Game Night: So Much New

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Posted August 28, 2014 by Chris Lincoln in Nerdy Bits

Max and I spent Friday evening gaming and we tried out some really fun new stuff that I’d love to share with you. First off,  Max recently picked up D&D Conquest of Nerath, more or less D&D Risk.

 

There are a ton of great little figures for each of the 4 factions, with many of the units being different sculpts for each. The gold dragons that come with the Vailin Alliance really impressed me. I had no idea their wings connected to their bodies that way. The units, except your lowly foot soldiers, each have a special power or two, and everyone but the dragons die with just one hit.

Units of Nerath

Just look at the gold dragon. It must be a beautiful sight in flight.

 

The battle mechanic is dead simple: you hit on a 6 or higher. This is tough for the foot solider, who only rolls a d6, but quite easy for a dragon rolling the d20. Speaking of dice, the game comes with a good collection of them and each type is color coded, d6s are green and d10s are red, for example. That will really help people who aren’t used to using all the fancy polyhedrals we gamers know by instinct.

Nerath Dice

It’s a nice start, but you’re probably going to need more.

 

The game also has wonderful storage, each faction has a large pit with its symbol embossed on the bottom, there’s a spot for every token and card and denomination of currency, it’s quite nice and makes setup/teardown a breeze.

Conquest of Nerath Storage

Under the cards there are 2 space for the 2 player faction markers.

 

I almost forgot to mention questing! Wizards and fighters can enter the dungeon spaces strewn about the board to fight horrible monsters (door shaped tokens) and, if they succeed, loot the place by drawing a treasure card. These cards a great way to get some victory points (the goal of the game) and to enhance your army with passive powers.

Nerath's Wizards Warriors

Wizards and Fighters will delve the board’s dungeons and bring home powerful treasures.

 

There are also event cards that you draw each turn that let you shake things up and really help flavor each of the armies, whose units otherwise share the same stats and powers. You move about, battle, quest, transport units across the seas, build castles, and generally have fun fighting it out in epic D&D fashion. We’re really looking forward to playing this one with 4 people. We had loads of fun, but conquering Nerath seems best with a separate person controlling each army. Overall, Max is happy he bought it and we recommend it if you like D&D and Risk, peanut butter and chocolate style.

Conquest of Nerath board

This is just the setup. No neutral territories, just 4 factions at war right next to one another.

 

 

After mucking about in the Dungeons and Dragons world on a grand scale we zoomed in close for some Lords of Waterdeep. And since it’s been sitting on a shelf since I bought it, we tried out the Scoundrels of Skullport expansion. The box actually has 2 expansions, though you can play with both mixed in.

Lords of Skullport Contents

One box, two paths, which will you choose? Yes, you can choose both.

 

We used the titular Skullport expansion which features one board with 3 new action spaces and another full of little skull tokens that power the new corruption mechanic. There are also some new buildings, quests, and intrigue cards that you mix in with the base set. Again, these mostly focus on the corruption mechanic, but some are just thematic.

Lords of Skullport Board

Big rewards for those willing to be corrupt.

 

I love this game and we always have a good time playing it. They managed to capture the tone I imagine they were going for and the expansion(s) actually change the way the game feels. Skullport and the corruption mechanics really make the place feel shadier. As players gain corruption, they remove it from the corruption board, emptying spaces along the track. The more empty spaces, the greater the penalty for each corruption token at the end of the game. So even if you’re cavalier about being corrupt, there’s a tangible reason to avoid corruption. This also shows how your corrupt actions affect all of Waterdeep.  Or, if you draw the right Lord at the start of the game, you may be seeking corruption for bonus victory points.

Skullport Corruption Board

Behold, the abstraction of corruption! At this point, each token you have is worth -2 points.

 

The other expansion is Undermountain, the labyrinthine dungeon underneath Waterdeep. This expansion has only one board with 3 new action spaces. The focus is more on bigger, tougher quests with bigger, better rewards. There are a few quests in the new cards that reward 40 vp, which is quite a lot. If I remember correctly, the base set quests don’t give rewards over 25 vp.

UnderMountain Example

Undermountain and an example of some of the new cards. That 40vp reward still blows my mind.

I have to say it again, I love how simply changing the game a little bit can really alter the thematic tone. I really thought I was gonna win this one, but Max’s Lord gave him 6 vp for each of his buildings, of which there were 7. He was only 10-15 points behind me, revealed his Lord, and jumped ahead 42 points. It was a great surprise victory and another reason we love this game.

We continued our slide into ever lighter games with King of Tokyo. Continuing our testing of new games and expansions we pulled out the Power Up! expansion as well as the themed Halloween expansion.

Every King Of Tokyo

Aren’t we all, in some way, kings of Tokyo?

We hadn’t used the evolutions (from Power Up!) or the costume cards (from Halloween) yet but couldn’t wait to try these out. The evolutions are permanent or single use powers specific to each monster. Whenever you end your turn with 3 or more hearts, you can draw a new one. Simple, but not only do the powers change the game a lot, but needing to roll those 3 hearts can change up your play style. They also help differentiate the monsters, who are functionally identical in the base game.

Panda Kai

The new monster, Pandakai, and his evolutions.

King of Tokyo Evolutions

The set also contains evolution decks for each of the original 6 monsters.

The costumes for Halloween are silly, but cute, and a fun addition. They’re shuffled into the deck and function similarly to keep cards. The main difference is that an opponent can steal a costume if they deal 3 or more damage to you.

King of Tokyo Costumes

Trick or treaaAAAAAAAAAH!

I was the Alienoid with a zombie costume, so when I hit 0 health I stayed alive as long as I had that costume. Max totally stole it off me when I was at 0 health and I instantly died. Luckily I had “It has a child?!” and got to keep playing, though I lost all my VP and cards.

King of Tokyo  Zombie Child

This saved me, but at what cost?

We played 3 games and Max tried out both the Halloween heroes. He really liked them and the evolutions for everyone really help differentiate them all. Oh, the Halloween expansion comes with bright orange dice inked in black. You don’t need them for anything, they’re just there if you want to replace the base dice on Halloween, or whenever you like. It’s a nice touch that helps fill out the box, plus they look fantastic.

King of Tokyo Halloween

This saved me, but at what cost?

We capped the night off with the DC Deck Building Game. Nothing new here, just simple heroic fun. Max played The Flash and was overjoyed at how fast he could burn through his deck.

The GD Flash!

Max went through his entire deck every 2 turns by the end.

Once again I was confident in a win, and thought I had it when he announced his total. Then he added in what he won for his 4 super-villain cards and beat me yet again! Curse you, Max!

That wraps up our recent game night. We tried out a lot of new stuff and had a ton of fun. And maybe, hopefully, this will inspire some of you to go out and pick up an amazing new board game and have your own night of gaming fun.


About the Author

Chris Lincoln

A gamer through and through. A first class nerd. All games are his realm, but the tabletop is where he sits upon his throne.