Thursday 12 July 2018

The Solved Games

Where enough experience leads to almost certain victory.

After numerous play throughs I'm finding that a few of my cooperative board games have reached a "solved" status - where repetitively using the right tactic often leads to victory. Spoilers / Tips ahead, depending on your point of view!

Police Precinct - never had a defeat in this, the team just to divide labour between keeping crime in check and finding the murderer / preferably focusing on what their character is good at but being fluid enough to adapt to the board. I still really like the "emergency" system. Score Adjustment: -1.

Pandemic / Pandemic: On the Brink - while defeat comes quickly if you go for the full epidemic card set having less than that almost makes for an easy game. The red ones of On the Brink are almost mandatory for us now as we can even win with the full green epidemic cards of the base game. Obviously the bio-terrorist option (which we haven't tried yet) might mix things up. Score Adjustment: -1.

Shadows Over Camelot - on full cooperative it is almost impossible to lose provided the team works together. Defeat only comes if everyone does their own thing and tries tackle the harder group quests solo, or keeps quest hopping. You don't have to win every quest, just be sure to win the important ones. I can see why the traitor mechanic is almost mandatory. Score Adjustment: -1.

Operation Flashpoint: Fire Rescue - while bad luck can ruin any game it can be mitigated a bit here simply through communication. Planning ahead pays well, as does not intentionally damaging the building more than necessary. Almost trivialized if you have the driver in the fire engine to provide cover. Score Adjustment: -1.

Zombicide Season 2: Prison Outbreak - knowing your perks and staying together (more HP to share around) is the main rule here, as well as sharing the XP so that the spawns don't become overpowered ahead of your team mates. Bad things usually happen when people wander off on their own, and most scenarios later on even force the players apart because they know a team together is near unstoppable. And that's even without equipment juggling. Hot potato chainsaw is fun. Score Adjustment: -1.

D&D Adventure Boardgame System - all the ones I currently have reviewed (Ravenloft, Ashardalon, Drizzt, ToEE) fall into this category. Victory lies in finding the quest tile fast, and that usually means splitting up to burn through the tile deck quicker. Yes, this puts more monsters on the board but they are usually more manageable than the dreaded encounter cards. Score Adjustment: -1.

Xenoshyft - though it delivers a few brutal losses at the start, once you know how to manage your card hand properly (don't buy garbage), and how to position troops (weakest dudes NEVER go at the end of the lane) loss becomes a thing of rarity in this game. Just don't expect any of your troops to live through the whole thing. Score Adjustment: -1.

Forbidden Desert - PSYCH! This is the true stand out in my current collection. Despite having such a simple premise each game requires active thinking from each participant to mitigate those deadly loss conditions. Such a treasure of a little game, and one I'm going to recommend again right here: if you haven't played Forbidden Desert yet, please go do so! Score Adjustment: +1, and is now the "best" game in my collection.

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