What's Eric Playing?: Week of December 17, 2018
Four games reviewed this week! Here’s a brief blurb, but click the link to see more. Weirdly enough, two pirate games this week? Weird trend.
“Overall, Skull King is a very fun, interesting game! I wasn’t kidding earlier when I said it might be my favorite trick-taking game; I’m normally not a very competitive person but I get invested when I play this one; it’s rough. Not in a bad way, though! It’s just a very solid trick-taking game that’s familiar enough to entice fans of Hearts or Spades but has enough interesting mechanics that fans of more recent releases will also be into it. I think I’m going to try and bring it home and teach my family over the holidays, even though my family is notoriously resistant to playing any board games with me in what can only be called Exceedingly Ironic. Oh well. Back to Skull King, it’s a smart design with solid art, good gameplay, and a lot of tense strategy. I have to say that I’m a fan and I had trouble putting it down. If you’re looking for a mix of the new and the familiar and you’re a fan of trick-taking, I’d highly recommend getting in a few plays of Skull King! I’ve really enjoyed it.”
“Overall, It Will Never Last is a solid addition to the Fog of Love canon! I’ve had a lot of fun with it and I’m looking forward to digging into it a bit more (and seeing if I can actually fulfill my destiny in that game; I’ve been having some rough luck). Out of the expansions, it’s kind of ironic that I reviewed it last, since it’s really the one that adds the least complications to the Fog of Love gameplay system — it really is just an additional Love Story that happens to have a longer, more arduous trek toward a successful relationship. That journey, though fraught with peril, is pretty satisfying, though — even though we didn’t fulfill our destinies in my previous game, we came very close to it (I was off by 4 satisfaction), and that was a lot of fun. I have a good friend who says that the best way to see if you like a game is to lose it and see if you had fun losing, and I certainly did, in this case. Obviously, I’d recommend all the Fog of Love expansions, but if you’re looking for a good first one to get fans of the game or if you want to get an expansion that’s not going to complicate the system too much while you’re still learning, Fog of Love: It Will Never Last is a very solid option!”
“So, there’s a lot to say about A.E.G.I.S., I think. On one hand, it’s a pretty solid game on its own, and I think that’s the best thing to lead with. It’s clear that it was made by people who both understand how to make a compelling game experience, love the genre they’re working in, and are willing to put in the time to produce an exceptional product. On the other hand, I think it’s got some issues that obviously complicate my overall sunny impression of it. Some parts of the rulebook are pretty clunky, and the sheer amount of reading required is going to alienate a lot of new players who aren’t willing to devote themselves to this game 100%. To that point, though I think there’s something to be said here that I often don’t acknowledge about Dominion, and that’s that this is actually all totally okay for certain players. Strangely, I’m not representative of every player in the hobby (a wild conclusion, I know) and that means that some players may not actually own a preposterous number of board games. For Dominion, that means that this might legitimately be your only 6-player game, and even though I poo-poo playing it at higher player counts, any port in a board game storm, you know? For some, A.E.G.I.S. will be one of the few games in their collection, and it’s got the same thing that Millennium Blades has — enough content to last you a very long time. While that makes my life hell (and means that I haven’t gotten to plenty of it), it means that if you’re looking for bang for your buck, it’s definitely here. Overall, I’m leaning positive on A.E.G.I.S.; it’s ambitious for certain, and isn’t a perfect game, but it’s definitely a good one and I think if you’re even remotely interested in wargames or the idea of smushing some robots together to make a bigger one, you should check it out!”
“Overall, Dice of Pirates is a cute and quick little game! I think it’ll appeal a lot more to the take-that-friendly crowd than it does me, but it’s definitely not bad if you’re looking for a quick fix and you’ve got the player count for it. I think, if my memory serves, I really enjoyed Dice of Crowns when I played it last (the precursor), but I think it had less of a direct take-that / combat than Dice of Pirates. Not sure; it’s been a while. The nice thing is that the gameplay all feels very thematic; there’s trading ships, there’s combat, there’s backstabbing and plunder. If you were going to play a game on a pirate ship (other than Liar’s Dice), I could see this very much being that one. That’s the nice thing about Thing 12 Games, in my opinion; they always spend a fair bit of time digging into like, thematic gameplay. Seals of Cthulhu, while not my all-time favorite game, spent a lot of time on this too, with combining light and dark halves of cards to gain forbidden power. I think that’s an attitude that’s gonna take them far, and if you’re interested in living a pirate’s life on the high seas in a cute, quick dice game, Dice of Pirates might be a great way to get you there!”