Last Week’s Gaming

Dread Crossing Guardians of Istanbul Final Girl Aggretsuko

Last week was an interesting one gaming wise for me. When it came to board gaming, I got an old favourite back to the table as well as discovered a new favourite.

If you follow my Instagram, you would have also seen a new Kickstarter arrival – Final Girl. It took me longer to get this to the table than I hoped, but I have already been enjoying my time with it.

On the Video game front, I have started two very different games at the same time. And I am playing these games while chilling with Animal Crossing New Horizons!

What has surprised me on the video game front is nothing has prompted me to Complete or Platinum lately. I want to see more of House of Ashes, but I wasn’t tempted to fire it up at all last week.

This isn’t the end of the world. So many games are coming out over the next few months that finishing games clear the decks. But some games I thought would pull me in more.

There is nothing wrong with ‘just’ finishing a game, but I miss becoming absorbed within a game world. Ah well, enough musing – on to Last Week’s Gaming!

Aggretsuko: Work/Rage Balance

Board Game Geek Link – Aggretsuko: Work/Life Balance

We got another chance to get Aggretsuko to the table last week. I have been looking forward to this to try another set of rules. The first time we played, I got confused with some interchangeable terminologies.

This time it feels like we played Aggretsuko: Work/Rage Balance as intended. Every day, someone got through all their work. Getting caught out didn’t feel as harsh, as there was a chance to get more cards out.

You play sets of cards. It’s hard to make it look exciting, but the art is fantastic for fans of the show

Depending on the group, we may end up playing both rules we ended up with. The ‘harsh’ Munchkin-style gameplay of the day ends when all but 1 pass, or the ‘proper’ way.

Which way to play depends on who we are playing with. Sometimes the fast and mean way to play will be fun, but it can upset certain players. Not everyone enjoys ‘take that’ gameplay.

Playing where the day ends only when someone clears their cards opens Aggretsuko to more players. It does take a little longer but becomes a lot more tactical in nature.

Either way, I can see Aggretsuko: Work/Rage Balance hitting the table more often in the future.

Istanbul: The Dice Game

Board Game Geek Link – Istanbul the Dice Game

I got to introduce a favourite of mine to new players – Istanbul: The Dice Game. Ricky and Izzy have never played either Istanbul version, and both picked it up super quick.

That is what I love about Istanbul: The Dice Game. The goals are so like the full board game, but much easier to take in. The full board game is easy, but the board is daunting for many new players.

Looking at the setup for Istanbul the Dice Game can confuse people at first. A couple of rolls later everyone has the basics. This takes a full game or two for the Board Game version.

All you need to do is collect rubies

Getting Istanbul the Dice Game back to the table is always a fun experience, and this was a good mid-week session.

If you would like to know more on how about Istanbul: the Dice Game, check out my review here.

Final Girl

Board Game Geek Link – Final Girl

What feels like forever ago (April 2020), Van Ryder Games ran a Kickstarter for a new game called Final Girl. The premise was intriguing. Mix the gameplay mechanics of Hostage Negotiator with a Horror Slasher film theme. As a casual fan of both items, how could I not have an interest in Final Girl?

I have tried to explain my interest in Hostage Negotiator a couple of times. It’s a niche game, being both solo and heavy on mid-game bookkeeping. The feeling of mitigating your dice rolls to take down an abductor is exhilarating.

But looking at the game setup looks more than a little intimidating. If you think that Hostage Negotiator looks intimidating, brace yourself for Final Girl!

It looks huge and complicated, but the modular system opens so many possibilities

There is a Core box that you use in every game, and then expansion Feature Film boxes to let you play a game.

But what is it you actually play? You play as the Horror Trope ‘Final Girl’. The one pushed too far, saw too much, and fights back against the unstoppable killing force.

The goal is simple – you need to defeat the Killer. Every other ‘victim’ claimed by the Killer makes them stronger. But if you can rescue enough of your friends, you can unlock your ultimate power.

For each victim you save, you get a bonus until you unlock your full potential

At first, Feature Film boxes sound like cash-grab compulsory expansions. After looking into Final Girl, the modular Feature Film system makes so much sense.

Each Feature Film adds new Final Girls (player characters), Killer (opponent) and location. So it’s true you need to buy at least one ‘extra’ box to play Final Girl, but if you enjoy the experience you can expand as you go.

I love Hostage Negotiator, so I went all in

The Feature Film box splits into two sections – the Killer and the Location. This makes setup/teardown nice and simple, as you only need to mix a couple of decks of cards to prepare for a game.

But that’s not all. The outside of the box itself also comes apart to become game boards! So you can take the Killer from one Feature Film, and the Location from another. The Final Girl characters get transferred to the Core box and can be played in any scenario.

The victims are important – don’t let the Killer get too many!

At the moment, I have only played one Feature Film – The Happy Trails Horror. This mixes the Friday the 13th style summer camp and Hans the unstoppable cannibal. I am looking forward to playing more combinations over time.

I am also looking forward to trying to find a way to share what makes these games so fun. Final Girl’s horror roots may discourage some players. Hostage Negotiator is still amazing and is the original rule implementation.

But I am going to concentrate on getting this together for the new site. At the moment, only the Kickstarter backers have the chance to play. I am hoping to have something more concrete when it’s available for retail.

Metroid Dread

Played on – Nintendo Switch

Dead Cells or Metroid Dread. That has been the decision to make the last couple of weeks. And after a half-dozen runs at the Hand of the King, it’s time to Switch.   

I have followed the story of Samus Aran, but I have never actually played a proper Metroid game. What better time to jump in than in the format’s final form?

Alien planet, creatures, save the galaxy – normal day for this bounty hunter

The only thing that has let me progress as far as I have in Metroid Dread is other Metroidvania games. Metroid Dread shows you how many modern gamers depend on hand holding. No waypoints or bright flashing instructions here!

Metroid Dread isn’t super difficult, but you will get stuck often. It doesn’t tell you to shoot random walls with everything. Without this, you will explore one small section and wonder what the fuss is all about!

That said, I am quite enjoying the pacing of the game. Each new section and area brings new challenges but doesn’t overwhelm you. There are plenty of clues in the beautiful backgrounds, including hints of what is to come.

I am glad I hit capture – if you know what was glimpsed, you know

The worst opponents I have encountered so far are without a doubt the EMMI. I have defeated two (three if you count the tutorial EMMI), and so far each one is different.

You get used to the enemies in an area and run around with relative impunity. When an EMMI appears that all changes. You need to run away fast, avoiding the quick and agile opponents. 

If they catch you, you have two tiny windows of opportunity to escape. And I mean tiny. I have only managed to break away from an EMMI once!

The first EMMI is broken, giving you time to learn. But not too much time.

Metroid Dread is everything I hoped it would be so far. I am in the third biome (for those ahead of me in the game), and at a point I know I have missed a door. 

While backtracking is part of the game, that door will be behind one (possibly two) EMMI areas. So I need to be on my game when I jump back in!

Guardians of the Galaxy

Played on – PlayStation 5

Last years Marvel’s Avengers was a game I was dubious about when announced. It’s not always fun when you are right about a game before it came out. Avengers felt like a cash grab first, and reviews seem to pan out this feeling.

So when Guardians of the Galaxy was announced, I was hopeful. The main selling point of Guardians was being the opposite of Marvel’s Avengers. This is usually not great, but in this instance, necessary.

After waiting for reviews and watching some gameplay on YouTube, I decided to jump in. And so far, I am having a ball!

Power through or learn about your team – it’s your choice

Going into the game, there are a couple of things you can do to help you enjoy yourself.

First, think of the game as a separate entity from the MCU movies. You don’t need any prior knowledge of the Guardians to play the game, and it’s based on the comics incarnation. This means some of what you know from the movies is ‘wrong’ in-game.

I haven’t followed the comics for years (and only casually even back then). Everything I have seen storyline-wise hasn’t required any prior knowledge. There are lore drops and explanations as you go, so you can jump in and enjoy the new experience.

There is an interesting mix between slow story and frantic combat

Second, make sure you read the tutorial sections. You play Guardians as Peter Quill, but you play as all 5 members of the group.

When looking at the announcement, I thought this meant occasional commands. In practice, for combat, you need to be on top of all characters all the time.

Combat in Guardians of the Galaxy is new and satisfying but will take concentration to master. The controls are generally intuitive, but there is a lot to keep track of.

Teammates yell out if they get in trouble, and have trouble taking care of each other. Stopping to assess your team status leaves you open to attack. Attacking foes means your team suffers.

The controls don’t look too insane – until you learn there are more than this in real time!

I am four chapters in, so I am still very much in the early stages of the game. But the story has already got me intrigued, and I am curious to see where the options could lead me.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Played on – Nintendo Switch

My rebuilding of Game Room continues! The pace has slowed down a little. I was hoping to get to a 5-star island by today’s Version 2 update. This isn’t looking likely.

To be fair, I have done very little to upgrade my island to attract K.K. Slider. Instead, I have concentrated on collecting creatures and upgrading my home. I am only one expansion away from having it fully expanded! (If not all paid off )

Last week was Halloween though, and I did have a lot of fun with the seasonal event. I even got to dress up a bit!

Accidently didn’t give candy, and got awesome face paint!

My turnip stock took a rapid dip last week. Monday afternoon, it reached 125 bells (not bad), but then promptly dropped to below 70 for the rest of the week.

SpookedShibe came to the rescue, and a friend of Shibe’s let me come to their island and sell at a decent price. Thanks again for that! Not losing a couple of hundred thousand bells while trying to quickly boost everything helped so much!

Trying to catch a water bug with a fishing rod. This is why I am not playing Dread!

After my workday, it has been nice to relax with Animal Crossing. As much as I want to play Metroid Dread and Guardians, the no-pressure gameplay is very welcome.

I am keen to see what today’s update brings though!

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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