Last Week’s Gaming

Taking Immortal Lords for a Wild Ride in a Dungeon in Istanbul with Draftosaurus

So I went on a bit of a digital bender last week. It’s a combination of trying to keep my tired brain entertained and research on playing on stream.

Well, that’s how it started. I also started playing a couple of digital games I have had to clear that backlog a little. There was also a temptation to buy some expansions I have been putting off. Luckily I remembered the Steam sales ended, so my wallet dodged that bullet!

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Simple but well made components coupled with simple gameplay makes for a winner

Downforce is such a great game. The expansions are making it better and better for more players with each release.

I finally got the retail Wild Ride expansion last week, and of course, had to give it a go. The three of us jumped straight into a game with a quick rule refresh.

The Aloha Sands map adds ramps to F1 racing. These allow you to quickly traverse the map if you have enough speed and allows you to set up some great blocking as well.

The jumps make for interesting gameplay options. You can move far, or jam up opponents so effectively.

The Savanna Stretch map adds animals to the track. The animals create obstacles but are moved when the leader passes a certain mark.

This means that the person coming first clears the path for people behind them. This leads to an interesting game that changes any prior strategies you may have developed.

Initially the animals block racers, but once cleared create small shortcuts for players

There is one big niggle with Wild Ride. The version I was finally able to get was published by Iello rather than Restoration Games. Not a big deal on its own, but the power cards have a different back and the board is Iello branded.

It’s a slight gripe, but still, I wish I could get the same visual style as the original expansions. I will expand on this in a review soon. If you would like to know all of my thoughts on the base game, check out my review here.

One Deck Dungeon – Steam (PC)

I played a lot of One Deck Dungeon on Steam there for a while. I completely filled out my campaign stats for my Rogue and played with the idea of maxing out my other characters.

After a couple of rounds, I decided to look at the expansions on offer. Lots of new characters can be excellent. It was the new bosses and enemies that I was starting to look for. I have Forest of Shadows, the stand-alone expansion, in physical form. There also looks like some digital specific extras thanks to crossovers with Aeon’s End.

Maybe I will put this content on my Steam Wish List. It depends, I have a lot of games to sample coming up after all. See how things travel. If you would like to know more, check out my One Deck Dungeon Review here.

To play, I have built up Mist's abilities to where I am happy with them

Istanbul – Steam (PC)

I have reviewed Istanbul the Dice Game here on the site (check it out here). The dice game is a quick, tense and one of the best Euro board to dice conversions ever.

But one thing that makes Istanbul hard to get to the table is the board game is somewhat involved. Not in rules – it’s very quick to learn how to play Istanbul. What takes much more time is learning how all the different abilities work together, and planning your route to maximise your scoring potential.

So two and a half years after writing that the board game had gone digital, I finally gave it a go. I can happily say that playing against AI at the full player count was a rewarding experience indeed!

Keep an eye out for a full review in a few weeks.

Zero setup time and challenging AI made Istanbul Digital a fun play

Charterstone Digital – Steam (PC)

I reviewed the physical version of Charterstone after completing the campaign with Alpal. You can check out my thoughts here. I always wanted to know what it would be like playing at the full player count, so I got in a few games after finally booting up the digital version.

Well. Tokaido may have some real competition for the most beautiful board game to the digital adaption of all time. The graphics are simple but beautiful. The interface shows you all of the critical information well, and diving into more details is only a single click away. There is little more offputting than searching through multiple menus to find what you are looking for!

I am three games into the original campaign, and all of my opponents are AI. It’s hard to quantify, but Charterstone Digital still feels like I am playing against real opponents. There aren’t any obvious ‘cheats’ in the AIs actions. Everything feels like choices and tactics actual opponents would use, and those tactics change with the different goals of each game.

Nothing in my digital replay has changed my mind from my review. Still, I can see myself enjoying the campaign at a slower pace over the next couple of months.

This might look confusing, but the interface is perfect for Charterstone and customisable to a degree

Lords of Waterdeep – Steam (PC)

It’s been over a year since I played Lords of Waterdeep. If I was pressed for a top 10 games of all time, Lords of Waterdeep would be one of the first titles I put on my list. As seems to be a trend this week, you can check out my review here for my full thoughts.

Lords of Waterdeep digitally was on my iPad for years. Back then, I thought it was a tremendous digital conversion. Today, it is still a fine conversion, but playing on PC feels clunky these days.

I considered playing a three-player game to get reacquainted with the rules. Then I thought to myself “Hey, YOLO.” and cranked it to full player count with both expansions.

The experience was satisfying, but it wasn’t majorly fun. I wasn’t keen to start another game once finished. That isn’t because I don’t enjoy Lords of Waterdeep. It’s because I think it’s played best with other players. You can react and read your opponents, and that raises the enjoyment level considerably.

Still, if you want a game and no one is around, the digital version remains a viable alternative.

I went all in after a year off from playing, and I had a ball

Immortals: Fenyx Rising – PlayStation 5

I finished Immortals: Fenyx Rising this week. Wow. The story went exactly where I thought it would. That said, the way the story unfolds and the injected humour makes it all enjoyable.

There was a lot of hype for Immortals: Fenyx Rising in the build-up, but then I didn’t hear much about it. It took a friend to ask me what I would play it on to remind me the game existed.

Right now, I would have to say Immortals: Fenyx Rising is a hidden gem. The gameplay is fun, the visual style impressive and the open-world fun to explore.

I will not say much more about it now, as I am currently writing up the formal review. But I am still stuck on if I will Platinum it or not. There is a lot of collection involved in my remaining trophies, and a lot of repetitive tasks. Still, at night I am pretty wiped at the moment, so that familiarity may work in the Platinum runs favour.

See how it all goes.

The last battle the Gods join you in taking down Typhon. This is going to hurt!

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
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