suspected traitors out of the group and into the wild. Kicked out players draw a new mission card when this happens, and are only focused on completing that task for the rest of the game.