Clear, Concise Ramblings 005 – Dragon Castle and Gold Fever

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Playing with bags of rocks didn’t sound like fun before though

Happy Saturday everyone!

Today Alpal and I talk a bit about Dragon Castle, which you might recognise from some Last Week’s Games summaries.

Also, we talk (a little bit longer than normal for a 2 game episode, sorry!) about the deceptively fun Gold Fever.  The game is all about pulling gold nuggets out of a bag.  Said like that, it doesn’t sound special – but it is so much more.

Both games are a lot of fun, and after I paint Alpal’s Dragon Castle expect a review on both games 😀

Have a great weekend everyone!

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming October 15th 2018

Tower of Madness 20181015

The Bones are in the Chest Atop the Castle’s Highest Tower

Another week, another few games played! Very quite video game wise this week, prepping for PAX Aus is taking a lot of my time at the moment.

But some games will always make it in, and this week three out of four of the games were all new ones!

Tower of Madness

An honourable mention in this year’s most anticipated games list, Tower of Madness is now finally in my hands!

Alpal opened it for me, and there are a few component issues to me out of the gate.  The dice were covered in something that required rubbing alcohol to stop them sticking, and the tower doesn’t quite fit.

But there is potential.  Two games in and we enjoyed the game – everyone wanted to play again.  A few more games and a formal review will be coming, but at the moment play someone else’s copy if you get the chance.

Tower of Madness 20181015
It arrived, and the marbles hit the base with a satisfying 'Thunk'!

Dragon Castle

During games night we got two new players into Dragon Castle.

There was a lot of confusion at the start, but everyone was up to speed quickly as I knew they would be.

Dragon Castle was intended as a night ender, and it worked well.  We all enjoyed the game even with teaching for half of the table, and the final scores were almost all within one point of each other!

Now I just need to play some 2 and 3 player games for the review…

Dragon Castle 20181008
Dragon Castle is aa game I am very much warming up to.

Dagon’s Bones

Dagon’s Bones was a fun looking game I Kickstarted a few months ago.  I was surprised by how quickly it arrived!

A simple and quick push your luck dice game, Dagon’s Bones is small and easy to carry around.  Simply three dice and a bunch of coins that come in a small cylinder.

The idea is to double the number of coins you have, by either taking from the pot or other players.  There can be player elimination, but if the pot wins (it’s possible!) then Cthulhu rises and destroys everyone.

Dagon’s Bones is more fun than it deserves to be, and I look forward to more games soon.

Dagons Bones Gameplay
Dagon's Bones - 3 dice and some coins. There really isn't much action to show, but it's an interesting premise

Dead Man’s Chest

Another quick game, and a surprisingly fun game.  Dead Man’s Chest is a quick and simple bluffing game similar to Liar’s Dice.

The game consists of a pile of rubies, two dice, and a ‘chest’ about the size of two packs of matches stacked.

A player shakes the dice in the chest, and bids on the amount shown on the die.  There are some funny rules to the values, but it’s easy to get into and a great way to pass some time with friends.

Dead Mans Chest Gameplay
Another game with nothing much happening on the table, Dead Man's Chest is surprisingly tense

Last Week’s Gaming October 8th 2018

Super Mario Party 20181008

Down the Castle to Istanbul for the Party

It looks a little light on gaming this week, and in a lot of ways, it was.  PAX Aus is less than three weeks away, and I start driving to Melbourne in less than two!

I got the chance to do a few different things which have been amazing, and I will talk about all that in detail as soon as I can.  On to what I got to play last week!

Istanbul the Dice Game

Istanbul the Dice Game is a rare treasure for me.  Normally when you have a ‘The Dice Game’ version, some artwork and terms are reused but the game just feels completely different.

Not so with Istanbul.  In the time it takes to teach and play the first game of Istanbul the Dice Game, you are starting to take a new player into the opening rounds of Istanbul the Board Game.

At the end of both games, each player is working out what they could have done differently to get that extra ruby ahead – even though the play mechanics are completely different!

I am always up for a round or two or Istanbul the Dice Game.

Istanbul the Dice Game 20181008
Simple to teach, great to play, and no two games are ever the same. I really enjoy Istanbul the Dice Game

Dragon Castle

I spoke about Dragon Castle in last week’s game list, and another couple of rounds were played.

With all of us getting into the swing of the game and some scoring strategies in play, the games are still just as fun as when we were still learning.

So far we have only played the maximum four players, but there will be some time set aside to play two and three players for a final review coming in the near future.

Dragon Castle 20181008
Dragon Castle is aa game I am very much warming up to.

Downforce

Ahhh Downforce.  The most versatile simple racing game I know.

Restoration Games has hit it out of the park so far, and there is no reason I have to never play Downforce.  It’s quick, easy to teach, and always fun.

I have heard a few people coming down on Downforce as being too simple or not strategic enough, and this is a valid viewpoint.  If you are looking for a deep experience like Formula D, Downforce isn’t your game.

But for me and my game group, Downforce is a safe fallback that will be on the games list for a long time, and new tracks mean it will have centre stage fairly regularly as well.

Downforce 20181008
Always a fun racing game! One day my car/s will be in that top spot 😀

Super Mario Party

I haven’t played Mario Party for ages, and even then it was only a couple of goes with one other player.

With the Switch though I am looking forward to a couple of party nights in the future.  I played it only on the Switch screen and found it a little hard to see, so I am thinking this is definitely a game you should play docked to a TV.

There have also been a few complaints about the controls only working away from the Switch.  I played a few mini-games that required quite a bit of motion and hitting the L and R buttons at the same time.  The twisting the whole Switch while the Joy Con is connected would lose you the screen and be very awkward to play!

Super Mario Party 20181008
It's the first Mario Party I have played since the DS, and it looks like it will be just as fun 😀

If anyone complains about having to use a Joy Con, I think they may be missing the point.  Yes, using the Joy Con as a mini controller is not entirely natural, but if my big hands can do it in the short bursts Super Mario Party asks of you, I don’t really see what the fuss is about.

Can’t wait to play this with two or three others, and this will definitely be on the PAX Aus play list!

What about you?  What have you been playing this week?  Let me know on Facebook or Twitter!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

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