只能玩一次的桌游

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几周前去BGG看了眼排行榜突然看到了一个叫Pandemic Legacy的新游戏直接排到了第一名。立刻调查了一下,发现这是个“一次性桌游”,设计来就是只玩一次的,地图上城市沦陷是往上贴纸,各种秘密卡片和文件是在游戏中随着剧情发展才能打开,而人物死掉的话直接把人物卡撕掉。虽然调查了半天我都没搞清楚这个游戏到底能玩多久,但还是果断入手了毕竟也就50$而已。然后我和xw花了两个周末通关,总共大约玩了20多小时吧。第一天上手连续玩了10小时,确实很好玩。

这游戏第一盘很像经典合作游戏Pandemic(瘟疫危机),但随着剧情发展很快就会变得不一样。整个游戏玩下来要玩12~24盘,每盘视熟练程度和讨论的热烈程度耗时应该在40分钟到2小时不等。对于这游戏的机制和设计什么的也没法太多评论,因为会剧透。。个人感觉做得很不错。中间开各种隐藏要素的感觉非常紧张刺激。

建议不要考虑重复利用一套游戏的可能性。一方面游戏设计的玩法就很难让你重复利用那些配件;另一方面这游戏的一大吸引在于那些隐藏要素,被剧透了就没悬念了,同理玩过了一遍之后短期内也不太会有动力回去重玩。

这游戏支持2~4人,找人开局的话建议找到比较稳定的一组人。每盘游戏增减玩家是可以的,但代入感会少一些。一直固定的同伴玩下来的感觉真有点像美剧。另外,两个人操作三个角色这种玩法不推荐。。会很乱。而且加一个角色个人感觉会让游戏更难而不是更容易。

最后,这游戏的规则还是相当复杂的。。有些地方很tricky,偶尔也有看起来设计得不那么合理的地方。我们中间有一些盘玩错了两个挺重要的规则。但这游戏也没有回头路,错了也就错了。。强烈建议参考BGG上这篇分段防剧透的FAQ

 

Caverna: The Cave Farmers

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Just realized I haven’t blogged about “Caverna: The Cave Farmers” yet, the  heaviest board game I’ve bought so far, literally. By Amazon it weights 7.8 pounds. It took me more than 20 minutes just to punch out all the tokens.

Caverna is basically an “Agricola 2.0”. If you’ve played Agricola before, you can easily find lots of similarities in Caverna. Fixed number of rounds, sowing vegetables and harvesting crops, feeding animals and turning your farm to a zoo, and of course, feeding your family and struggling on the line of starving. Hence, it’s pretty easy for Agricola players to learn Caverna despite the length of the rule book.

But after a few plays I noticed there were some obvious differences between Caverna and Agricola, which actually made a veteran Agricola player like me feel weird. It was not until almost 10 games that I started getting the hang of it.

The first impression of Caverna was everything goes faster, twice faster. In Agricola the game gets more and more going on later in the game, the Caverna the “game accelerating trajectory” is even more dramatic. For example, Slash and Burn (build a field and sow) is an end-game “power move” in Agricola, but in Caverna it’s available from the beginning. In Caverna, a high-level dwarf doing a 4-loot expedition feels like he can single-handedly turn the farm over in one day, which gives you an exciting feeling that is rarely found in Agricola. On this point, I like Caverna better.

Another great part of Caverna is it increased the strategy diversity. In Agricola almost every game and everyone aims for the same main route: building rooms and adding family members. The strategy variety in Agricola greatly depends on the career/development cards. In Caverna because of the introduction of Expedition and the general increase of action capabilities, the value of an action can be much more dramatically different, so a smaller family size is not necessarily a huge disadvantage, in some cases it could even be an advantage (your higher-level dwarf can act earlier). Scoring changes for family members also reduced the importance of having more family members. Considering a few other scoring and rule changes, I feel Caverna really enables more feasible strategies in the base framework of the game, instead of relying on a huge set of random cards.

Using a fixed set of Furnishing Tiles to replace career/development cards is a bold design. Agricola’s great replayability mainly comes from the random cards, which is a double-edge sword. A strong hand or just one or two combos can sometimes give a player unfair advantages in a game; and new players usually cannot figure out their cards well that either slow down the game or make their winning chance very dim. Therefore I definitely welcome a try for a more transparent and balanced mechanism to provide similar replayability. So far I have mixed feelings about Caverna’s Furnishing Tiles. They’re public information so when a new player is confused you can easily explain. However they don’t seem to be very well balanced as far as I can see. There are obviously strong tiles and almost useless ones. Maybe I haven’t experimented enough strategies to see more usefulness from some cards. Anyway it’s still better to have all Furnishing Tiles in a public market so any player can buy, so the imbalance introduced by drawing is eliminated.

Overall I recommend this game to people who like Agricola and would like to experience something similar and new. Have the expectation that you might be confused for a few games and won’t immediately enjoy it even if you know Agricola well. It’s a real v2.0, not a v1.1.

Games I Played in 2015

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  • [Xbox One] Rise of Tomb Raider. Surprisingly good. Finished in a week. I never played through any previous Tomb Raider games and had pretty negative impressions on this series. But this one is done well: nice graphics, friendly to players, fighting is good enough. Lots of exploration makes this game fun.
  • [Xbox One] Fallout 4. Probably my choice of game of the year.  Played it through in about a month. Awesome graphic details and super flexible game system. Probably the only game I’d like to replay but may wait for a DLC upgrade.
  • [iOS] Blek. Light puzzle game. Stuck at level ~50.
  • [3DS] Xenoblade Chronicles 3D. Traditional JRPG. It was fun and nostalgic at the beginning but after 15~20 hours I gave up on it. The graphics on 3DS are just not good enough for me to enjoy it with a slow mood. Still bought Xenoblade Chronicles X Wii U version though. Hopefully will pick it up soon.
  • [iOS] Prune. Another light puzzle game featuring beautiful artwork. Finished in ~2 hours.
  • [iOS] Lifeline. Text adventure game. Basically a novel with a bit real life time flavor. Worth a try.
  • [Xbox One] Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Well it’s a great game but it’s not as good as Fallout 4 or even Tomb Raider. For those 2 games I couldn’t stop playing it. MGSV made me feel stressful and want to take a rest after playing for a while. It’s more for serious gamers or people who have plenty of time for gaming I guess. I’m still at ~30% progress and hesitating whether to pick it back up.
  • [Wii U] Splatoon. Nice shooting game on Wii with lots of innovations. I highly appreciate this game and enjoyed it for a few weeks. But multi-player shooting game just doesn’t engage me for long so now it’s on shelf.
  • [Wii U] Mario Maker. I simply don’t dig this game at all… Played maybe 2 hours top.
  • [3DS] Monster Hunter 4U. My family main game from Mar to May.
  • [iOS] Terra Battle. A mobile puzzle RPG? I’m not sure how to describe its type. Spent quite a lot of time on it in Jan/Feb. It had an interesting battle system and nailed the “growth” feeling in RPG well.

As expected there are more mobile game appearances in the list compared to previous years. However if we compare playtime, mobile games are still trivial for me and console games dominate living room time. This probably won’t change in the next few years. 

It’s worth-noting to me that there was a blank period between May and Sep/Oct. Possible reasons: 1. TV show season; 2. I was very busy…

Lifeline

看到知乎日报上的一篇推荐之后对这个游戏有点感兴趣于是下载来玩了。大约三五天时间完成,运气满好的第一次就玩到了Good Ending。之后xw注意到我在玩这个就也玩了玩,见证了主角的各种死法……

这游戏简单到就是一个有分支剧情的中篇小说,或者说没有插图的文字AVG。剧本写得不错,有悬念,主角很逗,循着对话模式写的剧本也让人很有代入感。主要的特色大概就是和手机的紧密集成,有时候会让你等上数个小时然后发来一条消息,这是当年掌机游戏不具备的条件。不过这样说来,是不是PC上的大把文字AVG都可以移植了?

这游戏的Apple Watch支持很好,好到可以完全在手表上玩。。反正就是显示对话和选回答而已。我隐约觉得会有一批 #WatchFirst 的极简主义App出现。

Splatoon

最近Wii U上比较火的一个游戏就是Splatoon乌贼娘了。一开始看宣传片觉得这是个低幼版枪枪枪,但后来看到800也在玩又看到这游戏出乎意料的火,就也玩了玩。上手之后很快就能感觉到这游戏为什么火了。

这游戏一上来感觉跟传统的CoD之类的射击游戏最大的不同就是射程短。即使是狙击枪也经常会看得到敌人而射程够不着;机关枪更是只能中距离战斗,常见的情形是隔着五六个身位互射;更有一小半人在用大受欢迎的刷子这种近身搏斗的武器。于是整体来说就是一个中距离战斗为主的游戏,而且瞄准还是很傻的拿着Wii U的大Pad来体感瞄准。虽然枪法准还是有优势,但是肯定不是决定性的了。对不太玩射击游戏的新手玩家很友好。

另外就是这游戏的核心设计:墨水。枪打出来的是墨水,变身成乌贼可以在墨水里快速移动还能爬墙,待在墨水里的时间就相当于装弹。很巧妙的解决了子弹、装弹和特殊移动三个问题,而且还引出了按涂地区域大小来定胜负的新奇模式。如果这是这游戏首创的设计的话可以说是神来之笔了。如果不擅长枪战的话,光靠跑位涂地和使用这游戏里独有的系统也可以玩得很好。

乌贼娘的人设也很萌!

有Wii U的玩家推荐入一个来玩玩,反正最近主机上可玩的游戏都不多。。