NEW Boardgames thread

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks
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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Toby » 22 Jan 2015, 11:18

My copy of Mushroom Eaters finally arrived. Can't wait to play it.

Nate Hayden’s The Mushroom Eaters is a very limited release from micropublisher Blast City Games. You might remember Mr. Hayden from the ravishingly grim black metal brawl Cave Evil from a couple of years ago. He’s shifted gears with this release, producing one of the most profound, transcendental gaming experiences I have ever had in a lifetime of playing games. When I call this game “challenging”, I don’t mean that it’s tough to beat or that the rules are complex. I mean that its theme and the way the subject matter engages the player is especially demanding and in a way that isn’t just rare in the games medium- it’s almost nonexistent. I don’t know that I’ve ever played a more provocative and daring game that risks everything- including core notions of “fun” and “competition”- to illustrate what is ultimately a journey of the mind, body and spirit. And yes, this game is about tripping on psychedelic mushrooms as the title suggests.

Before you read further, let me make it clear that this is in no way a game about getting fucked up on drugs and freaking out, man. This is not a game for hippies, pothead dropouts, acid casualties or tweakers. This is a game where the goal is to use the language of its medium to communicate a ritualistic, shamanic psychonautical experience and the changes that the individual goes through in a trip that goes through some very intimate, internal spaces yet is shared with a group. It is about the personal thought processes, the physical experiences and spiritual revelations that occur. Along the way, maybe you’ll notice that the room is getting too cold. Maybe you’ll throw up or start giggling. Maybe you’ll reflect on the Great Paradox and what it means for both the self and the other. The atmosphere this game creates feels real, alive, vital. Yet its tone is cryptic, mysterious and religious.

The Mushroom Eaters is as much a game about breathing, sharing and feeling the rhythm of an imaginary shaman’s imaginary drum tapping out a beat while you lock into a mantra and focus your mind as it is about anything to do with psylocibin. It comes across as a holistic experience that is abstract yet with the player imparting meaning to the abstractions and developing an interior dialogue with the signifiers the game is offering. There’s even a track gauging your nervous system throughout the trip- a level of detail that feels almost like something out of a Phil Eklund game. I’ve never taken any kind of psychedelic in my life, but this game made me understand more about the experience and their use in spiritual traditions than I ever have before.

Needless to say, there has never been a game like this, at least when approached as a complete work. Mechanically, the game is quite simple and maybe even cloyingly familiar. Despite the esoteric theme it’s not entirely unlike Knizia’s Lord of the Rings game, where players play cards to move a common pawn along a path, triggering action spaces along the way. Or they may diverge from the main path and contend with personal issues, revelations, discoveries or insights. There are resource and hand management elements, wooden cubes and dice, but talking about the nuts and bolts of this game feels almost trivial.

It is primarily a cooperative experience as players represent apprentices to a shaman that are partaking of the ritual mushrooms. The collective goal is to progress together through the ritual. The only real conflict or opposition is the dichotomy between benefiting the group or the self. At the end of the ritual a new shaman is to be determined so there is a “winner” but it’s not quite like winning other games. The game is soundly designed, but it is the context and the fine connections to thematic material that make what are quite common gameplay elements seem completely fresh, new and almost alien. When you are playing this game, even rolling a die or playing a card feels like learning a new way of using a word you already know. This is a game that is rewriting syntax, rewriting the way that we understand games to communicate their themes.

Oh, and it also comes with 3D glasses.

Yes, there is a 3D element to the game. It isn’t a “comin’ at ya” kind of silly gimmick. The glasses, when worn, make the board crackle with visual energy. When the path leads to moments of intensity, those spots on the board might just be illustrations of a fireball but with the glasses on, they’re searingly, electrically hot. I’m reluctant to spoil one of this game’s most incredible ideas, but the board actually unfolds to reveal new panels as the game progresses, becoming more and more psychedelic and vibrantly illustrated as you move toward the end of the ritual. You’re going to want to wear the glasses. I’ve never seen anything like what this board does. It’s absolutely genius.

When I opened this game, I had no idea what was going on with that insane board but nonetheless I was completely blown away. Finally, here was a game that had actual artwork instead of illustrations. Cards were covered with scribbled pencil illustrations on notebook paper, surrealist multimedia collages, DIY photocopied pictures and about a hundred other things that most board game publishers would never in a million years OK for publication. It is truly a work of art, raw and exhilarating to look at in a way that games almost never are.

For all of my praise- this is personally one of the most important games that I have ever played- let me be clear about something directly connected to the style of this game as well as its subject matter. The Mushroom Eaters is not a game for everyone and in fact I would be very reluctant to recommend it to all but a very, very small number of people that I believe would appreciate the more esoteric and obscure elements of it. It is not exactly a game to get the gang together over for a hootin’ and hollerin’ good time and for many gamers if the artwork doesn’t put them off then either a misunderstanding of the “drugs” theme or the way it either completely ignores or reframes typical gameplay elements will.mushroom eaters cover

Yet I find myself thinking that everyone designing games should take a look at what Mr. Hayden is doing here with theme, getting to a deeper level of intellectual (and possibly spiritual) engagement than just using a setting or environment to tell a cool genre story. No dungeons, no dragons, no zombies, no space marines and absolutely no miniatures. This is a game about a human experience at a very deep psychic level. Mr. Hayden has realized the potential of games to express something other than conflict, resource management, or other material agendas. This is a message that everyone in gaming ought to hear.

But there again, I’m frankly glad that it is such a tiny game that only a few people will get to play. It’s just not intended for a mass audience and it boldly makes no concession to mainstream appeal. If the big publishers are like the major studios putting out the summer blockbusters at the local megaplex where you go on Friday night with your friends, this game is the Jodorowsky film playing down at the tiny, broke-down art theater where you’ve had your greatest epiphanies of what film can be. I hate to play the “most people won’t get it” card, but there it is on the table. If you are one of the people who might get it, then The Mushroom Eaters could be a very, very special game for you.

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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Toby » 02 Apr 2015, 07:36

Some new additions

Elysium - 7 Wonders style game of set collecting with a mythic Greek context. Easier to teach than 7 Wonders too. I like it a lot.

Dead of Winter - semi co-op with betrayal mechanic Zombie apocalypse game. Really good, if bloody difficult.

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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Corporate whore » 07 Apr 2015, 18:48

Finally got to play Glass Road last week, excellent.

It's a 'typical' Uwe Rosenburg game in many ways, but much slicker in its mechanisms that the other.

I'm also enjoying Quartermaster General. All the 'fun' of WW II in 75 minutes. And unusually it plays faster with lots of players than with just two.
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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Corporate whore » 07 Apr 2015, 19:19

Great, have not played Kingmaker for years.
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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Corporate whore » 08 Apr 2015, 11:51

martha wrote:One of the better AH titles in my opinion.


I've got the original version, which differs from the AH version by not having any of that voting; the King hands out the jobs as he feels fit.
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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Corporate whore » 08 Apr 2015, 11:52

Last copy of Dube I saw went for about £70.
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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Toby » 01 May 2015, 13:42

Latest acquisitions and plays

Robinson Crusoe - awesome co-op survival. Very difficult!

Sylla - not tried this yet, Roman republic game.

Arboretum - lovely looking card game with trees

Space Cadets Dice Duel - ludicrously fun!

Played Quartermaster General as well - WW2 game about supply that is really nicely designed as well as being quick and fast.

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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Corporate whore » 21 May 2015, 22:49

That's a good deal on Roll for the Galaxy, until recently it's been very hard to source in the UK at any price.
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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Toby » 28 Jun 2015, 11:39

Recent purchases include :

Elysium - 7 Wonders-esque game about set collecting. Not particularly complex, but fast and deep. Added replay with different Gods you can use.

Extra Extra! New Mayfair game about running a newspaper. Not had a chance to play yet.

Arboretum - nice looking card game.

Gallery of Masters - remake of Knizia's Modern Art game. Family loved it when we played it on holiday.

Robinson Crusoe - epic co-op survival that is incredibly difficult.

Paperback - really nice Dominion clone with a Scrabble element. lovely artwork as well. Probably will become a family favourite.

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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Corporate whore » 29 Jun 2015, 07:48

I'm definately interested I Extra! Extra!, hopefully I will get to try it this weekend at the Manchester games convention.
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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Corporate whore » 04 Jul 2015, 11:31

So it's the Manchester games convention this week - yesterday I played;

Marco Polo: The journey - new to me, obviously a game of skill,
Roll for the Galexy- got totally sparked
Castles of Burgendy- close game with a higher than average total score
Baltimore and Ohio - a tight game: I was pipped at the post.

Today it's 2038- some hardcore train gaming.
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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Toby » 04 Jul 2015, 13:57

Imperial Settlers, Marco Polo and Imperial Assault are in my sights at the mo.

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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Corporate whore » 04 Jul 2015, 14:19

I really liked Marco Polo- there is nothing new, but what it does, it does well.

Saturday comprised of 2038
Caverna
Game of Soccer - unbelievably awful. Avoid.
Le Havre
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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Ray K. » 10 Jul 2015, 17:39

I received Agricola for my birthday and finally had the chance to play it last night. As with nearly every first play I think I screwed up some rules and didn't play a very strong strategic game - two players 22-11. I suspect the next attempt will yield higher scores (we practically ignored major and minor improvements and occupations).

Also had a blast over the weekend playing Betrayal at House on the Hill with my brother and our four respective kids.

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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Corporate whore » 10 Jul 2015, 22:50

The major improvements are vital; you need the cooking hearths to get control of the food IMO. You should be looking for scores north of 35 points with two people.
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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Ray K. » 11 Jul 2015, 21:05

Second game yielded similar scores. My opponent failed to use every field and had a begging card. I spent resources on improvements that really didn't help. Three will be a charm. I am enjoying it though... very groovy game.

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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Toby » 11 Jul 2015, 21:06

Imperial Assault arrived today. It'll be some time until it's opened but I'm looking forward to a bit of old school figure painting with it.

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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby di Maio » 12 Jul 2015, 04:32

Billybob Dylan wrote:
Loki wrote:Not a board game, but I didn't know where else to post this. Anyone ever played Cornhole?


Ok now that you've stopped laughing, here's what it looks like.

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Cornhole? So you're supposed to er... take a dump and get it through the little holes?


:lol: You might in the WVU version!

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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Corporate whore » 12 Jul 2015, 19:31

Toby wrote:I played Tigris and Euphrates this week but must admit that it left me entirely nonplussed. I know it's a good game but I need about another 2 or 3 goes before I begin to get a grip of the strategy.


Its quite deep - there is an iPad version which is a good way of learning the ropes.
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Re: NEW Boardgames thread

Postby Ray K. » 16 Jul 2015, 16:01

My ladies and I opened and played Survive: Escape from Atlantis two nights ago. It was called for again last night. I suspect it's going to see a great deal of table time and it's one they can play with their friends.