Stanley Observation of Jaipur seeing 7 Wonders for Peglin Century

Work-wise, I have to make it through three more weeks. I can get there. End of the Financial Year will always be a busy time for me, and the games coming out has not made gaming time easier!

Rabbit is starting a new job this week, which is super exciting. She has taken a break between positions to clean up her office at home. This coupled with Enzo finding a way to dive behind my PC and mess with cables has inspired me to rewire my office as well.

Hopefully by the time you are reading this the job is complete. Otherwise, work on Monday is going to be interesting! Speaking of interesting, it was a big range of games played this week!

7 Wonders: Architects

Another quick entry on 7 Wonders Architects. I think it’s fair to say that Alpal, Rabbit and I enjoy playing it a lot. We keep coming back to it as a ‘safe’ fun game to play time and time again.

One thing that made me laugh a lot this week was Rabbit got the Colossus of Rhodes. By itself, not incredibly funny. But it only took a few turns before she started complaining about getting jammed with the Colossus. Well, she didn’t exactly complain. Instead, the comments were like “Don’t complain when I don’t take points cards”.

She even made the joke “I don’t like 7 Wonders Architects anymore”. It was definitely a joke – we played 3-4 more games after that comment!

20220613 - 7 Wonders Architects - Colossus got Rhoded
Colossus got Rhoded! (I will see myself out)

This is what I found frustrating when I was getting stuck with the Colossus of Rhodes. I would get a shared deck usually with Rabbit with straight points on it that if I took the points, she would jump on the better card underneath. I would then get stuck with points again, or anything but what I needed to progress or score.

When you are playing as the Colossus against others that can take cards from anywhere can be very confining. There is no magical ‘jump’ to get you out of a bad draw like a lot of other wonders have. It isn’t a huge disadvantage, but it can be frustrating during a game. If 7 Wonders Architects has a drawback, this is the only one I can think of.

20220613 - 7 Wodners Architects - Much closer without the Colossus
Scores and progress much closer without the Colossus

Mind you, as frustrating as getting jammed with ‘bad cards’ can be, the three of us still had a great time. We spent a lot of time needling each other and joking through every game we played. Again, 7 Wonders Architects is so fast that even a ‘bad’ game is over in a few minutes.

Wonders are fully random on Board Game Arena, but physically if this was a problem you could steer away from dealing people the Colossus. Simple fix.

I need to get some people over for games again to play 7 Wonders Architects on the table to see how that goes though. I know it will take longer, but I think it will be a heap of fun.

Century: Golem Edition

Alpal put in a request for a game, that being Century: Spice Road. Century has recently come out on Board Game Arena and is a game that eternally lives in my blind spot. There is a lot to Century that makes it unique, and I remember enjoying playing it many times. But when it first came out, there was a promotional version that I wanted – Century Golem Edition.

The two games are virtually identical. The only differences are artwork and trading for gems rather than spices. That’s it. Gameplay is identical between the two versions. So why was I keen on Century Golem over Spice Road? Colour blindness. Spice road has some beautiful artwork and simple cubes represent spices. In early editions especially, the colours were muted and fairly close to each other making it hard to distinguish between.

Century Golem Edition was bright and almost ‘cartoony’, giving a different feel. Instead of painted cubes, the gems were bright plastic and shaded in a way it was easy for me to tell apart. It took a few years, but I finally have a copy of Century Golem for my shelf.

20220613 - Century Golem Edition - Even digitally Century Golem looks gorgeous
Even digitally Century Golem looks so much better in my opinion

Alpal and I both knew what we were getting into, Rabbit agreed to come along for the ride. I enjoy a lot of games by Emerson Matsuuchi, but almost all his games share a common flaw. While fun, there are a lot of smaller mechanics that need to be learned to make ‘the machine’ work. This means you can’t drop a new player into a game super easily,

This meant Rabbit was behind the 8 ball so to speak most of the first game. It’s not because she can’t understand the mechanics or rules. The problem is the dump of info up front couldn’t be soaked in quick enough.

20220613 - Century Golem Edition - Its just trading cards - its hard to make look exciting
Century is a trading game. It looks busy, but it’s hard to make look exciting.

So what do you do in Century Golem? The idea is pretty simple. You collect Golems, purchased with gems that you trade and upgrade for. How you do this trading is where Century can get complicated to explain quickly. If we get to play it again, I may talk about mechanics in more detail.

What I am looking forward to doing one day is combining all three Century games into a single game. Century Spice Road and two stand-alone expansions can be combined in a variety of ways to make new experiences. As a series, this makes for a unique experience, especially at the time.

But if wish a game like Splendor had a little more ‘to it’, give Century Golem a look. Most people I play with generally really prefer one over the other, and it almost always boils down to complexity.

Jaipur

Back quite a few years ago when I first moved to Brisbane, I used to go to a games night at the Kookaburra Cafe. The main host and I became good friends, and one day he sat down with me excited to show me a two-player game called Jaipur. I was intrigued, and then very quickly hooked.

Jaipur has a simple premise – collect and sell sets of goods to earn the most money. The round ends when three rows of rewards for goods are claimed, and you play the best of three rounds. There are some other things for scoring, like selling sets of three, four or five products gives a bonus. Selling early gives you a points boost, but these bonuses waiting for a higher set can swing the game.

20220613 - Jaipur - Physically, its a lot to to setup first game
Physically there is a lot to set up, but it doesn’t take as long as you would think

Between the two players is a row of five cards, and you have three possible actions. Take, where you simply take a good into your hand. Trade, where you switch at least two cards in the centre market with the same number from your hand, and sell. Sell is where you trade your goods for points. There isn’t much to get your head around in Jaipur.

There are a few items that you can trade, including camels. The player with the most camels at the end of the round gets a five-point bonus. During the game though, camels are a great item to trade with. Camels do not count towards your 7-card hand size limit and can allow you to capitalise on a dream draw.

20220613 - Jaipur - If someone takes the camels it opens a lot of choices for the other player
Close to ending the round, taking the camels can be risky. You will open a lot of choices for your opponent.

I introduce Jaipur to Rabbit and unfortunately botched the initial rules explanation. She did make the comment that Jaipur needs more patience to play than she had at the end of our game day. I never thought of Jaipur this way. A little bit of card counting, risk/reward for gaining or selling items at the right time, but not ‘patience’.

Either way, it was really fun to play Jaipur as it had been far too long. Maybe I can talk Tim into a game or two once work settles back down…

I'm on Observation Duty 5

I have been in a bit of a horror mood with The Quarry coming out this week. I won’t get a chance to play The Quarry this weekend, but that doesn’t mean I can’t play other games to scratch that itch. The latest in an indie horror ‘spot the difference’ game has been tapping into my gaming attention. So this week I finally fired up I’m on Observation Duty 5 and gave it a whirl.

For people that aren’t familiar with the series, a little introduction. The entire premise is timed spot-the-difference combined with memory. You go to a location and view a series of rooms through security cameras. As you proceed through the night, things will change in the rooms that you need to report. These changes are called anomalies.

If you have too many anomalies occurring at once, you lose. So you need to be attentive and report any differences quickly.

20220613 - Observation Duty 5 - Report Room and type - what can go wrong
Find the room and report what is wrong. Nothing strange here.

In I’m on Observation Duty 5, there are a couple of changes to gameplay depending on where you go. For most of the series, you would have to report a room and a type of anomaly type. Some locations in Observation Duty 5 only need you to identify the room with an anomaly, not the type. This sounds like an easy mode, but of course, there are twists.

The anomalies in these locations are generally a little trickier to spot. Not all, but some. Subtle differences can lead to an anomaly build-up, losing you the game. The other twist is you are penalised for false reports. Three incorrect reports will now also lose you the game!

20220613 - Observation Duty 5 - When you have two strikes every report can be stressful
When you have two strikes, every report can be stressful

So far I have been talking about a game that might sound relaxing. Well, there is a horror element to the game as well. Observation Duty 5 doesn’t rely on jumpscares like Five Nights at Freddy’s. That doesn’t mean that everything is smooth sailing though.

Depending on where you are, anomalies can be objects moving or paintings changing. Sounds OK. Some are intruders that can appear and even seem aware of your presence through the camera. Sometimes there are body parts randomly lying around the room, which can catch you unawares. And then, there are the Abyss events.

I’m not going into too much detail on Observation Duty 5 and its anomalies. You know if you are a horror fan or not. If you lean towards horror ‘light’, I will spoil that normally the biggest ‘jumpscare’ is a clock ringing out the hour. I almost always lose track of time during a game, and the unexpected gong makes me jump at least once each time. That is the worst of it though – there aren’t super loud screams constantly which is nice.

20220613 - Observation Duty 5 - Look at the screen and select the right box - thats it
It’s the unexpected differences while intensely concentrating that build tension

If any of this sounds interesting to you, I’m on Observation Duty 5 (the whole series, actually) is played a lot on YouTube and Twitch. Check out a video of someone playing, and see what you think. If you are willing to give it a try, you can get the entire series for less than AU$30 on Steam as well.

Peglin

There were a few times that I wanted to kick back for a small game session this week. Nothing too much – maybe a half hour and something I could easily put down. Peglin seemed like the perfect option!

I haven’t noticed any new updates (Peglin is in Early Access), but I unlocked the Cruciball last time I played. Think of Cruciball as the New Game+ challenges of Peglin. At the first level, you get an extra stone but they are weaker. The second level, you can be surprised with miniboss battles. And now, on level three, all the enemies have more health.

20220613 - Peglin - Cruciball
What happens when I fill the Cruciball? It will be fun finding out!

I am struggling on level three. I have cleared the first-level boss once, and I am having trouble making it through half of the level most runs. Peglin got a huge difficulty spike, but I am still enjoying it. There is an implied challenge in place. Peglin is saying “Oh so you think you have a handle on things now hey? Now let’s see how good you are!”.

In the earlier game modes, if I had a stone that goofed it was easy to come back from most times. Now the enemies are stronger, I can’t afford to waste shots. Damage needs to be maximised for each turn, or suffer the consequences!

20220613 - Peglin - Bosses are defnitely harder
For some enemies it doesn’t seem like a big bump in health, and then…

I think I will be on Crucuball level 3 (or NG+++) for a little while. Especially as I don’t see myself playing Peglin for extended periods for a little while. But I will be enjoying the games I do play, and if the bosses get to me I can always drop down to an earlier level for a break.

If a fun challenge that requires very little dexterity and quick decisions on your part sounds interesting, have a look at Peglin. The premise can be confusing, but once you start playing I think most will enjoy playing.

20220613 - Peglin - Quest Choices
The road is definitely fun to explore

The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe

After 120+ hours for the Elden Ring Platinum trophy and with work nuts, I needed something fun and light. Something that I could enjoy, but required minimal mental acrobatics or dexterity. Well, 2013’s The Stanley Parable had a new version released recently. The Stanley Parable has come to consoles with The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe!

I played The Stanley Parable late, maybe in 2015? I remember having fun enjoying listening to The Narrator going spare as I explored the office area. Thanks to some friends streaming the Ultra Deluxe version recently, I figured it would be a perfect choice. The bits of new content tickled my funny bone, and lying on the couch seemed the best place to explore again.

20220613 - Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe - Ah yes the adventure line tm
All you have to do is walk down a path. You select the path, but that’s it.

If you try The Stanley Parable for the first time, I recommend following the Narrators instructions. Don’t worry about exploring yet, simply follow the prompts. This path will show you most of the areas you can later explore, and sets the tone of the game well.

The draw of The Stanley Parable is the multiple story paths open to you. You don’t have to do strange things to unlock different story paths. A different path and then ending is achieved by walking through a different door. It sounds like such a minor gameplay task, but every path is different, and a treat to discover on your own.

20220613 - Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe - Yay I won - the story can take you in very unexpected directions
Another funny ‘ending’. The Stanley Parable is a huge choose-your-own adventure game.

Actually talking about the endings, there is a setting ‘Trigger Warnings’ you may want to turn on. There are a couple of endings that involve mental health and suicide. These are very much in the minority for the tonal shift, but that makes finding these two endings even more jarring. So my suggestion is these are topics you would rather avoid, enable ‘Trigger Warnings’. As soon as you start to get to the ending, you can then skip the ending and start back in your office.

As I explored the office as Stanley, I did notice a bunch of trophies had popped. A couple I knew about and had tried to get early, such as ‘Knock 5 times on door 430’. Others I achieved in the couple of hours I played. As I was shutting down for the night, I noticed I only needed 5 trophies, and one of those is always the Plat. So I had a sticky beak at what achievements were remaining.

20220613 - Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe - Yes I spoiled one trophy or did I
Oh no I spoiled a trophy. Or did I?

It was here I cheesed my first trophy. There is a trophy ‘Super Go Outside’ which is a callback to an original achievement. If you don’t know what I am talking about, I won’t spoil the surprise. If you do know, then yes I did the thing and have this trophy.

This leaves me with one semi-storyline-specific trophy, a speedrun, and one more. The Commitment trophy requires you ‘Play The Stanley Parable for the entire duration of a Tuesday’ for the Platinum.

I dislike these trophies. There is an easy way to get this – start The Stanley Parable Monday night, and then leave it. Make sure all power saving is off. Come back Wednesday morning and the trophy is ‘earned’.

To me, these trophy requirements encourage trophy hunters to waste power. I am going to try and get the trophy following the spirit of the challenge though. Tuesday’s are now going to be The Stanley Parable days. An hour or two each Tuesday, and I will get the trophy in a few weeks. This will combine another Platinum with some downtime and exploring all the endings.

20220613 - Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe - The Platinum is within sight
The Platinum is in sight

So expect a little blurb about a story branch for the next few weeks, because Stanley Parable Tuesdays are here for a while!

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! And don't forget you can get random gaming and pet pics on Instagram. 🙂

Until next time,

JohnHQLD