Trjn's Month Of Shameless Gaming: Week 3

It's the time of year where Gabe Newell turns on his giant money vacuum and the Steam sales are on in full force. You may find yourself in possession of dozens of games you didn't realise you wanted just because they cost a few dollars each. The trap is alluring but one that can be avoided if you're wary.

Instead of taking part in the Steam sale, I've been chipping away at my pile of shame. I blitzed through the Capra Demon in Dark Souls. I left a bloody mess of pixels in my wake as I finished Hotline Miami and I faced off against Yig, the father of serpents, with a tommy gun in Arkham Horror.

Not all board games are competitive multiplayer affairs, but just like video games, it is all too easy to pick up a game and then never get around to playing it. Arkham Horror is one of those games that I bought early in my obsession with dice and cardboard. Facing off a Great Old One in the roaring 20s armed with whatever trinkets you can find around the town of Arkham? Sounds like a good way to spend an afternoon. The endless expansions and frequent mentions on board gaming communities made it look like this really was something special.

Then one day, my girlfriend and I tried to sit down and play. It took 45 minutes of reading through the rules, putting tokens on and around the board and covering our table with cards of various sizes before we gave up without a single dice being rolled. The true horror of Arkham wasn't the Great Old Ones, it was trying to work out how to play.

We tried again on Sunday, this time with the aid of a few board gaming buddies. The rulebook was nearly undecipherable. A copy of the Necronomicon might have been just as useful, or at the very least it would have been less cryptic. After a seemingly endless time, we picked out the investigators we were playing as and got started.

Our goal was simple: seal the gateways to other dimensions that were appearing throughout town. As we tried to do this, the town was flooded with maniacs, vampires and flying polyps. The town doctor whizzed through the streets on his motorbike, beating the monsters to a pulp with a holy cross he carried with him. Jenny Barnes, a wealthy dilettante, was caught by a monster as she tried to walk through the streets. She embedded one of her high heels in its neck and wore its skin as a trophy. I was Bob Jenkins, a travelling salesman, and had somehow convinced the owner of the local general store to sell me a tommy gun before being sucked through a portal to the City of the Great Race.

Despite our best efforts, the town was flooded with portals and Yig, the Ancient One we were trying to stop, rose from his slumber. Closing the portals didn't matter any more. There was an Ancient One rampaging in the town square and that tends to end poorly.

After a fierce and bloody battle - where many a dice was rolled - Yig was slaughtered by Bob Jenkins and his trusty tommy gun. Oh sure, there were other townsfolk that helped out -- but it was Bob that saved the day.

At least, that's the story he's going to be telling at the National Salesman Convention in Idaho next year.

We probably cheated or at least played the game very wrong. Doesn't matter; killed Yig.

That brings the total of games I've finished this month to three: Proteus (PC), Hotline Miami (PC) and Arkham Horror (tabletop). How's your month going?


Comments

    Sorry Trjn - I was doing so well with Alan Wake. Then the Cube World alpha opened up and I have been hooked ever since. Good news is that I've hardly bought anything in the Steam sale, so my pile hasn't gotten THAT much bigger!

      I'm not mad, I'm just very disappointed.

      Well, I'm not disappointed either. Cube World looks like a lot of fun and I spent a good chunk of time this month playing Rogue Legacy (which I neglected to mention that I have finished), so it would be hypocritical to scold you.

      That being said, shame on you. Tsk tsk.

      I've been playing through Alan Wake and loving the shit out of it. I'm not very good though, and being scared shitless doesn't help me ability. I might have to put it on easy before I start the next chapter, some bits have been too hard, and I can't just run away like I usually try to.

    Wasn't a good week for me as far as SGM progress. Managed to get to the final level of my god game Tropico so hopefully can finish that off this week but with PAX who knows when I'll have time. Made a bit of progress of Tower defense but no progress at all on FPS or RPG.

    So to date only 2 games completed
    EDIT: and 8 (+ some DLC) added to the pineapple

    Last edited 17/07/13 1:46 pm

    How long did it take?

      About 2 hours plus a lengthy setup while everyone trickled in. We were meant to start around 2. I think the first person showed up around 2:30 and we started playing around 4.

      That being said, we had the easiest Elder God to fight against, he came out about as quickly as possible (we'd only shut down one portal and only had one mythos card that wasn't' in a new place). So it could have easily gone much longer.

        The last time I played it it took 5 hours. I cant remember much about it.

          It took a long time to decipher the rulebook and I'm pretty sure we deciphered it wrong.

    I totally and utterly support the playing of board games -- so much so that I've declared my Saturday nights as board game night, to great approval. Works really well.

    As for my avalanche of shame? Super Luigi U and WWE-All Stars for the 3DS (it was *really* cheap) are it so far in terms of completion, although there's a few others I've started and given up on, and I'm chipping away at Fable III for some reason.

      So you like video games and you like board games?

      Why not do both?

      Have a look at Cardhunter (http://www.cardhunter.com/).

      Cue the footage of the Old El Paso kid being carried on the shoulders of cheering villagers!

      Last edited 17/07/13 3:04 pm

      Saturday board games are best board games. My girlfriend and I have been hosting board game days pretty much every Saturday for a few months now. We tend to get at least two people showing up and as many as eight or nine (which is about as many as our apartment can fit). Sometimes they go well enough that we back up and play even more board games on the Sunday.

      Board games are rad.

      Also, if you don't have Hanabi, get Hanabi. It's a perfect filler game that can end up being played for over an hour because it just works.

      Did anyone warn you about how the countdown to the apocalypse thing in Fable 3 jumps dramatically? You go from about 100 days to go to 1 day to go without any real warning. If you're trying to get the best ending, make sure you meet all the conditions well in advance.

        Weirdly, Fable III was one of those games that got totally past me when it was new. I'm playing it now despite having more tasty fare because I can play it in front of my kids (when I get a rare spare second). Duly noted.

        Plenty of easy games sitting in the cupboard here; Carcassonne and its many expansions are usually the go-to-easy-game 'round these parts.

          I played Fable 3 when it came out, hoping that it would be an improvement over Fable 2. It wasn't but I still enjoyed myself at the time, even if the game wasn't great.

          Carcassonne is a good game but it doesn't come out at our table too much. Hanabi and Love Letter are our go to light games. They're both card based games that cost about $15 (so it's no risk to grab them), very easy to understand but they're just fun.

          Hanabi is a co-operative card game where you get to see everyone's hands but your own. It's a great little game that comes down to working out how to communicate effectively with your friends. It won the Spiel de Jarhes too.

          Love Letter is a "draw one, play one" style game where you have a very small deck of cards that you use to try and eliminate the other players from the round.

            I've got a whole bunch of card-based games for quick play. They're getting harder to get, but anything from Cheapass Games are always worth a quick try -- I particularly like Secret Tijuana Deathmatch and Unexploded Cow.

              I'm tempted to buy those two games just because of their name.

    I died.

      I think Yig mistook you for the snooze button on his alarm clock and just flailed at you when he woke up.

    Is the Cthulhu game worthwhile? I used to play the RPG.

      It's really hard to say. Some of our group enjoyed it, others did not. The rules are complicated and cumbersome, so it is hard to get into but there is a lot of content there if you do get into it you should really enjoy things.

      If you have a group of people together willing to give it a shot, definitely give it a try. Not the first board game that I'd recommend to people that don't play board games (that would be Ticket to Ride: Europe) but probably worth a shot if you're interested.

      That really wasn't an answer :p

        Thanks. I will get it. Love me some Cthulhu.

          The guide that @unholyjew linked to below will help a lot. Finding some Youtube video tutorials about how to set up the game will probably also help speed up the first game.

        If you Like the cthulu Mythos and would like a simpler boardgame for it I would suggest Elder sign, Much simpler mechanics.

    I was doing pretty poorly, but in the last week I finished Hotline Miami and Last of Us. Both great titles. Next on the list is the Skyrim DLC or Max Payne 3. I'm thinking Max Payne just to free up the 30gb on my HDD.

    I bought Arkham Horror late last year and only recently managed to get a full playthrough. We won! We spent many afternoons like you described trying to learn the rules, just keep at it! This reference sheet really helped, you just have to have a BoardGameGeek account to download/print it. http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/22286/universal-head-arkham-horror-rules-summary-refere

      We went through a fair number of resources when we first tried to play. Didn't find that one. Wish we had, it seems really useful. Why doesn't Fantasy Flight just have something like that in the box?

        Because Fantasy flight aren't good at making things easy for people. The first game where I found it to be slightly helpful was Infiltration, followed by Netrunner.

          Luckily, Fantasy Flight does have a Youtube tutorial for Netrunner. Otherwise, I don't think I'd have coped.

          Then again, without my previous experience in Magic: the Gathering I don't think I'd have been able to get very far either.

            The Fantasy Flight Youtube channel has some great tutorials alright! I followed the one for the Lord of the Rings LCG. Their rule books however... they sure love their fluff!

              I'm very mechanically orientated (to the point where when I attempted to read the Netrunner rule book, I had to restrain myself from crossing out their jargon and replacing it with terms like "hand" and "deck") so Fantasy Flight is a very strange company.

              They use a lot of jargon and fluff and they build games based on licenses that are very fluff heavy. Yet because they're incredibly consistent with their jargon, everything makes a lot of sense as soon as you understand the jargon.

              It's truly bizarre how they've managed to combine all this into something that works incredibly well, yet is near impenetrable for newcomers.

              I am in the minority in that I found the rules extremely easy to understand. It took at few go to get everything perfectly down but I didn't feel the need for extra resources.

                You are a clever Arkham Man, that's just not fair! ;P

    So far my month could be better I've only beaten Bioshock infinite and far cry 3. While I haven't brought much from steam I have been convinced to retry Civ V so that's currently installing I also have spec ops the line and hitmam absolution waiting in the wings. Fire emblem is slowly getting there at nights and virtues last reward has been started..so that's a good thing.

    So far 2 games down 99 to go says steam calculator.

    I have been adding a lot to my pile, thanks to the sales. Trying to polish off a few before I start these though, which is tough. You buy a game, you want to start it, but I have resisted. Going to polish off a few first. Managed to get through Space Marine last night, it was frigging gold. Started Hotline Miami as well, take long to finish? It has not grabbed me as of yet though, seems a bit basic. Only played around 20min so far though. Hopefully sign off on BL2 DLC, Darksiders 2 and Metro 2033 before diving in to the new purchases (Tomb Raider, Bioshock, New Vegas DLC)

      Space Marine is one of my favourite games from this generation. It just absolutely nails the sense of being a great big stompy Space Marine.

      Hotline Miami takes a little bit to click, I think it was around chapter 4 or 5 that I actually got into it. Spent maybe 4 hours in the game total but I breezed through the last few chapters, which apparently other people had some issue with. It's worth it for the soundtrack alone. Not music I'd normally listen to but damn does it make the game click.

        Yea, space marine was pretty damn epic. Story-line actually made sense and the action is non stop. Last boss is a tricky one, almost gave up a few times, but the general game-play is great. Weapons and stuff are fantastic, and yea, they nailed the atmosphere of the series really well. Almost felt like a FPS Dawn Of War game, was great. I will continue with Hotline, but yea, it isn't really saying "Play ME!" when I get home from work. For 4 bucks or so, I cant complain however.

    About a third of the way through Red Dead Redemption now. Loving it, but those damn cougars!

    Metal Gear Solid 2 HD is about three quarters done.

      I accidentally shot my horse the first time I ran into a cougar in Red Dead Redemption. Poor Cookie :(

        The first time I ran into cougars they killed my poor horse with a single swipe of their wicked claws. Then they killed me. They seem to move around just slightly too fast and take slightly too many bullets to kill. And they always seem to travel in pairs... :-(

    So far this SGM, I have completed the Steam Summer Getaway Sale Trading Card Badge.

    That counts as a game, right?

      You took part in killing Yig. You could claim that if you like :p

        Two games! This might be a record.

    I'm doing pretty well still. I'm almost in the final year of Atelier Totori, and on the last mission in Fire Emblem: Awakening. It's only just halfway through the month too. At this rate, I'm going to have to start thinking about stretch goals.

    Just recently finished Dead Island and going to make a start on Gears of War Judement.

    I'm interested in picking up a fighting game. There's a CAPCOM sale on for Xbox Live atm: http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-AU/promotion/special-sales-capcom. I'm tossin up between Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition or Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3. What do u guys reckon? I'm not big on fighting games (have fond memories of SF2 and MortalKombat in the arcades), but they are always fun with a few mates over.

    My pile seems to keep getting bigger...
    :(
    The only games I've knocked off of it in the last year are Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools Of Destruction, and Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty.

    Well, my weekend was spent playing Borderlands 2 (just getting past where I gave up on my last playthrough) and Civ. Haven't got back to Witcher 2 or Halo yet... so my SGM is still sitting at one down, two to go. With about ten additions, thanks to the steam sale...

    I'm going OK on the restraint front this sale. Only bought Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, Bully, Chivalry, Borderlands GOTY, Alan Wake Franchise, Deus Ex Franchise, Mark of the Ninja and Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate edition. Last steam sale I ended up with like 60 games. However a lot of that was due to publisher packs. Ah how I miss publisher packs.

    Annnnd I haven't touched a single steam game the last week because I've just been introduced to LoL which is free. Go figure.

    Definitely like the tone of Arkham Horror, but prefer the accessibility of Elder Sign, also from Fantasy Flight. Some may say it's Yahtzee with a Lovecraft theming, and they're mostly right, but you can knock over a round in 60-90 minutes versus Arkham Horror's epic 4-7 hour stints.

    Has a pretty sweet, slightly streamlined version for iOS too (though not universal, so iPad and iPhone versions are a separate purchase) - https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/elder-sign-omens/id475404533?mt=8

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