RogerBW's Blog

Thirsty Meeples November 2019 07 December 2019

Back to the boardgame café. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

A couple of recent releases this evening, starting with Wayfinders; the rulebook was determined that this game of flying from island to island building airstrips was WHIMSICAL!, but the gameplay really wasn't. You collect five sorts of resource with an interesting worker-placement mechanism, then spend them (in a less-interesting way) to move around and spend more of them to put down your hangar ("airstrip") markers, which give various benefits either during the game or at the end.

Which was not at all helped by the iconography; there are four sorts of in-game benefit for putting a base on an island, and seven or more sorts of scoring benefit, but the two classes aren't visually distinct. I could have done a better job of this, and I'm not any sort of designer.

It was… fine. As light unthematic perfect-information minimal-randomness Eurogames with involved endgame scoring go, it didn't do anything terribly wrong. But there are thousands of games out there which are fun, which leave a positive impression rather than a neutral one; I find it very difficult to picture this becoming anybody's favourite game, or even a game they feel strongly about.

We went on to Last Bastion, the new implementation of the well-known very hard cooperative game Ghost Stories. Which, I should say, I've never played; but whereas that had monks defending a village from creatures out of Chinese folklore, this has a generic Western fantasy theme. OK, it's still just "a three red dot monster that has these powers", but I find pretty much anything else more interesting than pseudo-Tolkienian genre fantasy. It's the lazy option; and so are the miniatures, which may well be different for each character (woohoo), but that just means you need to put a coloured ring on the base to remember which one is you. What's so terrible about four colours of the same monk mini? I don't think this was even a Kickstarter game, but it looks like one.

The game… is tough, and we lost comprehensively, but I enjoyed it. I could definitely picture myself playing it again. But if I buy it, it'll be a second-hand copy of Ghost Stories, not this version.

[Buy Wayfinders at Amazon] [Buy Last Bastion at Amazon] and help support the blog.

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