Last Week’s Gaming October 1st 2018

Big Trouble in Manhatten’s Dragon Castle

Quite a bit of gaming got in this week – a long weekend and some much-needed downtime led to a lot of gaming fun this week 🙂

Big Trouble in Little China

I was so excited when Everything Epic’s Big Trouble in Little China arrived, and I have been dying to play it.

Fair warning – this is a game that has some of the worst parts of dungeon crawlers.  Setup and tear down take a long time, the rules explanation takes a long time, and there is some very confusing to explain conditions.

Once you get into it though, it flows really well.  My advice is take a long afternoon to play the first game, and by the end of the game, future plays will take a lot less time.  I set up a streamlined version of the first act only, but even that is enough for the same group to play the ‘full’ rules with a lot less mucking about.  And play it again we will 🙂

A whole lot of fun is to be had with Big Trouble in Little China - but it's a heavy experience

Dragon Castle

One that Alpal was eager to show me, and I understand why.  Dragon Castle is a simple to teach and play game, that cleverly incorporates a lot of different mechanics and games.

The tiles you pick are the simplified computer mahjong pair tiles.  This is the first game – essentially snap with block placement.  You not only have to find tiles for yourself, but try and deny choices to your competition.

Once you have a pair, the game then becomes a 3D tile placement puzzle, where you try to maximise your score based not only on types that connect but the placement of shrines at higher levels.

Dragon Castle is a great game that I will be adding to my collection soon.

Another Alpal special, I can see myself getting a copy of Dragon Castle. It's three games at once - just right to scratch that itch.

Manhattan

Another Alpal special, Manhattan is a game I didn’t think I would enjoy as much as I did.

It’s an area management game that works across the board, and above it.  Building massive buildings is both satisfying and a great way of stealing points.  As long as your floor is on top of a building, it’s yours to score.

I did end up in a bit of a tit-for-tat vendetta with another player, as well as everyone else at the table.  It was good natured and a lot of fun, which led to an afternoon of laughs and enjoyment.

Manhattan is an older game, but I can see why it was the 1994 Spiel des Jahres winner.  It has a new edition and is well worth a look.

Manhattan is surprisingly fun and incredibly well balanced. Definitely worth a play!

Prey

So there was a big sale on the PlayStation Store recently, that let me get 2 games for 70{dfca638b9dbdbc1caf156b9b6679a983a965572ca56a786c9cf360ad3783820c} off.  That let me get the entire Dishonoured collection and Prey for about $40 total – great day for me 🙂

So the other night I fired up Prey, and tried to put all of the initial “Oh it’s terrible” cries I heard on Prey’s release out of my head.

And I have had had a lot of fun so far.  Exploring around the area and putting the story together is interesting, and the atmosphere is similar to the tension of Alien: Isolation.

I will be trying to finish this off over the next few weeks, and I will let you know what I think when I have finished it.

It's a couple of years old now, but I am really enjoying getting into Prey

Foul Play

PlayStation Plus bonus received.

Foul Play is a surprisingly fun button masher beat em up, where two players recount a tale of previous adventures.  The twist?  It’s being recounted as a play, where your combos and battle expertise lead to crowd approval that acts as a life meter.

Apparently, you can play coop online, but I haven’t tried this yet.  All I know is playing through the first Act was a blast, and I will be picking this back up when I want some mindless action happening.

It's fun and cartoony, and the gimmick of performing during a play is a bit of fun. That leads to a lot of humour during the game.

Sparkle 2

Another PlayStation Plus game I only just got to play, but it’s a great mindless pattern game that I will try and play for a while.

If you remember the venerable Zuma, you are already very familiar with Sparkle 2.

If you haven’t played Zuma, you control a launcher that fires different coloured balls.  Your goal is to fire the balls into an incoming line to match more than 3 of the same colour, and clear the line before it reaches the end of the path.

It’s fun, it’s semi-mindless, and even with my colour blindness a game I can play in spurts and really enjoy.

It's fun, simple, and addictive. Sparkle 2 is a fun yet challenging game to relax with.

Valkyria Chronicles 4

The full version came out last Tuesday, but I couldn’t get my hands on it until late Wednesday for a few reasons.

I haven’t played too deeply into the third chapter, but Squad Stories have unlocked.  Squad Stories are bonus missions that expand on the stories between the squad members.  They become unlocked at various times, when you use the right combinations of members on the main missions.

How do you know the right combinations?  In the squad profiles are the other members they like.  Just try and use these squad members together in missions – that simple.  Just another nice touch to a great series.

If you have a Switch, grab the demo from the eShop and have a great time.

It's little narrative bonuses like the Squad Stories that makes the Valkyria Chronicles series one of my favourites

Octopath Traveler

Not too much to report on this one this week only played a couple of more hours.

Good news is I found two more shrines.  The shrines in Octopath unlock secondary job classes, so my characters are expanding their horizons 😀

The good part of Octopath is it is a pick up and put down type game.  The bad part is you can’t put it down too long or you may forget what you are trying to accomplish.  I have started the second chapter for a character and saved in the middle so I know what’s happening when I pick it back up.  I think there may be a couple of weeks pause as I prep for PAX, and I need the reminders the Chapters provide mid game.

Still enjoying the adventure, still have a little more grinding to do.

So a big week of gaming for me.  What about you?  What did you play this week?

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming September 24th 2018

The expedition made the gadgeteers drop it

A fairly light week of board games this week, but two brand new ones thanks to Alpal so always worth it!

Expedition: The Role Playing Card Game

Another couple of adventures, another couple of fun games.  I think I have everything ready to start actually capturing a game – fingers crossed for Friday!

Even though the enemies and cards are the same, at the moment I am not seeing the chance of too much wear with this system.  Being able to make and publish your own adventures makes this a great quick roleplay system.

My full thoughts are definitely coming on Expedition, and I can’t wait to share all of my thoughts on this game with you.

It looks daunting, but the Expedition system is incredibly quick to play and very replayable

Gadgeteers

So Gadgeteers is an interesting one for me.  It falls into a category of almost perfect information games, which I generally either enjoy or don’t.

As we played Gadgeteers, it initially fell into my ‘don’t’ category, but I can see where it is fun for most people and recommend people give it a play.

Each player (up to four) takes the role of an inventor, and at its core, Gadgeteers is a blind bidding auction game.  You bid for pieces to build inventions and score points, and the person with the most points wins.

It’s quick, it’s fun, and building inventions can give you special powers – always fun 🙂 For me, I think playing it again with people like Harls I would turn all the tokens face down to add a memory challenge.  But this is for people that need the extra challenge only – really this is a great game that you should play given the chance.

I forgot to take the photo! But Gadgeteers is one of those quick low component games that is great for carrying with you

Drop It!

So this one caught me by surprise.  Drop It is a surprisingly deep game testing dexterity, pattern recognition and geometry.

My first impression when I saw the box was a tweak on Connect 4.  I was so wrong.  The goal of Drop It is simple – score more points than everyone else.  This is done by dropping in different shaped pieces into the tower, and the highest point is scored.  If it is in a small circle in the tower – bonus points.

BUT.  If it is touching a piece of the same shape or colour, no points.  If it is touching a side with the same shape (or colour if you play the variant) – no points.

This is a great challenging game for up to 4 people, with pieces moving and strategies being torn asunder at every turn.  But it can just as easily be played with younger players and having just as good a time.

Be careful what touches if you want to score. Such a simple premise, but a heap of fun!

Octopath Traveler

Yep, I am going to be playing this for a long time.

I am still in the Chapter 2 grind, getting all but one character into the mid-20’s for their levels.  Serious thought has been given to picking a central party and pushing on with my main character’s quest, but that just doesn’t feel right.

So instead, when I have a spare half hour or more that I want half a distraction, I am dedicating my time to reexploring everywhere I have already been.  This will let me build up my last character (slowly, but still) and find some more secrets!

I just need to get Primrose up to speed, then I can start the Chapter 2 run

Valkyria Chronicles 4 (Demo)

So on the 25th Australian time, Valkyria Chronicles 4 will be released.

I am really, REALLY looking forward to this.  It’s hard to explain why I enjoy Valkyria Chronicles, other than the glorious art style.  Everything looks like it is being painted in watercolours, even during gameplay.

The original is a classic on the PS3, and the second was OK on the PSP.  The third game honestly started losing me, but 4 has bought me back.  This doesn’t matter too much though, as each game is stand alone – like Final Fantasy.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 is releasing on PS4, XBOX, PC and my choice – Switch.  This is a great portable game, and the slight visual concessions do not detract from the experience.

Plus on the Switch you get the first 2 chapters for free in a demo available on the eStore, and you can transfer your save AND get a bonus item.  Try it out – you will love it or hate it, but I think most people will love it 😀

Beautiful turn based strategy game that is perfect on mobile - Valkyria Chronicles 4 comes out tomorrow
Try it out yourself for free with the Switch Demo, and get a bonus if you bring over your save file!

What about you?  What have you been playing? Let me know on the Facebook page!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD