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Monday, 20 April 2015

Video Game High School: The Board Game

A boardgame that's really about playing video games in a high school. Sounds like my kind of high school. And apparently based on a live action web series. 

So VGHS is a worker placement game, much like Lords of Waterdeep and Agricola. Except even more random. Why? Because a lot of things are decided by dice as well as the character you're playing.

In VGHS, you pick one of several characters, each with their own special unique ability as well as special character cards that you can use during play. Each character card has different beneficial powers and once you use them, they're gone (usually. There is a tile that gives you back 1 card if you place a worker there)
Then there are the dice. The dice determines what kind of resources you'll have for that turn. That's right, instead of gaining resources normally by placing things somewhere, you'll get resources by rolling the dice. Each player has 5 dice and you can reroll them up to 2x. 

Every turn, there will be a challenge given to all the players. Players who want to complete that challenge will have to spend a worker and then spend the necessary resources to complete that challenge. Challenges have bonuses if you complete them and penalties if you fail. In general, some challenges can be utterly pointless to you at the point of time (such as discarding unused character cards if you've already used all your character cards). 

You also have the ability to get more resources by getting either permanent or temporary resource tokens. Permanent ones stay with you forever (but are still only useable once a turn) while temporary ones go away once you use them. However, these can provide powerful boosts when you need them and honestly, after a while, the permanent tokens seem kind of broken in a way since you can also use them to increase your VP. 

And then there's the main way of gaining VP in this game. Which is by playing video games.Every turn, players can send their workers to play a videogame (of which there are 5 categories). Each videogame keys off a specific resource and you spend that resource to score points in the game. For each point you score, your own VP increases by 1. If there are any bonus points on that game, you also score those as well. Even temporary and permanent resource tokens can be used to gain points. However, each video game can only have 1 player on it, so the early players can block the later players from gaining points if need be. 

Once your rank in the game hits 1, the game ends immediately. How does that happen? Well, characters usually start at Rank 50 and for each point they score, they go down 1 rank. However, characters can not share the same rank so when someone advances to a rank where there's already another character, the latter character is bumped down 1 rank. 

Overall, this is a pretty short and simple game. It's interesting but in terms of worker placement games, I think I still prefer Lords of Waterdeep and Agricola. There just seems like there are too many random mechanics in this game to make it a really good worker placement game.