Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Close Run Thing

I've been in a little bit of a gaming lull lately; I haven't done much. However, our family game nights continue, and last night's was a nerve wracker.

We decided on something simple so we pulled out Castle Panic. It features simple rules, quick play, nice components, and easy set-up. Perfect for gaming when we're feeling a little lazy.

The only problem is that it is easy to win. In fact, I don't think we ever lost before. Last night, however, the game decided to challenge us.

Early in the game, we faced a swarm of monsters in the green sector.

We lacked troops in that sector (your troops are randomly drawn cards). As a result, some of the monsters broke down the walls and tore apart some of the towers. It was looking bleak at this point.

Cooper decided to supervise. His clever strategery turned the tide of battle. :)

At one point, we came within a whisker of losing. We had one tower left. I commented that if a boulder came from the opposite side it would destroy our last remaining tower. My wife then recommended that we build a wall an the opposite side. I did so. In that very same turn, a boulder came rolling down the hill on the opposite side. If I had not built the wall, we would have lost!

With that crisis past us, we slowly whittled down the enemy. Finally, only one troll remained. He came lumbering toward our castle and was nearly within our walls. If he made it, we probably would have been doomed. Then my wife deployed 3 swordsmen who took out the troll. Victory!

Whew. This was one of the closest games of Castle Panic that we ever played. Even though we rarely lose, nights like this keep us coming back to this game.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Modifying Four Against Darkness

After last week's session of Four Against Darkness (4AD), my wife said that she liked the game and wanted to play again. One aspect of our game that made it enjoyable to her was that our party was made up of our cats. For some reason, she enjoys dungeon-crawling so much more when it involves cuddly, furry creatures (which is why she also likes Mice & Mystics).

This week's session was less successful. Toward the end she was visibly bored and ready for the game to end. As I see it, there were 2 issues:

  • Too Long - Admittedly, 4AD is a fast playing game. A single combat can be over in a couple of minutes at most, Still, I haven't totally gotten used to the charts, slowing down play. I have gotten better. By adding an index to the PDF, Ganesha Games made it so much easier to find stuff in the book. They also provided cheat sheets but I haven't been using them. Previously, I made my own cheat sheet in Excel and I find it quicker to use that. Even with these improvements, we spent nearly 2 hours playing (although I probably spent half an hour redoing the character sheet). I have a couple of ideas to speed the game:
    • Pre-mapping the dungeon - I could do the mapping and rolling for encounters prior to us playing. But that won't be as much fun for me; the surprise of the randomness certainly makes things interesting. Still, it may be a good idea for my wife's sake.
    • Impose a time limit - an idea in the 4AD rulebook. I could say that after an hour of exploring we find the main boss. Alternatively, I could limit the dungeon to a certain number of rooms.
  • Too Much Combat - My wife complained that this session had too much fighting. We fought 5 combats vs. 3 in the previous session. However, in this session we fought 3 bosses vs. 0 in the first session. I think it was too many bosses for my wife. Solutions?
    • Modify the encounter charts to create more non-combat encounters
    • Increase the odds of a boss being the final boss (which should also reduce the time spent playing)
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy this game immensely. I also love that my wife is willing to play. The core rules are fine but I just want to streamline the game a little more. I think I may try a combination of the ideas above.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Cat Patrol and Other Goings On

I've been on vacation this week. We were at Disney so I was "restricted" to games with few physical components. I had my computer with me so I was able to complete a Four Against Darkness (4ADadventure. In addition, Kate and Kip began a new mission.

Last night, my wife was so bored that she actually agreed to play a game of 4AD! I asked her to create the party; she decided to name the characters after our cats:

Cooper - He's the alpha male so he became our warrior.

Thomasina - She's beautiful and mysterious so I thought she'd be a good elf. However, we needed a healer, and our vet described her as a "perfect angel." So she became a cleric.

Onyx - He's kind of the bad boy of the group so he became a rogue.

And finally Ollie - He's the smallest one so he became a halfling.

I've dubbed them the Cat Patrol. Their first adventure is over at my Tales of the Templars blog.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Living through Death Angel

Saturday was
For more information see Geek & Sundry

Unfortunately, I had a prior commitment

which benefits SOS Children's Villages Florida.

To make up for missing the holiday, we decided to play a game last night. I asked Elizabeth what she wanted to play. Surprisingly, she pulled out this:

I've mentioned this game before (particularly about how bloody it is. We never won). Nevertheless, we decided to give it a go.

Things did not start off well. On the very first turn, Elizabeth lost one of her Space Marines. Then, as we made our way through the space hulk, our numbers were whittled down. About halfway through, my wife lost her last character. I gave her one of mine and we pressed on.

We then really started getting swarmed. My wife suggested that we give up but I wanted to see it through to the bitter end. We kept going. Somehow were able to speed through a couple of rooms. As we entered the final room, Elizabeth lost the character I gave her. Only 2 Marines left. I just needed to get to the control panel and activate it to win the scenario.

My Marines raced to it and engaged the control. I just needed to roll a 1 or less (the Death Angel dice are D6s that are numbered 0-5). Here's my roll:


It was the first time we won this game. Which goes to show, we should listen to this advice