Things of No Interest: What I Played Sept. 2017

Things of No Interest: What I Played Sept. 2017

Apparently, I'm too busy (or lazy) to do this weekly. Actually fall is stupidly busy and typically ends up with a lower play count and less time for board gaming since the kids have a football and diving and then there is Husker Football and NFL games all weekend. It makes for busy times. That being said, there still was some gaming (albeit a lot of it was digital). Anyway, on with the report!

Paperback
I had not heard of Paperback until it came out on iOS and I played it on my iPad. What is it? It is a deckbuilder and a word game rolled into one. You buy letters and make words. Words score you money to buy more letters and point cards (which are wild cards, but don't help you buy anything). It makes for a great game and is really fun - if you like word games. I do like word games and I like making words that use all my letters (even though it often makes absolutely no difference in your points for that turn). Plus, this game hits the major points for me - async gameplay and I can play vs my friends or the AI (and yeah, the AI cheats - hard AI has to cheat in a game where you make a combination of letters and the combo has to be valid...).
Biblios

Biblios is one that I've introduced to my co-workers and we play occasionally at lunch time. Everyone enjoys trying to out guess the other players and the auction portion. Plus, the more we play, the faster we get at the game. This great little game has two parts to it - divide the pie / press your luck and then the auction/stock portion of the game. Lots of good play in a little game.  For years I had heard about what a fun little game this was, but never saw it played or heard about it from anyone I knew. When I finally got this in a math trade, I was quite happy. It was easy to teach and has been a hit with non-gamers. Also a plus - the card quality is really decent.

Spires
Spires came to me from the publisher and is going around the Punchboard Media crew for reviews. The best compliment I can give this game is this: I don't want to give it up. This is another I tried out with some friends from work at our lunch game and everyone liked it a lot. I'll be doing a review of this at some point, but it has a great little mechanism that I haven't seen in a while ala Edel, Stein and Reich. If you aren't familiar with that game (and I bet you are not) the mechanism has everyone pick a thing they want - the catch being that if you are the only one that wants it, you get it. Otherwise you have to compete with the others for it. Sometimes you want that competition (and want to lose it to force them to take the card) and other times, you really don't. There is also a set collection mechanism where you only want a very small number of different types of cards and getting more is bad (this is where picking what you want becomes much harder). This is the kind of game that is great when a friendly group wants to go head to head constantly and bluffing and guessing is the name of the game.

Follow Up - Legendary DXP
For those who are not familiar with the Legendary deck-building games, Legendary DXP (DXP = Digital Experience) is the electronic form of the popular Upper Deck Legendary system. It was originally released in tabletop form as Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building game. There is no Marvel license here, but if you are familiar with that game, this is the same game with a re-theme (again, in electronic form). 


I wrote a review of the game as it was on the cusp of release in August. Since then, I have been playing the heck out of the game (I've been in the top 5 players each week since launch). While I'm obviously a huge fanboy, there were some things I disliked about the game and thought I should revisit them now that we are two months down road - there have been a number of enhancements and patches to the game that greatly improved the experience. 
  • When you are asked to discard or KO cards, there is now a confirmation on each card - this has greatly improved things and makes it 100% better when you first learn to play the game. This was the worst thing about the game at launch - you often accidentally KO'd or discarded cards you didn't mean to touch or just wanted to look at.
  • Solo play has changed. At launch, solo mode was you vs 2 (dumb) bots. This made a number of the schemes unplayable as the bots did nothing to avoid the troubles of the scheme. Solo play currently uses a slightly modified rules set and it is simply you vs the game. Turns are timed at an hour each, so it is a great way to play the game and get familiar with the interface and the various cards. Plus it gives you something to do when nobody is around to play with online.
  • Speaking of online matches, this was one of the first improvements - being able to see others waiting in line for a match let you know if you are close to a match starting.
  • Gauntlets went from 5 player only to 3-5 players. This small change made getting into a Gauntlet match much much easier. A steady diet of Gauntlets is what pushes players into the top of the rankings, as Gauntlets offer the biggest XP payout.
  • Scheme details. At launch, there was not very good information about the scheme - often it was impossible to know how close you were to losing. Now each scheme shows the information clearly
Is the game perfect yet? No, but it is far better than it was two months ago at launch. At the end of this month, we should be close to a launch of the Android version of the app, which should infuse a large number of new players. I've talked to various developers on the project and I know they have a number of new features planned as well as talk about revising chunks of the UI to improve usability. Hope to see you online!
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