Last Week’s Gaming


Coldest Hot Hanabi Roll for the Wild Hunt with a Tuki for Libertalia

So last week I mused with changing the name for Last Week’s Gaming. After much musing, I have decided to stick with Last Week’s Gaming. Everything else just sounded as generic, and not as descriptive.

So, as Last Week’s Gaming is all about what I played last week, and it’s on JohnHQLD.com. So I am sticking with it! There are some slight format changes though. So slight, I wonder if you will notice… If only I still did puzzles! :p

All going well this week, there will be some news on streaming and video content as well. Fingers crossed! But enough of all that, let’s talk about what Gaming I got up to last week!

Saturday games with Alpal turned into Sunday games this week, and she was keen to show me a new ‘dexterity’ game. Pulling a bunch of blocks out of a box labelled Tuki, I was intrigued.

The gameplay is simple. There are a bunch of cards with different patterns for the coloured blocks. Roll a die, and match the bottom of a random pattern for everyone to build. If you are last to put the pattern together, you earn the card. Get five cards, you lose.

Build a shape according to set patterns with limited support. Tuki is like real Tetris played badly!

There are two levels of difficulty in Tuki, which has you making symbols with 3 or 4 coloured blocks. The rules for building will push your ingenuity.

Tuki just shows you the pattern to make. Choosing to build up blocks on top of each other, using counterweights, or freestanding supports is up to you.

I really enjoyed Tuki, but have a couple of things to say about colour choices. Maybe Alpal will lend me her copy to do a formal review when I get back into the swing of that, but Tuki is a lot of fun to play.

Another Alpal special, The Coldest Night is a thematic cooperative card game. The idea is simple – keep a fire going to survive the coldest night. You know almost everything you need to know just from the title.

Each round, you put some kindling on the fire. This is done by placing it to the left of the pile. Then, check if frostbite sets in. This happens if there are less than 3 cards in the fire. Finally, remove the rightmost card from the fire and draw a card. You now know the basics of playing Coldest Night.

Keeping three cards in play is a lot harder than it sounds

Alpal was saying that a lot of people have complained that Coldest Night was ‘solved’ early by many players. Either we were playing it very wrong, or I suspect a lot of other people are.

Like Hanabi, The Coldest Night has communication restrictions. The only way you can easily beat this game is to give other players ‘perfect’ information as to what is in your hand.

The Coldest Night is a quick, easy filler game that is very hard to beat. That is actually something I really like about it. If you enjoy games that are simple but will take you out the back every chance it gets, then look up Coldest Night.

We ended our gaming day with Pandemic: Hot Zone. I really enjoy this streamlined version of the original Pandemic board game.

Pandemic: Hot Zone – North America takes almost as long to say as it does to play! It was the first time Rabbit had a chance to play it, and the first time playing Pandemic in ages.

Even with all this in mind, the three of us lost due to running out of player cards. We gave rule refreshers, setup and had the game played in about 30 minutes.

If you like the sound of Pandemic (check out my review) but don’t have lots of time to invest, Pandemic: Hot Zone is the version for you.

OK, so I forgot I was technically upside down when playing

Libertalia | Board Game Arena

I haven’t played Libertalia in years. The last time I played, was way back in the store game night days on a Monday. It’s been a long, long time.

The idea behind Libertalia is pretty simple. Each player is a pirate captain, and you have to manage your crew to maximise your gold. After three campaigns, you are going to retire, and points are your nest egg.

Libertalia has a lot of humour, making play fun and somewhat intuitive. Need to get rid of cursed relics? Use your Monkey to send them to the captain to your left. People have higher-ranked cards than you? Use your Brute to sort them out.

Follow the symbols for power order. It looks intimidating, but Libertalia is worth the small learning curve

At its roots, Libertalia is a hand management game meaning lots of between round downtime looking for cards. Board Game Arena made this effortless and was a great way to play.

My only complaint was low res images, making cards a little hard to read on my high-resolution screen. Hover text fixed this entirely though. Libertalia is a lot of fun to play. If you want to try it out, I can highly recommend the Board Game Arena implementation.

Hanabi | Board Game Arena

The idea was to play Hanabi with the punctual players and then launch into Libertalia with higher player numbers. Turns out everyone was right on time, so we did it the other way around. 🙂

Hanabi is a simple game that makes life far tenser than you think it could. Even teaching a new player in this five-player game, four ‘veterans’ completely forgot about running out of cards! Hanabi sounds simple, but if you play correctly, it is a fun challenge.

I am surprised Board Game Arena is alwyas saying everyone is playing for the first time. Only one of us were this game!

What do I mean by playing correctly? Well, with the new player, we had some ‘cheaty’ conversations. Things like “Just to let you know, I will discard from the right”. In Hanabi, having conversation restrictions is what makes the game a puzzle. Extra information like this makes the game more straightforward, and to me, less fun.

I am not trying to say how people should play Hanabi. Any game should be played in a way that makes it fun for you. But don’t judge Hanabi on home rules or pre-arranged conventions. Judge it on the challenge laid out in the spirit of the original rules.

Blood Rage | Steam

I have spent WAY too much time on my computer for work this week. So I decided to spend a meeting or two diverting my attention with Blood Rage.

For all my thoughts on Blood Rage, check out my review here. But this week, I was downstairs on the laptop and decided to play some games. And I wanted to see how Blood Rage worked on my laptop.

Blood Rage makes my laptop fans scream, so I dropped the graphics quality to lowest, and it still looks great

Good news – it works great! Bad news – it laptop sounded like a jet engine! Only Destiny 2 made my computer run so hard! So I decided to tweak Blood Rage’s graphical settings, and Low still looks amazing while just making my computer ‘loud’.

So if you are playing the digital Blood Rage, watch out for the strain it puts on your GPU – it will make your fans go into overdrive!

OK, I think I have finally got Roll for the Galaxy out of my system. I have played a few games over the last couple of weeks, and I am comfortable with the rules and interactions again.

But just like a couple of weeks ago where my issue was not remembering the rules, something new is niggling me. Playing with easy AI opponents, I either win narrowly, or I get crushed. Roll for the Galaxy on Steam is not giving me any real middle ground!

So yeah, I think Roll for the Galaxy is done for a while at least. Now I have a new game I want to jump into. Race for the Galaxy – the original card-based version of Roll for the Galaxy – is calling in my Steam library!

I am happy I have the rules mostly down again, but now it bothers me that I can barely hold my own against 2 Easy AI players

The Witcher 3 – Wild Hunt | PS4 Pro

So I nabbed The Witcher 3 on Switch when it came out. My plan was simple. Change between playing The Witcher 3 on my gaming PC and on the Switch when I was out and about.

Then, COVID happened. Like most people, I haven’t really travelled for months. Cyberpunk 2077 is coming up, and the call of The Witcher has been tugging at me. Especially now that the news of the free upgrade is confirmed!

So, if I played on PC, it would technically be a prettier and more stable experience. But I have my PS5 preordered, and as long as I only play at home, I figured it would be safe?

Taking down the Griffin that probably wouldn't have bothered anyone if left alone

So while I could be playing a lot better, I am playing The Witcher on Story mode. I have just defeated the Griffin (the first big story marker), and now I am trying to work out what to do.

I have put a few hours in on my PS4 playthrough, but not so much that I would be annoyed playing it again. So the decision is, do I replay the prologue on Switch and see how it goes, and gain cross saves with PC? Or do I continue with PS4?

Decisions, decisions. I guess you will have to wait until next week to see what I decided to do with The Witcher 3!

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD