Last Week’s Gaming – July 22nd, 2019

The Pelaton on a Danger Circuit may not be Pretty Clever

The games started strong this week. Then I got to spend a few hours in VR. It was a great week of gaming 🙂 Looking forward to a slightly heavier game next week!

Starting things off was Flamme Rouge, and by including the Pelaton expansion all six players could have fun!

We played one of the original tracks, which worked well enough. I knew there would be more grouping and blocking than normal, but with new players I also thought this would help simplify what they needed to try and keep track of.

Flamme Rouge once again demonstrated to me why it’s such a fun and interesting game, with a surprisingly deep strategy element that is easily accessible.

A lot of racers on a little track. Keeps the group count low and positioning tight!

If we are talking racing games though, readers will know how much I enjoy Downforce. We had again a mix of veteran and new players this game, and once again a fun game was had by all.

I love the simplicity of teaching Downforce, and how quickly everyone can click with the rules. It took only a couple of player turns to see why the movement order is just as important as which cars move further, and blocking in players quickly became an objective instead of an option.

Go on. Move Green 8 squares right now. Mwahahahah!

Still plugging away at this one, but this week I made a personal best – 316!

Like I spoke about Friday with the Pandemic Digital games, there are some games I like to keep playing at on the phone, and true quick solo games like That’s Pretty Clever are right up there.

My average score is now 200 after 137 games, so it might be time to dip my toes into Twice As Clever/Doppelt So Clever soon!

Personal Best! Always something satisfying - beating your record 🙂

Gloomhaven (Steam Early Access)

It’s finally here! Gloomhaven has hit Steam Early Access.  I have already written about my intial thoughts, which you can read here.

Short version though, right now it’s not for everyone – but not because it’s a bad implementation. It’s a solid base that I am sure will be built on over the coming months, but it’s not the complete game just yet.

If you want a fun dungeon crawl experience, then the Early Access version will be a good buy for you. Like so many other games though, I hope a Switch version is planned as well!

Choose your path, and see what adventures wait for you

Beat Saber (Steam/Vive)

Setting myself in with the new rig, I have discovered 2 things very different from the PS4 version of Beat Saber.

  1. No Cloud Saves. That’s twice I have had to reinstall, and twice all my progress was lost. Ah well, I guess I just have to play more Beat Saber!
  2. No Steam Achievements. While not a big deal, the fact that the PS4 version has trophies but nothing on Steam surprised me – I thought they would port over?

Either way, while I didn’t get as much Beat Saber in as I would like, I made up for it Saturday with about 2 hours worth (spread out of course). My shoulders are going to feel it Monday!

One of the Monstercat levels - Riot Overkill. It's Rabbit's favourite, mine is still Angel Voices 🙂

Operation Warcade (Steam/Vive)

I have mentioned Operation Warcade, but it was a LONG time ago. Essentially an updated version of Operation Wolf from mid 80’s arcades, you play a soldier armed with an Uzi and some grenades, and strafe over different areas to complete missions. Well, by missions, it’s really shoot everyone. But you have different objectives to do it different ways.

Playing in VR, not only are you standing in an arcade where you get a crowd as you do better at the game, but you can trigger ‘Immersion Points’ where you actually go inside the game, to the point you can see yourself playing!

A silly bit of fun, but it’s still holding up a couple of years later.

Operation Warcade goes in the 'silly bit of fun' category for me.

Superhot VR

I have had Superhot for a couple of years now, but becuase of different space limitations I haven’t actually started playing it. Until Saturday night.

I started playing the intro section that many of us have watched over time. But I couldn’t throw anything to save my life – it was very frustrating.

Giving up, I jumped online to see what was wrong. There are no instructions in game, so holding the trigger (which closes your hand) picks things up, so letting go of the trigger should drop it?

Nope. And their ‘instructional’ video that you can only see by searching for it outside the game is scary for very different reasons :p

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 tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Downforce: Danger Circuit Review

Downforce Danger Circuit Feature
Downforce Danger Circuit Feature
Released 2018
Designer Rob Daviau, JR Honeycutt, Justin D. Jacobson
Publisher Restoration Games (Website)
Players 2 – 6
Playing Time 30 – 40 minutes
Category Hand Management
Player Powers
Light Auction and Betting
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

Danger Circuit shows you don’t need to add much to add to a great time

After my first ever game of Downforce, I knew that the system was ripe for expansions.  New player powers, new maps, that’s all you really need.

And that is exactly what we have been given in Downforce: Danger Circuit.  A new double-sided board, and six new team powers.  A small rule clarification sheet for the new powers and conditions, and you are all set.

Setting up as per standard Downforce, we were into our first race on the Danger Circuit in about 5 minutes.  Without a lot of new mechanics or areas to be on the watch for, we could pretty much just jump straight in.

And that is one of Danger Circuit’s biggest drawcards for me.  No lengthy rereading of the rules. No trying to switch your thinking between the base game and the expansion.  Just more Downforce, pure and simple.

There were some new terms to clarify like ‘Tight Spaces’, but the instructions took only a couple of minutes to read in its entirety and I read it while Alpal setup.  I can’t remember the last expansion I was able to do that with.

Downforce Danger Circuit Components
Not a lot of components in Danger Circuit - but enough for more Downforce is always just the right amount

Now I have seen a few people argue that only six new cards is a bit on the light side.  Different people will always have different opinions, but I appreciate the simplicity of the expansion.  More scoresheets are also something I hear being asked for, or dry erase boards like Captain Sonar.  A couple of dollars at a stationary store will get your current sheets laminated, or the Restoration Games app is also easy to use and free on your phone.

Yes, we could have been given more powers, but I think that letting new powers come with new tracks is great – as long as they continue to come in pairs.  The coupling of tracks and powers so far has been good, and I think can continue for quite some time to come.

Another suggestion I have seen is more players, and this is an expansion I don’t think is a good idea.  The movement cards are already well balanced and work well, and adding new players means you have to start juggling decks depending on the number of players involved.  It’s not an insurmountable issue, but why add complexity for complexities sake?

So the new powers are nice and straightforward, and from the games I have played feel better balanced to me.  Not that Downforce was terribly unbalanced – I only try to quietly retire ‘Determined’ when experienced players get it over newer players, but if someone really wanted to play it I wouldn’t stop them either.

The only power that caused some discussion in Danger Circuit was ‘Tough’.  As per the card wording, if on any players turn you end your turn next to a rumble strip, you may move 2 additional spaces.  I have heard people calling this overpowered, but I don’t think so overall.

The chances of Tough hitting multiple times is limited, usually because another player has to intentionally make it happen by putting the car adjacent to a rumble strip.  That was it discussion sorted, and fun was had by all.

Downforce Danger Tough
In this example, the Green owner has Tough, but the Red player is moving the cars. The only reason Tough triggers is because of where Red put the Green car.

And again that shows what I really love about Downforce.  Forget the rules lawyering and semantic umpires.  Downforce is simple and fun, and lets everyone enjoy themselves.

Prefer not having all the cards dealt at the start of the game?  Done.  Don’t like the betting aspect?  Lose it.  Are auctions confusing you?  Just deal out the cars randomly.

All of this is intact in Danger Circuit.  Unlike some expansions that almost fix a broken base game (or worse, expansions that break a great game), Danger Circuit just lets Downforce continue to do what it does best.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming September 17th 2018

Downforce Danger Circuit Gameplay

Circuit the Danger House via a MacGuffin Expedition

A little light on in the number of different games played this week, but they were all great!  Well, almost.  They were fun though!

Downforce: Danger Circuit

First, off the ranks this week was the eagerly awaited Downforce: Danger Circuit.  This was one of my most anticipated expansions to play this year, and it didn’t disappoint.

On the surface, Danger Circuit is just more Downforce.  2 new tracks and 6 new team powers – that’s it.  There rule additions are minimal, and it’s great!  It let everyone simply jump straight in and play, and that is part of what made it great.

Already in my head, I have a couple of Grand Prix style events that can happen over the four tracks.  Four games of Downforce, maybe an hour and a half-two hours?  I am sure more expansions will be coming in the future as well, and I can’t wait to play them either.

Downforce Danger Circuit Gameplay
A couple of loops added to the gameplay - especially when SOMEONE tried to cheat and not go through the loop!

Get the MacGuffin

The MacGuffin is old Hitchcock film speak for the thing everyone wants.  And this hand management/social deduction style game definitely keeps this idea going!

It took me a couple of games to get into Get the MacGuffin.  It presents as Fluxx light, and I kept waiting for the other rules to drop.

Playing with three players was fun, and the games are definitely quick.  I think the sweet spot maybe 4-5 players, but Alpal quite enjoys it two players and isn’t big into card counting.  There will be more talk of this in the future.

Get the MacGuffin Components
You have some cards, and you do what they say. Just make sure you read ALL of the text!

Expedition: The Role Playing Card Game

Expedition: The Role Playing Card Game is a bit of a sleeper surprise for me.  I bought it out of curiosity and a desire for free shipping (it bumped me over the threshold!) thinking I could look at it and incorporate into an upcoming video.

Well, I will be, and it’s exactly what it says on the box – it’s a quick and easy role play system that will have you on a quest inside of a couple of minutes.

All of the components are the building blocks of an adventure.  The quests/missions you go on are all controlled in a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ style manner via an app, and it works incredibly well.

Expedition Card Game Components
It looks daunting, but the Expedition system is incredibly quick to play and very replayable

Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger

Speaking of Choose Your Own Adventure, we jumped into the second chapter in House of Danger after a bit of a break.

Waiting three weeks between games may have been a bit long, but exploring the house was a fun affair.  We didn’t even notice the two hours fly by!

Things are starting to fall into place as we play, with some rules and options becoming clear.  The games writing and our own observations (read taking things not at all seriously) is more fun than I thought it would be.  We ‘died’ early on in an absolutely amazing and ridiculous manner early on, and it was great 😀

Definitely worth checking out, and will be played again soon.  Can’t wait to finish this one either 🙂

Choose Your Own Adventure House of Danger Components
House of Danger Game Components. I didn't want to show my spoiled open copy :p

Video Game wise, it was Octpath Carnage?  Time Traveler is too easy

Time Carnage Switch

So a lot of Switch games (and Video Games in general) are starting to be released.  I was interested in Time Carnage because of my experiences with the game in VR, and gameplay wise it’s kinda close.

This is not a game I will be coming back to on the Switch, because I have the VR version on PlayStation and PC.  If it goes on sale or you are looking for a co-op rail shooter, maybe give it a try?

Read my Time Carnage review here, and my Switch comparison here.

Time Carnage Switch Better Visuals
A strange positive is the Switch graphics are much clearer than both the Vive and PSVR versions

Octopath Traveler

Yeah, I am going to be playing this for a long time.  It’s great, and I am loving it.

I have completed the first chapter for each of the eight characters and spent a lot of hours completing Therion’s (my main character)  Chapter 2.

Now, I have a lot of grinding ahead of me.  Chapter 2 recommends most characters are around the mid-20’s in term of levels, and I have a three characters in the 10-12 range.

I have discovered unlocking a second job class which has already opened up a lot of options for me, so I also have to go back to a lot of areas already completed and try for some more secrets as well!

Octopath Traveler Shrine of the Prince of Thieves
The Shrine of the Prince of Thieves - once found, you can unlock Thief as a second job on your characters!

So that’s what I have been playing – what about you?  Let us know on the Facebook page!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD