Monthly Archives: May 2017

Verses: Star Realms vs Star Wars Destiny

If you have been following the posts of mine about ranking and my top games posts you will have seen that these two games have been in my Top 10 games since I started using my “match up engine”. Plus because of the nature of my process they were always going to go head to head.

So Star Realms or Star Wars: Destiny? Which did I choose?

I don’t think it’s any secret that I love Star Realms. Thanks to an awesome app I have up to 20 games on the go at a time. I’ve played thousands of games. Since records began I’ve actually managed to get the physical game to the table a whole 25 times. I really do like the deck building mechanic. The shared trade row. Plus the expansions. Oh my, the expansions. You can mix and match or if like me just play with everything thrown all in. With Gambits and Events you can get some crazy turn one purchases. Plus missions now change how a game can be won. This game just gets better and better. Oh and comboing cards so you draw your whole hand, and do one massive amount of damage. Or when you claw back from a single authority to get the win. You definitely get some great gaming moments in this game.

Star Wars: Destiny, OMG! I knew if I played it I’d get hooked. It ticks a lot of boxes for me, deck construction, dice, Star Wars. Ok the collectible side of the game is a big draw back.  But no worse than Magic the Gathering, Dice Masters or others of that ilk. There has been that initial difficulty in getting product. But hopefully that has been resolved by FFG, and so far it’s looking that way. I enjoy the deck construction side. I like building decks and playing them to see if they work. Yes there is a random element with the dice rolls. But there are ways to reroll and even chose a face of the die. So I don’t see that as a drawback. Sometimes the dice rolling adds an element of suspense that I like. Especially when the other player rolls badly letting you off the hook for an action or two while they mitigate that bad roll.

In the end I kinda copped out, sat on the fence and declared this one a draw. I really enjoy playing both of these games. And would find it really hard to make a choice between which to play if they were both in front of me.

And looking at the comments to the post on Facebook and Instagram, the slight edge goes to Star Realms. But it was close, one vote in it. And a draw if I take out the Hero Realms vote! The public can’t decide either then.

Hot List Testing

When you visit the bgg website stuck on the left of the page is the Hot List.

I now have a button in my stats program that will look at that list, and tell me how many that I own, and how many I have played.

This is an example of the information it gives me.

BGG Hot List Stats
I own 5 of the Hot List
I’ve played 12 of the Hot List
The games I own in the Hot List are ranked as follows:
2 Scythe 383
16 Mechs vs. Minions 313
24 Star Wars: Imperial Assault 294
46 7 Wonders Duel 234
76 Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island 177

I know looking at the Hot List that I own more than the five my program says that I own. However I know why this is. It’s easy really the list of my games owned is out of date! Since I downloaded the list from bgg I have added to the collection.

I’m not updating the list of games owned until I have completed the initial pairwise comparisons. Once I have that first completed list of ranked games in my collection, I will add functionality that will take a new bgg list of my collection and add any new games to the database.

In reality the final owned figure currently should be 8.

I know that the played side is fairly accurate because it uses my logged plays data, and takes into account games in my collection that I played before I started recording plays. So apart from one or two games that I played but owned by some-one else that I played before I started recording games, I’m happy with the number this gives.

I also like that it tells me the rank of each of the games I own in the Hot List. Although I am shocked that 7 Wonders Duel is sitting at it’s current position. But the rankings don’t lie! Plus I’m just short of 39% through the pairwise comparisons. Still time for things to change.

The Mill is Real

Lunchtimes are Star Wars Destiny for Dale and me. Last week after I got my butt kicked by Dale and his abuse of extra actions. I hit the drawing board and set myself a small project to build a yellow mill deck.

Today saw the grand revealing of the first iteration of my Jyn/Padme mill deck. There are still one or two cards in the postal system that will make this even worse (hopefully). I’ll write new posts as and when to cover those additions.

Battlefield: War-Torn Streets (Jedha)

Events

  • Friends in Low Places (0 cost, Neutral/Yellow) x 1
  • Close Quarters Assault (0 cost, Neutral/Gray) x 1
  • Rebel (1 cost, Hero/Yellow) x 2
  • Evade (1 cost, Neutral/Gray) x 1
  • Block (2 cost, Neutral/Gray) x 2
  • Take Cover (0 cost, Neutral/Gray) x 2
  • Daring Escape (2 cost, Hero/Gray) x 1
  • Bolt Hole (0 cost, Neutral/Yellow) x 1
  • Cheat (1 cost, Neutral/Yellow) x 2
  • Long Con (0 cost, Hero/Yellow) x 2
  • Let the Wookie Win (1 cost, Hero/Yellow) x 1
  • Parry (1 cost, Neutral/Gray) x 1
  • Unpredictable (0 cost, Neutral/Yellow) x 1
  • Dodge (2 cost, Neutral/Gray) x 2
  • Diversion (1 cost, Neutral/Yellow) x 2 – had to borrow one of these from Dale
  • Scavenge (0 cost, Hero/Yellow) x 1

Support

  • BB-8 (1 cost, Hero/Gray) x 1
  • Outmaneuver (1 cost, Neutral/Yellow) x 1
  • Improvisation (0 cost, Neutral/Yellow) x 1

Upgrades

  • Ammo Belt (1 cost, Neutral/Gray) x 2
  • Rey’s Staff (2 cost, Hero/Gray) x 1
  • Vibroknife (2 cost,Neutral/Gray) x 1

My thinking behind this deck

Naturally the aim of this deck is to mill cards. Get victory by forcing my opponent (ie Dale in this case) to burn through his deck until he no longer has any cards to draw, and has no cards in hand, to get me the win.

Padme (removing cards from the deck) and Jyn (removing cards from hand) synergize really well for a milling deck.

I wanted cards in my deck that allowed me to avoid some of the melee and ranged damage I could be facing, with the aim to keep my characters alive as long as possible (Dodge,Parry,Block and Evade). Then with cards like Take Cover,Bolt Hole I am adding shields. Cards like Daring Escape, and Unpredictable are included to help me try and get lucky and reroll an opponents die to something more to my liking.

Cheat, Scavenge and Rebel are in there to allow me to replay cards from my discard pile. Which becomes very important for recycling particular cards once they arrive.

Naturally Padme needs resources to fuel her milling. So for that I have Long Con, Outmaneuver.

To help with the milling I have Friends in Low Places, and Close Quaters Assault (used with Rey’s Staff and Vibroknife). Although those three cards will be replaced when the new cards arrive.

BB-8 and Improvisation are there to help me with my rerolls. Whilst Diversion and Let The Wookie Win are included to try and disrupt the other players resource economy and dice.

Ammo belt will become more important when the new cards arrive.

So that’s the current state of my mill deck. There are some improvements coming. But as I said I think in previous posts I have a very small card pool. Which means I have to try and research which cards would fit in this deck, and then hunt copies down.

How’d it do?

Dale and I played two games today. The first was close. I had loads of cards left in my deck, and it came down to a dice roll. If Jyn had come up with a discard I would have won. But she didn’t, her dice came up a ranged attack. Which Dale was able to use against me (before I had a chance to reroll her dice) to kill Jyn to get the win. The milling had been working ridiculously well. Padme held in for a long time, drawing a lot of the damage that Dale was able to deal. By the time she was finally killed, it was too late, the damage had been done.

Our second game went much more to plan. It did surprise me that I had milled Dale so much. It hadn’t really registered that I had done that much. I had three cards left in my deck by the time I finished Dale off.

A few of Dale’s cards in his deck were redundant with my deck. mainly because they were there to remove damage from ranged and melee attacks. Attacks I wasn’t doing. They effectively became cards to use to do rerolls.

Dale didn’t enjoy playing against this deck (although I felt that way a little last week against that extra action abuse I faced). And once I have it working properly with the cards I have in the postal system, it will most likely be retired. I’ll move on to Rey at that point and try and come up with a good Rey deck.

It’s not fun playing all the time against the same nasty deck. Now cards are, at the moment easier to get hold of, and the Awakenings reprint soon to hit stores, our card pool is getting bigger. We don’t have everything. Dale and I are if able to lend cards to make decks work. So we will see. I think Dale will be going Palpatine with two dice for his next deck. It was Palpatine and a Royal Guard today. There is some payback coming soon I’m sure.

Grail Expansions – my current hard to get items

There was a post this morning on one of the Facebook board gaming chat pages where the question was asked what are folks Grail games. 

A Grail game is one that is hard to find or get. Usually they are out of print for some reason.

But the question got me thinking, do I currently have any Grail games? I didn’t think that I did. But then I got thinking not games, but expansions. I have Grail expansions. So my response was the following:


None of them will be reprinted. All of them stupid money when they go up for sale. Stupid money I’m not prepared to pay. 

What are your Grail games and expansions?

Verses: Scythe vs Viticulture Essential Edition

I knew my two favourite Jamey Stegmaier games would eventually go head to head against each other. It’s like the Merseyside derby (Liverpool vs Everton for none football fans) but with boardgames. 

Alternate East European history vs wine growing in Italy.

Both games look stunning. But Scythe has jaw dropping stunning art.

For me Scythe just has an epic feel to it. There is a bit more player interaction in Scythe via the combat, and having to watch neighbours moves so you can claim bonuses.

I do enjoy the worker placement of Viticulture. Throw in Tuscany with all it brings to the table with the new board and modules, lots and lots of replayability and depth. 

Momma and Poppas gives unique starting resources to each player in Viticulture. But Scythe and it’s player and faction boards giving unique action combos and starting resources pips Momma and Poppas.

For me Scythe is the winner here. Theme, art, mechanics it wins hands down.

This match up didn’t attract as much comment as previous verses. Maybe folks are getting bored of them. Mind you I know which one Jonathan would have chosen. He’s a growing wine in Italy through and through. 


Help me Obi Wan Kenobi…

We were going to be playing Battlestar Galactica. But once again life, the universe and any other unseen force decided to conspire against us and throw a spanner in the works.

Instead it was going to be just Diego and myself turning up. So after a brief messenger exchange Diego and I settled on playing new boy on the block (to my collection anyway) Star Wars Rebellion.

Which meant I needed to punch some cardboard quickly before Diego and I were due to be playing it.

Wow when set up this game is huge. 

We were working our way through the learn to play booklet. Which takes you step by step through your first game. This means your first game is 85-90% of the full rule set. It takes out certain cards, gives the starting setup of both sides forces, ignores the abilities of the recruit cards.

As a learning game there were some misplays. These things happen and weren’t too big an impact on our game.

Rebellion is a long game. I knew that going into this. But with setup, going through the rules, slow initial rounds as we got to grips with things. We hit five hours! But that took me by surprise. I’d been so engaged and engrossed with the struggle between the two opposing forces, I’d lost track of the time. That’s the mark of a good game.

We were at least two turns from the end of the game, when Diego had to return back to the real world. So the decision was to call it a draw. Either side could have won.

I was playing the rebels so the Death Star was a constant threat right from the start. When the Empire built a second it was like “omg! How can I win?” The Death Star has no health and rolls four red dice when attacking. Indestructible and deadly. Luckily you eventually draw a mission card that allows you to destroy a Death Star. When that happens it’s so satisfying. At that moment I didn’t care if I won the war, I’d destroyed a frickin’ Death Star.

The combat was good. Not brilliant. But did give manage to capture being epic and that your forces were trading blows. Although if I had to criticise it, I’d say that the combat should be simultaneous and damage being done at the same time. At the moment it’s possible if attacking to keep your forces intake by destroying the enemy completely before they get a chance to respond (especially if they have no block damage cards).

I liked the hand management side of the mission cards. You always have something you can do with the four starting cards, and then having to decide what to keep if you have more than ten cards.

The missions themselves very thematic, and having the ability to attempt to stop them by allocating one of your own leaders.  Brilliant. But then choosing which mission to send a leader on, and which leader is a hard choice sometimes. Especially when you want that leader available to block an opposing mission. But if you send that leader on the mission you get a bonus. Tough choices. It was rather cool when Luke went off looking for Yoda on Dagobah and became Jedi Luke. What wasn’t cool was when he got captured right away!

This really is an epic game in scale, setting and play. I love it. Diego and I have already set up a future date for this to hit the table again. That’s how much we enjoyed the game.

A fantastic learning session for a great game. Thanks Diego.

FEG@WL 19May17

Friday hits once more. Earlier in the day Dale kindly had a learning from the rule book game of Blood Bowl Team Manager (BBTM) with me. A game that he beat me at. Which is ok, I beat him twice at 7 Wonders Duel the previous day.

I’d been wanting to get BBTM ever since it made its way in to my collection many many moons ago now. Sadly if you wanted to buy it for your collection now you will have to pay the now obligatory stupid prices for it. Thanks FFG and Games Workshop. Why couldn’t you try and make your relationship work? Think of the gamers! Think of the gamers! Yeah thanks to their failed relationship BBTM along with the expansions are never ever going to be reprinted (well Games Workshop possibly could I suppose, but if they did you’d probably have to cut the tree down, make pulp etc to produce your own cards for the game.) Luckily while both companies are trying to prove to each other they are doing fine and have moved on, I managed to get the Sudden Death expansion for a normal price. But I’ve not managed to find a good price for the other expansion Foul Play.

I really enjoyed this area control card game. As a two player game it worked. You are managing your hand, hopefully drafting more players (cards) or even abilities that you can use during play. Dale had one upgrade that gave him two points when he lost.

I would like to try the game with the higher player counts. I think it would be more chaotic, especially when playing for trophies.

Jonathan was going to arrive a little late, so Charlie, Chris, Edmund and myself played a game of Love Letter Batman. Edmund rushed away with an early lead. But Charlie managed to come back and grab the victory. Luckily Chris and I managed to at least get a point to our names so we weren’t completely embarrassed.

With Jonathan joining us it was time to decide what to play. Chris’s Zombicide Black Plague was out. Fantasy has no place what so ever in a zombie apocalypse. The zombie apocalypse is shopping malls, prisons, tower blocks, underground bunkers. Not bloody dungeon and dragons! Yeah that’s in bold for you Chris and CMoN. It’s WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

In a moment of pity we relented and decided we’d play Terraforming Mars. A game Jonathan had wanted to play. 

So we all tried to Terraform Mars. We didn’t use the drafting option for cards. Which would have increased the play time. But it might have improved my chances of getting cards I needed to play others in my hand. I needed science symbols but wasn’t seeing them.

But still it was fun with the higher player count. Chris went on to win the game. 

If a Friday Evening Gaming starts with bubbles on the top of my grown up beverage, then it finishes with the suspicious meat. I’d avoid this part of the evening since I had that gall stone attack. But you only live once. It was time to taste that oh so so greasy meat drowned in chilli!

Well I’m writing this post the next morning. So I survived that wreckless decision at the end of the evening. I rolled the dice and I won!

Ranking Engine Update

I feel like I have been doing lots to this project this week with not much to show for it.

As you can see I’ve just edged over the 25% mark for the number of pairwise comparisons that I need to do for my game ranking of my collection.

I’m not going to bore you with another “look at my current top 10”. Instead I’m going to bore you with my top 10 worker placement games based on my current rankings of games. 

What this really show cases is the start of the next stage of my stats engine. After a bit of behind the scenes rewriting of code, I’ve started a gui front end (see below). It’s an ugly, not designed gui. I’ll sketch something out over the weekend. 

But basically I can select a game mechanic and find all the games in my collection that have that mechanic. 

It then takes those results, and finds out how I’ve ranked them, followed by printing out the top ten. 

So before I add categories, designers and publishers I need to sort out the gui. That’s the major effort. 

Once that’s been done I’ll expand the stats to look at the bgg hotlist, followed by the bgg all time top 100. 

I then have more stuff on the road map. Wait did I just type that? That almost makes me sound like professional and I’ve planned it. But in reality I haven’t and I’m not. I’m making things up as I go along. I have ideas that I really should write down before they are lost. In away these posts are acting as my dev notebook. Well hopefully gentle reminders. 

Hopefully you can see things are progressing both code wise and rankings wise. I also hope you are finding the verses posts interesting. Which were a surprise spin off from this project.

Anyway I’ll see you in my next post.