Ring Side Report- Board Game Review of Ginkgopolis

Game- Ginkgopolis

Producer- Pearl Games

Price- $40

Players- 1-5

Set-up/Play/Clean-up- 1 Hour

tl;dr- Minor glitch in the theme, but an awesome game otherwise! 90%

 

Basics- Welcome to the future, but this one isn’t crap!  In Ginkgopolis, players take the roles of different urban planners trying to design the world of tomorrow when most of Earth recourses have been used up.  This game plays like a combination of Carcassonne and 7 Wonders.  Each turn players are given cards from the player on their right.  From these cards, players have to select one card to play.  These cards will either be used to gain more points/resources/tiles, to build on already built tiles, or expand the city.  When you build on a tile, you play the card for that tile in front of you and gain a permanent benefit.  And, the card for the tile you played goes into the draw pile, so others can build onto the tile you played.  This continues until players can’t draw tiles.  Then, all players can sell tiles back to the bank for points, and the game continues until this happens again.  When the bank runs out of tiles a second time, players finish their turns, and the game is over.  Player with the most points is the best urban planner of the future.

 

Mechanics- This game is amazingly fun and easy to play.  The game moves fast, and even with five people in my first game, the players picked up the game quickly.  The icons on the cards and player boards teach you how to play well.  And, I never had a question the rules didn’t define ahead of time.  Well Done! 5/5

 

Theme- Here is where things fall apart a bit.  The story behind the game is the world doesn’t have many resources.  So, we have learned from the Ginkgo Biloba plant and will design our cities higher and higher.  However, most of the players in our game got lots of point when they built out.  Heck, even without cards the players get bonuses for building out.  That seemed really counter intuitive when you think about the world the game portrayed.  However, I did feel like I was designing a city.   And, the cards made me feel it was futuristic.  So, the there is there, but not perfect.  3/5

 

Instructions- The rules are well written.  Lots of pictures and examples break up the text and make the game that much more approachable.  I didn’t have any questions regarding how to play, so any game where I don’t have to run off to board game geek mid-game is awesome in my book! 5/5

 

Execution- I like what I saw with this game.  The art is nice, and it helped build the theme of the future.  The box is well put together, and didn’t feel flimsy.  The cards are decent quality, and the tiles are nice and chunky.  All and all, this was well done. 5/5

 

Summary-  I really liked this game.  It’s quick with some strategy.  I had to make some choices, but I never felt like it bogged down the game.  The theme I a bit off, but if you can look past that, this game is amazing! 90%

Daily Punch 3-27-14 Price of Power Quality for Shadowrun

Haven’t written a Shadowrun Quality in a while, how about this one?

 

Price of Power

Cost: 5 Karma

Magic has a price, and you’re willing to pay it.  When you make a check as part of a spell, you may choose to take stun or physical damage up to half your magic attribute (round up).  For each point of stun you take, you add one die to your check.  For each point of physical you take, you add two dice to your check.  These may not be healed via magical means, but can be healed through treatment or normal healing.

 

Thoughts?

 

Daily Punch 3-26-14 Thay Survivor Feat for DnD Next

How about some love for DnD Next?  How about a feat?

 

Thay Survivor

You survived what would crush a normal man.  You survive the necropolis that is Thay, and picked up a few tricks along the way

Gain the following benefits:

  • Gain a +1 to one ability of your choice up to a maximum of 20
  • Gain training in the religion skill
  • When you attack an undead creature, instead of normal resistance, it only resists a quarter of your damage, not half.

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Pathfinder Society Scenario #5-15: Destiny of the Sands, Part 2: Race to Seeker’s Folly

Product– Pathfinder Society Scenario #5-15: Destiny of the Sands, Part 2: Race to Seeker’s Folly

Producer– Paizo

Price- $4

System- Pathfinder

TL;DR- An fun, short dungeon crawl 90%

 

Basics- Previously in Osirion, the Pathfinders assisted the former Grandmaster Torch in PFS #5-12, and they were provided a map to a secret location in the desert.  This adventure starts with the Pathfinder find out that other groups may be heading to Seeker’s Folly.  Can the pathfinders get to Seeker’s Folly first, find its secrets, and get out alive?

 

Mechanics or Crunch- This adventure is designed for low level characters, but some of the challenges here seem a bit too high for the average party of level one heroes.  Nothing here is excruciatingly difficult, but the last boss will KILL a party with no magic or cleric.  I would have liked the level 1-2 boss to be something much less dangerous than the level 4-5 boss.  Otherwise, this is a standard breach, bang, and clear dungeon crawl adventure, which is always some welcomed fun for PFS!  Heck there is an honest to goodness puzzle handout for the PCs to solve! 3.5/5

 

Fluff or Story- Holy cow is this one fluff-tastic!  If you wanted to learn some of the secret history of Grandmaster Torch, this is the one to GM!  Lots of side bars for the GM who want to know more lore then you can shake a stick at.  The players can put together a bunch of pieces if they read between a few lines, and there are several small details that can give the PCs some good information if they make some difficult checks.  All and well, well done! 5/5

 

Execution- Like most other Paizo products, this is a well put together book.  The information I needed was well displayed, and the product read quickly.  Nothing was buried in a wall of text, and it was a pleasure to read.  I would have liked a GM quick solution to the puzzle provided, but you can solve that pretty quickly with the information provided, and I know space is limited. 5/5

 

Summary- This is a fun adventure to read, run, and play.  It’s a bit of a challenge based on one time skill checks and a pretty hard end boss.  However, if you can get past that, you will have a great time uncovering not only the secrets of the Jeweled Sages, but those of Grandmaster Torch as well. 90%

Ring Side Report- Board Game Review of Dominant Species

Game-Dominant Species

Producer-GMT Games

Price- ~$70

Set-up/Play/Clean-up-1 hour per player (2-6 players)

TL;DR- Buckle up for a LONG game 75%

 

Basics- Oh boy, this is going to take a bit!  Dominant Species is a terrain control, worker placement game with two different ways to control terrain that function independently of each other and score separately.  If you got all that in one pass, then buckle up for an intense euro-game!  If not, don’t worry we can walk you through this slowly.  For the theme, all players play different phyla of animals: insects, arachnids, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals trying to control the most terrain and be the dominant species when the ice age hits.  Each turn, players place works on different spots on the right side of the board.  These spots give your animal new food sources (used to indicated who controls a tile), prevent your animal from losing food sources, put new food sources on the board on the board, put more tiles on the board, remove food sources from the board, kill other animals in your tiles, spread the glaciers, place more of your species on the board, migrate, change initiative, and contest spaces for points.  When you contest a space for points you find out who as the most animals on a space, award points according to number of species on the tile, and the dominant species get to pick a card available.  Each tile type has different point values for who has the most animals, then second most etc.  Some spaces have multiple values like open ocean with 9/5/3/2, while tundra only has one (1) point.  However, who has the most might not be the dominant species on the tile!  Dominant species is determined by the food sources on your player card and the food sources on the tile.  For every food sources on your player card, you count the number of times that’s on the tile, adding and repeating for every food sources on your tile.  Here is a quick example:  Let’s say your card has sun, sun, grubs, and water and the tile has sun, sun, sun, and water.  You count 3 sun, then 3 sun, 0 grub, and 1 water for a score of 7.  If you have the highest domination score you are the dominant species, but don’t get points till the ice age card is played where you get points based domination.  The cards that you pick range from good effects like gaining extra workers to bad effects like meteor strikes!  Each species has its own powers from insects getting to gain place one animal on the board for free to birds getting to move double spaces to every other animal’s one space.  The game goes on until the ice age card is played.  After that round is over, you score points for having the most animals in an area one last time, and the one with the most points in the dominant species.

 

Mechanics- As you can see the game is a bit complicated.  Now don’t become frightened by the run time OR the amount of rules, as the game is complicated, BUT easy to understand when you see all the parts in action.  The game does function like a clock, lots of moving parts the work fairly well together.  Honestly, after a turn, you will move pretty quickly when you get the gist of what is going on.  HOWEVER, this game is NOT forgiving!  If you mess up one turn, you might be dead in the water till the game is over.  There are NO mechanics that punish the victor only rewards for smart play.  It’s fun, but this is one you might have to play a few times to really get a chance to win at. 4/5

 

Theme- The game is fun, but I didn’t feel like I was a creature in a desperate struggle.  I felt like I was a guy playing a fun, abstract game, but not an animal vying for dominance.  I played mammals, and I didn’t feel like my power really mattered.  Other powers seem much more important like arachnids getting a free kill each turn (I lost 18 guys to that alone out of 45!).  I didn’t feel like I was the thing I was playing, and that face hurt the experience a bit.  I had fun, but that’s because I was a gamer playing a game NOT because I was a furry creature trying to survive.  Maybe a different play through with a new animal will improve my perception, but this feels like a lot of heavy euro-games out there: a thinking, cube placement game. 2/5

 

Instructions- The mechanics are involved, but the rule book does an awesome job of describing the mechanics and how to play.  Lots of examples are provided that are well delineated in separate boxes with excellent pictures.  For a game this complicated, you need this or you will be completely lost! 5/5

 

Execution- The box is nice and reasonably sturdy.  The components are ok.  This is a euro-game, so I know the game has to have wood cubes.  I guess I would have preferred different shapes for my animals with different colors.  It would have really helped the theme instead of wooden cubes.  Heck, I would have liked animal shapes for the dominant species markers instead of strange wooden cones.  The play mats are well done and have a nice summary of all the actions, and where each animal gets a power and what it does.  The tiles are nice and colorful and so are the food markers.  The main board is easy to read.  Honestly, this is a well executed game that I just wish had a bit more theme in its execution. 4/5

 

Summary- This was a fun game, but not the most fun I’ve had.  As a worker placement game, it’s fun.  As a thematic experience, it lacks. The stuff outside the game itself is well done.  However, be prepared for the length of the game.  I started at 7PM and didn’t get done till 11:30 with five other guys.  That amount of any game can be a bit mind numbing.  And you CAN’T let your guard down for a minute with this game!  There is no forgiveness, only pain and regret!  If you want a light game that will take half an hour, look elsewhere.  But if you want a knock down brawl of a mental exercise then this is your game! 75%

Daily Punch 3-24-14 Language Scholar Feat for Pathfinder

How about some love for Pathfinder.  I might have slowly been getting worse all weekend, but I did squeeze one Pathfinder game in!  And this is the feat they really needed.

 

Language Scholar

Not only did you learn how to speak the modern, you also learned to speak the ancient version of every language you know.

Benefit: Lean one additional language.  You are considered proficient in the ancient version of all the languages you know for all tests and reading/speaking proficiency.

 

Thoughts?