Round Up: Simple Biologist and Board Games

Simple Biologist: A scientist puts out videos explaining the main concepts in papers put out by researchers.

Visiting a Board Game Cafe: Because apparently we have this, in NYC. A couple of friends and I had been planning on going for over half a year, but we got snowed out twice before finally accomplishing it. It was great, and we got to try out a few games that we really enjoyed playing.

Superfight – A card game where 2 players at a time draw character cards (like Iron Man, a pirate, or Chuck Norris) and attribute cards (like armed with a flamethrower, or thinks they’re invisible). They players will put together a character card and an attribute, playing it against the other player’s choices. Another random attribute is added to each character that their player is stuck with. Then both opponents argue why their character should win. The other players determine who gets the point, and the game moves on to pit another set of players against each other.

We had a massive amount of fun with this one. Because it’s so open to interpretation, the players really get to tailor the game to their specific group and their humor. Especially since we let each other discard cards we weren’t familiar with it, focusing only on the pop culture we liked. The game essentially provides the players with ridiculous scenarios to talk about, turning it into a joke-fest with your friends.

Ticket to Ride: Europe – A relatively simple strategy game where players build train routes across Europe to score points. We learned the rules pretty quickly, then set out building and trying to outscore each other. With only three players, there wasn’t a lot of blocking each other’s routes–or maybe it was because we as players focused more on completing our own goals than blocking the other players. I guess we just wanted to be nice to each other.

It was fun, and I really liked how quickly we cycled through turns. The game only let each player do one thing a turn, and it kept us moving at an enjoyable pace while strategizing over the most beneficial move.

And in case anyone was wondering, yes I did choose to play this game (and the next one) because of Tabletop:

Fury of Dracula – One player is Dracula, while the others are vampire hunters. The hunters search the map of Europe for Dracula, while Dracula moves secretly, leaving behind dangerous surprises in his wake. Half the battle is finding Dracula, but the other half is actually defeating him–which means hunters need to supply themselves with weapons capable of taking down their undead enemy, or combat will go poorly for them.

We didn’t get to finish this game, because it’s a long one. But we had a lot of fun even so. Reading through the instructions took a bit of investment–this game is not as simple as Ticket to Ride–but once we figured it out, it was fairly straightforward. We searched Europe for Dracula, ran into those nasty surprises he planted. Did a little bit of damage to Dracula himself, the one time we caught up with him. But then he got away, we needed to heal and resupply, and the game was nowhere near done.

In the end, we barely dented Dracula, but Dracula’s player was also frustrated that we kept clearing out her surprises before they became too bad. So we stopped at a bit of a stalemate. It was great, and the mechanic of never quite knowing where Dracula is added an element of uncertainty. I’d love to finish a game of this one day, and hopefully not draw quite so badly when I do.

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