Wednesday, January 21, 2015

TableStop review - Colt Express

Schemin' and Stealin' in the Old West
It's July 11th, 1899 and the Union Pacific Express has just left Folsom, NM. It's loaded up with 47 passengers headed west when suddenly there are footsteps on the roofs of the carriages and the sounds of gunshots from behind. Its seems these innocent folks chose the wrong day to head out as they about to be rob blind of all their cash and jewels. Even with a Marshall walking the cars these bandits will keep coming to see who can gain the most loot by the end of the line.

Players take the roles of the infamous bandits as they compete to bring in the most money. The game is played over 5 rounds and each round consists of two phases. The Schemin' phase and The Stealin' phase.

In The Schemin' phase each player takes turns playing cards into a pile as they plan out their moves for that round. The Stealin' phase causes the cards to activate the players actions as they move around the train. 

As it is often know plans don't usually go the way you want them to. As players cards are revealed, choices you make are affected by choices other's made, and when you thought you we going to be grabbing a bag of loot you find yourself looking down a barrel of a gun or picking you teeth up off the floor.

All the in game actions take place on board a crafted 3D cardboard train. Each carriage is littered with gems and money pouches at the start of the game and you get to move your bandit meeples around this to attempt to grab the loot.

The game has a fun balance of luck and strategy, as I said before the whole round for you could go wrong early on. But you still might be able to make something of what you played, just not in the way you originally planned.

I played this a few times now and I must say this is one of my favorite gaming experiences I've had. If you don't like confrontational games, where you find yourself getting picked on by other players, this isn't for you. But if you can let it go and imagine yourself as the outlaws shooting and looting you can find a place for this game at your table. 

I played it with my gaming group last night and we had some great laughs as we ran around the train and by the end it seemed adding up who had the most loot was an after thought as the fun is found in getting to the end of the line.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Behind the Line - My Current Top 5 & Tabletop Tuesday

My Top 5 Games
As I move into 2015, with the hope of playing many more games, I want to stop and take stock of the games that I love at the moment. So let's see what hits my table at the moment with my current Top 5, in no particular order.

Ticket to Ride
Celebrating it's 10th anniversary this past year, now I own the gorgeous Anniversary Edition, this is game to me that Monopoly was to previous generations. This is an essential game to own for any family, it features simple mechanics over a deceptively deeper strategy with the right amount of luck of the draw thrown in. I introduced myself to it a few years back now and everyone I have gotten to play it in my family always ask to play again when they have the chance.

Lords of Waterdeep
An entry level worker placement game with a nice D&D theme pasted on. Like Ticket to Ride this is a great gateway game that is easy to teach to newcomers and deep enough to keep older pros interested until the final quest.

This is the newest game hitting my list, and has really pushed it's way to the table since Xmas. Over. And over. And over. It has a theme concern gem traders, but it's really not important as the gameplay shines through making it a solid filler game for 2, 3 or 4 players. It has excellent, sturdy components, which give a great feel to sit and play.

I have to put at least one co-op game on this list and it's a tough call between this and Flash Point. I don't feel have played the latter enough yet so this is going to the disease fighting Pandemic. Players are working together as scientist working on cures for four deadly outbreaks around the globe. It can be such a tough game to win, but often comes with a so close feeling that you have fun in defeat.

Marvel Dice Masters
Still don't feel I have played enough of this, but what I have with my daughter I really enjoy it and feel it warrants a place on the list due to fun of rolling dice and playing as a superhero. Hoping to find some more competition in 2015 for this.

On the bubble - AvalonStar Wars: X-Wing Miniatures, Love Letter, Carcassonne, Catan, Flash Point, Castle Panic, 7 Wonders, Firefly...

Into 2015 - Looking forward to much more gaming in the coming year, I just started getting into Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures, with a new wave of ships coming in a month or so. I jumped on one Kickstarter, Viceroy, but I think I have to wait until March to get my hands on my copy. More expansions for Dice Masters are due to come out, as well as new stuff for Pandemic. Plus still so many games I haven't played for the past years that I would love to get a chance to indulge in.

Tabletop Tuesday, Jan 13th recap
I'm glad to see our group growing out here in the far west valley, Surprise is a growing community, and I would love to see a solid gaming group with a mix of gamers grow out here. We seem to have new faces show up every week and if it keeps up I will be thinking about having more nights to game for sure.

Yesterday saw us playing a rather epic game of Shadow Hunters, which came down to a crazy see-saw battle between me (the last hunter) and Rob (the last shadow, a werewolf). Throughout the course of the game I had managed to fully heal 3 times but the werewolf's special ability proved too much and I ended up falling giving the game to the shadows, for the second time.

I got my revenge in a 10 player run of Avalon in which I was evil for the very first time and thanks to new players who caught onto the mechanics immediately evil was triumphant by the 4th quest.

Also hitting the table were Lords of Waterdeep, Splendor and the fun, and sadly out-of-print, Evo.

If you are close to the Surprise, El Mirage area and are interested in joining us, check out the group on facebook - West Valley Tabletop and check out the Meetup for the store where we currently play West Valley Gaming

Until next time.. Play more games!!!