Well this weekend I had a group of friends over on Saturday and hosted a day of gaming. We played a whole series of games – include Star Trek the board game and Dominion which is a card game. However, I’m going to concentrate here on a couple we played which I have not mentioned much here so thought I would.
The first is Masmorra: Dungeons of Arcadia. I have painted the base figures for this game a while back (and shown them here) but had not got the game out on the table. So this was a first time for playing and we just used the base game which is in retail. It’s a light Dungeon crawler where all the players are against each other. The basic game is to get to a specific Xp level. You get Xp’s by collection treasure, disarming traps and killing monsters. After a couple of turns everyone got the idea of the rules as it’s not very complex. This does have some back stabbing and deviousness in trying to make sure that opponents don’t win but it’s not a deep thought game- but there are plenty of decisions and tactics in the game.
There are reviews of the game, including some play thoughts available on the web. That means I’m not going to go into the details on that. I will say that it keeps the game play interesting by a mechanic of die rolling to control actions you can take. You roll 6 dice (more if you get some extra power in the game) and can do the actions based on what are indicated on the dice. This is not a new mechanic but works well for this game. There is also a level of randomness in that the rooms you explore are randomly drawn as well as the treasures and monsters encountered.
Overall, I have to say I was a little skeptical of the monsters being dice vs. models (although it definitely helped to get this finished and on the table), but in the end it worked ok. Although not models, which are nice visually it really did not effect gameplay and rolling for you monster is kind of cool.
So I and the gang really enjoyed this game. Yes it’s light. But it’s a fun game and often just having a game which last an hour or two and is a fun bash with friends is exactly what is required. There is not a lot of setup time as well. So overall for me this is a winner. As I got this in a kickstarter (yes another one) the game play has definitely given me the trigger to get on painting the extra models that came with it. This game likely will go into ‘rotation’ of games I play, specifically because it’s not that deep or complex. It also has a co-op mode and a longer gameplay version. I can see it being easy to have a few minor rules mods to make to game last a little longer or harder to win, as desired. That would be by changing the target xp for winning or the number of rooms to be encountered before finding the stairs to the next level in co-op games.
Another game we played was Zombicide: Black Plague. This is another board game with miniatures from CMON. This I have to say is one of my favorite miniature board games. As it is halloween this week, it seemed only fair that we should play a game of this. Now, a couple of the really good painters in the group have painted figures of their copies of the game. So I have not got around to painting my set but I should at some point. But as a mid level complexity game, with a huge amount of replay ability but again no massive brain drain while playing. It really has atmosphere as well and overall I really like it. You can find great reviews and paint jobs on the miniatures on the web so again I’m not going to go into details on that aspect.
For the first time ever I believe, we won the game without losing a hero! This is an all players vs. the zombies in an co-op all win or lose style game. Zombicide is a great game – not that complex but deep enough to keep all the players engaged and having to think about their and other players moves. You can also add to the complexity/difficulty to the game by adding extra monsters (Abominations) or undead types in the games. There is also a whole set of fan base scenario’s for the game. The co-op nature does mean some people find the game lacking, especially if they want to complex tactical competitive gaming experience with a lot of planning. But that’s not what this game is about, if you want that type of game then this is not the game for you. It’s about beating the system with good planning and some needed luck usually.
We have played the modern version for a long time but the medieval version (Black Plague) has taken the lead for us playing multi-player co-op games. A single game is good for a couple of hours, if you don’t lose before that point and I don’t think we have had a bad game of Zombicide (either version) every! That’s really something to me.Last night we played with Davids Zombies, all painted in black and white style, like the classic horror movies. I have to say that I really like and am very impressed what he has done the bases, as well as the painting generally. I can’t match the detail of the painting but the paving stones are a great look. I think I will have to borrow that idea. Unfortunately, we had to use my unpainted hero figs… so I guess I better get on and start painting some of them. Still the game was fun even with unpainted miniatures, although the painted figs make for a better visual spectacle.
So there you are. Oh and if you are looking for a new game, I have to say either of these would be a good choice in my opinion, but of the two Zombicide Black Plague still takes the No. 1 slot.