Stalwart NAaT supporter DMExplains has done it again, tapping into my deepest, darkest desires with his choic of board game for me to open and play… and eventually teach to you! Here’s what was in the second of two boxes he sent.
Ladies and gentlemen… Hi. It’s Ryan from Nights Around a Table, and i’ve got this face on because i’m very very excited, because there’s this box down here… (kooky clown laugh) this mystery box, which came to me by way of a staunch supporter of the channel… a patron, uh, named DMExplains, AKA Dr Ben McPheron. who is an electrical engineering prof down in Americaland… uh… and he went and purchased two games for me and sent them my way because he thought i’d enjoy them, and they were kind of like a birthday/Christmas present, which is… how nice is that?! That’s so nice of him! And i did Mystery Unboxing numbers 1 and 2 when he sent a couple of other games earlier in the year, and this is, uh… number 3 should be up by now, and this is number 4. i accidentally peeked at number 3, and i just accidentally, as i went to start… hit play on this… hit record on this video, i accidentally peeked into the box and i saw what the game is, and i wanted to hit record as soon as possible so you can capture the excitement on my face… the PASSION for what i’m about to pull out of that box. But first, a word about DMExplains. Or two. DMExplains, like i mentioned: staunch supporter. Uh… patron of the channel. Has been a massive help in growing the community on the Discord server… if you want to hang out with him or me or anybody else who patronizes the channel… or doesn’t – you don’t have to be a patron to hang out there – um, those… that crew is playing games all the time online with each other. They’re giving you tips about how to play games solo better… it’s a really great place to be and to hang out, and everybody is lovely and wonderful! So i hope that you can join us there, and the link is at the bottom of your screen. Now, DMExplains, as i mentioned, is an electrical engineer. He’s got a YouTube channel… um, if you want to become smarter, and if you want to learn more about electrical engineering, he’s a science educator. He’s a professor. i don’t want you to think, though, that he’s somehow… um… his bona fides are are higher than mine (…?) when i do Board Games 101 videos? Like – you know – when i put on glasses and a corduroy jacket? Um… he… he has a doctorate, sure. i have a doctor-it… like, a d-o-c-t-o-r-dash-i-t, which is like the same… it’s just SPELLED differently, but it’s it’s basically the same thing! So we’re… we’re… it’s not like nuh… it’s… we’re more like here for… smarts… but i don’t know anything about electrical engineering, and if you’d like to know more, he will help you out. Head on over to his channel. Uh… should be throwing the link there, and i’ll throw one in the description. Meanwhile, what’s in the box, Ry? Well, let’s find out! Secret Mystery Unboxing number 4, and here it comes. (peppy mouth jazz) Unnnnnn listen to that sound! Nyyyeah the crinkle! Oh my gosh! Look how exciting this is! Ahhh-ha-ha! i’m losing my mind! Is it in frame? Yes, it is in frame! (Fronch accent) Black Angel! (Speaking American again) Black Angel. Do you know anything about this game? Well i sure do. Uh… and it’s funny, because i JUST got finished saying… i just shot Mystery Unboxing number 3. i don’t know how far i’m gonna space them out, but if you saw that one, you heard me say that one of the games that DMExplains picked up for me earlier was Pulsar 2849, which i was really excited to put through its paces, but since it’s COVID and i can’t leave the house and play board games with friends, i have to play board games (i “have” to play…) i LIKE playing board games with my… with my family, but they’re not always up for anything. Me? i’m up for anything. Them? If it involves spaceships, (lip trill) it’s a kind of a hard sell. My wife Cheryl, she digs spaceships in certain circumstances, and so it’s funny that the next game is all about spaceships. But oh my gosh, do i ever LOVE spaceships! Black Angel is a game by… oh my gosh. i wish i had time in advance of this video to learn how to pronounce the gentleman’s name. Sebastian uh… du Jardin. i think that means “of the garden.” Um… well let’s – you know – let’s look at the back of the box here. Whoosh! So there is a game that’s a precursor to this, and i believe it’s by Sebastian as well, but i could be wrong. And i’ve never played it. And it is one of the grand old games in modern board gamedom. It’s called Troyes, and it’s a dice worker placement game, i believe, and it’s well-loved. And i haven’t tried it yet, but i’m excited to. But… and then, out comes Black Angel, which apparently is very similar to Troyes: it’s a dice worker placement game, except instead of taking place in some weird, dry, medieval setting with, like, a medieval manuscript-y looking art style to it, it’s outer space! And my friend Doc got this game – he gets every game – and i went over to his house one day, and he had this set up on his table, and i was just like “Oh. MAN. Does that game look incredible set up!” Um… From what i understand of it, and he explained a little bit to me, there is a spaceship, and these are all tiles in the spaceship, and it’s kind of like… um… you know when they would, like… before they invented …wheels? i don’t even know what the heck i’m talking about… wh… in history, but how you roll something on logs, and you roll it across, and you take one log and you put it behind and put it behind and put it behind… is that how it goes? Or take one from the back and put it in the front? Sorry. If you’re going forward, yeah. That’s how it works. Um… i think that’s how the tiles in the spaceship work. You’re constantly adding one to the front and taking one away to simulate… um… the spaceship going through space. i think that’s it? And i think you’re only supposed to be able to put, like, three or four on the table, and i could be all wrong about this, but i think Doc had, like… he’s got this gorgeous board game table, and he had, like, every tile laid out so the whole expanse of the journey that the spaceship takes through space was all on the table, and it just… and it’s… the colouring… i like to go on about artwork, because i i’m a big art fan. Can’t draw to save my life, but i’d like to critique it… um but… can’t draw to save my life, but i’m still better than Klemens Franz. Uh… so i… what i like about it is that it… a lot of sci-fi games run the risk of looking extremely samey, don’t they? Um… so you look at Eclipse, and it’s a it’s a cool game, but i think it looks pretty… um… i think it looks pretty bland, and sort of disappears in the crowd and would… be really hard – you know – if you threw them in a police lineup… if you’re like “Muh… that’s the one who robbed my house! That’s the sci-fi game that stole my couch!” It would be hard to pick Eclipse out from a crowd. But THIS game. This game right here, Black Angel… whoa holy! Look at this! Like, they… they… pink and blue! Like, pink in a sci-fi game? It’s amazing! Because i think some nebulae are pink, and it just looks like a really, like… interesting, fresh, straight out of 1997 aesthetic! Whatever. Stop talking, Ryan. Open the game. i will. Here we are! It’s by Pearl Games. i think this is the only game in my collection now by Pearl Games? i don’t know if that’s anything to anyone. It’s uh 1-4 players, as you see right here… and i mentioned again in the other video, if you didn’t catch that one, that DMExplains is a… a very knowledgeable board gamer when it comes to solo games. A few of the other people in the crew are, too. And so if you go to the Discord channel, and you ask them what’s good to play solo, and how do i get a better score at this game, they’ll help you, because they’re all over it. Me? Pssht. No idea! As usual… “Really, Ry? You don’t know much?” No! It surprises you, doesn’t it? Okay! Here we go: Black Angel. Uh… open it up… (indiscriminate anticipatory gasping) Nothing. Box Fart-O-Meter: zilcho. Uh that sort of opened up like… like the opening shot of Star Wars, man… there’s the big imperial… imperial… what was it even called? All i know is that in the most recent movie, there were 8000 of them on the screen, and that was… dumb! i mean, i like spaceships, but… there’s a limit. Uh, here’s the instruction booklet: 16 pages. It ain’t nothin’. And – at least at the back – pretty text-heavy. But we got more picture examples as we go from front to back. But uh… still a good, beefy amount of text. Doesn’t look like it’ll be nothing to figure out. Um… what is the relationship between this game and its precursor Troyes? i don’t quite know, because like i say, i haven’t played either of them, but somebody was just saying on the Discord server that they’re different enough to warrant being different games, so it’s not like this is a complete sci-fi reskin of Troyes. They use a lot of similar concepts – fine. Here’s an appendix that shows you what a bunch of different tiles do, and we’re going to be seeing those tiles, i think, in a punch-out cardboard situation shortly. It looks like… i wonder if this is a game that is completely language-independent, apart from the rulebooks? Because – you know – a lot of companies do that so that it’s easier to localize the game and ship it out to places that speak other languages. You only have a few components to redo rather than the whole darn thing. These are player guides, and… oh, here we go: the main event! Super pretty. Super pink. Super cool-looking quasi… (what am i trying to think of?) cyber punk-y looking, sci-fi as heck board. Wow. Wow! It looks a-so nice! i love it so much! Uh… it has a circular score track, just like pulsar 2849 did – a good-looking game in its own right, um… but there’s something special going on with this one. Pretty cool. And yeah – so far, no language. It’s only numbers and symbols on the board, so i may be correct in assuming that it’s language independent. Language independent games are not always the easiest games to learn, because they eschew words for pictures, and so you have to learn what all the pictures mean first off. Uh… here’s a big pile of punch boards. This huge one makes me assume that it’ll be a common board or a player board. If we see more of them… aha! Look. Look! i know what i’m talking about. If we see more of them, i was going to say, they’re player boards, and we DO see more of them, and they’re in different colours, so these are going to be player boards. i ass-u-may. It’s stuck! Player board. Player board! Yes. We’re going to… i assume… buy things and put them in these slots, and more slots and symbols and… things happen. You got it? If you missed it, just rewind the video, and i’ll…. you can hear me say that part again, because it’s very instructive and informative. Here we are and these are some of the tiles that you can presumably purchase and put on your player board! (robot music) What do they do? That’s probably upside down. i don’t even know. Maybe? Who knows, really? Well, you do, if you’ve played it, and you’re probably sitting there screaming at the computer. Uh… so there are a bunch of these square tiles all around the borders of… of these, and the square tiles do things on the player boards. And what else? Another one of these sheets with a big player board in the middle in the purple colour. i’m hoping maybe we’ll find some wood in here that are in these lovely, lovely player colours. And the pink one. It’s so nice when you get pink as a player colour in a game. i always choose it, because it’s so unique. And then over here, this interesting hexagonal piece. A bunch more squares. This hex down here. A couple of round tokens. Uh… but these are… what i was saying that i saw laid out on Doc’s table that looked SO super cool. So cool when you put them all together! Let’s see if i can carefully punch a couple of them out and show you. (shoopy-boop music) i won’t do all of them but – you know – it’s the same die cut on the rest of those boards. And then you kind of go like (climactic music) Co-ol. Look how cool that looks, hey? i dunno if it does… it actually does this, but like… i dunno. It’s some kind of progression happening. i dunno. Go read the rulebook. Uh… neat! i did catch that there were some – as promised – dice, and maybe some wood in the rest of the box. Let’s see! i might be wrong on the wood. Right! i remember now: it’s not wood. It’s these adorable… look at this! These adorable tiny little plastic droid-lookin’ things. These little robots! Those are the player colours. That’s a really cool looking start player marker, and i’m going to throw that under the close-up cam so you can see it, because it looks pretty… Auh. In my excitement, i have to make sure not to snap everything to oblivion. Come on now. That’s cool. That’s cool very very stylistic and neat looking. But these little… huaw… these little droidy robot things… i was going to mention player colours, right. So… player colours. Looks like we have… pink and white and blue and… chartreuse? What is the… puce? i don’t quite know. Something that rhymes with “oose.” Moose, perhaps. And a little stand as well for that first player marker that i showed you. i’m assuming that’s what’s going on? Oh… maybe not… how do i…? It’s got two holes in the bottom, and this doesn’t have two holes, and i don’t know how to make it go. i could be wrong about that. But the robots! Let’s talk robots. Here is a cool little – get out of here, you. i don’t know what you think you’re doing. Here’s a cool little… little robot guy. Girl? i don’t know. It’s a robot, so there’s no need to… gender it. How do you… how do you sex a robot? i don’t know. Maybe… it’s got that little knob sticking out, so maybe… i don’t… i don’t even know. Um… but yeah – that’s what they look like. They’re cool. And these are little… presumably spaceshipy things. They look like little weird little… oh, okay. Maybe they’ve got, like, little round bases, and you stick… oah… stick the little robots in them to run them around so they don’t fall over, because they look pretty unsteady on their feet. Pretty cool! Pretty cool. Finally, the remainder of the goodies. Ohhh-ohwahh! Look: pretty! (laughs) i’m so swayed by shiny objects. It doesn’t take much to impress or entertain me. So these are our little, uh… you know. They remind me of… if you… the rubies in Caverna, or the resin in Everdell, but they’re flatter. They’re more diamond-shaped, and they’re clear. And they look neat. And these are plastic cubes. Very reminiscent of the translucent cubes that you would find in Terraforming Mars. So you get a whole bag of those. No idea what they do. And you get a bunch of these little plastic tokens that look like delicious forbidden candies in the different player colours. Here they are. Nothing too exciting about those. And… a big pile of baggies. Good. Thank you. That’s useful and helpful. And a big pile of dice, in non-player colours, so like a… like a desaturated blue and a green and yellow, and they have… uh… they’re not standard dice. At first, i thought they were. They’re not standard AT ALL. Let’s take a look at one of them. Nyeah, so you got a… a 1 and a 3 and a 1 and a 3 and a 3 and a star and a… i don’t even know what that is! A 2 with a blob behind it. “Blob-2,” i think, is the technical term, and i think the DMExplains, on his YouTube channel, has a whole video about Blob-2. It’s a… engineering term – i’m making that up. Uh-yes! And cards… two decks of cards… approximately, uh… each one, roughly… 50 000 cards in each. And they have a nice little rip strip. And as you know, i like cards that have little rip strips because i lose more decks of cards that way, with my talon-like fingernails. Let’s get this one open… euh! This is… you were… what’s going on? You were supposed to make it easier! Oh gosh. i flubbed this! Again, in my… in my excitement, i don’t want to ruin components. Here we are. So let’s just take a quick look at uh… what a couple of these cards look like. i have not fixed the focus on the overhead – or the close-up cam quite yet – but language independent cards depicting cool looking spaceships that look like beetles – not Beatles, but beetles – or helmets, and something is happening? Something… you get two somethings for every red whatever? And oh – those guys look cool, too! Look at that – that’s cool. That’s cool! Some cool-looking… i really like when games have, uh… just a unique original artistic vision and direction, and it’s like “Wow… i’ve never seen…” because it’s easy – you know – i guess when you’re an artist, and they’re like “Okay, we’re making a spaceship game,” and you’re like “Okay, i guess i’ll buy a Star Wars art book and rip something off.” Um… but when it’s, like, just kind of… off the beaten path, i really appreciate the… the artist going out on a limb and trying something a bit unique. And these look pretty interesting/unique. This yellow robot-y looking guy…. and a bunch of cards that do… things. They look generally like… maybe Uno. So it’s basically… i think this game is basically Uno. A little bit more complicated than Uno. No – i’m just kidding. Uh… THAT is everything that you get inside the Black Angel box. Holy cow, am i pumped to try this out. i’m just pumped to set it up on my table, like a living artwork! Have you played Black Angel? Have you played Troyes? Did you ever once in your life call the game “TROY-ez? Be honest. You can… you can confess your pronunciation sins to me. If you have anything to say about this, game or if you think i’ll enjoy it, or if you think that DMExplains picked a real stinker, let me know in the comments below or, as i said before, you can join us in the Discord server and you can tell me all about what you think of this one. i’m excited to play, and i hope that you are excited to see the next video, and we’ll catch you then. Did you just watch that whole thing? 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