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Too Many Games!!!

My wife and I love to play games together. Join us for the journey!

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Favorite Games of 2015-Revisited

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
Indiana
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Now that we are in December, it is closing in on the time for all of the fun end of the year posts. This will include my favorite games from 2016, but first I think it is worth looking back at the list I made for 2015. At the beginning of 2015, when I made that list I stated that I had played around fifty games from 2015. I am not entirely sure how I counted, because I think I counted a few games I played in 2015 that were not actually released until this year. I think I have played about fifteen additional 2015 releases in 2016. I was actually a little surprised it was that few.

Now that a year has passed and 2016 is approaching a close, how well did my favorite games from last year hold up?

10. Two Rooms and a Boom 8 plays in 2016

I have plans to play this game this month which means by the end of the year it will actually be more than eight plays. When it comes to large group games this is probably still my favorite. This game does have a few issues though. It can be hard to teach, because there are some people who just do not understand exactly what they are supposed to be doing. It is also possible to get stuck in a room and have a role that lacks any influence. In these cases games can be a bit of a dud for those individual players. Despite those minor drawbacks, this is still a game I enjoy, a game that will get played, and one of my favorite games of 2015.

9. Viceroy 10 plays in 2016
This game was part of our 10x10 list, so it got played quite a bit this year. I still agree that this game as some of the best artwork of any game, even if the theme is all most non-existent. I do enjoy this game at least as a two player game. All of my plays have been with just two, and I am not sure if I would like this game with more.

8. Coup: Rebellion G54 17 plays in 2016

Of all the games from my 2015 favorite game list this is the one that I have played the most. This continues to be a fantastic way to breathe new life into Coup. This year I got Coup: Rebellion G54 – Anarchy, which added even more roles. The biggest issue with this game is that the set up is kind of a pain and teaching this game to new people is not easy, as each role has to be explained, each time it comes out. However, for people who have played Coup a lot this offers a fresh and welcomed challenge. Even after multiple plays this year it still holds up for me.

7. Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 13 Plays in 2016
When I made my favorite games of 2015 list at the beginning of January, we were in June of this game. It was only a couple of weeks later we had completed the experience. My wife and I both really enjoyed this game, and I do think that it was one of the best games of the year. This should probably be in the 2 or 3 spot of the favorite games of 2015.

6. Risk: Star Wars Edition 1 play in 2016
I am really glad they did something new with this game instead of make a traditional risk game with a Star Wars paint job. I do like the card play of this game. I could be wrong, but I feel like this game is really slanted to the rebels. I only played it once this year, but I think every play I have gotten in the rebels won. I do like this game, but it would probably get bumped off the list from other games of this year that I have since played.

5. Blood Rage 2 plays in 2016

This was the one game I included last year that we did not own, at the time I had said I hoped I would get to play it more. Thankfully I did, but it has been a couple of months since this game out at game night. I really enjoy this game and I am up for playing it some more. We have not purchased the game, because I have serious reservations about what my wife will think about it.

4. Elysium 2 plays in 2016
I had hoped this game would get played more this year. I wanted it on our 10x10 list but my wife picked Deus. This is a game I need to explore more as I have not yet even tried all of the included deities. This would still be on my favorite games of 2015, but it would be more in the six to eight range.

3. Mysterium 7 plays in 2016
I think at this point most of plays have been as the ghost. We won more than we lost, so I must be OK at it. This year we got the expansion for this game and it adds some much needed variety to the cards. Honestly I would not mind an additional expansion as well. This is easily my favorite co-op game, and honestly it should be in the one or two sport for favorite games from 2015.

2. Roll for the Galaxy 10 plays in 2016

A few months ago my wife and I documented our falling out with this game. I put it so high on this list last year mostly out of how much I wanted to like it. However, even when I made the list the game was showing some blemishes and I had hopes the expansion were going to take care of those. That did not happen. Each time we played the game, we found ourselves liking it less and less. The last couple of 10x10 plays were not very fun, as we were forcing ourselves to play a game we both decided we did not like or find enjoyable. With over 30 plays we tried hard to like this game, but it was a big turkey for us and it would now not be on my favorite games of 2015 list.

1. Alchemists 1 play in 2016
This became an instant purchase for me after playing it the first time in 2015, and I do not regret that decision. I have a lot of fun playing this game, and I love the deduction/logic puzzle aspect of it. This game is so satisfying to play because even if I loose I feel like I won if I figure everything out. The high learning curve and play time makes it hard to get this one out, but it is still one of my favorite games of 2015.

Of the dozen or so games from 2015 I played since making the list there are three that I would probably consider for the list. I know that Codenames would be on it. Currently it is my most played game this year. I would also consider adding 7 Wonders Duel. The final game I might include is Watson & Holmes: From the Diaries of 221B. I only played the game once, but I adored it.
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Mon Dec 5, 2016 6:49 pm
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My Star Wars Fan Theory

sean johnson
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I am anxiously awaiting my pre-order of Star Wars: Destiny to arrive. I am also counting down the days until the Rogue One premiere, and I am excited that in four days the new map for Star Wars: Battlefront (2015) drops.

Right now, I am full froth on all things Star Wars. I know it is a little off topic for this blog, but I made a video about how I understand one of the big questions of the Star Wars story. I would appreciate if you could watch it, and I love it if you will share your thoughts.

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Fri Dec 2, 2016 2:27 pm
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End of Month Recap

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
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Thanks to an Extra Life event giving me a big start to the month, November had a lot of plays. One of the games I did not play this month was Federation Commander. I know that I kind of left the tournament I was playing in limbo. I blame the fact that I started playing Fallout 4 (a year late to the party).


Number of Games Reviewed this Month: 4
Highest Rated Game This Month: Invasion from Outer Space: The Martian Game
Best New to me Game: Exceed: Red Horizon

State of the Collection
Number of Games Added: 1
Number of Game Removed: 1
Number of Games in Collection: 200
We gave away a small dice game, but then we got the much larger dice game Colony. Technically we have the same number of games, but the size is not quite comparable.


10x10 Challenge
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 Completed!
Warhammer: InvasionCompleted!
Ticket to Ride Completed!
Fleet Completed!
Tides of Time Completed!
Roll for the Galaxy Completed!
Glory to Rome Completed!
Star Wars: Imperial Assault Completed!
Viceroy Completed!
Deus Completed!

With one month to spare we finished the 10x10 challenge. Next year I want to sit this specific challenge out. However, my wife has a very specific list she wants to try for. Come January 1st, we will see who prevails.
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Thu Dec 1, 2016 4:19 am
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Enemy in Sight (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
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I think I added this to my "want in trade" list close to six years ago. I added it shortly after playing Wooden Ships & Iron Men. I loved the game, but my wife hated it. I tried to find something we would both like with a similar theme, and this was the best option I could find. Plus, just look at that title and box cover. The game certainly looks exciting. Earlier this year this game was offered up in the wargame pay it forward geeklist, and I jumped on claiming it. Was this game worth the wait or should it just strike it's colors?

Game Overview
Each player controls a line of ships and uses those ships to try and destroy or capture opposing ships. This is a card game, where everything is represented by the cards.

On a player's turn they will first draw back up to their hand limit which is set by the number of ships they control. If the player drew a red card, this is a mandatory even, some of which are very bad on the person who drew it. If a player does not have a red card, then they may play or discard one action card.

There are several different action cards, but most are broadside cards. These cards are divided in to "rates" and the rate of the broadside determines which ships can make the shot. Rake cards can be played with a broadsides to increase damage. The attacker determines if the shot on the target ship is applied to the hull or the rigging. If applied to the hull the ship can be sunk, if applied to the rigging he ship can be dramatically limited in the cards that can be used by that boat and it is easier to capture.

There are some special actions cards as well. Some of these cards can create special conditions like a fire. When a ship is destroyed he destroyer get points equal to the values of the ship. If the ship is captured by a boarding party card then the ship is worth double points.

The rule book says to play to 100 points, but players can set different totals.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 1.5 (do not like)
My Thoughts: This game has some similarities to the venerable Naval Warfare card game system, but this game is much more boring. The gameplay boils down to draw a card, play a card, repeat. There is added complexity for no purpose and the whole thing takes a miserably long time.

Her Rating: 1 (never want to play again)
Her Thoughts: It has been a while since we have played a game this bad. It is so boring. The components, even for an older game, are absolutely terrible. I am glad they do not make games like this anymore.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 2.5
This game was a complete and total flop. I would love to have an age of sail game, but this is not it. When it comes to looking for one my wife will play I am done looking, because Merchants & Marauders: Broadsides is as close as I will ever get to finding one she likes.
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Thu Nov 24, 2016 4:11 am
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Ninja Bowling (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
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I come from a family of bowling. My dad and brother are huge bowlers, so when Ninja Bowling popped up in the Jack Vasel Memorial Auction I bid on it. I figured that if I won the auction I would give to one of my family members. It turned out that we did win, so before we give it away my wife and I took the opportunity to give it a try. So does this game score a strike or is it a big gutter ball?

Game Overview
In the two player game both players set up their six pin cards in a triangle. Players will then take turns throwing their star cards at the opponent's pins. Each throwing star than lands on top of the opponent card hits and the card is removed.

The player that hit the most pins gets to score a spare. The next time that player is supposed to get a spare, the spare they already have becomes a strike. If at any point a player removes all six pins then they get an automatic strike.

In the mini-version there is a multiplayer version where players take turns throwing their cards. Each time someone hits their last pin card they give that player one of their strike cards, and then reset their pins.

In either version the first player to win three strike cards wins.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 3 (It's OK)
My Thoughts: A few years ago, FlowerFall got some level of hype. The core mechanic of that game, throwing cards, never quite got on. There were a couple of other games that utilized that concept, but it mostly stayed a gimmick. Ninja Bowling, being released in 2015, is a latecomer. However, of the card throwing games I probably like this one the best. It is silly and it is simple. This game has the appeal of a carnival game, in that it seems like it should be so much easier than it is. This really inspires a "one more time" feel, because each time you feel so close to getting it. This is not a game I would want to play often, but it is a pleasant distraction.

Her Rating: 2.5 (do not care for)
Her Thoughts: This game is silly. When we started playing I was like "really?" But as the game went on, I was kind of getting into it. This game is silly, but it is not bad.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 5.5
I am glad that we were able to support the Jack Vasel memorial fund through getting this game. We bought it to give away, so that is what we will be doing.
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Tue Nov 22, 2016 3:45 pm
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Moonbase Alpha (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
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I do not know where I picked this up, but for some reason I thought that this was an economic area control game with a war game inspired combat system. As such I thought my wife might actually play it and I got it in a math trade. It turns out that the war game inspiration is fairly strong. It is still accurate to call this an economic area control game, but it is is also very accurate to call it a war game (which my wife reminded me of often). She tends not to be a big fan of war games, but she did play this. So did this game end up being one small step for her and one giant step for war games?

Game Overview
In this game players control rival companies fighting for control of the moon's mining operations. The goal is to reach the highest stock price or drive the opponent in to bankruptcy.

Each turn follows a few phases. In the first prepare phase players receive income. It is $4 plus $1 for each mine they control. This money can be used to buy new units. There are three types infantry, vehicles (MCU), and crawlers (tanks). It can also be used to rush the end of the game and move up the turn track, or it can be used to move the media marker somewhere else on the board. Finally, money can be used one per turn to increase the company stock price.

Next during the prepare phase, players will place their command markers on the board. Each player has three real markers that are numbered and one bluff.

The next phase is the action phase. This is where players will resolve their command markers. Players take turn resolving their #1 marker, then #2, and finally #3. When a player activates the marker they can take one of four actions: Move, fire, assault, or upgrade. Move allows a player to move all of their units in the activated space. After moving, the activated units can do bounding fire, which is combat with a penalty.

Bounding fire works like the fire action. The fire action can be taken in the same or adjacent space. The attacking unit adds up their fire power total, and roll two six sided dice. A combat resolution table is consulted for the result. There are a variety of modifiers and even conditions that can create column shifts. If you are familiar with war games this all will be old hat, if you are not it will probably feel clunky.

The combat table will give a result, and the defender then gets a saving throw for each impacted unit. The defender rolls a die and if they roll equal to or greater than the armor total they save and suffer a lesser result.

Assault is a different form of combat where both sides roll a die, add the number of their units in the spaces. The high number wins but both sides will suffer losses in the high risk/high reward assault.

Upgrade is how players get new tech. Each player starts with five upgrade cards. To attempt an upgrade two six sided dice are rolled. The upgrade will show the target numbers. Each science symbol the player controls will add one to the die roll. If the number is reached the upgrade is implemented, if not it can be attempted again. Really good rolls will also increase the stock price, and really bad ones will lower the stock price.

The final phase is resolution. If a side suffered combat losses their stock price may lower. If the losses occurred next to the media marker then the chance is greater. If only one player suffers a loss in price then the other will actually go up. The turn track marker is also advanced one.

The game goes on until the turn tracker reaches the end, one player reaches the top of the stock track or one player is reduced to bankruptcy at the bottom of the stock track.


Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 3.5 (It's OK)
My Thoughts: I really like the retro sci-fi aesthetic of this game. I also think this game has some very unique mechanisms in it. I really like the way the command system works with putting the markers out in advance, and I love the bluff element. The combat system is interesting as well. It is easy to calculate and the use of a saving throw is unique. I prefer this to comparing attack to defense and rounding down to odds like a lot of war games do.

Her Rating: 1 (do not want to play again)
Her Thoughts: I do not like the combat system. The use of charts always frustrates me, and it feels like it over complicates everything. The war game mechanics are not my biggest dislike though. This game has a lot of advance planning which I do not like. I feel like I never know what to do when placing my command markers. For me that whole process is stressful, and I feel like I always do it wrong. When it comes to combat games I will just stick to Memoir 44.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 4.5
When I read the rulebook, I knew we would be in trouble and that my wife would not like the game. I am thankful that she was still willing to give it a shot. We will eventually trade this game, but I am going to try really hard to get a few more plays in with someone else before then.
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Sat Nov 19, 2016 1:29 pm
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Looking to Expand -2016 Edition

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
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A little over a year ago, I made a list of the expansions I most wanted to get. A year ago I had ten expansions on the list, and I ended up getting six of those expansions.

This year as I started looking at expansions I was surprised that there just were not that many I was excited about. Of the four left over from last year, only one is on this year's list. Of the other three, we got rid of one of the base games. The other two left from last year, we are fine with not having.

I ended up only finding five expansions I wanted to get, but I think by and large these are five must get expansions for us. Here is where we are currently looking to expand.

5. Pixel Tactics 3

Pixel Tactics is very much on the list of games I like but do not play enough. We already have Pixel Tactics 1 and 2. I want to add this expansion because it increase the card pool enough to work with the new modes introduced in this expansion, especially the cube draft rules. I feel like adding a drafting mechanism to this game, will catapult to the next level for us.

4. One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak
I end up playing this game a good deal with just the base set, and we are in need of some of new roles. That is exactly what this stand alone expansion adds, so it seems like picking this up is a bit of a no-brainer.

3. Star Wars: Imperial Assault – The Bespin Gambit

I really like Imperial Assault. It is really high up my favorite games list. I really do need to get a group together and play the Hoth campaign. This past year at Gen Con, I ran through the Twin Suns Mini-campaign in one sitting. That was a great experience, and it is one I would like to repeat. I think the odds are fairly high that I will be getting this by Gen Con 2017 to do just that.

2. Thunder Alley: Expansion Tracks
This is the one hold over from last year. I really enjoy Thunder Alley, but it has been a while since I got it played. One of the big reasons for wanting this expansion is that one of the tracks is very clearly inspired by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I also like the idea of these tracks providing enough to do a full Cup series. I might never get around to that, but it would be fun to try some time. I think one of the biggest things holding me back from getting this is I know the expansion tracks will not fit in the base box and I have to give up shelf space for it.

1. Deus: Egypt

This expansion technically is not out yet, but I think it is a must get for us. Deus is on our 10x10 this year, and we have enjoyed playing it. However, after ten plays is a year new cards are very welcomed. I think this is an expansion that will be able to breathe new life into the game and reinvigorate it for us.
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Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:35 am
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Invasion from Outer Space (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
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This is a game we kind of got by mistake. We got in a math trade. I got my Flying Frog games confused and mixed up the names. I agreed to trade for this game but I was thinking it was actually Conquest of Planet Earth: The Space Alien Game. In the next major math trade we did manage to get Conquest of Planet Earth as well. We have been sitting on this game for a few months now, but we finally got it played. So is this game out of this world or should it be vaporized?

Game Overview
This game is scenario based but every scenario has he same basic premise. Martians have begun their invasion of earth and a circus is ground zero. This is a one vs. all game where the one player controls the martians and the all control carnie heroes.

On the martian turn they will do some standard things like draw new cards, see if they spawn new martians. They will then have the control console phase, the martian gets two control points they can spend on a wide variety of things. More cards can be drawn, more martians can be deployed, the spawn points can be moved, and the martian can research technology or build up to deploy heir martian hero pieces.

Martian then can move and if in range shoot. Martians are more effective in packs. Heroes that get shot at can make a roll to avoid being hit. Finally if a martian pack is in the same space as a hero a fight breaks out. The heroes roll 2 dice, and the martians roll one die for each martian in the pack (max 3). The single highest die roll wins. If the hero wins a martian is defeated. If the martians win the hero takes a wound.

On the hero turn the heroes can activate in any order. They first roll to see if they get a power token. On a 5 or 6 they do. These tokens are used for special abilities. The hero may then move or if they are in a building search and draw a hero card. If the hero has a ranged weapon they can shoot at the martians, and finally if the hero is in the same space as martians they fight.

All scenarios last for a set number of turns and the victory conditions are scenario dependent.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 4 (like it)
My Thoughts: It has not been stated yet, but this game uses the same system as Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game. Due to the power tokens and martian console this feels a bit like a super powered last night on earth. I kind of like the zombie theme better, but this game is still a lot of fun. I do like that this game fully integrates so it is possible to have carnies vs. zombies or humans vs. zombies vs. martians. I like Last Night on Earth, this is more of the same, and I do not mind that.

Her Rating: 3.5 (It's Ok)
Her Thoughts: This game feels almost identical to the other game we have. I know it has a different theme, but I do not really care if it is zombies or martian. I do like the carnival heroes a lot though. I liked this game, and I will play it more. I am just not sure if there is need for us to have this and the similar zombie game.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 7.5
If I may counter my wife, there is no need for us NOT to have a similar game. In a lot of ways this works as a robust expansion to Last Night on Earth Of course, she then counters with "Shelf space". That is a valid point. As of right now though I only have Last Night on Earth: Timber Peak in it's box. I think we could probably fit Invasion from Outer Space in the box as well. If we did that, then problem solved. We keep all of the Flying Frog Games, and we can have JoJo the dancing bear shred zombies and martians.
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Mon Nov 7, 2016 4:06 am
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End of the Month Recap

sean johnson
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After a low play count last month we rebounded this month. It was still a bit lower than most months this year, but I feel like I had a lot of high quality plays this month.


Number of Games Reviewed this Month: 6
Highest Rated Game this Month: 7 Wonders Duel and Merchants & Marauders: Broadsides (both rated 8)
Best New to Me Game: Zombies!!! Jr.

State of the Collection
Number of Games Added: 3
Number of Games Removed: 0
Number of Games in Collection: 200
Someone gave us Villains and Vigilantes. To play on our trip at the beginning of the month we bought 7 Wonders: Duel and Merchant and Marauders: Broadsides. This puts us back at 200, which is my wife's threshold. It is funny, because she does not really keep track of our games but she has an instinctive feeling of when we hit this number because she goes straight into "no new games" mode as soon as we hit this number.

10x10 Challenge
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 Completed!
Warhammer: InvasionCompleted!
Ticket to Ride Completed!
Fleet Completed!
Tides of Time Completed!
Roll for the Galaxy Completed!
Glory to Rome Completed!
Star Wars: Imperial Assault Completed!
Viceroy
Deus
Bruges

Last year we finished in October, and that did not happen this year. We are really close with only five total plays left. We will play both Viceroy and Deus in November, but I am thinking we will take our time and finish the list up in December.
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Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:49 pm
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Villains and Vigilantes (One Couple's Reviews)

sean johnson
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A friend in my game group recently rearranged rooms in his house and reorganized. Part of that involved moving the games and slimming down the collection, and he very kindly just gave the games away. From that kindness we received this Game Salute title. I vaguely remember that this game was on kickstarter several years ago but I knew nothing else about it. However, I do like comic books and card games? So was this game a big hero or just a flat zero?

Game Overview
This is a 2 or 4 player game with half of the players being the super heroes and the other half being villains. Each player will select a deck that will have between 1 and 3 supers.

From this deck players take out their supers, they also separate a set of blue bordered cards that are available each turn. The players will also pick out a starting mission.

Each super has an ability number that will help determine how many cards they can play each turn. They will also have health. Finally, each super has attributes. The attributes will be at strength 1-3, and these will determine which cards each super can use.

On a player's turn the first thing they will do is determine how man blue bordered cards they want. These cards are always available. These cards are basic actions like movement, weak attacks, an recovery cards. There are also unique special cards for the supers. Each blue card a player takes in their hand means they will have to discard a card.

Player's then move on to their main action phase. Players can play cards as long as the super has the prerequisite attributes and the cumulative drain cost of the cards does not exceed their ability number.

The main reason why players will be playing cards it complete their missions. There are a lot of different missions. Often they require meeting some kind of condition. Each time the condition is met the player will earn mojo (victory points).

Often trying to complete missions will lead players into conflict with each other. Attack cards do damage and response cards can stop it. If a player ever has more damage than their life they are knocked out, and they will stay that way until they recover. Many of the plot cards require knocking a super out and then playing a specific card for some sort of effect.

At the end of a player's turn they clean up, do any upkeep, effects, and heal one damage from all non-knocked out supers.

The next player goes and this continues until someone gets 11 mojo and they win the game.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 3 (It's OK)
My Thoughts: This game has some ideas in it that I think are great. I love how there are cards avaialable each turn that a player can take into their hand. That is an unique idea that works well. I also love the use of missions. They are very thematic and make the game about more than just fighting one another. However, there are some problems in the execution. It seems that whoever gets KO'ed first is at a big disadvantage. Their turns are spent trying to get back up, and then on the opponent's turn they jut get knocked back down. There are also some production issues. The artwork is not so good. We got the game new in shrink, but the cards were bowed in the plastic wrap.

Her Rating: 2 (do not care for)
Her Thoughts: I liked that I had a lot of control over what cards I had each turn. I could take or leave the theme. My biggest problem with the game is that it feels like when you are down it is had to get back up.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 5
We feel like this game had some really good ideas, but it just did not quite come together for us. We are glad we got to try this game out, but we will be passing it along.
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Sun Oct 30, 2016 3:53 am
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