Skywalker Duels Architects in a Space Base for the Ring

The week leading up to a break is always hectic. Trying to tidy up loose ends, last-minute requests, all the fun stuff. But I managed to get through it all, and now I go back to work tomorrow week. That’s more than a week off! Last weekend has been recharging the batteries, and I am almost ready to take this week on.

A week of resting, pottering, and hopefully getting to some things I have been putting off too much. This includes some board games, as my copy of Return to Dark Tower arrived this week 😁. See how I go. There are also some social things I need to catch up on as well.

But I already got some break time in. Friday was Rabbit and I enjoyed cuddles and much TV, no computer time at all. It’s been a long time since I have been able to do that. Then I did some of that gaming I hear so much about. This brings me to this week’s gaming journal!

7 Wonders: Architects

Would it be a games day with Alpal and Rabbit if we didn’t play 7 Wonders Architects? Of course not! After the brain testing Space Base (see later), we settled in for some Architects fun.

First off, I was super happy – I didn’t see the Colossus of Rhodes at all! That’s a 7 Wonders Architects first! Not only was I not assigned it, but none of us had it the entire time. Hopefully, their randomiser got a bit of a boost and this continues!

Rabbit had a super run this week, winning two of the three games. The first round of 7 Wonders Architects was super close. The Cat Token ended up giving Rabbit the points boost she needed over Alpal for the win.

20220418 - 7 Wonders Architects - I didnt get the Colossus of rhodes at all this round
No Colossus of Rhodes to be seen in 3 games!

In the last game though, Rabbit romped it in. I thought we were all pretty close. Rabbit and I were one resource away from finishing our Wonders. Alpal wasn’t far behind and was only a couple of obvious points behind Rabbit.

I had the least amount of science tokens, and Alpal had a bonus for military wins but hadn’t won a single battle. As long as Rabbit didn’t finish her Wonder, I thought Alpal and I had a chance of pipping the win.

This is a large part of what I enjoy about games like 7 Wonders Architects – you can’t tell exactly who is winning. Not definitively at least.

20220418 - 7 Wonders Architects - It was a race to finish our wonders
The race looked super close

Well, Rabbit won by about 20 points after nabbing the last resource. It was her most decisive victory to date, and right up until the last card draw we were all trash-talking each other. In a good way, I promise.

I cannot think of a bad game of 7 Wonders Architects that the three of us have had. And we played 30 games together. There aren’t many games we play that often in that short a time I can say that about.

Next week we may have a change to the mix to try player-wise. If that happens I would be pretty confident in giving 7 Wonders Architects a proper review soon.

7 Wonders: Duel

7 Wonders is an amazing game that I will rarely play with less than 5 players if given the choice. You can technically play it with two players, but this means adding a dummy player to the mix. This is, in my opinion, the worst possible way to play 7 Wonders.

So I was super happy when 7 Wonders Duel was announced. Very similar to the ‘full’ game, but designed for 2 players only. Instead of drafting from hands of cards, players buy cards from solitaire like pyramids. Or discard them for gold. Or use them to build a Wonder.

For fans of 7 Wonders that want to play two-player only, 7 Wonders Duel is an amazing game.

20220418 - 7 Wonders Duel - Aggressive Solitaire
Card Drafting has been replaced with ‘aggressive solitaire’

It has been a time since I played 7 Wonders Duel. Four years, according to BG Stats. During that time, my memories of engine building in the game had become muddled. I thought scoring and speed were like 7 Wonders Architects.

While explaining 7 Wonders Duel to Rabbit over chat, I remembered how convoluted it actually is. 7 Wonders players will slip into Duel instantly, but explaining it to a new player can be daunting.

20220418 - 7 Wonders Duel - Resource much more like 7 Wonders
Resources are just like the ‘full’ 7 Wonders, and harder to track for new players than Architects

With no multiple decks to shuffle and set up to handle, I thought Rabbit and I would get through a game in 10 minutes. Including explanations, the first game took a smidge over 40 minutes. The second game was still close to a half-hour.

I am confident that if both players are familiar with 7 Wonders, 7 Wonders Duel on Board Game Arena can be finished in 10 minutes. Rabbit and I just weren’t at this level.

Maybe I can talk a couple of others into playing with me, as I wouldn’t mind playing some of the expansions. Both are available on Board Game Arena, and I like the idea of trying before considering buying them.

Space Base

Engine Building games are a genre that either hits or misses with players. Engine Building involves long term planning and quick direction changes depending on luck. This sort of game isn’t something you can generally do on autopilot. Machi Koro is a game that was ‘The Hotness’ a while back, which helped introduce Engine Building to people.

Machi Koro’s greatest strength is it didn’t look like an engine builder. You buy cards that when a specific number is rolled allow you to earn money listed on that card. This lets you buy more cards that activate on different numbers. This is where I get Engine Building from. If you don’t plan to get something every turn, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage.

A few years ago, Alpal introduced me to Space Base with the description of ‘Machi Koro in Space’. This is a good basic description, but there is a little more going on. The basics are close enough though. You are building your Space Base, and buy cards from the open market to expand your base. Each turn two die are rolled, and you can activate two dice separate (so spots 1 to 6), or activate the sum of the 2 die (2 to 12).

20220418 - Space Base - Early Game not much happening
The start of the game is slow as people build their bases

There are three main resources in Space Base. Rockets are your victory points, and the first player to 40 rockets triggers the final round. Most Rockets wins – pretty standard scoring.

You also have Money (we always call it Gold because of the icon) to spend each turn. This accumulates as play goes around the table, but anything you don’t spend on your turn is lost. That is unless you have Income.

Income is the most confusing resource to describe. From the description, you would expect to get Money each turn. In Space Base though, Income is better described as ‘savings’. You can keep Gold you didn’t spend up to your income amount. So for example you had 10 Gold, 3 income and bought a card for 4 Gold. Instead of losing all 6 remaining Gold at the end of your turn, you keep 3 for the next round.

20220418 - Space Base - The top row activates on your opponents turn
The top Red row activates on opponent’s turns, the middle Blue row activates on your turn

There are a large number of cards to buy, with a huge range of abilities. There are your basic ‘Get Gold or Income’ cards, but there are also fancier cards. Some let you pick the rewards of the cards next to that ship. Others let you manipulate your board state, switching positions. Space Base even has an instant win card.

That’s right – there is one card that if you can charge it up a few times, you win. Your score is irrelevant. Alpal actually came close to pulling this off on Saturday. Space Base on Board Game Arena was fine, but you can overlook your opponent’s boards to see what is happening.

If Alpal hadn’t mentioned she needed to roll 12 to win, we wouldn’t have noticed. At the time I was feeling bad as she hadn’t scored much and I thought things had gone wrong for her.

20220418 - Space Base - The Instawin Card of Doom
The instant win card – the chances of getting it are low, winning with it lower

Space Base comes across as a heavier game than it is, but it is a game that can easily discourage new players. There is a lot to learn in relation to the types of powers available to buy, but the actual rules are quite simple. Rabbit came to grips with the game during the first game and began playing ‘properly’ in her second game.

The only reason I put the air quotes around ‘properly’ is because she had very little exposure to all the powers. From floundering in the first game, Rabbit took an early lead in the second game. The missing ingredient was Space Base needed Rockets to win, and she latched onto that well.

My guess is it will be a few more years before I play Space Base again, but I will enjoy it when it comes around. If you were one of the many that played Machi Koro and wanted a bit more to the game, check out Space Base on Board Game Arena.

Elden Ring

About halfway through last week, I came to a realisation about my break. I was looking forward to dedicating some time to Elden Ring (among other games), but I have been playing on PC. By itself, this isn’t a bad thing, but I want to spend time away from my PC on my break.

So I restarted Elden Ring, but this time on PS5. I started with a Ronin class this time, as I was flipping between Ronin and Bandit when I first started playing. I was expecting pain as I was starting fresh, but to quickly make progress as I had started learning the ropes.

What I didn’t expect was to dominate compared to my first run through. I don’t know if it’s the DualSense controller, the Ronin starting class, or being more relaxed as I play. But I have managed to get further than I have on PC, and I have explored more in different areas. I think I was supposed to explore a lot of these areas the first time, as I have found a few things that have helped. This includes an ‘old friend’.

20220418 - Elden Ring PS5 - Hello Patches
I know he will betray me somehow, I just don’t know how yet

Patches is a From Software staple, and I had heard he was in Elden Ring. That cave also introduced me to a new mechanic – tripwire alarms. That was unexpected. As was Patches coming out as a boss. The fight wasn’t as epic as I expected, but now Patches is another merchant for me.

I have a feeling I found Patches the ‘wrong’ way though. I say this more because I went from the end of the river towards the lake, rather than the other way around. I found my first bloody finger invader and managed to find another cave that made my heart stop.

During the descent, I used all my health flasks, but I couldn’t find a way back up because I dropped in the dark. Then I came across the boss’s room. Not what I wanted with no health and over 6000 runes waiting to level up.

20220418 - Elden Ring PS5 - Not how I wanted to find a boss
He didn’t want me to draw him like a French Girl

But I managed to beat it the first time! I lucked out, it was a giant with red weak points – the ankles! The fight ended up being like the huge archer fight, so I wasn’t too surprised by the mechanics. This was super helpful. Sometimes Elden Ring throws you a softball.

Emboldened, I then set out to take on Margit. I had my lone wolves, and Sorcerer Rogier was on hand to help. I had a couple of new weapons to play with as well. A couple of tries, and I thought I could get the fight sorted.

I managed to surprise myself. After the belting I got on PC, I managed to end Margit on PS5 first go! I think I am getting the hang of Elden Ring!

20220418 - Elden Ring PS5 - Margit Down
OK Technically fourth try, but first try on PS5!

Some will say that using the summons is doing the fight in easy mode. I say I am using the tools the developer gave me. The important part of any game is enjoying it your way. If your way of enjoying Elden Ring is finishing the entire game without levelling up with only a club. The skill of such players is amazing. I am learning, so I am using all the tools Elden Ring gives me!

Pushing on, I have started exploring Stormviel Castle. And met my death quite a few times. I knew I was getting too tired when I tried to jump on a ledge, and completely missed and plunged to my death. Twice.

So during the week, I may switch up to days of LEGO Star Wars (because reflecting sun and dark games don’t mix), with Elden Ring at night. One thing is for sure – I am enjoying it so far, and I can’t wait to see how far in I can go.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

Last week I had grand plans of knocking over an episode of the Skywalker Saga every night before my break. This would leave me plenty of free time to partake in free play mode and explore at my leisure.

That was the intention. The extra build up when you are about to take time off work is something I mismanage every time. I did get to finish the first trilogy story though. I didn’t miss playing the Skywalker Saga completely!

One night, I was flipping up between trying Episode 4 or watching something before bed. Thinking clearly, Episode 4 wouldn’t work as that would be a good couple of hours to finish it. And I didn’t feel like watching anything. I did have some pre-order characters to play with though…

20220418 - Skywalker Saga - Mandalorian and Grogu
I haven’t discovered anything super special about Mando except Grogu

Yep, The Mandalorian and Grogu are now part of my available characters. Well, I say and Grogu. If you pick The Mandalorian, Grogu automatically gets added as an extra character.

It’s adorable seeing him float around with you. And if the action gets heavy, the doors on his carrier close for protection!

Walking around I also noticed I need a ‘villain’ character to use a terminal. There were a couple of villains I had unlocked, but not bought. Now that I was messing with free play, there was one villain that I felt The Skywalker Saga had overlooked.

20220418 - LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga - General Grievous
Hello There

Buying General Grievous, the first thing he did was toss a grenade on a breakable. Running around and ripping into everything with 4 lightsabers was as fun as I thought it would be.

General Grievous also has the ability to shoot with a blaster, making him a great combat character. You can’t belt through The Skywalker Saga with only him though. He can’t build for example, and a lot of puzzles need The Force.

So not too much of a dent in The Skywalker Saga yet, but I am still having a blast running through it!

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