Friday 31 July 2020

Money can't build your spire for you

Sort-of-lockdown, week… six hundred? Ish? Time is still behaving erratically, though some things are getting back to a vague approximation of normality; I had a haircut last week, so look slightly less silly. In general, though, we’re still REMAINing INDOORS, working from home and not going out. Much.

The terribly exciting exception to the above is that we’ve met up with friends a couple of times, at suitable social distances, with individual packets of crisps rather than shared bowls of nibbles. Thinking about board games that minimise physical interaction (avoiding handling the same dice, cards etc. as far as possible), Narrativia’s influence naturally pointed to Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. One person wrangles the infection deck, another moves the players around the board, a third places the pretty little cubes down indicating yet another catastrophic outbreak – it’s pretty well suited to the situation. In an ideal world we would have observed from a balcony while the pieces were moved around with roulette rakes, but I haven’t managed to recreate an entire Operations Room (yet), so we had to settle for sitting as far apart as possible, and managed to finish the game.

Pandemic Legacy is a bit different for a boardgame. Each time you play you make changes to the game (the “Legacy” part of the title) – put stickers on the board or cards, add new rules and components, rip up old cards and such. You can therefore only play the full campaign through the once, which might seem a bit of an extravagance for a £40+ game, but then it’s taken our group a couple of years to play the 18 (IIRC) rounds to finish it, where some games of a similar cost we might only have played a couple of times over a similar period beforehand. The standard version of Pandemic is a really solid game, and the Legacy elements definitely enhance it – no spoilers, but there are a couple of twists in both story and mechanics that force you to adapt your tactics. If you have a regular group, and have tried and enjoyed the standard game I’d definitely recommend it. That said, after finishing Season 1 we’re probably not going to rush straight into Season 2, we’re a little Pandemic-ed out. And in the game, aaah! That said, they’ve just released a trailer for Season 0, a prequel set during the Cold War, and just from the fact that it includes passports with the ability to stick disguises on your character I have to say I’m tempted…

Away from boardgames it’s mostly been The Usual. War Thunder continues to expand its range of countries and vehicles, Italian ships most recently; I tend to play along until Tier II or III when the grind starts to really kick in. Destiny 2 is a comfortable old blanket of DAKKA!, though as I start to get near the caps on the current season it might take a bit of a back seat until the new expansion. I’ve also been playing a fair bit of Slay the Spire, I was quite chuffed at having beaten the game with each of the four characters, thought I was getting a bit of a handle on things, and then read a couple of articles about the insane challenges that you can start to unlock and realised how much more there is to the game. The random nature of the game can be hugely frustrating when you find certain cards or relics that would work fantastically with a particular build and then don’t find the other components to flesh it out, but on the flipside when things come together it’s absolutely joyous. Also highly recommended!