The Crew Crossing New Horizons for Pokemon Legends of Incan Gold

This week I begin asking myself the big question – why am I still playing Animal Crossing? I haven’t done much with it for an extended period, yet I log in for a few minutes every day. What to do? So while I thought about it, there was some Pokemon Legends: Arceus on the table.

Then Board Game Arena rescued me with a blast from the past that Alpal and I have missed playing! I also got to try The Crew, which I have been curious about for a while. Board Game Arena has been quite the blessing for playing long distance!

I have also been musing bumping up my play challenge. Because Board Game Arena is so quick and we have been playing lighter games, I am burning through the challenge. Remember I didn’t play any board games for the first five weeks of 2022! Will have to see how we go next week for that one.

Incan Gold / Diamant

Years ago I joined a games group that met up at the Kookaburra Cafe in Paddington. It was there that I met Alpal and discovered her love and weakness for push-your-luck games. The game we played but I could never track down a copy was Incan Gold. Many may know Incan Gold as Diamant – it is the same game.

The basics of Incan Gold are simple, and the gameplay time is pretty short. Lots of people would come over and look as well, even though it looked like a card game. That’s because the score tracker was acrylic gems – still a novelty at the time. And lots of us enjoyed playing as we could talk around the game with no real impact on the play.

The game length is short for a very simple reason – everyone plays at the same time. As a group, you decide if you will explore deeper, or return to camp. If you explore, you share any gems evenly amongst those in the temple. If you return to camp, you pack up the gems you have collected so far and wait for the next round.

20220314 - Incan Gold - Exploration is simply draw a card
Once shuffled, exploration is easy – just draw a card

And why wouldn’t you keep exploring? Because the temple deck of 30 cards is 15 treasures and 15 dangers. There are five dangers in total (3 cards each). If you flip two matching dangers those exploring must return to camp empty-handed.

There is only one real rule variant and that is treasures. If you are the only one returning to camp, you can claim the treasures shown. These are worth five points at the end of the game. The catch is if anyone else returns at the same time, the treasures stay where they are.

Do this for five rounds, and the person with the most treasure wins. That’s it – you know how to play Incan Gold!

20220314 - Incan Gold - Alpal tried to go for one more look
Alpal stuck around and was doing well – until the second Snake arrived!

And like many simple games, that’s why I love this game. You can talk about anything during a turn, as no gameplay can be missed. The goading and prodding while people try and work out if they should continue or play it safe can be hilarious.

Incan Gold is a great casual game, especially good with new people. Easy to teach and learn, and allows free conversation so everyone can get acquainted.

We were very happy to see Incan Gold on Board Game Arena, and I can see many more games in the weeks to come.

The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine

I am not usually one for trick-taking games. There have been exceptions, but on the whole, I usually need something more to go with a game than ‘win hands’. That’s why The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine popped onto my radar when it first came out. And no, I won’t call it by its full title going forward!

The Crew is a game where the trick-taking aspect is turned into a cooperative puzzle to solve. The increasing difficulty occurs over a 50 mission campaign of sorts, giving a goal. And there is the crowd splitting rule of no shared information. In The Crew this is thematically more appropriate than in most games, though.

The way to win each mission is that specific players need to win hands with specific cards. The card play is standard trick-taking – there are four suits with cards 1 to 9, and 4 trump (rocket) cards. What people need to win is shared information. The catch is you can’t tell other players what you have in your hand.

20220314 - The Crew - It begins so easy
It begins so easy

There is a communication of sorts in the game. It’s a limited burst of radio communication, where you can display one card. The information you can share is if that card is the highest, lowest, or only card of that suit.

Some players hate this hidden information aspect of a lot of games. For The Crew, it makes sense to me. If you can freely discuss who has was, there is little to no puzzle to solve. People talk openly about cards and search what is played in The Game for example. A lot of these players then complain there is no challenge to it.

At first, the missions are simple, such as one player wins one card. But going forward things get harder. Specific cards must be won in order. One player cannot win any hands. The already limited communication is messed with. Things like that.

20220314 - The Crew - Things then get complicated
And then things get complicated

If you like the idea of a shared puzzle, The Crew may be a good game for you. And with it being available on Board Game Arena, it’s a great way to try it out for yourself!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

I want to make up my mind on Animal Crossing New Horizons. It’s been weeks, and I haven’t taken any time to clean up Game Room. Villagers have come and gone, and I am in no rush to fill the empty home on my island.

But I log in once a day, and at the very least hit the ABD to keep my miles streak going. At the most, I do the 5 Nook Miles tasks. But I don’t spend any of the miles. Or go shopping. It’s been weeks since I went with Kapp’n or flew to an island.

So what is it about Animal Crossing New Horizons that stops me from moving on this time?

20220314 - Animal Crossing New Horizons - Nook Miles Tasks
Simple tasks to take up a half-hour – if I decide to try any

Sifu had taken over my nights, and this week Pokemon Legends: Arceus took that role. My island of Game Room has become a good intention – I want to spend time there, but any excuse will do to not make that time.

So this coming weekend, I am going to sit down and play Animal Crossing New Horizons for an afternoon. After Board Game Arena, I am going to curl up on the couch with my Switch and sort out the flower situation.

I considered doing it this week, but we have a few things to get sorted by the weekend. See? Any excuse. Adulting over gaming – who would have thought!

20220314 - Animal Crossing New Horizons - Money hole
I have been so vague I covered the money tree hole twice this week!

If I don’t sort out Game Room, I will uninstall Animal Crossing New Horizons and leave it be. I have had fun with it twice now, and that’s a pretty good run!

Pokemon Legends: Arceus

By Tuesday, I could already tell I was going to have a week. A Platinum run of Sifu is still on the cards, but this wasn’t going to be the week to try it. And Animal Crossing New Horizons was being avoided, as chill as it is. So this opened the door for Pokemon Legends Arceus to get another look.

Monday, I had almost 9 hours of gameplay and I hadn’t tried to find the first ‘boss’ of the game. Now, I have not only defeated Kleaver, but I have two special Pokemon summons and I am making my way through a new area. I am also on 5 stars – halfway through the ranking system!

20220314 - Pokemon Legends Arceus - Owlsley evolved into Decidueye
Owlsley evolved into Decidueye – and Hisui has a new look!

It’s been a good experience with Pokemon Legends Arceus. Personal goal wise, I not only have an Abra but I have evolved it into Kadabra. Owlsley has been fully evolved. My first Eeveelution has happened, and I am even catching Alpha Pokemon!

The first two nights all I did was explore the first area, catching Pokemon and work on my research levels. It was a good relax, nothing special game-wise. Very repetitive, but what I was looking for.

Then I wanted something a little more to do, so I took on Kleaver – the first boss. I thought this would open the next area, and I would rinse and repeat. Pokemon Legends Arceus instead opened up the next lot of gameplay options for me to look at.

20220314 - Pokemon Legends Arceus - Boss battles are a little different but not as arcadey as I worried about
Boss battles are a little different but not as ‘arcadey’ as I worried about

To be clear, it’s not like there are a ridiculous number of different activities thrown at you. You can think of everything new offered as a kind of specialised long term side mission. These include collecting floating lights, popping balloons and scavenger hunting. All on top of the expanded side missions on offer.

The balance of ‘original’ simple gameplay and newer game elements is working for me. I was worried that Pokemon Legends Arceus would go too far in the Breath of the Wild direction. Instead, newer games such as Let’s Go Pikachu / Eevee have introduced the changes well.

Pokemon Legends Arceus is different, but not overwhelmingly so. If I spent a weekend playing only Arceus, I am sure I could not only beat it but put a large dent in Completing it. This likely won’t happen, but it does show the complexity of the game pretty well.

20220314 - Pokemon Legends Arceus - Distortions sound exoctic but are random collection areas
New activities sound epic like Distortions – but it’s a random area for collecting different resources

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,