The Actual Table


Yeah, I love the different routes to victory.

I had a guy who gave me a VP for each paid debt, so I also went deep into the black market (and also took debts to rescue workers before they could be sold).

I ended up getting a fair number of points from two end-game scoring apprentices (the debt collector and one other one), but I didn’t balance well and still ended up a distant third.

If you’re going bad, you have to really make sure you do what it takes to make it worth it (and drag yourself out of the Virtue basement too)


I picked up Illimat recently on a flimsy excuse, and it’s a bit of an eye-catcher. It looks like something old, if not archaic, as if some 14th century goth tried to put together a card game with rather more pagan leanings than was strictly allowed by the church, using the standard deck organisation, but featuring Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Stars as suits, and knights, kings, queens, and fools as face cards. It’s equal parts familiar and strange, well-designed with pleasingly tactile pieces and nice, if odd, art.

My Songbirds KS also arrived, which means it’s time to break that in. Right up there with Arboretum.



Completely killed my interest.



I didn’t get too much in over the holidays, but TFM Prelude got a good workout and has become an essential part of the game; Colonies has been played enough to sate me for now, and Peloton & Meteo have kept Flamme Rouge featured every session.


I just played my first game of Betrayal at the House on the Hill.

Turn 2: I failed my check to exit a room unscathed, got stabbed, moved into a collapsing room and failed that check and fell into the basement taking more physical damage, into a room where slime came out of the walls causing mental damage. Next player draws an event where everyone in the basement (me) takes more psychic damage. So, I ended up taking 7 dice of damage on that turn and basically all my stats were reduced to the lowest possible level at the start of the game, lasting for the whole game, before the haunt was even close to happening, and never found a single item card.

At first, I was like, “this game sucks”. But then, I was like, “let’s role-play this” and I eventually crawled my way upstairs and was like, “guys, don’t go down there”. There was a hidden traitor on the haunt, who won easily, but it was still fun to try to figure out who it was. I would try again, it can only get better from there.


That’s some classic Betrayal. If you can take that, you should be fine with anything else that happens in future games, but at least one player getting stuck in the basement is a regular occurrence. Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate is a more even experience, but it’s still Betrayal and still has “You fall and break all your legs.” moments.

We had a game on New Year’s, which I won easily as the traitor. Me, my mummy, and my child bride lived happily ever after in undeath. Anticlimactic ending, which is another of the game’s joys.


“Yes, that one. That one, too. And that one. That one? You better believe it’s broken. All of them.


That’s pretty much the best way (only?) to play Betrayal. And it’s one of the games I’ve played most in my life by far (it and Settlers of Catan)–it’s just so approachable on the surface or new players, and I enjoyed getting through all of the haunts. The Widow’s Walk expansion has better haunts (in many opinions) that seem to me often to encourage role playing.

Currently playing (slowly) through Betrayal Legacy with my group and really enjoying it.


Betrayal is a bit tricky, though, because you think onboarding a new gamer who’s not that into learning rules will be easy, and then the haunt comes early and she’s the traitor.

I’ve had a great time with it, but I feel like we’ve encountered enough unclarity in the rules and balance wonkiness that I hesitate to call it a good game. But, as I’ve always been playing other peope’s copies and Legacy seems to address my technical concerns, it’s very much on my radar in case my kids ever develop an interest in horror. It’s one of the few games I think even my wife has some fondness for.


I think the thing that makes Betrayal really work for new players in my experience has been the idea of building a haunted house, with weird things happening as you open new rooms (most bad, some good). New players don’t know what rooms are in the deck, and they don’t know what they could get if they find an item, so there’s a sort of minor excitement watching each turn. And also dread : ) But it’s a pretty simple game pre-haunt–open rooms to build a house and deal with what those rooms may hold, hopefully improving your character.

I agree that novices can struggle with some haunts–there are a fair number that suddenly make the game rather fiddly and/or add too much of an over-the-top horror factor. I don’t mind fiddly, but as much as I love the game, I only feel like I tolerate its periodic leaning too far into the heavy horror.

I think the “pay attention to everyone’s turn” factor is what it has in common with Settlers, and I think (in my experience) that is a key attribute for pulling in new gamers. It allows other factors to be forgivable because there’s no real downtime (or at least much less than most other games).

As for playing Betrayal with kids, I feel like if they can do a kids’ version of Scythe, they should be able to make a Betrayal Junior! Another great idea for some developer. Please make royalty checks payable to Stately Play.


I did my “New to Me: December” post today. Only three new expansions played in December and no actual games, but I guess it’s not surprising.

All three expansions were great, though.


Finally joining the party, late as usual, but got Arkham Horror: The Card Game over Christmas, going to learn it this weekend. If all goes well, can get started on the Dunwich Legacy campaign since I also have the initial big expansion that starts the campaign off. :sunglasses:


We got in some Betrayal, some Letters from Whitechapel, and my personal favourite, an extremely narrow win for me, and a very tight game overall, in Terraforming Mars (+ Prelude).

I was disgusted to be robbed of not just a milestone, but a milestone and an award, and at one point I had my engine ruined for me by my own arrogance. I must remember how important energy is. Prelude is an absolute delight, not only speeding up the game but adding more power to starting choices and making each game’s iteration of each corporation more unique.


“Friday, September 18, 1925. Arkham, Massachussetts.”
“Over the past few weeks, several townspeople have mysteriously gone missing. Recently, their corpses turned up in the woods, savaged and half-eaten. The police and newspapers have stated that wild animals are responsible, but you believe there is something else going on.”

My recently acquired Arkham Horror: The Card Game, made it to the table! I played the initial introductory scenario, The Gathering, this weekend. I followed the excellent Learn to Play guide included with the game, using the recommended investigator, Roland Banks, AKA “The Fed”:

I used the recommended starter deck listed in the guide, and felt like my opening hand was good, given that I had a .45 Automatic as an asset and Dr. Milan Christopher, Professor of Entomology at Miskatonic University, as an ally, so did not take a mulligan on the hand.

I then find myself, late at night on Friday, September 18, 1925, in my house’s Study, researching the bloody disappearances, when strange chanting starts coming from the Parlor down the hall, while at the same time “hear dirt churning, as if something were digging beneath the floor.” The Study door disappears, and we’re trapped, needing to investigate the room to find clues to discover a way out of the Study.

I bring Dr. Milan Christopher into play, as well as relying on my Physical Training to assist in expected altercations. I’m working on the resources needed to bring my .45 Automatic into play, hopefully before tougher opponents arrive.

Successfully finding a way out of the Study, we advance into the Hallway, where we encounter a Swarm of Rats and are in a fight:

Defeating the Swarm of Rats, we then move into the Cellar to investigate the situation, which is not good. Fighting off a Ghoul Minion, discovering Rotting Remains, as well as making the questionable decision to investigate without the benefit of a Flashlight, leads to physical damage and mounting horror.

The situation continues to deteriorate, as we encounter an Icy Ghoul in the Cellar, but fortunately we had our .45 Automatic out now to assist in our fight:

We were successful in defeating the Icy Ghoul, but the horror of encountering Grasping Hands in the Cellar continues to take a toll. Fortunately, we were able to find a Flashlight, which was instrumental in helping us finish our investigations of the Cellar.

We then made our way to the Attic to continue our investigations, and finally with enough clues gathered were able to access the Parlor. With increasing opposition, we completely depleted our .45 Automatic, Dr. Milan Christopher was defeated, as was a Beat Cop who came to our aid.

We barely escaped with our sanity, the mounting horror was within one more negative experience of the horror defeating Roland Banks. Physically, Roland Banks was doing okay, but it was only the intervention of Dr. Milan Christopher, and the timely arrival of the Beat Cop, that allowed Roland Banks to persevere as they went down taking the brunt of horror that would otherwise have eliminated Roland Banks. :grimacing:

No surprise that FFG has once again delivered on excellent quality components. :+1:

The atmosphere of the game was excellent, the gameplay, artwork, text, and scenario construction did a great job of providing a quality Lovecraftian feel and experience. The designers/developers hit a home run with this one, I can see where this game is deservedly ranked so high on BoardGameGeek. :sunglasses:

I went with the Standard difficulty for the 16 tokens placed in the “chaos bag”, as listed in the Learn to Play guide, but given my narrow escape for the introductory scenario, I can see where I’ll lose investigators along the way in playing the campaign. For harder scenarios, I can also see where I might be tempted to try the Easy difficulty in the future. I appreciate that the designers/developers have provided Easy, Standard, Hard, and Expert difficulty options for populating the chaos bag. :+1:

:sunglasses: I really enjoyed my initial scenario, I’m looking forward to playing the other scenarios and working my way through the campaign as my investigators gain experience and are able to put that to use in acquiring more advanced cards and developing their investigator decks.


You’re aware that you can mulligan individual cards from your opening hand, rather than all or nothing, right? (If nothing else, it’s probably worth digging for an Emergency Cache so that you can afford to play both those pricey assets…)

Welcome to the obsession!


“The situation in the cellar was not good” seems like it would be an overused epitaph in Arkham Cemetery.


I did see that in the rules, which I felt they did an excellent job with introducing me to the game, but not knowing what was what I saw I had some good cards so went with it … as you say, next time I’ll mulligan cards that I don’t see an immediate benefit from for a chance at an Emergency Cache and a Flashlight! :grin:


How many times do you go into a Lovecraftian cellar and are just like “Oh, everything’s cool.”

Fucking never.