Last Week’s Gaming – September 2nd, 2019

It was cold in New Zealand!

So finally back in nice warm Queensland, but while Queenstown was gorgeous it was so cold. The only thing that hurt was it was apparently warming up last week.

But travel and a work conference couldn’t stop me from getting some gaming in. On to the games!

When travelling, there is limited space to take some solo gaming. I would love to travel with Arkham Horror the Card Game or some Tiny Epic games, but size and weight are a factor.

Deep Space D-6 has a bit of size to the box, but not much weight. In the suitcase it went!

I have started branching out with other ships. This was probably the right move, as I had my rear handed to me every game. It just shows how replayable Deep Space D-6 is – same base rules, different conditions make for a unique experience when changing things up.

Every hotel room I stay in has a table. Nothing else needed!

I really enjoy playing Quacks, but I have yet to progress to the advanced rules. I need to fix that sometime.

But while I welcome a game anytime, the arrival of the Geek Bits from the BGG store prompted a game ASAP. Possibly two games 🙂

Alpal had a slow start in the first game, mainly becuase it took me a couple of turns to realise she was adding up all the potions for an explosion rather than just the blossoms. She kicked my butt the second game though 😀

A bit of fun, Quacks of Quedlinburg was a welcome session. And now it looks prettier 😀

Same classic game, but with a touch of bling!

So Alpal nabbed this game in the Roll Player universe that I didn’t even realise was a thing. And as usual, she steered me towards a real winner.

While Lockup is set in the world of Roll Player, that just means it’s set in a fairly generic fantasy setting. Lockup is specifically set in a prison, where you need to use cunning and force to set yourself up as top dog.

The amount of elements in the game are amazing, especially for a game so simple to play. There is worker placement, a small amount of hidden information, set collection and resource management all wrapped into a simple streamlined experience.

Expect to see more about Lockup in the future.

Worker placement, card counting, set collection and bluffing - Lockup is a lot of fun

Warlock of Firetop Mountain (Switch)

Way back in the before years (2015), I backed an Australian development company bringing Fighting Fantasy back in a new way. Tin Man games did something new with the genre – actual turn based tactical combat within the set story.

I played it for a few minutes when it was in pre-release for backers, then left it alone. Because that is what happens when you don’t have much time.

Then I used my Nintendo gold to buy it on Switch, and I have finally started playing it again. It transitions well to the handheld, and all going well I will have a complete review in a few weeks.

I kickstarted this years ago. Time I finally play it, since I bought it twice!

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

I finally started the latest installment of this gem of a series. I was tucked up warm in the hotel room, my switch connected to the TV, and off I went.

Did the first encounter, the tutorial if you will. Setup a few things then began the main thrust of the game.

And got Persona flashbacks. This isn’t a bad thing – Persona is a great series, it’s just one that takes 100+ hours to ‘finish’. No idea if Three Houses is like that, and I might start again with Rabbit watching. She likes watching me play games, and there is enough story being setup it could be fun.

6-7 hours in, I am enjoying it. But like all huge RPGs, I am waiting to actually start the game ‘properly’.

Luckily, power up animation doesn't take as long as Dragon Ball Z :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

Deep Space D-6 Review

Released 2015
Designer Tony Go
Publisher Print and Play Web Published
Tau Leader Games (Website)
Players 1
Playing Time 20-40 minutes luck depending
Category Dice Rolling
Worker Placement
Push Your Luck
Hand Management
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

To boldly roll where lots have thrown before

There are times when you want to play a game, but no one is around to play with you. Timing, location, last-minute plan changes – there are heaps of reasons why it can happen.

For me, this is a good time for Video Games to step in. But there are also a lot of times I don’t want to look at a screen anymore. Working in front of a screen all day, sometimes I can’t bear the thought of spending another few hours staring at another screen.

I had heard good things about a Board Game Geek solitaire print and play award winner Deep Space D-6 for a couple of years now. It was always one of those ‘next time’ print and play choices. I understood from a mechanical perspective why people enjoyed it, but never took the time to sit down and play a game.

That has all changed in the last few weeks, and I am glad I finally sat down and played Deep Space D-6 without distractions.

It doesn't look like much, but there is a surprising amount of game here

So what is Deep Space D-6?

Mechanically, Deep Space D-6 is a solo dice worker placement game. This is a technically correct sentence, and some people are now interested or turned off.

But hearing the title Deep Space D-6 and looking at the packaging, it’s understandable why people would be confused as to what’s going on.

Deep Space D-6 – is it a Star Trek parody? And why does the box look like a Choose Your Own Adventure Book?

Looking at the back, you see cards, a board with a ship on it, and some dice. Oh, dice – that explains the D-6 in the title. But the cards? Do you choose a route in space or something? It’s hard to follow from the packaging.

You play the role of a captain of a starship. Patrolling a section of space, you receive a distress call and go to investigate. But of course, the request is a trap and know you have to fight your way out of hostile space.

The first thing many new players will encounter - the back of the box
It doesn't look like much if you haven't played, but soon you will see a pitched space battle

You have to make snap decisions in your role of captain, represented by assigning available crew to different tasks. You need to balance ship maintenance with an ever-growing number of threats and random events that never seems to give you a break.

Still confused? Honestly, I don’t blame you. Having the mechanics make sense to me but not quite seeing how the theme integrated everything kept Deep Space D-6 on my ‘next time’ pile for far too long.

Gameplay Basics

There is a very easy to follow play order in Deep Space D-6. When you first begin, the setup has you already in the thick of the action. Threats are already surrounding your ship, and you have to start making choices.

Roll your dice and see if you have anything appearing on your scanners. Then assign your crew, add a new threat to the board, and finally resolve any threat actions.

You do this over and over again for about 20-30 minutes, depending on a few factors like luck and planning. This makes learning the game (or teaching someone else) incredibly simple as you only really need to concentrate on your actions and card text.

To win the game, you need to have drawn all of the threat deck cards. All external threats to the ship (including the big boss the Ouroboros) while having at least 1 hull point. What could be easier?

External Threats on the right, Internal Threats on the left. Sounds like Monday to me!

You can lose the game in a couple of different ways. The most common is being blown up. Just take too much damage, and as soon as your hull hits 0 points, you’re out. You can also have your entire crew incapacitated. If you start your turn and can’t roll any dice, you will lose – so be careful!

Playing Deep Space D-6

This all sounds pretty basic, and it is. But what you can’t picture from looking at the box or even listening to people talk about playing Deep Space D-6 is the incredible feeling of pressure and tension the game gives you. I have played plenty of games that have used timers to create a rushed atmosphere. Tony Go manages to do this while letting you take all of the time you want.

After the first couple of turns, you begin the gamer mantra of “Come on just roll some (Whatever you need to roll) please!”. You know what you need to do, but first, you need the resources (crew) to do it.

Secondly, every turn, you will add a new threat from the threat deck. There are some ‘nothing happens’ cards (Don’t Panic – just needed a towel!) but these can be taken out of the game if you are feeling masochistic.

Do you think I could roll just one shield die? Just one?
And of course as soon as my shields start to come good - they are gone again!

Each turn takes about 30-40 seconds. Some will be longer because you have to stop and think, and threat resolution can take a while as more are added, but a turn itself is speedy.

Because you are playing each turn so quickly, you quickly become so immersed in your game that you don’t notice you have been making quick decisions for 30 minutes. Some actions will cause elation and other despair. You begin dreading what you are going to reveal from the threat deck, but you don’t stop from turning them over.

This is the magic of Deep Space D-6 – in the space of about 10 minutes, you transform from slight confusion opening the box for the first time to complete absorption in trying to save your ship. It’s something that until you experience it yourself, you can appreciate the sentiment from an observers standpoint, but you won’t understand precisely what it feels like.

Replayability and Difficulty

Deep Space D-6’s retail version has a lot of variety going for it already in the box.

Firstly, you can remove the ‘Don’t Panic’ breather cards from the threat deck. This makes for a faster game as you are thinning the pile, but it also means you will have a new problem every turn.

I already mentioned the Ouroboros – the big bad boss of the game. It’s a single gigantic command ship comprised of six individual threat cards you fully defeat by destroying its core.

The more of these you take out, the harder the game
The big bad Ouroboros. It may just look like a few cards, but you will learn to hate this ship.

For your first time playing, you can simply leave the Ouroboros out altogether. You definitely have enough to worry about with the threat deck that this omission would not overly simplify the game.

Personally, I would recommend starting with the first optional Ouroboros setup. When you have cleared the threat deck, take the Ouroboros cards and set up the ship. Think of it as the big final boss appearing and trying to stop you from making it back to friendly space.

There is also the option of randomly shuffling the Ouroboros cards into the threat deck. If you draw one, put it to one side of the play area and reveal another threat card. When you have all six Ouroboros cards out, deal with the Ouroboros as an unveiled threat. You still need to clear the threat deck to win the game though.

This represents a more random timing to the encounter, while also building the tension and suspense as you begin revealing more and more of the Ouroboros. Most will also probably tell you it’s the more ‘advanced’ way to play.

Up in the top right, the Ouroborus is catching up...

The infirmary even has 2 modes of play you can choose from. You can play the standard way and have dice sent to the infirmary usually as a threat effect. Or, you can play where you put one die in the infirmary to make another die wild. This allows you to mitigate bad rolls but lowers your dice pool until a medical officer can treat everyone in the infirmary.

Finally, there are four different ships to master.

The Halcyon is the general all-rounder ship that is good for beginners and getting used to the gameplay. It has a Stasis Beam that lets you stop a threat from activating each turn.

Then you look at the next ship, the Athena Mk. II. On the surface, it appears the Athena has different hull and shield values – nothing unusual. Looking closer, you will see that all of the worker roles have different effects compared to the Halcyon.

The Halcyon (left) and the Athena Mk II (right)

So what’s wrong with it?

Frankly – not much. Not with the game itself at least.

The AG-8 (left) and the Mononoaware on the right.

For example, the Halcyon lets you add up all of your damage and split it amongst multiple targets. The Athena inflicts 2 points of damage to a single threat for each gunnery icon. It’s a subtle adjustment but can make a world of difference in how you play subsequent games.

The same goes for the other two ships – the AG-8 and the Mononoaware. In my head, each board is an expansion that messes with the base rules, giving you new challenges and experiences. I think it will take a long time to be bored with Deep Space D-6.

The component quality is excellent. The dice are solid and roll well, the boards are heavy enough and functional, and the heavy card stock speaks well for durability. The artwork on cards is lacking, but I do like the clean, simple designs this allows.

My biggest issue with Deep Space D-6 is the rules explanations and vagueness of some terms. If you learn to play the game yourself, Tony Go has been very active on the Board Game Geek Forums which is handy. Tau Leader Games also has a pretty good FAQ on their website.

The rules are much better than the PnP, but you shouldn't need to go online for rule clarifications on the second round

While it’s great these are happening, as I got a second edition/print copy, I am a bit disappointed they are still needed. There wasn’t anything game-breaking that I needed to lookup. I was mostly right with my instincts on how things resolved, but that is just gaming experience I think.

If a new gamer pulls a card that doesn’t make sense, they don’t want to have to hunt on the internet for what it means, it should have clarification in the rule book.

Deep Space D-6 is not the first or last game to suffer from this. Hopefully, in a new reprint and/or the upcoming multiplayer Deep Space D-6: Armada, this can be resolved.

More than one player?

Not yet. That said, my favourite round of Deep Space D-6 has been when I taught Alpal how to play. She had a copy from the original Kickstarter, and I have the newer release, and we just set up our games, and I talked through the rounds.

It was the truest multiplayer solitaire gaming session I ever played. We were both in wildly different positions, and it was fun to see what the other was going through.

I was going through the game faster once I left Alpal to play on her own after the first couple of rounds, so she would look up and just see a ton of cards scattered everywhere. She would laugh at my exasperation at being unable to roll anything I wanted, and I enjoyed watching her get just as beaten up by her game.

Things are not looking good for my ship. But I have gotten out of worse!

As I mentioned before though there is a multiplayer version currently in development. If Deep Space D-6 sounds like something you would enjoy but want to play with some more players, maybe hold off for Deep Space D-6: Armada.

Still not sure if you would like it? Try the free print and play!

Still not sure if Deep Space D-6 is for you? Makes perfect sense. I put off trying it for the exact same reason. The good news though is if you don’t mind printing your games, there is a free print and play version available!

It comes with the Halcyon (although it’s not named in this version), some threat cards and the rules. I haven’t made a direct comparison to the retail version, but the cards included are representative of threats in the retail version. There just doesn’t seem to be quite as many, so games will probably run quicker.

Using a conversion chart for the symbols can slow the game down though. When I was looking to play the print and play, I planned to write the pip values over the symbols meaning no lookups. Adds a few minutes to the initial setup, but it will make your life easier.

It may not look quite as nice, but it will save you a lot of time later!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD
Deep Space D-6

Summary

Deep Space D-6 regularly manages to make me more immersed and invested in a ‘quick filler game’ than a lot of big-box games manage, and that is quite a feat.

There is a lot about Deep Space D-6 that I know will discourage large groups of players. It’s a solo game with a high luck factor with dice rolling and drawing from a deck. There isn’t a lot to the game component-wise. But what is seen by many as drawbacks all make for strengths in Deep Space D-6. It’s great that the print and play is available to everyone, but I also understand that only some people enjoying building their games this way.

I really think if people had the chance to sit and try it, it would catch on even more than it already has. Hopefully, the upcoming Deep Space D-6: Armada with multiple players will help with that 🙂

Overall
8/10
8/10

Pros

  •  Immerses you into gameplay faster than 99% of games I have played
  •  Simple solid core rules that allow for fast play and learning
  •  Free Print and Play to try first that still has a lot of variety in it

Cons

  •  Rules could include a lot more clarifications
  •  To play with multiple people at the same time, multiple copies required

Last Week’s Gaming – July 15th, 2019

Pinballing through Deep Space, all with D6.

So another week of not quite the number of board games I was hoping to get to, but a lot of setup for some better gaming next week. Regular games nights are starting again, and a few other little projects are almost ready to get started on which I am looking forward to!

But that’s enough of that, here is what I did get to play this week 🙂

Deep Space D-6

I got in a couple of rounds of Deep Space D-6 this week, but my favourite game was playing and teaching Alpal how to play.

Watching Alpal play and having everything click was really satisfying for me. It proved to me that once you know how to read the rules and use the summaries how simple Deep Space D-6 really is.

One thing I did notice however was that Alpal had a slightly different deck, from a printing in 2016. This will need to be explored a little more, but expect a full review soon.

It may be a solo game, but teaching Alpal how to play her copy meant we got to play Multiplayer Solataire for real!

So this is a little bit of a cheat, but Alpal introduced me to the 5 Paper Pinball Roll and Write games.

I was already intrigued, buty actually playing the Paper Pinball games was surprisingly fun and frantic. Even though we were playing the ‘same game’, just like a game of pinball our scores and strategies were wildly different.

Esentially, roll dice and mark off the corrosponding value. Can’t fill out something on the table? Lose a ball, and lose 3 balls it’s game over. It even has multiball!

More on this series will be coming soon after I have had a closer look at the series.

Now I know about the series, I want to look into scoring a little more, but this is a lot of fun

Hungry Shark World (Switch)

So I noticed there is an eShop sale on the Switch, so I had a bit of a look around to see what was around.

I nabbed a couple of games, but the only one I tried this week was Hungry Shark World. I had seen Outside Xbox playing it a while ago and I was curious. Here I could get it mobile and for $7.50 – how could I go wrong?

Well, pretty easily apparently. It crashes every second life without fail, and sometimes on the first round. After having a look online, this has been happening since 2018, so I woudl say by now no patch would be coming to fix this.

Don’t get Hungry Shark World on Switch. Just don’t. It looks like fun, but the frustration and progress loss makes it just not worth it, even for free!

I can see the appeal of this game, just not on the Switch. Crash city.

Final Fantasy X (Switch)

I only played for an hour, but I got through the first visit to Guadosalam. If you know what I mean, then you are nodding. If you don’t know what I mean, it’s close enough to a 45 minute unskippable cutscene section setting up a lot of story about halfway into the game.

When you get through Guadosalam, you then hit the Thunder Plains. Here, if you can dodge 200 consecutive lightning strikes, you get a component for Lulu’s ultimate weapon.

But this is insanely hard compared to what I remember. I got a best of 3, then a fight, then I relaxed at the end of the fight and got zapped as the game transitioned back. This is going to be a challenge.

Yes, I know the graphics have had a bump. But almost 20 years later, this still looks amazing!

Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee (Switch)

So I have been walking around with the Pokeball Plus in my pocket for a few weeks now. This week, I decided I should probably check on how my Pokemon was doing in there.

Short answer – great! Lots of play, lots of steps, and I learned something. There is an experience cap on how much XP you can earn in one hit taking your pokemon for a stroll. 99,999 to be exact.

So if you are walking around with your Pokemon in your Pokeball, don’t forget to bring them back regularly!

Pokemon Lets Go MewTwo
The legendary MewTwo. Guess who I am running around with post game?

Tetris 99 (Switch)

With everything that has been going on, I haven’t even fired up a ‘quick’ Tetris 99 round for a while. And it showed – I was pretty rusty.

But there was a semi-surprise waiting for me this week – another Event with a skin up for grabs!

This time it was a Splatoon skin in honour of the last Splatfest. I thought it might be a bit of fun, so I settled in for a little bit and played a couple of games to snag the 100 points required for the theme. And rusty and all, snag it I did 🙂

But talking about Tetrising…

Another event this weekend, this time snagging myself an awesome Splatoon theme!

Building a new desktop PC!

This took a lot of time out of my board gaming this week, but it was worth it. Even if I essentially had to set it up twice thanks to TPG, but that’s another issue I don’t want to dwell on.

My old i7-5820 served me well, but now my new machine is running a bit faster and a lot quieter, making my work at home even more pleasurable 🙂 Gaming will be coming soon with any luck!

Talking about putting things together properly, there is one more Tetris project this week…

The new desktop is alive!

All games are finally unpacked!

All of my games are finally out of boxes. Some are in storage, true, but now all games are unpacked from the move.

It became obvious that even with putting some games in storage, I was going to be very tight on room. But there wasn’t any room for more storage. Rabbit came up with a brilliant plan though – put wheels on Kallax!

But just having the games out is only half the battle. Now I need to reorganise all these boxes.

A couple more months at this stage, but the shelfie video will be incoming!

Putting together this many games surely counts as Tetris right?

How was your week for gaming? Was there anything you really enjoyed playing, or did you set yourself up for upcoming gaming?

Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – July 8th, 2019

Deep Space Bathtubs doesn’t sound right…

Slowly, I am getting back into the gaming frame of mind. The house is almost ready, and the new game parcels are stacking nicely.

I only really got in a couple of good gaming sessions, but as always they were fun!

First gaming session after end of financial year, and my brain having trouble with little things like ‘rules’ and ‘strategies’.

Luckily, Alpal had a new game to show me that was very light and fit the bill perfectly – Celestia.

An updated version of Cloud 9, players take turns captaining a flying bathtub (yes, that’s right) trying to reach the farthest lands to claim the best treasure.

Gameplay is simple – the captain rolls the dice, and the other players must decide if the captain has the cards shown on the roll. If they don’t think it can be done, they jump off and grab that treasure. But if they stay on, they can get more points…

A simple push your luck game with an adorable theme and did I mention a flying bathtub? I will have to play a few more rounds of Celestia to get a formal review ready.

Put your meeples in the bathtub, and fly the skies of Celestia. The prop even spins!

I have been trying to play this one for ages, and I finally got a copy of the full game!

Deep Space D-6 is a solo dice placement game where you try and survive a trap in hostile territory.

The idea is simple – pick a ship, shuffle the threat deck and then roll your worker dice. Assign the workers to fix the ship or handle threats, then draw a new threat and see what is activated.

The game really is that simple. But that simplicity is what helps keep you hooked into a deceptively harsh worker placement game. That feeling of building tension to try and survive makes Deep Space D-6 a great solo experience!

Now I need to try and find Deep Space D-6: Armada to play with up to 4 people…

I am in so much trouble here. I managed to hang in until the Solar Winds killed me 🙁

Beat Saber

Not as much as I would have liked (or should), but I got some Beat Saber in. But not just Beat Saber – Beat Saber back on the PC with the wireless Vive adaptor.

The first thing I noticed was how much more comfortable PSVR is to just wear. The second was how nice it was to not have to worry about tripping on cables 🙂

I had to play the tutorial again, as this is the first time I played on PC since Beat Saber went to version 1. Played the tutorial (because why not), put the sabers in the circles, hit the right block. Missed the left block.

Yep, it's a headset. Any clues to upcoming games in the background?

Now, this wasn’t the gears fault – I completely misjudged my off-hand cutting distance. Looking at my left-handed cuts that swing right to left (the most common cut I miss now), I am missing the block. Barely, but I am missing it.

Jump back onto the PSVR, put on $100 Bills (yes, I am playing an easy song and missing!) and the same movement glides through the block – just, but it cuts. It looks like the PSVR is a little more forgiving – probably due to the more inaccurate tracking.

Either way, it looks like I not only have to get back into shape but also re-learn how to play with my off hand!

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