With isolation and limited ability to go outside the home, I find myself in a position (along with the rest of you) of nervousness and boredom. One can only watch so much Netflix before you develop bedsores and a stiff neck! So, I’ve set myself a challenge to play at least one board game a day during this time and if possible pair it with a good beer, wine, or cocktail. Why not! Feel free to play along. Today marks day 9 of quasi-quarantine Just so my readers know, I’m not actually in quarantine yet–I’m a pediatrician and am still going into work on my regular work days. So while I’m not technically stuck at home, I am in a high-stress work environment these days and really need game playing as an outlet when I get home.
Yesterday’s game was Aeon’s End from Indie Boards and Cards. This is a new one for me, having bought this used from Minneapolis game store All Systems Go recently. The set I bought contained the base game, a large box expansion, and 4 small box expansions, with half of these pre-sleeved! It took me a while to get things organized but this is a lot of game for the price I paid!
This is a cooperative deck building game, but with a few twists to make it different enough to play than some of the others I own. 1-4 players take the role of different Breach Mage taking the appropriate player mat and 4 Breach cards. Each character has a set starting hand and deck that you make up at the start of the game. You then set up a monstrous creature that is attempting to destroy your city (Gravehold) which has a set number of life points. When the city is dead you lose the game. Each monster also has a lifepoint value and dial to keep track of this. Each monster has a deck of bad things for it to do to you and your city, populated by special monster-specific cards and some generic monster cards. These include powers, minions, and attacks. And each monster also has some special powers or deck to make them all stand out from each other.
On your turn, you start by firing off attack spells that you prepped to one of your open breaches last round. Then you use your gem cards to create Aether: points to buy new cards for your deck. These cards end up in your discard pile and eventually back into your hand–improving your chances of stronger spells and gems for later use. There is a set of 9 recruitable cards that is shared among the players and include gems, spells, and relics to beef up your deck. Interestingly, when you need to draw cards and are out–normal games would have you shuffle your discard pile–but Aeon’s end has you just flip your discard and it is now your draw deck.
As you play, you can spend Aether to open more breaches to cast more and stronger spells each round. You can also spend point to gain charges on your character special ability which will give a strong effect once used.
To pair with this game of evil monsters coming through gates to destroy your city, I chose Surly Pentagram–a dark sour ale aged in wine barrels. This was a 2009 vintage so has had some time in my cellar waiting for just this moment to escape and cause havok! This tart and complex beer has held up remarkably well, not much worse for wear after 10 years. A suitably demonic brew for this game!
Our game was against the foul Crooked Mask, a daemon bent on filling our decks with corruption cards that affect you every time you end up with them in your hand. This guy was not cool. At one point I had 1 worthless gem and 4 corruption cards in my hand of 5 cards. With some fancy footwork Sarajo managed to use a special skill to cast one of my prepped spells early and finished off the beast before he took out Gravehold. It was close!
Overall, we really like this game–only our second playthrough. It plays fairly quickly, in about an hour for two unexperienced players, plus some work setting up the hands and decks. I think this will become a frequent flyer on our table.
So there is Day 9 for you! Keep Calm and Play Games!