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A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure to try the Kennerspiel des Jahres winner Broom Service with my niece Maiju. I say pleasure, because it was such a pleasant surprise. I know I'm so late to the party, but honestly, I just wasn't that interested in the game before. Maybe I had too many other games on my mind at the time.
Broom service reimplements Andreas Pelikan's earlier game Witch's brew, which I haven't played but have known about for some time. I wish I had played it, though, to see the differences between the two games. I'll just have to rely on what other people have told me. All I know is that Witch's brew is clearly a card game, while Broom service is a board game with an actual board. With the help of one Mr. Pfister, the two guys have come up with a charming game.
The lovely cards of Broom service by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
The cards have beautiful art by the one and only Vincent Dutrait, and are colorful and pretty. But the board itself looks like something Ravensburger put out in the 80's. I guess it's functional, which is more important. In Broom service you are basically a potion delivery service in this magical land, where there are two types of witches: brave and cowardly ones. In each of the 7 rounds of play, players choose 4 cards and the manner of which they wish to play each card. The brave version is of course better, but uncertain. Because only the last player to declare a certain card brave gets to actually act that way. All the cowardly ones always succeed, but get less stuff done. This is very interesting mechanism, one that Maiju and I really enjoyed. The game also comes with variable ways to play the game. I guess you could call them mini-expansions. Gamers probably want to add a little more in their game, and the basic version is something even families can play together. We really enjoyed the few games we played of Broom service.
Coffee and games, two things I love. by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
I also got to play a Lewis & Clark which also has the art by Vincent Dutrait. It was just a coincidence. In Lewis and Clark you play the famous explorers, gather equipment and meet new people while exploring the way to the Pacific coast. The game has cards you can buy in deck building style and the cards can be played in two different ways.
The lovely board of Lewis & Clark by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
Each player has their Corps of Expedition board where they store all the equipment they get and if they have helpful Indian friends, they are also put on the canoes on this board. You can expand your board if necessary. The components are pretty and colorful, which I always appreciate. I don't have time for ugly games. I've only played once but I did like my initial play. Time will tell, if my opinion changes.
Hi! by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
On the same day we played a learning game of Panamax. It is commonly not regarded good as a 2-player game, but our third gamer had disappeared into thin air. (Hockey was on...)
Panamax is designed by the same fellows (+1) who designed my beloved Madeira, so I was secretly intrigued. I was worried about the theme not being interesting to me, but actually it wasn't boring as shipping cargo in the Panama canal sounds like. We just had a really tough time with the rulebook. Maybe we were tired or something, but I felt like we couldn't find answers in the right places and the layout was a bit messy. But, after all the rule corrections and small errors we made, we managed to play the game (semi)correctly and did enjoy it. Need to play with more players soon.
Panamax learning game going on. by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
To finish off my new to me list, we tried out Sultaniya. This was an impulse loan from the library, all because I wanted to see if it would work as a thematic filler for Five Tribes. Sultaniya is a tile laying game with variable player goals. It's pretty cool. It's light and fast, so works well as a filler. I was maybe expecting just a little bit more from it, but I will definitely play it some more.
I need more palm trees! by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
My week ended in a surprise arranged by my friend for my husband and me. She had bought us a overnight stay at a spa hotel by a beautiful lake. She had arranged us a private jacuzzi with a candlelight bubble bath, all this and even more, because she thought I was too stressed out and needed to get away for a day or two. Life is really good at the moment.
Summer life. by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
I'm still just as pale as last time, though.
Firstly, I have to brag a little. My review of Grand Austria Hotel got published in the biggest Finnish board gaming site, Lautapeliopas.fi and I'm so thrilled and happy and giddy about it. Yay!
Now onto my week. So I had fever for almost four days straight, and I felt miserable that I had to cancel game day on Ascension Day. But I just barely could get out of bed, so I simply had no choice. Who gets sick in May anyways?! As a result, I was so bored I had to reserve a few games from the library. So Broom Service, Panamax, Power Grid: The First Sparks, Lewis & Clark are coming my way soon. Fever makes you do things.
Oh look, purple hair! by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
Luckily, I felt good enough on Saturday when we celebrated my niece's 20th birthday. I even put on some purple hairchalk. That's how festive I was feeling. After all the eating and entertaining guests, Maiju and I opened up a bottle of apple cider and took out At the Gates of Loyang. This is how we are. Instead of going out to a bar she opted to stay with her aunt Miira and play games. How cute is she?!
The Gates of Loyang are wide open by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
I really like At the Gates of Loyang. But it is SO different than all the other great Uwe games. And it really is a 2-player game, at least to me. I might try it with 3 at some point, but I'm not interested in the 4-player variant. Sadly we had only time for one game, it was getting pretty late at that point in the evening. I guess I was still convalescent.
Happy customer waiting. by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
On Sunday it was Mother's day which I of course spent with my family. My mother was doing some gardening when we went there which was a good coincidence, since my gift for her was a new rose bush for her garden.
My mom doesn't play games anymore, other than maybe the occasional Codenames. But they have a game room, nonetheless, and after all the ice cream and having fun with their dogs Ilo and Vuokko, my niece Maiju, my husband Jani and I went to their game room to play a game of Power Grid. We all like Power Grid and since I had reserved it's sister game, Power Grid: The First Sparks from the library in my fever moods, we wanted to play the original one so it is fresh on our minds when we eventually play the other one.
Power Grid. by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
On Monday we went to see my parents again, because we had made some plans to eat good food together and enjoy the sunshine. Maiju was there too, so games had to get played. Besides, my husband and my father wanted to watch some ice hockey since the world championships are on.
We actually started outdoors on their patio, but it was getting a bit chilly despite being the warmest day of the week. It really felt like Summer had arrived. Our first game was 7 Wonders: Duel which we both love. I went for the blue cards and won the game pretty easily. I first thought about going for the science cards but soon realized there weren't that many around, so I had to do something else.
7 wonders: Duel by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
After 7 wonders: Duel we played another game of Loyang. Still liked it. Nothing new to report here. After that we took out Deus which you all know I love. We had a really tight game and quite suspenseful right until the end. I lost though If I had just had one more turn...
Playing Deus by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
I just love this game.
Me, myself and I. by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
After Deus I was still craving for a game. We decided to play Dale of Merchants since it is fast but good. They have the sequel Dale of Merchants 2 on Kickstarter now and I'm seriously thinking about breaking my No-Kickstarters-vow. Dale of Merchants feels like a racing game disguised as a deck-builder. Excellent for the end of the night quick game. And it's adorable!
Dale of Merchants fun in session. by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
All in all my week ended up being quite good despite it's horrible beginning. The Sun is shining and it is hot! I even tried to get some tan on my skin, but it never happens. I'm just too pale.
Me pale as one can be. by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
Tue May 10, 2016 10:35 pm
Whew, it's done. My friend got married this past Sunday and life can now continue it's normal course. These past three weeks have been exhausting but I would still do it again.
A couple of weeks ago we had her bachelorette party and went to play some glow-in-the-dark mini-golf. Not a board game but it was fun still! And I won, so there's that
My friend at her bachelorette party. by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
The week after that was horrible with work and all the other wedding-y stuff, but I decided it was necessary for my mental health that I get some games to the table. You see, I sometimes have a hard time to relax, and board games help me do that the easiest.
We went to see my mother-in-law one evening, and I took Rococo with me. My husband and I really like Rococo and this time was no different. I went for the decorations instead of dresses in the beginning, and that helped me win a few ties that were crucial for my victory.
My hand made playing pieces for Rococo by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
I had also gotten Ora et Labora from the library and needed to play that no matter what! That meant I had to do all sorts of things with glue and glitter in the night, but it wasn't so bad. Well, if you look at the dark circles under my eyes, then it really was bad. But I really like Ora et Labora, so it was worth it. I liked how my player board looked at the end, but sadly I forgot to take a picture of it
Ora et Labora by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
I also got to spend some time with my niece Maiju one day, when she agreed to help me with some maid of honour business, after which we played some games. I was pretty tired and didn't want to play anything new, so we made some coffee and took out Trains. We played with the Tokyo map. My husband was grumpy because we used only the cards from the base game, and not the Rising sun which he likes more. But I was too tired to mix them, so he just had to live with it.
Gonna lay some rails! by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
Playing Trains while having coffee. by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
After trains I wanted to play Elysium. I can't recall all the families we had, but we had the one with the Oracle. It was a tight game but Maiju won, I came in second and Jani last. I think we were all within 9 points from first to last. I don't mind losing, I was having so much fun it didn't even matter.
The beautiness that is Elysium. by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
We also got to go to a concert with my parents, and I really needed that to take my mind off of things. They bought tickets for themselves and Jani and me, and I'm so thankful for that. Otherwise we wouldn't have gone, because of all the things I had on my mind. My parents are the greatest.
Jarkko Ahola and Laura Voutilainen by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
Then came the wedding day. It went by pretty fast and I was exhausted by 9PM. But it was a beautiful ceremony and everone had fun. Yay! Im happy for my friend and her new husband I hope they enjoyed their special day.
Unfortunately when I got home I got really bad acid dyspepsia and even though I had taken several medicines, I was in pain for many many hours. And in the end the meds didn't even help, and it wasn't until Jani gave me a glass of milk, which actually helped and I managed to fall asleep for a while. Go figure.
But despite having little-to-no sleep I really wanted to play Bora Bora today. I had tried to read the rules the other day, but I was too tired and it was a fiasco. We tried again today and you know what? I really LIKED it! WHAT? I like a Stefan Feld game? Unprecedented. And even Jani liked it which is even more peculiar. I hope to play it again soon-ish, because Jani won and that just won't do!
Bora bora player board. by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great week!
Now I need some sleep. zZz
(stupid internet made me type this whole post 2 times...Aargh, will I ever learn to save a couple of times while writing).
Tired Tibetanspaniel Vuokko. by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
Mon Apr 25, 2016 10:20 pm
I hate stress. Even more so, I hate when multiple things cause me stress at the same time. I had to turn down an invitation to a game night, and if you know me at all, you know I won't do that lightly. This maid of honour business is really consuming a lot of my time.
But, I decided I will try to be as positive as I can. Only two more weeks, and then life continues as it should.
I have managed to get some games played to de-stress. I taught Arboretum to my niece Maiju a week ago. Arboretum is such a beautiful game and I find it to be pretty clever, too. In it you play these tree cards to your tableau i.e. arboretum to form paths of lovely looking trees. They come in many colors and are numbered from 1 to 8.
Untitled by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
Maiju learned it very fast and won more times than lost. Aargh, why did she have to grow up?! Nowadays it seems she always wins everything...
I then tried to teach Arboretum to my mother-in-law which was a disaster. I don't get it! She plays many more complicated games with us without any problems, but after 4 games she just didn't get it. I was planning on adding Arboretum to our Summer Game Box but now I'm disheartened and not sure. Our Summer Game box is this big box we keep with us in our car when we travel to our Summer cabin or anywhere else. We keep a bunch of small games there, that are also easy to teach.
I also managed to teach Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small to Maiju after borrowing it from the library. They didn't have the expansions for it and I'm afraid that this game really needs the expansions. The base game felt a little bit lacking, but was fun enough, so we played it a couple more times in a row. I'm not really a huge fan of the regular Agricola, I'm more of a Caverna girl, but the baby Agricola I would consider buying.
Baby Agricola by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
This week I got my husband Jani to play a few games on Yucata.de with me, when our table was full of stuff and I really wanted to get my mind off of everything. We played some The Voyages of Marco Polo which we both love. I'm not sure if we ever had played it as a 2-player before. In our first game I made a few idiotic mistakes but ended up winning barely. I asked my niece to make profiles for Yucata.de, boiteajeux.net and boardgamearena.com too, so we could play games even when I don't have time to visit her. We already have played Seasons, Dungeon Petz, Concordia and Deus together. My husband has yet to play any other than Takenoko or Marco Polo, but we'll get him on board with us eventually
Untitled by Miira Hartemo, on Flickr
Playing online isn't of course the same as playing with the physical game, but it does offer a nice substitute when you don't have opportunities to go to a game night. I have a couple of games reserved from the library, that should come maybe this week or the next. I just need to find the time and place to play them. I'm especially looking forward to Ora et Labora which I have actually never tried before! As you can see the Uwe kick is still going strong
Don't know how much games I will be able to play this week, but I'm going to go play neon light mini-golf, so that's a first! Have a great week everyone!
After a long weekend full of games you'd think I was satisfied. But no! I want more!
I spent the whole Easter weekend with my family, who luckily are gamers mostly. But our plans went horribly wrong, and I had to do with a moping husband for a couple of hours. He has been complaining about playing only eurogames for a long time, so we had arranged a Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game game day with my sister and her family. But they made other plans that intervened with our plans for that day. I was angry too, I hate when people don't keep their promises.
We managed to play games with my nieces, though, so all in all a great day. As my husband was very disappointed with his game getting canceled, I took Elder Sign with us, knowing he likes it very much. Our game went horribly wrong and we lost. I feel like not playing ES for awhile.
Afterwards we played Dice Town and One Night Ultimate Vampire.
I had borrowed Castles of Mad King Ludwig from the library and wanted to try it out. So I asked my nieces who were more than willing to play. And we all fell in love! I had no idea it is that much fun. My younger niece Aino(16yo) has since asked many many times to play Castles.
We also got my cousin Jonna to come and play games with us for the first time. Ticket to Ride: Europe was a huge hit with her, so I'm hopeful she will join us again in the future. We played some other games with her, but I think Ticket to ride was IT.
I also needed some time for myself, since I've been stressing some work and future related stuff. I enjoyed a glass of sparkling rosé and Le Havre on my iPad. I guess it helped a bit. Sometimes I have a hard time running away from sad thoughts, even when I'm with people. My husband says I worry too much about things that might not even happen, but how to turn those thoughts off?
We ended the long weekend at my in-laws teaching Istanbul to my mother-in-law. Istanbul is a fine game but I still feel like it is merely OK and not great. Will have to play it some more and see, if I warm up to it more. We did enjoy our time together, so it was a success.
I just found out that my friend who is getting married in three weeks wants me to be her Maid of honor. This is very stressful to me, because why ask when there is only so little time? I thought she didn't want to have one since she didn't ask me when they started to plan the wedding. I feel like I now have an obligation to do all sorts of things I wasn't prepared to do and would have liked to have more time.
I guess April is going to be a busy month but not in a way I was hoping.
Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:26 pm
What busy two weeks these past weeks have been! But I managed to finish some projects and am excited to show them to you.
Last time I showed you my resource tokens for Deus, and they inspired me to do the same for Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar. They were easy to make and since I don't want to paint the wheel, these bring a little something extra for my game.
After finishing them I got this ridiculous idea of making a cute first player token to replace the cardboard one. I took some ideas from the cover and made a simplified version of it. I didn't feel confident enough with my skills to try to do an exact match. It turned out quite ok.
Sadly I haven't gotten around to playing with these upgraded components yet, but all in good time. I do love Tzolk'in.
My next project was a really small one. Just some bread tokens for Madeira. I'm not really known for being a heavy games fan, but Madeira I like. So I thought maybe this would be a fun little thing to add to it.
I think I might make new ones eventually, those are maybe a little too small for my husbands big thick fingers. Oh, men and their manly hands!
I needed to take a small break from crafting, as my ideas started to get stupid, so instead I played tons of Glass Road and last week mainly Caverna. My niece Maiju and I have been on an Uwe high. But playing Caverna with dull round dwarf tokens gave us a magnificent idea. Fimo dwarfs!
I know, crazy! Caverna: The Cave Farmers has dwarfs for 7 players. Each color has five, and then there's the extra 6th dwarf in neutral color.
We got my other niece Aino to join us over the weekend, and we actually did it. We made all the zillion dwarfs from scratch.
I'm so happy with them! We played with them already and they rock! Makes a fun game even more fun. We're having a game day next Sunday, and my nieces asked me to bring Caverna. I'm a bit hesitant, though, since we have my cousin coming, who is new to gaming. Caverna might be a bit too much for her.
Now I'm all out of ideas, but maybe they will pop up at some point! I just got Le Havre from the library, so I guess I'll concentrate on playing games for a change.
Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:50 am
So, I had to buy a new iPad to replace the broken one, because of my serious Patchwork app addiction. As a new owner of a new iPad Air 2, no sanity got lost here. Just a lot of money.
The whole week has been a little rubbish anyways.
I did get to play Fields of Arle for the first time, at least that's positive. The game takes a massive amount of table space, for just a two player game. I did extremely poorly in both of the games I played, but they were learning games. It's an excellent game, though. Hopefully I will get to play it some more before I have to return it to the library.
I downloaded the app for Glass Road and though everyone else seems to be having problems with the app, mine works just fine. It isn't perfect but it hasn't crashed or anything. Playing the app made me feel like I would like the analog version more, so I got it from the library. I'm hoping to play it this weekend with my niece. She liked Arle, so maybe she'll like Glass road too. Not that they have anything in common really
We also have Concordia ready to get played. I've been waiting to get that to the table for a very long time, so I'm excited to finally get to do that. Why is the box size that ridiculous?
I have a few Fimo projects unfinished but I have basically nothing to show you yet, since I haven't had time to finish them. A rubbish week, as I said. Maybe next week is better!
Have a great weekend everyone!
Our breakfast table has been turned into an arts & crafts center. I've had so much fun making stuff for our games, I just had to share it with you guys!
My first Fimo project was to make lace and yarn markers for Rococo. I think the game looks very pretty and the cubes it comes with just seemed a bit meh. I don't usually have anything against wood cubes, I actually prefer those than anything plastic, but once I came up with this idea of replacing them with something I made, I had to at least give it a try.
I went out and bought a couple of colors of Fimo, and voilà! What do you think?
My next project was Deus. I love Deus and thought it would be fun to try to make some resources for it. I started with the easiest, clay, and worked through them all. With a little help from my nieces, because there are A LOT of resources in the game. Like 20 each. I found some white marble Fimo, so maybe I'll do the temples next? Or is that too much...?
I also wanted to make some food and poop tokens for Dungeon Petz, and my nieces wanted to help, because they adore the game. We laughed the whole time, and it was a really nice family moment. I guess fart and poop jokes never get old, eh?
I did play games, too, this week. We fell in love with Patchwork recently, and have been playing that a lot lately. And they just happened to release the app for it, yay! I go by Miiruli there, if you ever want to play with me. You'll probably win!
I've been toying with the idea of making my own version of Patchwork, from some leftover fabric patches my mom has in her attic. Wouldn't that be neat? I tried to make some time markers for the game, but I need to make new ones, these are just a little bit too big, I think.
I also put googly eyes to my Caverna: The Cave Farmers animals. And the camels from Camel Up and the beeples from Hornet. I think I have a problem and need therapy
Next week I should concentrate on gaming, because I have a copy of Fields of Arle waiting for my attention. I'm on an Uwe kick! Thinking about checking out Glass Road from the library next. There is also an app for it, so might have a look at it.
I've been playing a lot of Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King lately. Tile-laying is a genre I typically like, so I had to give this one a try. I think Isle of Skye adds a nice twist to the game with the buying and selling of the tiles. And it has 16 different scoring tiles, which you only use 4 at a time, so every game is just a little bit different. I really like that. One of the designers, Alexander Pfister has become someone whose work I'm always interested to have a look at. I wonder what his upcoming title Great Western Trail is going to be like.
Now, if only I could get these annoying bagpipes out of my head!
I also got to playing Istanbul for the first time. As a Kennerspiel winner it needed to get to my table, and a little late it did. I mean we started playing around 10pm. But, everyone was eager to try it. I remember seeing Istanbul get compared to Five Tribes a lot when it came out. As FT is my favorite game, I will tell you, that Istanbul isn't nearly as enjoyable as FT, but it is a good game. I played with my husband Jani and my niece Maiju and they both really liked it. Maiju is sometimes hard to win over, for instance she didn't like Isle of Skye that much, so I was a bit surprised that she really enjoyed Istanbul.
Maiju and I played Patchwork 3-4 times straight just the other day. What a lovely little game. I've been toying the idea of adding this to our SUMMER TIME BOARD GAME TREASURE CHEST, which needs some updating once again. I wanted to try it out first, because the chest doesn't have room for games that don't get played. (I'm looking at you Dixit Jinx!) Patchwork does take a bit more table space than what I though it would, but it's manageable, I guess.
My husband has been complaining that we have been playing too much euro stuff so I might need to organize a game night with a thematic flavor. I'll admit it's my fault, because I just prefer euro games so much more. He was satisfied when we took Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island with us to my sister's place on Sunday. I guess it has just enough flavor to fool him We lost, which was discouraging after our last play which we won. But, considering that it is a hard game, it was to be expected.
Have you guys done anything gaming related with Fimo? I really am thinking about doing stuff for Rococo (the lace and yarn markers) and am thinking about doing some other things for other games. Haven't touched the stuff since I was 8 years old, but I'm sure it'll be fine.
That's it for now. I'm going to buy some Fimo tomorrow and hopefully I have some time over the weekend to plan what to do with it. I hope you guys have had a great week!
February came very stealthily . We've been playing a lot of Rococo since we now own a copy. We just played it again a few days ago with my mother-in-law who seemed to enjoy it as well. I can't wait for my friend Hanna to finish remodeling their house so we can finally start game nights again.
We also got The Voyages of Marco Polo on the table at the in-laws. I played Carprini for the first time(I think). First half of the game wasn't going my way, but I managed to pull a win, after all. What can I say, I still love this game!
We borrowed 7 Wonders: Duel from the library and played, played and played it. Wasn't thinking I was going to like it that much, but should have guessed, knowing how much I love the original one. This library thing is going to bankrupt me, because we ended up buying the Duel, too. It has proven itself though, since my niece Maiju fell totally in love with it and has requested it many times since.
We also borrowed Le Fantôme de l'Opéra, because we like the original Mr, Jack and the New York one. Jani didn't like this one, but I say his opinion is highly influenced by the fact that I won ALL the games we have played thus far. But, I don't think we need this one, I'm quite happy with the ones we have. It was nice to try it, though.
We also bought One Night Ultimate Vampire but haven't tried it yet. My family loves the ONUW games, so we just had to get this.
We have so many games coming from the library that I just really don't have time for work or anything trivial like that I just love games! Sorry for such a short post, just wanted to share these little bits with you guys.
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