Board Game Journal – March 13 2023

I was worried I was going to miss this journal. I have been so sick, I had to call off games! Sitting up has been a challenge, so playing anything was not in the cards (no pun intended).

That was until Friday. Largely having the day off (I spent at least half days working all week), I had a fair bit of rest finally. This meant I could sit up on the couch with the Steam Deck, and get some digital board gaming in. Have to start somewhere!

Love Letter

Back in the days when I would go to a weekly games night, there was a small game that got played more than you would think. That game is Love Letter, original or a variant.

Small, quick, and great for playing while waiting for people. While playing ‘bigger’ games with players being knocked out, downtime can be a drag. While waiting, you can float in and out of games of Love Letter pretty easily.

Well, I am still not healthy enough to be around people comfortably, but I do have Love Letter on Steam. So I tried it on the Steam Deck!

20230313 - Love Letter - Setup is pretty simple
I don’t play online, but it’s quick to pick 3 AI players

Love Letter is simple to learn and teach. You always have one card in your hand, and on your turn, draw another. Then, pick which card to play by putting it in front of you.

Each card has a value (1-8) and a power. The powers are printed on the card, meaning you don’t have to memorise too many rules.

20230313 - Love Letter - Seeing what the cards do is pretty simple
What does the card do? Just click on it to read the power

Winning Love Letter means being the last person with a card in their hand, or if you make it through the deck, have the highest numbered card. That’s it. Love Letter is simple but in the best way.

The digital Love Letter scratched an itch for me. After a week of playing literally nothing while sick, I was keen to play something. The main draw of Love Letter for me is the social aspect, something missing from the digital version.

But if you see it on sale and are curious, the Steam version is fun. You can play online against other people, but if you can do it with voice chat (Discord maybe?) you will likely enjoy it more.

20230313 - Love Letter - A full round can be played in less than a minute
Last man standing is the normal win condition

There are a few Love Letter variants I enjoy. Batman Love Letter scores you points for using the Guard power well. Archer Love Letter involves swapping a burned card, making card counting more interesting.

My favourite version is also my least played. Love Letter with a Lovecraftian flavour, Lovecraft Letter involves 2 decks and plays up to 6 players. You want at least 4 veteran players for Lovecraft Letter, which can be harder to swing.

Paperback Adventures

The Steam Deck was my gaming saviour this week. All my gaming was basically on Friday afternoon and evening, the first time in over a week. We have been that sick! But I wanted to sink my teeth into something that wasn’t too heavy. Hello again, Paperback Adventures!

I have been doing pretty well with Ex Machina, the first adventurer the game suggests you begin with. Paperback Aventures is still a long haul to play. You play against 9 enemies each taking about 10-15 minutes. Being able to pick up and put down the Steam Deck mid-game made life easier.

20230313 - Paperback Adventures - The most annoying enemy
This is still the enemy that annoys me most. All you have to do to win is survive.

But since opening Paperback Adventures, I have wanted to get into Damsel. When playing RPGs, I love the flexibility playing a Rogue generally offers you. With this in mind, Damsel seems to be right in my wheelhouse.

It was here I found the first difference from the physical game I could find. It isn’t a huge difference but shows where the digital version branches in places. Remember, I haven’t played the physical Ex Machina on the table yet, only on Steam.

20230313 - Paperback Adventures - Venom Vial
It’s a slight tweak, but enough to catch out players in one media when changing

There is an ability the Damsel has where you can spend energy and skulls to damage an enemy directly. The Venom Vial card is pretty clear. Take health from the enemy, and pay the cost as per the table.

Digitally though, it doesn’t seem to quite work that way. The wording confused me at first but seemed to be a change to make the text fit without a table. Except the cost for a big hit has changed.

If you can manage to get 16 skulls on an enemy, you can hit for 16 and pay 4 energy and remove 4 skulls in the physical version. Same scenario digitally and you have to pay 6 energy and skulls – quite a difference!

20230313 - Paperback Adventures - Good Run but not Good Enough
I came close, but not close enough for the win this time

This is a balancing tweak for Paperback Adventures. I am not trying to say the change itself is bad – Venom Vial saved me quite a bit in Paperback Adventures. But if you played one version and jumped straight into the other, you can get caught out pretty easily.

But I am enjoying Paperback Adventures as I thought I would (it’s why I backed it on Kickstarter). I keep leaning towards the digital version being my preferred platform.

I might put this to the test by playing the next few games only on my desktop. Not because it needs a powerful PC to run, but because it removes the ease of access and portability of the Steam Deck. That could be swaying my opinion. It will be interesting to see if it affects my perception of Paperback Adventures.

Roll Player

It was late in the day, and I wanted to finish with a game I hadn’t played in a while. Even though I hit Cartographers pretty frequently on mobile, I wanted something different. So staying within the universe, I fired up Roll Player.

This entry is super brief, as talking about playing Roll Player sounds boring. I was having fun and played a couple of rounds. Playing solo, really all I am trying to do is beat my high score.

20230313 - Roll Player - Some background combinations are interesting
Because they are randomly drawn, background goals can be interesting

Roll Player has a score ranking, where scoring 38+ points is the highest level. I have been so tantalisingly close many times, my hope is to break my 37 high at some point.

One day, I will break that ceiling. This week though, I didn’t even match it! I will have to try Roll Player again a bit later.

20230313 - Roll Player - Close but not close enough
Close but not close enough

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know! 

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Until next time,