What We’ve Been Playing (12.14.2015)

Xenon Profiteer


This weekend was just packed with gaming surprises for me. Previously, my only exposure to Xenon Profiteer was TC Petty’s Twitter avatar of the box, but Matt suggested that we give the game a shot because it was really good. This highly thematic deck builder has you distilling elements out of the air and capturing Xenon to fulfill different government contracts. The artwork and theme are really great, but it took me a few rounds to really get the hang of what exactly I was doing with all of this science-y stuff. I really regret not being in the loop on this Kickstarter, and look forward to playing again with more players to see how it changes.


I’ve always been a fan of deck-building games, and I found this one to have both an appealing aesthetic and theme, one which ended up being more prominent in the game than I expected it to be. I liked the simplicity of the design and I really appreciated the ease with which I was able to learn this game. It moves quickly, and even though sometimes I was sick of adding more air to my system, I never felt like the game was dragging on, or that I was faced with a lack of actions to take.


I’ve managed to play this three times in as many days and I’m considering naming this my favorite Kickstarter of 2015. I didn’t go into this project with any expectations or previous notions, which made my plays that much more exciting. This game somehow makes air distillation wildly enjoyable and provides a good amount of thematic integration. I can’t wait to dig into this game further.


Far Space Foundry


I didn’t have a clear understanding of this game going in, but I knew Steve backed it and wanted to play, so we gave it a shot with just the two of us. Whoa, this game really stresses efficiency. On the surface it’s a clever pick-up-and deliver game, but underneath, it left me agonizing over making the perfect little move in each situation. The game moves so swiftly that, before you know it, the phase changes and you have to make do with what you’ve done at that point. I enjoyed it, so much so that Steve let me borrow it for the time being. I’m looking forward to trying with more people.


Back earlier in the year I was bored and snowed in on a Saturday and decided to check out the print-and-play of Far Space Foundry. After about 3 hours of cutting, folding and gluing, I played a game with Alicia. I really liked the puzzle that the game presented me with, so I decided to back it. I received my copy of the game not so long ago and finally got in a play with Matt. We did not use the recommended first time player setup and randomized some of the elements. Our game ended up a little tough and slightly lopsided due to the products that were available to be manufactured. Other than that, it was a good game and Matt ended up winning by 2 points. Of all my three plays, every game was very tight. I look forward to introducing Far Space Foundry to other League members to see what they think.


Warhammer Quest


After hearing a little bit of buzz coming off of Gen Con, I decided to take a chance on the $40 Warhammer Quest: Adventure Card Game. The gameplay seemed reminiscent of FFG’s  Lord of the Rings LCG, one I enjoyed, and also offered a campaign style of play that would reward multiple sessions with the same group. How could I say no?
Ben, Kel and I played the first quest over the weekend and really enjoyed it, though the rulebook left much to be desired. The cooperative play was interactive and rewarded discussion – something a good co-op really needs to thrive – and the wealth of options for character and campaign development looks like it will add a lot to the longevity of the game. I’m looking forward to digging in more.


This game is a pretty cool quest co-op. We battled Odious Grump in his sump, and even though the FAQs that Matt went through indicate that we did not play entirely correctly, we had a pretty good time and killed a lot of things. We’ll get the hang of it and do better next time.


This is a really great adventure style cooperative game that can be played as a campaign. The rules are not the best and it took a bit to clarify some, but we were able to get through it and have a fun time with this one. It reminded me of the Lord of the Rings LCG, which I liked as well. Not sure if I have a preference though, as I’ll need to go back to LotR to compare.


Antike Duellum


I met up with Matt and Smee at our FLGS on Thursday for their monthly game night. I noticed that Matt already had a game out and ready to go as I walked in. I will admit that I was not entirely enthusiastic by looking at what seemed like a typical war game, but I am always open to try anything. All I have to say is, wow! I absolutely love this game. Halfway through our first game, Smee pointed out that we were playing wrong and it was really affecting the outcome of our game. We finished it out and learned from our mistakes. Matt won, but as usual, we put an asterisk next to that first play. I was able to get in a rematch a few days later and Matt still won by 2 points. Third time’s a charm!


After picking this up and promptly sitting it on my shelf for a month, I was able to get not one, but two plays of Antike Duellum in with Steve over the past few days. From what Smee has said, this is almost an exact two-player port of Mac Gerdts previous Antike titles. While it looks like a dry war game at first glance, it is a surprisingly fun resource management and action selection game. It does have a bit of conflict, but the game largely revolves around steadily maximizing your actions to collect resources and build/control a network of cities. We definitely flubbed some rules in our first play, but our second play went much smoother and it was much more enjoyable having a previous play under our belts. Let’s see if I can make it a 3-0 streak!


T.I.M.E Stories


After a stellar experience with the first scenario, Asylum, I found myself faced with the mixed emotions of excitement and nervousness for the second scenario, The Marcy Case. Would the second scenario live up to the thrilling and imaginative narrative of the first? Would the second scenario begin to build in new game mechanics that were alluded to in the base rules? After about three hours into this new adventure, I am happy to say the answer to both of my question was a resounding “yes!” The Marcy Case integrates a number of new ideas that immerse you in the world even more. Obviously, I can’t go into the specifics too much without spoiling, but those looking for additional mechanisms will be pleased. One of the biggest draws to the series for me (and no, it’s not the price point) is the fact that each scenario is designed and illustrated by new creatives. It has been interesting to see, even after just two scenarios, how different designers and artists have come together to interpret and implement their visions within the TIME Stories framework. We still have a couple hours left with The Marcy Case (which is still as baffling as when we started) and I can’t wait for the next two scenarios to release next year.


Above and Below


I’ve managed to get in two plays of this over the past week with different folk, and I’m still torn on whether I like it or not. While I like what it’s *trying* to do, with the combination of storytelling choice and euro-style worker-allotment, the two halves seem to work unevenly in practice. The Exploration (storytelling) option feels mechanical, and I might even go so far as to say ‘soulless’ as, 90% of the time, you’ll make your choice from a list of options that are rated by difficulty, roll a few dice, and then be presented with a list of loot. There’s no description of what happened, or any sort of response that goes along with your choice, unlike as in something akin to Tales of the Arabian Nights. If the mechanics of the action are going to be exposed to you in such a bare-bones fashion, you may as well just get rid of the paragraph or two of text and roll against a table of rewards.




A great intro game by Antoine Bauza. Takenoko offers one of the most highly appealing themes in modern board game: Pandas! We got in a few games with my mom this past weekend and whenever we do, I must bring “the panda game”. For those not familiar with Takenoko, it is a game where players can grow 3D bamboo and have the cute little panda roam around to eat his favorite colored stalks. Players have mission cards to grow certain colors, eat certain colors and develop garden tiles in specific formations to score points. Usually Mom destroys us in this game, but I was able to run away with an easy victory this time. Takenoko is always a good choice for a lighter game, and I still have yet to check out the expansion.


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WEB EDITOR/TECH SUPPORT : I enjoy all types of games from fillers to 3 hour euros. I am the least experienced member of the group but I have pretty quickly learned the whose who of the tabletop world. I am always willing to play any game you put in front of me. I enjoy listening to progressive metal music and I am a die hard Baltimore Orioles and Ravens fan.