It’s been another good weekend for me and table top games.
On Saturday a group of friends held a board game night and my whole family descended like gaming locusts upon their home. I got some good quality gaming in and was able to try several games I’d been wanting to play.
The first was an 80’s trivia game. It was a simple roll-and-move Trivial Pursuit clone, but being a true child of the 80’s it was fun to play.
From there I finally got my copy of Flash Point Fire Rescue to the table. We played two games that night using the basic rules, then the next day my family played it with the full rules. Flash Point is a co-operative game where players are firefighters trying to rescue people from a burning house as fires and explosions threaten to bring the building down on top of them. The game has a similar feel to Pandemic, but with enough difference that it has a flavor all its own. Gameplay is fast, easy to learn, and the situation in the house can change rapidly. The full rules add roles and special abilities to the firefighters, as well as complications including hot spots and caches of explosive chemicals to the house. This gives the game more options and adds to the strategy.
The game feels a little more random than Pandemic, though that might have more to do with the smaller scale of a house fire compared to a global scale. The unpredictability does keep players on edge, realizing that rooms filling with smoke may explode into flames with the right dice roll. In our first game we won handily, but in the second the home became an inferno that brought the house down on our heads. We won our third game with moderate difficulty and then decided to keep playing, counting any further rescues as “bonus points”. However two rounds into the extended game a series of explosions had our firefighters running for the doors.
Two thumbs up for Flash Point Fire Rescue!
After that I gave Boss Monster a try. This is a card game where each player takes on the role of a titular boss monster styled in the form of an old NES game. Using your cards you build a dungeon that will lure in mighty heroes and lead to their doom. However, if you lure in too powerful a hero he or she may fight their way through and wound you, and if enough make their way to your lair you’ll be eliminated from the game. Gameplay becomes a balancing act, trying to build a strong dungeon and lure the right heroes to your lair while letting too powerful heroes be directed to the other players’ dungeons. The game continues until one player reaches ten souls (gained from the vanquished heroes) or only one boss monster survives.
I enjoyed this game. The way you build your dungeon and how the spell cards effect play allow for a good bit of strategy. Rounds go quickly with little downtime, which keeps the game fresh, and the entire game has a clever sense of humor. At first I thought all the cards would be based on 16 Bit games, but I was delighted to see nods to other realms of gaming geekdom. My favorites are a card called “Annihilation” that has the green devil face on it from Tomb of Horrors and an idol card that includes a pixilated version of Dave Trampier’s Players’ Handbook cover.
Boss Monster is another winner and might end up on my “To Buy” list.
I watched a few games of King of Tokyo and caught the tail end of Betrayal at the House on the Hill. I definitely want to give Betrayal a try one of these days and still think highly of King of Tokyo.
The last game I played was The Resistance, which is another game I’ve heard good buzz about. In this game everyone is a member of the resistance against an evil corporation that rules the world. However about 30% of the players are actually spies working to sabotage the fight for freedom. Each round one player acts as the leader and assigns members of the group to go on missions. The group votes to accept or reject the mission, if they reject it then leadership goes to the next player. If they accept it, each member of the team is given a Succeed and Fail card. Slipping in a fail card means the Corporation wins a point. If all Succeeds are turned in then the Resistance wins a point.
The goal is to guess who is a spy and who isn’t. There is no mechanism for outing a spy, the strategy is to only assign loyal members to missions and to reject missions with spies assigned to them. It’s a delightfully fun deduction game filled with paranoia.
I do hope to get back to some face-to-face role playing games soon, but in the meantime these doses of board gaming have been wonderful.