Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Octodice

Product-Octodice

Producer– AEG

Price– $20  here

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 20 minutes (2-4 players)

Type- Euro

Depth-Light

TL; DR-A great mix of a Euro and Yahtzee 94%

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Basics-  UNDER THE SEA!  Octodice is spiritual successor of Aquanauts, a game where players battle octopods, research, and develop an undersea lab in a heavy euro game.  In Octodice, players do all the same, but using dice to dictate the actions.  At the start of a player’s turn, the player rolls six dice, chooses two to keep, then rerolls the rest, chooses two to keep, and rerolls the last two.  These dice are divided into two groups-black and white.  Black dice have a colored number on them or an octopod.  The white dice have an action or an octopod.  The active player then chooses two pairs of dice (each pair consisting of one black and one white die). The final pairs being used do not have to match the pairs made when rolling the dice. The player then uses the action on one and the color/number on the other.  The actions are: collect gems (collect points based on the number on the black die), research (get points in order by moving down a color path using the proper color and the action die on each step), develop (improve your lab and get new dice options or end game points), get robots (earn points now, two robots per each color), and get subs (put the robots in the sub and earn points after every other round).  

After a player chooses his/her two dice pairs, every other player can also choose to use two of the dice in any combination, not necessarily the same combination as the current player.  Players can do this twice per round.  Finally after choosing dice, the player looks for octopods. The octopods destroy the station and gum up the works.  If a player does not have two octopods on his/her dice by the end of that round, that player loses two points.  However, if the player has two or more octopods in the dice pool, then they score extra points!

Play then moves to the next player.  After everyone has two turns, players check to see if they knock out two or more octopods in the round and score points for each robot in the same colored sub.  After players play a total of three rounds, having a scoring phase after each two turns, the player with the most and second most gems earns more points, players with extra developed labs score points, and the player with the most points is the best aquanaut and is the winner!

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Mechanics–  I hate Yahtzee.  It feels like I don’t get a choice, my decisions don’t matter, and I just have to be bored while other players roll dice.  This game has none of those problems!  Sure, randomness is a part here, but the amount of options I have at all times makes me really enjoy this game.  I’m seeing more and more games where the players have things to do off turn. Instead of spacing out on Pokemon GO, the other players get to see what I’ve done and still remain engaged with the game since they are looking for dice pairs to use.  I get my euro, but there is still enough random to keep it fun.  5/5

Theme- This game is fun, but I don’t really feel like an undersea researcher.  Most of the time, I never do the research option.  I develop my lab most often and then send out robots and subs to make points.  It feels like a slight disconnect between a game of sea scientists and what I do. 4/5

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Instructions-If you understood the rules above, then all you need to play is to understand the rules for developing your lab.  Beyond that, this is a game you learn in about one minute, then play in 15.  The rules have enough to cover what they need to cover, and they don’t overstay their welcome.  5/5

Execution– I made an unboxing video of this game where you can see all the pieces at https://youtu.be/9gaHRrZs-qY.  What’s in the game box is great.  The pieces and the game footprint are small, but all well made and work for the game.  Heck, on my anniversary my wife and I played this at our table in a fancy restaurant!  The dice are nicely colored wood instead of plastic.  I *might* like rewritable tablets as I might run out of game pads for scoring, but I know the PDF is online.  Also, I would like pencils in the box!  Much like other dice games, I hate when I have to scrounge up a writing device.  But, my small gripes aside, this game is well put together.  4.75/5

Summary-I said above I hate Yahtzee, but this game is an amazing combination of Yahtzee and a euro.  AND I LOVE IT!  You get the fast pace of its American parent, the interaction of a great dice game, and the deep thinking of a euro.  Sure, you can’t expect the depth of a much longer game, but what you get is a great experience.  You can learn it quick from the rules and teach it even quicker to your friends.  The theme might be off and I want some golf pencils with AEG’s logo on them, but those are only minor complaints to how much fun I have had.  If you need a good gift for under $20 or you want a great pub game then this is the game you are looking for.  94%

Daily Punch 7-14-16 Coordinated Strike feat for DnD 5e

Ok, one more feat before we get back into kicking giants.  Let’s make this happen!

 

 

Coordinated Strike

You and your allies adventure together, drink together, and train together.  You have each other backs in a fight, and you know how to use that to your advantage.  When you are engaged with a target and another character who has this feat is also engaged with the target, you both gain advantage on your melee attacks against the target.

 

Thoughts?  Is this one too powerful?  Is it just enough?

Daily Punch 7-13-16 Punish the Weak feat and metamagic for DnD 5e

How about a twofer?  Let’s make this happen-a feat and a metamagic

 

1st-the feat!

Punish the Weak

You capitalize on hurting those who are already reeling.  Gain the following:

  • Increase one ability score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • When you use an ability or spell that requires a saving throw and you would have advantage if you used a melee or ranged attack on the target, the target has disadvantage on the saving throw.

 

 

Second, the megamagic-a modified version of the heightened spell

Hunting Spell

When you cast a spell that forces a creature to make a saving throw to resist its effects and you would have advantage on attacking the target with a melee or ranged weapon, you can spend 1 sorcery points to give one target of the spell disadvantage on its first saving throw made against the spell.

 

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 7-12-16 Neurological Shock spell for DnD 5e

Let’s build off some ideas I’ve seen.  I want a magic taser.  We can do that with a spell!

 

Neurological Shock

1st-level evocation

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 50 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

You throw a ball of electricity at a target temporarily stopping the the target from being able to think, much less move.  The target must make a  a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the target takes 2d8 lightning damage and is stunned until the end of your next turn. On a successful save, the creature takes half as much damage and is not stunned.

At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the damage increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 1st.

Daily Punch 7-11-16 Sound Ball cantrip for DnD 5e

Let’s get back to our roots with a cantrip for DnD 5e

 

Sound Ball

Evocation cantrip

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 50 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

You hurl a ball of pure sound at an opponent. Make a ranged spell attack spell attack against the target.  On a hit, the target takes 1d6 thunder damage and is pushed 10 feet.

The spell’s damage increases by 1d6 and the pushed distance increases by 5 feet when you reach 5th level (2d6 and 15 feet), 11th level (3d6 and 20 feet), and 17th level (4d6 and 25 feet).

 

Thoughts?

 

 

The Sudden Loss of Steven D. Russell

Today I was going to write about Origins, but something happened that hit me hard.  Almost harder than when my grandmother passed this year.  Let’s be personal for a few minutes…..

 

I would like to write today about a man I’ve never met, never talked to, and have never seen in real life.  I would like to talk to you today about Steven Russell.  Steven Russell is the owner of Rite Publishing.  It’s a third party RPG developer who’s main claim to fame is their Diceless RPG  Lords of Gossamer and Shadow.

 

I met Steven when I was looking over a thread on RPG.org.  They were looking for people to convert their standard Pathfinder RPG products to 5e.  I figured what the hell, I can do this!  I threw my hat into the ring, and lo and behold, I was given a shot.  He worked with me and helped me to develop my first RPG product.  I won’t say its the best work I’ve ever done, but honestly, seeing my name in print was amazing.  He helped me achieve a lifetime dream.  I may not have started as the most impressive designer out there, but that day I felt 10 feet tall.

 

Steven was an amazing mentor.  He gave me more projects to work on and helped me build up my talents.  He taught me how to write, how to manage my time better, and how to follow a deadline.  He also pushed me to be my own writer.  One of the last things I was working on with Steven was publishing my own products.  He was giving me tips on how to get art, write, and how to even edit my own work.  Even when I was too deep into writing for Rite and with my 9 to 5 job, he was pushing me to make some time for my work.  He really was a great man.

 

Unfortunately, last Wednesday night when he was driving home he was in a massive car accident and was killed.  He had just moved back to his home state to be with his family.  I have never had the chance to buy him a beer at GenCon or even play an RPG with him.  Even though I never got the chance to meet him, he was one of the best friends/bosses I ever had.  This saddens me greatly that I will never have the chance.  I don’t  know if he considered me a friend, but I know that I consider him one.

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Piratoons

 

Product-Piratoons

Producer– Stronghold Games

Price– $40  here https://www.amazon.com/Stronghold-Games-6004SG-Piratoons-Board/dp/B01BL7T1KU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466985455&sr=8-1&keywords=Piratoons

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 30 minutes (2-4 players)

Type- American

Depth-Light

TL; DR-A great mix of a Euro and a party game 91%

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Basics-  Yer, mateys it be time to crew the ship!  In Piratoons, each player takes the role of different pirate captains trying to crew, equip, and build their ships.  The game is played in six frantic rounds.  First, three pieces of ship and five pieces of equipment and crew are placed face down on the cardboard lid of a treasure box.  Then the bottom is put on, the box is flipped, and the pieces revealed.  Players then have less than 30 seconds to place meeples as quickly as possible on the tiles.  Players can place meeples on as many tiles as they can or want and even on tiles with other players’ meeples!  After time is over, each unused meeples earns that player one coin.  Next, the player with the most meeples that is not tied with another player wins that tile.  After the race, the tiles are dumped overboard!  Ship pieces sink (are discarded) while everything else remains available.  Each player can then bid on the remaining tiles.  Players secretly choose an amount of coins to bid and reveal. Players who are tied can’t bid, but all other players pay their coins, and in order of most coins to least, select one tile.  After that, players rearrange their ship, and the next turn takes place.

    After six rounds, players score and lose points.  Players get points for the most and second most sails, ship pieces, tiles, and money, while unorganized ships, missing tiles, and open slots lose points.  Players then spend tiles in pairs and three different tiles in an area for extra points.  The player with the most points is the best pirate and winner!

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Mechanics-This is a solid American game, but it’s mechanics gives it enough Euro-tendencies to keep this Euro-gamer entertained.  I really love how this game plays.  Honestly, the time you have to select pieces is almost too long, but it does give slower gamers enough time to place their pieces.  The bidding phase is an excellent addition that adds some welcomed depth to the game.  All together, this is a well executed game.  5/5

Theme- This is a great, fun party crew building game.  You don’t necessarily feel like you’re building a pirate crew, but you feel like you’re building something in a frantic fashion.  The rules do make the game fun, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that pirates don’t follow rules.  These are only minor problems, but  they do take away a bit from the game. 4/5

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Instructions-What I mentioned above is all you really need to know.  But, end game scoring could use a bit more work.  I’ve had multiple people tie in the end game scoring, and some of those situations are not covered in the rules.  Overall, the rules work well, but could use a bit more clarification.  4.25/5

Execution– I don’t play too many party games, but this is the best executed one I’ve ever played.  The treasure chest that flips the tiles is the best example of the production quality.  The layer of cardboard holds the tiles amazingly well.  I’ve seen too many tile flip/party games where tiles fly everywhere during the reveal.  The color of the tiles easily helps players see what they go on the ships.  The   art looks great and funny at the same time.  And any game with nice, chunky cardboard makes me happy.  It’s a well crafted game. If you want to see all the pieces of the game, check out my unboxing here  http://youtu.be/0ZHSiAueMTA 5/5

Summary-I don’t really like party games, but this one gives me a party game with enough thinking mixed it.  The mechanics are fun.  But, the theme suffers a bit as players are pirates, but are penalized if they act like pirates.  The rules are good, but need just a but more to be great.  However, the execution is the best part.  what’s in this box is amazing.  Overall, if you’re looking for a party game, but need a hint of Euro, this is the game you’ve been looking for. 91%