Thursday, January 26, 2023


The 14th greatest board game of all time is, Abyss!

Abyss – Uploaded by Jean_Leviathan – Board Game Geek

In Abyss players compete to take over as ruler of the undersea world. They do this by exploring the depths, requesting the support of the council, and recruiting lords. All of this represented by cards. Abyss is a card game with a central board that's used to make the card play more intuitive.

The central board works really well. When exploring the depths you play cards at the top of the board turning them face up one at a time until you find one that you like. (This card is then added to your hand.) In an interesting twist, you must offer each card flipped up to your opponents before you can take it for yourself. That's not as bad as it sounds, your opponents must pay you for the cards they take, and you can do the same thing to them on their turn.

When you finally pick a card, any cards that weren't chosen, go to the center of the board. These are organized by card type, and this represents the council. When you request support from the council, you go to the middle of the board and take any one stack of cards there. You can potentially get a lot of cards of one type, but the numbers on the cards will generally be of lower value.

All the cards that you're collecting act as currency for the action at the bottom of the board, recruit a lord. While the other cards in the game are mini-sized cards, the lords are big beautiful tarot sized cards. These provide you with special powers and victory points. You want these cards.

There are a few additional actions. At the beginning of your turn you can pay one pearl (Pearls are the other kind of currency in the game. Mainly you use them to pay other players during their explore the depths action, but they can also be used to help pay for recruiting lords.) to add a lord in an empty space at the bottom of the board. Lords cards aren't added automatically, unless a certain threshold is reached, then all empty spaces are filled at once. Usually, this isn't the best when it happens on your turn because it tends to help your opponents more than you. However, you do get two pearls when you trigger this as consolation.

That's an interesting thing about Abyss, you spend a lot of time exploring for cards you want in order to recruit lords, but both of these actions have the potential to help your opponent as much as yourself. This is known in the board game biz as "positive interaction." I love this kind of thing in games.

Once a player has recruited their seventh lord, this triggers the end of the game and the player with the most points wins. There are a few details that I left out, like the push your luck aspect to exploring the depths (You may have to face the Kraken!) and how most lords have key icons on them. When you collect three of these keys you must select a location board. These location boards grant victory points but they are placed on top of the lords who triggered them and those lords lose their powers. 

Abyss is a great card game. The game board keeps the decisions in the game organized and intuitive. The positive interaction in the game keeps everyone involved all the time, and the art on the tarot sized lords cards is beyond stunning. I may have neglected to mention how beautiful Abyss is. The game is loaded with beautiful paintings by french artist Xavier Collette, aka Coliandre, and it's all amazing!!

All of these great things come together to make Abyss the 14th greatest board game of all time!!

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(Except where noted, all images copyright Bombyx all rights reserved.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition

My number 15 favorite game of all time is: Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition, which is the "card game version" of Terraforming Mars!

In this game players take the roles of corporations working together to tame the hostile environs of Mars. But, it's not cooperative. You are all working towards the same goal, but of course you want your corporation to be the most profitable.

In Ares Expedition, players have a personal player board to track things that they can contribute to the transformation of Mars into a habitable planet. You can contribute elements of heat to raise the temperature, plants to raise the oxygen, and well ... money, because more money helps everything. You manipulate the resources tracked on your player board by playing cards from your hand. All cards stay in front of you to provide ongoing benefits or just score you points, and all cards cost money to play.

In the center of the table is a shared board that represents the planet Mars itself. Here you spend your resource to actually raise the planet’s temperature, increase the oxygen, and create oceans. This part all feels very as players work together to terraform Mars. What the central board really is, is a progress tracker to trigger the end of the game. It all works really well.

Each turn players pick an action secretly and then reveal them. Then actions are completed in a specific order by both players at the same time. Simultaneous play means that while, Ares Expedition may be a “longish” game, there is very little down time, which is a great thing. Also, if you are a fan of direct player interaction, you won’t find any here. This may be a strike against the game for many, for us this is a huge plus. Finding combos is interesting, the deck contains over 200 cards, so there’s lots of variability and opportunity to explore different strategies.

Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition is a great engine building game! There’s even a two-player cooperative mode that we may try out at some point, but for now the competitive game is great. Oh, and Bernie (our cat) likes it too!

Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition is my number 15 favorite game of all time!

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Sunday, January 22, 2023

Collecting Royalties


(Read CTE's previous entry by clicking here.)

You take a moment to catch your breath and recover from your battle with the skeletons. After a moment you survey the area and smile. It seems the skeletons might have left something of value behind.

What Are Royalties?

In a dungeon crawl adventure game like this, players fight monsters in order to gain treasure. Treasure is referred to in CTE as "Royalties." This is because the Royals - all those cards without numbers (A, K, Q & J) - are considered trump when taking the Royalty action.

In order to generate Royalties, gather up all cards and shuffle them together, then lay out a new tableau of 3 cards. Cards are "played" from your tableau to generate results on random Royalties tables. 

As with all other actions, the Royalties action can be boosted by items that you have equipped. The symbol that represents Royalties is $ - the riches sign. Hint: riches, royals and royalties all begin with the letter R.

The first table you must consult is the "Type of Royalty $" table, the riches sign shown next to the name reminds you that the royals trump suit and riches item bonuses do apply when consulting this table. This table is going to point you to other tables in order to generate a final royalty item result.

Riches $ Bonus

Your base riches bonus is equal to the number of items that you have equipped. Right now, you have your club and your quilted armor. So, you have $2 (two riches.) Since you can potentially equip up to 10 items, you can increase your bonus to $10 if you are able to equip an item to each of the 10 branches. In addition magical items will sometimes include $ bonuses that will add to this total.

Royalty $ Action

To perform a royalty action, play a card from your tableau and add any $ bonuses to the effort. ($ royals: A, K, Q & J are trump.)

Table 1 - Type of Royalty $

(Perform a Royalty $ Action and consult the table below.)

$ Effort Total Royalty Won

Under 15 Base Item Only

15-22 Base Item & Prefix

23-30 Base Item & Suffix

Over 30 Base Item & Prefix and Suffix

Creating a Base Item

To create a base item, first you need to determine the item's branch. To do this, you must perform an ABSOLUTE action.

Absolute Actions

Creating a new item begins with determining the item's branch. This requires a special kind of action called an ABSOLUTE action. When you perform an absolute action, you play a card not for effort, but for the card itself.

When taking an absolute action you choose a card from your tableau and play it. You don't add any modifier to the card, and there is no trump. Instead the card is referenced for its unique identity. This means that every absolute action will result in 1 out of 52 possible outcomes.

The Base Item Branch Table below calls for an Absolute Action to resolve. Absolute Actions are identified by the @ at symbol. Hint: at and absolute both start with the letter A.

Table 2 - Base Item Branch @

(Perform an Absolute @ Action and consult the table below.)

2♣ [HD] 2♦ [OH] 2♥ [TS] 2♠ [FT]

3♣ [HD] 3♦ [OH] 3♥ [TS] 3♠ [FT]

4♣ [HD] 4♦ [OH] 4♥ [WT] 4♠ [FT]

5♣ [HD] 5♦ [OH] 5♥ [WT] 5♠ [FT]

6♣ [HD] 6♦ [RF] 6♥ [WT] 6♠ [NK]

7♣ [MH] 7♦ [RF] 7♥ [WT] 7♠ [NK]

8♣ [MH] 8♦ [RF] 8♥ [WT] 8♠ [NK]

9♣ [MH] 9♦ [RF] 9♥ [HA] 9♠ [NK]

10♣ [MH] 10♦ [TS] 10♥ [HA] 10♠ [BK]

J♣ [MH] J♦ [TS] J♥ [HA] J♠ [BK]

Q♣ [MH] Q♦ [TS] Q♥ [HA] Q♠ [BK]

K♣ [MH] K♦ [TS] K♥ [HA] K♠ [BK]

A♣ [OH] A♦ [TS] A♥ [FT] A♠ [BK]

The two letter code identifies a branch where an item can be equipped. These branches are: [HD] head, [MH] main hand, [OH] off hand, [RF] ring finger, [TS] torso, [WT] waist, [HA] hands, [FT] feet, [NK] neck, and [BK] back.

Each of the ten branches has its own table listing items that can be equipped at that branch and the amount of effort you must achieve with a royalty action to acquire the item.

Stay tuned!

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Thursday, January 19, 2023

The Castles of Burgundy

My number 16 favorite game of all time is The Castles of Burgundy by designer Stefan Feld. Stefan Feld is sort of board game designer royalty. In comic book terms it might be like saying, Steve Ditko (co-creator of Spider-Man), or in RPG terms saying, Dave Arneson (co-creator of D&D.) With over 30 board game designs to his credit, and most of them very well received, Stefan Feld has quite the track record, and The Castles of Burgundy is arguably his most popular game.

The Castles of Burgundy is a dice-placement game. On your turn you roll two dice and who ever is "first player" for the round also rolls a third die. That third die acts to provide some goods to players on their turn and this changes every round. Your dice provide you with actions you can take. You have a number of options here with the dice value determining, the what, where, or how much based on the actions that you choose.

Actions include: taking a settlement tile from the game board with a number matching your die, and placing it in a waiting area on your player board; taking a settlement tile from the waiting area on player board and placing in your "kingdom" in a hex with a number that matches your die; selling goods with a number matching your die, or taking workers that allow you to adjust the number on one of your dice.

Settlements have powers that will help you do more things or earn more victory points, and victory points are how you win the game. The Castles of Burgundy is an awesome kingdom building game. Julie and I love dice games and worker placement, The Castles of Burgundy is both. If the game has any negatives, it would be that it's not the prettiest game. The main board is at once drab and too busy.

Luckily, Julie and I have backed a revamped super-version of the game on Game Found (a crowd funding site specifically for board game projects.) This version promises to improve the functionality of the original game components while making everything look a million times more awesome (and adding a new expansion to boot!)

I fully expect the new deluxified version of The Castles of Burgundy to push the game even further up the list of my favorite board games, but for now being the number 16 greatest game of all time isn't too bad!

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(Below are extra pictures from the Gamefound Campaign for those who are interested!)

Tuesday, January 17, 2023


My number 17 favorite game of all time is Wingspan. I remember writing a rather involved review of Wingspan on Facebook back when we ("we," being myself and my wonderful wife, Julie) first played the game. So, I have decided to share that here.


Wingspan (from a Facebook post on October 18, 2020)

If you are a board game enthusiast, then you have heard of the board game: Wingspan. Wingspan has been the object of a lot of positive hype over the past year or so. It won the German hobby game of the year award in 2019 (the Kennerspiel des Jahres.) It also won the Board Game Geek board game of the year award (the Golden Geek Award) and the Dicetower Game of the Year Award for 2019. These are just a few of Wingspan's accolades.

The thing about hype is ... it can be misleading. Take the above mentioned awards. In 2019 the Dicetower award for best family game went to: Point Salad. I purchased Point Salad based on this, and Julie and I like Point Salad well enough, but is it award winning? I don't know. Not for me, I guess. So, hype: Wingspan gets so much of it, that I almost don't want to play it, just to be contrary. But, I gave in to the peer pressure and purchased Wingspan while on vacation in Michigan.

I don't know what I was thinking. Nothing can live up to the amount of hype that Wingspan has been getting. So, with ridiculously inflated expectations, I opened up Wingspan, and Julie and I played it last night.

And, then we played it, again ...

And again ...

And again.



In Wingspan, players attract birds (a.k.a. cards) to their own personal bird sanctuaries (a.k.a. player boards.) You do this by putting out food (a.k.a. dice) in bird feeders (a.k.a. really cool birdhouse shaped dice tray.)

Each player's sanctuary (player board) is made up of three distinct habitats: woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands. Birds will only move into the habitats indicated on their cards, and each habitat will hold a maximum of five cards.

These three habitats are arranged on your player board as three rows of five columns each, creating a 3x5 grid. When you add a card (bird) to your player board, you place the card in the left most open column for the habitat (row) where that bird belongs.

The first card (bird) in a column must be purchased using the food cost shown on the card. (Food resources are rolled on dice in the aforementioned really cool birdhouse dice tray.) After that, later cards in the same row (habitat) will also cost you some eggs. (One egg for columns 2 and 3; two eggs for columns 4 and 5.) This reflects the growth of your habitats as the birds living there lay eggs and their populations grow.

This brings us to the actions that you can perform on your turn, and this is a really cool part of the game. Each row that represents a habitat also corresponds to a specific action that you can take on your turn.

The top row hosts the "Gather Food" action, which allows you to take food from the bird feeder. The middle row hosts the "Lay Eggs" action, which allows you to place a few eggs (cool little miniatures in Easter colors) onto some of your bird cards. The bottom row hosts the "Draw Cards" action, which allows you to put more cards in your hand, thereby increasing your options for attracting birds. (There is no limit to the number of cards you can have.)

Now for the cool bits: When you choose an action, the strength of that action (how much food, how many eggs, how many cards you get) is based on the information printed in the left most open column of that row. This means that as you add cards (birds) to your habitats, you automatically make these actions stronger.

But, wait ... there's more.

Many of the bird cards include special text that say, "When activated, do this thing ..." A bird card is "activated" when you take the action in the row of the habitat where that bird lives.

Let's say you take the "Gather Food" action. This action aligns with the top row of your player board which is the "Woodlands" habitat and you have two birds (cards) living here. Since the two birds occupy columns one and two, the strength of your "Gather Food" action comes from the first open column, column 3. This says that you can gather two foods.

However, in addition to getting the two foods, you now work your way from right to left back tracking in this row and performing any "When Activated" powers on your bird cards. Maybe one card allows you to get additional food when activated, and another card lays an egg in their bird nest when activated. All of this happens as a result of your single "Gather Food" action, because of the cards you have placed in this row (habitat.)

The engine building in Wingspan is cool and intuitive. Every bird that you add to a habitat has the potential to make the action in that row exponentially better. Perhaps best of all, the layout and design of the player board is such that the game play seems simple, while the vast variety of cards and special powers available is such that your options seem limitless. (There are 170 unique cards each featuring a different bird.)

The theme is so awesomely realized here. A bird's special power may be to lay eggs in another bird's nest, and this is based on the actual bird's behavior in nature. Birds of prey might capture mice or fish or other birds, and the mechanics of the special powers allow you to do this seamlessly. Carrion eating birds like Vultures have powers that activate when another player successfully hunts with their birds of prey. It all just makes so much sense. Every card featuring every bird has flavor text that describes something special about that bird.

Wingspan earns every ounce of praise and positive hype that it has received. To be honest, I am a little bit in awe of it. Wingspan is something of a masterpiece. In a year or so, should I get around to posting a board game top 100 again, I expect that Wingspan will land very near the top of the list.


And it has, landing at number 17!

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Sunday, January 15, 2023

CTE - Fight Some Skeletons


Time For A Real Fight

When you first cross through the gates and onto the cemetery grounds, things are peaceful. You briefly wonder if the stories of this "cursed cemetery" are nothing more than legend. Then suddenly, you see them - skeletal human remains! They walk, perhaps like they did in life, but certainly more quickly than they could have when burdened by living flesh. 

They hiss at you even though they have no lungs with which to spit out air. Their maneuvering is deliberate, rapid and smart. They are trying to surround you. You grip your club tightly in your hand. Now it's time for a real fight! 

Skeletons (x3) 

Me 10, Mi 5, Mo: Skeletons suffer 2x Harm from Crushing Weapons. 

This combat is against three skeletons. The stats for the skeletons are shown above.

As with the Slime previously, the Skeletons have three stats: Menace, Might and Mojo.

  • Menace is the target number you have to beat with effort when performing any action that is being opposed by the Skeletons. In this case that number is 10.

  • Might is the amount of life-force driving the skeletons to keep fighting. Each Skeleton has 5 Might. You will need to track this in your notes.

  • Mojo includes any special rules related to the Skeletons. Skeletons are vulnerable to crushing damage. Your club is a crushing type weapon. You will inflict 4 harm per successful hit on the skeletons (2♥ x2 = 4). Your club is ideally suited to fighting Skeletons!

Fight the skeletons using the rules for combat in the previous chapter. If you win, proceed to the next chapter: Royalties. If you lose, reset the fight and try again.

Game Play Example: Setup: A - Create tableau and play areas. I draw the 8♦, the Q♣ and the 6♠. These are laid face up in front of me to form my tableau. I place the deck just above my tableau. This is the play area.

B - Place monsters into threat and shadow areas. The encounter is with three skeletons. I draw three cards and place them one at a time to represent the skeletons. I draw a 2♥ to represent the first skeleton. Because the card is red, it goes in the threat area just above the play area.

The next card I draw is a 7♣. This is the second skeleton. Because the card is black, I place it above the 2♥. This is now the shadow area. The third and final skeleton is a 8♥. This goes in the threat area next to the 2♥.

1 - Counter ♣ There are two skeletons in the threat area. I would prefer to deal with only 1 skeleton at a time. I need to try and push one skeleton back into the shadow area. Moving a monster to a new area is done with the Counter ♣ action. All actions taken against the skeletons require that I equal or exceed their Menace of 10. The Q♣ has a value of 7. My quilted armor grants a +1♣ bonus. The 8 total isn't high enough, but the suit of ♣ is trump for the Counter action. This means that I can flip the top card of the deck and add it to my played card. I play the Q♣ and then flip the top card, a 5♠. Adding the 5 to my previous total of 8 gives me a final total of 13. 13 is greater than the skeleton's menace of 10. I successfully push one skeleton back to the shadow area. I also need to draw a new card to refill my tableau area. I draw a J♠ to replace the Q♣

3 - Hack ♥ or Shoot ♠ Step 2 is the option to flee, but I don't want to run away. So, It's time for step 3. My club is a melee weapon because it doesn't have the "ranged" keyword. That means my attack uses the Hack ♥ action. I don't have any ♥ in hand. So, no option to play trump for the Hack ♥ action. My club grants me +2♥. If I play my highest card (8♦) the total is just enough. 8♦ +2♥ = 10. I need a 10 or greater to equal or exceed the menace of the skeletons. If I do this, I will inflict 10-10 or 0 base damage, plus harm. Skeletons suffer double harm when struck by my club. This means I will inflict double +2♥ or 4 harm for a total of 4 damage. This is not enough to destroy the skeleton which has a might of 5. I can do this and potentially leave myself open to attack, or I can save my 8♦ to defend. The 8♦ is guaranteed success against the attack. If I risk losing this card, I might take damage. When I take damage, I lose the ability to play one of the cards in my tableau which is major. I decide to bide my time and play it safe. I play my lowest card, the 6♠, and draw a new card to refill my tableau. I draw a 3♠. I would not have been able to defend against the coming attack. I made the right choice by saving the 8♦.

4 - Defend ♦ against monster attacks The skeleton 8♥ remains in the threat zone and attacks me. I need to perform a Defend ♦ action. Fortunately, I have just the card that I need. I play the 8♦, and because it is trump for the Defend ♦ action, I flip the top card of the deck to add to it. The flipped card is a 4♦, because this is also trump for the Defend ♦ action, I flip another card (5♣). My quilted armor grants +2♦ which I can add to the Defend ♦ action. I add the bonus for my armor to the original card played and the two cards that I flipped. +2♦ (armor), +8♦ (played card), +4♦ (1st trump card), +5♣ (2nd trump card) = 19. 19 is well above the 10 that I needed. The skeleton's attack was successfully defended against. I draw a new card (4♠) to refill my tableau.

7 - Monsters Move I skip the 5 - Resolve Damage and 6 - Resist Toxins steps because they don't apply right now. Sadly, all three skeletons remain and none have taken any damage. I begin with 2♥ skeleton currently in the shadow area. I draw a 2♦ - red! I move the skeleton to the threat area and place the 2♦ on the discard pile. For the 7♣, I draw a 4♥ - red. I move the 7♣ to the threat area. Finally, for the 8♥ I draw a 9♠ - black. I move the 8♥ back to the shadow area.

1 - Counter ♣ Back to the top of the sequence to start a new round and I'm in trouble. I don't have any trump cards and nothing high enough to break an 11. I play the 3♠ and hope that I draw something useful. I draw a 10♦ which will help in defense, but I was really hoping to draw a heart.

3 - Hack ♥ or Shoot ♠ I'm not ready to run (yet.) So, I skip step 2. Okay, I can use my highest card, the 10♦ to attack or save it for defense. If I attack with this card, I will add +2♥ for a total of 12. That is two greater than the menace of 10. It would cause 2 points of damage. Because my club is a crushing weapon the harm that I inflict will double. +2♥ doubled is +4. Adding 4 harm to the 2 base damage inflicted brings the total to 6 damage. The skeletons have a Might of 5. The 6 damage is enough to defeat the skeleton. That's what I will do! I play the 10♦ to defeat one of the skeletons. I move the skeleton represented by the 2♥ to the discard pile and draw a new card (K♥) for my tableau.

4 - Defend ♦ against monster attacks The skeleton represented by the 7♣ is in the threat area and attacks. The best effort that I can achieve with the cards that I have is 9. (7 for either of the Royals (face cards) +2♦ for my armor.) That's not enough to get over the skeleton's menace of 10. I play my lowest card, the 4♠ and draw a new card (J♣) for my tableau.

5 - Resolve Damage I did not successfully defend against an attack against me. I must suffer damage. To do this, I must select one of the cards in my tableau and flip it face down. The card still takes up space in my tableau counting against my total of 3. But, I cannot play a face down card. The J♣ is good for the Counter ♣ action, and the K♥ is good for the Hack ♥ action. I flip over the J♠.

7 - Monsters Move I skip step 6 - Resist Toxins because it doesn't apply. (These skeletons don't inflict toxins.) Two skeletons remain. I begin with the skeleton represented by the 8♥ currently in the shadow area. I draw a 6♥ - red. The skeleton moves to the threat area. Now for the skeleton represented by the 7♣. I draw a 8♠ - black. That skeleton moves to the shadows.

3 - Hack ♥ or Shoot ♠ I like the cards in my tableau and the skeletons are right where I want them. So, I skip steps 1 and 2, and move directly to Hack ♥. I've been waiting for the chance to Hack ♥ using a trump card. I play the K♥ and flip over the top card of the deck. I get the A♠. Both the A♠ and the K♥ are Royals. All Royals are worth 7 each, together they give me 14 effort. To this I add +2♥ bonus for my club, bring the total effort to 16. Subtracting the skeleton's menace of 10 from my total effort of 16 leaves 6. That's 6 points of base damage. To this I add the doubled +2♥ for 4 points of Harm damage. This brings the damage total to 10. Well above the skeleton's might of 5. The skeleton is destroyed. I discard the 8♥ and draw a new card to bring my tableau back up to 3 cards. I draw the K♦. I would have preferred another heart (or a really high numbered card.) But, the K♦ is good defense. So, I am feeling confident.

7 - Monsters Move No monster attacks since the only skeleton left is in the shadow area. Monsters move. I draw a A♥ - red. The skeleton moves to the threat area.

1 - Counter ♣ I don't have a good attack card right now. So, I will try to push the skeleton back into the shadow area. I play the J♣ which is trump and flip and add a 7♥ to it. That's 14, +1♣ for my armor. I move the skeleton into the shadow area and draw a new card (Q♠) to my tableau.

7 - Monsters Move No fighting takes place because there are no cards in the threat area. Time for monsters to move. I draw 7♠ - black. The skeleton stays. 1 - Counter ♣ I know I can't play high enough to move the skeleton, but I play the Q♠ anyway. I draw an A♦ to my tableau. It's time for monster movement again. 7 - Monsters Move I flip the 9♥ the skeleton moves to the threat area. (Darn! I really could have used that card to attack!)

1 - Counter ♣ I play the A♦. It won't move the skeleton, but maybe I will draw something better. I draw a 4♣ and add it to my tableau. No help there. 3 - Hack ♥ or Shoot ♠ I play the 4♣ to perform the Hack ♥ action. It won't succeed but I can draw another card. I draw the 3♥. I should be able to use that effectively next round.

4 - Defend ♦ against monster attacks The skeleton is in the threat area and attacks. I play the K♦ to perform the Defend ♦ action and flip the Q♥ to add to it. The total including the +2♦ from my armor is 16. I won't be taking damage this round. I draw a 5♥ to add to my tableau. Here's hoping the skeleton stays in the threat area. 7 - Monsters Move I flip the card for movement and it's black! (9♣) The skeleton returns to the shadows.

1 - Counter ♣ I can't move the monster, but I can get a new card. I play the 3♥ and replace it with 10♠, a nice high card! Victory is in sight. 7 - Monsters Move No fighting takes place because there are no cards in the threat area. Time for monsters to move. J♥ - red. The skeleton moves into the threat area.

3 - Hack ♥ or Shoot ♠ I like the cards in my tableau and the skeleton right where it is. I skip optional steps 1 and 2, and move directly to Hack ♥. I play the 5♥ and flip the top card of the deck a 5♦. To this I add the +2♥ Hack bonus from my weapon bringing the total to 12! That's 2 base damage. Add to this the double harm (+2♥ x2) of 4 and the total damage is 6. The 6 is greater than the skeleton's might of 5. The last skeleton has been defeated!

The pictures and play through presented here were done at this free card deck website. It's pretty cool. With it you can play CTE online!

More about CTE coming next Sunday! In the meantime feel free to join my Facebook Group or leave a comment to discuss this post and anything related to RPG's and geekdom! Stay tuned!!

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Hadrian's Wall

My 18th favorite game of all time is, Hadrian's Wall. Hadrian's Wall is a member of the genre of games known as "roll-and-writes" or "flip-and-writes." (Roll some dice and write something down, or flip a card and write something down.) Each round a card is flipped up and players are granted some resources as displayed on the card. On your turn, you spend your resources. That's pretty much the game.

It sounds simple, but it's really a very full experience. Your resources are represented by wooden game pieces that you collect and exchange and spend on your turn, making Hadrian's Wall a much more tactile experience than most x-and-writes. You have little people (meeples) of different colors representing different kinds of skilled human resources you can employ, and blocks of stone that represent all manner of building materials and general wealth.

As you expend resources you mark off tracks on one of two sheets representing all the things you can do in the game. These sheets are where Hadrian's Wall shines. They provide every player with a myriad of options and opportunities. The choices are many, and winning or losing is down to who makes the best choices when. Thematically, you are employing workers to build Hadrian's Wall, training soldiers to guard the wall and supporting your community to provide the infrastructure for all this to happen.

You can invest in business to maintain your economy, theater and entertainment to keep your people happy and religion to provide for the spiritual needs of your people. There are aristocrats to bribe and scouts to send on diplomatic missions. All of this is to maintain the safety and prosperity of your community (or in game terms, earn victory points.) At the end of the day however, it's all about the wall. At the end of each round there is an attack and your wall needs to be built up to withstand it. (Don't worry, you can't die, just lose some victory points.)

Hadrian's Wall has one of the richest game play experiences of any board game, with the minimal overhead, setup, and tear down of a roll-and-write game. This makes Hadrian's Wall the 18th greatest board game of all time!

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