Scythe

img_0195

Scythe是今年备受期的一款桌游。火爆到八月份发售的时候到处都断货,原价80多的游戏在eBay上卖到200多一份。好在现在已经慢慢到处都有货了。我在九月份的时候运气不错的买到一套之后开了几次,现在感觉还在熟悉当中没有很深的理解。不过眼看就年底了也不妨一写。

这个游戏的主题十分吸引人:英雄,机甲(有模型的哦!),六角格地图,建筑加战斗。名字“镰刀”取了既是耕作工具又是战斗武器之意。实际玩起来会感到这个游戏设计的很精巧,糅合了各种流行桌游的元素,河流分隔的六角形地图和英雄能力很像Terra Mystica,建筑板和升级系统有点像Eclipse,工人放置,靠达成目标数结束游戏等机制也都似曾相识。总的来说并没有特别创新的系统,但是整个游戏的完成度非常高,系统各方面都打磨得很好,地图、卡牌和模型也都制作得十分精美。习惯这类桌游的玩家玩起来很快就能上手并且理解系统各方面之间的联系,并且有种欲罢不能的感觉。综合来看不愧是今年最受期待的桌游。

这游戏现在最多支持五个人但地图上已经留出了空位可以容纳以后扩展到七人。游戏规则说实话还是比较复杂的,给新人讲一遍需要一小时左右,并且第一次玩的时候很容易搞错规则。。如果玩过相似的游戏的话接受起来会快一些。新手局一场游戏的时间大约在3-4小时。战斗方面可以很和平也可以很激烈。虽然不会直接“打死”对方的单位但是能抢资源。各种偷袭卡位什么的搞太狠了真的会让人掀桌。。所以不是太建议两人玩。多人合纵连横互相制衡会好玩一些。系统方面取分的路线很多,我现在还远远没有尝试过能想到的各种打法。游戏的随机因素体现在民族和建筑板的组合,邻座玩家的路线,目标卡,战斗卡和encounter这几方面,还算比较多的,不过还在我觉得比较合适的范围内。

希望年底假期期间能多开几局,哈哈。

只能玩一次的桌游

IMG_1354

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

IMG_1378

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.

[Board Game] Shinobi Clans

pic2022124

 

Amazon上某天桌游打折的时候看到一个叫Shinobi Clans的游戏画风出众评价也不错就入了,上周末开了一次三人局。

作为一个忍者题材的游戏,目标选择和暗杀的游戏机制营造了不错的氛围。一次游戏共有三轮,每轮大致的进行过程是先随机从五个目标中选三个,然后给选中的三个目标随机附加一些奖励,每个玩家秘密选择两个目标来暗杀或保护;然后通过发牌和轮抽的方式给每个玩家十张牌;然后是所谓的“Ninja Phase”,玩家轮流将牌面向下打出到各个目标上;这一轮的牌打完之后就是”Battle Phase”,把每个目标上的牌逐一翻开解析效果,来看到底这个目标被暗杀掉没有。

Ninja Phase的时候大部分信息是隐藏的,每个玩家不知道别的玩家的目标和自己是一致还是相反,看着牌暗着出到各个目标上的感觉还真有点像很多忍者被派遣过去。这个phase是勾心斗角的主要阶段,有一些牌会暴露信息,有一些牌可以用来窥探信息,但总的来说还是不透明的信息更多,十张牌打下去的节奏也很快。

这游戏很精彩的一个部分在于选目标的博弈。高奖赏低风险的目标看起来诱人,但一旦多个玩家同时选的话报酬就要平分,即使成功,每个人拿到的部分也很可能不如一个原来看起来报酬不高的任务的总额。还有一点就是在Ninja Phase如果意图被别人过早看穿,往往会引来对方的对抗或者利用。隐藏自己的意图和利用他人的出牌,有时候能达到四两拨千斤的效果。

一个缺点是三人局三个目标造成的冲突并不是特别够。有时候打着打着会发现一轮里面三个人冲突的目标只有两个甚至一个,于是大家都轻松得分,得分多少基本取决于每个人选择的目标,这就有点过于凭运气。在这种情况下比较优的策略可能是把强力的牌留到下轮,本轮尽量做free rider。感觉上可能应该能从规则的角度来避免这种冲突过少的情况,但我又细读了一下规则并没有。从概率上讲玩家选出来的目标完全不冲突的可能性倒也不大,所以也还好。

Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts

Haven’t played RFTG for years although it is the first strategy board game xw and I ever played and practically led us into the board game world. We played the original version and the 1st expansion a lot, but the 2nd and the 3rd expansions made us lose interests on this game, because it felt like the system became complex and difficult for us to have a good grasp and enjoy.

The last game I bought, Takenoko, wasn’t very successful. So I’ve been looking for a new one for a while and noticed RFTG released its 4th expansion last year, named Alien Artifacts. The 4th expansion started a new “Arc”, or you can understand it as a new trilogy. So it should be played only with the original game, not with the first 3 expansions. Because of the history above, this feature is actually very attractive to me.

The 4th expansion added a bunch of new cards into the original game, and a new sub-system – Alien Orb. The Orb system feels quite weird because it’s not really “integrated” into the game and is completely optional. It’s slightly similar to Carcassonne: players put new tiles to form a map in turn, and move “meeples”.  The mechanism is almost completed separated with the main card game, and the main relationship is you can get a few power tokens from the Orb system to use in the card game, also VPs.

I played 2 games with the Orb system and 2 without it. So far I prefer the latter much more. The Orb phase feels like a distraction so players need to “switch” thoughts between the cards and the map. And it introduces downtime into the fast-pacing original game, but doesn’t seem to bring enough interaction as a good trade-off.

Although the Orb system seems a bad addition to me and also received lots of critics on BBG forums, the 4th expansion is still a good expansion overall. The original game has a few elements “incomplete”, such as Rebel cards and Uplift cards, even the whole Alien branch. It’s obvious the design idea is to complete the missing parts in expansions. The new cards added in Alien Artifacts are quite a lot and balanced the whole game well. When play a card suite with the 4th expansion, it feels much more like a complete system and not over-complicated. I highly recommend to try this expansion if you play the original RFTG, but feel free to leave out the Orb system.