Welcome, whoever you are. I am Misery. Usually. I suppose it depends on where you're getting here from. It's possible that a few of you may know me as Scrap Baby. I suppose I have a few names, but right now, those two are most relevant. Right now, as I type this, this is entirely located on AutismForums. It's possible this may appear elsewhere as well. Who knows? I sure dont. I dont even know if anyone is going to read this. Yet I seem to be typing this anyway. How practical. Like throwing darts at a board 100 feet away that may or may not actually exist.
Anyway. The idea of doing a blog is one that's been brought up quite often now. So I figured... why not?
Now, Ive recently been asked what my interests are. There are a few. Video games are my main thing... been doing those for as long as I remember. The others are: board games, twisty puzzles, virtual reality, drones, and cosplay. This first series of posts will be talking about each one of these. Well, maybe not that last one. That one would complicate things. But whatever. Video games will be the last one covered, as that one is apparent to most people. One thing that I hope to accomplish with this is maybe to get more people interested in some of these hobbies. And maybe to clear up some misconceptions about them as well.
Let's start with:
That's right. Board games.
Now I want to get some stuff out of the way here first. When I say "board games" you probably think of something like Monopoly, right? Or maybe Game of Life or Sorry! or lots of others.
Well, stop. Just stop right there. See, that's not quite what I'm talking about. But unfortunately, that's what most people think of.
Monopoly is... not a good game. Never was. Neither are most of the other games that are often found in toy aisles and such. Often, these are referred to as "mass market" games, or "family" games. Among board game fans, something like Monopoly is typically considered to be universally terrible. Even alot of people in the target audience dont actually like it! It's a game of almost pure luck... no thinking, no strategy. Sit there, drool on the floor, roll the dice, blah blah blah. Roll and move, basically. Which is a concept that is also quite... reviled.
No, what I'm talking about is "modern" board games. Note that card-focused games also fit in there. "Board" doesnt necessarily need to include an actual board. It'll make more sense as we go, dear reader.
The sorts of games I am talking about are so much deeper than Monopoly or Chutes and Poodles or whatever that one is. I'm talking games with real strategy, games which will make you think. Games that can tell stories. Games where your actions ARE the stories, or maybe games with a true narrative. Games both about competition, or cooperation. Maybe even some games that are entirely played solo. Yes, that's right. Solo board gaming is a thing. Sure surprised me, to find that one out. These are the sorts of games that create a true HOBBY instead of an occasional distraction. I've met people who have over 400 freaking games in their collection! And lots of people hold weekly game nights, playing some specific one for hours on end. There are entire stores dedicated JUST to this.
So what's the appeal? What gets someone sucked into it? Well, I'd prefer to show, rather than merely tell. I think it's gonna be a better way for this to make sense. Let's start with the big one. Well, big one for me, anyway.
This is it, the one that started this hobby for me. Up till this, I'd not really known what board games could be. Well, sort of. Technically, Sentinels of the Multiverse was what I found first, but that's a story for another day.
Aeon's End is a big game. Like, REALLY big. You know how some video games have DLC, or expansions, or stuff like that? Well, it turns out board games get that too. Some of them get ALOT of it. Aeon's End is one of those games. And I have all of it.
Anyway, looks kinda messy, yeah? Never said I was organized. Anyway, Aeon's End is the one that showed me that board/card games werent JUST about making your younger sibling scream in rage at you for stealing his hotel or something. This, like the rest of the things on the list, is a co-op game. It's not you VS another player. It's you, and your buddies, VS a single overwhelming foe. Or, if you're a solo gamer like me, you can control multiple characters at once. We'll get to the whole solo thing though. In a bit.
Anyway, see those characters at the bottom of that photo? Those are the good guys. See that big purple wormy dude up above? That's the bad guy. What caught my interest with this game (and Sentinels), and what hinted at so much more, was finding out just how this works. That big purple jerk isnt controlled by another player. Rather, it is automated. You have many cards you can play against the big boss guy, but he has his cards too. But he doesnt play from a hand or anything else. What happens is, on the Nemesis turn (what the "boss" is called in this game), you draw from a special deck of cards used only by the Nemesis. Draw one card, put it into play, and resolve it. Maybe it's an attack, direct from Jerkface to your party. Or maybe it's a summoned minion, like the one that can be seen right beneath Gigantor there. These cards are designed in such a way that they act entirely on their own. You, the players, simply have to follow the instructions in order to resolve each action that the boss takes. MANY games use automated opponents or other things, and they often function in roughly this way.
What's more, each boss brings a whole pile of trouble into the fray. There are many of them. See all that writing on the big guy there? Each boss has it's own unique special rules, setup, and abilities. Some of them may have a second deck of cards that has another purpose. More than a couple have a unique small "board" that comes with them, to track whatever screwball thing they're trying to do to you. These things are creative, unique, and quite the challenge. Aeon's End is a very hard game. Co-op games usually are. If the players are winning all the time, it's not very exciting, is it? So the designers do what they can to make sure that doesnt happen, while still remaining fair.
On your side, you have your little deck of cards, and the 9 piles at the upper right. Aeon's End is a "deckbuilder", where you buy/draft cards from the "market", which is the 9 piles. Add them to your deck, make it stronger, and keep cycling through. Build up your character more and more during each game and become strong enough to bring down the boss... who also escalates in power. With 10 kersquillion different cards, and an equally silly number of good guys and bad guys, there is ALOT here. This isnt a game that has one pre-set starting state. This is a game that's going to be different every time. It's also not the only "co-op VS boss" game out there. This concept is popular! I have alot of different games, but this one is my favorite, easily. It was my gateway into this hobby for good reason.
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
No giant monster to fight here (unless it's the King Kong scenario). It's just you and your team of intrepid explorers (bumbling idiots? You decide!) against the island and the dangers it contains.
Shipwrecked, or otherwise lured onto the island... well, there are a variety of ways for your team to have gotten here. Each scenario tells a different tale, and each changes things up in different ways. But one thing is always the same: you'll be going up against the unknown dangers of the wild, the weather, disease, injury, and all manner of horrid things that might befall any explorer of such a dangerous place.
Robinson Crusoe is what is known as a "worker placement game". In a game like this, each player has a limited number of actions they can take per turn (in this, it's 2 per turn, plus any NPCs you might enlist to help you). You take your... uh... circle things, and place them on whatever task you are attempting that turn. Once all players have placed their circle things, the rest of the turn is resolved. Worker placement games are about managing resources, planning, reacting to mishaps, and coming up with long-term strategies. There are usually a great many different types of actions you can take. Heck, just looking at that board and all of those cards should give you an idea of just how many things there are to do. It's you and your team against the world, and you never know what will happen next. Robinson Crusoe is one of those games that will keep players talking well after it's done. "Remember that time when THAT happened? That was crazy! Bob was on fire AND covered in bees but the angry rhino tripped over him and died!" It turns out, alot of board games are like this... good at telling wild stories through the actions you take. Crazy things can happen while playing these. Lots of funny stuff too. If you ever watch people play games like this on Youtube, you'll find them frequently laughing over whatever lunacy just transpired.
I ran out of space. Look for part 2, which I'll post right away. There will be flowers, firefighters, and dreams.
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