Last Week’s Gaming – August 12th, 2019

One Page of the Galaxy was so Metal and Pretty, it was Twice as Clever.

So I didn’t get to play as much as I was hoping this week. A bout of illness and general tiredness got in the way (Boo!).

But as usual, I ended up playing more than I thought I did! Maybe not exactly what I wanted to play, but some great gaming in anyway 🙂

So without further waiting, let’s jump in!

This one popped up on a Solo Gaming Group on Facebook, and I grabbed it from DriveThruRPG.

One Page Dungeon: Volume 1: Fire in the Goblin Forge is a fairly straightforward solo roll and write dungeon crawl. Even if the title is a bit of a mouthful. :p Straightforward doesn’t mean boring though, and it was a fun run.

I have only played once, but I made it through so I will be trying again as a level 2 character this week. It’s the beginning of a series, and at the moment its also pay what you want from DriveThruRPG – click on the heading for the link!

I am going to level up after a successful run (yay!). Might try and condense if I keep playing though.

I have had one of those weeks with a lot of ‘I don’t want to’. Tired nights tend to lead to this sometimes.

One of the reasons I enjoy That’s Pretty Clever so much is the system becomes so mindlessly effortless while still providing you with a challenge. And yes, I am aware of how contradictory that statement is!

That doesn’t change how comfortable I am playing it though. I didn’t break any records or anything, but I had a fun few games of an old favourite.

Fill out the sections to maximise your score. Simple in premise, not so much in execution

While That’s Pretty Clever is an old favourite, Alpal pulled out her copy of Twice As Clever and walked me through a game this week.

I don’t have any excuse now to start playing Twice As Clever. I know the rules, and I know my scores will be terrible for a while 🙂

It was great playing multiplayer with Alpal as well. Just talking through and mucking about was fun, as was giving each other ‘helpful’ (i.e. terrible) advice.

There are excellent reasons this series is so popular, and I strongly suggest you try them out if you have any interest at all.

It was great playing a multiplayer 'Clever' game. Chatting and goading during the game was a lot of fun 🙂

Jordan Draper makes quite a few games that I quite enjoy. Kind of like the old school ’20 games in a box’ kit, you get a box of components and a variety of rules to make up a variety of different games.

One of the Kickstarters that arrived recently was METAL, a game where every component in the game (including packaging) is metal.

We played Not Pool, which is a mix between croquet and snooker. The three of us had fun moving around the table trying to knock a little metal ball with the small mallet into the ‘ball’.

It will be fun trying some of the other games soon.

The first game we played from Jordan Draper's METAL - Not Pool!

Roll for the Galaxy. The dice version of the modern classic Race for the Galaxy. Wow, it was fun. It had been a while since I played any of the ‘for the Galaxy’ games, but it came back quickly.

Playing with Alpal, we had a few slow starting rounds, and we forgot the two-player rule that allowed for another phase.

It didn’t take long to get back into a rhythm, and it ended up being a close game. What it did trigger in both of us is a renewed desire to try New Frontiers, the Race for the Galaxy board game, soon.

Watch out for that one between now and PAX Aus!

It has been a while since I played any of the 'for the Galaxy' games, and it hasn't lost any of it's fun

Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot (PSVR)

So I jumped on Cyberpilot to grab some screens for last weeks review.

Even including some setup for the capture, it took me less than an hour and a quarter to finish the game on normal, with one death because I was being cute.

As I said last week, if you are interested try it, but I would wait until it’s on sale. If they come out with another game like this though, I would need to know it was at least twice as long before being a day one purchase in the future.

Rockets or bullets. Why not both?

Wolfenstein: Youngblood (PS4)

I got some kick back time and played a bit of Youngblood this week, and it was fun.

Initially I was a little lost as to what I should be doing, but it didn’t take too long to get back into the swing. Remembering how to throw grenades was a pain though!

But even seeing some units in a new light thanks to Cyberpilot, it just bought home everything in the VR experience I am missing. I spent almost as much time walking around exploring for secrets as I did playing missions, and it was great.

Hopefully next week I can work out a time to play online with someone, and see how it works without the computer AI.

I can't open this door yet, but that looks like a certain room from Dishonored...

Elder Sign: Omens (Android)

So looking on my phone, I realised I had installed Elder Sign: Omens a while ago but I hadn’t played it yet.  The last few times I have thought about playing it, I jumped on PC to play and ended up getting distracted.

If you haven’t played Elder Sign, calling it Lovecraft Yahtzee is kind of accurate in all the ways that count.

You have to collect a certain number of Elder Sign before an Elder God collects a certain level of Doom. You do this by rolling dice and making certain combinations to pass. And the digital version Omens does all of the housekeeping for you!

Roll the dice, get the combinations you need. Simple! And yet, strangely addictive

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – July 29th, 2019

The Pretty Clever Lords of Waterdeep had a Rapid Response to the incident in the Blue Lagoon

It was another great week of gaming! I have a lot of new games coming in via both retail orders and Kickstarters, and quite a few games launched last Friday and I got to play two of them!

Travel may interefere with my gaming this week, but with the original Doom trilogy, finihsing Final Fantasy X and waiting to start Fire Emblem: Three Houses I will have some solid replacement games waiting in the wings!

It has been far too long since I got Lords of Waterdeep to the table. It was a mix of new players and a couple of veterans, and everyone had just as good a time.

Lords of Waterdeep takes a long time to play, especially when learning. But two brand new players jumped in and played the full expanded game (to accomodate 6 players) with no issues at all.

It was a fun night, with breaks for dinner and desert making for a long but very social night. Expect to see more on this game over time, it still makes me happy to play 🙂

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

Playing solo, I am still enjoying That’s Pretty Clever on my phone. But I am thinkign of a Roll and Write night for my games night, so I pulled out the physical version again.

That was for 2 reasons. First, you quickly forget how much admin the app does for you! Secondly, playing the physical version takes longer and I wanted to get a feel for how long a game may take per player.

My biggest gripe is I was concentrating so much on those things, I made very poor decisions. Maybe I should take a bit longer and go for a much better score!

I pulled out the physical version for something different, even though I was playing solo

Another Alpal special that I would never have even thought to look for – and it’s a Reiner Knizia game!

Very similar in a lot of respects to games like Through the Desert, Blue Lagoon has players exploring land and collecting resources. A lot of players start turning away at such a description, but Blue Lagoon is surpricingly accessible for all players.

Want to claim a chunk of land as yours? Have more people on it. Want to have explored the most? Have people on every island. Add set collection for the resources, and you have the trademark ‘everything gives you points somehow’ of a Knizia game.

Another Reiner Knizia classic - simple yet deep, with the top 3 spots within 6 points of each other

We had a four player game, and even on the very first game almost everything clicked quickly for everyone. You play in two stages, and there are slight placement changes between the two, but it’s a game you can teach and be playing wihtin five minutes every time.

I have been looking forward to this since it’s announcement. Rapid Response is the latest addition to the Pandemic universe, and is designed by Kane Klenko of Fuse, Flatline and Flipships fame.

A real time turn based race against the clock, players have to strategise, carry out their turn and hope luck is with them against an unstoppable force – the timer :p

Instead of using cards like normal Pandemic, players roll dice and use worker placement type mechanics to create enough supplies to save a town after an unnamed disaster.

I was worried this would have the same initial 'huh' factor as Fuse and Flatline. There was nothing to be worried about.

Every time the timer runs out (every 2 minutes), you lose a token and a new city has a disaster you must deal with. Every time you save a city, you get a token back, so there is no downtime in this game!

We played until we cleared the first card without a timer to make sure we had the mechanics and the like nailed down. We also played without the crisis cards – extra machanics to increase the challenge!

Unlike explaining Fuse and Flatline to new players, Pandemic: Rapid Response seemed to click a lot better and work a lot smoother out of the gate. Look forward to a formal review in the next few weeks!

Gloomhaven (Steam)

You knew I was going to give this another go. Or thirty.

Nothing has changed since I played last week, but I am still really enjoying the ability to jump in and just clear a dungeon.

I am thinking of resetting and playing with all 4 available characters, but that will be in a week or so. I am having fun just finding my feet with the systems again.

One thing I did do differently was move Gloomhaven to my ultrawide screen, and I am glad I did. The extra screen real estate works nicely, and it the UI doesn’t feel strange like some other games.

It's a little thing, but I really love the little touches already present - like the adventure 'map'

Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot (PSVR)

Both games coming out Friday interested me for very different reasons.

Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot has you strapped to a chair and using the move controllers as virtual control sticks – both in and out of the game.

The first level has you controlling a panzerhoung – a giant robot dog with a flamethrower, and the second level has you controlling a drone with a cloak and short range zap.

I only finished two levels, but I have played enough to know I want to finish it. I don’t know if I want to platinum it, but we will see.

Flying a drone through an enemy office. That guard is about to get a shock :p

Fair warning though – in the drone level, I got my first case of VR motion sickness in a very long time. It may have been because I was playing standing while my ‘body’ was seated, but it defninitely happened. I will let you know how that goes as I play more.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood (PS4)

The other Wolfenstein game, Youngblood, had me as a co-op shooter I could play with Rabbit. Thanks to the buddy system, I only need to buy one copy of the game, and I can play with any of my friends – with some restrictions. I will talk more about that during the week.

Playing at the moment in offline mode myself, I am surprised how much Wolfenstein: Youngblood has drawn me in. I can stealth almost every area, but the run and gun gunplay is satisfying when things go wrong.

If all zeppelins had nightclub casinos, I am sure they would be a lot more popular!

Developed with Arkane Studios, the Dishonoured and Prey mechanics are very much present and fit right in. Stealth, collectables, great level pacing – it’s all here.

If I can setup a regular game partner session time, I think this might be my first Arkane platinum – I am enjoying it that much!

Horizon Chase Turbo (PS4)

Back in the day, I could mostly fit in the arcade Out Run machine at my local shopping center – the one with the car you sat in and moved as you steered. It was different, it was fun, but I never quite had the drive (hah puns!) to finish it.

Last weekend, I sat on my couch and had the exact same experience, minus the moving chair.

You can grab Horizon Chase Turbo on PlayStation Plus for July still (for a few days anyway), and if you would like to kick back with an OK racer with nostalgia feels, it works? Personally, I will just fire out Burnout Paradise again next time I want a race.

This is very much old school racing - even down to the graphics

Beat Saber (PSVR)

Yep, switched back to the goold old PSVR for a bit this week after playing the Vive for a couple of weeks.

Beat Saber is still excellent, and you should definitely play it. That hasn’t changed.

Bonuses for PSVR – the screen noticably doesn’t have the ‘screen door’ effect like the Vive does. The headset is more comfortable to wear overall, but it still has the annoying cable that must lead in front of you.

Well that was a terrible cut - but it was a cut!

Bonuses for Vive (w/ wireless adaptor) – No cable, except for a small cable to a battery pack. Obvious increase in precision tracking. Level Editor on PC which I will be messing with in a couple of weeks 🙂

Basically, I don’t think I will ever get sick of playing Beat Saber. I am giving serious thought to finally doing a semi-concentrated platinum run on PSVR though.

What about your week? I hope you had a great one!

What games did you get in? Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Do you have a Gen Con wish list?

Shout out in the comments, on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – July 22nd, 2019

The Pelaton on a Danger Circuit may not be Pretty Clever

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Best! Always something satisfying - beating your record 🙂

Gloomhaven (Steam Early Access)

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

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

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

Choose your path, and see what adventures wait for you

Beat Saber (Steam/Vive)

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

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

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

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

Operation Warcade (Steam/Vive)

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

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

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

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

Superhot VR

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

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

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

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

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Ganz Schon Clever/That’s Pretty Clever Review

Released 2018
Designer Wolfgang Warsch
Publisher Schmidt Spiele (Website)
Stronghold Games (Website)
Players 1 – 4 (Have been solo playing a lot)
Playing Time Solo with App – 5 min
Physical Game – 8-10 min per player a good guide
Category Roll and Write
Combination Builder
Push your luck
Similar to Worker Placement
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

You just roll the dice and fill in numbers, where is the fun in that?  Wait, how did you score 4x my score?

Roll and Writes continue to come out at an amazing rate, and pretty much all of the publishers are now adding Roll and Writes to their lineups.

Last year, I kept hearing about this amazing one from Wolfgang Warsch (The Mind, The Quacks of Quedlinburg) called Ganz Schon Clever.

And of course, it sold out.  Then I heard Stephen Buonocore talking about it, and an English distribution via Stronghold Games. “Yay!” I think to myself, I can finally play it!

So I ordered it, and lo and behold the German edition lands on my doorstep just prior to moving.  But that didn’t stop me from playing it in the end.

You can play That’s Pretty Clever on almost anything it seems

Sadly putting the physical game in a box (and even sadder, as of this morning it’s still in there!), I thought I would not be playing Ganz Schon Clever until June.

But then on the Google Play store, up popped a recommendation based on apps I purchase.  Ganz Schon Clever! The universe decided I was going to play this game after all.

So I fired it up, started a new game, and was immediately lost.

Where there is a will, there is a way!

Wait, is this an app review or a board game review?

A little bit of everything to be honest. Once you are into a solo game, the digital versions (yep, versions – more on that soon) are a great implementation.

The confusion came simply because of an assumption on my part. I have gotten so used to the start of any digital game being the tutorial, I didn’t stop to read the rules, I just jumped in. The confusion was 100% my fault, and my problem.

The basics of Ganz Schon Clever/That’s Pretty Clever are really simple.  Roll six coloured dice, and select which die you want to use to cross of an area of your play board.

Yellow die are used in the top left corner.  If the pips on the die match the value on a square, cross it off.

In the blue square, you cross off the sum of the blue and white die that roll, but only lock one of them.  This will make sense as you play, but it is the most complicated placement rule in the game.

Fill out the sections to maximise your score. Simple in premise, not so much in execution
The app does make it easy to see your legal choices - and consequences. Sure I can use the 6, but look at all the dice I lose!

The final three sections are filled left to right.

The Green die face value must equal or exceed the value on the sheet.  Orange you can place any value, and Purple must go in ascending order, with a 6 resetting the count.

So as you can see, it looks pretty simple. Roll dice, mark off where you want it to go.  Basically, dice worker placement, right?

Well, sort of.  There are catches, and when first learning the game it’s these little quirks that can catch you out.

The first thing is the old ‘select which die to use’.  It’s true, you can pick any of the rolled die.  But any dice with a value lower than the one you selected get discarded for the rest of the round.

This adds a timing and luck element to the game. You really want to use green for that 5 places, but it’s the first roll of the round and everything else is ones and twos.  You will effectively end the round if you pick it!

It’s these kinds of little quirks that makes That’s Pretty Clever work so well, but it’s also not quite a game you can just roll and teach.

The other thing that takes a game or two to click is the positioning of the dice.  Each section has a different scoring method, and your final score is the total of all the sections.  But on top of that, there are also bonuses that can be utilised.

Some are instant use, like mark of any unmarked yellow square.  Some you can use when you want, like reroll the dice or reuse a die – possibly the most powerful move in the game.

If you ignore a section, you will get very heavily penalised as the fox head multiplies your lowest section score

So you enjoy it?

Solo – absolutely.  Once you know how to play, the digital versions let you belt out a game very quickly.

I will probably only pull out the physical version for a multiplayer game.  And there is the typical catch for a lot of these strategy heavy games – you only really want to play against people at around your experience level.

Because of that, That’s Pretty Clever is going to remain a solo or teaching game in my library I think.

So how can I enjoy it?

If you want to play with others, grab the board game.  Learn together, play together, and have a great time.

Only want to play solo?  Grab the app.  It handles all of the bookkeeping and rules for you and lets you focus solely on your technique.

Want to learn first and give it a try for free? First, go to Board Game Geek and get the English translated rules.  User nyfilmfest has a great easy to follow translation, and it will explain everything I have left out – and there is a fair bit.

Then, go to http://m.brettspielwelt.de/ganzschoenclever/ and give it a spin!

Yes it's in German, but the game is almost 100% iconography. Just remember Wurfeln is basically Roll 😀

The rules are solid and will give you a solid background into the game.  The main difference between the web and app version is stat tracking, so if you want to just play for free and mark down your own high score, go for it!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD
Ganz Schon Clever/That's Pretty Clever

Final Thoughts

Ganz Schon Clever/That’s Pretty Clever is one of those games that scratches the logical pattern part of my brain really well.  My best game to date is 287, but I want to keep playing until I can break 300.

And that is the first part of what hurts That’s Pretty Clever’s score.  Longevity wise, I think I have cracked the strategy, so it’s a self-imposed goal that keeps me going.

Plus, there is already a follow-up – Twice as Clever – which would probably be the games killer.

Give the web version and/or the app a try, and if you like it, probably just grab Twice as Clever. If you do grab That’s Pretty Clever though, you will enjoy it – even if it might have a limited play span.

Overall
7.5/10
7.5/10

Pros

  •  Very addictive gameplay. You always know you can do better.
  •  Free web browser game – limits to solo, but hey!
  •  Small footprint, easy to take with you

Cons

  •  Long term play I don’t think is there
  •  Already followed up by Doppelt So Clever/Twice as Clever
  •  Different scoring sections can be intimidating to new players

Last Week’s Gaming – May 27th, 2019

The Clever Quacks win the Tournament and Throne

Big new game week this week – including a game I have been trying to get a hold on for a while now.

The move is still happening (still have a few boxes left to unpack and then sorting games wise), so does real life Tetris count as a game? I think I should start thinking of it that way!

Anyway, what I have been playing this week:

Quacks of Quedlinburg

I have been trying to play this for a year, and I finally have a copy of it!

Take the randomness of Potion Explosion and the combo building of That’s Pretty Clever, and you have Kennerspiel des Jahres 2018 winner Quacks of Quedlinburg.

Alpal and I had a game, and as expected it was a heap of fun. It can be a light push your luck or a deep card counting quest, but either way, I can see many people enjoying it!

Expect to hear more about Quacks of Quedlinburg over the coming weeks.

Take the randomness of Potion Explosion and the combos of That's Pretty Clever, and you have Kennerspiel des Jahres 2018 winner Quacks of Quedlinburg

Tournament of Towers

Another Alpal special that I would probably not look twice at, Tournament of Towers was a heap of fun to play.

Anyone that has played Junk Art will feel at home.  You have to make the best possible tower and score the most points to win – simple, right?

But mash in the card drafting of 7 Wonders and the random downside element of any Arkham Mythos Effect, and you have a game that just cannot be played the same way twice.

Oh, and full disclosure – the amazing tower I built and photographed doesn’t count.  I built it after I had thoroughly knocked everything down 😀

My tower was doing OK in the first round. Second round and randomness soon saw an end to that!

Dice Throne: Season 2

I have heard bits of pieces about Dice Throne, including grumblings that Season 2 wasn’t anything special.

Well, Alpal grabbed a hero pack (specifically the Samurai and Gunslinger) and taught it to me last week.

I don’t think it deserves any real grumblings.

Essentially combat Yahtzee, with standard TCG/LCG mechanics like abilities and instants. Coming from the back of Netrunner and Arkham Horror, I thought Dice Throne was a fun two player mix and a great way to introduce players to the TCG/LCG format.

I’m going to grab more hero packs, so expect a review in the future 🙂

Take the Yahtzee roll mechanic and mix it with Magic combat and variable player powers

Ganz Schon Clever/That’s Pretty Clever

I have been hearing a lot about Ganz Shon Clever/That’s Pretty Clever over the last couple of months, and I finally got a physical copy just before the move began.

I still haven’t really given the physical copy a good workout yet, but the app and website have been given a thrashing over the last couple of weeks, and now I am ready to review it!

For today, know that if you enjoy building combos from dice combinations this is a great game for you, but come back Friday for the full review!

To date, my best game. That may have changed come the review - it's a very addictive game

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD