Warriors of Waterdeep Review

Released 2018
Platform iOS, Android (reviewed)
Publisher Ludia, Inc (Website)
Developer Ludia, Inc (Website)
Homepage (Visit Website)
Players 1 with online play
Category Dungeon Crawl
Set Collection
Leveling Up
Different player powers

Mobile game reviews? Really?

Mobile gaming keeps slipping past all of my ‘What did I play this week?’ checks. It’s not intentional. I don’t think I have a bias against mobile games. My stance is ‘Do you enjoy playing X? Then you are a gamer.’ I don’t believe a Twilight Imperium player is any less a gamer than a Call of Duty regular or a Candy Crush fan. As long as you are enjoying your game, you will keep playing games. That’s a gamer.

So in planning a run of reviews to write coming up to and during PAX Aus, I realised something. I have spent the most time on the last couple of weeks playing on my phone. And I haven’t even mentioned that in Last Week’s Gaming.

I spent about 12-15 hours playing two mobile games just last week alone. And I have plans to sit and get into another the week before PAX on the drive down.

So to make up for some of this oversight, let me tell you about Warriors of Waterdeep on iOS and Android, my biggest phone game at the moment.

Lords of Waterdeep got a sequel!

Well, no. But I can see where you might think that. It’s also not what a lot of people would call a Dungeons and Dragons game.

Warriors of Waterdeep has nothing in common with Lords of Waterdeep except for the thematic setting and D&D license. Your warriors getting a mission load screen set in the pub made me smile. Well, the first few times I saw it. Now I want it to hurry up and load.

It’s a mobile dungeon crawler. There are a few variants of this type of game out there, and all share similar traits. Take a party of adventurers that grow as you level up/buy more, beat the monsters, and repeat.

What Warriors of Waterdeep does well is making this such a simple to play experience. The reason I have sat on the couch and played it for two hours straight wasn’t that it was the best game ever. It was the end of the day, and I was tired after work. The couch called to me, and I answered.

A hunting we will go, a hunting we will go...

I knew I couldn’t give the truckload of other games on my playlist the attention they deserve. The reflexes needed for Astral Chain were dulled. The logic required for puzzle-solving for Catherine: Full Body was out to lunch.

Do you know what I could do, though? Play a game that only asked of me “Tap the bad guy you want to hit”.

But it’s Dungeons and Dragons – isn’t that deep role-playing stuff?

Ordinarily, it can be. But Warriors of Waterdeep has nods to its D&D roots; it doesn’t try to recreate it.

Your warriors gain experience points (XP) to level up after clearing a room, but the improvements you get are preset. If you want to enable new abilities, you need to arrange your inventory.

Better pants allow for better healing. You are more likely to get a bonus attack with axes instead of a bow. It’s all straightforward – you want that skill? Equip that item. There isn’t layer upon layer of hidden stats and interconnected benefits. “I do this!” is what every item screams, and if you choose to equip the thing you can too.

The primary way of getting more powerful is by powering up your inventory, which you do by collecting cards, but I will talk more about that later. For now, just now that setting up your party isn’t a huge deal. You can get straight into clearing bad guys and not look at the party screen for ages, and enjoy Warriors for the simple diversion it is.

No real choices to weigh up - you upgrade items, your stats increase

The most complicated nod is most items have a chance of activating a bonus ability. There is a dice roll that happens in the background, and if you succeed, you get to do the particular thing. There is also the magical critical hit which plays a unique animation of your attack. But this is again where Warriors makes a nod to D&D, without pushing it all onto the player.

So that’s all you do? Tap on bad guys and level up?

Pretty much. Warriors of Waterdeep isn’t mobile Skyrim, nor is it trying to be. At its heart, you enter a dungeon, clear some rooms, and get rewarded. That said, there are some variants to what you play.

As you explore Waterdeep, you clear out different areas. These areas end up becoming Boss Room gauntlet runs that you can run over and over again. There are some unique backdrops, but there are only so many ways you can layout a 4×4 square room.

The different bosses do have unique attack patterns and abilities, so learning how to get through can be a challenge. You are just replaying rooms of monsters followed by a boss, so the rewards are what makes this worthwhile.

The other thing you can do is Battle, which puts a random group of your heroes against another human team. These fights seem to try and matchmake even teams, based on a score rather than your team. I have been in unwinnable or unlosable battles as a rule. Lose a few fights to lower your standing, and could face off against players 2-3 levels lower than you.

Enter room, hit all the things, move on

That’s a big power difference – and it cuts both ways. You can be working your way up and see a team that is 2-3 levels higher than you. Suck it up and take a breath buddy, it will be over soon ūüôā

I can also see this being the ‘pay to win’ section of the game. I have lost to teams with access to rare/epic/legendary equipment I haven’t got and lost 3/4 of my team in a single hit. Because Warriors is so quick to play, it’s easy enough to shrug off and jump back in. I wish this could be improved, though. Just losing a close battle is infinitely more fun to me than creaming opponents in one hit.

And finally, there are the quests. New ones are added every day. Kill X many enemies, do Y amount of damage, that kind of thing. Your reward is either a bunch of gold or a random card drop. It gives a sense of purpose to aim at something, but it’s just a reward for doing the same old over and over again.

Like Fortnite and the like, daily grind quests give you something to work towards to justify the grind

So overall, it sounds fun! What’s the catch?

Core play mechanics, not much. It’s a light dungeon crawler with RPG ties, which can be just what people are looking to play. Having the ability to run boss gauntlets to level up your characters is a grind, sure. But what RPG doesn’t ask you to do the same thing over and over to level up?

If you don’t have the time or energy to play a ‘big’ game, having something on your phone like Warriors of Waterdeep can be just the ticket.

The issue is the cost of the free game – and not just microtransactions. The cheapest and best way to keep going with bonus chests and prizes is the VIP club. AUD$17 a month gives you access to exclusive chest rewards, mainly in the form of gold. You need gold to pay for levelling up everything in the game. You also need gold to redo those Boss rooms.

You can trade gems for gold, and you buy gems for cash. A fairly standard model, I agree. I am in a position now, where I feel the need to pay for stuff from the shop. Over and above the $17 I paid for the subscription, see where this can get expensive?

And the second problem is what you buy. You don’t buy the mythical axe of opponent stomping, that would be too easy. You get to buy a pack of trading cards like Magic: The Gathering, where the more expensive decks have a higher chance of the rarer cards.

3,000 gems is close to $40. Ouch.

So the theory is that you need the extra cards to level up your characters’ equipment, which in turn levels them up. Sounds reasonable. Except what if you need 50 arrows to level up your ranger, and in 10 booster packs you don’t get a single arrow card?

Long term, Warriors of Waterdeep is a great example of loot crates as gambling. Which in today’s world is not what you want to be known for.

So you are saying stay away?

Not at all. I have had a lot of fun playing Warriors of Waterdeep. Just be aware that it is asking a lot of you in terms of the old wallet.

I have the VIP subscription, and I will probably let it renew for another month. Unless something drastic happens to let me get further into the game though, next month will probably be my last month playing Warriors.

But until then, the relaxation and enjoyment I have gotten out of chilling on the couch and tapping the bad guys have been worth it. But you know what else I can relax with for $17 a month? Netflix. And have change. Microsoft Game Pass, and have lots of games to choose from – with change. Here is where I make the comparison and call Warriors expensive.

Download it, try it out, and see for yourself. If you have made it this far, you are probably interested enough to try it for out. Just before you hand over the old credit card info, weigh up the subscription against what you already have is my advice.

It's still a fun game to play, try it out ūüôā

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

5-Minute Marvel Review

Released 2018
Designer Connor Reid
Publisher Spin Master Ltd (Website)
Players 2-5
Playing Time 5 minutes per villain boss
Category Cooperative
Hand Management
Unique player powers
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

Can you take down Thanos?

I have mentioned 5-Minute Marvel being played by my group once or twice, and I thought I would give it a full review.

It’s also a retheme of 5-Minute Dungeon, so the review can almost be for both games. I am only going to be talking about the Marvel version though, as 5-Minute Dungeon does have a couple of small differences and expansions.

So what is it?

5-Minute Marvel is a cooperative deck builder game where you choose different heroes to defeat various villains. There is no deep backstory or prior knowledge required, making this an incredibly accessible game.

A mix of heroes included. Some well known, some not so much. All fun ūüôā

What do you do?

The first thing you need to keep in mind is the promised five minutes. Yes, you can play a round in five minutes. To play the gauntlet of enemies means fighting six bosses, which takes longer with resets in between.

Setup is pretty quick, and you can have most of the game explained during setup, but there is a disconnect between playtime and the title.

The basics of gameplay are straightforward. Each player chooses a hero, and a villain boss with henchmen is set up at the top of the table. Each ‚Äėbad guy‚Äô has several symbols on it, and players throw down cards that match the symbols to beat it.

Like many cooperative games, you need to be playing with the right group to get the full benefit of the game. Play with people that only shout at others, and no one wants to play. On the flip side, people that don’t speak up to offer advice/cards/etc., and you aren’t playing anything.

The symbols you need to match. Play as many matching symbols as on the enemy, and repeat

The combination of players for 5-Minute Marvel has a lot more tolerance than other cooperative games though. A lot of people will probably be quite happy after the first five minutes ‚Äď even if you do have to all but force them to play!

The timer is sassing you the whole time.

Using apps with board games can be divisive. I enjoy the integration when done well, like the Mansions of Madness or Chronicles of Crime type implementations. Just as a clock though, and I tend only to set the countdown on my phone.

However, like Klein Klenko’s fuse, the timer in this game gives you lip while you play. The timer is J.A.R.V.I.S., and while Paul Bettany isn’t the voice, the voice acting is fine. Different, but fine. The lack of the MCUs distinct J.A.R.V.I.S./Vision can cause you to stop for a second and lose thought!

The free app is available on iOS and Android and doesn’t take long to download.

It’s not for a whole night game though

Not by a longshot, unless you are playing for a half-hour only. 5-Minute Marvel comes into its own as a filler game, to be played as an opener or closer. Now a few more people in my group know it, I am even tempted to get them to play it as I set up a bigger game. You can get it done that quickly!

5-Minute Marvel is a great diversion, but nothing more really. While you get a good range of heroes (10 to be precise), the same six villains and couple of enemy types can get repetitive quickly. Even a gauntlet run may not be in your best interest after a couple of tries.

The enemies all look great, but when all you concentrate on is the little row of symbols that is lost during gameplay

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Codenames Review (including series)

Released 2015
Designer Vlaada Chv√°til
Publisher Czech Games Edition (Website)
Players 2-8+ (best around 6)
Playing Time 15-20 minutes
Category Social Deduction
Word
Party
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

Don’t have a lot of players? Just play it in public. People will join you quickly enough ūüėÄ

You have heard me talk about Codenames a few times on the site. I keep saying I need to get around to reviewing it. Today, I finally get around to that review!

What I am not reviewing is a single version of Codenames. Back in 2015, Codenames was released. Then came Codenames: Pictures. Later the others arrived. And they just kept coming.

So while I talk about the base game in this review, remember everything I say holds for every other Codenames game – you can even mix and match them!

So what is Codenames?

Codenames is a party social deduction word game. Four years after release, it is still the party game on Board Game Geek. Describing Codenames is the hardest part of the game, and it’s hard to describe because of its simplicity.

You play in two teams, each team having a spymaster. Before you lies a grid of Codenames, and you are trying to find your agents before the other side find theirs.

The theme I have heard explained in many different ways, but I usually just stick with “You have these files/words/images before you, and we have to give you clues that link as many together as possible. First team to find all their tiles wins.” – how many games can you teach that quickly?

Just a bunch of cards and some tiles. Setup is really easy with Codenames.

But because this is espionage, you can’t just blab out to your team where they are though – you need to do it in code. On the spymasters’ turn, they give one word and one number. The word ties into the grid somehow, and the number is how many files are associated with the word.

You might think that sounds too easy, and it can be. Except Vlaada Chvatil put a little twist in – the deadly assassin word. If your team finds the assassin, they are instantly out of the game

Using the app for the spy board. If you put it down, the clues hide!

That doesn’t sound like much of a game.

I agree in describing it that it doesn’t reach out and grab at people. It’s one of those games that you need to play to get excited over. And you will get excited about it. Of all the people I have shown, I know only two people that didn’t enjoy playing it, and that was when we played a three-player variant.

The magic of Codenames is I have been in situations where I scraped up three other people and just started playing in public. By the end of the game, we usually have about eight people playing, and most of them staying for a second round. Most of the people that would wander over would call themselves ‘not gamers’, yet Codenames is simple enough that you can teach someone all of the rules in a single round. It’s this simplicity that lets everyone play.

But I don’t know a bunch of those words – what do I do?

Being at its heart a word game, playing with younger children non-English speakers can be a challenge. Codenames: Pictures helps with this immensely.

It’s the same game, except with some fantastic artwork with multiple meanings. But just because the game uses pictures doesn’t make it easier. It just helps with players maybe not knowing certain words.

It’s like playing with simplified Dixit or Mysterium cards. While I wouldn’t put a child in as spymaster on their first game, their team can help them with the clues. This teamwork makes Codenames very inclusive to a lot of different groups.

Pictures doesn't make the game any easier, unless reading can be an issue

So what is Codenames: Duet?

If you typically game with only one other person, Codenames: Duet is for you. The spymasters’ tablet is double-sided, so each player switches between being clue giver and player each turn.

There are a couple of twists. In Duets, there are three assassins on the board. One of those assassins is shared between both teams, meaning a square you see as a dangerous square has a 2 in 3 chance of being something else when you are receiving clues.

The differences are slight, but at its core Duets is still codenames. There is also no reason why you can’t play Duets in teams. One of the most beautiful thing about Codenames is that it is incredibly flexible.

Two players, one board. Duet is a great two player game.

What about the other Codenames?

There are a few different versions of Codenames, mostly thanks to USAOpoly/the OP and licensing.

Deep Undercover is an ‘adult’ version of Codenames that initially I overlooked. Did I want a Cards Against Humanity type version? After playing it appreciate Deep Undercover as both childish humour and an extra layer of difficulty. How many clues can you give for ‘bum’ when so many cards overlap?

Disney, Marvel and Harry Potter all share Codenames base play but pull all of their cards from their licenses. They also share one flaw – you need to be a fan of the theme to join in fully.

A magical twist to the theme

In Codenames: Marvel, for example, there are a bunch of characters and locations not used in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I am a Marvel fan, and even I had to Google some of the characters to know who they were.

There are also little thematic twists in each version to keep them unique, but the mechanics are the same. The assassin in Harry Potter is a Death Eater. In Marvel, if you guess all of the neutral characters, Thanos collects all of the infinity stones, and it’s a double team loss. There are little twists to keep them fresh, but not enough to make them overly complicated.

Our first game setup. Even with MCU fans at the table, there was a lot of Googling on who was who

Rules Lawyers Beware

There are a few rules in giving clues. You can’t use words that are on the board, or form to make part of a word on the board. You can’t give clues that are positions of words.

So when someone says ‘Right 3’ for example, the team should expect that the clues aren’t three on the right-hand side on the board. They should be wary of picking ‘Writer’, as Right can be interpreted as a part of the word.

I have played Codenames with die-hard players, and I have played with complete casuals. I have heard team arguments about the validity of a clue.

Bottom line, the only person that can rule a clue invalid is the opposing spymaster. When playing with new players or one of the themed games, I try and be forgiving on clues. I might play at the stricter clues, but if someone is unfamiliar with the game or the subject, they still need to be able to play.

Follow the golden rule of gaming – everyone is there to have fun. If you have a player telling everyone why a clue is ‘bad’, maybe let them go back to their heavy euro games :p

Until next time,

JohnHQLD
Codenames

Final Thougths

I love Codenames, and if you are looking for a game for every gamers shelf, Codenames will be on the shortlist. Get Codenames: Pictures and Codenames: Duet for instant flexible gameplay.

You can also combine games. Have a player that’s as much a Disney fan as you are? Use the Disney tiles with the Duet spy board!

Codenames is a quick game that people can join in mid-game, making it a great games night opener while people arrive. Its simplicity, combined with social gameplay makes Codenames a modern classic.

Overall
10/10
10/10

Pros

  • Simple to teach and play
  • No one way to win
  • Variety available on the base concept
  • Can combine versions for different experiences

Cons

  • Licensed versions may be too detailed for casual fans
  • Younger children or non-English speakers hard to be spymasters

One Page Dungeon: Volume 1: Fire in the Goblin Forge Review

Released 2019
Designer Noah Patterson
Publisher Micro RPG (Website)
Players 1
Playing Time 15-25 minutes
Category Roll and Write
Solo Game
Dungeon Crawler
DriveThruRPG View on DriveThruRPG
(It’s not yet listed on BGG!)

Sometimes you want a light romp through a dungeon. And sometimes, you can get it.

Dungeon crawlers are a popular style of game and for excellent reasons. Clearing out enemies and grabbing various loot is a fun experience and one replicated in different media. It might not be immediately apparent, but games like Zombicide, Diablo and Destiny all have dungeon crawl DNA.

Another thing all these games have in common is they excel when you are playing in groups. Yes, you can solo your way through most of them, but the experience isn’t quite what it could be.

So a couple of weeks ago when I saw a Facebook post about a solo dungeon adventure, I thought I would give it a shot. That game is One Page Dungeon: Volume 1: Fire in the Goblin Forge.

The What?

Yep, it’s a mouthful. For the rest of the review, I am going to call it One Page Dungeon, but keep in mind if you search for it that there are a lot of One Page Dungeon titles out there.

I was interested in One Page Dungeon for a few reasons. One, the designer Noah Patterson puts his games on DriveThruRPG as Pay What You Want for the first week. It’s a freebie trial. How could I lose?

All you need to play! Well, maybe not as many dice...

Another reason is that I have some weightier solo games like Four Against Darkness, that I just haven’t quite been able to play properly. Not because they aren’t good games, I just haven’t had the time to give them the attention they deserve. One Page Dungeon looked like a simpler version of the theme so that I could get into it quicker. Again, for a free game, it was worth a shot.

Exploring the Goblin Forge

One Page Dungeon was a game that delivered on first impressions. It only took a few minutes to read the rules, but I did need to read them a second time to let them click.

Short version – I played 2 games, went back and paid for the game. It’s worth it, but I really appreciate the ‘try it for free’ approach of Micro RPG.

The game follows the generic dungeon crawl formula. Create a character from your choice of 3, spend some initial gold and go knock down a dungeon door.

Play is straightforward. Roll a die, and place the corresponding room on the map. There are traditional rooms and corridors to place, but mechanically they are the same. You need to think ahead on your placement though – if you ever get into a situation where you can’t place a room, the final boss appears.

Character choices are solid, and you can choose between different styles that play differently

Once you have the room, you then roll for monsters or traps. You can try and sneak through the room, but if you fail, it begins an encounter. Defeat the monster or escape a trap, and you roll on the treasure table for a reward.

You finish the dungeon by defeating the boss – the King Goblin. As mentioned, if you get caught in a dead-end that will bring the King to you. He will also appear once you have accumulated 100+ gold.

When you defeat the boss, you can spend 50 gold to level up or buy new equipment. Then you can try again.

All of this happens in four steps, and one of those iscombat. In combay, you follow an order of three steps. It’s like all roll and writes – here is your order summary, follow that. It’s what makes them so easy to learn and follow, and One Page Dungeon does it well.

So you keep playing the same map?

Not really. Because you create the dungeon as you go, the likelihood of replaying the same dungeon is very slim. Of course, this is a game that depends on dice rolls, so you will quickly get familiar with the creatures and treasure in the 6-8 dice value range.

As you level up, the encounters do get easier. But a few unlucky rolls can quickly turn the tide against you, so there is no cakewalk here.

You can see the ghost of my first run, and already the route and what I have encountered are different

The negatives

If you don’t like rolling dice, this isn’t a game for you. Everything you do in One Page Dungeon depends on a die roll in some way.

And the high luck level leads to one of the biggest things people could see as a negative. On my first run-through, I had a lot of healing items and the like, but getting gold was a grind. The second game, my usual ‘low’ rolls kicked in, so it didn’t take long to play at all.

The rules are straightforward, but I still had a couple of questions. Noah Patterson quickly answered my question on Facebook, which was great! I wasn’t sure if I could drink potions and the like during a fight, and the short answer is yes.

My other gripe is the art. On the cover is the ‘sexy warrior woman’ trope, which to me I can’t see how it fits the game. Most of the art also looks like it was created for a late 00s 3D adventure game.

I don’t know who created the assets, but the mix of hand-drawn items and 3d rendered imagery is jarring. Not enough to detract totally from the game, but if I didn’t already know what the One Page Dungeon was about I probably would have passed over it browsing DriveThruRPG.

It's not the images are terrible, it's just the 'computer game' feel seems out of place

As a short diversion, One Page Dungeon is a bit of fun, but I wouldn’t play multiple games in a row.

So what happens when you get have played enough?

The clue is in the title. One Page Dungeon is only Volume 1 ūüėÄ I have grabbed Volume 2 this week, but I haven’t played it yet. As well as a new monster table, you also get more characters to choose from with unique abilities.

Characters are interchangeable between the volumes, so this helps add to replayability as well.

But if you don’t want to get the new volumes, just stop playing. While I can see myself playing Dungeon Crawlers as a whole for years to come, I don’t think this series will be one I will be pulling out of the PnP box for years to come. But in the meantime, I am enjoying playing it – and that’s what counts.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD
One Page Dungeon: Volume 1: Fire in the Goblin Forge

Final Thoughts

One Page Dungeon: Volume 1: Fire in the Goblin Forge is not a groundbreaking game or in the running for the Spiel des Jahres. What it is though is a fun diversion, and it does a pretty good job at being such.

For literally a couple of dollars and printing 1-3 pages, One Page Dungeon is a bit of fun and an excellent introduction for people dipping their toes in the roll and write dungeon experience.

While the score of 6.5 reflects that it as better than average, it’s the fact that I can’t see myself playing it down the linethat brings it down from closer to 7.5-8 for me. Even as a one of bit of fun, I think a lot of people will enjoy it.

Overall
6.5/10
6.5/10

Pros

  • ¬†Simple solitaire roll and write
  • ¬†Cheap price point
  • ¬†Great introduction for new players

Cons

  • High luck factor can make game length drag
  • Roll die for everything

Lords of Waterdeep Review

Released 2012
Designer Peter Lee
Rodney Thompson
Publisher Wizards of the Coast (Website)
Players 2 – 5
Playing Time About 25-40 minutes per player (depends on play style)
Category Worker Placement
Hidden Information
Card Drafting
Set Collection
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

Why be the one questing, when you can be the one benefiting from the questors?

Seven years is a long time in gaming. Changes in gaming over the last seven years have been phenomenal. Especially when you consider that it is now gamers everywhere that have benefited.

Video gamers have been seeing some pretty rapid improvements with console generations, but Tabletop gaming has only just really seeing this now. There is a reason Monopoly was king for so long – look at what it had as mainstream competition.

Take, for example, today’s game – Lords of Waterdeep. I have referred to it as an old favourite for years, and it’s not even that old!

That is the catch with today’s gaming boom. So many games are being released year on year, that a board game has a single run and then it’s gone, unless it makes it big. Lords of Waterdeep however is still going strong.

Released in 2012, I thought this was such a great gateway game for many types of players, even if there were preconceived notions on what ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ is. Many people agreed, and it became one of the early board game resurgence hits.

Original Box Components. **Image from BGG user vardamir

Today, Lords of Waterdeep is cheered or put down depending on your tastes. One thing I hear it put down for is the theme or lack thereof. I will talk about that in a little while.

I know a few players that have heard bad reviews on the game and won’t give it a second thought. The thing is though, for some reason, people look at Lords of Waterdeep as a deep strategy worker placement game. I often hear “It’s too simple. Game X or Y is so much better” as a justification why not to try it.

Yes, there are ‘better’ games available today, that is the benefit of so many new games coming out. Some forget these new games are building upon the lessons of great games that have come before.

Everyone is different, but if you sit a new gamer down with a lot of heavier games, they would be thoroughly confused and potentially put off playing again. Sometimes, the people teaching forgot they only have the experience that they do by starting with lighter games.

You can't get a player up to speed in one round of Twilight Imperium

Lords of Waterdeep for me is an excellent example of a gateway game. It has simple worker placement, light hidden role mechanics coupled with a theme that most people know that helps guide their learning experiences. There are a few moving pieces, but not enough to overwhelm players or those that enjoy lighter games.

It’s still a bit niche, sure. I wouldn’t call it a must-have item for every gamers shelf. But in today’s environment of Cult of the New, it’s still in print. And that should tell you something.

This is not what you get in the box. Lords of Waterdeep is my most customised game by far.

So what is Lords of Waterdeep?

Lords of Waterdeep has Dungeons & Dragons branding, but there is a bit of an argument on if its a Dungeons & Dragons game. I say that part doesn’t matter, and here’s why.

Most fantasy adventures start with your character and group in a pub, meeting with a stranger about a job. The stranger could be a noble in disguise, a merchant in need, or an agent of another. The setup is so standard that most going on a fantasy adventure are usually surprised by any real twist on the idea.

In Lords of Waterdeep, instead of being the adventurer risking life and limb for coin and fame, you are the noble ‘other’ that is set to benefit from the adventurers’ recklessness bravery.

Even without knowing the game, I bet you have a pretty good idea of what is happening here

And this is where I find most of the arguments come from – its “Not Dungeons & Dragons” if you aren’t the one adventuring.

To that, all I can say is “Fair enough.” If that is what Dungeons & Dragons is to you, then I can see why you would be disappointed in a game like Lords of Waterdeep.

But in your player position overlooking the resources of the city, to me, this theme is a great choice. It doesn’t hurt that the idea is also generic enough that you don’t need Dungeons & Dragons experience at all to get right into the game.

Waterdeep for me holds a special place as an old school role player, but so do places like Greyhawk. If you don’t know what I am talking about, you have probably already guessed they are cities or areas and nodding along with the conversation.

Lords of Waterdeep is my most 'blinged' game, hands down.

And this is a large part of why I love Lords of Waterdeep so much – everyone already has a fair idea thematically of what is happening. You don’t need to understand what an Owlbear is to know you get points for taming one. You do it and get your points, end of story.

OK, but how do you play?

There are two types of resources in the game – gold, and adventurers. During the game, you send agents to different locations to recruit adventurers and collect gold, then cash them to complete your quests. Most of these will give you points. Some special Plot Quests may also give you ongoing benefits rather than a score boost, so choose wisely.

That is the game in a nutshell, but there are a few other elements bought into play.

Waterdeep has several Lords, each with their strengths and goals. At the start of the game, each player is dealt a Lord face down. The Lord gives the player a bonus for certain things completed at the end of the game.

The Lords introduce the hidden role and secret objective mechanics to the game, without players having to learn asymmetrical rules. Each player still does what they were doing before, but some may go for Skullduggery quests over Warfare for end game points.

Each Lord is slightly different, and you randomly get one each game

Intrigue cards also add a small amount of ‘Take That!’ mechanics to the game. Each intrigue card is relatively straightforward on its own, so players don’t have to show what they have to everyone to ask questions.

A common one is a little compulsory quest another player must complete before any of their other pursuits. They are quick to do, and even score the player a few points. Some let you woo adventurers from rivals player boards, stealing their resources. But on their next turn, they will have what you took back again. Intrigues tend to delay rather than destroy.

Some sample Intrigue Cards

Even if you are being picked on by every other player, it is rare you can’t accomplish something during your game. An early mistake will not cost you the entire game, at least not until everyone knows the game inside out.

So what’s wrong with Lords of Waterdeep?

The biggest problem with Lords of Waterdeep is easily game length, especially with new players. Analysis Paralysis players also add to this. I try to tell people it will take about 30 minutes per player, but even this isn’t a great guide.

Partially this is because people that wait until their turn to begin to evaluate the game state will drag out the game. That isn’t unique to Lords of Waterdeep though. Unlike a few other games though, Lords of Waterdeep with it’s fixed choices can start to help players learn how to plan their play on other players turns.

Another thing that can add to the game time is how social you can be during the game. Because it’s a light game and a quick look at the board tells you the game state quickly, I have had plenty of games where I socialised more than I played.

Add more buildings during the game, and people start getting analysis paralysis

Another ‘issue’ some have with Lords of Waterdeep is its age, and that’s not a real negative for me. The comment that there are newer games that do some things better is accurate, but there aren’t many games that do the whole package as well.

Discworld: Ankh Morpork and it’s new version Nanty Narking (can’t wait for it that to arrive!) are almost advanced versions of Lords of Waterdeep. Yedo from Pandasaurus is also an advanced version, and it came out in 2012. But this is an unfair comparison in a lot of ways. Many people love Ticket to Ride, but the fact there are more advanced versions out there doesn’t make the original any less fun to play. Most people that I hear write off Lords of Waterdeep as ‘simple’ seem to forget this.

As a guide, if you own any of the ‘advanced’ games mentioned, Lords of Waterdeep probably isn’t your first choice to buy. It just won’t have the same amount of challenge for you, as it is a lighter experience. But to have it as an introduction in getting more people playing the other games? Yes, that is where it works well.

And this is where Lords of Waterdeep sits for me. It’s a fun light to medium weight game, but if you want something meatier to sink your teeth into then yes it’s not for you.

Wait – you said you wouldn’t play it without the expansions? Why should I?

No, now I wouldn’t play ‘vanilla’ Waterdeep, but I have played it a lot. Everything I have been talking about is all about the base game. The expansions also do just that – add more to the base, not ‘fix’ it.

The Scoundrels of Skullport includes two separate expansions that can be mixed or played separately. It has the bonus of adding a sixth player if you have a larger playgroup. That would be the only reason I would suggest grabbing it immediately. Other than that, standard expansion items really – new quests, lords, buildings and intrigues. They also have new area boards to place your workers.

Another thing I love about the expansions is that they can be played immediately. At its core, the expansion mechanics are almost identical to the base rules so you can jump in almost immediately.

It looks intimidating, but it's just more cards for the pile really

For new people, I remove a couple of the Lords and locations/quests that allow extra workers – the Ambassador and the Lieutenant. The rules these workers aren’t hard and can be thrown in on the second game easily.

As with any game, it is always best if you get the chance to play it with someone that knows it before jumping in and buying it yourself. Unless there is a sale or bundle going, play Lords of Waterdeep before worrying about anything buying Scoundrels of Skullport.

Oh, and did you know there is a digital version?

Interested, but don’t know anyone with the game? Lords of Waterdeep was the first ‘good’ board game conversions I ever played, and one of the reasons I still have an iPad.

You can get it on iOS and Android for AUD$11 – pricey, I fully admit. The app has a reasonable tutorial and multiple levels of AI, and mechanically it nails the game.

Lords Of Waterdeep Tablet
This is the Digital Tablet version, but it shows some of the choices on HALF the board

Until next time,

JohnHQLD
Lords of Waterdeep
  • Game Score - 9/10
    9/10

Final Thoughts

I love Lords of Waterdeep. Hands down it is my most ‘blinged’ game ever, that should give an idea of how much I enjoy it.

That said, I would never say it’s my favourite game ever. It is high on my favourite games to teach, and it’s great to play with a variety of players.

I finally got this back to the table a couple of weeks ago, and of the six of us playing (expansions adds more players!) only 3 of us had played before, and one of those only on the app.

We had a great night, playing for about four and a half hours, including dinner and dessert. The new players had the mechanics and timing down pat by the end of the second round, and everyone wants to play it again.

What better recommendation can you have than that?

Overall
9/10
9/10

Pros

  • ¬†Light mechanics make for great introduction to many different games
  • ¬†Different roles make for replayability
  • ¬†High quality card quality and artwork

Cons

  • ¬†Can take a long time to play, especially with ‘Analysis Paralysis’ players
  • ¬†Can outgrow quickly as a deep strategy game
  • ¬†Blinging out your game can get expensive :p

Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot Review

Released 2019
Platform PSVR (Reviewed), Steam
Publisher Bethesda (Website)
Developer Machine Games (Website)
Arkane Studios (Website)
Homepage (Visit Website)
Players 1
Category Virtual Reality Experience
Shooter
Light Puzzle Solving

It’s a polished VR Experience packaged as a game – I thought we were past this stage, though?

When I saw the announcement for Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot, I was very intrigued. Wolfenstein has had an excellent reputation since being rebooted, and I have wanted to play them for a while. With the release of Cyberpilot and Youngblood last month, I thought this would be the best time to jump in.

Starting things up

You start the game in a room seated in a chair. Looking around, it felt like I was in Wolfenstein: Youngblood. The same model assets are being used in both games, and it makes VR look amazing.

Then you hear the voice of your resistance contact, the narrator and guide for the game. You go through some fairly standard VR intro malarky, and then you are in the game.

You are not allowed past this room. The door says so! :p

What you aren’t into though is into the Nazi killing. That threw me a little bit at first – isn’t this a Wolfenstein game? Shoot first ask questions never?

Instead of shooting, you’re tasked with reprogramming a captured Panzerhund. Again, reasonably standard VR fluff, but well-executed on the whole. Remove a panel with the crowbar, pull out the circuit board, listen to more talking, re-insert the circuit board – it’s all stuff VR has you doing already.

Repairing electronics rarely involves crowbars normally...

Then you get into the combat – well, almost. You get into a tutorial showing you how to move and use the Panzerhund, and then you are into the shooting phase.

So how is the combat?

Not bad – not bad at all. It was fun looking through the eyes of some of Wolfenstein’s harder enemies. The panicked reactions of the soldiers as they realise that their robot ally has turned on them is satisfying to see. And see it you do – graphically, I cannot understate how polished Cyberpilot is.

Using the Move controllers, having autonomous left and right-hand movement makes you feel like a badass. Walking through the streets looks and feels impressive, even if the level design is a bit linear.

The lighting effects are hard to show in a still, but the flamethrower looks amazing!

You don’t sound very enthused though, but you are saying it’s good?

Yeah, you knew the ‘but’ was coming.

There are three types of unit to control, of which the Panzerhund is the first. The next level has you flying a drone with an emphasis on stealth. It felt different from the Panzerhund, but it was another “wait for everything to be explained in unskippable sections” as outlined earlier before you got to do what you wanted.

The last robot is the Zitadelle and was, in most ways, the experience I was most expecting. Rockets on my left arm, minigun on my right, go and mow everything down.

By now, I thought the first three levels were the tutorials for the actual game – something fairly standard in a lot of shooters again. So then I started on the fourth level, where I got to jump between all three robots to complete specific tasks.

Rockets or bullets. Why not both?

Here I was, happy to be finally playing the game – and it was over. There are only four levels to the entire game.

Story wise, there was a bit of a twist (no I’m not going into it) but even that felt rushed and out of place.

Bottom line, this felt like the start of a great game that was rushed to meet an artificial deadline. If this had stayed in development another year with a more fleshed out story and levels, it could have been a great game rather than a good experience.

How are the Controls?

With the Move controllers, everything worked pretty well overall. Tracking was good for the most part, and I didn’t have to recenter myself very often.

The most annoying control issue I had was repairing with the Panzerhund and Zitadelle. In the cockpit, if you put your right hand down to the right and fire, Cyberpilot would often assume you were trying to dock the virtual controller to the frame and initiate repairs.

The other problem I had was the tutorials. They are unskippable and relatively slow. It felt like they were making sure you knew everything you could and couldn’t do in the game.

With the PSVR trying to help you lock onto things, repairing accidently happens a lot

So imagine my surprise when I accidentally find out 10 minutes before finishing the game I could strafe. That would have been nice to know earlier in the game!

So it’s not worth it?

No, by all means, grab it – just not at its current price point, and know that it’s not a game in and of itself.

Cyberpilot is fun enough – if you know it’s only a short term experience.

There are a variety of different challenges to try for in the trophy list, but they feel like they are there for completionists rather than fun things to do.

I do regret getting the physical copy. I bought it for AUD$40 from EB Games, mainly because I added it to my preorder for Youngblood. It’s AUD$30 on the PlayStation Store, and I think it will either be a PS Plus add on or half-price shortly.

Once Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot hits the AUD$15-20 mark, I think it will be better value for money and can recommend more people play it. But by then I think the hype will be gone, so interest in the game will have probably died off to the point not as many people will try this game as they should.

There are little things to discover, but not enough to make you play Cyberpilot again and again
JohnHQLD
Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot

Final Thoughts

I don’t regret buying Wolfenstein: Cypberpilot at all. It looks so good, and the fun was there. Not enough to make a concerted effort for a platinum trophy, but it was fun enough. The seeds of an entire spin of series for Wolfenstein are sitting here, waiting to be nurtured.

What Cyberpilot doesn’t have is longevity. It’s like Batman: Arkham VR – it’s a polished and immersive experience, but that is all it is – an experience. This far into the PSVR lifecycle, I was hoping for more.

While the idea of Wolfenstein in VR is appealing, I don’t think that the PSVR is capable of doing it justice. Cypberpilot is a positive experiment and something that I would like to see Bethesda expand on. I will happily get the next game in the Wolfenstein VR series if it happens, but I would recommend picking up Cyberpilot when it’s on sale.

Overall
6/10
6/10

Pros

  • ¬†Amazing Visuals
  • ¬†Each robot feels different to control
  • ¬†Entertaining especially for new VR players
  • ¬†Lots of trophy challenges to complete

Cons

  • ¬†2 hours tops to complete
  • ¬†Unskippable Tutorials and Exposition
  • ¬†No secrets or collectables to promote level exploration
  • ¬†Controls can be awkward

Istanbul The Dice Game Review

Istanbul The Dice Games Box Art
Istanbul The Dice Games Box Art
Released 2017
Designer R√ľdiger Dorn
Publisher Pegasus Spiele (Website)
Players 2 – 4 (Fan based solo rules on BGG)
Playing Time 20-30 minutes
Category Dice Rolling
Push Your Luck
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

I am not making the Constantinople joke.  I hear it all the time.

You may have heard of Alpal and I discussing Istanbul: The Dice Game in the Blatherings last week.  Today, welcome to the formal review!

If you have never played Istanbul, it is a game that I would encourage people that enjoy a medium weight game to play it.  The purpose of the game is simple Рbe the first player to obtain six rubies.  This is done by various trades and exchanges, and you travel around an randomly created marketplace via a mancala mechanic.

It is a unique game and one enjoyed by a large portion of my regular¬†gaming group.¬† Don’t believe me?¬† Istanbul was also the winner of the 2014 Kennerspiel des Jahres, as well as many other awards and nominations.

Anyone that has played the original Istanbul will be pleased that the core of the game remains so intact, in what is a completely different game.

Where the original Istanbul is a very logical and strategic affair with near perfect information, Istanbul the Dice Game is a true dice game where your fate lies in your rolls and ability to react on the fly.

What it definitely isn’t is a case of Yahtzee with Istanbul symbols like some other dice versions – many of the features of the board game are cleverly integrated into the game.¬† This make¬†the dice game a great choice for people that enjoy lighter luck based games, especially compared to the board game.

Istanbul Game Layout
Istanbul the Board Game - all this has been condensed down to a fun dice game!

Overview on How To Play

Istanbul is a market bargaining game.  You collect resources and trade them in for rubies.  When a player gets 6 rubies, this triggers the end game where play continues until all players have had the same number of turns (i.e. back to first player).

Then it’s a simple matter of the most rubies wins!¬† What tends to happen when playing though is that more than one player has six rubies, so people cash in their goods for money which acts as a tiebreaker.

How do you go about collecting things?¬† That’s simple – you roll the die and see what resources you have!

Everyone starts the game with five dice, and the ability to play two actions.  The actions are pretty much all exchanging dice and goods for other items, including rubies.

Istanbul the Dice Game Dice
All of your possible dice actions, and four of them are essentially the same thing - just pick a colour!

On each die, one side of each of the four resources is shown Рcloth (red), fruit (yellow), spices (green) and jewelry (blue).  The other two sides are coins (Lira) and Bazaar cards, which I will talk about in more detail later.

As I previously stated, Istanbul the Dice game is fairly simple Рyou need to collect six rubies.  To collect rubies, you use your dice rolls to build up resources, then hand in those resources to collect the corresponding ruby.

But it’s not quite as simple as just collecting some fruit for a ruby either.¬† If you look at the board, you will see the rubies laid out in a manner that makes sense pretty much as soon as you look at it.

Istanbul the Dice Game Three Player Setup
The 'play' board - setup for three players. Look at all those rubies!

For example, to collect the fruit ruby you must pay 4 fruit resources as an action, as shown on the board.¬† But as you take the ruby from the right, the cost increases – the next player needs to pay five resources, shown as the ruby is taken.¬† All goods are costed like this, so you want to be first to get in and get ‘cheap’ rubies.

So how do you pay for the higher cost items?  By collecting resources from turn to turn.  Every turn, you will have whatever you roll on your dice, but you can store goods for later as well.

For example, if you roll two cloth, you can store a single cloth tile in your warehouse to use it later.  Have three different resources?  You can exchange those for a crate, or a wildcard resource.  Did you roll a rainbow and have one of each resource?  You can pick any two resource tiles (apart from crates) that you like!

Istanbul the Dice Game Actions
The complete list of actions available to you in Istanbul. It looks complicated, but is very simple and comprehensive.

This will be most of your actions, especially in the early parts of the game as you build your stockpile.  But do you go on an early spending spree, or hoard everything until the end?  With only two actions per turn, you can only exchange for two rubies, and the longer you wait the more expensive they become, so timing is everything.

The next common action is exchanging the Lira you rolled for money in the game Рeach die you rolled is worth 2 Lira and you get to build up your bank.

But there are ways to gain advantages during play as well, in the form of Bazaar Cards and Mosque Tiles.

Bazaar Cards can be exchanged from the Bazaar Cards die face, and offer one-time instant bonus opportunities to the player.  You may be able to gain a resource and lira, or exchange one resource for two others.

You may also be able to cash in situational bonuses – for example, if you have one of each resource, you can cash them in to take one ruby from anywhere on the board.

Istanbul the Dice Game Bazzar Cards
A selection of the Bazaar Cards. They play a surprisingly vital role to the game.

One thing about Bazaar Cards though is the majority not only help you but can help other players as well.  For example, you might be able to pick up a Cloth and three Lire, but all other players can pick up a Cloth OR three Lira.

If you roll multiple Bazaar Cards, when cashing them in as your action you can pick up that many Bazaar Cards and choose which one to play, giving you a little more control over the situation.

Mosque Tiles however probably have the biggest impact on making your own game unique each time.

These Tiles are laid out in a group of six, and you simply pay the cost on top of the tile similar to purchasing a Ruby.  At the start of each turn, before you roll your dice, you gain certain abilities depending on the tile.

These can be as simple as automatically gaining three Lira at the start of your turn, and increase to taking more actions or even add more die to your roll – probably the most powerful tile in the game.

Istanbul the Dice Game Mosque Tiles
The Mosque Tiles allow you to build your game differently each time, while making your turn unique to the other players as well.

There are also tiles that play during your turn, where you can switch your Lira rolls into taking one resource tile of a set type (e.g. rolled a coin but don’t want the cash?¬† Take a cloth marker).¬† These can also have a big impact on the game, as it allows players to get a slightly easier time accruing¬†certain goods.

One feature I haven’t discussed is rerolls – technically, you don’t get any.¬† The exception to this is crystals, which you can gain by trading in two different resources or via Mosque Tiles and Bazaar cards.¬† If you trade in a crystal, which does not count as an action, you can choose to reroll as many dice as you wish.

Again, you need to really think about if you are going to reroll or not though.  While cashing in a crystal is simple enough, the fact it will cost you a future action makes it expensive in terms of play economy.  Also, if you are in a tiebreaker situation, crystals are worth three Lira which could tip a win in your favour.

Of course, tiebreakers mean nothing if you don’t think you can get enough rubies to be in the endgame, so it all boils down to picking the right moment and luck being with you.

Why do I enjoy Istanbul the Dice Game?

One thing I really like about Istanbul the Dice Game is that while it is a very competitive game at its heart, there are no real ‘take that’ mechanics in the game.¬† True, when you buy a ruby the price goes up, but that is the same for yourself just as much as other players.¬† At no point do you take anything from another player, so no one can be picked on or crowded out in this game, which is something a table can do in Istanbul the Board Game.

The Bazaar Cards are also a clever inclusion as well, and not as an Istanbul mechanic.  Playing one will reward the drawing player the most, but a good number give the other players a benefit as well.  That benefit can be straightforward (take money or goods), but it can also be the choice to exchange something to help them out as well, such as change goods for Lira.

It may seem small, but because Bazaar Cards are so commonly played during a game, players have a level of engagement on each turn, even if it’s just to see if that player will activate a Bazaar Card.¬†¬†Far too many dice games are simply ‘roll dice – do the¬†thing – tune out until my turn again’.¬† It’s true you can play this way, but that would be a sign to me that you really aren’t engaging in the game and it may not be for you.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

So how do my review scores actually work?

JohnHQLD Logo

I have had a few questions on the rating system lately.  This is largely my fault РI completely missed the rating page when creating the site that explains all this!

So, today’s review is the review system itself.¬† Hopefully, this will explain how I look at games and the scores I give them, and give you an insight to my thinking.

So what’s in a number?

So I have been rating games for a long time.  Not so long on the site, but I have been formally categorising games this way for over 20 years.

Now, ‘this way’ has a lot of different meanings, and the scale has been tweaked over the years.¬† I used to just use category names like ‘maybe if you like the theme’ or ‘I think everyone should play this game’.

This worked for a long time.¬† For my gaming group, especially back then, it was clear and easily understood.¬† But then new members joined the group, and the years of shared back history as to why I would rate a game I might not enjoy I would class ‘everyone should play’.¬† Once I talked through the scale, it made sense to a lot of people.

Today, the rating scale looks like this:

Major Score General Category Description
1 Truly Awful Not even for your worst enemy. Don't play these games.
2 Very Bad So much is wrong with this. I will talk about it if you want, but I won't play again.
3 Bad Yeah no. There was something that made me want to play, but never again.
4 Not Great It's just missing that 'something'. I will teach you if you want me to, but I won't play again.
5 Average These are games. They pass the time. They do nothing to stand out.
6 OK A bit of fun. If someone really needs another player or wants to learn, I am in.
7 Good Games that I have a lot of fun playing, and can reccomend everyone should try if they get the chance.
8 Great I will play these a lot. I think a variety of people should give it a try.
9 Excellent These games I will play at every opportunity, and think everyone should play at least once.
10 Masterpiece Similar to 8's and 9's, but ones I think will still have that impact 10 years from now.

One of the games that has caused conversation behind the scenes is The Grimm Forest.  I love this game and will get it to the table at every opportunity.  The components are gorgeous (and I will be painting the parts soon!), the organiser makes setup and takedown a breeze, and is a game I can scale to playing with friends with younger kids.

But, it’s not for everyone.¬† There will be quite a few people that will probably find this game too simple for them but would be willing to play if the others enjoy it.¬† Hence, the score is 8.5 – I love it and play it often, but a lot of people would not want to buy it after giving it a try.¬† Halfway between the two states of play – 8.5.

The Grimm Forest Sleeve Front
My copy of The Grimm Forest with the Kickstarter Sleeve
Love Letter Cover Art - AEG Edition
Love Letter Cover Art - AEG Edition

And then there is Love Letter.¬† This is a game that is retaining it’s place on my playlist by coming out with different versions.¬† The original Love Letter now is a little dated, but as I said in my review¬†a lot of the ‘new’ rules can be worked into the earlier releases.

Batman Love Letter is my favourite ‘original’ type Love Letter Games, and you can add the rules to the base game.¬† Archer Love Letter skirted the line of being a different game, and I would play this over Batman with players that have played the base game a lot.

But Love Letter itself I think will always have a place on my shelf and at game nights, so it got a 9.¬† The fact new versions and rules are keeping it fresh stop it from being a 10 though – I can’t see myself playing the base game constantly now let alone in another 5 years.¬† But I will be playing Love Letter in some form in 5 years, hence such a high score.

So that explains some of my higher scores, but what about the lower scoring games?  There are games that I really enjoy playing, potentially more than The Grimm Forest and Love Letter, but I ranked them much lower.

There are good reasons for this as well.

An easy one to explain is the PSVR game Time Carnage.  As I said in my review, it is a lot of fun, but has a few problems too.

This is a game I am enjoying now and will jump in and out of again over the next few months.  At least until another mindless fun PSVR game comes along and fills that niche.

Time Carnage Feature
Too dark on PSVR, but still a great fun time that I jump on when I have 20 min or so to kill

So, I am having a blast playing it, and I think a lot of people should give it a go.¬† It’s cheap, so I can recommend¬†spending the money and enjoying it even for a couple of hours.¬† If this was a ‘full price’ release, the score would drop more because it would be harder for me to suggest to players to buy it.

But as soon as a replacement game comes along, I can all but guarantee¬†this will be off my play rotation.¬† Fun right now is important, but will rarely get more than a 7.5.¬† It’s playing the game for many plays to come that gets you a higher score.

And then there is the unique problem of Tak.  My review tried to describe just how much I enjoy this game, and the fact James Ernest had somehow come the closest to making an instant timeless classic I had ever seen.

This is a game that has 10 potential all over it.¬† Sure, it’s not for everyone.¬† Neither is Chess or Backgammon, two ready examples of timeless classics.¬† Tak is a game I can see myself playing on the odd occasion and thoroughly enjoying it for years.

But how do you recommend a game that is in my opinion incredibly overpriced?¬† It’s hard to recommend¬†to people spending the better part of AUD$100 on a ‘you might like this’.

Tak Game 3
Tak - A Beautiful Game indeed, but not for everyone

Cheapass Games have the rules for free on their website, and a lot of people can draw a board if they have to.  All you need components wise are two different coloured squarish pieces, so with a little creativity, you can try the game for free which is amazing.

But that still means trying to recommend to people to go out of their way to cobble together components to try a game.  And I can understand people that would rather just buy a cheap complete game and set that up.

It’s this major swing of positive and negatives that means Tak has what looks like a low score overall, but is a game I still enjoy and will for a long time.¬† It’s not that I don’t enjoy the game, it’s just hard for me to justify to someone else why they would like the game, so it’s in the ‘You might like it, play it with me and see’ category.

So hopefully this will help you see why I give the scores that I do.¬† And if you disagree and would rate a game differently, neither of us are ‘wrong’, we just have a differing opinion.¬† Games are essentially art – they are a personal experience that we all interpret¬†differently.

I have enjoyed discussing the scores with people, and if you wish to do so privately that is fine and will always answer when I can.  But if you have a question, I would ask you consider posting the question publicly, either in the comments or on the Facebook page.  This way, we can include everyone and have a proper discussion, which would be amazing!

So until next time,

JohnHQLD

World Championship Russian Roulette Review

World Championship Russian Roulette Feature
World Championship Russian Roulette Feature
Released 2017
Designer Anthony Burch
Publisher Tuesday Knight Games (Website)
Players 3 – 6
Playing Time 15-20 minutes
Category Bluffing
Push Your Luck
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

Sub Heading Block

Ok, first and foremost – World Championship Russian Roulette is not a game for everybody.¬† It doesn’t pretend to be.¬† It takes some very dark subject matter and parodies it to ridiculous extremes.

If you are someone that finds the idea of a game where you shoot yourself and sometimes others distasteful, nothing I say here can change your mind. Please do not continue reading, as the rest of this review will likely cause you distress. That is not my intention, it is simply a case of this game not being for you. Soon I will be doing a review for Skull which offers a similar tension – check it out on Board Game Geek in the meantime.

If you are still reading, it helps to have a dark sense of humour to appreciate this game. I have such a sense of humour, and I wanted to play World Championship Russian Roulette from the moment I heard the title. As a regular listener of the Tuesday Knight Games Podcast, I heard little snippets of information for quite some time. Each story I heard only made me more excited to play. And then late May 2016, I got to add my pledge to the Kickstarter, and haven’t looked back.

WRCC - Such a tiny box
Travelling with World Championship Russian Roulette is easy with this game
WRCC - Those precious points
Those precious points

So what is World Championship Russian Roulette?

This is very much a game ‘as advertised’. A World Championship is a gathering of elite individuals to compete against each other. The humour here starts where the event is surviving Russian Roulette.

Each player gets a Captain and three team members. Think of these people as lives, in every sense. To win, you need to score 15+ points. It’s plus points because 15 points trigger the end, and the highest score wins. You are out of the competition if you lose four times and your team is eliminated. It’s a very simple game ūüôā

WRCC - My Bullets
One day I will finish my wooden replacement bullets

Setup

So setup is very straightforward. Each player select a colour, and takes that colour summary card and team tiles. They also get a die matching that colour, and seven cards – six ‘click’ cards, and one ‘bang’ card.

Put the pile of point bullets in the middle where everyone can reach them. Finally, shuffle the action cards and place them in a pile.

Setup complete!

Playing World Championship Russian Roulette

Each round is divided up into six phases. While this sounds excessive, each one is very simple in itself. The distinction helps clarify timing for the Action Cards, which I will go through later.

Phase 1 – Pocket

So, you have seven cards. Each card represents a chamber in a revolver – standard equipment in Russian Roulette. But a revolver only has six chambers, so at this stage, you take one of the ‘Click’ cards and put it in your pocket.

Of course, being the solid player you are, the bullet (‘Bang’) card is definitely in the gun. You would never have put the bullet in your pocket, would you?

WRCC - Phase 1
OK So normally these are facedown, but no one will ever know! Sssshh!

Phase 2 – Spin

A very simple phase – take your remaining six cards, and shuffle them. This represents ‘spinning the chamber’ in Russian Roulette.

Phase 3 – Bidding

In the Bidding phase, each player picks up their die. While it is a six sided die, the numbers on the side go from 0 to 5. Each player picks how many pulls of the trigger they think they can do without drawing a ‘Bang’. Once everyone is ready, all die are placed on the table at the same time. There is no seeing what someone else bids then picking from there!

This is important, becuase you will get a point for every time you draw a click card. But if you pull a ‘Bang’, you will score nothing, and a team member dies.

WRCC - Phase 3
Don't want to make it too obvious

Phase 4 – Challenge

Now, the challenge phase is pretty much half the game. You can see what everyone has bid, and you can also see how confident they are. If one of the players looks confident they can fire their gun 5 times, you have to wonder – is their bullet in their pocket?

This is your chance to ‘Challenge’ another player of cheating. When you challenge a player, you force them to ’empty their pockets’. This means everyone can see the very first card they discarded as it is turned face up.

If it’s a ‘Bang’, they instantly lose one team member and are out of the round. You are also awarded three Action Cards for finding the cheat.

WRCC - Phase 4
NO! I got called out by Team Babushka! How did they know?

But if your wrong, the person you accused gets an Action Card, and you have to replace one of your ‘Click’ cards for another ‘Bang’, effectively putting another round in your gun. As you have already bid, this makes life very… interesting for you.

Phase 5 – Trigger

The trigger phase is the final stretch – literally the business end as it were. I have seen this round played differently with different groups, but the end result is the same.

We play it that everyone that is both alive and hasn’t reached their bid simultaneously draws a card from their gun pile. If it’s a click, everyone gets to continue. If someone draws a ‘Bang’, they lose a team member and are out of the round. They do get to draw an Action Card though, so with any luck it will be easier for them in future rounds.

This continues until either all players have been shot this round, or all players successfully draw their bid.

WRCC - Phase 5
So Team Babushka wasn't lucky, but they have 3 Action Cards from the Challenge, +1 for losing a team member

Phase 6 – Points

Here, all players that have survived this round recieve one point for each ‘click’ card they drew, plus one more point for surviving . Each player does a quick total, and if anyone has 15 points – they win! In the event more than one player 15 points, then the player with the higher score wins. If no one has won, then a new round starts for all players that have living team members.

WRCC - Phase 6
Team Vengeance had a great round - only 11 more points to go!

So what are these Action Cards?

So up to now, we have a fun push your luck bluffing game. It has more elements to games like Skull, and while fun in a macabre kind of way, nothing special.

Then you get to use Action Cards.

Here is where World Championship comes into it’s own. If it wasn’t for the theme, the Action cards would put this into my ‘Everyone should have this game’ category. Well, it is in that category for me already. I understand why people would overlook it though.

You see, the Action Cards let you manipulate play during the game. Each card has the Phase it can be played in, the title, and a description of the power.

Here are a few as examples:

WRCC - Bullet Time
Not the normal way of stacking a deck
WRCC - Peek the Boo
Knowledge is truly power in this game
WRCC - Bribe the Judge
Cheating in games is wrong. But if you have already...
WRCC - Reach for the Sky
This can save your hide, plus it makes everyone just look silly
WRCC - I Bang You
Yeah. If your sense of humour lets you play this, we all know where it's going.
WRCC - Hit Baby 1 More Time
How to turn victory into defeat in one easy action. Plus some really atrocious Britney Spears impressions.

What it’s been like to play

Luckily, I have a pretty open-minded gaming group to play with. Skull was a group hit, so the problem was getting them to play a game that sounded like it played like Skull, instead of Skull.  It was well worth the effort.

Being such a quick game, World Championship Russian Roulette can be called a heavy filler. You don’t want to spend the whole night playing it, but each time you do play you will have a lot of fun.
 
It’s hilarious to watch players yelling an Action Cards title at others. I am guilty of enjoying the look of concern as others have been worried where I was going to point next. The looks on someones face when they are caught pocketing the ‘Bang’ card is always worth it.

After talking a few groups into playing, I would say the conversion rate from Skull is conservatively around 70{dfca638b9dbdbc1caf156b9b6679a983a965572ca56a786c9cf360ad3783820c}. That’s players that would prefer to play World Championship Russian Roulette over Skull. About 95{dfca638b9dbdbc1caf156b9b6679a983a965572ca56a786c9cf360ad3783820c} of people I played with would happily play either. It has been close to 100{dfca638b9dbdbc1caf156b9b6679a983a965572ca56a786c9cf360ad3783820c} ‘careful who you play this around’ though, which is the only downside of the game.

So after all this, if your still not sure if this is a game for you, there is an easy way to find out. Simply download a print and play version from Tuesday Knight Games to take it for a spin!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Review: Destiny 2 and Curse of Osiris

Destiny 2 Poster Art

The shooter I play, even though I don’t play shooters.

So, my first video game review! And as such, I thought I might start it off with possibly a controversial one. Destiny 2 has been dragged through all sorts of mud since release. Some of this has been deserved, and some maybe not so much. Like any experience, different aspects will impact you differently to other people.

As I have talked about in Blatherings episode 4, Destiny is a game that needs to be played with friends, and I can say that this is why I am still playing Destiny 2 today. It is in fact the only reason I picked up Destiny 2 in the first place. With Christmas sales, I managed to pick up Destiny 2 and the Curse of Osiris expansion for about $50, and I think I can safely say I have happily gotten my moneys worth.

So what is Destiny?

Destiny can be best described as an expensive experiment. I know this will probably sound like a negative, but I don’t mean it to be.¬† Destiny was envisioned to be what happened when you take a first-person shooter game and make the entire gameworld persistent¬†and accessible always.¬† Think Halo meets World of Warcraft.¬† It hadn’t been done, but the potential for a legendary game was already in that sentence.

I saw envisioned, because overall in a lot of ways the mark wasn’t quite hit.¬† Right now, three and a half years after Destiny’s release, it’s easy to say all the things that have¬†been done better since.¬† But Destiny was first, and that is always a scary position to be in.

So who can be first?

Bungie, the people behind Marathon (yes, I’m that old) and Halo, broke off with Microsoft and decided to do something new. And everyone wanted it, whatever IT¬†was, because it was being done by Bungie.

Bungie as a company has a well-deserved history for being incredibly innovative. When there was Wolf 3D and Doom on PC, Bungie had the Marathon trilogy on the Mac with deep storylines and even dual wielding weapons. And not just an image of both hands pointing in the same direction like most shooters even today. That in itself would have been a first for the time, but Bungie had independently firing left and right hands as well! I don’t remember this in PC games for another few years.

Marathon Dual Wield
Duel wielding shotguns in Marathon 2

While the Marathon trilogy was my introduction to Bungie, the world as a whole know them as the Halo guys. But even Halo wasn’t originally what people know it as today. Who remembers Halo being revealed by Steve Jobs?

With such a history, and with MMORPG’s taking the world by storm, it’s almost a logical step that Bungie would want to do something like this.¬† It also makes sense that Activision had faith that Bungie were the developers to pull this off.

Destiny in the news, before it even came out

Years before Destiny came out, it was already front and centre in a number of high profile issues.  Some of these were marketing hype and intended, one in particular was not.  This would be a lawsuit between Activision and Infinity Ward, were details of Destiny and arrangements with Bungie were first revealed to the public.

It was obvious the money being thrown at Bungie to do this, but when news of the ’10 year plan’ came out, consumer hype went into overdrive.

I’m not going to talk about the theories and fan declarations that were going around at the time.¬† But I will add an excerpt from the document that lays out the entire plan:

Destiny Release Plan
Excerpt from the Activision-Bungie Agreement

Now, people are a tricky thing.  Legal documents are a tricky thing.  Put the two together, and lots of conclusions are drawn.  Now, this agreement has been redrafted before Destiny 2, that much is known.  Road plans and development cycles have shifted with time.

But before Destiny launched no one knew what they were buying, not only from a ‘what’s in the game’ perspective but how they were buying it as well.¬† The number of people that told me with certainty that Destiny was going to be a one-off¬†purchase of the game and an expansion pass was astounding.¬† No company can sell 10 years of development for $200 up front and no more.¬† Even showing them this document they wouldn’t believe Destiny would be multiple games, with multiple purchases.

And then Destiny came out

Like so many others, I picked up Destiny pretty quickly.¬† I didn’t buy the season pass, because I am not a big shooter fan and I mainly wanted to see what the game was like.

I got it on my PS3, because I still hadn’t bought a PS4 at that time.¬† I didn’t buy the season pass, because as a general rule I don’t play shooters and didn’t want to spend more than I had too.¬† I knew that if I enjoyed the game, it would cost me later, but that was future Johns problem.

Turns out I made the right choice.

Thanks to PSNProfiles, I can review my Destiny playing at the time.  In a little over two weeks, between the 11th and 26th of September 2014, I earned 20 of the possible 42 trophies.

Destiny Trophies
Far from an impressive trophy tally

So all was fun for a little while.  About two weeks.  Then the people I was trying to play with decided to stop playing.  We had done what felt like all of the single player stuff, and timing to get together was tricky.  I tried to go back a month later and grind for all of the story elements of the Destiny cards, but that was half-hearted and I quickly gave up.

From all accounts, Destiny’s two expansions The Taken King and Rise of Iron added a lot to the game, but I can’t say one way or another as I never played them.¬† I lost interest in the game¬†and didn’t even pay attention when Destiny hit the news for whatever reason.

Destiny Classes
Destiny The Collection

Story-wise, it was a strange affair.¬† You wake up after being dead.¬† Yep.¬† Dead.¬† If that doesn’t set the tone, nothing will ūüėÄ

You have a Ghost assigned to you (when I was playing, Peter Dinklage.¬† I don’t know what the fuss was about).¬† Ghosts focus the ‘Light’ that brings you back from the dead, act as a guide, and generally makes the sarcastic plot comments you can’t as a silent protagonist.

You then played the game, living the main parts of the story.  The backstory was obtained through earning Grimoire cards and read through the Bungie website or the Destiny app.

I am intentionally not going to describe the story for two reasons.¬† One – the way Bungie designed the game, people that just wanted to run around and shoot things could do just that.¬† Two, this is the Destiny 2 review, so yeah ūüėÄ

Followed by Destiny 2

Destiny 2 came out late last year.¬† I could look up the date, but I won’t.¬† Mainly because at the time, I really didn’t care.¬† I thought it was all the same game, and didn’t give it a second thought.¬† There was a lot of talk around the place of ‘Bungie’s¬†latest apologies for’, but as I wasn’t playing I didn’t worry too much.

And then this guy told me he was playing it.

20180421 Destiny 2 Harls The Blade Selfie Emote
Meet Harls. It's usually his fault.

With the grind of the first Destiny, I already knew it was a game best played with a partner in crime.  And with sales happening, I was thinking it would be a cheap way to take up some of the holidays with a mate.

And so I jumped into Destiny again, this time at a place further along than my previous experience.  The first expansion, the Curse of Osiris, was already out, so I was jumping into what I assumed would be the advanced game.

Playing Destiny 2

So the first part of Destiny 2 is the tutorial.  I say tutorial, really you are dropped straight into it with button prompts when required.

Everything was going well back in the last city.  The Guardians had saved everyone from the previous games, nothing can possibly go wrong.  Then, on cue, everything goes wrong.

The Red Legion, led by Ghaul, attacks the last city and hands everyone their collective butts.  The last city falls, Guardians lose their light, and everything looks really bad for everyone.

Luckily though, you have the last Ghost with a touch of light left.  Not enough to go on a rampage, but enough to get you back on your feet.  You then track down a broken piece of the traveller, that luckily has just enough light to give you back some of your Guardian powers, and you begin the fight to take back the last city.

While cliche, I think this was a great introduction to Destiny 2.  It was just enough information to bring new players up to speed on the key points, and a good way to bring all players back to a collective start point.

Some people have vocally had different thoughts on this, but there you go.  It was an introduction that got you into the game quickly, and that was what was needed.

Destiny 2 Story Mode
You may have been a little late for this one

Then, you started travelling from planet to planet helping our now vulnerable guardian comrades and fighting whatever we need to.  This is where we start levelling up our characters and starting that long, long climb to the good loot.

The Level/Loot Grind

Normally in RPG type games, there is a level progression system in place.  Go up a level, earn new skills, increase some stats and so on.

Destiny 2 also has a progression system, but it works very differently.¬† Technically there is a traditional character level system, but it’s very basic.¬† When you level up, you get an upgrade point for your skills and a bright engram, which I will talk about later.

The real levelling you need is your Light, which is directly related to your weapons and armour.¬† In terms of your character level, the only way this really comes into play is some equipment has a level requirement.¬† That’s it.¬† It almost makes character¬†creation pointless.

So you get three character races to choose from – Human, Exo, and Awoken.¬† What do they do for you?¬† They change your appearance in the game, and you can only tell what race someone is if they take their helmet off.¬† You can’t even pick what you look like, only your gender which sets the sounds of your grunts and screams as you play.

The three classes though, now they have an impact on the game.  Each class has three subclasses, each tied to an element in the game.  Each subclass also has slightly different player powers and abilities which does have an impact on your gameplay.

Destiny 2 Gunslinger Solar Hunter Subclass
The Hunter Solar Subclass - the Gunslinger

My issue here is it’s almost – almost – pointless in itself.¬† Just like you can change between the three subclasses of your character on the fly, you could just as easily have changed between the three classes as well as the subclasses.

Now I don’t say this as something I think the game should change.¬† Having three different characters as three different classes makes sense, as different characters have the different abilities on offer.¬† But Bungie seems to have a mixed metaphor in terms of design choices.¬† Each character is unique and contained as an individual experience, except you share all of the glimmer (money), bright and inventory items of your master account between them.

It’s a small niggle though, but a niggle nonetheless.

The real levelling you need is your Light, which is directly related to your weapons and armour.  In terms of your character level, the only way this really comes into play is some equipment has a level requirement.

The higher your light, the more powerful your weapons and armour, and by extension the more powerful you are.¬† That makes the loot drops the bigger part of the game’s customisation, in a lot of ways.

Destiny 2 Master Rahool
Master Rahool will 'decrypt' your loot drops and let you know what you got

Because the equipment is really the only customisation to the game, that does make Destiny a race to the best gear rather than how to build your character like other games.

Again this is a double-edged sword.  Want the cool looking Iron Banner gear?  Get good at blowing away other players in player vs player combat.  Want the special raid gear that makes future raids easier?  Master the prestige raids and get the bonus.

What you don’t have to do is spend a heap of time throwing points in a skill tree only to find forty hours later you should have done something else.¬† This makes Destiny accessible to people that just want to jump in and play, but frustratingly close to so much more for others that want more depth to the character creation system.

So what do you do in Destiny 2?

So at its heart, Destiny 2 is a shooter.  So you travel around the solar system shooting various enemies.  There are a few things to keep you interested though.

Public Events

Public events happen all the time and are just what they sound like.  As you explore the planet your on, activities will happen that everyone on the map can join in with, not just the people you may be playing with.

These are great fun, and the best way to grab experience and engrams, especially early on.

And like so many things in Destiny, there are secrets to the public events.  If you do a certain objective depending on the activity, you unlock a Heroic event with tougher enemies, but greater rewards.

Destiny 2 Heroic Event
A Public Event just got Upgraded. Cabal Drilling event? Shoot down the Thresher!

Patrols

Patrols are little mini-missions littered around the planet.  Sometimes you just have to go to a spot and look around, sometimes you just have to shoot everyone you see.

My preferred missions are the salvage missions – a combination of shoot everything and find stuff.

These are unlocked during the story missions maybe halfway through?  But give you something else to do while playing.  For some quick planet tokens and XP, start up a salvage or combat mission on a public event and kill two birds with one stone.  Literally.

Destiny 2 Patrols
Patrol beacons are scattered around the planet, so they are optional

Ikora’s Challenges

These are what Harls and I spent a lot of time doing.  Every day, there are three different challenges on each planet, and most have you collecting resources or killing a certain number of enemies.

These are really straightforward, and reward you with tokens from the planet that you can spend to buy things.

As a lasting way of keeping your interest, especially by yourself, these really aren’t great.¬† But to waste some time and run around exploring they are a lot of fun, and good time killers while waiting for some other people to jump on.

Destiny 2 Ikoras Challenges
Ikora's Challenges on the right hand side

Ikora’s Meditations / Cayde’s¬†Treasure Chests

I definitely do one of these more than the other, but I need to do some more meditations going forward.

Ikora’s¬†Meditations are replaying some of the missions from the initial single player story.¬† I think there are more to them than just stories though.¬† One mission in particular, ‘1AU’, I seem to have triggered two different endings.¬† So these seem to be twofold in nature.¬† One, earn currency to buy things from Ikora.¬† Two, have a chance to replay missions with possibly secret/hidden story elements.¬† It’s this discovery that makes me want to play more of them.

Destiny 2 Ikora
This weeks Meditation missions

Cayde’s¬†treasure chests are a very different activity.¬† Each week, Cayde manages to lose a bunch of supply caches on a different planet, and you can buy maps to go and find them.

This leads to exploring the map and looking in all sorts of different areas for paths you would not normally think of looking for.

Apart from being a bit of fun, it also teaches you how to start looking for other secrets scattered throughout Destiny.

Destiny 2 Cayde's Treasure Hunt
An example of Cayde's Treasure Hunt. The caches are marked by the spade symbols.

Strikes / Heroic Strikes / Nightfall / Prestige Nightfall

Until recently, this has probably been my main activity in the game.

Strikes are missions, generally from the single-player game, that have their own version of Ikora’s¬†challenges as well.¬† The main difference is that these are done for Zavala’s Vanguard faction, so completion can give you engrams and such, but mainly currency to purchase things from Zavala.

Heroic strikes are the same thing but at a higher difficulty rating.  These give you a higher chance of better loot drops.

Destiny 2 Fireteam Travelling
You do not want to do the Nightfall by yourself

The nightfall mission changes each week, and is always the same mission for that week.

Finishing the nightfall gives you the chance to win specific items, such as this week the Arms Dealer strike gives you the chance to win an exotic sparrow or speeder bike.

The prestige nightfall is a little different though.  While it is harder than the normal nightfall, you are actually trying to beat your high score in each one.

You can also make the Prestige Nightfall harder or easier by changing the score multiplier in the game Рhigher multiplier, harder enemies.  The catch is if your fireteam all dies at the same time, you are booted from the mission.

Destiny 2 Nightfall
Because you will be facing guys like this

For every 20,000 points, you acquire you get a better chance of getting rare and exotic items.  Score over 60,000 and you can get a special emblem that gives you a halo effect to show all players what you have done, as well as more tokens and such in subsequent runs.

The Crucible / Trials of the Nine / Iron Banner

So this is the player vs player events, and what a lot of people concentrate on in Destiny 2.

As this is probably my least favourite activity in gaming, I don’t have much experience with these.¬† I have tried Competitive and Quickplay¬†Crucible because¬†there is a challenge (milestone) to get you to which rewards you with an engram, but I haven’t done too much since.

You will randomly be dropped into one of three game modes.  Clash is your basic team deathmatch, just shoot the other team as much as possible.  Control has you capturing set locations and trying to control them longer than the other team.  Finally, Supremacy has you collecting gems from the players you kill, highest score wins.

Destiny 2 The Crucible
The Crucible match selection screen

The Leviathan Raid / Eater of Worlds

The big raid.  The one that everything has you working up to.  There are prestige versions, but I am not up to those yet.

What makes it such a big event?  Well, it has some of the hardest enemies in the game coming for you.  It is also a giant puzzle waiting to be explored.  Not just secrets and hidden things, of which there are plenty, but challenges you must work out how to beat.  Just pure gunplay will not help you here.

Apart from wanting to be maxed out to give yourself the best chance, the other big obstacle for the leviathan raid is the numbers.  You really want to be doing these with a minimum of six players, as a lot of the challenges require this many players to work together to get through efficiently.

Destiny 2 Raid Entrance
Just go inside and shoot Emperor Calus. No big deal. You will be fine.
Destiny 2 Calus Throne Room
Oh that's what can happen. That goblet is bigger than one of us.

But when everything works, it works so well.¬† Making your way through the Emperor’s finest the first time is a harrowing experience, but with your¬†team standing with you a great time.

I can honestly say that making it through the Leviathan raid that first time was an amazing experience.  Now I have finished it a couple more times, and I am more interested in learning the secrets of the Leviathan more than anything else.

Well, except to start doing them as prestige runs ūüôā

Destiny 2 Leviathan Complete
I have never been so happy to see a mission complete screen

The Clans

Clans to my understanding have been upgraded a lot from the original Destiny.  All I can tell you is Harls found a clan to play with, and I followed suit.  There was the benefit of getting extra high-level engrams each week as members of the clan completed things like the nightfalls, crucible and leviathans, but it became more.

As I have already said, I don’t multiplayer.¬† My friends’ list was blocked off for a long time.

Then I joined the Cosmic Voids.  I met a couple of people at first, people that wanted to be a third in a strike or the like to finish off some challenges.  Occasionally I would drop into Harls fireteam and he would already be playing with another clan member.

Then when I finally had time, I got to do my first leviathan raid.¬† The team knew that I hadn’t done a raid before, and that was fine.¬† They just talked me through all the different sections and were very patient.

But more than that.  They were fun to listen to and talk with.  Just a diverse group of people talking garbage and enjoying themselves.  It had been years since I had heard this kind of conversation online.

So I started participating a bit more in the clans’ Discord channel and even added a couple of people to my friends’ list.¬† Now, this might sound like normal behaviour for most but remember I describe my online social habits as hermit-like.

Destiny 2 Clan Finish
Clan Cosmic Void celebrating the raid finish

And that is really what Destiny 2 is all about.  Joining up with people and everyone just having a great time doing what they want to do.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD