Happy Holidays from Unplugged

Happy Holidays from the Unplugged team!

Our last update went out to you in April, when we had to put most of our plans on hold. Like you, we’ve spent the months between then and now physically distant from many of our relatives and friends. This has been a long and stressful year, and this holiday season is an especially challenging time. Our thoughts are with you as we hope for a safe, healthy, happy holiday season, and a better New Year.

During this stressful time, board games have been a comfort for our families, and a fun way to spend quality time together. But they have also been a bittersweet reminder that we haven’t been able to sit down and play across the table with our closest friends or gaming groups. We’re all so eager to reconnect, and games have always been a perfect way for people of all walks of life to come together in an entertaining and social way. We’re still planning to provide the fun, inclusive, tabletop gaming experience that we could all use right now – with food, drinks, and nearly 500 games (and counting).

Although our plans for securing a location for the Richmond area’s first and only board game cafe are still on hold at the moment, we remain as dedicated as ever to establishing a premiere destination for all tabletop gamers. Over the last few months we’ve added loads of new games to our games library, and backed many more on Kickstarter. We’ve worked to waterproof and protect a large portion of our games, and we’ve been showcasing parts of our collection on our Instagram page. Now that vaccines are being approved and distributed, we plan to resume looking at locations after the holidays. We will resume regular email messages to keep you updated on our progress, and in between updates you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, or on our blog.

We can’t wait to see you at Unplugged. Until then, have a safe and happy holiday season. See you in 2021!

Sean, Katey, and Mark

Obsession

Game Details
NameObsession (2018)
ComplexityMedium [3.20]
BGG Rank [User Rating]547 [8.23]
Player Count1-4
Designer(s)Dan Hallagan
Artists(s)Dan Hallagan
Publisher(s)Kayenta Games
Mechanism(s)Card Drafting, Deck, Bag, and Pool Building, Solo / Solitaire Game, Tile Placement, Worker Placement and Worker Placement, Different Worker Types

Participants

  • Mark
  • Logan
  • Bailey

Rules missed

  • When the market is refreshed, put the tiles in reputation order. After season two, remove any 1 reputation tiles during refresh

Photos

About the game

From Boardgamegeek:

You are the head of a respected but troubled family estate in mid-19th century Victorian England. After several lean decades, family fortunes are looking up! Your goal is to improve your estate so as to be in better standing with the truly influential families in Derbyshire.

Obsession is a game of 16 to 20 turns in which players build a deck of Victorian gentry (British social upper class), renovate their estate by acquiring building tiles from a centralized builders’ market, and manipulate an extensive service staff of butlers, housekeepers, underbutlers, maids, valets, and footmen utilizing a novel worker placement mechanic. Successfully hosting prestigious social activities such as Fox Hunts, Music Recitals, Billiards, Political Debates, and Grand Balls increases a player’s wealth, reputation, and connections among the elite.

Each turn, players choose a building tile representing a room or outdoor space in and around their 19th century British country house. The tile chosen dictates the event that can be hosted and the guests to be invited. Players must carefully plan, however, to have the proper staff available to service the event and support guests as needed. The reward for success is new investment opportunities, permitting further renovation of the estate (acquisition of more valuable/powerful building tiles), an increase in reputation in the county, an expanding circle of influential acquaintances, and a larger and highly-trained domestic staff.

Throughout the game, a competitive courtship for the hand of the most eligible young gentleman and lady in the county presents specific renovation and reputation objectives. The player who best meets these objectives while accumulating victory points will win the hand of the wealthy love interest and the game.”

Gameplay

A mix of luck and strategy will deliver victory in the final courtship, allowing you to capture your love interest, and likely the game.

Players each start with the same set of improvement tiles. They must then navigate their way through 4 seasons of courtship. Each season rewards the winner with extra VPs and an additional powerful card added to their hand. Each improvement tile and card in the player’s hand have a reputation level that must be reached to use them. So increasing reputation is an important part of the game and can earn lots of extra VPs.

Final Thoughts

We played the builders market refresh incorrectly, so some advantages of gaining very powerful improvements for cheap, would have mitigated by the higher cost of those improvements. The cards are very thematic with their flavor text which matches their characteristics with the benefits they provide. Anyone who enjoyed the series Downtown Abbey, will enjoy the theme of this game. Very much looking forward to playing it again.

Kickstarter video outtakes

We’d recently put together a video to launch the still-unpublished Kickstarter campaign for Unplugged. Our plan was to launch the campaign as we announced our finalized location. With all of our plans on hold for the time being, Katey has assembled some outtakes from our video, and we’re happy to share them with you here. Happy gaming!

(We played Azul; Mark won)

Vast

Game Details
NameVast: The Crystal Caverns (2016)
ComplexityMedium Heavy [3.60]
BGG Rank [User Rating]602 [7.19]
Player Count (recommended)1-5 (2-5)
Designer(s)Patrick Leder and David Somerville
Artists(s)Kyle Ferrin
Publisher(s)Leder Games, 2Tomatoes Games, Mandala Jogos, MS Edizioni and Quality Beast
Mechanism(s)Action Points, Dice Rolling, Grid Movement, Hand Management, Modular Board, Role Playing, Secret Unit Deployment, Tile Placement and Variable Player Powers

Participants

  • Katey – winner (cave)
  • Sean
  • 3P
  • 4P

Rules missed

  • Cave includes the number of crystals added to the number of treasure when determining the number of omen tokens to draw at the start of its turn.
  • Goblin tribe suffers malaise whenever rage reaches 0 – all tribes lose 1 population.
  • Goblin tribes discard assigned monster cards when scattered.

Photos

About the game

From Boardgamegeek:

Vast takes you and your friends into the torch light of a classic cave-crawling adventure, built on the concept of total asymmetry. Gone are days of the merry band of travelers fighting off evil. In Vast, you will become part of a new legend… Any part you wish!

Play as the classic, daring Knight, the chaotic Goblin horde, the colossal, greedy Dragon, or even the Cave itself — powerful, brooding, and intent on crushing the living things that dare to disturb its gloomy depths. Each role has its own powers, pieces, and paths to victory…and there can be only one winner.

As the ultimate asymmetric board game, Vast: The Crystal Caverns provides a limitless adventure, playable again and again as you and your friends explore the four different roles in different combinations. Play one-on-one in a race to the death between the Knight and the Goblins, or add in the Dragon and the Cave for deeper and more epic experiences, different every time.”

Final Thoughts

Katey and I began this game with our kids, Avery & Emmett, but they lost interest as we slowly learned the nuances of the game, so we finished on our own. Because Vast is an asymmetrical game, it can take a bit of getting used to, and you might need multiple playthroughs to learn all of the characters (we played twice). But once you have it down, Vast is a pretty cool game. The balance seems well-tuned; in our second game (we each played two of the characters in the suggested 4-player setup) the cave won, but both the knight and dragon were arguably one turn from victory. We both liked the rock-paper-scissors element of play – the goblins are trying to kill the knight, the knight is trying to kill the dragon, the dragon eats goblins, and the cave is trying to collapse and kill everyone (we didn’t use the thief). Vast was lots of fun and Katey and I are looking forward to playing again, and checking out the various expansions available.

Boardgames for everyone