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Bobby's Games

I will be posting monthly recaps of my gaming which I have been doing in GeekLists. I'll also be commenting on games on occasion, though I can tell you that I will be behind the curve because I just don't get to play the new games as soon as some people do.

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Games Played in March 2016

Bobby Warren
United States
Glendale
Arizona
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Zombies getting medieval were the rage in January. Last month it was tower defense. This month it was freeing a city from invaders. Each of them is a Cool Mini or Not game and I don’t know exactly what that says about me or my gaming habits.

The lowest rated game of the month was a five and I played one of my mythical tens as well this month.

I played 29 games a total of 43 times and eight expansions only once each. I played five of the games and three of the expansions for the first time. In February, I played six of the games I played this month.


7 Wonders: Duel
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 2/2016
My Rating: 8

Mike and I played twice. The second time I won by a military victory, which is always a rewarding way to win.


Arcadia Quest
Times Played: 7
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

Michael, T., Nico and I started a new campaign with the “Brightsun Arena” scenario and then played the “The Moon Gate” scenario.

Michael won both scenarios with his guild of Grom, Seth, and Zazu. My guild is Hobsbawm, Wisp, and Zahra; T’s is Leeroy, Tiaret, and Yun; and Nico’s is McHammer, Nibbles, and Jøhan.

Mike, Jerry, Damian and I also started a campaign. We played the “District of Hammers” scenario, “The Rookery” scenario, and “The Manor” scenario. I won the first two scenarios and Jerry won the third.

Later in the month we played the “Alchemist’s District” and “Red Dawn Square” scenarios, with Damian winning the first and Mike winning the second. We’re all set to play the last scenario in early April

My guild for this campaign is Sting, Queen of the Beggars, and Wisp; Jerry’s is Lydia, Mittens, and the Monkey Queen; Damian’s is Jøhan, the Nameless, and Scarlet; and Mike’s guild is Greensleeves, King of the Thieves, and Smiley Faceless.


Carcassonne
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 10

Expansion Played: Inns & Cathedrals.

Rylan hadn’t played and it was suggested this would be a good game for he and Ashley, so I pulled out the copy from the Game Depot’s back room which has Inns and Cathedrals included. He picked up on the game quickly and Nico and I got into a pissing match over a largish city and had our figures, including the super meeple, locked out for most of the game. Rylan pulled out the victory and I suspect this classic will end up in another collection at some point.


Citadels
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/2013
My Rating: 8

I managed to build quite a few large buildings, avoid both the thief and the assassin and pull out an easy win.


Elder Sign
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansions Played: Omens of Ice, Unseen Forces, and Gates of Arkham.

Charlie Kane, the Politician; Lily Chen, the Martial Artist; and Tony Morgan, the Bounty Hunter undertook the threat of Rlim-Shaikorth in the summer. We failed to prevent the end of the world.

I really liked the additions in Omens of Ice and we played a few of the new things a incorrectly but not so much that we would have won this time.


Fast & Furious: Full Throttle
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

This was quick and light. The real complaint is the tiny spaces on the board and really, really small cars.


Finstere Flure
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 7

Six of us played and ran from the monster. My purple priests managed to escape first, being naturally disposed to avoiding monsters from the abyss.


Flash Point: Fire Rescue
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 8

We lost another close game on one of the earlier boards.


Flip City
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 2/2016
My Rating: 7

Expansion Played: Reuse expansion.

Well I completely played the Renewal Agency wrong, thinking it gave the three bonus coins when you flipped it from the Renewal Agency back to the Plumber Shop. I don’t know how I messed it up, other than the typical brain damage...


Geschenkt
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 2/2016
My Rating: 9

We played with six players for the first time. Reducing the number of chips that players start with really does impact how the game starts. I am not sure I like it with that many and will likely try to find something else to play with six.


Grand Austria Hotel
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

This is one that I had been interested in. Mike picked it up and we both liked it, even though he totally kicked my ass. It definitely has a learning curve and some people will tend towards severe AP, but it works well as a two player game and we both tend to play quickly.


Keltis: Das Würfelspiel
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 7

Dice rolling for mystical stones. Mike’s dice are getting dirty!


Kemet
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2013
My Rating: 5

Alex broke this out again and other than he and I, no one had played before. Alex ended up winning fairly easily, though Nico really was close enough that another turn might have had him in a position to contest the game.


King of Tokyo
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Power Up! and Halloween.

I got greedy and tried staying in Tokyo too long and was the first to die.


Kraftwagen
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 7

I taught Mike and Damian how to play and it was still a lot of fun. A few years ago I would have bought this, but I can play it enough with Mike and Nico owning it and my full shelves are bursting as it.


Machi Koro
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

I played this once without the expansions. Rylan and Ashley had just bought it so I explained the game and we played.


Medici
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2013
My Rating: 9

Nico had said he hadn’t played this, but later said he thought he might have. I decided to bring it along anyway and it worked out because we had five players and this works well for that many.

I was, by far, the most experienced at this game and was cautious buying at the beginning, trying to get a good cargo and focus on two or three goods. I ended up getting the last three items for free at the end of the first year and ended up with the best ship value and scoring points in two or three goods.

Year two was much the same, as I received a successful random lot when I was the last without goods and scored big for the ship value. Year three was successful as I actually bid on some goods and won, but it was enough to keep the lead and win.

The misstep a lot of players make is being too willing to just draw new goods until they get to the maximum number and then send it around for the bid. While it is an auction game, knowing when to stop revealing more goods is as much a part of the game as knowing what to bid.

I am on my third version of the game, having the Rio Grande version with the red box. I replaced the over-sized goods markers with cubes. I might consider replacing it with the Grail Games edition if it is graphically superior as I like having cards instead of drawing the tiles from the bag. The tiles are more difficult to pull the ones which aren’t available for the day without seeing what they are.


Porta Nigra
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

Mike picked up this Kramer & Kiesling game and we gave a whirl. I thought it was decent enough game, though not as good as I hoped it would be. I think it would be better with more than two of us.


Qwixx
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 2/2016
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Big Points.

The Big Points expansion is a lot of fun. It allows the players to duplicate a number that will add to the score of that color and its neighbor (red and yellow or blue and green). I am looking forward to playing it again.


Raj
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 4/2014
My Rating: 8

As you might have noticed from the picture, we played the Beat the Buzzard version. It’s easier to carry around because the box is so much smaller from Raj. Maybe I should start referring to the game as Beat the Buzzard since that is the one I am more likely to play?


Shadows of Brimstone
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 2/2016
My Rating: 9

Played using both Swamps of Death and Cities of the Ancients as well as the small card expansions and the miniature expansions.

Mike, Damian, and I played a couple of three-player games starting new characters using Mike’s sets with my expansion monsters since Mike is a total slacker and hasn’t built any of them.

Bandido, U.S. Marshal, and Saloon Girl went hunting for Dark Stone and were quite successful. The second mission was a search for a missing Farmer’s son. That one saw the darkness moving steadily towards to the opening of the Mine. It was one step away and we were sure we would lose before finding the end, but had some bad things happen which we were able to weather (i.e., doubles on the hold back the darkness roll), found the child in the presence of a Harbinger and some Hungry Dead. So it became a race to defeat the worst-designed model from the original sets (the wings are unwieldy) against the darkness escaping. Alas, we lost when the darkness escaped.

We faced several of the new monsters, some of them were the first time I’ve seen them. They are all really nice, add variety and are a little tougher. The Void Hounds are especially tough because their defense is equal to the initiative order, so the faster the characters are the harder they are to hurt. I didn’t think about the Dark Stone Shivs I picked up for the Saloon Girl which would have helped beat them down.

The Swamp Slugs were fun to face. It’s too bad that there aren’t more encounter cards for them in the mines. This was also the first time I faced more than one Void Sorcerer. They work quite well and are a nasty, nasty enemy. The only one of the retail-available monsters I don’t recall seeing when playing is the Hell Vermin.


Tiny Epic Galaxies
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

The beginnings of a Tiny Epic month start here with two playings of the best of the games in the series.


Tiny Epic Kingdoms
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 11/2014
My Rating: 7

Mike received the second edition from Kickstarter and we tried it a couple of times: once with two players and once with three. I enjoyed this more than the first time we played back in 2014.


Tiny Epic Western
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

I backed this locally-produced game on Kickstarter and they had a tournament at my FLGS (not that I played) and T got to the finals in the caboose of the Verde Canyon Railroad, which he won. He has production prototypes of all the cards and brought it along to play one Saturday.

I was a little disappointed in it for a few reasons.

1. The wanted card is a random two points at the end of the game that goes to the last player to activate, or the person that beats them in a shootout.

2. The constantly changing buildings make it hard to keep track of the actions available.

3. The print on the cards is small. We played on a 4’ x 4’ area and it was almost impossible to see what the buildings on the other side of the table did.

Some of these issues caused the game to take 90 minutes, which is way too long. I’m still glad I am getting it, but I don’t think it will be something that gets a lot of play from my suggesting it.


Tokaido
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

It’s a quick set-collection game which I think will work a little better with more than three players since some of the locations will have multiple spaces so more than one player will be able to take the action at the same time.


Valeria Card Kingdoms
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 2/2016
My Rating: 9

We used the events from the two small expansions for the first time and they worked out really well. They can add a little to the game, but don’t change the game that much. I’m looking forward to using them more.


Vegas
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 5/2015
My Rating: 7

Vegas is the name on my copy of the game and that is what I am going to call it! So, there!


Viticulture
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 3/2015
My Rating: 7

Argh. Is Stonemaier games trying to copy George Lucas’ meddling in the original series by constantly changing the rules for the game? First there is the original then they decide to change the rules with the second version Kickstarted with the expansion box, and then changed again with the Viticulture Essential Edition, which is what we played this time. So now if you play the game with someone, you might get taught one of three versions of the rules. I don’t see why anyone would ever want to buy one of their games if this is going to be the standard operating procedure with their games.


Zombicide: Black Plague
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

Five of us played the “The Shepherds” scenario and we used some of the characters from B-Sieged: Sons of the Abyss thanks to the crossover cards from the Kickstarter for that game.
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Fri Apr 1, 2016 9:40 pm
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Games Played in February 2016

Bobby Warren
United States
Glendale
Arizona
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The zombies were less prevalent this month, though we did face some lava-based monsters while defending a tower six times. Delving into the mines of the old west happened several times and bag racing was also a new and fun game.

The lowest rated game of the month was a six, and there were three of them and they were all new games. I also played three of the games I rate a nine.

I played 22 games a total of 42 times and five expansions nine times. I played five games and four of the expansions for the first time. In January, I played 10 of the games I played this month.


7 Wonders: Duel
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

Just one game against Mike.


Automobiles
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Mike broke this out and we played a two-player game on the Daytona Beach track.

The play of the game is the player draws seven cubes from their bag that represent actions that can be taken and/or wear on the car. The actions generally move the car along the track, with smaller actions (moving slower) being on the inside of the track and faster actions being on the outside of the track. The car will take a number of wear cubes to add to the bag based on the fastest lane color the car used this turn unless the car end up in a space directly behind another car, then it is drafting and takes no wear.

Wear cubes are much like the waste cards in Trains. They clog up the efficiency of the bag but there are ways to remove them from a player’s inventory of cubes, including passing the turn and putting all drawn wear cubes back into the supply.

Besides the wear cubes there are five different brightly-colored cube piles, as well as white, light gray, dark gray, and black cubes. The five colors abilities are represented by cards and there are four different cards for each color so each game will be different. The white to black cubes represent “gears” and the speed that the car can move. A white cube means move forward into the next adjacent (including diagonal) white space, a black cube means the same for the next black space, etc.

I jumped out to a pretty good lead, but after 2.5 laps in a three lap race my extensive collection of wear caused my car’s efficiency to falter and Mike ended up with the relatively easy win, even though he stopped right before crossing the finish line on the next to last turn.

We played again with Nico and T. a few days later. Nico had played before and the three of us jumped into a race. This time we played with a random assortment of cards and the different cards really do change how the race is ran. I have far fewer issues with wear because of actions that let me remove them and managed to pull out a win. I played it again the following week with T. and Alex.

Finally, we played the Monza track with five players: Michael, T. Nico, and Nick. Designer David Short was in the house and was available for questions and he clarified our questions on movement of the cars. Five players is too many. By the end of the third lap, we ran out of many of the cubes.

One of the cards was a Turbo that lets the car move two light gray spaces plus one for each green cube in each player’s discard pile. I would like to say that I planned to use it to get to an easy victory, but I discovered it accidentally and luckily used it to get a big lead and easily win the game.


B-Sieged: Sons of the Abyss
Times Played: 6
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Mike and I tried it out with four characters and I liked it, though I was disappointed in the quality of the hero sculpts when compared to Blood Rage and Zombicide: Black Plague and the plastic seemed harder and possibly more brittle.

Our first foray was fun but we made a mistake by not having the archer in the group. Including her looked to me to be of the most important character choices since she can hit at range from the beginning.

After we played the official FAQ was released which created some varying levels of play, with the default level in the book being the most difficult.

The rest of the games had Jerry and Damian joining us as we did what we could to fight the forces of evil and prevent them from overtaking the citadel. We failed three times using various characters, but definitely felt we could beat the game and plan on trying again.

A couple weeks later we played two more times, this time using characters from the expansions and the Kickstarter exclusives. We lost the first game and ended up winning the second game.

I am really, really enjoying this. I don’t think it will see a lot of long-term play, but I could see breaking this out on occasion to play it.


Big Book of Madness
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

One four-player game on the easy level and we ended up winning.


Blood Rage
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 7

Expansion Played: Mystics of Midgard for one of the games.

Mike explained it to Nico and T. and we went a-pillagin’ through the realms of the Norse. Mike has played four or five times, I played just the once, and Nico and T. were playing for just the first time.

Mike scored a lot of points by having his clansmen killed and brought back from Valhalla. T. didn’t seem to be doing well at all, and Nico looked to be in third. When the game ended, Mike won by 20 points and I was another 20, or so, ahead of both Nico and T.

I did have a much better idea what I wanted to accomplish this game and felt like I had a plan. I don’t think I implemented the plan, but I had one.

The next time was with Alex’s set with using some of the promo monsters and the Mystics of Midgard. I had an idea what I might want to do, but failed because the cards didn’t fall my way so no plan existed, so I was nowhere near the highest score.


Epic PVP: Fantasy
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 7

I had the Dwarf Druid against Nico’s Goblin Paladin. It was the longest game we played. Nico did four damage to me first, but luckily the Dwarf has six wounds and I managed to win against Paladin.


Exxtra
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 8

This is one that needs a new printing. Every time someone new learns the game, they want a copy. Brandon is looking at making his own copy, including a wood-worked board.


Flip City
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 7

Maybe we should play with the Office card more often because it does speed the games up?


Geschenkt
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 6/2015
My Rating: 9

I picked up a copy so the five of us would have something relatively quick to play. We made it through three games and by the end T. said he would buy the second copy from me so we have yet another convert to this simple, awesome game.


Karuba
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

It’s an advanced version of Take it Easy! where the tiles are placed or discarded to allow one of four figures to move towards their goal.

It’s a fun filler which I’d play any time Mike wants to bring it out.


Kingdom Death: Monster
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

Alex owns this and taught it to Michael and I. The combat portion of the game is decent enough but the between combat portions are just too involved for me to enjoy it a lot. It feels like a computer game done in analog and more of a solo game than a cooperative game because the characters are so throw-away and not ones that the players can get attached to.

I’ll play in the future and will be interested in seeing how the village develops, but I really can’t see being too involved in the between-adventure stuff because it felt too much like work that the computer should be doing.

I’m also a little apprehensive that the Frontier Town expansion for Shadows of Brimstone will end up doing the same thing to that game, making the between-adventure part take as long as the adventures?


Merchants & Marauders
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 4/2013
My Rating: 7

Expansion Played: Seas of Glory.

When the expansion came out I wanted to play this again and it has been a while, but Alex brought it and we played with some of the modules from Seas of Glory. I had a slow start being a merchant and was then caught by a pirate and had to start a new ship and captain. This time, I went pirating and almost caught up in the end, but was still finished a close third out of three.

Hopefully we will play this a little more often.


Orléans
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

This time I decided I was going to work less on automating things and also get some farmers to try and get the money each turn for having the most farmers. The balance of actions I chose seemed to work really well.

I still really enjoy the game and will continue to keep an eye out for the deluxe edition to acquire.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Demon’s Heresy.

Michael and I started up the third adventure deck and finished the first scenario, finally getting the chance to cull some of the basic cards.

The group at Mike’s game up on the game completely and he sold his set, so that group is never going to finish playing. We might end up playing the new set when it comes out, but I’d say that is 50%-50%.


Qwixx
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

Two games with five players and I suspect T. ended up buying a copy of the game after playing.


Ra: The Dice Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

Mike and I played a weird game and but it was still fun and I ended up with a win.


Race for the Galaxy
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Xeno Invasion.

Michael broke out the newest expansion and we played a couple of games with just the cards and then a couple more with the Invasion game. The new cards seem okay, but I don’t think I am going to be a fan of the Invasion game. I don’t understand why the player with the lesser military who beats off the invaders ends up getting 2 VP while the highest military, which beats the higher invader gets only 1 VP.


Shadows of Brimstone
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 9

Played using both Swamps of Death and Cities of the Ancients as well as the small card expansions and the miniature expansions.

A Lawman, an Outlaw, and a Rancher make their way into a mine, run into a void sorcerer, a dozen spiders, and must have thought this won’t be too hard. Then the summoning happens and a serpentmen shaman, six serpentmen warriors, nine tentacles, a handful of hungry dead, and a couple of corpse piles arrive. In other words, they were doomed. All were fortunate enough to have their injuries healed by the Doc.

It’s the first time I can remember having one character run through two scenarios without making it to level two and it happened to both the Rancher and the Outlaw!

In an attempt to gain some experience, the Rancher and Outlaw recruited the Saloon Girl for a hunt for dark stone. This time, they were both successful at getting to level two though the Outlaw was injured in the process. On the way back to town, the Outlaw lost her upgraded pistol to some swarming Hellbats, but luckily the group had found one in the mine.

Finally, the Rancher and Outlaw once again teamed up and this time they had the Indian Scout with them. We played the “Seal the Void Gate” scenario and had to go to the Swamps of Jargono for the final battle. We did end up defeating the Goliath and winning the scenario.

All the characters are at second level and none are at third, though some of them should reach it their next scenario.

Reminder: Back in December I began tracking one of each hero and asking different people to play them instead of tracking heroes for each player. That way we don’t need specific people around to play specific characters and, hopefully, we can see most, if not all of them advance to eighth level. It also causes the gear and artifact cards to be spread out among all the characters.


Thunderstone Advance
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 4/2015
My Rating: 7

Sets used: Worlds Collide, Into the Abyss, and the [thing=140951Starter Set[/thing] in the mix of cards.

I decided to toss in the Starter Set cards before hauling this out. I forgot that Worlds Collide and [/i]Into the Abyss[/i] added fourth level heroes so when we pulled one of the Starter set heroes, they were operating with a little less potential power, which is okay.

I taught the game to T., who caught on pretty well though I suspect the flow of the game took a little longer to understand, so I won. I am sure the next time he plays it will be a different story.


Train Heist
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

This is a cooperative pick-up-and-deliver game. The players are western Robin Hoods that are boarding a train and grabbing stolen loot from corrupt big wigs and returning it to the people. Also on the train is the sheriff who is in the pocket of these corrupt power brokers.

But this isn’t good ol’ England where the peasants were trusting of the bandits. No, the people are fickle, suspicious and some are even willing to sell out the benefactors if they can make a buck. If the train reaches a town and the players haven’t returned some loot to them since the train’s last visit, someone in town will rat them out, bringing them closer to the hangman’s noose.

I didn’t enjoy playing this as much as I thought I would and Mike felt the same. It’s not a bad game, but we just didn’t have as much fun as we thought we might. I would like to try it with more than two players, but haven’t dragged it along on a Saturday yet.


Valeria Card Kingdoms
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 9

I am still really enjoying it and picked up at copy at the Game Depot near the end of the month. I also picked up the two promo packs from the BGG store.

We did get to play one game with my set at the end of the month but we didn’t play with the promo packs.


Zombicide Season 2: Prison Outbreak
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2012
My Rating: 7

We played the initial training with four survivors and it was a tough go, though once we started driving a police car around we were able to run over many zombies and make it to the door with the key we found and out through the exit.
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Tue Mar 1, 2016 1:45 am
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Games Played in January 2016

Bobby Warren
United States
Glendale
Arizona
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Who knew killing Zombies would be so much fun? I spent a lot of time doing that in January and it was a lot of fun.

The lowest rated game of the month was a three and it was new to me. I also played three of the games I rate a nine, including a new one.

I played 32 games a total of 58 times and three expansions six times. I played seven games and one of the expansions for the first time. In December, I played 12 of the games and two of the expansions this month.

7 Wonders
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 8

We played a four-player game after killing Zombies for much of the day. We didn’t use any of the expansions, and that is okay with me.


7 Wonders: Duel
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

Game one was a tie, which Mike won on the tiebreaker. I had completely forgotten the rule that once one person built all four of their wonders that the other one couldn’t build any more. That could have cost me that game. /me moron.

I won the second time because by the third age, Mike was would have won only he managed to collect enough sciences and I managed to block him from collecting the last one.


Angry Sheep
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to Me
My Rating: 3

What makes me angry is the thought of having to play this pile of sheep poop ever again. Ugh. I “won” because I was the last one to have any sheep left before someone else arrived to play games and Nico and I couldn’t keep any sheep. What a horrible design!


Arcadia Quest
Times Played: 6
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansions Played: The Nameless Campaign for four of the games.

I started off the month by teaching it to Harrison and Nico. We played the “District of Hammers” scenario and Harrison pulled out the win. The real win in the game was Nico liked it enough to be willing to play a campaign. He’s not a fan of dungeon crawls, such as Shadows of Brimstone, so I was glad he liked this so I can get it played most Saturdays.

On another Saturday I taught Michael and T-Michael (Michael^1 and Michael^2) how to play using the “Brightsun Arena” scenario, which I picked because it is also an easy scenario and I hadn’t played before. We played with the three characters that we were dealt and Michael ended up completing three quests before T-Michael and I were able to. They liked it as well and since the two of them and Nico are some of the most regular Saturday gamers, I bet we’ll get through a campaign or two over time.

Mike, Jerry, and I played four scenarios in a campaign using the Nameless expansion. I won the first three and looked to be running away with the campaign, but they caught up quite a bit in the fourth game.

I was also quite happy to get The Nameless Campaign box from Battle Bin. It doesn’t include the manual, but that can be downloaded. I still would like to get the original Kickstarter characters, but they aren’t as big a deal to me as this was. Though I really would like a Bob and a Pigsy.


Big Book of Madness
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

Three more losses on easy level, this time with four players. Both were close, but in the end the curious kids of a school not called Hogwarts let the madness escape into the world. I then got to play a five-player game and I was part of a win for the first time.


Blood Rage
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to Me
My Rating: 7

Neither Mike nor I had much of an idea of how to play to win the game but we had a good time and really liked the game. I had hoped to play some more, but never did get it to the table. Hopefully, it will get played some more in February.


Cacao
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 7

Mike, T-Michael, and I played this and I had forgotten how quick this game was.

I was a little too focused on the water track and getting points from temples and ended up not getting enough points by converting coco to points or gold mining during the game to do well.


Dice City
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 7

Mike and I played this again and it was fun as always. We both ordered the Embassy card from BGG and are looking forward to the All That Glitters expansion when it makes it out later this year.


Epic PVP: Fantasy
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 7

Nico and I played three games, keeping the same race/class combos for all three games. I played the High Elf Ranger and he had the Goblin Rogue. It was a bad match-up for the Goblin.

On the first turn of the second game I had the Hardened Steed card which is a permanent that gives each move with a printed cost of two or less a +1 damage counter. I had two one-cost attacks in my had, so I laid them out and they each would do two wounds if they weren’t able to be blocked. Nico had nothing to block them and I won with the quick strike victory.


Flip City
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 7

A teaching for T-Michael. He enjoyed it enough to take it home and teach his wife.


Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

I thought the dice were supposed to love me above all others? Stupid worm dice… shake


Istanbul
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 7

Mike brought this on a Saturday and he, T-Michael, Nick and I gave it a spin with the recommended set-up. It ran smoothly and there was much (some) cursing as players moved to spaces other players wanted before them, blocking them either because they either didn’t have the money to pay the other players or making the space reward too expensive for them.

Mike said he was thinking about picking up the expansion for this and I would play it if he did.


Kraftwagen
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 7

The technology cards came out in an odd pattern and there wasn’t much engines available and Michael the Second ran away with the chassis upgrade and got way too many points from chassis buyers during the game for anyone to be able to catch him. I tried scoring big on the lowest value buyers, grabbing Opal when he was available, and racing, but couldn’t compete with the shiny exteriors from Michael’s cars. As I recall, Harrison and I were close and Nico, who never was able to focus on anything, came in a distant fourth. It was an odd game.


Mafia de Cuba
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to Me
My Rating: 4

This is not my kind of game, and I agree with Mike that the game really is for the Don player and the other players are just there to entertain him. It’s quick enough that I would play it when Alex asks, but I would try to avoid it.


My Village
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 7

Michael, Nico, and I played it again and I decided to push travelling and it wasn’t enough. Michael ended up with the win. I am now leaning towards not buying it when it is released in the U.S. because Nico and Mike own it and it’s one of those games I don’t ever want to explain.


Njet!
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2007
My Rating: 7

I do not like the oversized cards in the new version. Everything else about it is top-notch, but the card size is ridiculous!


Orléans
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

Nico picked up the three promo expansion trios from DLP games and we played using them. One of them scored bonus points for building four or five stations that are connected by waterways, which Nico bought, and that led him to a significant victory. He still would have won without the 15 extra points, but those points made it is a runaway victory. Note to self, build on waterways when someone picks up this tile.


Pandemic: The Cure
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2015
My Rating: 8

And this was broken out as I thought I might want to do when I covered , but not by me, by Mike. He, Hilary, and I managed to cure all the diseases with minimal difficulty. I remember when it felt unbeatable.


Ra: The Dice Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 8

This was a long game: In other words, it took about 25 minutes! Mike and I were in a tight scoring battle until the end when we scored the monuments. He ended up beating me by five points in them and pulled out a win by a mere two points.


Race for the Galaxy
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Alien Artifacts.

T-Michael hadn’t played, so Michael made sure he brought the player aides from the main game. T had a perfect game for a new player, getting New Sparta to start, a bunch of military cards, including both the Galactic Imperium and the New Galactic Order developments though he didn’t win.


Roll Through the Ages
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/2014
My Rating: 7

I went through a period of being unable to get workers for my empire, but it wasn’t the worst that happened as Mike suffered from disasters and Hilary just couldn’t generate capital and I ended up with the best of the empires.


Sapiens
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 7

When Nico found out that Mike and I enjoyed this, he picked it up and I ran through the rules. He and I played a two-player game and I pretty much crushed him. This was because I had a plan and knew how the game was going to develop. At this point I felt like this was one of those games that has a learning step, where new players need to play a game or two to see the in-game thought necessary to do well.

Nico and I played later in the month with Michael and that blew up my assertion that knowing the game was a huge advantage as Michael won the game and I still handily beat Nico.


Scoville
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to Me
My Rating: 6

I had asked Arjun and Narani to bring this along when the made a gaming day and got the chance to play its. It was pretty much what I thought it would be: a game I will play but I don’t need to own. The pepper field mechanism is the one thing that doesn’t quite work right for me.


Shadows of Brimstone
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 9

Played using both Swamps of Death and Cities of the Ancients as well as the small card expansions and Caverns of Cynder.

I’m tracking one of each hero and asking different people to play them when we get together to play the game. That way, we don’t need specific people around to play specific characters and hopefully we can see most, if not all of them advance to eighth level. The first game for this was last month.

Arjun and Narani brought along their set and they, Michael, and I played the “Hunt for Liquid Dark Stone” scenario from the Caverns of Cynder, which we backers don’t have even though it has been in stores for five or six months. We played the Indian Scout, the Outlaw, the Preacher, and the Rancher.

We made it into Cynder almost right away and didn’t have an encounter with any monsters until we were making our way back, when we had to fight a single Lava Man. The Indian Scout (Narani) was carrying the liquid Dark Stone we recovered, which is like carrying old-fashioned Nitro, and we almost blew up at one point, but we managed to survive a fun scenario. None of our first level characters leveled up, which is unusual for a first scenario, but not seeing any monsters will do that.

The second mission of the month had Michael, Trent, and Alex joining and saw the return of the Preacher and Indian Scout from the last mission team up with the newly-recruited Gunslinger and U.S. Marshal. This time we heard rumors of a fantastical place through a stable door to another world, and went on the “City of the Ancients” scenario.

Things started going really bad when we found the Void Lantern because of the double threes that kept getting rolled which caused the darkness to creep forward two steps every time it was rolled. We did face some new enemies from the boxes that are available (I bought them all and will be selling the extras when my pledge arrives) and they really felt generally tougher, though the real problem were the elite Hellbats with two elite abilities and enhanced combat from the Darkness cards which were in effect.

We ended up losing the adventure and were sent back to town to heal our wounds.


Splendor
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 8

Always fun though it has been relegated to the pile of games that get played a couple of times a year.


Suburbia
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 2/2015
My Rating: 9

Expansion Played: Suburbia, Inc.

I had been playing the Fewest Investment marker goal wrong, and played the game based on my misinterpretation. Because of that my suburb wasn’t the best. Nico’s was.

Stupid rules.


Super Dungeon Explore: Forgotten King
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 7

Once again the four of us went against the Forgotten King. Codifier Kisa, the Royal Warden, the Silver Chevalier, and the Twilight Knight cleared the board of mushroom men, pigs, frog knights, billmen, and giant rabbit executioners and finished off the big, bad Forgotten King.


Tiny Epic Galaxies
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

Sometimes having someone being able to follow everything you do can suck in this game. It did this time.


Valeria Card Kingdoms
Times Played: 5
Last Month Played: New to Me
My Rating: 9

I was going to say that the first game I played this year (a little further down the list) was going to be the front-runner for my favorite new game of 2016, then I played this. Holy cow! I love this mash-up of Machi Koro and Dominion.

The best idea that designer Isaias Vallejo had was having both dice resolve individually as well as their additive value, so the game really moves along at a terrific pace. I wonder how limited the replay value will end up being with the included cards and, if it is limiting, I hope we’ll see a full expansion for it.

I will be buying a copy once the Game Depot gets copies in stock.


Vye
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to Me
My Rating: 4

Cards were a bad idea for this game. It would be better if it were smaller, square cards or tiles. Even then, the game isn’t that compelling. We played with four which was probably too many.


Würfel Bohnanza
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

More beans of the die-rolling kind.


Zombicide: Black Plague
Times Played: 9
Last Month Played: New to Me
My Rating: 8

The year started off with four battles against the zombies of the middle ages. We played two different scenarios, losing both the first time we played them and winning the rematch. I can’t tell you why I enjoyed this more than I enjoyed playing Zombicide, but I did and I jumped onto eBay to pick up a pledge to get the KS exclusives. That means instead of the six survivors that come in the game, I get to play with an additional 37 survivors plus the four from the Wulfsburg expansion, and five from Hero Box 1. I also discovered that one of the extras in the B-Sieged: Sons of the Abyss Kickstarter campaign has character cards for this game for the characters in the base game and the Darkness & Fury expansion. They are also rumored to be sent to retailers who will get one set for every three games they order. I really want these and would likely end up buying the game if I managed to get the cards.

Isn’t that what a promo is supposed to do?

We also did a couple of things wrong, which made it harder. First, we used targeting priority in melee combat and it should only be used in ranged combat. Second, Mike remembered the splitting rules wrong when there are an equal number of spaces in a path for Zombies to travel. He was creating a second, equal group to the original and moving each group on one of the paths, instead of splitting the group and adding a zombie or two to make the sizes equal. At least we know how to make the game harder in the future.

In our first game, Damian’s “sharpshooting” killed my character in one shot. I died first in the second game, though we won. I also died in the third game. Yeah, it was fun!

Later in the month the same group played again, minus Matt.

We beat the first scenario we played and lost the second one twice. The tough one was “In Caligine Aditus” and both times we lost because the necromancer spawned and got off the board twice before we could get to the exit. We will definitely have to change our tactics the next time we try the scenario.

I also played a game with Michael and Nico. We played the “Big Game Hunting” scenario which is one of the ones on the smaller maps. Just as things started to go poorly, Baldric the wizard equipped a couple of Fireball spells and was able to mow down large groups of walkers and runners which really helped us make it to the final objective a lot faster.

“In Caligine Aditus” returned with six players at the Game Depot. Finding one of the keys right away made us a little cocky and we gambled that the other key was going to be either of two of the three remaining ones that was on our fastest path to getting to the exit. We lost our gamble. We were going to double back, and I was in a space that got swarmed by several zombies. I agreed Mike should gamble and fire the Inferno spell into the space and he completely fried Baldric. The moral for the month? Don’t let your friends fire big weapons into your space.
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Mon Feb 1, 2016 4:28 pm
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Games Played in December 2015

Bobby Warren
United States
Glendale
Arizona
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December. Where the cold weather meant many days with highs in 50s and 60s. We have it rough in the desert. I still got to play quite a few games, including a bunch of new ones.

I rated one of the games a three and another one a four and both were new to me. I also played two of the games I rate at nines.

I played 31 games a total of 50 times and four expansions nine times. I played 12 games for the first time. In November, I played 11 of the games and all four of the expansions I played this month.

I give the gift to you of the description of the games I played in December:


7 Wonders: Duel
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

The first time I played this month, I won by focusing on the blue buildings which are mostly victory points.

Mike beat me the next two games, including a Military win. The next time we played, I won a close one.

It's an awesome game that I will probably never own.


Arcadia Quest
Times Played: 5
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 8

Mike, Jerry, Damian played three scenarios with the same members of our guilds. It was a teaching game for all of us, except Mike, so we dealt out the characters randomly and I generally liked the ones I got.

Later on, Mike and I started a two-player campaign drafting out characters from 12 dealt out from the mix of all of them. He picked up a Kickstarter package right after the game shipped so we had every released in the mix. Two-player games are really quick: at least the two we played were. This is because the number of goals that need to be accomplished by each player is fewer with two and one of them will often be preying on a wounded character from the other guild.

When it was on Kickstarter it was a game I was unsure about because I thought it was a semi-cooperative game which required players to attack each other. Really, it isn't a cooperative game of any sort, but a race to be the first to accomplish a number of goals. Yes, the players attack each other to try to kill one of their characters, but the characters re-spawn and only have a single negative for just the next game that can be removed.

It looks like in most cases that once a player kills a character from another clan, they won't target a character from that clan until the next game because it doesn't help them. I can see attacking someone to stop them from winning so I could win on my next turn. But that's just me and it's not mean -- it's just gamesmanship!

It really is a very cool game and I ended up late-backing Arcadia Quest: Inferno later in the weekend. Hopefully I will be able to find the Guildmaster Kickstarter Heroes and The Nameless Campaign exclusives from the original Kickstarter. Their value seems to have topped out and I suspect the prices will come down over time.


Big Book of Madness
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 8

Mike and I tried this out. It's a cooperative deck-builder that is very challenging and requires a lot of cooperation among the players. With two players we really had a hard time with the first game and the second one kicked us in the groin and walked away laughing at our pain.

Mike played it a couple of days later with three players and he said it felt more winnable with three and they did win, though they had a little luck on the very last turn with a good draw.

After that, we played again with two and were doing well until right at the end when madness overtook us and we let the world be devoured.

This is one I might end up getting in the near future, though if it comes with this promo, I will have to burn that stupid, stupid card.


Car Wars: The Card Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 3

It's Ameritrash Fluxx!

Luckily, I won this painful game. By "won," I mean I was eliminated first and could play on my phone and laugh at those still involved this painful excuse for a game.


Carcassonne: Star Wars
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 8

I played a two-player game and there was only one conflict the entire game. One of the reasons is there are such a limited number of meeples for each player that it we both had supply during the game and it was a safer bet to grab something for yourself than risk a die roll. I suspect conflicts will also be more likely with more players.


Deus
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 8

Nico started off the game playing several soldiers and running all over the map. I was the fourth player and didn't have a good place to enter the map to take advantage of my buildings. The entire game I felt like I was doing poorly and just wanted to end it, which I did. When the scores were totaled at the end, I was actually the victor with everyone having lower-than-usual scores.


Dice City
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 7

I taught it to Mike. During the game he definitely felt that the military strategy of attacking bandits was inferior to the shipping strategy, but we finished one point apart and he saw how well it is scaled.

We played a second time and I just had much better luck getting things I bought to activate and ended up with a comfortable win. The third time we played, I went with an all-military strategy and had good luck with my military buildings and boosters (like the Barracks) getting activated just about every turn.

This is a solid game and well worth the $40 investment.


Favor of the Pharaoh
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 6

The second time playing this helped me realize one of the things that To Court the King did better was have more dice manipulation, which made for a better engine-building game. This feels more like a luck-based game, especially with the addition of the different types of dice.


Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/2015
My Rating: 8

Holy crap! There's an expansion! Must buy. Now.

Hilary's stack of super worms won the day. She credited her practicing in iOS to help her roll so well.


Isle of Skye
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 7

Michael, Jayson and I played. One of the scoring tiles was five points for having a set of lighthouses, farm houses, and brochs. I managed to have two sets right away and neither of them had one for the first couple of times it scored. That gave me a pretty large lead and I coasted to an easy win since both of them managed to get only one of those and not outscore me by enough on the other objectives.

The second time I played this month was against Mike and Nico. I managed to be the first place scorer the first two rounds, with no one scoring second one of the times, because I was the only one with any barrels, and ended up with another easy win. That's the one minor flaw in the game is the initial scoring can really put a player in a very advantageous place for the rest of the game.


Isle of Trains
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 8

I built big, expensive train cars with cool powers for the others when they loaded them with cards. I started off hot, but never was able to get my second contract before the game ended and Nico pulled out the victory. He built several smaller cars and appeared less threatening than mine did and I suspect that drove him to the win. Sneaky.


Keltis: Das Würfelspiel
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 7

Mike, Hilary, and I played. Yes, that is a rare three-player game.


La Granja
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

A fairly involved game with a lot to do in a short amount of time. The cards have multiple functions in a game and their layout and use of the player board to show which option is being used is quite clever.

The one issue I had with the game is there are so few actions during the game that a player might not see cards that synergize with cards they chose on their initial placement and that randomness could ruin the game experience for the player. It didn't happen to me, but there was one card I almost chose that would have triggered that situation.

It's a solid game that I don't need to own but would happily play again. Since Nico bought it after Greg taught it, and Mike also owns a copy, I suspect I will see it again sometime in the near future.


Last Spike
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 4

This sounded like it might be my kind of game. Acquire was one of my favorite games for years and Dion said it was like a lighter version of that game. After playing it, the more I thought about it, the more I decided it just isn’t that good a game.

First, each player has only four tiles they can place on a turn. It is highly likely that they will end up with tiles that will not help their position during the game.

The twisting of the knife of having to play a fairly unfriendly tile is the players have to pay an amount of money (victory points) to play that tile. The amount is fixed and listed on the tile. It’s possible that a player will be forced to play something that they don’t have the money to pay for if they have bad tile draws.

Looking at the page for the game, it’s a redevelopment of an older game by the same name that had a roll and move component. This is one of the few times I will bet that having that mechanism was better than what they came up with in the end. It did have a feeling that it was a relation to Acquire, but not in a good way. It feels more like the initial idea of Acquire before any development of the game idea to make it fun.


Machi Koro
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansions Played: Harbor and Millionaire's Row.

Hilary, Mike, and I played a game. Even with the 15 cards face up, there are too many purple buildings in the game.


Mombasa
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

Dion owns and had played this several times and neither Michael, Steve nor I had played. I decided to focus on exploring and controlling the board and ignoring, for the most part, the diamond-mining and book tracks. I also focused on only two of the four stock tracks/cities, which created an implied alliance with Steve. He didn’t want to hurt my stocks (Mombasa and Cairo) and I didn’t want to hurt his.

Michael invested in Capetown and his exploration was destroyed by the dominance of Mombasa and Cairo on the board, and even Saint Louis moved on the board and ended up blocking Capetown’s board expansion. In the end, their stocks were worth a mere 1 coin each. Mombasa was maxed out in value and I had as many shares as possible from the board as well as some additional cards that counted as shares.

I liked this, though there are a lot of rules and little mechanisms which comprise a point salad that wants to be a Stefan Feld game. In the end it is as good as one of the lesser Feld games, which means it is something I won’t be buying because I wouldn’t want try and explain it to anyone. We noticed a couple of things that Dion was doing wrong, but nothing that would have changed the game too much.


My Village
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

This felt similar to La Granja. Not in the actual game play, but in how limited turns felt and that there wasn't enough time to do everything you wanted. I had no idea on what to focus on so I decided about 1/3 of the way through the game to work on getting customers and scoring them. Nico looked focused on the monks and Mike looked to be trying a more spread out strategy. In the end, Nico won by a fair amount and Mike and I were close together in second and third.

It does maintain the feel of the original Village while being a tighter and better-designed game. Drafting dice from a larger to select actions is a much better engine than the placing of cubes on the board. My one concern is how much replay there is in the game. There are but a few of each card type and it might fall into the realm of playing the same every time if it is played with the same group of people.

We'll see if it gets played enough for this to be a problem, if it is even a problem.


New York 1901
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 9

Dion and Steve had not played so I explained it, then played poorly while Michael ran way with the win.


Orléans
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

I taught Mike to play using a non-deluxe copy of the game for the first time. The one wooden bit I really missed was the citizen markers. They are a little small and hard to see in the cardboard and if I ever get a copy of the game I will likely replace them with yellow meeples or some other figure.

Later in the month, Nico, Greg, and I played. This time I decided to focus on the University and grabbing points by collecting citizens, dropping enough guild houses on the map, and purging workers. It worked out really well.

The cardboard worker tokens are a lot smaller than the wooden tokens but the cardboard is very thick and I am sure they will hold up over time. I am still trying to get a copy of the deluxe version, but I won't spend too much on it. At some point I might just break down and get the retail version.


Palaces of Carrara
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

This is one of those games that I was interested in from the beginning, but since there wasn’t a widely-released English version I never had the chance to play it.

I recently placed an order with Amazon.de to get a couple of games and this one popped up as being available to ship to the U.S. and it was nicely priced. Instead of the games I was going to get (that others got copies of so I can play them) I picked up this and Rococo.

Essentially the players are gathering resources to build one of six building types in one of six cities on their own board. During the game, a player can have up to six individual scorings, though they can’t score the same item twice.

They can score each of the six building types on their own boards, the two types of buildings (city or country), or they can score the six cities. The cities are scored only once each among the players.

There are three end-game scoring conditions, which change every game that lists what a player would need to do to trigger the end game and how they would score points for the game. The game ends when one player has met the three end-game conditions and announces it. That player gets a bonus of five points, then the players score their end-game points from the three cards along with a fourth scoring card that doesn’t have an end-game condition.

Michael wasn’t a fan of how the game ends immediately. I think it would make a difference if we’d remembered that the player announcing the end of the game gets a bonus of five victory points, which is a significant number of points. It turns the game into more of a race game where keeping an eye on when you think someone else might end the game and try to beat them to the punch.

The most irritating thing about the game is break-up of the rules into two booklets. The first is the basic game and the second is the changes when playing the advanced game. It would be easier to reference the rules if they were organized in one booklet.

Other than that, I really like the game and hope to play it a few more times in the near future.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Sword of Valor for both games.

Michael and I finished the last four scenarios of the Sword of Valor.


Qwixx
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

The only time we played this month was a three-player game without using one of the expansion pads.


Race for the Galaxy
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Alien Artifacts.

Three games against Michael while we were waiting for another game to finish.


Saint Petersburg
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/2015
My Rating: 8

We were looking for a three-player game that would finish up in time for Brandon, who had to leave the store early. This fit the bill and Michael and I taught it to him. As most people do, he liked it but didn't do too well in the first game because he didn't get a feel for the timing involved even though we tried to help him with it.


Sapiens
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

I had looked at this a couple of times while in the store and pointed it out to Mike. He bought it and we played it that night at his house with Hilary and then again with just the two of us.

It's not as light as you might think from the art. During the game the players score for two different things: food and shelter. The players' scores at the end of the game are their lowest of the two items.

There is a fair amount of screwage in this game, so don't get it if you, or your group, is adverse to conflict.


Shadows of Brimstone
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 9

Played using both Swamps of Death and Cities of the Ancients as well as the small card expansions.

I decided to start over the characters people were playing since those who are showing up to play is quite different than it was when we were playing before. What I have decided to do is not let players play specific characters. Instead, like with my Pathfinder Adventure Card Game campaigns, anyone can play any character in the group. Unlike Pathfinder, the groups aren't going to be set. The idea is to keep the characters around the same experience level so people can play anyone they want at any time.

I forgot to bring along my plastic card holders, which made it more difficult to set the game up. I also left the new character sheets I printed out, so we played with three that I had: the Bandido, the Law Man, and the Saloon Girl. We played the “For a Few Dark Stone More” scenario and it was really tight at the end, but we ended up winning.

We misplayed a couple small things, but corrected them as we went along and the next time should move along much more smoothly.


Super Dungeon Explore: Forgotten King
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

And we tried out the cooperative game (Arcade mode), because that's just the cool people we are. We cooperate.

Well, we try to cooperate and this time it worked out. I really like the cooperative rules. I had tried reading them the week before we played but got stuck on the whole gang concept. It would have been better if I had the game cards in front of me. Luckily, Mike and Jerry had read them and it was enough for us to get through the game. It seems like the game should move a little faster than the Classic mode now that we have a handle on how to play and I am really looking forward to playing it again.


Ticket to Ride: United Kingdom & Pennsylvania
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 8

We played on the United Kingdom side with four players and I really liked the way it played. There are technology cards that have been added and until a player buys the appropriate one they can't build more than one- or two-link routes and can't build outside f\of England. There are also technology cards that reward extra points when a route is built, allow players to draw an extra card if they draw blind, and others.

I don't know if I will end up getting this map pack, but I would be very happy if I had the chance to play it again.


Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Mike taught this to me and I am looking forward to playing this some more. Mike had played it several times and hadn't won and he I ended up one wound away from winning, so we were close.


Welcome to the Dungeon
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 7

Not much to say on this, except I suggested it several times when people walking through the game store were looking for something small to get as a Christmas gift.


Würfel Bohnanza
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

One game.

Five players.

13 beans to rule them all!
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Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:40 pm
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My most played games of 2015

Bobby Warren
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I am duplicating my post from last year, summarizing the top 10 played games from this year and commenting on the ones from last year.

My most-played games of 2015

Six of them were new to me in 2015 and I own eight of them, which is still fewer than the ones I owned from 2014. The Cult of the New is still strong with me, but I think I am getting some of my acquisition disorder in check.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2015: 128

Last year I had them listed on their own. This time I am combining all the sets into one entry. Five of the plays were finishing off the Rise of the Runelords, 80 of them were various Skull & Shackles games, and the rest were Wrath of the Righteous playings.

This game has lost momentum because the group at Mike’s is not enjoying the changes and extended record keeping introduced by the newer versions.


Roll for the Galaxy
Own: No
Times Played in 2015: 36

Most of these games were two-player with Nico and I played a few of them with Mike as well. I like it best as a two-player and it does work with more. We also played a couple of games with the new Ambition expansion, which is also a really clever addition.


Isle of Trains
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2015: 19

A terrific small-boxed game which is similar to San Juan. There is going to be an expansion and I hope to get it when it is released.


Qwixx
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2015: 19

Mike was the person in out group that discovered this gem of a dice game. Nico picked up the Qwixx Gemixxt expansion and I used those score pads for a couple of games. Mike ordered a copy of the Big Points expansion sheets for me with his order.


Epic PVP: Fantasy
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2015: 14

All of these playings were in November which is when we Kickstarter backers received the game. I need to read the rules for playing with more than two players and see if it is something I want to play.


Race for the Galaxy
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2015: 14

Just 14 times, but still one of my most-played games.


Machi Koro
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2015: 13

Millionaire’s Row was released this year and it didn’t really add much to the overall experience. If it were used on its own without the Harbor expansion, it might feel like the expansion has a theme that impacts play.


Shadows of Brimstone
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2015: 12

Another game that dropped off. This as much because of the Arizona heat as apathy. You see, I am hesitant to haul around the plastic figures when it’s over 100 degrees outside, because if I don’t bring them into the place we’re playing then they could melt in the car, and the Brimstone stuff is a haul in and of itself, never mind any other games I might want to play. I think I might be starting up again, playing once in December, especially since Flying Frog will be sending out some of the extra stuff I pledged for. At least I think they will be. They are the worst at communication and I can’t see myself backing another of their Kickstarter projects.


Tiny Epic Galaxies
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2015: 12

A nice, full game in a tiny box that I really enjoyed playing. I was able to get the expansion from the Kickstarter, but haven’t used it and am not sure I ever will.


Deus
Own: No
Times Played in 2015: 11

The one new full-sized board game on the list and I don’t own it. Every one of these plays were using Nico’s or Mike’s copies.



My most-played games of 2014

Five of these are ones in my top 10 played in 2015.


Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 54
Times Played in 2015: 14*

The 14 games are seven of Marvel Dice Mastersand seven playings of Dungeons & Dragons Dice Masters: Battle for Faerûn.
I’ve stopped buying the releases but plan on keeping what I have to play as-wanted.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 46
Times Played in 2015: 5

Since I tracked the different base games separately last year I’ll comment on them separately this year. This was the group at Mike’s house finishing off the campaign. Now into the third set, this is still the best of them and maybe we’ll restart it at some point?

I lost the sheets Michael, Nick, and I were keeping so that campaign will never be finished.


Splendor
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 39
Times Played in 2015: 5

A huge drop off! A lot of it is because I just stopped bringing it. Not because I was tired of it, but because there were so many games to bring along and once out of the bag it’s easy to forget a game in the future.


Race for the Galaxy
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 37
Times Played in 2015: 14

Another game that dropped off a bit. This is because Michael and I are often playing Pathfinder when it is just the two of us where we would have played this before.


Machi Koro
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 31
Times Played in 2015: 13

I suspect this dropped off because the novelty of the game wore off and the mix of cards, with Millionaire’s Row included, caused the board to lock up. Maybe now we are playing with 15 face-up cards this might make it back into the 20s for number of plays next year?


Shadows of Brimstone
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 26
Times Played in 2015: 12

Waiting for, and looking forward to the new stuff.


Pandemic: The Cure
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 20
Times Played in 2015: 2

Both playings were in January and I don’t think I brought it along with me much after that, which isn’t much of a surprise since last year I said “I can’t imagine this being in the top 10 for 2015.” Still, I’ve been thinking about bringing it along with me on Saturdays in the recent past and suspect it will get a few plays in 2016.


Run, Fight, or Die!
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 19
Times Played in 2015: 1

Wow. I am surprised I played this only once in 2015! I brought it along a few times, but never pushed too hard to get it played. I suspect I will play it more than once in 2016.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 16
Times Played in 2015: 80

No one liked the ship mechanism. Mike sold his off because we would never play it again. Michael still has his and it is possible I will play this again, though I suspect if we ever revisit a set it will more likely be the Rise of the Runelords.


Ra: The Dice Game
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 16
Times Played in 2015: 5

It was in the top 10 the last two years, and while it wasn’t played as much in 2015 we still play it on occasion.
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Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:39 am
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Games Played in November 2015

Bobby Warren
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November was a busy month, but not too busy. One regular game is now on hiatus, some new ones were exceptional, and I got to revisit some old favorites.

Once again I managed to play one of my few 10s! My lowest-rated games were both sixes and were both new to me games, though one.

I played 21 games a total of 52 times and five expansions six times. I played seven games for the first time and one of the expansions was new to me. I played 11 of the games and four of the expansions in October.

And after a low-key Thanksgiving with real chili (no beans!), I present the games I played in November:

7 Wonders: Duel
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 8

Wow! This is a terrific implementation of 7 Wonders for two players. Both Mike and Nico bought it and I played it against both of them and they also really liked it.

If you ever wanted the feel of 7 Wonders in a two-player game, then get this. Now.

It was a 7 Wonders month because the Game Depot had a tournament, which I didn't play in, but I did demo/teach the game for four players before the tournament and one of the new players I taught was one of the big winners.


Among the Stars: Revival
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

We played part of a game. I did not like the new two-player drafting because it always seemed like there was one must-get card each round and the player that is going first that round gets the good cards. I am also not a huge fan of all the spaceship cards that were coming up and think that mechanism might work better with more players in a standard game.

It also reminds me that I need to play New Dawn, since I backed it on Kickstarter and own a copy.


Bohnanza
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 3/2013
My Rating: 8

I hadn’t played this in a while and it was one of the few times in a long time that I jumped into a game with people I didn’t know.

The game design holds up, but if the players are a little too friendly in giving away beans and/or accepting gifts from players to help them out, then the game suffers a little. It’s still best when everyone has played a few times or the players have a little understanding on how close the game can be.


Carcassonne
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 4/2013
My Rating: 10

Expansions Played: The River for one game and Traders & Builders for one game.

The first game was played with the newest edition with The River, the Abbot and the new tile art. I am not a fan of the new art. There is too much large, busy accents that have nothing to do with game play that I found distracting.

I thought I was winning by quite a bit during the last part of the game and it ended up being a one-point win in large part because Mike had several high-point cloisters that scored at the end and boosted his score. The Abbot is an okay addition to the game but really feels like it was there to justify the new artwork by adding gardens to some of the tiles.

The second game was played with my original set with Traders & Builders. Nico had asked me which of the two expansions with the new art I liked best and I told him it was Traders & Builders, though he couldn't go wrong with either of them.

Carcassonne is another of those older games that he hasn't played a lot and I made sure during the entire game to point out the farms, who was in control of them, and why he might not want to play tiles in positions that would let me gain control of the big farm instead of sharing it. It didn't make too much difference because I had a pretty good lead and scored all three of the goods.

Mike isn't a fan of the goods and feels they are random. I disagree with him to a point, but I make it a goal to try and win them and often do so that randomness can be mitigated some if you are willing to dedicate yourself to getting them. The great thing about the big expansions is they are really collections of modular smaller expansions that can be used or not. It is simple to not use the good scoring and still use the other parts of the expansion.


Dice City
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

When Dice City was announced, I was immediately intrigued. When I cracked open the game and started reading the rules, I felt like maybe I had made a mistake in picking it up. Even watching the first part of Rhado’s run-through had me doubting my choice because I began to fear that the game could devolve into someone getting attacked to the point that all they could do is rebuild their city.

Luckily I played the game. It turns out that attacking buildings built by other players usually means using more than one of the limited actions a player would get on a turn for the same, or fewer victory points than would be received by attacking bandits which beings the game closer to ending. The attacked player only needs to spend one of their actions to negate the effect of the attack on them, so it is likely that buildings will be attacked less than I feared and is a good option only if really impacts obvious plans by the other player.

The game is pretty clever while not taking too long. There are three ways to end the game and none of them are too difficult to achieve.

There are a few graphic design choices which hurt the game a little. First is the color for each row is only on the left. Most of us are right handed and pick the dice up with that hand and then place them, probably from the right side of the board where we rolled them with, you guessed it, our right hands. It would have sped things up a little if the color were indicated on both sides of the rows, or even on the borders of the initial spaces on the board.

The second issue is the defense and VPs on the cards is a little small for something the other players should see when deciding to attack. Attacking other players’ buildings is generally less-valuable than attacking the bandits, but it would still be better if they were more readable from a distance, or upside down from across the table.

These quibbles I have with the graphic design really do not hurt the game, which is a very solid design and pretty good value for the $40 price tag at your friendly neighborhood game store.


Discoveries
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

This looked like a really clever dice game. I know Mike was interested in buying it and Nico had, and he liked it so I was glad to try it out.

I may have rated this a little high, but I could see the rating rising if I get a chance to play it once or twice more. I had a hard time pinning down why I didn’t enjoy it. The problematic thing for me is it moves a little slow and outlasted any rewards the game play gave. On top of that, it has a trap during playing that wasn’t obvious to me and when it happened it killed what enjoyment I was getting from the game because it was dragging on and on.

The “trap” is not being able to get dice to use because the other players grabbed them all up. This can happen if you assign your own dice to tasks that aren’t finished and/if the other players grab the dice before you get another turn and only a couple of your starting dice are out there. It leaves you with precious few options until the other players actually have to spend dice which they don’t get to keep. I spent a couple of turns with little to nothing to do because the extra dice were all tied up with the other players.

I was also put off by the scoring. There didn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason as to why some cards were valued a certain amount and the set-collection piece felt like a convoluted add-on. All-in-all, this has some nice ideas but performs like a Jeff Fisher-coached NFL team: perennially has a 7-9 record yet some people still praise him like it made a deep playoff run.


Epic PVP: Fantasy
Times Played: 14
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Mike, Nico, and I all backed this and bought the extra decks for the game. I first played a couple of games against Mike and then quite a few games against Nico the following Saturday. I like the game, though not as much as I hoped.

The game comes with both race and class decks. Each player gets one race and one class deck and shuffles them together. Each deck is different and each race and class has a special ability. The race indicates how much damage a combo can take before losing and has an initiative value. The class cards also have an initiative value and the two are added together with the player having the highest total taking the first turn in the game.

On a turn the player first put two of the cards from their deck into their aggression pile. They then choose how many cards they might want to draw, if any, from the aggression pile into their hand. The players then play cards from their hand. The total cost of the cards played has to be less than, or equal to, the number of cards in the aggression pile. Most of the cards are "moves" that have an attack value, a defense value, and may have some special abilities. First, cards are played that may block the attacks from the other player, then at the end of turn the active player's cards are turned to indicate the attack value against the other player.

The game plays in a few minutes, though not as fast as say Brawl. It is a solid seven for me, in part because it is a good filler two-player game. I was really hoping that it would be an eight, or higher.


Isle of Skye
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 7

This was a three-player game with Michael and his daughter Rachael. Early on it was obvious that Michael was more likely to buy my tiles, so I started cranking up the cost of my tiles and he kept buying them. I ended up with something like 60 or 70 coins, which was an additional 12 to 14 points, and ended up pulling out the win because I had so much money. If this was a poker game, I would have been rich!


King of Tokyo
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 8/2014
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Power Up! for both of the games.

Four players, two games, one expansion, zero wins. My monsters are pathetic and weak.


Kraftwagen
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 7

Nico and I played this with Paul. Nico cruised to a fairly easy victory, taking big advantage of the engineer that triples the low buyer amounts.

I placed an order with Amazon.de in November, and almost picked this up but decided to spend my money on a couple of games no one else in the group had. Mike did get a copy, so I suspect I will play this with two players soon.


Machi Koro
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansions Played: Harbor and Millionaire's Row for all the games.

We played again with 15 cards and that will be the way we play when mixing in both expansions.

There is now an awesome insert from the Broken Token for this game which I picked up already.


New York 1901
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 9

The first game was with three players and it ended up a tie. A tie!

The second time was also with three players. This was a close game for all three of us and came down to the last scoring when were determining who had the most buildings on the streets. After two of them were counted, I would have won if I won the third, Michael would have won if he or Nico won it. Nico won it and we all ended up within four points of each other.

I made an error during the game that cost me the victory. I started out planning on building on that third street, but somewhere along the line my focus jumped to an adjacent street, which I would have won, but I then ignored the street that actually scored. The lesson here. Keep checking the darned victory condition cards. That, or I am a moron. Or both. shake


Orléans
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Nico backed the extra deluxe version of this and it arrived in November. The components in the deluxe edition sure are nice, with the metal coins, the wooden discs for the workers, and the wooden bits for the crops. The one issue I see with the game is the odd shapes of the wooden crop markers makes removing a random selection of them at the beginning of the game is a little difficult. They also make the travelling board look busy. For them, I think I would have preferred the cardboard tokens.

We played it with two players and I enjoyed the game. It's an engine-building game and also kind of a deck-building game. Each round the players draw tokens from a bag which represent different types of workers. The workers are assigned to different buildings which generate more workers or move the merchant token around France to collect good and set-up trading houses.

We played it again the following week with Michael and worked just as well with three players. My initial plan was to automate as much as possible and move along the map and get down all my trading houses and make them worth as many points as possible. It worked and I got down all my trading houses, but the final score was still heavily in Nico's favor. I think I over-automated and didn't focus on scoring points or moving up the research track enough.

I looked into getting a copy of the deluxe edition, but the prices people are asking are more than I am willing to pay, especially since shipping such a heavy game is not cheap. Not that I think the prices are unreasonable for the product, just that it's more than I am willing to pay.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Sword of Valor for both games.

Adowyn, Enora, Imrijka, and Seelah finished the second adventure pack, then decided to take a vacation.

Michael didn't make it as much on Saturdays because ASU had home football games, so we didn't play either. Now I am looking forward to playing it again and hopefully the longer break will do the same for Mike, Jerry, and Damian.


Qwixx
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Qwixx Gemixxt for one of the games.

I played two games, once using the original score sheets and once with the score sheets that rearranged the numbers in the color rows.


Race for the Galaxy
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Alien Artifacts.

One game against Michael.


Roll for the Galaxy
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 7

Expansion Played: Ambition for all of the games.

Three games against Nico using the expansion for the first time. I like the new dice introduced to the game and the way the goals from the card game were introduced into the game.

It was awfully cheap of Rio Grande to not include new player screens in the expansion and instead provide stickers for the original screen. Now when Nico teaches the game to new players he will have to tell them to ignore the stuff from the expansion and that should make a difficult game to get players to wrap their heads around even more difficult.


Samurai
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 5/2011
My Rating: 7

This is a terrific, classic Reiner Knizia game. Nico hadn't played and mentioned that he was thinking about buying it. I brought my copy to the store and we played a game. Nico liked it and I ended up selling my copy to him since I hate the idea of explaining the end-game scoring. Now he can be the one to bring it along and explain the scoring.


Space Cadets: Away Missions
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 7

My first time playing with four people. All seemed lost but the two pieces of equipment we built to meet the win conditions, along with a lucky draw from the rescued thrall deck, let us pull out the victory as all seemed hopeless.


Super Dungeon Explore: Forgotten King
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 7

The Forgotten King beat down the heroic trio of the sharpshooting Princess Emerald, the elementally-inclined Tabbybrook Mage, and the kitchen terror that is Survivor Marie-Claude. After starting slow, the heroes swiftly waded through the second and third spawn points and managed to face the agent of the Dark Consul, only to be defeated in the final battle.


Sushi Go!
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2014
My Rating: 8

Another game that I played with people I didn't know. This time was with a couple of people from a local meet-up group which has several people I really don't like and others I couldn't see enjoying any gaming experience with. But these two were nice, sociable, and I enjoyed playing the game with them.

So I've exceeded my quota for the decade, and it's back to being a socially-anxious and insular curmudgeon!


Taluva
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/2015
My Rating: 8

Nico and I played a game with Paul, who had never played before. I managed to pull off the premature victory in my eleventh (next-to-last) turn.

When playing with less than four players, we remove 12 tiles from the game for each player missing to reduce the constant premature victories.


Tanto Cuore
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2013
My Rating: 9

I'm looking forward to the Oktoberfest expansion which should be shipping to Kickstarter backers early in December. Because of this, I pulled out the original and managed to get in a game with Nico.

This game really needs the randomizer cards coming with those who backed to get the big box. I thought that I decided against getting the box, but when I checked I discovered that I did add it on to my pledge. Yippee!


Tiny Epic Galaxies
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 8

Early in the month, Nico and I played three two-player games and he dominated the first two and the third was close but I managed to pull out a win. He definitely groks how to pull out victories more than I do at this point and that shows me the game rewards best player.

Mike and I also played a game.


Town Center
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Mike bought this and I really liked it, though not enough to think about buying.

We both made the mistake of plopping out starting city hall piece right in the middle of the map and both realized it might have been better in corner right away. I want to read the rules myself before playing, just to see if the building growth makes a little more sense if I see it written down and explained in pictures. Not that it was too hard to play, just that I could have planned better and need a better understanding of how to make it work.

In a lot of ways, it reminded me of the expropriation rules in Fresh Fish, which weren't as difficult as they were made out to be, and now I want to play the newer version.


Würfel Bohnanza
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 8

Since I played the original the day before, this seemed like a good choice to play the next day while waiting for people to show up.
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Campaigning, card game style

Bobby Warren
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Back in September of 2014 four of us started playing the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords card game with the intent of playing through the campaign. We enjoyed it, but found it to be really too easy at the end because our characters were able to generate so much power than most things weren't challenging.

Still, the game scratched the hack-and-slash part of playing-an-RPG itch for some of us, as well as the deck building itch.

We were playing this enough on Friday nights and I also was playing with my Saturday group, so I bought the official minis and got them painted up to use as figure representatives instead of the cards, so there was no doubt that the second set was on our horizon.

Full sail ahead!

After that, we moved on to the second game in the series, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles. While the game felt a little harder, the simplified RPG experience became less simplified since the ship mechanism introduced in the set added more overhead. On top of that, the payoff was insignificant when compared to the overhead. The ship was just too fiddly and we might have used a ships power, other than the ones which reduces damage to the ship, once the entire campaign.

Also on the negative side is the scenario twists to add flavor to the game didn't work as well as the ones in the previous set. In the end, while the game was a little harder it still wasn't too challenging though we still enjoyed the game.

After the disappointment with the ship, we were really looking forward to set 3: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous. It promised to be more challenging but without ships. That seemed like a good thing.

The devil you say?

My initial complaint is some of the new character classes just didn't look useful until they were able to select their role upgrade after running through scenario 3: I'm looking at you Alain and Balazar! Once we picked characters, we started on scenario 0 and were treated to a litany of boring, overly-complex adventures with no real rewards for playing. After spending the time to finish the five adventures, the net result was having an additional card slot in our decks and slightly better cards in our decks (because most of the cards in the base set were duplicative and/or just crappy. For example, all the attack spells are the same with the only difference being the special effect, like being fire, ice, or some other type of attack.

But there was hope. The real scenarios were on the way.

And hope was dashed. We've played through the second adventure deck, the Sword of Valor, and three quarters of the party were not having any fun. The complaints:

The difficulty was ramped up, which is fine, but to deal with the difficulty it feels like the characters and equipment were powered down to the point that several things which cause additional tracking were added to try and mitigate the extreme difficulty built into the new cards. Mike's thoughts are, “For instance, since the target numbers are all higher, we now have to deal with cohorts, mythic powers, and the knight card. So basically, they are just adding more to the game so you can combat the difficulty. If you left the difficulty the same, or just increased the target numbers slightly, you would not need to add the overhead that does not add much to the game.”

Much of the Cohorts seemed like a nice idea, but the ones added in the scenarios often didn't have much to add, beyond being yet another thing to track: If they ended up being banished during a scenario, then they would no longer be available during any possible future scenario.

The barriers in the first couple of adventure decks are about as substantial as meringue. There were many which were 'draw three of a type of card and keep one.' If one of the cards was kept, then the barrier was undefeated and shuffled back into the location. If the available cards were better, these might have been more than looking at them and tossing them back in the box when they came up. Essentially, they are totally wasted actions/turns.

Some of the other barriers are just completely random. Nothing can be done about them and they hang around unless something random happens, like getting a one in four roll, with the other results being generally bad.

The end?

After we finished Sword of Valor the other night, I suggested that we take some time off since none of the others were really enjoying the set. We were at a good stopping point and I suspect part of the problem might be that we have played it so much that a break of a month or two might be what the doctor ordered. There is always a risk that the break will become permanent, but I think we will pick it up again in the new year.

I can honestly say it is less likely that we will be buying into the next set, though still likely at least one of us will buy it. But for now, after 26 sessions and 90 plays, we're no longer playing this.

Oh, and the ships in Skull & Shackles sucked, in case I didn't make that clear.
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Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:48 pm
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Games Played in October 2015

Bobby Warren
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October saw me not playing as many games because Mike and I missed a couple of nights because of vacations and work. We also missed one of the Pathfinder game evening.

My highest-rated game played this month was one of my few 10s! My lowest-rated games was again a five and was again a new to me game.

I played 21 games a total of 52 times and five expansions six times. Compared to last month, this was a meek month for new games and I played four that I hadn't played before and none of the expansions were new to me. I played nine of the games and three of the expansions in September.

And with little to no fanfare, here is what I played in October:

Alien Frontiers
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 5

This is one of Brandon's favorite games and he wanted to play it. I thought it was a bit too long for what it is, the pieces and dice looked like they are toys from the quarter vending machines in the grocery stores, and the graphic design of the board could use some professional help.

The game play is very much in the Kingsburg realm where the dice rolled are placed on actions that are taken. The goal of the game is to score the most victory points by placing bases on a planet and also for having the most bases in each area on the planet. From my extensive experience (i.e., this one play) I feel that the victory point tracking is both fiddly and unnecessary.

The game ends as soon as one player places their last base. I'd bet that this person wins 95%, or more, of the games. In other words, having victory points is stupid and having to track them makes a game which is a little long for what it is already take even longer.

I wouldn't mind playing it in the future, and even am hoping to sometime in the near future to see if my initial impressions hold true.


Between Two Cities
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

Brandon got this from Kick Starter and wanted to play it. He, Nick, and I played it and I liked it, but felt it was difficult to track how well other cities were doing that it felt like a playing cooperative solitaire with two other people.


Blood Bowl: Team Manager: The Card Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/2014
My Rating: 7

My Chaos against Mike's Orcs.

It was looking good for the Chaos team until the Orcs managed to pull out wins in all three of the contests in the final round.


Cosmic Run
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

A fairly quick dice game that is missing something. I am also not a fan of the sets of alien cards scoring so many points since some are significantly easier to acquire than others. In both games we played I was unable to gather many of them because Michael and Nico were able to snag them. In both games the winner was decided by who got the most points from the alien cards.


Favor of the Pharaoh
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

I really like To Court the King, which is what this game is based on so it was disappointing to discover that I was far less impressed by this than I thought I would be.

The variable powers that will appear each game is a nice enough change, but I am not a fan of the new dice with various powers on some of the die faces. This works well in Lehmann's Ciúb, which is all about collecting dice with different faces to win VP cards. In this game it adds a level of randomness and complexity that it didn't need.

I also don't like that the level bars have different rolls required to collect the tile under them. It means that each game even mildly experienced players have to spend more time trying to figure out which tiles they can collect this game with what they are rolling and that can make the game drag a little.

Yahtzee-like games should be quick. Mashing together To Court the King and Ciúb has taken one game that was just about as long as a Yahtzee-like game should be and adding in time and difficulty level.

That sure was a lot of complaining for a game which I rate a six and would play any time Nico wants to bring his copy, but it has fallen off my to-buy list. And I had such high hopes.


Isle of Skye
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 7

We played with five, and it worked well, though I would rather play with fewer people. Brandon bought it after playing it, so I know someone else who owns it so I still don't need to get it.


Kraftwagen
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 7

Nico picked this up after I told him it was by the designer of Glen More and used the same rondel system, this time to choose actions to play.

He explained it to Michael, refreshing my memory as well, and we went on to play it. Michael got a lot of chassis tech early while Nico and I were focusing more on engines. Michael seemed to be in the lead through the first couple of rounds, but was short on workers and I had managed to max out the engine quality and get my chassis level up to one below his. I also had the engineer that would allow me to bump two chassis up, one by one level, one by two, so I managed to sneak in and steal away his two big scores for best chassis cars in the final sale. Nico finished a close second.


Machi Koro
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansions Played: Harbor and Millionaire's Row for all the games.

Both games were played with 15 cards face up and that was an improvement over using 10 face-up cards. We saw a variety of cards and the flow of different cards didn't clog up. There were a few cards no one was buying, but in other games they would have been bought so it was more of a result of what had been built before by the players and not because their support cards weren't available.


Mystery Rummy: Escape from Alcatraz
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 3/2015
My Rating: 8

I may have to reduce my rating on this. Both the times I played it this month were different experiences from what I remember the first time I played it back in March. The game felt more a focus on going out than actually foiling the escape plans and I didn't enjoy that as much as last time. I wonder if we did something wrong back then or this time?


New York 1901
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 9

After playing it once with two players and liking it, I played it next with four players and liked it even more. The game turned for me when I made a mistake near the end when I didn't take into account that adding a two-point gold building meant I wouldn't be able to demolish the buildings in the area. If I had made a smarter play, like focusing on scoring another street bonus or just adding more points I might have won. In other words, it was how I played that cost me the game and I can live with that.

I also played a couple of games with three players and those were loads of fun as well. I had so much fun that I upped the rating to a nine. It is terrific!


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous
Times Played: 16
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Sword of Valor for five of the games.

One thing I have realized playing this with Michael and the four-player game at Mike's is character selection can impact how much you enjoy the game. Michael and I seem to be having more fun playing with Kyra the Cleric and Crowe the Bloodrager.

On the other hand, the group at Mike's is plodding along with Enora, Imrijka, Seelah, and Adowyn and not enjoying the scenarios as much. The biggest complaint from the group is the heightened difficulty feels like it is created by adding extreme randomness to the game. I thought a couple of times during the last time we played that the game might implode and we would stop playing. At this point we will not be playing the next version of this.

Michael and I also played the fifth scenario in the introductory adventure in the three-player game, this time with Brandon being the third. Instead of managing to get out of the doldrums that is scenario 0, we failed the mission and will need to play it again sometime.


Qwixx
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Qwixx Gemixxt for one of the games.

I played two games with four players using the original score sheets and once with three players with the score sheets that rearranged the numbers in the color rows.


Roll for the Galaxy
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 6

Two games with four players using just the original game sine Brandon hadn't played before and Michael had played just once when Nico first acquired the game.

I definitely prefer this as a two-player game, but it works with more than the minimum number of players.


Space Cadets: Away Missions
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 7

Mike, Damian, and I ran through a couple of missions and won the first one with little difficulty and barely eeked out a win on the second one. It's a solid combat cooperative game.


Super Dungeon Explore: Forgotten King
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 7

We played another game with Mike running the forces of the Dark Consul, using plants and trolls. On the side of right, I played the Relic Knights crossover character One Shot, Jerry played Sebastian Cross, another Relic Knights crossover, while Damian bucked the trend and played the Mistmourn Shaman.

This group of heroes worked well together, and we were just about to strike against the third base when we ran out of time. The heroes were definitely winning and looked to be in a great position to defeat the forces of evil if we finished. This is taking a while to play because we are still getting used to the rules. Once we are familiar with the rules we should be able to get a full game in an evening.

We might want to consider each learning one set of monsters and running them in place of Mike so he can focus on the ones that he's been playing but we will still be able to play with the other monsters while not slowing the game down.


Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 3/2012
My Rating: 6

Brandon owns this and brought it out when we were looking for something relatively quick for five. I managed to get two of my people to shore and ended up being tied for second place with nine points.

Still a decent game, but nothing I need to own.


Takenoko
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/2014
My Rating: 7

A really good game.

I won, though by not as many points as we thought I might. During the game, Mike realized that he forgot that the icons on the corners of some of the cards meant that for it to score the tile had to have that particular condition on it. This put him several turns behind because he was working towards a goal that was not possible any longer.

I triggered the end game with nine goals completed and Mike took his last turn and had six or seven completed. I won by only five or six points because the goals he scored were generally worth more points than the ones I scored.

I suspect Mike will be getting the expansion sometime soon and I look forward to trying it out.


Tier auf Tier
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 4/2012
My Rating: 10

Brandon and I played a couple of games of this awesome kid's dexterity game while waiting on others to arrive. I really should start carrying around my copy so it gets played more.


Tiny Epic Galaxies
Times Played: 5
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 8

I taught Michael how to play right after I bought it and he liked it and also thought that it was the best of the Tiny Epic games. I then played it again a couple of times later in the month with three players and it still worked really well. The additional down time is mitigated by being able to follow if you have culture to spend so the players are engaged the entire game. I don't know if I would want to play with five players, but it might work with four.

I also played a solo game while waiting for people to show up at the store. That worked pretty well though the medium difficulty was still fairly easy to beat, though that might have been as much about the rolls the AI was getting than my play.


Welcome to the Dungeon
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 7

The first game was with three people and we played using the Rogue for all of the delves, which was an odd character. The first four times into the dungeon were losses, eliminating Nick, which left Brandon and I and he succeeded in two trips into the dungeon to win.

Nico and I played it mixing up the characters. I never delved once. Nico won the first, died the second delve, and followed that up with a close, but unsuccessful trip into the dungeon. The last time I played in October was with three players and Michael ended up winning that one after the first two delves because Nico and I were chickens.


Würfel Bohnanza
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 4/2015
My Rating: 8

Brandon hadn't played before so he, Nico, and I gave it a whirl.
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Tue Nov 3, 2015 1:35 am
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Painted minis and too many armies!

Bobby Warren
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Glendale
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As anyone (you know, the three of you) who regularly check out my musings knows, I've been buying all the limited army boxes released by Privateer Press for the Warmachine family of games. All of them. Eleven of them.

There's one problem with getting so many miniatures. I gave up painting a long time ago. I can do it and am not too bad. I was even paid a couple of times to paint for others. But I came to hate doing it. So now I pay people.

Currently, and for the last few years, I've been using Ken of Rogues Gallery Productions. I found him when I bought some figures off someone on eBay and asked who painted them because one of the figures needed touching up. He does really nice table-top quality paint jobs at a very fair price.

Over the years we've chatted through e-mail as well and he's a great guy. I'm pretty sure he's not a BGG user, so I wanted to toot his horn here and direct any of you who were looking for minis painters over to his Facebook page.

I know he's looking for more work right now as he finishes up my Circle Orboros army for Hordes along with some extras from the Two-player Battle Box. Those are the pictures I've spread through here which I just pulled off his page.

When these are done and in my sweaty hands, I will have the core eight factions painted with three more to go. I have a couple of minor things to finish building the Retribution of Scyrah army, the Convergence of Cyriss and Cephalyx armies are sitting in the boxes demanding to be built. I looked at some of the Cephalyx figure in blisters on the wall at the store this past weekend and really, really don't want to mess with the abundance of tiny metal arms on a few of the figures.

Ken's also painted Dreadball, Warpath, Guild Ball, Relic Knights, Pathfinder figures we use for the card game and some others I am sure I am forgetting.

I've also used regular BGG poster Michael Jordal for a couple of figures (awesome job!) and Euen McMurry, who painted most of my Trollbloods figures and a Malifaux crew. You couldn't go wrong with hiring any of them to do your painting.
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Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:43 am
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Gold in them thar hills!

Bobby Warren
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Glendale
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Carcassonne has been one of my favorite games ever since I bought it when it first came out. It's fairly quick to play, the rules are simple, yes even the original farmer rules, and it works for players with just about any level of gaming experience.

Over the years there have been dozens of expansions, promo tiles, and re-implementations. Some are awesome, some are good, and a few are stinkers. Carcassonne: Gold Rush falls into the good category for me.

It follows the basic Carcassonne ideas of drawing a tile, playing a tile, optionally placing a meeple (worker), then scoring any completed features.

Some of the features are very similar to the original game. The railroads work like roads, with one minor change. There are locomotives on some of them and when scored the railroad is worth two points per tile if there is only one locomotive on the completed line. At the end of the game the incomplete railroads score one point per tile and locomotives are ignored.

Cities are similar to cloisters, but they are completed when the railroads leading out from them are all completed. They score three points per completed railroad connected to the city. At the end of the game they score for any completed railroads leading from the and the incomplete railroads don't add to the city's score.

Prairies are similar to farms but are more like meadows from Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers in that they score for features in the enclosed area at the end of the game. Each tipi is worth two points and each herd of wild horses is worth four points.

The biggest change in theCarcassonne norm are the mountains. Each mountain tile has one to three gold nugget icons on them. When the tile is places on the board, one gold nugget token is placed on the mountain for each icon on the tile. All the nuggets from one combined mountain area are put in one stack. When the mountain is completed the player with the most meeples on the mountain scores one point per nugget icon on the tiles and any tokens still on the mountain area are collected by the player with the most meeples in the mountain wait a minute, did I just say "still on the mountain area?" Yup.

Each player has one tent piece/meeple that can be placed instead of placing a meeple. The tent is placed on a mountain segment that is unoccupied by another piece on an uncompleted mountain. It can be placed on a mountain that has meeples or other tents and it can be moved from one mountain range to another when being placed. If the player doesn't place a meeple or move/place a tent on their turn, they may collect one of the face-down nuggets from the mountain. The nuggets are worth mostly two points, but some are worth one, three, and no points. Three of the sixty-three tokens are worth five points. At the end of the game, any nuggets left on the mountain are removed and the mountain scores one point per nugget icon on the tiles.

There is one more game in the series that this appears to take something from, and that is Leo Colovini's ugly but under-appreciated Carcassonne: The Discovery, and that is a limited number of meeples. Each player has only four meeples to place on the board, so they have to be judicious in using them.

That's the game. All-in-all it is Carcassonne with a bit of a twist while keeping the core of the game the same.

I've only played it once with two players and the only thing I didn't really like is the possible swing in points the gold nuggets can cause. While I collected a few more gold tokens than Mike, I ended up with all three of the five-point nuggets and that was a huge determinant in my winning the game. It is an easily-correctable issue if it continues to be a problem. All I would have to do is say that the tokens are worth two points each and that would remove the randomness from the scoring.

I do enjoy the game and hope to play it few more times in the next couple of months. There is a set of promo expansion tiles with a sheriff meeple out there that I would like to get my hands on, but I'm also not going to spend a bunch of money to get it.
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Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:15 am
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