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3rd March 2021: Being An Absolute Dick

At some point during summer last year, I watched someone on Youtube play a board game where you play as a detective, and have to go around a map of Los Angeles and solve a murder. I was very intrigued, but when I looked into it I found the game was Kickstarter only, and was seemingly not coming to retail in the UK at all. So I pretty much forgot about it.

Puttin' in some sleuthin' time

Puttin' in some sleuthin' time

Cut to early this year, and it popped into my brain again for some reason. Of course, I had forgotten what it was called, and all my searches brought up other detective games. Then as luck would have it, I was watching the Dice Tower's Top 100 games a little while back, and this game got mentioned. After another search for info, I found not only had the developers of the game gone back on their original decision not to release the game at retail, but that it was already available, though at quite some cost. Nevertheless, I quickly decided to put in an order before I regretted not taking the chance.

A few days later, the game arrived and my journey commenced. A journey I have now completed.

This game is called Detective: City Of Angels.

And now that I'm all done with my play through of the base game and its expansion, Bullets Over Hollywood, using the "sleuth" solo mode, I thought I'd share some thoughts about it, as well as reveal how well (or how badly) I performed as a 1940s dick.

Blood On The Pier
First up was the intro case. It took a little while to get into it, and I ran out of time, going all the way to the final guess marker. I was sure of two of the three solution "elements", but had to do a 50/50 guess between two suspects I could not choose between. Luckily I got it all right. It felt like a good start.
Murder At Sunset
In this one, I was onto the murderer right from the get go, and it was all about learning more information just to make sure I wasn't barking up the wrong tree. I'd got the wrong motive in my head for most of the game, until I learned something else with two days left, after which I quickly solved the case correctly.
Heist To Nowhere
This one was a bit different as you were looking for stolen money rather than a murderer. I somehow found the cash with 3 days left, though I felt I was stabbing in the dark with little idea of what had really happened other than vague assumptions.
Bloody Christmas
This was the first of the 3 medium cases in the core box, and the first one that I ran out of time and made an incorrect guess. I got it right with my second guess during the first overtime period, but never felt like I had all the facts.
The Last Embrace
I ran this one down to the final guess marker again, but this time had just about managed to piece enough info together to get it right with my first guess. Looking back, this was one of my favourite cases, as it at least gave some solid info to go on rather than leaving you to make wild assumptions.
Murder On All Hallows' Eve
I loved the reveals in this one, but it was the first case where I did not gain a single stress marker, and solved it quite easily with three days to go.
El Fantasma
In the first hard case, there was no need to find a weapon, but rather the location where the next crime would take place. It was hard to get any info at first, and it had me moving all over the board trying to uncover things. When my time ran out I only knew the location, but had no idea of suspect or motive. I literally guessed at the suspect based on what car I thought they would drive, and randomly guessed the motive. Somehow all three things ended up being right.
Detecting more stuff

Detecting more stuff

The Final Strikeout
My, how different this was from the first hard one, as this really wasn't hard at all. It just seemed very obvious who had done it and why, and I played just to convince myself I was right. I solved with 5 days left, and got it right. I mean, the suspect straight up admits what they did when you question them. Where was the "investigation" here?
The Black King
Now this was more like the difficulty I was expecting for hard. I started out great with all the new puzzles, but getting info out of the characters was like trying to get blood from a rock. This was the first one I failed to solve, even after using all 3 allowed guesses. I was disappointed (and a bit annoyed at myself) when I found out the answer, as on my first guess I'd only got the motive wrong, but being incorrect had turned me in other directions for my other guesses. Oh well.
Crimson Obsession
Unfortunately, I could not complete the first case of the expansion, because as soon as I started to play it, it seemed very familiar. Then I remembered this was the case I watched being played on Youtube months ago, and when I realised that I immediately remembered the solution. Oh well.
Christmas In July
I was assuming the correct answer for a large chunk of this game, but before I made my guess I checked how blank bullets work on the internet. That info turned me away from the solution, as blanks don't really work the way this case makes them out to. With my final guess in 2nd overtime, I went with my original assumption and it was right. I sighed hard with diappointment. Probably the shoddiest writing of all of them in this one.
The Masterpiece Of Madrid
I really liked the addition of the puzzles in this one, and I quickly had strong suspicions that turned out to be true. However, I first had to solve all the puzzles and gather all the clues, and just made it by the time I hit the final guess marker.
Requiem For A Gangster
I managed to scrounge enough info to make an educated guess at the first final guess marker, and managed to get it right. After this, I really wished I could have played as a detective in the full game mode.

Man, I loved the look and feel of this game, and think it's got some great ideas. However, the enjoyment I got out of it really did depend on the writing on a case to case basis. Some of them were really interesting, and made you feel like you were actually being a detective. Some of them were just downright janky.

I also think my experience was hampered a bit by playing it alone, and I'm hoping people I play it with in the future will enjoy it more with me playing as the Chisel.

My Detective adventure was not my only recent dabble into board gaming, as I've also found time to make and print my own version of Dead Last, which like the full version of Detective now awaits the time when lockdown is over.

Getting ready to ambush in Dead Last

Getting ready to ambush in Dead Last

We've also had a crack at some other "escape room" style games. First up was The Chair by Evadere. This was much like Clue Kingdom, being just a series of puzzles one after another, and not being very interesting. So after that, we returned to ClueHQ to play their Warp Core game, which again was much, much better. We were hampered a little during the play by Discord being an arse, and we failed by 3 minutes. Bum.
Still, I felt a lot more useful this time compared to when we did the train one.

Puzzling it out during The Chair

Puzzling it out during The Chair

Plotting the time for our escape

Plotting the time for our escape

Entering the warp core

Entering the warp core

What kind of console is this?

What kind of console is this?

Failing miserably this time

Failing miserably this time

11th February 2021: Lockdown Lowdown

It's been a long, frustrating time for fans of tabletop action such as I. This stupid fucking pandemic has meant that no dice chuckin', card shufflin', or miniature mayhem has been going on in nearly a year.
Blows. Blows hard.

And yet, one or two occasional things have happened to help me get a little fix here and there.

On the boardgaming front, there have been a few efforts to play some games over the internet. In addition, I've recently picked up a pretty cool game called Detective, which is a deduction game set in 1940s LA. I've been playing through it in solo mode, to varying degrees of success. Looking forward to when we can all get together again, where I will be taking the Chisel role and messing with everyone else while they try and solve the cases.

I approve of this election. But then again, I <i>am</i> Hitler.

I approve of this election. But then again, I am Hitler.

Getting wrecked by werewolves

Getting wrecked by werewolves

Trying Colt Express

Trying Colt Express

On the trail of some hoodlums in Detective

On the trail of some hoodlums in Detective

For something different, we have also tried a couple of online escape rooms. We did a few of these a couple of years back and enjoyed them, so I was looking forward to diving into the web-based equivalents. Unfortunately, the first one, which was called Clue Kingdom, was very disappointing. Didn't really have an escape room feel at all, rather just a series of puzzles on consecutive web pages. I literally could have made it myself.

Thankfully, the one we tried a few weeks later was much better. Trapped On A Train by ClueHQ made it feel much more like an actual escape room, with 360o environments you can move between, and puzzles that all link to each other. Oh yeah, and a frickin countdown clock! What's the point of an escape room without one of those?
It was actually funny at the end, as the game claimed we had smashed it, whereas in reality we only had 22 seconds left. We cut it so close partly because of me, as just like in the first ever escape room I did in person, my usefulness tanked in the second half. Hopefully I'll do better when we inevitably go back and do their other room.

Figuring out a firefly puzzle

Figuring out a firefly puzzle

Let's talk to the Magic Tree

Let's talk to the Magic Tree

Trying to sort this lot out

Trying to sort this lot out

I don't think 22 seconds left is "Smashing it"

I don't think 22 seconds left is "Smashing it"

26th January 2020: You're Gonna Need A Bigger Shark

Over the last couple of weeks we've managed to play the new Jaws board game twice. Gotta say that, while it's got its flaws, everyone seems to quite like it. Inspired by its source material, though much more the film than the book, the game is split into two acts.

In the first act, the shark player uses hidden movement to swim around Amity Island and eat swimmers, while the human hunters search for the shark and try and stick it with barrels, as well as rescuing swimmers. Once the shark has eaten its fill, or once it has enough barrels attached to it, the game progresses to the second act.
The final confrontation plays out in the second act, as the shark tries to sink the Orca and kill the crew, while the crew attack back with their rifles, machetes and other equipment.

I'd read online before playing this that it is quite difficult for the shark to win, as the second act heavily favours the crew. While we've only played two games, this has certainly proven true so far, with the shark struggling to do enough damage to the boat before the crew bludgeon it to death with their hammers and baseball bats. I'm seriously thinking of tweaking the gameplay with some house rules, and maybe even making some custom resurface cards or ability cards that give the shark a bit more punch near the end.

The people of Amity attempt to survive the shark

The people of Amity attempt to survive the shark

A tense struggle on the water

A tense struggle on the water

The sequel begins

The sequel begins

The Orca takes some punishment

The Orca takes some punishment

Stupid Deaths is another board game we got to try recently. This is a short true or false game where players have to answer correctly in order to run away from the Grim Reaper who is stalking them around the board.

And also, I'm wondering how many more versions of Monopoly I will recieve as gifts? Seriously got to think of a way to combine them all into a faster and more entertaining mess of chaos and shenanigans.

Fearing the Reaper in Stupid Deaths

Fearing the Reaper in Stupid Deaths

Stebloke's many Monopolies

Stebloke's many Monopolies

30th November 2019: A Little Bit Of Gaming

At the start of the month, a couple of little things happened in the board gaming world. For starters, we played our first game of Marvel Legendary for quite a while. Facing Mysterio and the Clone Saga scheme, we ended up choosing a bad combination of heroes, who were quite expensive to recruit. We found it tough to get up our combos, especially as we had to discard down to 3 cards at multiple points. By the time we'd built up enough strength to start knocking down the mastermind, the villain deck ran out and we lost. Oh well, it was more of a refresher game anyway.

About the same time, I finally received this little beast:

Something to get our teeth into

Something to get our teeth into

When I originally pre-ordered it, I was only going to have to wait a few weeks for it. Ended up waiting 3 months. Not that it matters, as we haven't got round to trying it yet. But still.

12th October 2019: A Bit Risky

Back in June, we had our second attempt at Game Of Thrones Risk. I thought I'd do a lot better this time, what with actually knowing the rules and victory conditions. However it was not to be. Like the other two players in the game, I started with 5 reinforcements per turn, but Gareth started with a massive 9 reinforcements per turn. I took it upon myself to try and disrupt him before he got too powerful. Unfortunately, for the most part, the other players did not do this, and my war against Gareth's grey armies saw my little black dudes getting melted off the tabletop.

The game saw the reds, commanded by my niece, quietly take enough territory to become the strongest force on the map. Like Scoob did last time, this was mostly due to the conquest in the north. By the time the other players started to fully turn against her, it was too late.

I get smashed at Risk yet again

I get smashed at Risk yet again

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