Friday, June 21, 2024

Board Game Top 100 (2024) Part 48 (2-1)

#2 Stardew Valley: The Board Game

This game is based on the popular computer game of the same name. In the game you are doing all the same things that you do in Stardew Valley: The Computer Game. You are wandering around foraging for resources, going to the mines to dig for ore, working on the farm tending crops or caring for animals. You are going to town to meet people and make new friends. You are going to the local fishing spots to try to catch fish.


All of it. If you can do it in the computer game, you are doing it in the board game. This is a cooperative game. You have a community center that you are trying to rebuild by completing certain objectives. You also have some goals that you are trying to accomplish that were left for you by your grandfather. You have to accomplish all of this by the end of the year in order to win the game.

This game is very random. Your objectives are random. Success in the mines or fishing is determined by rolling dice, and then by drawing a random token from a bag. Everything is crazy random. Your goal is to just push through and do the best that you can. However, there is no guarantee of success.


Stardew Valley: The Board Game is one of those immersive experiences that I was talking about. You get lost in its world, doing its things. If you worry too much about actually winning the game, you might get frustrated. 

Julie and I haven't won this one yet, but we played recently and were only one objective away from a victory. I was so happy with that. I don't think that Julie was. Some of the objectives seem impossible, and the random stuff has to go your way just perfectly if you are to win.


So what? All that random stuff is fun. I like the experience of playing the game. Playing Stardew Valley: The Board Game is so immersive for me. If it was a competitive experience, then it wouldn't be good. All that random would not be fair to anyone. But, because it's cooperative and everyone is experiencing the fickle hand of fate together, I don't mind so much.

We will win this game some day, and when we do, we are going out for ice cream! Until then, Stardew Valley: The Board Game is still my #2 favorite game of all time.


#1 Chronicles of Frost

In Chronicles of Frost, players are adventurers in a fantasy world called Mistfall. The game is mostly made up of cards. There are location cards that create the world randomly as you explore, quest cards that give every player places to go and things to do, and ability cards that provide players with the resources that they need on their turn to perform actions.


This is a deck building game. There is a central market of 10 cards that come from two decks. There are 5 cards from the basic deck that cost 2 or 3 coins each, and there are 5 cards from the advanced deck that cost 4 or 5 coins each. When a card is purchased, it is immediately replaced.

Each player has a starter deck made up of 10 starter cards. These are unique to each character and they have the character's name on them. They provide the resources needed to perform actions. These resources are: movement, combat, investigation and wealth. 


Every card has a top and a bottom half. You gain the resources and effects from the top half of a card simply by playing that card. The bottom half of the ability cards need to be unlocked. This is done by using a skill token (all characters start with one) or by "pushing" your character, which requires you to take a little damage.

Location cards have a rest ability on them which is always something good, but these too have to be unlocked, by defeating the enemy on the location. Locations also have a discovery bonus which is gained by the player who first places the location. So, players are encouraged to explore.


Each player has two personal quests chosen at random. Once any player has completed both of these quests, which all require going to a particular location and spending some resources, the game end is triggered, and all other players get one more turn. Then, points are scored.

Chronicles of Frost is a "euro-style" adventure deck building game. Players choose where to go and which monsters to fight. Your character can't "die" and can always choose to forego their regular turn to return to the inn and heal up.


Mechanically, Chronicles of Frost is simple and streamlined. It plays in around 90 minutes at two players. Thematically, the quest cards are well written and immersive. (Don't skip reading them.) Physically, the game is just cards and tokens. It fits in a small box and occupies a tiny amount of shelf space.

This is the adventure game that I would create. Sadly, it flew way under the radar when it came out and the company that made it went out of business. Any time I mention this game, even to other board game hobbyists, they have never heard of it. This is a tragedy, because I love this game. I love it so much that it's my favorite game of all time.


Join my Facebook Group to discuss this post and anything related to RPG's and geekdom!

No comments:

Post a Comment