11 votes

Tabletop Weekly Discussion #5

This topic is part of a weekly series where we can talk about board games. Feel free to talk about any aspect of board gaming you'd like. Here are some potential talking points to get you started:

  • Are you looking for a recommendation? Tell us a game you'd like, and we'll see if we can think of one that may suit you.
  • Have you tried something new and want to chat about it? Tell us about why you like a particular board game!
  • Did you have a particularly interesting tabletop gaming experience? Tell us about your 9-point swing in Catan, or the time you managed to finish off the entire village in Ultimate Werewolf!

34 comments

  1. [13]
    cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    I could answer D&D to this every week, but obviously haven't been (and won't) because that could be kind of annoying for others, I'm sure. :P However, today's session was particularly satisfying...

    I could answer D&D to this every week, but obviously haven't been (and won't) because that could be kind of annoying for others, I'm sure. :P However, today's session was particularly satisfying and potentially discussion-worthy because the DM and I have been working on a ton of stuff over the last week that we have put a lot of effort into.

    He completely redid the 5E skills, damage and defense systems to be more compelling, realistic (for the low-fantasy setting he created, anyways) and much more tactical, and I completely customized the character sheets on roll20 (not an easy task!) to accommodate all his changes and in order to make the transition to these new systems easier on the other players (one of whom is relatively new to D&D). We still had to spend most of the session today just talking and walking the other players through all the changes, and we didn't get time to playtest them yet, since the other players need time to read through all the docs and adjust their characters. However everyone was super excited about the prospect of the new systems (since we all agree that D&D 5E combat is super boring), and everyone was also impressed with the new character sheets as well and even requested a bunch of additional customization (like a new "notes" section in the bio tab) which I will be working on adding over the next week.

    Next week we will playtest the system and I will report back if it worked as envisioned/intended or if it fell flat on its face. ;)

    5 votes
    1. [4]
      aphoenix
      Link Parent
      Feel free to reply with D&D any time! I'd love to hear more about the system and has changed. I'm in the midst of a relatively lengthy campaign that's been enjoyable; we don't have a ton of...

      Feel free to reply with D&D any time! I'd love to hear more about the system and has changed. I'm in the midst of a relatively lengthy campaign that's been enjoyable; we don't have a ton of combat, but we're always looking to improve whatever we have. It's not low fantasy though; definitely has tons of monsters and magic and craziness. I don't find the combat too bad, but as stated; we don't have that much combat (going 2 sessions with no combat at all is not irregular for us; we're all more about the intrigue).

      I'd also love to see your custom character sheets! I've been using an auto-fill one, but I've also considered just fully customizing mine for my warlock with all my free time (I will never do this; I already have enough problems fitting in all the things I need to do let alone want to do).

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Yeah, I much, much, much prefer roleplaying over combat too, and this group is definitely very roleplay heavy as well... but my DM figured that since none of us do actually seem to enjoy the...

        Yeah, I much, much, much prefer roleplaying over combat too, and this group is definitely very roleplay heavy as well... but my DM figured that since none of us do actually seem to enjoy the combat all that much, but it still is a requirement every now and again, that he would try to spice things up a bit to make it more enjoyable.

        I'd love to hear more about the system and has changed

        Sure, although as I said, we have no idea how any of this will work out in practice yet so keep that in mind. Anyways, wall of text incoming! ;)


        All the skills were completely reworked so they fit the setting better and make more sense, with some of the old skills even outright removed, and some new ones added in their place.

        Skill proficiency is gone, and skills no longer automatically increase in value based on attributes, since he felt that was too artificial feeling, limited player choice too much, and as a result of it players' skills didn't seem to match characters very well.

        E.g. My character is a CHA based caster, so by necessity I had to have that attribute high. However, roleplaying-wise my character is a pretty strange person that is absolutely terrible with people, so it didn't make sense I should have high Persuasion/Insight/etc.

        So instead he created a new tiered skill system where players are given a set number of points initially to spend on increasing their skill tiers, and also given more to spend as they level up. And he also included a long-term roleplaying mechanic to allow characters to train in a skill during their downtime too.

        The hope is that this new skill system leads to more natural feeling skill progression and character development, and the skills will end up better matching everyone's roleplaying choices.


        AC is gone, replaced instead with Damage Resistance (that reduces received damage) determined by armor and also modified by magic, and three defensive stats were added (Evasion, Fortitude and Will) that are determined by the character's attributes. Saving throws have also been replaced with three Evasion, Fortitude and Will derived ones as well.

        Evasion = 8 + DEX mod + INT mod
        Fortitude = 8 + STR mod + CON mod
        Will = 8 + WIS mod + CHA mod

        And every attack (spell and physical) now targets at least one of those three defenses or their derived saving throws, resulting in a bit of a Rock/Paper/Scissors scenario.

        Damage types are also now not just fluff but have actual purpose and consequences. All the changes there would take quite a while to explain... but some examples of the changes are:
        Bludgeoning ignores some of the Damage Resistance
        Piercing has lower chance to hit but higher Crit chance
        All the magic damage types have various pros/cons as well
        Etc.

        And so hopefully this new combat system will improve combat, make both equipment and spell choices matter, and make battle tactics more significant.

        And all the changes combined will also hopefully change the way chars are created as well, so that the typical strategy of "pump primary stat to max, throw rest into CON and DEX, ignore the rest" will no longer feel like a requirement, as more balanced attribute and skills characters (or a highly specialized ones) will be the better choice overall.

        But again, until we test it all and tweak it a bunch after that... who knows how it will work out. :P


        p.s. I will post some screenshots of the charsheet once I am done working on it. :)

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          KapteinB
          Link Parent
          Have you played earlier editions of D&D? Much of this sounds like your DM pilfered their favourite parts of 3e and 4e. Which I completely support by the way; 3.5e was my personal favourite, and...

          Have you played earlier editions of D&D? Much of this sounds like your DM pilfered their favourite parts of 3e and 4e. Which I completely support by the way; 3.5e was my personal favourite, and like you I'm not thrilled about how combat works in 5e.

          1 vote
          1. cfabbro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I have been playing since 2E (the first campaign I ever DM'd was using Dark Sun), and he has been playing since 3.5E... so yeah, some heavy "borrowing" of ideas from the previous editions is...

            I have been playing since 2E (the first campaign I ever DM'd was using Dark Sun), and he has been playing since 3.5E... so yeah, some heavy "borrowing" of ideas from the previous editions is always going on with us when we homebrew. ;)

    2. [6]
      arghdos
      Link Parent
      I find it super interesting how much time people spend hacking what they want into D&D (no shade intended). I played 5e for the first time in a few months last week, and was ... underwhelmed,...

      I find it super interesting how much time people spend hacking what they want into D&D (no shade intended). I played 5e for the first time in a few months last week, and was ... underwhelmed, though it was fun to be reunited with my old group. My interest has moved much more to PBTA and other way more experimental games, specifically because they allow way more freedom in extending / rewriting the rules, and it's generally much easier to do so. Specifically Dungeon World has move creation built into the core rule-set. I guess if your group is more into the tactical / crunch aspect of 5e, PTBA probably won't cut it.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        that_knave
        Link Parent
        I’m relatively new to DnD (been playing twice monthly for about a year), and I have to say it seems relatively malleable if you have the right DM. Our DM is having us play his home brew campaign...

        I’m relatively new to DnD (been playing twice monthly for about a year), and I have to say it seems relatively malleable if you have the right DM. Our DM is having us play his home brew campaign in which our hometown backstories get worked into his world. So far it seems to be working, and he takes his time to work out things we may see as issues in the rules with us and makes his rulings in what seems a fair and balanced manner. I have been picking his brain because I eventually want to do my own home brew campaign and I find that the rules can be easily adapted provided everyone is amenable.

        3 votes
        1. arghdos
          Link Parent
          Oh it definitely is malleable, I am mostly comparing how much effort I had to put in to do what I wanted as a DM for 5e vs a PTBA game :P

          I’m relatively new to DnD (been playing twice monthly for about a year), and I have to say it seems relatively malleable if you have the right DM.

          Oh it definitely is malleable, I am mostly comparing how much effort I had to put in to do what I wanted as a DM for 5e vs a PTBA game :P

          3 votes
      2. [3]
        cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Well I can't speak for everyone but the reason we do that is because anything other than D&D is a hard sell when looking for new players to join us, especially online. And yet even if we homebrew...

        Well I can't speak for everyone but the reason we do that is because anything other than D&D is a hard sell when looking for new players to join us, especially online. And yet even if we homebrew the shit out of D&D, so that it barely even resembles the base game in the end (which is often the case), it's still much more likely to entice new players to join us than any other systems, especially completely custom ones.

        My current DM and I have both played many campaigns over the years using totally custom settings and rulesets we created together, and everyone who played them with us seemed to really enjoy them judging by their comments to us and how long some of those campaigns went on for. So given that, I would even be so bold as to say we're reasonably good at creating them... However despite that, campaigns sometimes still come to an end, and so new campaigns and new blood is occasionally needed... but sadly, since convincing totally new people to join anything other than D&D games these days is so difficult, we more often than not just go with D&D as the base and then tinker with it to make it work how we would like it to.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          arghdos
          Link Parent
          Yeah, I get that, r/lfg (or local meetups) for anything but D&D/PF are pretty few and far between. I've actually had decent success going the other way, i.e., getting RL acquaintances to play PBTA...

          Yeah, I get that, r/lfg (or local meetups) for anything but D&D/PF are pretty few and far between. I've actually had decent success going the other way, i.e., getting RL acquaintances to play PBTA / other indie TTRPGs. A few of them have explicitly tried and not enjoyed D&D, only to actually get into other games for various reasons (simpler, more abstract, etc.)

          2 votes
          1. cfabbro
            Link Parent
            Yeah, our current group is all RL friends of the DM... so we probably could have gotten away with playing whatever system we wanted. However one of the group is brand new to tabletop roleplaying,...

            Yeah, our current group is all RL friends of the DM... so we probably could have gotten away with playing whatever system we wanted. However one of the group is brand new to tabletop roleplaying, and another has only played one short campaign with us before, so it may have been too overwhelming for them had we gone with anything else. But now that we are several months into the campaign and they are more comfortable with D&D, and roleplaying in general, we are finally tweaking the system to our taste. And if they enjoy that, then hopefully when this campaign finally ends we will be able to convince them to give another system a try next time. We shall see. :)

            1 vote
    3. [2]
      tool
      Link Parent
      Do you find the paid version of roll20 worth it? I've been teetering on the edge of getting a Pro account for a couple weeks now.

      and I completely customized the character sheets on roll20

      Do you find the paid version of roll20 worth it? I've been teetering on the edge of getting a Pro account for a couple weeks now.

      2 votes
      1. cfabbro
        Link Parent
        Honestly? Not really, unless you absolutely need access to the API and custom character sheets like we do. $9.99/mo or $100/yr is really steep considering what you get, IMO.

        Honestly? Not really, unless you absolutely need access to the API and custom character sheets like we do. $9.99/mo or $100/yr is really steep considering what you get, IMO.

        1 vote
  2. [10]
    aphoenix
    Link
    I'm always looking for new board games to pick up. I'm starting to look ahead at Christmas and the gift option for my wife. She loves Ticket to Ride, Splendour, and Catan. She dislikes games that...

    I'm always looking for new board games to pick up. I'm starting to look ahead at Christmas and the gift option for my wife. She loves Ticket to Ride, Splendour, and Catan. She dislikes games that have a steep learning curve... or a moderate learning curve. Ideally, she'd play games she already knows how to play, but she also wants to know how to play games that are different. She just hates learning new games, so things that are really easy to get into are really helpful. It would be nice if it was good for two players, but we've created our own players to play with us, so it's also good to accommodate a few more. Kid friendly isn't particularly necessary, but a nice bonus.

    5 votes
    1. [3]
      KapteinB
      Link Parent
      Carcassonne might be a good fit. Easy to learn, fun to play, and generally considered one of the best two-player games. There are also some good expansions for Catan that might be worth looking into.

      Carcassonne might be a good fit. Easy to learn, fun to play, and generally considered one of the best two-player games.

      There are also some good expansions for Catan that might be worth looking into.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        aphoenix
        Link Parent
        I love Cities & Knights - I think it's one of the finest expansions to a board game. It fixes all the things I find awkward about the base game, and gives you options on how to move forward...

        I love Cities & Knights - I think it's one of the finest expansions to a board game. It fixes all the things I find awkward about the base game, and gives you options on how to move forward strategically, with options to mitigate the randomness. My wife prefers the base game (I think mostly because it's shorter). I've thought about getting Seafarers or one of the other expansions; any in particular that you'd recommend?

        I've only played a game or two of Carcassonne, but I recall enjoying it a lot. Another great suggestion!

        1 vote
        1. KapteinB
          Link Parent
          I agree on Cities & Knights, but some of my friends don't like it, and I think the reason why is because it adds quite a bit of complexity to a game that many like for how easy it is to learn and...

          I agree on Cities & Knights, but some of my friends don't like it, and I think the reason why is because it adds quite a bit of complexity to a game that many like for how easy it is to learn and remember the rules of. Seafarers might be a better fit. It adds a bit of variety, but adds very little complexity.

          2 votes
    2. [4]
      Deimos
      Link Parent
      Have you played Dominion with her at all? The mechanics are pretty straightforward (depending how many expansions you add), but there's quite a bit of strategy and variance to it from the...

      Have you played Dominion with her at all? The mechanics are pretty straightforward (depending how many expansions you add), but there's quite a bit of strategy and variance to it from the different selection of cards in each game.

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        aphoenix
        Link Parent
        We have the base game; my brother was raving about some of the expansions the other day. We haven't played it together in a couple of years (not really sure why - I've played it with others) but I...

        We have the base game; my brother was raving about some of the expansions the other day. We haven't played it together in a couple of years (not really sure why - I've played it with others) but I recall it being really quite good for 2 players, which would be great. Thanks! Have you played any of the expansions? Do you have any particular recommendations about them?

        2 votes
        1. KapteinB
          Link Parent
          I've played most of the expansions, and I prefer the earlier ones. The later expansions have a lot of cards that make the game last much longer; too long in my personal opinion.

          I've played most of the expansions, and I prefer the earlier ones. The later expansions have a lot of cards that make the game last much longer; too long in my personal opinion.

          2 votes
        2. Deimos
          Link Parent
          We used to play it a lot, and we have all the early expansions. Looking at the list on Wikipedia, we have everything up to Dark Ages. The one after that was originally intended to be the final...

          We used to play it a lot, and we have all the early expansions. Looking at the list on Wikipedia, we have everything up to Dark Ages. The one after that was originally intended to be the final expansion, but they've kept going, so I guess I haven't played any of the 5 latest ones now.

          From the ones I've played, if I was going to pick a single one it would probably be Prosperity. I think that's always been considered the best expansion overall. Other than that, I remember also liking Seaside and Dark Ages. One thing I especially liked from Dark Ages is that it had some new cards that you'd use in your starting deck to replace the three Estates, which was a little more interesting. I'd also strongly recommend avoiding the Alchemy expansion.

          2 votes
    3. [2]
      euphoria066
      Link Parent
      Have you played Century (spice road - there's a new one but I haven't played it yet so can't vouch for it)? She might love it because it's the same basic mechanic as Splendor, so she actually...

      Have you played Century (spice road - there's a new one but I haven't played it yet so can't vouch for it)? She might love it because it's the same basic mechanic as Splendor, so she actually would already kind of know how to play! But it has a few extra things to do and is overall a more fully fledged game. We have the golem edition and it would be my recommendation to get because the art is nice and you play with coloured resin crystals instead of painted wooden cubes, which is a pretty significant upgrade on the visuals!

      2 votes
      1. aphoenix
        Link Parent
        We haven't played that! Looks pretty great, I'll check it out. The golem edition looks especially beautiful. Thanks for the recommendation - this really panned out (got several great leads!)

        We haven't played that! Looks pretty great, I'll check it out. The golem edition looks especially beautiful.

        Thanks for the recommendation - this really panned out (got several great leads!)

        1 vote
  3. [2]
    JXM
    Link
    In case anyone hasn’t seen it, they are coming out with a “simplified” version of Gloomhaven. I think this is great, since the sheer size and scope of Gloomhaven can be a little off putting for...

    In case anyone hasn’t seen it, they are coming out with a “simplified” version of Gloomhaven.

    I think this is great, since the sheer size and scope of Gloomhaven can be a little off putting for new/potential players.

    How do others feel about simplified versions of games like this?

    5 votes
    1. aphoenix
      Link Parent
      I still haven't tried the base game; it's on a list of things I want to try out, but nobody in the circle of people I play with owns it. I think that games with simplified versions that act as...

      I still haven't tried the base game; it's on a list of things I want to try out, but nobody in the circle of people I play with owns it.

      I think that games with simplified versions that act as introductions can be great, or even alternate ways to play. Anachrony is a game that I enjoy greatly and has some simplified rules to get you started, and then increasingly difficult things you can add in to make the game more complex. It also has rules for a one player variant. That's a bit different from this, obviously, but I still like the idea of introducing people to core concepts and then adding on to them to make the game fuller.

  4. aphoenix
    Link
    Fluff: @Deimos I think this is genericked enough to be added as a weekly thread as is, if you are so inclined (and I'd obviously be open to having it changed / reworded if other people have...

    Fluff: @Deimos I think this is genericked enough to be added as a weekly thread as is, if you are so inclined (and I'd obviously be open to having it changed / reworded if other people have suggestions).

    4 votes
  5. ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    I'm making a tabletop RPG system. It's for an episodic story about a group of people playing a tabletop RPG. I needed something I'd be able to understand through and through, and learning outside...

    I'm making a tabletop RPG system.

    It's for an episodic story about a group of people playing a tabletop RPG. I needed something I'd be able to understand through and through, and learning outside systems has never been a good source of those.

    It's experimental. It keeps as few numbers and number-like stats as possible, and handles most character aspects with feat-like traits. HP has been replaced with wounds – where the opponents roll to see whether they inflict one, each turn, until one of them of them is near-death or dead – and D&D-esque "power X times per day" has been replaced with stamina – where the character may use as many of any ability as they like, as long as they have the stamina to afford it until the next rest.

    Characters "purchase" skill development with passing time. The system features time skips prominently. One level of ability = one month of free time (which is time passed / 3, as in – 8 hours per day of free time). Ability @ level 5 costs 5 months. It's the best I could come up with without having to handle XP.

    4 votes
  6. rmgr
    Link
    I haven't had a chance to try it yet but I've been fascinated by Grimdark Future and Grimdark Future: Firefight. They're free totally original and not knocked off from any properties produced by a...

    I haven't had a chance to try it yet but I've been fascinated by Grimdark Future and Grimdark Future: Firefight. They're free totally original and not knocked off from any properties produced by a workshop wargames. The ruleset fits on a single page so I reckon I have a chance to convince my fiance to play!

    3 votes
  7. [6]
    samwasdroppingeaves
    Link
    Has anyone played Twilight Imperium? I’ve only heard of it through rumor and hushed whispers. I get that it’s a particularly long game and, honestly, that kind of appeals to me. But I was hoping...

    Has anyone played Twilight Imperium? I’ve only heard of it through rumor and hushed whispers. I get that it’s a particularly long game and, honestly, that kind of appeals to me. But I was hoping to get some feedback from folks who may have actually tackled that behemoth at some point.

    3 votes
    1. [5]
      spctrvl
      Link Parent
      Yeah, I've played it. It's a little clunky and rules heavy, and very long, but fun if you can get the right group together. Optimal number of players is 5 for length, do you have specific questions?

      Yeah, I've played it. It's a little clunky and rules heavy, and very long, but fun if you can get the right group together. Optimal number of players is 5 for length, do you have specific questions?

      2 votes
      1. [4]
        samwasdroppingeaves
        Link Parent
        Do you think someone relatively new to tabletop gaming would be able to pick it up? Or is it something we’d want to eventually work up to? I’ve got a group that I’d like to introduce to it but so...

        Do you think someone relatively new to tabletop gaming would be able to pick it up? Or is it something we’d want to eventually work up to? I’ve got a group that I’d like to introduce to it but so far, for most of them, they’ve only played Catan, Fallout, and Betrayal at House on the Hill.

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          spctrvl
          Link Parent
          Honestly, it's gonna be a chore to learn regardless of past board game experience, not a lot is going to transfer. Enthusiasm is more important, make sure everyone's into it, because I've never...

          Honestly, it's gonna be a chore to learn regardless of past board game experience, not a lot is going to transfer. Enthusiasm is more important, make sure everyone's into it, because I've never had a game shorter than 6 hours. First will probably be longer.

          3 votes
          1. KapteinB
            Link Parent
            I think I disagree. Now, it's been a while since I played this game, but I recall the role system being quite similar to the one in Puerto Rico, the combat to be a bit like the one in Axis &...

            it's gonna be a chore to learn regardless of past board game experience, not a lot is going to transfer.

            I think I disagree. Now, it's been a while since I played this game, but I recall the role system being quite similar to the one in Puerto Rico, the combat to be a bit like the one in Axis & Allies, and I vaguely recall a bidding mechanic very similar to the one in Game of Thrones.

            1 vote