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Episode 39 of your Last Reminder to back some cool games.
Covering: Friday, June 24th - 7PM CET to Monday, June 27th - 7PM CET
This Blog accompanies a podcast which can be found:
The Original Blog + Podcast Combi can be found here:
Featuring (Amongst Others):Captains of the Golden Age, Perfect Crime, Cave Pilot 55, Dice of Crowns, Sea Turtle Scurry & Central City: Heroes.
Sad Kickstarter Stories of the Week: Sea Turtle Scurry & Central City: Heroes
RPG of the Week: None
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Miniature Related Projects
Willy Miniatures Fantasy Football Team [No BGG Link at Time of Release]
The Human Fantasy Football Team from Willy Miniatures is doing pretty well, doubling its initial funding target. These knights in shining armour look very good (as did the previous teams from Willy Minis, I HAD to say it like that) and will cost you 90 EUR for the entire team, which currently consists of 21 miniatures and a set of dice, though new stretch goals are still within reach.
Captains of the Golden Age
Captains of the Golden Age from Golden Age Games is a trading game played on a very good-looking round board. There’s zero percent luck involved so it’s all up to your strategic insights.Get yourself a VOC-mentality and become the financial ruler of the East Indies in Captains of the Golden Age. It’s 50 EUR.
Perfect Crime is a cooperative Heist game where you can either play as the security focused bank or as a group of robbers trying to rob it. A tile-based modular board makes for a new bank every time you play. Break the Bank or Build its Security in the Perfect Crime, it’s 27 GBP.
Cave Pilot 55
Cave Pilot 55 - The Arcade Card Game is very close the getting funded. The tactical side-scrolling shooter game in which you fly through modular caves could use a little bit of help still and I think you should back it. Not only because it’s a Dutch project (like Captains of the Golden Age as well) but also because it looks very good! It’s 28 EUR and there’s several little expansions available as well, one of which will be a KS exclusive so check that out! I wish I jumped on the early birds for this one, but allas.
Dice of Crowns
Next up, a little dice game called Dice of Crowns. Roll, the Dice, Backstab Friends, Seize the Crown! How’s that for a catch phrase! A fast-paced blend of luck and strategy in which you roll the dice to claim the throne, but there’s betrayal in every turn! A good-looking game with custom dice can be yours for 10 USD or you can buy the files for the 3d-printable dice for 5.
Party / Miscellaneous Games
Subtle Much? [No BGG Link at Time of Release]
Subtle much is a pretty cool concept which adds a secret agenda to any game you’re already playing. Draw a card at the beginning of the game and try to accomplish your secret goals. Add a new layer to any game with Subtle much? It’s 10 or 20 AUD for the PnP (depending on which expansions you want or 33 AUD for the physical base game and 16 for each expansion.
Sad KS Stories
Here’s some projects I thought could make it, should make it, but somehow didn't:
Sea Turtle Scurry
How in the Lord’s Name does a game about cute little turtles trying to make it to sea not make it? It made it only halfway through the beach so to speak. It needs another 2.5K so I’m very afraid for the livelihood of these little sea turtles.
Central City: Heroes (Relaunch):
The Central City: Heroes relaunch did not make it this time either. Even though it raised 36K as I am writing this that’s still over 13K short of their funding target. The superhero game with pretty good-looking miniatures, cool artwork and a modular city board looks the part of being a succes but somehow it isn’t even with over 400 backers.
So there’s no Turtles in the seas or heroes in the city… and that’s Sad!
Not a Western in sight this Sunday, although there was a strong Westerly blowing rain clouds around the sky curtailing some outdoor activities (we did manage a long family walk with a very happy dog though) and allowing me to indulge in some family gaming and some football viewing.
First up - "The Good":
Escape from Atlantis was so much fun the other day with my brother and Billy that I persuaded the whole family to give it a go. For a 30 year old ruleset it holds up very well indeed, with plenty of opportunity for tactical mischief and mechanics that prevent the game from running too long or getting caught in a stalemate. The whirlpools that are occasionally revealed when taking an island piece away can really hurt (they suck in everything on adjacent tiles, including other tile and any prices on them!) and encourage you to spread out. The chaos does create amusing takes as well, such as when a player decides that an Atlantean is better off jumping and trying to slowly swim, navigating between Sea Monsters and sharks, and at the mercy of the cruel sea (or rather, the other players!)
Charlie and I shared the win, each getting half of our 12 staring people to safety, Billy 5 and poor Mrs B having saved just 4.
"The Bad": Exploding Kittens. There's not a lot to say about this one really. It's a pretty random Munchkin/ Fluxx-a-like fest that plays along the lines of "I play this", "oh no you don't, I cancel it", "ok then, I play a pair to steal from you instead", "damn it, that was my diffuse card", "bugger I've drawn an exploding kitten, oh well at least I have the diffuse to cancel it and stick it back in the deck". Repeat until people are out of cards and can't prevent being blown up.
It's pretty much pointless and has almost no opportunity to put together an interesting move but at least it has the good grace to finish quickly.
"The Ugly": Merkator got another play with Mrs B, where we had a frustrating lack of synergy in both our cards and with each other, meaning hardly any piggybacking. As the contracts didn't flow for either of us, and the starting buildings available for purchase were all expensive it meant quite a grind and not a very smooth game. Mrs B won 52-48 (neither of us got contracts past level 8) and commented, quite rightly, after the game "I like the simple puzzle it presents, but we have far better and more interesting games on the shelf, I don't think I'd want to play this again over any of them".
Looks like Uwe's unloved stepchild (see yesterday) won't be finding our house to be anything more than a brief stay. It'll be on the sale list by the end of the week probably (I'm thinking about having a reasonable cull of about 15 games).
Nice to be playing some games again. Now to plan what ones to get to the table during this week off work, I'm determined to get some good gaming, and some good games, in!
Well, what a week. Anyway, gaming...
A single game of this between KT and me in the pub on Thursday evening as we passed a little time there. Sometimes this game just purrs along, but at other times you get stuck quite early on and it is difficult to find a way out. We managed to get all five different "1" cards onto the table fairly early on, but I've learned over our plays that having the "5" cards in hand early on can be a hindrance, and thus it was this time around. With only higher value cards it was tricky to get the various fireworks going, and several times we ended up in positions where either a risky play or a risky discard was in order, and I finally ended up jettisoning the only card that would have kept us in the game. To be fair to me, there were several cards still in the draw deck and I had three possible cards to choose from in hand, so to have it in hand and choose to discard it was a mite unlucky, but there you go. We scored 17, which the rulebook seems to think is half decent, but having managed 24 a couple of times in the past I really, really want to get a perfect score now..!
For a decent proportion of this country Friday was on the baffling side, so we cracked open some cardboard to take our mind off the chaos. We began with a game of classic Quadropolis, light, breezy, colourful and fun too. It is only the third time we have played this properly, but I enjoy it as I find it offers just about enough thinkspace to be involving but not overwhelming - any lighter for its length and I could probably blow it away with one light puff, any heavier and it would be competing with other games in our collection. I went for Factories and Shops while Katie diversified and managed to build up a Harbourfront all along one and a bit sides of her board, gaining 15 points. It felt like a close run thing, and the scoring was pretty much even until we got to the Harbours and the bonus points on the tiles, at which point KT stretched her legs, winning in the end 61-49.
We then played our 182nd game of Race for the Galaxy with the Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts cards, and with this play it officially outstripped Dominion as our most played game - for something that takes longer to play that is quite an achievement, but it remains KT's favourite game, and I consider myself a lucky man. KT had some strong Alien cards in hand from the start and managed to hold onto them as she built up her miilitary strength in order to play them to her tableau, while I went for a mixed Uplift/Genes approach. It felt quite close throughout and the final result was an appropriately Referendumesque 39-38 to KT. It was worth it, though, to take our mind off things. I keep thinking about securing some of the other expansion arcs, but the one time we played The Orb we quite enjoyed it, so we might, just might, go exploring in that direction next. 200 plays, here we come!
I am trying to make sure that all our games get at least a fair share of their time off the shelf, and to that end I have a spreadsheet (yummy!) up and running that keeps me informed of what is overdue a visit to the table. Because of this I picked this out for a play on Saturday, and was astonished to find that we had not played it since February. At least the spreadsheet seems to be doing its job. A quick scan through the rules and the various victory conditions and we were off, and it did not take me long to recall how much I enjoy this game. I just love having to keep an eye on everything KT does, all the while trying to secure my own civilisation's safety and prosperity. The military track seemed pretty stable early on, and I was confident of heading on to a decent points victory, but by Age III KT was becoming more aggressive and I could not prevent her getting the Military card she needed for victory...but she could not afford the resources to build it! I was safe, I thought, but she instead sold it and used the next card she took to build (with the coins she had gained) the Wonder that enabled her to move the Military marker all the way across to my side for the victory, her third military win in a row. Given that the marker had started Age III in the middle of the board, this was swift and ruinous...how apt!
So mainly for me and partly for you, if you're in anyway interested, here are my to's and fro's for June 2016 as I continue to attempt to whittle away and seemingly simultaneously increase my collection.
Shogun Big Box
Backed this on kickstarter and it arrived a few hours before I had to leave for two weeks at work! Usual good timing. Really looking forward to playing it. Don't expect I will get through many of the expansions though, the base game I imagine will be enough for me. But big tower and little samurai meeples ready to be thrown in = must play for me!
Viticulture: Moor Visitors
all image credits jameystegmaier
My second favourite solo game, so yes I just had to get this small expansion of 40 new cards. Have tried it a few times and it just adds more variety without changing anything else. Perfect.
First image credit : W Eric Martin
Second image credit : goomba_
Third image credit : henk.rolleman
I bought this to try with the family and so far have only played it with my 9 year old daughter, but she picked it up very quickly and the game plays very smoothly. Usual Days of Wonder quality production. I have not seen any of the meeples internally cracking up yet as reported elsewhere, but in my house, with my kids, it won't be long!
First image credit : W Eric Martin
Second image credit : HedgeWizzard
Third image credit : MeeplePeat
Quick family game from the same designer as Archaeology, yes please. Have played this a few times now and only just realised I had been teaching it wrong the whole time, bugger! Those stones don't have to be loaded from the front of a ship! Would never get that in Panamax, those Eqyptians were so inefficient in their work practices! Looking forward to playing it properly but at the moment I can still see this winning the Spiel Des Jahres.
"No way" I hear shouted back at me. In my experience this game is much better than codenames when played in the family environment (and yes I do really like Codenames). Codenames is sometimes too clever for it's own good and having players of vastly different age ranges makes the clue giving mechanic unnecessarily troublesome, and for me this makes Imhotep the likely winner. But hey I am normally wrong
First image credit : LudiGaume
Second image credit : henk.rolleman
Third image credit : djdano
I have to say auction games are among my least favourite style of games ... but this one is a good one. But I just cannot find a copy of the Kaispeicher expansion and the base game is just a little flat without it. Then they announced a new Viking themed version (coming out at some point in the future) that would include the expansion as well. That tipped me over the edge to let The Speicherstadt leave. Not that I'm keen on Vikings but am keen on trying it with the expansion!
Well that's it for June 2016 still not making much progress and I seemed to have dived in to kickstarter again recently so that will be more games arriving at the end of this/beginning of next year .... Village and the Village Inn, Takenoko, Carcassone South Seas and a few others have entered the mix to leave next month. We shall see what will manage to hang on
Still summer is upon us and unfortunately as usual I am stuck at work wondering around in the sun wearing a hard hat, safety glasses, heavy gloves, boots and orange coveralls (well orange is the new black)! Buggery ... But I do have a fantastic summer music recommendation from the wonderful record label "Analog Africa". Their new compilation "Space Echo The Mystery Behind The Cosmic Sound Of Cabo Verde Finally Revealed!" Is absolutely fantastic despite the presence of keyboards up front on most tracks which I normally dislike ... This complilation is a summer hit and one for sure to be found playing in our house. Some tracks from the album are below;
Also I was looking further into a few of the artists on the internet and came across the video below. It is the worst music video for a track I really like that I can remember seeing. It brings out the feeling of playing Twilight Struggle or 13 Days for me. You know where you really like the points part of a card but the actual event leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Well I love this track but the video ... well I have linked it below so you can judge for yourself!
What for you is the best track with the worst video in existence?! I guess I can rustle up some GG for the best (or worst?!) submission ... and no, before you Youtube it and slap it in the comments, John Cage's 4'33 is not going to win!
Catch you later
After almost a month - and thanks to a miserably-dour Sunday morning - we, that's me and the boys, managed to get Thunder Road to the (kitchen) table complete with a speed metal soundtrack courtesy of Benedict's iPod! The first thing I noted, having skimmed through the bijou rulebook, is that this £15 gem from the UKGE 'Bring & Buy' is actually AT LEAST THREE COPIES of Thunder Road! That's right: the 'normal' game comes with one-each of the 4, 5 and 6 point vehicles and a helicopter in four colours, 8 'wrecks', six dice (3 yellow, 2 red and 1 black) and just the two boards...whereas, I've got six boards, six extra dice and more than 20 extra vehicles!
Anyway, enough of my gloating; we played two games, lasting about 15 minutes each, with Arthur and (then) Benedict victorious:
In summary: You roll dice and then allocate pips to your cars; you can land exactly on another car's space (RAM), pull up behind them to SHOOT or just engage the nitro and hare off down the road itself. You can ram neutral wrecks and/or take a pop at other players with your helicopter. When a car 'goes off the end' of the second (front) board, everything on the 'rear' board is removed from the game and it's lifted over the top and placed 'in front' to continue the neverending track. The last player with any non-wrecked vehicles is the winner!
It's heaps of (scrap-metal) fun! Buzzing the chopper over the heads of your opponents, engaging pedal-to-metal and streaking off with the turbo-charger is brilliant. And the whole thing comes-and-goes in a palette-pleasingly brief period: a unanimous hit for the Boydell boys!
In other news, we managed a couple of further diversions in the stormy bits of Saturday:
Arthur & Me: I play this all the time on my phone but Arthur managed to ALMOST break 100 on his first ever try!
Some Swedish Roll-and-Move silliness - apparently we, and Richard Branson (yes, him!) are the only people in the UK to have a copy!
Ike Clanton painted by me for Wild West Exodus
A lot of Wookies ready to rage on their opponents. A lot of fun to mess with the coloration and markings on these guys.
Conversion for a Harbinger of Decay.
Creating a Nurgley Slaughterbrute.
I have played Codenames on multiple occasions, but I did not own it. However, Target had it on sale this past week and I needed it for a youth group lesson. We also hosted a game night, which meant my wife played it. I was very unsure what her thoughts were going to be on this party style word game. So did she have some good words or some choice words to say about this one?
In this team game there is a grid of 25 words. each team has eight or nine words they have to correctly identify. One person on each team is the spymaster, and they know which words on the grid their team has to guess. The other players are the guessers.
On a team's word, the spymaster will give a clue followed by a number. The number means how many of the words on the grid correspond to the clue. So for example, if two of the words on the grid that the team needed to guess were "baseball" and "New York" the spymaster might say "Yankees".
A team must always guess one word, and they can guess one more than the number given. If the team guesses one of the other team's words the other team gets to mark it as guessed correctly. There are some neutral words, and there is a black word that if guessed is an auto-lose.
Assuming no one auto loses, the first team to correctly guess all of their words wins the game.
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.
My Rating:4 (like it)
My Thoughts: As the spymaster (giving the clues) this game is a five for me. I absolutely love trying to find connections between the words and give them to people in a creative way. As a guesser this game is more a three. I will play it and it is fine, but being on the spymaster side of the table is much more appealing to me.
Her Rating: 3.5 (It's OK)
Her Thoughts: This is a very clever and well made game. I have a real love/hate relationship with this game. When I figure it out this game is exciting and awesome. When I get it wrong I get really frustrated. I think I like being in the know on the spymaster side a lot, but I do find it the harder side to play.
Combined Rating: 7.5
I was somewhat surprised by how much my wife liked this game, because it is not a style of game she tends to like. We also played the two player game, which is cooperative. Codenames as a two player experience feels quite a bit like two player Mysterium. It actually works really well, and we enjoyed it that way as well! Codenames is kind of against type for the kind of games we like but it is one we do enjoy.
Friday got together with George to play Tail Feathers. Sadly that's all we got in before Jason and Corey showed up to play T.I.M.E Stories. Saturday was meetup. All I wanted to do was play game of thrones, but it didn't happen.
To clarify, game of the week, doesn't mean the best game. It means the best play of a game in a week.
Similarly, dud doesn't mean worse game I played, just one that fell the most flat.
~NEW TO ME~
Took a bit to get going. There was several swings were both of us thought we had the game won or lost. In the end we played zero defense, and just chucked dice at the nest until it was over.
This game is very thematic, and I'm surprised it's not more popular amongst people who don't really like miniature games. For me, I felt the flying wasn't nearly as interesting as the other games like this. Everything was actually pretty simple once we got going. I think the pre built armies are pretty badly built, and too small for the scenario. So I liked it, didn't love it. I plan to give it one more try with a larger army (and mice and mystic units) before making a final call on it.
Theme shines well
Flying the birds lack interesting decisions
Dice seem overly swingy in luck
Not enough in the box without mice & mystic minis
Pre built armies are not well done IMO
Switching Gears (Fan made expansion for T.I.M.E Stories)
Overall this was a good expansion, especially fan made. But it was brought down a ton by one poorly done puzzle. Worth your T.I.M.E though, and I look forward to seeing what else this designer makes for the game.
Most balanced dice tests since base game
Very impressive for a fan made scenario
One very well done puzzle
One poorly done puzzle, that sucked the fun out
Didn't feel like a steampunk world
51st State: Master Set
4 Newbies. Since we were all new, we decided to just play vanilla. I feel maybe this was a mistake, as we are all use to heavy games. I thought I was gonna win, but Sean scored a bunch off building in the end game scoring.
I probably like this better than the other games in this system. Much like them, 4 is simply too many people. I like several things about this game, but how you score points just is so very unsatisfying. Why oh why can't there be like group mission cards, that you do stuff to complete? Something more interesting that just building cards for conversion points. Takes you out of the theme, and makes your decisions run on autopilot.
I would play again, but only with an expansion (or both) thrown in. Had this had a more interesting point system, it would probably be a buy. Instead the theme and decisions break down, and it's just an ok game for me. Maybe the expansions will help, but I'm not holding my breath.
Pretty easy to understand
All cards attackable, but expensive
Scoring does not get more dry than this game
Once you get going on a path, things just run on autopilot
Head scratching decision to remove the theme of faction actions, compared to the original game.
~NOT NEW TO ME~
~DUD OF THE WEEK~
Lords of Waterdeep
5 Players. A crazy amount of buildings came out early, and it was a shenanigan heavy game. Rarely was I invested in what was going on. I believe Travis won by 2 points.
3 years ago this game produced the worse play of a game ever at group, taking 5 hours with 5 players. I swore never 5 players again, I should have listen. So much downtime, so much board changing by the time it got around to me I had to rethink it all over. So that left a huge chunk of time doing nothing. NEVER AGAIN AT 5. This time I mean it.
I was behind the other players after 2 shows. I made great steps to catch up and thought I might have the win. Sean grabbing 1 more performer on the last action, gave him that bonus, and a 2 point win over me.
Drum roll is one of the few tight games I enjoy. This is my first play in over a year. That's about the pace I like it now, really good game but not something I want to play often. Sounds odd to say that, but it's just how some games are for me. It was Jason's first play and he certainly liked it.
~GAME OF THE WEEK~
7 Wonders: Duel
2 Games. Jason won the first game, as I pushed heavy military and had him 1 away from defeat twice. But it just didn't work out. He slaughtered me in points.
Second game I was planning to go heavy resources, but I got 3 different science in the first round, and law was one of the science bonuses. So I decided to push that. Two cards card revealed at once, contained the last symbol I needed, nothing Jason could do at that point.
This is a great 2 player game. One of the biggest surprises this year for me. I think my only complaint is I think the Economy bonus is broken. Every time I've seen that get taken, it warps the game and leads to an easy victory. Simple enough I can just leave it out or find a suitable house rule.
HELLO TO YOU
Defenders of the Last Stand ~ It'll be interesting to see where this one lands. I'm not a Launius fan, and I don't like dice chucking for high numbers. But I do love this theme, and I love adventure games, and tower defense. Fingers crossed
Stronghold (2nd edition) ~ I played 1st edition and liked it, didn't love it. It certainly had some fiddly issues and ran too long. This seems cleaned up.
Code of Nine ~ I've played this a few times, and highly enjoyed both plays of it. Glad to finally have a copy of the game.
The Ancient World ~ My favorite game by this designer. Now that I own it, I wonder how the replay value will hold up.
Three Kingdoms Redux ~ I did not buy this, but John loaned it to me so I could learn it for us to play. Look forward to it!
GOODBYE TO YOU
Roll for the Galaxy ~ This and the expansion is up for trade. I just loose interest in playing again, everytime I go to relearn it. The dice mitigation just kills my interest.
Dice City ~ Won't even be remotely missed.
If Tail Feathers doesn't work out, I've been thinking about Star Wars Armada. The gameplay and theme look amazing to me. The expansion prices look terrible to me.
Games, games and more games!
Last Friday we were 7, so split into two tables. I played Robo Rally. Marion got off to a great start, getting both her robots to checkpoint one early, while the rest of us colliding in the middle of the board, resulting in both Richard and I losing a robot, Richard's thanks to an untimely push which meant he stepped in a pit, while I shot my own robot a few times, and then Sami finished him with a double-barrelled laser. My second robot then fell foul of Marion as she left checkpoint one, with a neat push into the flamers in the middle of the board, which it escaped on one damage, and looked like it would survive the next turn, only to be killed by a stray shot on the final phase! Meanwhile Sami and Richard got to checkpoints one and two, while my other robot was still moving aimlessly around, and Marion was circling checkpoint two, but never quite touching it. Then both headed for checkpoint three at the same phase (two to three was fairly easy), but Richard unfortunately flew onto a square occupied by Marion's powered down robot, not realising there was a portable teleporter under her, which messed up his checkpoint touching as he teleported over it, leaving Sami to step onto the checkpoint in the same phase.
The others were just starting their last turn in Tzolkin, so we played a quick game of Love Letter while waiting. Then we merged and split again. Outpost was suggested for one table, and top of my list was Antike so as I won Love Letter I suggested that, and John and Richard were keen to join me. John had never played any rondel games before, whereas Richard had played the game a few times before, but several years ago, so was a bit hazy on the rules/strategy. John followed me round the rondel at the start, while Richard went off on a different early route. John then went mega expansionistic, getting up to a total of 20 places, while I alternated getting bonuses for 5 towns with bonuses for 7 sea areas, and having a few minor skirmishes with Richard, who had headed my way, in the process. I also started with two temples early on to increase my income, and then rapidly built 4 more, all on gold places, and finished the game by claiming a few research achievements. John was nicely placed to get another 4 or 5 achievements in the next couple of turns, with a massive stockpile of goods and half the board, but hadn't turned it into achievements yet, and Richard was so focussed on attacking/defending me that he hadn't got round to scoring!
We then played Roll for the Galaxy which for the third time in a row had a tie for second place! I did a very rapid military strategy, piling out lots of low costs developments and settlements with my 7 (!!!) red dice, and finished the game impressively quickly.
I triggered game end while the others were still deciding on a game, so we joined up for a couple of six player games to finish - Ave Caesar, with two races blocked from people crashing and burning, and 7 Wonders, where Sami was surprised by how many points he had for his win.
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