Hello again! Welcome to my weekly report where I look back at the games I played this week, and give my impressions on that specific play!
If you want to hear my voice instead of reading these words, I recorded this post as a podcast segment for the Carboard Conjecture’s Whatcha Been Playin’ Wednesdays. You can listen to me, and other great board game content creators, talking about what they’ve been playing lately here
The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth – Shadowed Paths
The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth, Shadowed Paths is a game that we only play when a specific member of our game group is unavailable. This week Bear was sick, so Otter, Bigfoot and I proceeded with game 4 of our Shadowed Paths adventure. I mentioned game 1 here, and games 2 and 3 here. Adventure 4 lead us into a Journey map, but also spawned an enemy right on our starting location. Legolas easily dispatched the orc, leaving myself and Eleanor free to explore the map.
To give the feeling of expanse and adventure, the initial seed of an adventure is generally quite small. This means the first few turns as you adventure out into the adjacent tiles, you’ll be placing another 3 – 6 tiles, stunting your momentum. I do enjoy the mystery of the tiles going down and the flavourful text giving you a hint of what you might discover when you adventure onto those tiles.
This adventure had us scouring the 4 corners of the map, felling obelisks. Luckily, we found the guide to destroying obelisks quite quickly and used the information within to clear the map with relative ease. Near the end, we were unsure if we could investigate every point of interest before the time ran out, but we cleared a threat token that reduced the in game timer by a significant portion, giving us enough time to investigate every point of interest and defeat every enemy.
The balance of JiME can feel off sometimes. In this adventure, we encountered a LOT of healing opportunities, but suffered very little damage, letting those opportunities go to waste. We’ve had other games where we’ve all be on the brink of death, pushing against our fear and wound cap. We did complete everything this map had to offer on the final turn, but we’ve had adventures where we’ve blown past points of interest and still didn’t manage to complete the objective.
Journeys in Middle Earth is a good cooperative experience, and I enjoy the Lord of the Rings theme, even if it feels more like generic fantasy than ‘Lord of the Rings’ most of the time. Our adventures with Fantasy Flights ebony haired Legolas will continue, should Bear miss another of our regularly scheduled game nights.
I don’t actually own Wingspan, but I’ve had it on loan from a friend since May. It is one of my wife’s favourite games, and I’ve been keeping my eye on the used market to pick up a copy of my own, but turns out, good games don’t end up on the used market very often.
This was a quiet afternoon game with my wife while our toddler napped. For anyone who hasn’t played Wingspan, it’s an engine building tableau builder where you take actions to acquire food, eggs, and cards, then spend food and eggs to play the cards into your tableau. Each card you play will make one of your actions better, and, may trigger an ability on that card.
We both struggled to get a food engine started, as there just happened to be a lack of forest cards out early in the game. Just past the midway point in the game, my partner drew a crow that allows her to discard an egg to gain 2 food, and that was her turning point. Suddenly she was producing 3 eggs each round, plus two food, and caching cards and food on the other birds in her grasslands habitat. I managed to maximize the points from the end of round goals, but failed to capitalize on my personal goals of having birds with body parts in their names, leaving me with yet another loss in this lovely game.
If you want to read my full thoughts on Wingspan, just click here!
Doctor Who Fluxx
Fluxx is one of those games that my family continues to return to. My clan was very keen on playing Monty Python Fluxx for a long time, especially whenever we congregated at the cabin in Manitoba. These days, Doctor Who Fluxx seems to be the game of choice when my wife and I spend an evening at our local pub.
For those who haven’t played, Fluxx is a card game by Andrew Loony of Loony Labs. A game of Fluxx contains a single deck of cards, and two simple rules. On your turn, draw one card, and play one card. The cards you can play can be of various different types. There are Keepers, which just sit in front of you, there are goals, which depict two specific keepers, and should ever have the two keepers on the goal card, and nothing explicitly prevents you from doing so, you declare victory. The wrinkle here is that each new goal will supplant the old goal, keeping the target of the game ever-changing. In additions to Keepers and Goals, there are Creepers, which also just sit in front of you, but explicitly prevent you from winning (unless the goal includes that specific creeper). There’s also action cards, which allow you to do things such as clear creepers, or steal keepers, or play extra cards, and then there’s new rule cards. These new rules can include things like drawing 4 cards every turn, enforcing a hand limit or a keeper limit, a new rule that grants a bonus should you start your turn with 0 cards in your hand, and rules that can have you singing or reciting lines of your favourite show to earn more card draws. If you were wondering, yes, this game can get a bit silly.
Doctor Who Fluxx wraps this game in a Whovian theme. The keepers you play are the various Doctors and their companions, the goals will have you matching the Ponds with the 11th doctor, or two Weeping Angels with the Tardis. Fluxx is a fine, random game that’s easy to play while sipping drinks. The Doctor Who theme is as good as any (with 41 different Fluxx sets, there’s a theme for everyone I’m sure). Fluxx is random enough that when someone wins, there’s no hard feelings. You can’t feel like you played poorly when you have so little control over your own fate.