RogerBW's Blog

Someone Else's Garden Games (July) 31 July 2021

On an unexpectedly wet day, I visited a forumite in London for outdoor gaming again.

We started with Dinosaur Tea Party, much more enjoyable with the physical bits than it had been on BGA. I found that my most effective niche was as a scavenger: when A has made an incorrect guess about B, I as C (with a little extra information from my own hidden card) can swoop in and play the reduced odds.

Then a teaching game of Whitehall Mystery. I took a bold strategy, plunging through the middle of the investigators, and it almost worked…

Since the rain was coming down hard and the tent was not doing a perfect job of keeping out leaks, we moved on to famously waterproof game Too Many Bones. (Though the box is still cardboard…)

It's a really interesting system. You have basic attack dice, but you also gradually buy special-power dice, which you can use once per combat (of which there will be several in a full game). Between combats you increase your stats and get more special dice.

And this is all fine, but monsters have keywords, and that's where it all started to feel too… mechanistic? Well, no, most boardgames are that. Perhaps that the theme was wearing thin. Why should this minor monster show up in the final boss fight? Because the rules said that we should add a 1-point creature. And while I can see the virtue of keywords to define mechanical effects, when a thing is merely HARDY • BLEED • COMPOUND with a few numbers and icons the flavour tends to fade.

It was fun, and I'd play it again, but I can't ever see myself buying it. (Also because there are many, many expansions and I am often a completist about this sort of thing.)

[Buy Dinosaur Tea Party at Amazon] [Buy Whitehall Mystery at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

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