Sunday, June 16, 2013

First Trip to Origins

While not able to do or meet as many people as I would've liked. Origins was a wonderful experience. Overall, it's like an appetizer before the meal. I am sure you are aware of what the meal is? Yes, Gen Con. Origins was a delight. You could freely walk around and demo practically anything you wanted. The crowd felt only about 1/3rd of what you can expect at Gen Con on a  Saturday. Here's some pictures I took. Mind you, I look back and wish I had taken more! With only one day, a total of 6 hours on the road, and an aching back/feet I share with you some of my experience.
First place I stopped was over at the Upper Deck Entertainment booth.

There I meet two awesome ladies and one great gentleman. I fear the name of the ladies has slipped my mind, but they were both helpful and a delight to talk with and I look forward to meeting them both again. The gentleman was Jason Brenner. I could tell he was very busy and I hate taking up peoples time. You see, Marvel Legendary was running tournaments for the first time at Origins this year. Jason was in charge of it all and for him to leave his post to come speak with me was very flattering. Jason is a true gamer whom I look forward hanging out with at Gen Con when things settle down and it's time for a beer.
Here is a picture I took of the Fantastic Four expansion for Marvel Legendary. I had my friend place his hand next to it, so you could see the size of the box.
Just down the aisle a bit we ran into the Greater Than Games crew. I always enjoy talking with Chris. I fear that given enough time, between him and I, we could suck all the oxygen out of a room with how much we both like to talk.

After meeting with the guys, we headed over to play a demo of Titanium Wars by Iello games.
The artwork is beautiful and the gameplay seemed pretty solid. Overall, I really would of liked to play this again. However.......

There are 3 problems I had with this game. It WILL require at least 3 people to play. Well, for me that isn't going to work too well given I do most of my gaming with my wife. The second is the price. I simply can't come to terms with dropping $40 for such a title. Last but not least....

PAPER MONEY! What the "HEY HEY" Iello? Did you all of a sudden slip and fall back into the 80's? Seriously, this was a major turn off. I don't like dealing with paper money and Iello should of known better.
The Mage Wars booth! Do I need to say more? Okay, I will! Mage Wars is simply fantastic. If you haven't played it, you should at least demo the game once. The only real issue I have with this game is time. I wish I had more of it to invest into setting up custom Spell Books and playing this game.
Would you like to see 25lbs of awesomeness? I show you Ogre. I was STUNNED by the size of this box! Humongous really is fitting. I was simply in awe.
By this time we were getting a bit hungry and decided to step out of the dealer hall for some grub. We passed up a giant size game of the new game by Wiz Kids Star Trek Attack Wing.

After getting some food, we took a trip over to another hall that featured the highlight game of the convention for me. This game will be an instant buy for me as long as they keep everything as close to this prototype as possible. I give you....
Here's what the board looks like BEFORE we started really laying it to waste!
You are giant monsters that run around the city destroying buildings....
When people fall off the buildings, you EAT THEM! If they fall of the entire board, you do suffer a penalty. However, we didn't have a teacher to teach the game. We just ignored it for the sake of having fun.
You can eat as many people as you have teeth. For instance, you start out with 6 teeth. 6 teeth = 6 delicious meeples!
However, you can lose teeth! There are buses and trucks around the board. You can pick those up and fling them at your opponents. If you knock them over, you take one of their teeth!
You drop your monster onto the buildings to knock them over and ultimately knock down the meeples you eat. You flick a disk around the board and as long as you are in the proximity of the building, you get to do a SMACK DOWN!
Create sets of colors using teeth as a "wild card". You also get to count building tiles that you destroyed.
I WILL buy this!
Iello was running tournaments on King of Tokyo. If you win, you got a special promo figure/card. A SPACE PENGUIN!!! Billy, Kevin, 3 strangers, and myself all sparred for such an epic prize.
This was Billy's 3rd attempt at winning this slippery penguin. However, Kevin proved to be the champion monster by winning with 20 Star Points and ultimately walked away with the elusive Penguin prize!

Next highlight was over at the Zman booth. Robinson Crusoe was a fantastic experience.
Even though we were taught in a strange manner, we were able to pick up on how to play. The game is slick and is one I would LOVE to play again. If Zman hadn't of sold out, I would of bought it right on the spot. I liked it that much!

While I would of loved to demo Pirates vs Dinosaurs, alas it was getting too late! Here's some very beautiful pictures of the game.
Check out the giant T-Rex!

Last thing we did was try a game called Trains Stations by Wiz Kids.
Looked interesting, though we didn't get a real chance to play. Might try to play this come Gen Con if I get a chance.
As we were about to leave, I saw these little critters from Krosmaster Arena. The minis were VERY impressive! I was shocked with just how tall they were.
I will try playing this come Gen Con as well, if I get a chance.

This was my first Origins experience. Most certainly, this won't be my last. I plan on heading back next year. However, I also plan on staying longer. This was a true gamers convention. With plenty of space to roam around and play games. Not sure how well publishers did on a whole, but I do know the ones I talked to seemed to be enjoying themselves the same.
Now, come Gen Con!










Monday, June 3, 2013

A FemElephant Pictorial Quick-Review of Terra Mystica

Terra Mystica
Z-Man Games
2-5 Players
30 minutes per player

Terra Mystica involves heavy resource management and strategic advanced planning as you Terraform the environment to suit your race, grow in power and take over the map by creating structures and towns.
In this game, blue has completed three towns and yellow has completed 2 towns.

Terra Mystica is a game for a more advanced player who is familiar with Euro games, but it isn't so difficult that you can't enjoy your first game. The publisher has done a fantastic job on an incredibly detailed rule-book and also included an action tile quick reference. This was all very helpful while we were learning the game, and for teaching others. Everyone that we have taught have greatly enjoyed playing their first time.  

You receive points throughout the game by fulfilling the action on the scoring tiles,

creating a town, (which includes an additional benefit as well)

 and fulfilling the special action for your race.



(On the Halfling's player board we see that they receive
1 point for each spade they use to transform a terrain space.)

Throughout the game there are many decisions to make with a lot of repercussions. You may want to focus on a structure that will benefit your race the most,  or you may want to concentrate on the structures that score victory points this round.

For example, I am trying to decide whether I should build a trade house or a temple.
The temple will gain me a Favor tile and a priest for the next round, both of which can help my race achieve things and advance my race on a cult track. 


I must consider if building the trade house could give me points this round, help me to complete a town or build another structure and if the power and coins revealed on my player board benefit me next round...

Can I afford to place a dwelling back on my player board,
potentially losing a worker for next round?

If I build a tradehouse I will reveal power and money for collection at the beginning of the next round, but I will also return a dwelling to the board, resulting in one less worker being collected. Tough decisions have to be made.

Should I spend the workers and coins now, or should I save them for the next round? Do I need to pass so that I can get my choice of bonus cards and a better chance at power actions or surrounding land next round?

This is, of course, the tip of the iceberg. I haven't mentioned all of the structures, or the use of cult tracks and power which are both large parts of the game. 

End game victory points are rewarded for the most connected structures of your race and your advancement on the four cult tracks.

Thanks to the random placement of the score tiles and bonus tiles, along with the variety of races with unique special abilities, there is an endless potential for variety, providing a different experience each play.

You may want to know that the races can also be a negative aspect, as it seems some are easier to use, some are more difficult, and some are just plain more or less powerful than others. The advantage of some of the races' abilities is also affected by the number of players.

Terra Mystica is always satisfying. I really enjoy a game like this in which you are making progress toward a goal and accomplishing something without luck or other players destroying all of your hard work. In that respect it reminds me a little of Village. Win or lose I walk away thinking, "That was a great game!"

I give Terra Mystica an 11, because not only will I never turn down a game, I often think about how I wish I was playing it instead of another one.

GreyElephant Gaming "Live Play" Terra Mystica - Zman Games

  • Round 1 - 00:21
  • Round 2 - 11:00
  • Round 3 - 17:30
  • Round 4 - 26:07
  • Round 5 - 34:18
  • Round 6 - 43:35 - This round includes bonus scoring.

GreyElephant Gaming "Quick Review" Terra Mystica - Zman Games

GreyElephant Gaming "How To Play" Terra Mystica - Zman Games

  • Set Up - 00:16
  • Action 1 - Transform and Build - 5:06
  • Action 2 - Increase Sailing - 7:42
  • Action 3 - Lowering Exchange Rate for Shoveling - 8:43
  • Action 4 - Upgrading Structures - 9:24
  • Action 5 - Placing a Priest on a Cult Track - 11:14
  • Action 6 - Power Actions - 12:35
  • Action 7 - Special Actions - 14:02
  • Action 8 - Passing - 14:40
  • Clean Up and Start a New Round - 15:25
  • Power - 16:18
  • Favors - 18:48
  • Founding a Town - 19:49
  • End Game Bonus Scoring - 21:24
  • Credits - 22:46

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Another fantastic day of friends and games!
While waiting for Billy to show up, Kevin taught Carmen how to play
Star Wars LCG. Carmen was the Jedi while Kevin played
the Empire. This was Carmens first game and she lost a
very close match!

Next up was a fantastic game called Terra Mystica! Carmen played as the Cultists, Kevin Swarmlings, Billy Auren, and I was Chaos Magicians.

It was funny that in this game with 4 players, we all were migrating to one side of the board.

This was the end game with Carmen coming in first, then me, Kevin, and finally Billy.

Carmen was Brown (Cultists) and dominated the Cult Track! Kevin was blue, Billy green, and I was red.

Next up we played a game of Dragon Rampage! This is a very under the radar type of game that is lots of fun!

Carmen won this game as the Paladin with a score of 24. Billy played as the Rouge and escaped first ending the game and came in second with 21 points. Kevin and I both tied with 18 points a piece. Kevin was the Elf while I was the beer drinking Dwarf!

Billy taught us all how to play Alien Frontiers for the first time.

Aren't we all so handsome?

 Once again, it was a night for Carmen who won again! She really fell in love with this game. Since her and I have played 2 more times with just us. She's won both those games too!
After Billy and Kevin went home, Carmen and I ended the night with a game of Lord of the Rings Deckbuilder. We like to play with all the Archenemies and two heroes. She was Gimli and Boromir while I was Gandalf and Arwen. I rode like the wind to victory 81-65.