Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rex: Final Days of an Empire, first day

Yes, I bought Rex.. and yes, despite the universe trying to intervene, we got to play it once.
But with only 3 players.

Even with 3 players, it is a great game with lots of subtlety.
The Jol-Nar vs. the Lazax vs. the Sol Federation abilities combine nicely with their strengths and weaknesses.
As the Jol-Nar, my only issue is that my memory isn't perfect. FFG changed the original Dune rules so it is now illegal to write things down, so I had to remember where all the cards went in the Bidding Phase. With 3 players it was sort of easy to manage, but with 6 I can imagine the Jol-Nar are going to have some trouble keeping track.

The Sol Federation won (with the normal victory conditions) and the game took maybe 2 and a half hours, including interruptions and rule questions..

Unfortunately we didn't get to see any of the alliance mechanics, but hopefully we will be able to have a bigger game -- MAYBE even six players?! -- next week or some time in April.

But yes, the game has many aspects I enjoy in "gamer games". Unique powers, territory control, interesting combat mechanic, even aspects that feel like Risk Legacy without the permanent changes. (although that's a whole separate thread to think about..)
Highly recommended so far.
A rating of GRRRRRRR on the arbitrary rating scale :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Go Go Gadget ... what?

Another little diversion from the gaming-related talk, but sort of on-topic.

Talk about First World Problems!

I've sold off most of my VTES collection, and I have made enough money that I want to reward myself with a gadget of some sort.

Edit: Please think of this more like a "fantasy rant" than a real shopping list... I'm not sure whether I'm actually going to buy something "big" or not...

I was originally thinking about replacing our Home Theater In A Box with a proper receiver and speakers, but after doing a fair amount of research, it seems like it's still too much cost and setup hassle for the amount of improvement it would give our little living room.

I'm not incredibly interested in a tablet right now; my ipad2 and my Galaxy Nexus (call it a 4-inch tablet with phone capabilities) exactly fill that niche for me.
It's all the rage right now, but a wifi ipad3 or full-sized Android tablet wouldn't add much.
And although I'm vaguely interested in a 4G-enabled tablet (whether Apple or Android or other), the data plan would exceed my new "buffer" of money within a few months. And then I'd be 'stuck' with it as a new long-term expense.

I could also get a new laptop (or wait for a Windows 8 tablet/desktop hybrid device thing); my primary 'Windows PC' these days is a good-enough-for-browsing-and-email netbook/laptop hybrid. But see the "gaming PC" comment below, and we've got no shortage of 'computers' in the house.

Another idea is more of an "un-gadget"; I've seriously considered adding a "free phone with no data plan" to our family plan, to assure that no matter how much I mess with my primary 'phone' (currently the Galaxy Nexus), I can still make and receive calls. That would still add a minimum of $9.99 a month, though, and I honestly don't make and receive regular phone calls very often at all. Also, if I chose this option, I think I'd wait to see what Verizon says about their shared data plans. If I could get a "free" Android phone and still not have to pay more for data, at least it would be able to sync contacts.

Instead of a gadget, I could buy more boardgames. There are certainly a few on my list that I wouldn't mind owning. But I still have to catch up with playing the ones I've already got :)

Same goes with videogames, really; I haven't turned on the PS3 or Wii in weeks, never mind my supposed "Gaming PC" which I updated a couple years ago and has mostly been doing nothing since then... Of course I could get something new and video-gamey and use it as motivation to get back to digital gaming, but there's also the fact that most new video games just don't interest me, and I suck at online twitch-factor games :)

A truly "unthinkable!" idea is to -- gasp -- save the money instead of searching out for something to buy just because it's shiny. And save it for guilt-free small purchases here and there, or for the next big thing I haven't discovered yet. But seriously, I would like to buy myself something symbolic for crossing this threshhold, even something tiny.

All that being said, your thoughts?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rex: Final Days of an Empire

How did I miss this?

This is FFG's remake of the classic Dune game.
I remember playing Dune once in college and really enjoying it, although I couldn't tell you anything about what the mechanics were :)

But it's definitely on my radar..

Friday, March 2, 2012

Oh, the Horror!

OK, I guess I lied about that Risk Legacy update. I will eventually write a big thing about that, but not yet.

So.. I'm in the process of selling a bunch of VTES cards, but that isn't important. What is important is that as payment for some of the cards, someone gave me a copy of Arkham Horror.

Now, of course I had heard of this game before. But I wasn't interested in it. While I do like Pandemic, the "pure co-op" aspect of Arkham was a turn-off. I'm a BSG fan, I like a game with a traitor. And without ever playing Arkham, I assumed that the game would fall flat without a "bad guy" player representing the Elder Gods.

But hey, a new game is a new game, so I gave it a shot.

We were 3 investigators: Ashcan Pete the Drifter (me), Darrell Simmons the Photographer (Max), and Bob Jenkins the Salesman (Mike).

Our adversary was Azathoth, which means that I wasn't going to get a chance to see the "end battle" no matter what.

Ashcan Pete somehow ended up being the Mage of the group. They were dumping spells on me, and I was collecting Clues preparing to close some gates.
I felt like I was actually making a difference, and knew what was going on, which is rare when I'm the newbie to a game. :)

The game ended up being pretty fun and it made for a cool story.
Monsters started popping up all over the place, and the atmosphere was tense. No real need for a traitor.

In the end, 7 gates opened, Azathoth awakened, and the game instantly ended.

I'm willing to try again...
Now I just have to resist the Completist Urge to buy an expansion or two or seven.. :)