Saturday, March 12, 2016

Playing the Top 100: Pandemic Legacy and 7 Wonders: Duel

Hi there, so as we continue our trek across the top 100 games that were pulled from the list in January, I spent much of the last week planning and scheming as I did playing games. The math is easy, if I complete two games a week, I will finish before the end of the year. The execution is a little more difficult due to some scheduling changes in my life. After long discussion with my friends who are not only playing the games with me, but also helping me find the ones that we do not already own, Nerd Night and the larger BGGcon will be used to play catch up. This is all fine and dandy, till you realize that a few of the games take 6+ hours to play, so a little more planning is required. But enough of that nonsense. You came to this page to see me write nonsense about games.

Number 24: 7 Wonders: Duel - I have a friend who is a big 7 Wonders fan. You may know him, his name is JR. Since I know JR is a 7 Wonders fan and this is a 2 player 7 Wonders game it made since to play it with him. I began our game by asking why this game needs to exist. There is a 7 Wonders 2 player variant, so why do we have this one? Besides the obvious answers of, peeps need money, I think that the game provides a similar feel, but is sufficiently different to provide an alternate experience. 

I do not consider 7W: Duel to be a drafting game. It is more of a card choosing game where the players have some knowledge of what is out there, but every other row of cards is hidden. Also, not every card is used in each age, so there is some knowledge of what is there, but never perfect knowledge. It is a game that rewards multiple plays and the play time on a long game is not much over 30 minutes. Also, it has multiple win conditions. If you haven't figured me out, I consider most games that give a player various ways to do a thing as "Good". In my opinion this sort of thing lessens the learning curve for new players. Players can win through points, through military victory, or through science. Science is the trickiest to do, though I have lost two games to this method. 

As with 7 wonders when you put a card in your tableau it will likely do a thing, such as provide resources, extra money, points, etc. Additionally, each player drafts 4 wonders at the beginning of the game, snake draft style. I like this effect because you can start planning your strategy before you have even looked at the cards. Also, if the only card you can draw is something not useful, it can be pitched for money or used to build a wonder if you have the resources for the building. Additionally resources can be bought for 2 coins + an extra coin if you opponent has the resource you are building. I think this is also a really neat mechanic. 

Because there is only minor variance between plays, I think that some games might become repetitive if played all the time, but every couple of weeks it is a fun way to burn a half hour or two. Additionally, although some new players might find it frustrating at first. After one play, the game should be understood well enough to be competitive. If I were demoing this game, I would make a point to explain why I was choosing the card that I chose as with a lot of card games, "card synergy" is a thing.

Number 1: Pandemic Legacy - So it should be stated that if you're new to gaming, there was recently a top 100 coup where Pandemic Legacy unseated long time champion Twilight Struggle. TS is one of my favorite games and I'm looking forward to playing and reviewing it but Pandemic Legacy is good stuff. So if you have not picked on the hype, Pandemic Legacy is Pandemic, but with a Legacy twist. Legacy games (thus far at least) are designed by Rob Daviau. Heck he may even have a copyright on the concept I don't know. His first was Risk Legacy, which was Risk, but then things would happen that fundamentally and permanently change the game.

Pandemic Legacy delivers the same experience in a skin of Pandemic. The game is played over 12-24 plays with each game representative of a month of the year. During the game normal pandemic is played, where players move their characters, use abilities, cure diseases, and draw cards. Then disease spreads and in general bad stuff happens. If the players lose the game, then worse things happen. If they win, then sometimes good things can happen. Really that is the best explanation I can provide without spoiling the game. What is the statute of limitation on a Legacy game anyway? It was around 6 months on the Star Wars VII for my gaming group.

I am playing through the game with my wife, which is a blast. It's more of a blast when we had to permanently destroy a card for the first time. She wanted to bag it and keep it. I convinced her that we'll keep all the torn up pieces and then shadow box them at the end to chronicle the experience. That may sum this game up for me, you're playing an experience, like a good movie or book. It is a game sure, but Pandemic the game is pretty light. Pandemic Legacy sucks you in and makes you dread that next card pull. At least that is the experience I have had so far, but I am thoroughly enjoying it. Oh and if you were wondering, the two box covers are just art. The game is identical in each.

I know that it has been a while since I have written, but I have been playing games so new content will be coming soon. Assuming I stop Rocket League long enough to write anyway :). Game on friends. 

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