Polishing My City of Gloomhaven to earn the Elden Ring

I had some big plans for board gaming this week. Our normal Saturday day got put off last week, but I was going to try some Destinies and Final Girl. Depending on how time went, maybe another game or two.

Last Monday I was going to set up a new scenario of Final Girl. I got exactly this far into getting things started:

20220502 - Final Girl - So close to starting a game
I almost got a new game started, then Enzo took an interest

There were a lot of factors to calling the game before starting, such as too long between games. Rules I thought I would remember were changing in the new scenario. Also, Enzo was being super ‘helpful’ (i.e. attacking everything) and there are many small pieces in Final Girl.

Then, I got sick. Initially, I thought it was just a bad cold. Day 3, and the positive RAT let Rabbit and I know it was more than just a cold. That’s enough to put off any more physical gaming this week. Boo.

But it’s not like I didn’t get any gaming in, and can even sow a few seeds for other gaming ideas coming up.

Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

Expanding on Legacy and Campaign games, I have wanted to play Gloomhaven for years now. I have the original game and the ‘tutorial’ stand-alone Jaws of the Lion. I started playing Jaws of the Lion with Simon and Rabbit. The campaign died off a bit and I don’t think we will be returning to it, unfortunately.

That doesn’t mean I can’t play Gloomhaven though. I jumped onto the digital implementation in Early Access, and it’s been sitting in my Steam library ever since. Not only has the full original campaign been implemented, but Jaws of the Lion is DLC coming out soon. I can play all Gloomhaven with zero setups and tear down, whenever I want.

In preparation for this, I played all of the tutorials included in the digital Gloomhaven.

20220502 - Gloomhaven - Tutorial objectives are to teach you mechanics only
The tutorials are contrived scenarios with info you need, but no feeling

I haven’t put any of these in my ‘plays’ as they are small learning scenarios. This has been a good way to come to grips with the digital implementation, and try and find how everything works together. And on the whole, it works well.

Having played the first few scenarios of Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion, the digital tutorials feel a little light. Not in content or information passed on. The tutorials are specific scenarios with ‘get out of this’ objectives. It works for teaching you the game but doesn’t make me excited to play. Not on their own, anyway.

I have preordered the Jaws of the Lion DLC releasing in two weeks. The idea is to play through the ‘teaching’ scenarios that form the Jaws of the Lion campaign digitally. This might seem backwards from what the designers intended, but hey – it’s how I will play.

20220502 - Gloomhaven - The enemies look great
Enemies look great, and the camera works well

There is the danger I am going into Gloomhaven Digital with unreasonable expectations. When I first played in Early Access, you needed to know how to play Gloomhaven already. There weren’t any tutorials or the like attached, just random encounters. I have watched Gloomhaven evolve from these days. I still have a feeling that the digital implementation is for people that already know the game.

Let’s see how that goes in three weeks.

My City

I have acquired a taste for Legacy style games that teach you how to play as you progress. Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is a good example of this. As much as I have enjoyed getting into them, it’s been a little tricky getting any to the table. So when I heard some good things about Reiner Knizia’s My City, I was keen to try it with Rabbit.

Legacy games can be ‘fiddley’, with lots of moving parts and mechanics to keep track of. My City is definitely on the easier side of this. Rather than being a large dungeon crawl, or RPG campaign, My City is simply placing tiles on your board. That’s it. Yes, there is scoring conditions that get added/tweaked, but the core gameplay is very simple.

There is a deck of cards showing the building tiles that will make up your city. Each turn, you flip over a card and then place that building. As you play, new buildings can only be put against buildings you have already placed. Your first building has to be touching the river in the middle of the board. You can’t place tiles on filled in mountains or woods. That’s it – you now know the basic gameplay of My City – it’s that easy.

20220502 - My City - Very simple components
Some tiles, a board, and a deck of cards. All your attention is on your game only.

My City consists of 24 episodes, split into 8 envelopes with varying rules. For the very first game, we had to cover up stones and leave trees visible. We lost points for stones and gained points for trees. It was a low scoring round, but with so ‘little’ to focus on, it was a great introduction to My City.

The legacy aspect of My City is like a rubber-band catch-up mechanic in video games. If you win an episode, you get progress points. Most points at the end of 24 episodes win. But you also have to put stickers on your board. So far, winners have had to put rocks down, giving you something else to cover or lose points. The loser of the round gains tree stickers, allowing more points to be scored next episode.

20220502 - My City - Losing gives you some bonus tiles for future games
Trying not to spoil anything, but you can see Rabbit’s bonus trees hidden in the woods

When Rabbit and I played, we played the first episode a once before doing a ‘this counts’ legacy game. This lets us see the rules and get a feel for everything, without messing with the campaign scoring.

Next time we play, it could be a couple of months away. But if we play through an envelope (3 episodes) each time, playing one episode this way will be a good refresher. My City is quick to play, simply turning a card and placing a tile. So a ‘fake’ game that takes a bit longer will allow everything to click again.

My City also has an alternate setup, allowing people to play a tile-placement game without a legacy component. I don’t have a lot of interest in this mode yet, and I’m not sure if I will. For this kind of game, I would probably flip back to Cartographers. But never say never. Don’t know who will come around for a game!

20220502 - My City - Enzo waiting to Help
Enzo looks cute, but I know he wants to chew my building tiles!

Elden Ring

I have been getting into Elden Ring in a huge way. I was worried that returning to work would interfere with my adventures in the Land Between. Well, work is all but the last thing I have done this week! I thought I had caught a bug.

After two years of staying in the house, Covid has come to visit. I did get to play some more, but this entry is being written while still feeling pretty bleah. So I may wander more than normal.

Last weekend, I wrote about getting beaten by the first ‘proper’ boss of Elden Ring, Godrick the Grafted. A lot. But I also enjoy a challenge, and I knuckled down and beat him. It took a couple of tries, but I got there, and my first Shardbearer trophy has been achieved!

20220502 - Elden Ring - Godrick Trophy Shot
The automatic screenshot of Godrick’s demise is underwhelming 🙁

I thought I was doing pretty well overall and continued exploring blindly. I ended up triggering a quest for a set of armour. I discovered this by looking up why someone attacked me in the Roundtable Hold – a supposed safe haven! Goes to show nowhere is safe in Elden Ring.

Pushing forward, I also discovered quickly Raya Lucaria and defeated the legendary Rennala. I thought I was making some progress. I finally figured out how to find map fragments as well. Looking around wandering until I find something that squashes me, then go somewhere else has worked, or so I thought.

Turns out I missed a huge area called the Weeping Peninsula! I had already gone to a large fight at the end, but I missed huge areas to the west. I finally have various crystals for my Physick Flask and found a couple of other smaller bosses as well. Elden Ring does not hold your hand navigation wise at all.

20220502 - Elden Ring - Fancy new armour
I can’t say it’s the prettiest armour ever, but it is distinctive

Right now, I am looking at the entranceway of Caria Manor. From the warnings of the large blacksmith I met on the way and the harder enemies en route, this might be a good spot to pause while sick.

That doesn’t mean I am not going to play some more Elden Ring. I have managed to hit level 60, but there are plenty of areas to explore in spots I have found. The only thing I need to be careful of exploring is not losing runes. It is starting to hurt a lot now losing 20-30 thousand runes!

20220502 - Elden Ring - Caria Manor
This looks like a new bit of ‘fun’. Might rest up here.

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