What's Eric Playing?: Week of June 10, 2019
Another four reviews this week! Back to Kickstarter, another doujin game, and more from Button Shy! All exciting stuff. As always, click the game’s name to see my full review!
Overall, I pretty solidly like Oboro Ninja Star Trick! I’m already a fan of trick-taking games, so I generally want something to have a gimmick or a schtick that’s unique before I sit down and play it. This one’s got a couple. For one, it’s limited to three players, but it also forces you to be very careful about the tricks you take and when you take them, which is extra fun. I particularly appreciate that there are different Ninja Power limits you can set, which add extra wrinkles to the game (and increase the difficulty for all players; I’m a huge fan of difficulty toggles in games). Add in that it’s super portable and you’ll probably be seeing this and Tokkome hanging out in a Quiver of mine from now on. I should probably get a Quiver just for these doujin games, now that I think about it. Either way, if you’re a fan of trick-taking games, doujin games, or you just really want to get wrecked by a card game, Oboro Ninja Star Trick is one that I’ve really had fun with! Would recommend.
Overall, Star Maps is rapidly becoming one of my favorite roll and write games! I think that I just happen to find the puzzle super interesting, and I like that it has multiple different boards to allow for a few different games. Naturally, I am also a big fan of the theme; as I mentioned, I really enjoy the kind of somber, meditative mood that the space games with no colonization / empire-building component create. Add in a neat campaign component and you’ve got yourself a fun little book of roll and write games! I particularly appreciate that you can also get by without dice if you have a dice rolling app, so you can really kick back and just fill out the whole book if you so choose. For me, it’s the perfect length, the perfect level of intensity, and the perfect level of complexity; I just wish it didn’t end so abruptly, especially if I’m still trying to put together a perfect combination. Either way, I’m a big fan of Star Maps, and if you’re looking for either a solid Button Shy game or a solid roll and write title, I’d definitely recommend checking this one out!
Overall, I’ve had fun with Sovereign Skies! This is one of those places that I get a bit confused by Kickstarter games, though. The core is interesting, but it makes me want to see expansion content to change up actions or add more interactions to keep the gameplay variable, and I’m not sure if that’s on the roadmap or not. If it is, awesome! Looking forward to it. If it’s not, well, that’s okay, too. Either way, this game’s got a fair bit going for it, especially in the art department. It’s lighter than the other “move ships in a circle” game that I’ve played, Sol: Last Days of a Star, but I think I like Sol’s depth for what it’s trying to do. That one focuses much more on building paths rather than area control, anyways, and this one’s got the area control part down pretty well. I do appreciate how you have to gradually upgrade your stuff to stay competitive, but it can start to feel repetitive if you get into a groove and just kinda keep executing that pattern for the rest of the game. I’d even appreciate something that causes the planet orderings to be switched around, to keep that from happening, but I’m not sure what that would do to the game proper. I think that this game does take a full play or so to “get”, as everyone I played with noted that they better understood the game after playing it once and seeing how everything ended up shaking out, so make sure to keep that in mind, as well. That also tracks with me, as I generally enjoyed the game more as I played through it. Either way, if you’re looking for a game of orbiting, influencing, and politicking, Sovereign Skies might be for you!
Overall, I think the Re-Sequence and Override expansions are solid! They belong pretty firmly to a category of “iterative” expansions (rather than “transformative” ones) in that they make some steady improvements to the base game while keeping the core experience pretty much the same (as opposed to, say, The Genius expansion for Einstein). There’s a place for both in games, but I definitely prefer the iterative ones, generally speaking, because they’re easier to teach. This expansion can pretty easily be taught without relying on players already knowing the base game. You’ll lose, probably, but it would probably happen anyways; verifying cards is hard. For a small expansion, it thankfully doesn’t feel that light; plenty was added to keep it fresh and bring in a lot of new stuff for experienced and new players, so a lot of the solo gaming crowd will appreciate that. Heck, the two-player crowd should, too. It’s challenging and about communication; maybe a solid date night game? Either way, I’ve had a lot of fun with Re-Sequence and Override, and if you’re looking for a challenging, puzzley game or a solid cooperative experience, I’d recommend checking them out!