If you had asked me in March if I thought we’d still be in the midst of a pandemic in August, I would have said no. I don’t think my brain could comprehend that 5 months later I’d still be working from home and missing out on some gaming events I expected to attend. Board games are still important, though; thankfully there are many games that work well with 2 players, and I have been doing more on-line gaming than I ever dreamed I would. At the start of the pandemic I had zero interest in playing any “live” board games online; I always have a few turn-based games going, but the idea of spending 2 hours in front of my computer moving pieces online seemed terrible. Fast forward a month and I was signed up on several sites and had downloaded Steam. I’d still rather be playing in person, but I do appreciate the multiple opportunities to “see” some of my favorite people.
SENTINELS OF THE MULTIVERSE PAIRED WITH KINGS COUNTY BREWERS COLLECTIVE SUPERHERO SIDEKICK
Sentinels of the Multiverse is a cooperative card-game where each player is a different superhero, working with their superhero friends to defeat an evil villain. You can read our full review of the game here; it came out way back in 2012, but it’s a game that still hits the table for me 3 or 4 times a year, despite it taking up an entire game bag all by itself.
I was very curious to see how this would work online, since it seemed like it would be too much information to look at, making it too hard to follow. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The implementation is very well done, and it is fairly easy to figure out how to look at the villain, and environment. Some of the tasks are a little less intuitive, but after a couple of rounds became clear. During our first game the only real difference was that all the other players could see your hand of cards, not just the cards you have already played. I found this frustrating, since that meant I had other players talking to me and telling me what to do while I was trying to think about my hand, but it turns out you have the option of making everyone’s hand cards private; we did this for a later game and I was much happier. The graphics added to my enjoyment of the game, and I look forward to playing this one again soon.
I paired my playing of this with a Superhero Sidekicks from King’s County Brewer’s Collective. Massachusetts now allows beer and wine sales with takeout, and this was available when we treated yourself to takeout from our favorite restaurant. I fully admit that I bought it to pair with a game; I didn’t have a specific one in mind at the time, but we have several that would work. Sentinels was the first game to come up.
The beer is an IPA and is very hoppy; it has a nice, orange flavor with some mild bitterness at the end. I had to check to make sure it wasn’t an imperial IPA as I really felt I could taste the alcohol (it is not); It is a solid IPA and I quite enjoyed it.
ELDRITCH HORROR PAIRED WITH NIGHT SHIFT COFFEE DARKLING
I am all about tradition when it comes to board games; I love that I have certain friends with whom I have an annual date to play a particular game, whether that’s Homas Tour during the Tour de France or the annual date I have to teach my friend Bruce a game he doesn’t know at a con we go to. Eldritch Horror is a game I play just about every year with the same group of people, although we do sometimes vary and play Arkham Horror, which we once did with 10 people and 2 boards, but that’s a story for another day. Thanks to the wonders of Discord, Tabletopia and some awesome friends we were actually able to keep the tradition going this year. It doesn’t look like we have ever done a review of Eldritch Horror here at the Opinionated Gamers, and it would take quite a while to describe. The short version is that it is a monster-fighting cooperative game based on the writings of HP Lovecraft.
My friend Tim ran it on Tabletop Simulator, and anyone who wanted to could follow along there. However, all of the other households participating had a physical copy set up on their table. Our table was deemed the “master” table, so we could keep track of who had what characters, equipment etc. in case of TTS failure, but everyone ended up setting up their own board to keep up with what was happening. We created a Discord channel for video and communication, since there is a lot of reading of cards and discussion about what to do. It was a blast. Everything worked fairly well, except for the part where we were devoured by Cthulhu. . . . .
I paired this with a Darkling Coffee from Night Shift Brewing Company. The Darkling is one of the best stouts I have ever had, so I was curious to try the coffee version and it was quite good, although it won’t replace the “plain” Darkling. It is an American-style imperial stout; it was almost black, with hints of coffee, whisky and a little too much sweetness for my taste normally, but after a few sips the sweetness faded a bit, or maybe I just got used to it. Eldritch Horror is a long game, so it was good to have a slow sipper in my glass.
MARACAIBO PAIRED WITH RUMSON’S GOLDEN RUM
ot all of my gaming is on-line; more often than not our Sunday afternoons are devoted to board gaming, and sometimes our Saturdays are, too. At the end of my last post on beer and board game pairings I asked for suggestions for a beer that would pair with Maracaibo, since we are playing our way through the campaign. No one had a beer suggestion, but Larry suggested that there was an obvious choice – rum! Well, we just happened to have an unopened bottle sitting in our liquor cabinet, so I took that suggestion to heart.
You can read my full review of Maracaibo here. The basis of the game is that you are sailing through the Caribbean taking actions in pursuit of the goals set forth by the campaign (or you can play it as a one-off minus the story). I loved the game when we first started playing it, and I still do. There are lots of things to do even in just the basic game, but with the storyline it never feels stale thanks to the fact that the campaign adds different elements, characters and goals every round.
Memories of cheap rum consumed in college had led me to believe I don’t like rum, but it turns out I just have higher-quality taste, and I do like this one. However, I didn’t want to just drink it straight. I looked to see if there were any well-known Venezuelan rum drinks, since Maracaibo is in Venezuela, and there are – but they all involved ingredients we didn’t have on hand. We did, however, have a crazy amount of limes, so after some more research we settled on a version of a Caipirinha, which normally uses something called cachaca, but rum can be substituted. You muddle some limes and sugar together in a glass, and then add ice and rum. It was delicious, but too strong for more than just one, so our lime surplus continues.
THOUGHTS OF OTHER OPINIONATED GAMERS
Mark Jackson: I have no thought on the beer… seems like a lousy idea to ask a (former) Baptist pastor about beer preferences. (Now would be a good time to suggest the song “Hide the Beer, The Pastor’s Here” by The Swirling Eddies.)
I do, however, have thoughts on Sentinels of the Multiverse using the app. I have been pleasantly surprised at how well it works, both as a solo way to play and as a pretty enjoyable multi-player game. The simpler characters are better – primarily because of how long a turn can take with some of the more complicated characters (Benchmark and Akash’Thriya, I’m looking at you.)
And for enjoyment, play Guise with the sound on. (“Avenge meeeeee!”)
Larry: Glad the rum suggestion worked out, Tery. Yo, ho, ho!
Matt C: My eldest would play Sentinels with his distant friend. It seemed to work well enough once they were up and running. However, when it first came out, it was almost shameful how hard it was to get each other into the same game and room. (You had to type in the game room name & number precisely and the names provided were not exactly user-friendly.) While I appreciated the attempt at theme, I found it far more unwieldy than it should have been.
Greg S: I was not a fan of Sentinels of the Multiverse (too fiddly), but somewhat enjoyed my one-and-only play of Eldritch Horror. Normally, that is not my style of game, but I am such an H.P. Lovecraft fan that I find myself willing to overlook normally unsatisfactory aspects of games that are based on his works.
On the other hand, I am completely intrigued by the Darkling series of Imperial Stouts. I must have one!