Thunderstone Advance

While Jan ran a game of Monster of the Week, I played Thunderstone Advance and watched the World Cup Final. Happily, our game was more interesting than the one on TV. We have old school Thunderstone at home, but this was the first time I got to try the Advance version. It was pretty cool! I kind of regret getting the basic version now. Time to convert that shit.

The thing that impressed me most about TA was that there was a lot more combo material. In our normal Thunderstone it’s just a matter of identifying the good cards and putting a lot of them in your deck. But in this game of TA, you could really decide to go for one or two heroes, and then pick the items, villagers and weapons that in themselves might not even be very good, but excellent as a combo.

Thunderstone-advance-hand

What impressed me even more was that all three players had a completely different deck going on. Peter had a kind of release the hounds deck that worked well, Stan had a lvl 3 beserker that had killed all his other heroes but kicked ass. I had the weakest strength with my spellwarriors that got bonuses for magical items, but I had augurs to manipulate my deck and get me what I wanted. All three very different strategies worked pretty well.

Another change from the original game is that it seems to be a lot more about playing the odds. There’s just a bigger luck factor in general, because there are still quite a few things you can do in the dungeon to help yourself out and eek out a possible win. This makes the game a bit more exciting and tense, and it really needed some exciting and tense.

The only downside is that with all the combo’s, the dungeon possibilities and the different and often flexible cards counting up your final attack and light value is a real chore. Halfway through the game I went to steal some d10s from the roleplayers so I could use them to keep track of my totals. That’s not even a minor gripe, though. This edition has resurrected my love for this game!

 

 

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Trains

I got to play Trains this weekend. A kind of uninspiring name for a game. Just imagine Agricola being called ‘Farms, 7 Wonders being “Buildings”, and Galaxy Trucker as “Spaceship”. I’d say they have a lot less sales 😉

Trains is a pretty straight-forward deckbuilder where most of your interesting actions accrue waste cards that clog up your deck. It expands on normal deckbuilders by offering a board that you build your train empire on with help from your cards. The board adds quite a few visual and kinetic flourishes, and lets you get a physical reward out of all those cards you’re spewing forth from your deck.

Frosty likes it because it’s quick and easy, but I think it’s a bit too easy. I’d have preferred a few more complicating matters into my train building. It’d definitely be a great deck-builiding game for beginners, though!

Star Trek: Deck Building Game

Peter had traded for this game and liked it a lot! We were sceptical since it looked a bit shabby. It was hard to believe this was a Dominion/Thunderstone clone, it looked so old & amateurish! 

When we got to play it, it was actually pretty fun. I don’t know much about the Original Series so we didn’t have the joy of seeing the theme of the game click into place. The space simulation battles were also a bit weird: you’re all Star Trek Federation and do important stuff but every once in a while you kill each other in randomly occuring training missions? Weird.

It took us most of the game to find out what was going on, and by that time I’d hit my 300 mission points. Funny game – it’s not high quality or anything, but I’d play it again.

Thunderstone

We introduced a friend couple to Thunderstone after they introduced us to Ascension on the iPad. It was a fun game – people got the hang of it very quickly and we weren’t sure who won until the counting.

I quite like this game, though I want to look for a variant where the monsters come out a bit more levelled. Visiting the village for your first 10 turns to defeat Dragon Mc Lardbutt isn’t very epic.