Weekend Gaming – Giants, Jungles, & Dragons, Oh My!

Last weekend had been scheduled as something of a gaming weekend for a while, with plans to get back into both of the campaign games I’ve been playing. The plan was to jump back into SeaFall on Friday night, before then leaping back into the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game on Sunday. However, things change, and so, while I did play SeaFall on Friday, last-minute overtime meant Pathfinder was out. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t get in games on Sunday, and I even added a little bit of gaming on Saturday to boot.

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On Saturday, a bunch of us ended up over at a friend’s house helping him pack up his collection in anticipation of an upcoming move. But you can’t have a bunch of gamers in the same place without something hitting the table, and so I finally got to play the Days of Wonder classic Cleopatra and the Society of Architects. Adam, Chris, and I fought over the best materials, and engaged in all kinds of questionable shenanigans, as we attempted to build a palace worthy of Cleopatra herself. In the end, my dealings with the Cult of Sobek were my downfall and I was thrown to the crocodiles for being just too corrupt to be allowed to continue. Personally I blame the infamous “mallfish” I’d eaten earlier in the day – trying it clearly set me on the path to the dark side. After this, the others headed off to dinner while I headed home to see how overtime had treated Kit.

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The two of us decided to grab some dinner at our favourite local pub, and since we hadn’t played it in a while, we took along Jaipur. I don’t know if I’m terrible at it or if Kit’s really good at it since I’ve never played anyone else, but he beats me at Jaipur more often than not. Luckily I still really enjoy the game despite that. After this play, it’ll likely end up back in our dinnertime rotation, so perhaps I ought to be studying some strategy.

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On Sunday, all but one of our Pathfinder group was available due to the aforementioned overtime, and so we converted our campaign day into just a regular game day. First up was Burke’s shiny new copy of Assault of the Giants, featuring some pretty amazing, not-so-miniature miniatures. The game has players acting as different types of giants vying for supremacy and attempting to rearrange the existing hierarchy. Each race had it’s own quirks and variations on the standard playstyle, and in our four-player game, the remaining 2 types of giant were represented as NPCs to ensure plenty of conflict on the far too small map. It was fun but I think we all made the same mistake of trying to play out every card we had before refreshing our actions instead of taking smaller but more frequent rests. I’d like to give it another shot and see if I couldn’t get my deck to be a little more effective on a second play, as the game has potential for sure.

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Next I pulled out my copy of Tikal in order to finally learn the game from Burke. I had picked up the French 2016 edition at the Granite Game Summit earlier this month, and having now played it, I’m glad I did. I didn’t do very well, but was left wanting to play again and improve my performance which is always a good sign. Plus, this edition is gorgeous on the table, in particular when it comes to the resin temple pieces.

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Chris had brought with him Mask of Moai, a successor to Mask of Anubis. This one has you exploring underwater passages in VR and telling your companions what you see in an effort to recreate the map. As in Anubis, you pay a number of visits to different parts of the structure, and have to figure out how the areas each of you have described will connect to each other in order to recreate the entire map on the table. However, Maoi also has you finding aliens within the structure and sculpting them out of clay. Once you think you have the map correct, the app will tell you how to move each particular alien, so hopefully your sculptures are identifiable! If all of the aliens end up in the same place after they finish their movement, then you’ve won the game by successfully rescuing them. We played 2 rounds of the game and were successful both times, though our first try was only successful due to the setting we’d chosen allowing us to revisit some of the viewpoints for a second, shorter look in order to double-check things we knew we’d been hazy on. It’s a bizarre, fascinating game and I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of cooperative communication and the logic puzzle of determining how it all works together. The VR app worked beautifully also, though it was somewhat disorienting every time I lifted the mask and found myself facing a completely different view of the room than I expected.

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Burke had to head out between our two plays of Maoi and so we ordered some dinner and settled down to try out Clank! with the Sunken Treasures expansion. The expansion added a couple more tweaks to the base experience in the form of noisy passageways and flooded chambers, along with tons of new cards and another double-sided board, giving a total of 4 dungeon layouts to chose from. Kit got knocked out right inside the entrance as he was trying to escape the dungeon with a purloined artifact, and the resultingly intensified dragon attacks ended up knocking out both myself (close enough to the exit to be saved) and Chris (lost in the depths where nobody will ever remember him). Eric was the only one who managed to scramble his way out, and the 20 point token for doing so gave him the win over me. I guess the fact he remained conscious makes it appropriate that he won, but that doesn’t mean I’m not plotting my revenge for the next time we venture into the dragon’s lair in search of treasure.

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Unfortunately I had a podcast segment to record that was due Sunday night, and we all had to work in the morning, so that was it for the weekend. But it was a damn good weekend from a gaming and friends perspective which helped me start the work week off in a good mood. And since next weekend is Board Games at the Beach, I’m actually only working 3 days before heading off to Wilmington on Friday for yet more hanging out playing games.

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