Boomerang Burnout Crossing the Abyss for Sifu

On a wet weekend, sometimes all you want to do is sit down and play some games. Until the wet dogs come in because it hasn’t stopped raining for a few days! Luckily, that’s the worst of it where I am, so overall, not bad.

The amount of time I spent on the Odin in the past week surprised me again. There are other games than Burnout Legends unless I pick up the Odin while lying on the couch!

I need to get back to Pokemon Legends: Arceus and Horizon Zero Dawn. See how I go with Sifu first.

Abyss

It’s been a few years, but I have been hoping to get Abyss back to the table for a while. I could play with Rabbit anytime, but Abyss is not a two-player game. Don’t believe the player count on the box!

The last couple of years has put a dent in this goal, as well as taking a toll on the rules I remembered. This came to light this weekend when we started playing on Board Game Arena!

What I remembered was a set collection game with various scoring rules. This is kinda true on a surface level, but I forgot how intricate the web truly was.

20220228 - Abyss - Beautiful artwork
The art and component quality are top notch

Alpal and I had played before years ago, and I thought we could talk Rabbit through any questions. And on the whole, we could. Sticking with ‘collect bigger number things’ is a valid strategy in Abyss.

What I forgot was the different titles given to everything. Sure, you can see the lords and their powers on the card. But what you can’t see are titles such as Merchants or Military.

There is no summary showing this. Knowing what you pick becomes a guessing game unless you want to learn the game inside out!

20220228 - Abyss - Guilds Race Type - its confusing
So many terms to track that do not appear on the cards, only descriptions of effects

We played two games of Abyss, and I do appreciate Rabbit trying. I don’t think it clicked for Rabbit, and I can understand why. But here is where I get the problem at the core of Abyss.

If the game doesn’t come across as fun, why would a player want to put the time in to learn enough to make it fun?

Abyss was introduced to me by a player that was in love with the game, and that appreciation was infectious. Having a player that knew the rules enough to guide players in a tutorial game was a great help.

I fell down in that last respect hard this game. I didn’t remember the web of scoring rules and references in Abyss. Board Game Arena wise, I hadn’t played it at all to see how the confusing options are presented.

20220228 - Abyss - Buying a Lord
Buying a lord should be simple, but we all saw errors like this a lot of the first game

We all worked it out eventually, and the process wasn’t completely unintuitive. But for a mid-weight and complex game, I should have been on top of the controls for my new player.

Abyss is still a great game to me and went under the radar for too long on release. It’s a pity, because it’s the step after games like Boomerang when you have cracked the scoring code.

Next time I play Abyss, I think it will be around the table where I can help people more mid-game. Unless I jump in on public games on Board Game Arena, but that’s unlikely.

20220228 - Abyss - Final Scoring
Having Board Game Arena score was definitely easier

Boomerang: Australia

I was happy to see Boomerang: Australia on Board Game Arena’s growing list. I played Alpal’s copy a while ago, and I thought Rabbit would enjoy the quick set collection game.

The idea is simple, but learning the ins and outs of Boomerang: Australia takes a couple of goes. Not because it’s hard to learn or play, but because there are lots of ways to score that becomes a balancing act.

The basics are simple enough. Deal out cards that show towns or landmarks around Australia, and pick one. Hand the remaining cards to your left, while receiving a new set from the player on your right.

Try and mark off every location in a state, and if you are the first to explore that state get a bonus of 3 points. Easy.

20220228 - Boomerang Australia - Travel around Australia - How hard is that
Pick places to see around the country – remember when we could do that?

But to get the highest scores, you need to look at the set collection on the cards. For example, the animal sightings. Get a pair of an animal, and score points for them.

The green flora collections give you points for each different type you collect. But don’t score over 7! If you do, you can’t double the score!

Then there are activities. Each round you can choose to score one of four activities. You can do this only once though, so pick swimming first round and you can’t score swimming again that game!

And the most random of points, the Throw and Catch. The game is Boomerang: Australia after all! The very first card you pick has a value between 1 and 7. At the end of the round, subtract the value on your last card from the first. Get that many bonus points!

20220228-Boomerang-Australia-The-scoring-takes-a-round-or-two-to-click-for-most-people
It takes a round or two for the scoring to click

I don’t usually go into game rule nitty-gritty for why I played a game. It’s a gaming journal – I want to talk about how much fun you have. Boomerang: Australia is so simple and quick, I am hoping some people will jump on Board Game Arena with some friends and give it a try.

Even if you aren’t in the same room, using voice chat (we use a Discord room) helps make you feel like you are. And this is where Boomerang: Australia shines.

Gameplay is deep enough to feel satisfying, but light enough to let you chat away through the entire game. Quick enough to play many games in an hour, but if gameplay stops for a chat or break you don’t lose what’s happening.

I wouldn’t say Boomerang: Australia is Game of the Year material. I would recommend it as a light shelf staple for many collections.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing New Horizons. I have been pottering away every morning at it, and then not going back to it at all. This isn’t a bad state to be in, but I am never going to clean my island this way!

There is also the activities and specials that come up. For example, there is the New Horizons version of Carnival / Mardi Gras coming on Monday. This Festivale should be fun, and I haven’t seen any to date.

But will I be able to see what is happening for Festivale in 20 minutes while I do everything else?

20220228 Animal Crossing New Horizons 2022022308284822 - Do I want to join the Festivale
The events are usually something that put a smile on my face, but take time I don’t always have

Running around and completing a few tasks in the morning is a great way to stay in the game. It doesn’t let me progress the way I want though.

I have been making some progress though. I have been able to donate some items to the museum, especially art. I got a strange sense of accomplishment making a few recipes that I hadn’t made before.

20220228 Animal Crossing New Horizons 2022022607064467 - Check out my Minestrone
I need to get mushrooms to make a heap of recipes

Cooking is not something I enjoy in real life. My specialties are meat and veg, jaffles and sometimes pasta. Ticking off that you have made a recipe in Animal Crossing New Horizons is nice though.

Saturday is still raining steadily here. Such a great day to sit on the couch with the Switch and finally do the clean up I have been putting off.

Here’s the thing. If I deep down wanted to clean Game Room, I wouldn’t be playing Burnout Legends on the couch. But I don’t want to miss playing Animal Crossing New Horizons each morning still.

Do I play Animal Crossing because I am still enjoying it, or am I playing because it’s part of my morning schedule? That’s a philosophy question worthy of Pascal!

20220228 Animal Crossing New Horizons 2022022506531510 - Pascals Wisdom - Rock and Roll
Swimming around navel-gazing – Pascal’s got the life!

Burnout Legends

Last time I talked about how Burnout Legends has distracted me. For a couple of nights this week, it has more consumed me! I spent a few hours making quite a bit of progress in the game.

I have a medal in every Crash event and completed the first three vehicle classes on World Tour mode. This is the real knuckle down phase of the game. To earn gold medals now, you need to complete races with no mistakes.

This might not sound too bad. Games ask you to be at your best at the end game. In Burnout Legends, now I am racing faster than ever as well as more traffic and surprises!

20220228 - Burnout Legends - Sending opponents flying is so satisfying
Sending opponents flying is so satisfying

I did get to thinking about why I am enjoying the PSP Burnout Legends when I have Burnout Paradise on PS4. The new sandbox world Burnout Paradise must be a better gaming experience, right?

On the Odin, I don’t have to deal with any online aspects or continual play in the Paradise sandbox. I can do a race, then put the console down to take a break. Nothing flashes up to ask me to do another event, or race someone online.

These smaller game experiences are something I think we are losing in new games. Want a game you can play for 5 minutes only? I can’t think of a game released in the last 5 years that lets you do it. Even mobile games are trying to keep you tapping for as long as possible.

20220228 - Burnout Legends - Racing a pink Cadillac
Leisurely race down the coast against a pink Cadillac – normal weekend!

I am going to try and get gold in every event, but I am not going to try and grind it out. There is always the single event mode where I can pick random races and special vehicles.

Not all play has to be for mastery and completion, and Burnout Legends is a great stress relief game.

Sifu

Another big week, and I didn’t think I would get to play Sifu. But Friday night, everything somehow clicked for me. I got a huge session in and played pretty well overall.

I went back tried to redo earlier levels to grind and bring down my starting age for the later rounds. I thought I was doing pretty well, getting to the Museum without dying once. And here, I have the shortcut to go straight to the end boss. Sifu’s replay value is quite nice, letting you use a shortcut or fight everyone as you wish.

In the second part of this boss fight, I can win without dying most of the time. That first part though – wow. Kuroki’s sansetsukon (three-section staff) attacks are devastating! I age a decade in this fight most times.

20220228 - Sifu - The Artist gets me every time
Kuroki’s staff attacks require patience, but I want to speed through

I managed to get to the fourth enemy last week, and on the second try, I beat her. On the third try, I got my butt handed to me. Then, I can finish the fight not too bad.

Sifu is a hard game, but as I said before not unfair. When I get beaten, it is almost always in a way that I can see what I did wrong. Dodged the wrong way, or at the wrong time. Let myself get jammed in a corner with many opponents. Things like that.

Playing for a couple of hours straight tired and with bad hands – there were mistakes made. And Sifu punished them. But take a break and come back fresh, and you wonder why there was a problem earlier.

20220228 - Sifu - Meeting Yang
Meeting Yang at his Sanctuary. There is a lot of environmental storytelling in play here.

I have made it to Yang, the final boss of the game. The showdown against your father’s killer. In a game as tough as Sifu, I expected this to be a difficult fight.

Well, difficult describes it but doesn’t do the fight justice. As a simple description, it’s a mirror match where Yang has all your moves unlocked. There is a catch though. Your abilities and focus attacks don’t affect him, meaning you need to beat him with the basics.

I appreciate the simplicity and symmetry of the combat arc. I don’t appreciate after three attempts, I still cannot beat the first phase of the boss fight!

20220228 - Sifu - Yang is a disgrace taunt
As you age, your taunts change. And Yang has specific taunts apparently.

It won’t be too long before I can beat him though. Practice and patience are all I need!

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,

JohnHQLD