Last Week’s Gaming

Lord Wright, the Takenoko, tackles the Herb Witches Camel Up

Every time I think I have a handle on things, life steps in and throws me curveballs. I know that’s not unique to me – lots of us have that problem. But last week, it was a definite one slice too much type deal. Luckily, I got some great gaming in last weekend with awesome friends!

I have two very solid weeks of work coming up. I always did in preparation for some holidays, but that got increased quite a bit. This might make the next couple of Last Week’s Gaming rather light, which is never fun.

But once again, I am talking about the future, when we want to see what has been happening the week prior! So let’s jump in and see what I did get to play last week!

Quacks of Quedlinburg with The Herb Witches expansion

Board Game Geek Link – Quacks of Quedlinburg

Board Game Geek Link – The Herb Witches

A couple of weeks ago, we played Quacks of Quedlinburg. It was coming back to a modern classic, and we had a whole lot of fun.

Well, last week, we finally got around to playing The Herb Witches – the first expansion for Quacks of Quedlinburg. It’s one of my preferred types of expansion – it adds some variety to the existing gameplay. Still, it doesn’t make Quacks harder to play.

The most basic addition is another cauldron for a fifth player. That’s it – you can just add another player. Not really something you want to buy a full expansion for.

A tempting new option, but no major changes required to the base game

Eyes are typically drawn to the titular Herb Witches. These are special once-per-game rule-breaking powers, such as buy more ingredients one round, or get as many rubies as you earn points one round.

There is a new ingredient as well – Locoweed. Basically, it copies the coloured component behind it on the track. You just ignore white blossoms for this power.

I enjoy this new mechanic, and it gives you an extra chance for multiple combo options. It is a bit risk vs reward, but I prefer having a couple in my bag. Others at the table didn’t think they were as helpful as I did.

More points are on offer for higher scores, but you can still explode

Finally, there is the Overflow pot. This is an addition to your cauldron/pot that allows you to keep drawing ingredients. Once you end, you halve the value of the tokens in your Overflow pot and add that many victory points.

This allows for some genuinely high scores – I managed to score over 100 for the first time! But you need to be careful when drawing for the Overflow. Special bonuses for drawing tokens don’t work anymore, and your pot can still explode from white blossoms.

And finally, you get new ingredient powers. These add variety to your game and shake things up if a player plays a strategy every time.

Same ingredients, but very different gameplay is possible

While the extra tokens become a part of the base game, you can add or remove any expansion portion however you like. Want to play just base Quacks? Don’t put out the Locoweed or 6-pumpkins, and you can. Even with a fifth player!

Or you can add just the Overflow port, maybe the Locoweed and Witch powers. The Herb Witches gives you a lot of options without being overwhelming to players. 


Camel Up

Board Game Geek Link – Camel Up (Second Edition)

It’s been a long time since I played Camel Up. It’s been even longer since I have been in a group large enough to play. Or so I thought. Alpal bought over her copy of Camel Up Second Edition, or as she calls it, Pop-up Edition.

Race betting games are not something I usually enjoy. Racing games, sure. Betting on a race – not so much. Camel Up is one of those games that manages to sidestep this by just being a bit of fun, especially in a large group.

But last weekend, just three of us had a couple of games. And it was more fun than I expected.

More players usually mean more shenanigans. Not as required as I first thought.

A considerable part of Camel Up’s appeal is definitely the gimmick factor. Using the pyramid as a dice tower is a lot of fun. The stacking of the camels and how it affects position is interesting. Sure, it can take a game or two to get used to it, but I always see players eyes light up as it clicks.

And that is what makes Camel Up a keeper for me. It’s a game that includes everyone and is simple to teach and learn. There are odds to be calculated and ways for chaos to be sown.

The components are definitely a talking point and attention getter

And that is without the chaotic camels – I still need to play a game with those. Two camels that race the wrong way, like I used to in Daytona way back in my Timezone days. Yep, I was that guy!

The only thing that makes me sad is that my first edition expansions aren’t compatible with the second edition. Ah well, it’s a hard life sometimes!


Lords of Waterdeep

Board Game Geek Link – Lords of Waterdeep

Played on – PC Steam

Early in the week, there was a point where calling my headspace ‘strange’ would be an understatement. I wanted to do so much, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything.

So I decided to clean up some files on my PC. I hadn’t sorted out the laptop for about 6 months, so it seemed a good call. At one point, I jumped into Steam thinking I would purge some games, and the first title I saw on the installed list was an old favourite – Lords of Waterdeep.

Boot up time – 10 seconds. Setup time – 10 minutes. Digital does have advantages.

Everything just came into focus for me. Did I think I would dominate a game? Nope. But for the first time in 2 days, I looked forward to doing something. 

Entering the town of Waterdeep, I took on my role and began sending out people to do my bidding. I couldn’t work out the AI roles, and to be honest, I wasn’t paying a lot of attention. I just wanted to play my little game and see how things went.

You can never trust your score until the very end – hidden bonuses make all the difference

And I did well. I won the first game and satisfied myself that I remembered what was going on. So I jumped into a much bigger game with max players.

And I held my own, but I know I can do better. But I had a great time playing one of my favourite games of all time. Would I have preferred playing it at a table with friends? Of course! But I got some good rounds in, had a fun time, and that is what gaming is all about!

Six players make going first so much more important to get to the spots you need

If you would like to know more about Lords of Waterdeep, check out my review here https://www.johnhqld.com/lords-of-waterdeep-review/.


Takenoko

Board Game Geek Link – Takenoko

Played on – PC Steam

As I was going through my Steam library, Lords of Waterdeep wasn’t the only old favourite that caught my eye. I haven’t played Takenoko for at least a year, and I felt like another round.

I thought that the cute visuals and relaxing gameplay would be good. Grow some bamboo, let the panda munch on some, overall a great way to spend a lunch break.

The Gardener leaps into action!

I then remembered how merciless the AI opponents can be in Takenoko. Even in the board game, you need good luck to pull objectives that you can build on. The computer seems to always combo objectives hand over fist!

The AI just kept knocking over goals because of lucky draws

It took a couple of games, but I managed to pull off a win. It was nice taking a break with Takenoko, but I don’t see myself playing again for a while.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy Takenoko, but something about the digital version is just missing for me. I wish I could put my finger on precisely what it was. Maybe I will try against people. It might just be the banter that is missing?

A rare win – and I forgot to change the default name!

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Trilogy

Played on – PlayStation 5

Last week, I had a plan for how I would power through Trials and Tribulations, the final game in the trilogy. Well, that didn’t work out as intended.

I haven’t finished the second case this week. Phoenix Wright logic just wasn’t quite as relaxing as I hoped it would be. What can I say? It has been an odd week.

Speaking of strange weeks, a thief with a calling card?

There was a non-game related thing I think I may have sorted out, though. Recording PS5 gameplay has been a little annoying. My external recording unit does not like the PS5, so I used the internal recording functionality. To say the internal recording is fiddling is an understatement.

I think I have managed to get a template working to combine my game sessions for easy retrieval and storage. It might not sound like gaming, but it was satisfying to see it working. And I hope to practice this over the next few months for different things. Fun things to come?

I’m not going to ruin his name, but I am pretty sure you can guess

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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