Chronicles of Dicey Dungeons to the Moon

This week, I actually took a whole day off from work. This might not sound like much to many people, but I usually work for at least a couple of hours every day. This week, taking Friday off led to playing Welcome to the Moon!

I will talk more about the game in its entry. This full day of relaxation also meant I slept a lot more this weekend than I am used to, which was really nice. It also fired up some ideas for my upcoming PAX break!

My foot is healing well, but I am driving Rabbit a little up the wall. I am trying to stay still, which means I am avoiding wearing my moon boot. So when I do get up, I hear “Boot!” and see a Rabbit pointing at me. Now I know how Enzo feels! 😋

That said, I am hoping I can get to the doctor again and find out when I can start walking ‘properly’. I miss driving and doing jobs, and PAX is coming up quickly!

Welcome to the Moon

It’s been a few weeks, but I finally got the third in the Welcome To trilogy to the table – Welcome to the Moon! I have been interested in the follow-ups for a while, and I finally get the chance to try one.

First off, the second in the trilogy – Welcome to New Las Vegas – I am not interested in it. Not because it’s a bad game or anything like that. From everything I have seen, it’s one way to play and from all accounts overly complicated.

Compare this to Welcome to The Moon. The new game has 8 adventures which are stand-alone games of varying complexity. There is a campaign mode and a solo mode included. In comparison, Welcome to the Moon is the value choice.

20220829 - Welcome to the Moon - Components
Components – image from Blue Cocker Games

I love the component design of Welcome to the Moon. Each board is dry-erase, and so are the AI cards. Tuck boxes are included to separate the cards, and everything packs away neatly.

I will say using the tuck boxes can be a little annoying. Especially if you plan on playing multiple adventures in one sitting. If you do this, keep the mission and ASTRA cards out in separate piles!

The art is gorgeous, and the amount of little pop-culture easter eggs are fun to hunt for. Each adventure looks unique, but you know basically what you are looking at each time.

20220829 - Welcome to the Moon - Easter Eggd
Little nods are everywhere. Here we have Alien, Star Trek, and if I am not mistaken Red Dwarf!

Welcome to the Moon starts with a very simple twist to the ‘Welcome To’ formula. You still place numbers in ascending orders on rows, but there are no ‘powers’ to use.

Instead, the powers determine which row you can place values in. For Welcome To veterans, this is probably too simple. For an introduction though, it’s a good lead-in to get people used to the basics.

20220829 - Welcome to the Moon - You have to catch up to AI pretty quick
The placement rules may be too simple for veterans, but I still enjoy Adventure 1

Adventure 2 instantly changes this up. Powers are back, and you have one large section to work in. It’s up to players as they go to subdivide the path to the moon to place numbers.

The divisions are explained game-wise as ‘course corrections’. Most parts of Welcome to the Moon are like this. It’s easy to see why because most rules make narrative sense.

Adventure 2 is different enough to feel like a second game, and there are 8 adventures like this in the box!

20220829 - Welcome to the Moon - Setting up Adventure 2
Adventure 2 feels completely different to every other Welcome To, while having that familiar base experience

I am going to talk a lot more about Welcome to the Moon in the future. Next weekend I plan to finish the last 3 adventures and get a feel for the rules.

I am planning on spending part of the start of my holidays making How To Play videos for each adventure. Welcome to the Moon does a pretty good job of teaching the rules. I still had some things to clarify though.

The idea is following each How To, I am going to play a solo adventure that people can follow along with. Some multiplayer solo Welcome to the Moon anyone?

After all that, I am also considering streaming the campaign Adventures, or at least the first few. This is to give people a feel for the campaign and let you see if you might enjoy it.

20220829 - Welcome to the Moon - AI Wins
Adventure 1 may be simple, but the AI still whooped me when I wasn’t paying attention!

So prepare for a lot more Welcome to the Moon Content between October and January!

Dicey Dungeons

Earlier in the week, I was looking for something a little different to play. Something I could spend a little time with, but could happily put back down after an hour or two to get back to Xenoblade Chronicles. I wasn’t sure what I was going to play that also did not involve firing up laptops or moving from the couch. Looking through the Switch, I noticed Dicey Dungeons had slipped off my home page.

I haven’t played Dicey Dungeons in ages. It’s a simple premise, and close to a board game in digital form. I don’t know why I stopped playing it – probably distracted by other games. Having it drop off the Switch home row didn’t help.

You play a character that has been turned into a die and must fight your way through a dungeon to win your freedom. Who is putting you through all of this? Lady Luck, of course!

20220829 - Dicey Dingeons - Wow bad loser
Well, the sorceress is a sore loser!

Dicey Dungeons isn’t a new game, but it is great to pick up and put down like this. A bit of a gaming palette cleanser. The game itself is quite fun and a little bit of a roguelike. Each character has slightly different rules, and the dungeons themselves are not set in stone. This makes playing Dicey Dungeons a fun puzzle to work out each run.

Playing the game is simple – roll dice, then try and assign those dice to different powers. It sounds simple and boring to sum up, but after a game or two Dicey Dungeons can set an itch you want to scratch. It’s just rolling dice – it can’t be this hard to finish!

20220829 - Dicey Dingeons - Still slowly making progress
It sounds simple, but there is more game here than people realise

I am playing on Switch, and portable is a great way to play Dicey Dungeons. You can pick it up and put it down when you want to spend a couple of minutes playing. If you have Game Pass though, I suggest firing up Dicey Dungeons on your PC or Xbox. Give it a try and see if you like it, then grab it on your phone or Switch for portable play.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3

I was a little out with my prediction on what I thought Chapter 5 was setting up. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has let me return to the open area exploration in Chapter 6. Chapter 5 was a more ‘on rails’ section of the game, and shorter in length than most chapters. In the end, there was a Kojima-level exposition dump!

Most of the story points I was expecting have been confirmed. The most significant big bad I believe has finally been revealed. Now in Chapter 6, I should be seeking out the one to explain my new power and bring peace.

20220829 - Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - This is not the biggest bad
No, this isn’t the biggest bad. But they keep popping up!

Instead, I have spent another 8 hours unlocking content I should have done about 20 hours ago. Some side quests, a couple of new Heroes, and finally making my way to inaccessible areas of old maps. Going back to this exploration so late has me severely over-levelled in a lot of areas.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has ways of limiting the return of such a strategy. Experience, Class points, that kind of thing scale with the difference in levels. I am not building up character classes the way I could be, but to be honest, that’s OK. I don’t need to get everyone to max level in every class.

20220829 - Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - This fight still isnt easy
This fight should be harder than it is for me at the moment

I am in the camp of the Switch needing a second revision soon. The tech was 4 years old when it came out, and that was 5 years ago. I don’t need a portable Xbox Series X (although if it existed, wow).

People talk about how ‘ugly’ big open-world games look on the Switch. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a game I heard described as “at times made my eyes hurt”. And blown up on a big screen, I can see the lower-resolution rendering looking terrible in comparison. But Xenoblade Chronicles can do something even Breath of the Wild can’t do well. It can show you monsters and areas in the distance.

20220829 - Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - I cant see the small enemies but I can see the huge one
I can’t see the smaller enemies, but I can see the huge enemy in the river

I am now on a self-imposed timer for finishing Xenoblade Chronicles 3. I would like to have it finished by September 11th, or close to it. The reason is as simple as it is arbitrary. The following weekend, I want to replay Monkey Island 1&2. This will get me ready for Return to Monkey Island on September 19th!

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