Last week was a crazy week of boardgames. Strap yourselves in because here we go:
We're on the last mission of Imperial Assault. Thank goodness. We got a third through before we had to break down but we're hoping we can knock it out this Thursday. This session and another session a couple of months back were more fun but the mechanics still feel unnecessarily clunky and annoying. It's something I'm starting to notice I feel about a lot of Fantasy Flight Games.
The Metagame is like a less juvenile, more elegant Cards Against Humanity. Each player draws a prompt card in front of them and then everyone plays on each other's prompts and then you go around one by one with the player judging their prompts. It goes much quicker and a lot of prompt cards have blanks the player gets to fill meaning there's a lot more replayability in this box.
Mage Knight is an exploration, combat deck-building miniatures game with this gradually revealed hex map and a leveling system. It's probably too bloated for its own good but I kinda love it anyways. Each turn feels like you're just barely eeking out the best possible combination of actions based on the cards you draw. Really hope to get a chance to play this again.
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 continues to be a wild ride. It's neat to see how the game constantly evolves into a totally different kind of game that is still based around the core systems of Pandemic. We've been on a bender for the past few months and I'm loving that each month comes across as a puzzle with a couple of twists thrown into the mix and it just keeps getting more and more complex as the months go on.
Played Small World with the family and it was a lot of fun. It's rather light and less confrontational than other area control games so I don't think this works as well with more serious gamers but still I like it and the variable power/race combos which sometimes result in some rather ridiculous combos and ever evolving strategies.
Star Wars: Rebellion was a beast of a game. It was a 7 hour session and boy was it a lot more fun than I expected. Two of my favorite board game critics didn't like it, but I found it to be far more engaging and a memorable story than they let on. Mon Mothma was captured early and when Leia went to rescue her a couple of turns later, Darth Vader turned her to the dark side. The Death Star was coming down on my hidden base so I evacuated it and then for kicks I did a Death Star run and destroyed it which felt pretty good. He found me on the last turn, I beat off his ground forces, but it was all for naught as he played a mission where he launched another landing force that overwhelmed me. I was surprised how close the game was.
In terms of mechanics, I really liked the leaders split between hidden missions and combat. I found myself using certain leaders to draw out characters in battle and then playing missions unopposed. But while that worked so well, the actual combat was super clunky. Different colors for different types of damage made it confusing, the card system makes the combats drawn out and then the dice have some of the dumbest looking symbol designs I've seen in a game. Combat was the least interesting part of the game and always felt like a timesink to get back to the more interesting elements of the game.
Played another scenario of BattleLore with the Undead faction. Oh man was this faction a lot of fun to play. I went a lot more aggressively with my army this time and I kept him on the back-foot the whole game. As much as I enjoy this game, I'm not sure how much the lore system adds to the core experience. I wonder if Memoir 44 or another command and colors system would scratch the same itch and play a lot smoother. As it stands, I feel like this game goes on longer than it should.
And then there's Trajan. Oh man, this game was magical. Points salad delight for sure but it's the tableau action selection that makes this game shine. Early game I used it to get some advantages but then I felt like I neglected it too much late game. I double downed on trading which paid off given my opponent kept picking the other senate bonuses, leaving me with the trading ones. With only two it played really tightly and I wonder how it would go with four. This is a delightful Euro.