Monday, September 19, 2011

Saturday Night Board Games: Dungeon Freakout, Alien Dice Drop, Fool's Gold, Cathedral, and Mag Blast

This past Saturday night, I brought the entire gaming crew over to local designer Alex Strang's house to play a few old favorites and playtest some of our works in progress.

We had 6 players, which is really rare for us. We mixed it up and took turns on some of the lighter/smaller games, and had two big epic 6 player games. Read on for a full recap of the night.

Dungeon Freakout
The big playtest of the night was Dungeon Freakout by Alex. It was a huge sprawling card and figure game (Bring Your Own Figure!) where players were crawling deeper and deeper into a dungeon, fighting monsters, and obtaining gems.

The order of play was determined by the marching order, and it varied quite a bit. Sometimes you could go twice in a row. Sometimes you wouldn't have a turn for a few rounds. Towards the end, it started to speed up quite a bit as party members were becoming ghosts (we had a lot of cool ideas on how to handle ghosts) and it was down to just a few of us. Overall, a fun concept that I'd like to try again sometime with a smaller group, and some of the rules we came up with.

We teased Alex about designing games with 500 cards and some of the oddly worded cards. Like this one that could potentially end the game.

And if the largest player objects?

Alien Dice Drop and Fool's Gold
We tried a few games of my dice game, Alien Dice Drop and our flicking game Fool's Gold. They're both coming along really well, and we made a few on-the-fly changes that may stick in the game. I'm really looking forward to printing these up.

Alex had a copy of Cathedral on his vintage game shelf. It's the plastic version, which I think is far superior to the ceramic(?) deluxe version that I own. It's way less delicate, and way simpler.

If you've never played Cathedral, it's a quick 2 player game where players place buildings onto the game board trying to gain control of the majority of the board. It gets really hard though, because if an opponent surrounds your piece, it's removed from the board. This sets you way back, almost to the point of no return. Alex claims that he's never lost, and I couldn't beat him.  I would play that game 100 times in a row though.

Mag Blast
I haven't played Mag Blast in forever. Alex had the first edition with the amazing artwork that's lacking in the cartoony third edition. I don't hate the new edition, I just loooooove the first edition.

Mag Blast is a space battle game. Players control an alien and their fleet of ships. The card layout is pretty unique with the alien card in the center and a ship card at each of it's 4 sides. When attacking, the card on the left of your alien will attack an opponents card in the same position. Same with all of the other positions. You'll also need to move your cards from position to position as openings appear. If there's an opening, the main alien is susceptible to attacks from that direction.

Our game was winding down after 4 out of 6 players had been knocked out. Alex and I called it even and ended the night with a tie.

Team Sol-Jol

After playing we realized we totally forgot a crucial rule (NO WAY). You are supposed make sound effects every time you play a blast card. If you don't, the card has no effect. So, officially, the game was a bust because we played wrong, and our tie was invalid. Damn rules!

Next week, we're gathering at my place. I know that Ticket To Ride is on the agenda. Maybe we can finally try out the dice expansion? Maybe I'll find some money on the ground and go buy Food Fight or 7 Wonders?

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