Last Week’s Gaming – March 4th, 2019

20190304 Jessie Jaws

Chronicles of the World Championship Kung Fu Zoo leads Sherlock to call Cahoots between the 1643 Galaxies involved

Yep, that intro stretched the board game title gag, but wow apparently I made up for last weeks lack of board games with a vengeance!

So there are a lot of games to get through, so let’s get started!

Chronicles of Crime

Another case in and this one was advertised as a hard one.

It did not disappoint.  We mostly got to where we needed to be, but there was some time critical elements that we missed and got let astray on.

Lesson learned – do not let just Harls read out the crime scene :p

Just from the base game experience (I have not pulled out any Kickstarter specific items or expansions yet), this is getting a great run – a couple more games and I will be ready for the review!

20190304 Chronicles of Crime
The new mechanics and possibilities of this system are amazing!

World Championship Russian Roulette

This was a fun little filler experience between Chronicles of Crime and Tiny Epic Galaxies.  Hadn’t played it for ages, so it was fun to pull off the shelf.

Yes, the theme of the game is dark and not something that should be joked about lightly, but if playing with people with a dark sense of humour can be a fun game experience still.

We played three players which worked fine, but it did bring home really wanting the higher player counts still.

20190304 World Championship Russian Roulette
Still a fun simple game to pass a little while. Three was fun, but want more players.

Tiny Epic Galaxies w/ Beyond the Black expansion

Talking about games that haven’t come off the shelf for a while, we ended games night with Tiny Epic Galaxies: Beyond the Black.

There was a forgotten lesson relearned – if you don’t remember the flow of the game, it goes for a long time.  A really long time.  A 45-minute game went for the better part of 2 hours!

But even with this and a couple of initial rule missteps, we still had a lot of fun.  And that’s what playing games is all about, isn’t it?

20190304 Tiny Epic Galaxies Beyond The Black
It may take a lot of table room, but Tiny Epic Galaxies was the first Tiny Epic game that clicked with me

Sherlock: Last Call

You heard about this not long after we played it in yesterday’s Ramblings.

A novel yet brilliantly simple premise, you have a bunch of cards and you need to play out the important clues to solve a case.  It’s like playing Bridge but instead of playing for points, you play for much higher stakes – information.

After Alpal showed this one to me, I will be looking out for more in the series as I am sure she will.  For around $15 on the pricey side, how wrong can you go?

20190304 Sherlock Last Call
It's hard enough putting the clues together without making a game of bridge out of it!

Kung Fu Zoo

Another Alpal special, and a game I wouldn’t have looked at twice.  Kung Fu Zoo is a king of simplified Strike if you know the game.

Players have a number of dice that get flicked into the ‘arena’.  You can flick dice in from the centre point of any side, but it must be in the centre.  You are trying to be the last player with dice outside the cage (i.e. now knocked down the corner holes) or with their dice paws up.

I can see this being more fun with 4 players, but playing just with Alpal and I was still a fun and interesting experience.  You try to knock dice onto different sides while pulling off billiards shots – definitely something to get the crowds coming for a look!

20190304 Kung Fu Zoo
This lot was living on the edge, but mixing dexterity with dice values made for a fun experience

Cahoots

So I have enjoyed games like The Game and The Mind.  Having a relatively simple task before you to be completed with the limitation of not being able to freely communicate is an interesting experience on multiple levels.

Cahoots keeps this kind of experience alive but adds a kind of quick progression system to the game.  In The Game, it’s not until the end you know how well you went.  In The Mind, you go up levels and have a goal with the previous successes behind you.

In Cahoots, you have a number of objectives that must be met in order to ‘win’, so you always feel like you are accomplishing something.  It was a lot of fun, but I wish the colours had suits on them as well as I had trouble with a couple of the colours.

20190304 Cahoots
Quick, challenging, and gives you a sense of progress as you play.

Claustrophobia 1643

A fine example of two-player dungeon-crawling done right.  Claustrophobia 1643 is a reprint and refinement on the game Claustrophobia, a highly regarded and sought after game for many years.

The catch with the initial run though?  Only a few thousand copies were being produced, and they were limited even further by region.  Alpal got in first with the Oceania pledge, and I lucked out when a few more were allocated.

It’s a great, fun and hectic experience that has been incredibly streamlined.  But I won’t go too much further into it here, because the last 2,500 copies are going up on Kickstarter on March 12th! If you missed out, here is your chance.

20190304 Claustrophobia 1643
I want to talk about this game, but it's REALLY hard to get. Look on Kickstarter March 12th!

Kingdom Hearts 3

Yes, I platinumed Kingdom Hearts 3 the week before, but I haven’t finished the game.  Not yet.  Not the way I want to.

Even though I played through on a lower difficulty, I kept flying around in my Gummy Ship and picked the first galaxy as clean as I can of combat, items and challenges.

One down, two to go.  Finding these blueprint crystals is hard, even with the radar!

20190218 Kingdom Hearts 3 Black Pearl
Captaining the Black Pearl in Kingdom Hearts 3 😀

Resident Evil 2

So now that I ‘finished’ Kingdom Hearts, it was time to go back to another game that I was looking forward to playing – the Resident Evil 2 remake!

I had finished the Leon A campaign before Kingdom Hearts 3 was released, but yesterday I got to smash out the Claire B campaign in one hit.  Well, a few deaths and reloads because of some “Come On!” moments, but all was done on Sunday.

Now that I have finished the story as such I can start with The 4th Survivor modes as well as some of the free what-if Ghost Survivors scenarios.  Even before I begin trying for those S+ rankings, I have a lot more game to play!

20190304 Resident Evil 2
Wow. And this was the shorter chapter. I did clear out the police station this time though 🙂

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

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 🙂

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