Last weeks gaming 27/08/2018

Century Eastern Wonders

Choose your own beasts to score wonder

Happy Monday everyone!

Today I am starting a new Monday regular – what I played over the last week!

Sorry, there are a couple of box shots only.  I really need to get into the habit of photographing my games for the site.  Hopefully, I will get better at this quickly!

But enough of that, onto the games 😀

Choose Your Own Adventure – House of Danger

I wasn’t too sure what to expect with Choose your own Adventure: House of Danger, but it certainly didn’t disappoint.

We only played through the first chapter of five, so we have made our way into the Marsden House, only dying once from memory.

The component quality is simple.  I am undecided if the slightly aged looking cards are cheap components or a nostalgic throwback.  But the experience was fun, and the three of us are looking forward to completing the story 🙂

This will also make a great solo experience, and one I may make a video on in the coming weeks.

Choose Your Own Adventure House of Danger Box Art
The new form of Choose Your Own Adventure

The Big Score

Semi-cooperative games are games I find great with the right group, and The Big Score didn’t disappoint.

In some ways two games in one, the first Act has you secretly dispatching teams to various heists to try and increase your loot and build your crew.  Everything comes to a head in Act 2 as you push your luck pulling tokens from a bank, where one too many cops turn up can cost you everything.

I did switch the rules up a little bit to tailor to the group in question, pushing more of a cooperative slant on the first act.  But either way this was fun, and I can’t wait to play some more for a formal review soon.

The Big Score Box Art
Can you get away with the Big Score?

Beasts of Balance

I backed Beasts of Balance in 2017 for the ‘New Edition and Battles Expansion’.  The premise looked interesting – stack animals and special elements on a plinth that sent data to your tablet, where you can evolve and strengthen your creatures while you play.

Last week, the Battles expansion arrived, and we tried to give it a go.  Unfortunately the YouTube video tutorial wasn’t really able to start (internet problems) so it was a bit of hit and miss mucking about, but still fun making silly stacks.

I did learn (again) to read the Kickstarter properly.  When making the “Everything” pledge, I thought I was getting all creatures.  Nope.  I have 3 other creatures to buy as add-ons.  Always read the fine print guys!

Beasts of Balance Legendary Creatures
The new arrival that prompted the play - the Kickstarter second wave beasts!

Century: Eastern Wonders

I have been looking forward to Century: Eastern Wonders for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, Century: Spice Road (and my preferred Golem Edition) was a simple to play and teach deck builder.  Emerson Matsuuchi has an ability to make some complex mechanics very simple, most of the time.  He has missed sometimes, but doesn’t everyone?

Secondly, you can combine Spice Road and Eastern Wonders into a standalone game – Sand to Sea!

We aren’t in the ‘ready to combine’ stages yet, but it was great getting Eastern Wonders to the table.

Century Eastern Wonders
Century Easter Wonders - Shenanigans in progress 🙂

So that’s what I played in the last week, what about you?  Any new games or Kickstarter deliveries that prompted a big gaming session?

Until next time,


Game Deliveries this week – It’s no Gen Con, but it’s still a haul!

20180806 Game Haul

Just when you are feeling down, the game deliveries start arriving!

Reading about players coming back from Gen Con (or any gaming con) is always a treat.  The stories of great times and game demos are always good for a read.  The pics always worth a look, both for the focus of the picture and the little hints inadvertently caught in the background sometimes.

And of course, there is only a tiny smidge of seething jealousy at pics of the Gen Con hauls coming home with lucky attendees.

Looking at some of the games, I was happy to know I already had Portal’s Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game.  Seeking a cheeky Forbidden Sky had me looking for player reactions.  Hail Hydra has me curious, and Legendary Encounters: X-Files has me reaching to pay for another ‘I don’t play Legendary’ game.

But then a mixture of deliveries all came in a flurry of notifications.

20180806 Game Haul
Big Trouble in Little China, The Big Score and Mint Delivery. It may be a little haul, but it's mine 🙂

First up is Van Ryder Games Kickstarter The Big Score.  I wrote a fair bit about it back in February when I backed it, and it has arrived!

The Big Score is one of those competitive cooperative games where you test the old saying ‘Honour Among Thieves’.

You work more or less as a team on a series of smaller jobs before moving into The Bank and tackling the titular ‘Big Score’.  Here is where a push your luck and try and maximise your score by pulling loot out of the player built Bank.  But be careful – you could call the cops down on top of you!

Any luck I will have played a game or two by the time you have read this, so my thoughts will be coming soon.

The Big Score Initial Components
The Big Score and the Crack the Safe Expansion. Unboxed, unpunched and in all it's glory!
Mint Delivery Components
Mint Delivery rivals the Pack-O-Game games for quick games easy to transport and teach

Next up is another Kickstarter game called Mint Delivery from Justin Blaske.

Nothing too complicated here – it’s a 15-20 minute pick up and deliver game for 1 to 5 players.  And it fits inside a mint tin.

That is one of the main reasons I grabbed Mint Delivery.  It’s a game that is just a little too big for pocket size, but easily fits in a laptop bag and weighs next to nothing.

This is one I can take to work and solo or pull out as a filler on game nights.  The rules are specifically designed to teach and play within minutes.  Sometimes when I travel, this is a game I can sit and wait for flights with solo, or possibly meet some new friends with.

A report should be coming in the next few weeks after some playtime.

And finally, the game that is all in the reflexes.  Between Big Trouble in Little China and Who Goes There, Kurt Russell is becoming a constant theme in my last couple of game deliveries!

Preordered last year from Everything Epic Games, the deluxe edition of Big Trouble in Little China is a campaign-style lets me play through the campaign story solo or with up to six players.

Just even the quick opening has me excited about playing!  I wasn’t sure exactly what I was expecting when I opened the box, but the neat packing and attention to small details (I won’t spoil them just yet) has me very happy that I got this game 🙂

As this is a much bigger game, I might not get to play it for a few weeks.  But again, once I have played I will let you know what I think!

Big Trouble in Little China Components
The Everything Epic is certainly not being taken lightly! And everything stacks nicely back in the box. It even has a map for where the minis go back!

So that’s it for this weeks haul.  Hopefully, this is the beginning of the floodgates opening and many more parcels are to come!

Until next time,


JohnHQLD Blatherings 010 – The Heist Episode!

JohnHQLD's Blatherings Podcast

Today we Aim to Misbehave

Today we tried a different tack and inadvertently picked a theme. Anyone Aim to Misbehave? Alpal talks about her new purchase Train Heist, and I talk about the upcoming Mansky Caper. Finally, we both compare the upcoming Big Score to both.

Audio quality is a little inconsistent this episode as we are playing with new setups, so apologies for the slight echo!

Have a great weekend everyone!


All Kickstarter projects hope to be The Big Score. Will this be one?

The Big Score Box Art

The Usual Suspects?

Van Ryder Games has a bit of a soft spot for me. Recently I posted about Hostage Negotiator, a great solo experience. Detective: City of Angels is one of my most anticipated games of 2018. And now The Big Score has hit Kickstarter, and it is growing on me very strongly.

The Big Score is a game that I would say about a quarter of my game group will not like. It’s a competitive cooperative game, where you don’t discuss your moves. A lot of players in my usual group don’t like this aspect, so The Big Score is a game I instantly put in the ‘not for everyone’ group.

That said, The Big Score is almost two games in one. The first stage involves deck drafting where each player gets to form their individual crews. The crew they are after depends on the locations that they want to hit. The catch is with the number of cards you have, your crew can maybe complete one or two places with guaranteed success, or spread yourself out and be a part of a lot of heists and get an equal share of those heists.
If another player adds one card that will contribute to the success of a location, all players involved will get an even cut of the job, so if a player always completes a mission themselves, a valid tactic will be to simply add one member to their crew for maximum profits.

It’s a unique spin on risk and reward, and not discussing your strategy adds an amount of tension to this. This stage only sets up an initial bank of money (points), so it’s not essential to excel but at the same time failing a job will cost you on the get-go, so it’s an interesting dilemma.

The second phase is the Big Score itself. Here, you reach into a physical bank shaped box and try to steal as much as you can before the police turn up. You can pretend to take a token and pull out of the heist, locking your amount for the end game. You can also pull out a Cops token, too many of these and it’s game over for everyone.

There is simultaneously a lot going on and an elegant simplicity to the game. A.J. Porfirio has also added a solo campaign to the game, and I am keen to give this a try as well.

The Big Score Box Art
Can you get away with the Big Score?
The Big Score Components
The Big Score Prototype Demo
The Big Score The Bank
The Big Score The Crew

If this sounds interesting, check out the Kickstarter page here for more information.

You can also check out the Board Game Geek page here.

Until next time!