Last Week’s Gaming October 1st 2018

Big Trouble in Little China Gameplay

Big Trouble in Manhatten’s Dragon Castle

Quite a bit of gaming got in this week – a long weekend and some much-needed downtime led to a lot of gaming fun this week 🙂

Big Trouble in Little China

I was so excited when Everything Epic’s Big Trouble in Little China arrived, and I have been dying to play it.

Fair warning – this is a game that has some of the worst parts of dungeon crawlers.  Setup and tear down take a long time, the rules explanation takes a long time, and there is some very confusing to explain conditions.

Once you get into it though, it flows really well.  My advice is take a long afternoon to play the first game, and by the end of the game, future plays will take a lot less time.  I set up a streamlined version of the first act only, but even that is enough for the same group to play the ‘full’ rules with a lot less mucking about.  And play it again we will 🙂

Big Trouble in Little China Gameplay
A whole lot of fun is to be had with Big Trouble in Little China - but it's a heavy experience

Dragon Castle

One that Alpal was eager to show me, and I understand why.  Dragon Castle is a simple to teach and play game, that cleverly incorporates a lot of different mechanics and games.

The tiles you pick are the simplified computer mahjong pair tiles.  This is the first game – essentially snap with block placement.  You not only have to find tiles for yourself, but try and deny choices to your competition.

Once you have a pair, the game then becomes a 3D tile placement puzzle, where you try to maximise your score based not only on types that connect but the placement of shrines at higher levels.

Dragon Castle is a great game that I will be adding to my collection soon.

Dragon Castle Gameplay
Another Alpal special, I can see myself getting a copy of Dragon Castle. It's three games at once - just right to scratch that itch.

Manhattan

Another Alpal special, Manhattan is a game I didn’t think I would enjoy as much as I did.

It’s an area management game that works across the board, and above it.  Building massive buildings is both satisfying and a great way of stealing points.  As long as your floor is on top of a building, it’s yours to score.

I did end up in a bit of a tit-for-tat vendetta with another player, as well as everyone else at the table.  It was good natured and a lot of fun, which led to an afternoon of laughs and enjoyment.

Manhattan is an older game, but I can see why it was the 1994 Spiel des Jahres winner.  It has a new edition and is well worth a look.

Manhattan Gameplay
Manhattan is surprisingly fun and incredibly well balanced. Definitely worth a play!

Prey

So there was a big sale on the PlayStation Store recently, that let me get 2 games for 70{dfca638b9dbdbc1caf156b9b6679a983a965572ca56a786c9cf360ad3783820c} off.  That let me get the entire Dishonoured collection and Prey for about $40 total – great day for me 🙂

So the other night I fired up Prey, and tried to put all of the initial “Oh it’s terrible” cries I heard on Prey’s release out of my head.

And I have had had a lot of fun so far.  Exploring around the area and putting the story together is interesting, and the atmosphere is similar to the tension of Alien: Isolation.

I will be trying to finish this off over the next few weeks, and I will let you know what I think when I have finished it.

Prey Gameplay
It's a couple of years old now, but I am really enjoying getting into Prey

Foul Play

PlayStation Plus bonus received.

Foul Play is a surprisingly fun button masher beat em up, where two players recount a tale of previous adventures.  The twist?  It’s being recounted as a play, where your combos and battle expertise lead to crowd approval that acts as a life meter.

Apparently, you can play coop online, but I haven’t tried this yet.  All I know is playing through the first Act was a blast, and I will be picking this back up when I want some mindless action happening.

Foul Play
It's fun and cartoony, and the gimmick of performing during a play is a bit of fun. That leads to a lot of humour during the game.

Sparkle 2

Another PlayStation Plus game I only just got to play, but it’s a great mindless pattern game that I will try and play for a while.

If you remember the venerable Zuma, you are already very familiar with Sparkle 2.

If you haven’t played Zuma, you control a launcher that fires different coloured balls.  Your goal is to fire the balls into an incoming line to match more than 3 of the same colour, and clear the line before it reaches the end of the path.

It’s fun, it’s semi-mindless, and even with my colour blindness a game I can play in spurts and really enjoy.

Sparkle 2 Gameplay
It's fun, simple, and addictive. Sparkle 2 is a fun yet challenging game to relax with.

Valkyria Chronicles 4

The full version came out last Tuesday, but I couldn’t get my hands on it until late Wednesday for a few reasons.

I haven’t played too deeply into the third chapter, but Squad Stories have unlocked.  Squad Stories are bonus missions that expand on the stories between the squad members.  They become unlocked at various times, when you use the right combinations of members on the main missions.

How do you know the right combinations?  In the squad profiles are the other members they like.  Just try and use these squad members together in missions – that simple.  Just another nice touch to a great series.

If you have a Switch, grab the demo from the eShop and have a great time.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 Squad Stories
It's little narrative bonuses like the Squad Stories that makes the Valkyria Chronicles series one of my favourites

Octopath Traveler

Not too much to report on this one this week only played a couple of more hours.

Good news is I found two more shrines.  The shrines in Octopath unlock secondary job classes, so my characters are expanding their horizons 😀

The good part of Octopath is it is a pick up and put down type game.  The bad part is you can’t put it down too long or you may forget what you are trying to accomplish.  I have started the second chapter for a character and saved in the middle so I know what’s happening when I pick it back up.  I think there may be a couple of weeks pause as I prep for PAX, and I need the reminders the Chapters provide mid game.

Octopath Traveler 20181001
Still enjoying the adventure, still have a little more grinding to do.

So a big week of gaming for me.  What about you?  What did you play this week?

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Game Deliveries this week – It’s no Gen Con, but it’s still a haul!

20180806 Game Haul

Just when you are feeling down, the game deliveries start arriving!

Reading about players coming back from Gen Con (or any gaming con) is always a treat.  The stories of great times and game demos are always good for a read.  The pics always worth a look, both for the focus of the picture and the little hints inadvertently caught in the background sometimes.

And of course, there is only a tiny smidge of seething jealousy at pics of the Gen Con hauls coming home with lucky attendees.

Looking at some of the games, I was happy to know I already had Portal’s Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game.  Seeking a cheeky Forbidden Sky had me looking for player reactions.  Hail Hydra has me curious, and Legendary Encounters: X-Files has me reaching to pay for another ‘I don’t play Legendary’ game.

But then a mixture of deliveries all came in a flurry of notifications.

20180806 Game Haul
Big Trouble in Little China, The Big Score and Mint Delivery. It may be a little haul, but it's mine 🙂

First up is Van Ryder Games Kickstarter The Big Score.  I wrote a fair bit about it back in February when I backed it, and it has arrived!

The Big Score is one of those competitive cooperative games where you test the old saying ‘Honour Among Thieves’.

You work more or less as a team on a series of smaller jobs before moving into The Bank and tackling the titular ‘Big Score’.  Here is where a push your luck and try and maximise your score by pulling loot out of the player built Bank.  But be careful – you could call the cops down on top of you!

Any luck I will have played a game or two by the time you have read this, so my thoughts will be coming soon.

The Big Score Initial Components
The Big Score and the Crack the Safe Expansion. Unboxed, unpunched and in all it's glory!
Mint Delivery Components
Mint Delivery rivals the Pack-O-Game games for quick games easy to transport and teach

Next up is another Kickstarter game called Mint Delivery from Justin Blaske.

Nothing too complicated here – it’s a 15-20 minute pick up and deliver game for 1 to 5 players.  And it fits inside a mint tin.

That is one of the main reasons I grabbed Mint Delivery.  It’s a game that is just a little too big for pocket size, but easily fits in a laptop bag and weighs next to nothing.

This is one I can take to work and solo or pull out as a filler on game nights.  The rules are specifically designed to teach and play within minutes.  Sometimes when I travel, this is a game I can sit and wait for flights with solo, or possibly meet some new friends with.

A report should be coming in the next few weeks after some playtime.

And finally, the game that is all in the reflexes.  Between Big Trouble in Little China and Who Goes There, Kurt Russell is becoming a constant theme in my last couple of game deliveries!

Preordered last year from Everything Epic Games, the deluxe edition of Big Trouble in Little China is a campaign-style lets me play through the campaign story solo or with up to six players.

Just even the quick opening has me excited about playing!  I wasn’t sure exactly what I was expecting when I opened the box, but the neat packing and attention to small details (I won’t spoil them just yet) has me very happy that I got this game 🙂

As this is a much bigger game, I might not get to play it for a few weeks.  But again, once I have played I will let you know what I think!

Big Trouble in Little China Components
The Everything Epic is certainly not being taken lightly! And everything stacks nicely back in the box. It even has a map for where the minis go back!

So that’s it for this weeks haul.  Hopefully, this is the beginning of the floodgates opening and many more parcels are to come!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD