Kingdomino of Tokyo Draft Sifu Crossing Arceus

Alpal, Rabbit and I finally got to catch up and play some games for the first time in ages. It’s a little harder now, as Alpal isn’t a short drive away, and our time has been scarce.

Rabbit now has a Board Game Arena account, so more regular digital gaming sessions are on the cards. I can’t wait!

I also got to dabble in a game that has had my interest since it’s initial annoucment. Sifu doesn’t score much for original storytelling, but is a game that has already inspired me to want to defeat it.

Draftosaurus

One game that became a quick favourite at Alpals was Draftosaurus. Another ‘simple’ game, on the surface Draftosaurus doesn’t sound like it can be fun.

Pass little dinosaur meeples to each other and place them to maximise your score. Placement rules are set by dice roll each turn.

The description is correct, but the game comes together to be so much more fun. Alpal even had little chests to make passing handfuls of meeples easier!

When I saw Draftosaurus was available on Board Game Arena, it was another game I thought would be fun to have a go.

20220214 - Draftosaurus - Not a T Rex
It’s not a T-Rex!

Being able to hover over pens and see how scoring works is great for new players. Or old players that need a reminder!

In the physical version, I always had trouble telling the T-Rex and Spinosaurus meeples apart. Apparently I wasn’t alone, as the Spinosaurus has the important note “Not a T-Rex” on the tooltip!

Until about halfway through the second game, I was missing the dice roll for placement. Each turn, the next player rolls the dice for where everyone else must place their dinosaurs.

This still happens in Board Game Arena, but I was reading the help text at the top of the screen to see what was happening.

If I had paid a little more attention, I would have seen it was next to the player’s name in the scoring area!

20220214 - Draftosaurus - The die does make an appearance
The die does appear next to the players scores

Draftosaurus was fun to play, and works well on Board Game Arena. You do miss the tactile nature of the meeples in digital form, but that’s how it is.

After playing with Alpal, I do miss the expansions that aren’t on Board Game Arena. I hope at least one comes to Board Game Arena soon, but the base game was still a fun session.

King of Tokyo

Godzilla vs Kong. Jaeger vs Kaiju. Do you know what all these huge monster clashes are missing? Yahtzee. That’s the premise of King of Tokyo at least!

I was super excited when I saw King of Tokyo on Board Game Arena. A random dice game where you battle everyone was a great way to end the gaming day!

Rabbit had never played King of Tokyo, but she got the gist super quickly. Alpal and I spent a couple of minutes explaining the basics. Sure, you can win with victory points.

Or you can be the last monster standing!

It’s possible telling Rabbit that was a mistake. Clear goal combined with amazing dice rolling ability, multiplied by first-time play luck. Alpal and I never stood a chance!

20220214 - King of Tokyo - Let the battle commence
Gigazaur has the point lead, but I have taken Tokyo as Anubis

You ‘hit’ Tokyo to enter it, and get a point for entering the city. If you start your turn in Tokyo, you get two points. If you attack while in Tokyo, you hit everyone else. The downside is everyone else hits you, and you can’t heal in Tokyo!

If you get hit by someone else, you can concede Tokyo forcing them in the middle. If they don’t have much health, this can be an effective way of thinning the competition.

The second time around I worked out how to let us pick our own creatures. I thought Rabbit would enjoy Cyber Bunny, even with Cthuhlu being on offer.

And Cyber Bunny wasn’t there. I didn’t realise with the second edition, Cyber Bunny and the Kraken couldn’t be used for legal reasons. I suppose my old copy is even better now?

20220214 - King of Tokyo - Choose your monster
It’s a bit hard to see, but the cast are similar to but legally distinct from famous creatures

At the end of the day, King of Tokyo did what it does best. We each managed a win, we all ‘yelled’ at each other for rolling dice we didn’t want them to, and we all had fun.

If you want a light to medium weight Kaiju game with more ‘game’ to it, King of New York is a great game. If you want a light casual experience anyone can jump into, King of Tokyo remains one of my all-time favourites.

Kingdomino

What games do you reach for when you want to catch up with friends, but still play a game?

This isn’t a loaded question. There are heaps of games that fit the bill. Love Letter is an old favourite of mine for catch up gaming. Gloom is another with certain groups. Even Lords of Waterdeep works well with other players.

Catching up with Alpal and Rabbit we picked Kingdomino to start our session with. A little strategy, a little luck, and plenty of time to sit and chat during turns.

Sure, Kingdomino isn’t at its best with 3 players, but it’s still a fun game we all knew. It was during this first game while enjoying the chat I remembered something.

Don’t let Rabbit get all the gold mines!

20220214 - Kingdomino - Board Game Arena handles a lot of the fiddley points
Kingdomino is a fun tile placement puzzle game

I thought Rabbit would be the runaway winner that first game. It was at the end with all the scores I remembered a second thing about these players in particular.

Alpal may say she has no strategy, and act like everything is random, but she will score no points or all the points. In what I thought would be a runaway victory for Rabbit, there was only a point between the two of them!

For me, the best part of this is that this was a surprise, even though the scores are shown while you play. We were all more focused on having fun and chatting than going for cutthroat moves.

20220214 - Kingdomino - Watching the scores be calculated helps explain the rules
Board Game Arena showing the scores this way makes it easier to explain to new players still confused

Kingdomino proved itself once again a great opening choice. Light gaming in a relaxed state, but enough bite to be satisfying at the end of a game.

While it is fun playing Kingdomino on Board Game Arena and a great way to try before you buy, I did miss playing with the tiles in person.

I need to sit down and play Queendomino. I can’t do this on Board Game Arena, so this might be a suggestion for an in-person gaming session soon.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Another week went by on the island of Game Room. I didn’t do anything too major, but I did spend some time on the island at night rather than early morning.

I did manage to catch a few new bugs. More exhibits for the museum! A few more got away though. And one of the ones I am trying to catch – the Scorpion – I haven’t seen since the one I saw in December.

But playing at night has let me spend a bit more time not only on my island. It’s been weeks since I went on a trip with Kapp’n, let alone use a Nook Miles Ticket!

20220214 - Animal Crossing New Horizons - Harder to catch than a scorpion
Second time I have seen this bug, but still haven’t caught one

I did laugh at something during the week. One of the new bugs I have collected was a flea. Rosie, one of my villagers, was complaining of itching.

That wasn’t something I had seen before. I am used to villagers running up to me to talk, but not itching. There were little marks coming off her as well.

After running around trying to catch a cicada, I walked up to her to talk. I accidentally hit her with my bug net, which let me catch the flea. So I know what’s happening when someone is itchy now!

20220214 - Animal Crossing New Horizons - Rosie found out she had a flea
But the island is tidy! I haven’t neglected Game Room that much!

The next day, Rosie informed me she was leaving Game Room. She said it was to be a superstar elsewhere, but I can’t help but think it’s to avoid fleas! 😜

I have been putting in the effort to talk to my villagers, and they have seemed happier. I need to sit down for an afternoon and chill around my island still.

Not this weekend though. But soon.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus

It was another small bout of Pokemon Legends Arceus this week. I didn’t try to do anything in particular. I spent about an hour trying to do some requests and exploring the area.

It doesn’t sound like anything exciting, but that’s exactly what I was after when I was playing. A bit of resource gathering, a few XP levels gained, and some research points added.

The whole vibe of the play session was pretty relaxed. That was until I found a couple of Pokemon that I want to catch!

20220214 - Pokemon Legends Arceus - Alpha Snorlax
I will give the Alpha Snorlax this – it’s very awake!

The first was an Alpha Snorlax that seems to stick around a particular spot. For no good reason, I want to catch this one. I will need to level up my team quite a bit more, and possibly optimise my moves and type combination.

Why? Because the idea of an aggressive ‘boss’ Snorlax makes me smile. No more, no less. It’s a silly little goal that makes me smile.

While exploring around for more Eevee’s I found something that I haven’t seen for a while – an area with Abra!

20220214 - Pokemon Legends Arceus - I want to catch an Abra
There is a herd of Abra here, but I can’t get anywhere near close enough

I tried for about 10 minutes, but I couldn’t get close enough. I haven’t had an Abra in my team since Pokemon Yellow. I would like to make a ‘psychic’ team to tackle Hisui for fun.

There isn’t a better reason – it’s all for giggles. In a similar vein, I want to make a team of Eeveelutionsas as well. Is there a gameplay benefit? Nope. But it’s fun and relaxing, and that’s what counts.

I should be trying to take on Kleaver, the first ‘boss’, to progress the story. I can see another five hours just generally pottering around though!

Sifu

Kill Bill, Enter the Dragon, Romeo Must Die – these films all have one thing in common. Thin revenge plot that throws the protagonist into the next ridiculous fight.

From a storytelling perspective, these films are forgettable. From an action stance, these movies have all left a mark. Yep – Dad Joke Mode is fully engaged.

Sifu is a video game version of this type of film. Your father was killed by a former student, and you go on a revenge mission to make the group pay.

20220214 - Sifu - There was a hallway full of people
There was a hallway full of people

Based on this, Sifu doesn’t sound special. The aspect of Sifu that caught my attention was a rebirth mechanic. When you are defeated, a death counter increases and you age that many years.

Die to a tough enemy once, and you will age one year. Die to the enemy again, the counter increases again and you will age two more years – so from 20 to 21, then 23.

Defeat tough enemies and this counter can decrease. But while you are learning, you will age quickly!

20220214 - Sifu - The age mechanic can take some time to get used to
The age mechanic can take some time to get used to

Ageing isn’t only a visual thing. As you get older, you hit harder but your health decreases. There are also certain things you can’t learn, as you have gotten too old for your body to learn new tricks.

There is one move that makes me laugh with this mechanic. The Crotch Punch is exactly what it sounds like. But if you are over 29, you can’t learn it anymore. Pretty sure hitting someone in the crotch is a move someone of any age can learn!

I beat the first boss in Sifu on my first run and made it a fair way into the second area. Sifu does not hold your hand, but it isn’t unfair either. Oh, it feels unfair sometimes – but there are ways around everything that has been thrown at me so far.

20220214 - Sifu - Combat is fast and brutal but satisfying
Combat is fast and brutal but satisfying

I can see myself grinding away at Sifu to permanently unlock moves for future runs. Yep – Sifu also has roguelike aspects as well. There is so much to this game beyond the ‘beat-em-up with aging’ first impression.

So far I have been playing on my PlayStation 4, as that console is in my office and I wanted to capture gameplay. Now that the bigger project has finished with work, a run or two of Sifu my reward at lunch? See how we go next week.

If I could spend a couple of weeks playing Sifu all morning, I am confident I could master the game completely. These ideal gaming conditions aren’t going to happen for me.

But if you enjoy strategic beat-em-ups and tactical combat, Sifu may be a game that you should try.

20220214 - Sifu - I aged 35 years clearing level 1 the first time
I aged 35 years clearing level 1 for the first time. I can do better.

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