Obsession

Game Details
NameObsession (2018)
ComplexityMedium [3.19]
BGG Rank319 [8.28]
Player Count1-4
Designer(s)Dan Hallagan
Artist(s)Dan Hallagan
Publisher(s)Kayenta Games
Mechanism(s)Card Drafting, Deck, Bag, and Pool Building, Solo / Solitaire Game and Tile Placement

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 [3.61]
BGG Rank667 [7.16]
Player Count (Recommended)1-5 (2-5)
Designer(s)Patrick Leder and David Somerville
Artist(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.

Unplugged: Crossroads edition!

Unplugged Games Cafe is hosting Game Night at Crossroads Coffee & Ice Cream, on Monday nights in March and April.

We’ll have our mobile game library – a carefully chosen selection of “greatest hits” games for all ages and skill levels. We’ll help you choose a game, set up, and start playing.

Join us from 4-9pm every Monday for fun, food, and drinks!

Crossroads Coffee & Ice Cream is located at 3600 Forest Hill Avenue, Richmond, VA 23225.

Dead of Winter

Game Details
NameDead of Winter: A Crossroads Game (2014)
ComplexityMedium [3.01]
BGG Rank139 [7.55]
Player Count (Recommended)2-5 (3-5)
Designer(s)Jonathan Gilmour and Isaac Vega
Artist(s)David Richards, Fernanda Suárez and Peter Wocken
Publisher(s)Plaid Hat Games, Arclight, Asmodee Italia, Cube Factory of Ideas, Edge Entertainment, Filosofia Éditions, Galápagos Jogos, Game Harbor, Gém Klub Kft., Gemenot, Heidelberger Spieleverlag, Korea Boardgames Co., Ltd., Meanbook Games, MINDOK, Raven Distribution and Siam Board Games
Mechanism(s)Action Points, Area Movement, Dice Rolling, Hand Management, Narrative Choice / Paragraph, Push Your Luck, Semi-Cooperative Game, Storytelling, Trading, Traitor Game, Variable Player Powers and Voting

Participants

  • Andrew – winner
  • Mark
  • Sean
  • Robert
  • Brian

Rules missed

  • not a misplayed rule, but we did forget that a number of zombies are added to each location equal to the number of survivors at the location at the end of the round – this led to 2 or 3 of Mark’s survivors being “overun” (that’s dead) at the end of one round

BGG clarifications

  • none

Photos

About the game

This “mostly-cooperative” game features players as members of a colony of survivors trying to live through winter during a zombie apocalypse. The players will have a shared colony objective detailed on a scenario card, plus each player will have their own secret objective, too. In our game the colony objective was to collect a variable number of dead (re-dead? extra dead?) zombies.

The game is “mostly-cooperative,” because one of the players may have been dealt a betrayal card, which means they will be secretly working against the best interests of the colony. This element means that you can never be to sure of the motivations of the other players, which can lead to suspicion, and sometimes a player being voted out of the colony, which has benefits or penalties based on whether the player exiled was the betrayer or not.

During a turn, each player rolls dice and uses equal to the number of survivors they control +1, and uses those dice to perform actions around the game board. Survivors can travel to locations around the colony, search those locations, battle zombies, use items, clean up the colony, contribute cards to each round’s “crisis,” and more. Many actions can expose players to wounds, frostbite, or dreaded zombie bites. Crossroads cards are an interesting feature of the game. At the beginning of your turn, another player will read a Crossroads card for certain gameplay “triggers.” If, during your turn, you perform actions that trigger the card, it is read out loud, and you, or the other members of the colony will have two or more story choices to make that will affect the game in a variety of ways.

Each scenario has it’s own victory conditions and predetermined number of rounds. The game ends when the victory conditions have been met, the final round is completed, or when colony morale reaches zero (in our game’s case, our morale reached zero, which led to Andrew revealing himself as the betrayer and claiming victory based on his win conditions).

Final Thoughts

This game does a great job of simulating survival in a freezing zombie apocalypse. There is always another crisis to manage, and more and more zombies to deal with. It’s very thematic, and the Crossroads cards provide a bit of story to enhance gameplay. The possibility of a betrayal player creates a great deal of suspicion and tension around the table. It might be best to play this game with people you know well.

Boardgames for everyone