International Ludigang #03 – August 2020

What games do the International Ludigang members love but don’t get to play enough?

This subject is an all too familiar one. Because, if you cultivate a game collection of an even moderate size there will be games that really deserves to get played but for reason or another doesn’t get enough table time. But what games epitomize this aspect the most. Let’s see what our gang members have to say in the matter.

Click on the person of your choice to read what they have to say on the subject.

visuel ludigang French ludigurl
visuel ludigang French Servane
visuel ludigang French marie
visuel ludigang French Siegfried
visuel ludigang French Rudy
visuel ludigang French yo
visuel ludigang French yo

Ludigurl

oltree-jeu

Ever since I first lay my eyes on Alubari I knew I wanted to have the game. Its beautiful, enticing name, the luscious cover with the gold embossed letters, its cute and endearing theme, and its descendancy to Snowdonia, a game I’ve heard nothing but good things about… All these factors combined ensured Alubari a permanent place on my shelf. But there it stayed for way too long a time. Naturally I pulled it out from now and then, looking at the game, unboxing it, admiring the beautiful components while reading the rules. Unfortunately though It took for ages until I finally got it to the table, and still I have only played it a handful of times.

I’ve had similar experiences in the past, for sure, games that just doesn’t seem to get played enough no matter how good they are. However, with Alubari it is a different story altogether, because I really am totally enamored with the game, and find it to be amazingly fun, engaging and exciting. The balance between strategic planning and tactical maneuvering is sublime, and while the theme isn’t fully integrated in the mechanisms it still shines through and add plenty to the entire experience. But yet I don’t play it anywhere near as much as it deserves. So there it is, my precious and pristine copy of Alubari, still sitting prominently at its well-worn place high up on my shelf, taunting me, shaming me, and rightfully so. Maybe I play it again tonight…

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Bek

domination-ludigang

One game that I love but haven’t played in months is Space Base. This game is a dice rolling engine builder with never a dull moment! Each players base has 12 slots for 12 different ships and whichever number you roll, you gain the bonus of that ship. It could be money or production or vp. When you have enough money you can buy even better ships to replace the ones on your board. Ship cards that have been replaced don’t get discarded however, they now go above the appropriate number on your player board and give rewards when your OPPONENTS roll that number. Player engagement is constant in Space Base and I find it so fun!

I was thinking of why we don’t get it to the table very often and it’s not down to a fault with the game at all. I think it’s just the sheer number of new games that come through our door! As board game lovers and reviewers there seems to be a constant stream of new games to play every month. Naturally this means the old ones don’t get so much attention. It’s a real shame and makes me think perhaps we should stop buying games for a while to appreciate what we have. But then isn’t getting new games half the fun? plus with all the exclusive Kickstarter content on offer and regular bargain sales there’s that very real FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out. But perhaps that’s a subject for another time.

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Kike

fairytail-jeu-ludigang

Many of us look at our game shelves searching for what to play… we often tend to play more our « NEW » acquisitions rather than old titles in our game library… Well thats my case at least and I’m not sure if that’s your case also hehe… But leaving that aside, there’s always a really important space for that ONE and ONLY game that you enjoyed every time you looked at it, or even when you talk about « Board games » to a « Non » Board gaming enthusiast group… For me that’s Betrayal at the House on the Hill (by Avalon Hill Games) and sadly, I don’t play it often enough any more. The reasons regarding that decision based solely on my crescent need to find games that are similar to Betrayal and also that I really like playing new games and learning more about this awesome hobby.

For those who haven’t played Betrayal, well it’s a peculiar game that mixes strategy with tile placement mechanics in an « Classic Horror Themed » Game. Also has a really cool twist in which, for a moment, you work in a cooperative way with other players exploring the Mansion and suddenly, a Haunt is revealed by Omens and the game transforms completely into a competitive game in which one of the players becomes « Evil ». It’s a pretty complete experience and transports the players into an Horror Themed World of survival.

For those who haven’t played Betrayal, well it’s a peculiar game that mixes strategy with tile placement mechanics in an « Classic Horror Themed » Game. Also has a really cool twist in which, for a moment, you work in a cooperative way with other players exploring the Mansion and suddenly, a Haunt is revealed by Omens and the game transforms completely into a competitive game in which one of the players becomes « Evil ». It’s a pretty complete experience and transports the players into an Horror Themed World of survival.

I love this game…. I really do… MY GROUP LOVES THIS GAME and even though there are some negative aspects from it (that may be derived from us being a little bit picky), we can’t deny the hours and hours of fun and role playing it gave to us every time we played it. If you haven’t tried it, I strongly recommend you do so in an unbiased way. It’s a must in every game library. 

Well, suddenly by writing this « petite » article I realized that I miss playing it..  and probably, after this world pandemic situation passes, this will be our first option for our future game nights. Stay Safe!

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Eline

fairytail-jeu-ludigang

Wow, today’s topic is really challenging and confronting!

I found myself in front of my boardgame collection – staring at those 300+ games… too many of them haven’t hit the table recently. Of course Covid-19 has a heavy impact on my boardgame routine. But even in normal circumstances I don’t get my boardgames played on a regular basis. Most of my friends are also heave boardgame addicts. This results in heavy competition for who gets which game on the table. The positive thing about this is that I can try out many different games. The downside is that we often move on to something new after just 1 play.

One game that always catches my eye when going through my collection is Ghost Stories, designed by Antoine Bauza and published by Repos Production. Just looking at that beautiful box cover gives my butterflies in my stomach. However, most memories of it feel more like a kick in the guts.

This cooperative tower defense – style game is brutal. 1 to 4 players take on the role of Taoist warrior monks and need to defend a village from relentless attacks of ghosts and incarnations of Wu-Feng – the lord of hell. The village is a grid of 9 action tiles, surrounded by ghosts. A Taoist can use an action tile for its benefit or to attack an adjacent ghost. An attack consists of rolling 3 Tao dice. Those dice show different colors on their faces and the rolled result needs to match the colors of the ghost. Let me tell you: the dice are bewitched and want you to fail! The tile benefits offer ways to mitigate the dice rolled, but often pulling out a win is just impossible. Luckily Taoism is a teaching about the various disciplines for achieving « perfection » by becoming one with the unplanned rhythms of the universe called « the way » or « tao » – so you mustn’t despair!? Easier said than done.

I even own both of Ghost Stories’ expansions: White Moon and Black Secret. The “White Moon” expansion does a great deal in balancing out the game, but understandably my friends always want to start with the basics. And when those basics have bashed them to bits the box is banned to my shelves once again.

Despite all the above, this game will NEVER leave my collection. I’ve beaten it once and that’s the one memory I’m holding on to!

Recently Ghost Stories has been reimplemented as “Last Bastion”. Would you dare adding it to your collection?

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Stephanie

calledtoadventure

Dominant Species: one game to rule them all – by Stephanie from @stephs_spielerei

A game that I absolutely love, but doesn’t get the table time it deserves, is my all-time favorite game: Dominant Species. I fell in love with it at a local boardgame convention in 2014 when my partner and I joined a 3-player. I played the spiders (even though I’m arachnophobe in real life) and won. And I fell head over heels in love with this game. I got my own copy soon after and have since then played it about 6 times, which is way less than I would want to play it

So what keeps this from hitting the table? I think it is a combination of different factors.

First of all, Dominant Species has a bad rap of being complex and heavy. In reality, it is not a complex game rules wise. If it is graded as heavy, it is mainly because it throws a lot of decisions at you. It is basically an action selection game in which you get to choose from about a dozen of different actions, but the actions in themselves are pretty simple and straightforward. The most difficult part of the game is the concept of dominance, which contrary to many gamers’ intuition has nothing to do with area majority, but with the way each species can survive on an individual tile on the board. You can dominate a tile with just one cube over dozens of opponents’ species cubes. The dry look with cubes which represent your species and cones to indicate dominance on tiles doesn’t help in making this game appealing…

Another aspect that might turn off a group of players is the high degree of interaction in Dominant Species. The game offers deep strategy, but you will not play well, let alone win if you stay in your own little corner minding your own business. You can plot a strategy, but you also need to be able to play tactically and respond to the ever changing board state. Almost every action a player executes will affect the board state, possibly changing dominance on several tiles. An action that will benefit one player, can and will more often than not hurt one or more opponents. That is just part of the game. The domination action which is resolved at the end of the action chain plays a major part in this: it lets you play crazy powerful cards that can change the entire board state in an instant. You will want to play these, if only to avoid other players from using them against you.

Lastly, the game is epic and takes up a good chunk of time to play. I have not managed to play a game with 4 or more players in under 4 hours. My last play, a few weeks ago, was with 4 players and lasted 6 hours. It didn’t feel like 6 hours had passed, but it is something to take into account. This is not a game for a week night when you have an important meeting the next morning.

Still, even though Dominant Species doesn’t hit the table very often, I am always happy when it does. In a way, the fact that it only gets played about once a year at my table contributes to its magic: it’s always something special when we do meet up with friends to play this. And win or lose, after the game is finished and the dust settles, we talk about the world we created, the balance of power that shifted from one species to another.

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Ian

demeter-jeu

If I have to choose just one game (because there are many, of course!) I would love to play more is definitely Root, designed by Cole Wehrle and published by Leder Games! It’s a deep asymmetrical game, it needs A LOT of plays with a regular group, rotating the factions, to be fully mastered if you want to enjoy it at its full potential! First of all, teaching a game like this to many different people it’s quite a challenge! Everyone needs to be focused during the rules’ explanation, and it will take quite a lot, because every player will have their own playstyle. Since every faction in Root has its own play strategy and score points in a different way, everyone at the table have to fully understand what other players are going to do on the board! Because, unlike many other boardgames, you can’t really copycat moves or try to learn the game on the go!

Anyway I really enjoy playing Root because every faction feels very unique and they’re characterized very well, thanks also to Kyle Ferrin’s fine art! It fits perfectly to the Woodlands feel but better not to be tricked by this cute good-looking art: Root is a real war set in the Woodlands, interaction is at its maximum potential when every player knows the game! During your rounds you’ve to optimize every move and your decision will have a huge impact on your enemies’ next steps, watch out for low blows from your opponents!! There are eight factions coming from the two expansions and a total of four different region maps where to play your Woodlands battles! This huge replayability is probably the major factor why I would love to play Root and get experienced with every faction trying to find new winning strategies!! Not by chance Root is also my favorite game released in 2018!

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Pontus

demeter-jeu

With a master’s degree in history, as well as a deep-rooted fascination for the reformation period, I would say that the risk of me not liking Here I Stand was slim to none. Even the name of the game is derived from the famous words that Martin Luther supposedly uttered at the Diet of Worms when he defended his ideas. But while The Protestants for sure are a faction in the game, they are only one of six extremely asymmetrical historical powers that the players will control during the game.

Because Here I Stand bring to life the epic power struggle of the 1500s, including both the Protestants and the Papacy in addition to the French, the English, the Habsburgs, and the Ottomans, all vying for control over the European continent as well as the recently discovered New World. And in the game as well as in history these powers had vastly different agendas, which made them both allies and adversaries entirely depending on the prevailing strategic situation and current political circumstances.

I have only played Here I Stand once, and I must admit it was a suboptimal affair. The rules teach took more than two hours, in part due to the fairly complex ruleset, but mostly due to an overzealous rules teacher that seemed compelled to make everyone at the table being able to recite the entire codex from memory alone. And when we finally were able to begin, the pace was unbearably slow. Every player had their own specific rules to abide by, and it was nearly impossible for other players to understand how these actions would affect their own. After approximately half the game we had to call it on account of sleep deprivation. We had then played Here I Stand for over 13 hours… and I loved every minute of it.

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