New to you Jul 09 => Best new game you played this month and why
Andy
United Kingdom
Stockport
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What's the best new game you played this month (July 09) and why? Share your experiences of the new games you've played this month.

It would be helpful, if you could add an entry to the list even if you pick the same game as someone else.. since I use the geeklist entries to compile the summaries. Thanks

The Meta List - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/28741
(with summaries)

Forum Subscription thread - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/297188

Most Played Game - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/44812
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26. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:310]
Gudjon Torfi Sigurdsson
Iceland
Isafjordur
Isafjardarbaer
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Got this game in a math trade last May, didn't try it until this month. It's been a hit with me and my gf, as well as those we've forced to play it with us Works amazingly well as a two-player game with Dirk as the 3rd, dummy-player. Although it can be annoying when Dirk wins the game! I won't go into details here, but I'd like to point out Neil Thompson's review of the game and expansions.

Another new game I'd like to mention is the Icelandic trivia game Spurt að leikslokum
which has been a pleasant surprise. Simple, no board, but really enjoyable. Players get cards with one to six different signs (for the categories) and loose a card if they answer correctly (thus winning if the get rid of all cards). Or they can use a block of 6x6 grid-paper with the same signs as on the cards. Using them they can try to get 6 in a row or some variant of that.

The third new game is Astrópía,
an rpg-like game based on a movie by the same name. Not a complex game once you get the hang of it, but perhaps a bit too long and repetitious (sp?). I've only tried two games of it though, both incomplete, so perhaps it could be swifter after I get used to it, or with more players (tried it both times with three).

The last new game is SET, a simple set collection game that most people know about I guess - works well with children.

Edit: added some more text to this geeklist item and two other games I had played for the first time this month.
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27. Board Game: Funny Friends [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1198]
Mikael Ölmestig
Sweden
Halmstad
Halland
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A slow start of the month due to me was being away much, accelerated at the end of the month with a stunning amount of new games. None stood out as an excellent game, but most of them were good. It was hard to pick the winner for this month, so I chose the one I was expecting the least of.



Funny Friends 1 play Rating: 8
What a pleasant surprise; while I was expecting a fun game, I didn’t expect a good game. This has more depth than it looks like and you have to line up a series of events or decisions to fulfill your goals. There is a mild form of interaction and you can also get the actions from your opponents which require you to stay alert through the game. I really dig the theme, which is unique and excellently executed. Not a game I would expect or like to play that often, but I think I will have a blast every time I do.



Starship Catan 1 play Rating: 8
Very few two player games work for me, but this is one of those. This isn’t a super deep game, but it is a nice diversity and feels quite different from many other games. There is excitement in drawing the cards which makes it feel a little like exploration and sometimes there is a fight to be first to claim missions. A two player racing game that really works – it’s a bliss.



Ghost Stories 1 play Rating: 8
This is probably the hardest co-op game I have played and one of the better too (only beaten by Space Alert). There is a constant panic to extinguish the threats that appear and seldom any breathing room. What I like with this game is that it has a pretty short playing time, but when Pandemic feels pretty arbitrary after a few plays, I can see that this requires a lot more strategy and tactics to work. The game is pretty and even though the different abilities on the cards took a little time to understand, I didn’t have problem halfway through the game.



Blokus Trigon 1 play Rating: 8
I enjoy the regular Blokus and enjoy this one too. While the mechanics are similar, this one has a different feel. It seems like it is harder to block with this one than regular blokus and the pieces are definitely harder to visualize if they fit or not. This is a different version that unlike regular Blokus plays well with three players.



Valdora 2 plays Rating: 7
I haven’t had much experience with pick-up and delivery games, so this is a pleasant experience without being overwhelmingly good. You have to carefully consider what the most efficient way to do things. Completing several contracts in a row is one thing you could do, but not always easily obtained. The silver contracts are the easy one to fulfill, but at the same time you do not get as much reward. The jewelry contracts are hard to set up, but when you manage to do it, they are pretty lucrative.

I would think that this would be an excellent introduction for new players, especially if they are interested in these types of games and great long filler.



Schotten-Totten 1 play Rating: 7
It’s an improvement over Lost Cities which share similar mechanics, especially played without tactics cards (which I did). This is a tug-o-war type of game where you have to fight for your wins by playing different hands one card at a time. It’s one of the more interesting quick fillers, even though I am not totally sold by the look of the game.



Automobile 1 play Rating: 6
From the look and feel of it, I would say that this is a typical Wallace design, even though I haven’t played many of his games. There is a lot of counting and optimizing and you constantly feel you are getting a little behind and have to struggle to come in front. I appreciate the design, which feels pretty thematic, but I can’t say that I think this is the most fun game he has made. Maybe I had higher hopes for this game, but I think it’s a pretty dry design and not really for me. It was an interesting experience and one I think will get better with more plays, but right now I am wondering if I want to take the time to explore it.



Lascaux 1 play Rating: 6
This is a simple set collecting game with mechanics similar to No thanks!. As a game it doesn’t feel fulfilling, but as a filler game I don’t mind that much. The components are gorgeous, especially the nacre shells, but the cards can be a little hard to distinguish at a glance.



Kogworks 2 plays Rating: 6
It’s a clever 2-player abstract game where you spin cogwheels in a row in order to spin the golden cog at the other end of the board, or block your opponent from spinning their cog. In reality I found that the latter was easier to accomplish. I like the look of the game, but after a few games I didn’t found it to be that engaging. I’m not sure why though; maybe because I am not a big fan of abstracts.



Ordjakt 5 plays Rating: 5
This is a Swedish word finding game where you have a finite time limit, 15 categories and one leading letter. The object is to find 15 words with that leading letters within the time frame, and to come up with unique answers.

As a game, it isn’t much to be excited about, but it is interesting to see how people associate. Can be played in a large group of people, but then I recommend to print out the categories so people have one of each.

Expansions


Roll Through the Ages: The Late Bronze Age 1 play Rating: 8
This expansion drives the original to a new level. I like everything that it adds to the game, but especially the longer play time. There are some new developments which makes the tactics of the game slightly different. From my play, everything seems balanced.



The Pillars of the Earth: Expansion Set 1 play Rating: 8
Some new quirky things make this a good expansion to get. There are mainly two things I like more than any other things and that is the first to place their worker is the last to place their third one and the inspiration in Saint-Denis spot. And of course all the new cards that makes for a more variable game.
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28. Board Game: Steel Driver [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:614]
Brad Miller
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Only two new games for me this month. The best would have to be Steel Driver



Interesting little route-connection game going on, with stocks, and a crazy cube grab at the end that JC doesn't like. Need to play again to get a rating.

The only other new game played this month was Snorta! at my daughter's sleepover. Pretty silly fun.
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29. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:40]
Kris Verbeeck
Belgium
Mol
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Only three new games (actually 2 new games one playtest and one new improved experience)


Winner without a doubt is crokinole.


It was a lot of money and I was very nervous about it. Until I finally had it in my hands (wow that's much lighter) and played it.

I've played Sorry! Sliders and on a mediocre board crokinole.
and while sorry sliders just gets beaten by a mediocre board it is blown to smithereens by my board.

I got North Star from Carl and Stan Hilinski. I had been talking to Penny Hauffe (www.pennypaint.com) to make a painted one but I had two concerns. Firstly I thought it would distract from the gameplay too much. But after playing on my board I don't think that is likely to happen.
Secondly I like many things but I only love a few. Meaning that it would have to be the way I imagined it should be. I was very close of letting her paint it but I chickened out and went for the safe bet.

Looking back I'm pretty sure Penny would have delivered because while waiting for my board I continued looking at the boards she painted and they are absolutely stunning.

Anyway I've asked a friend to come take some pictures of it so I can upload them to my personal gallery and the best one to the gallery because I can't take a picture that does justice to the board. I will update the entry when I have it.

Now I want to thank some people that made this giant trade possible. Jae,Mike,Chris,Steve,Brad, Dave and Wally.
I wouldn't have dared to do it without the two trades I've done here before so Shea and Christian thanks.


Now I will sum up the games that left my house after I got hold of them down and a thought about finance. If you don't like to read it you can skip to the runner up.

games that got me Automobile and Crokinole

are

Atlantic Star
Ca$h 'n Gun$: Uzi
Cheesy Gonzola
Ubongo Mini (gift)
Agricola: Through the Seasons (gift)
The Game of Life Express
Strong Stuff!
Tal der Könige
World of Wines
Borderlands (ascalion)
Big City
Metropolis
Trendy (crazy derby)
Members Only
Das Amulett
Metro
Flower Power (2 copies)
Kapitän Wackelpudding (3 copies of the version with the board)

International shipping .
Well i don't know. a total of 78 euro for games sending to the USA and another 26 for sending games to the UK.

81.8 dollars of shipping a crokinole board to Belgium
and 103. something euro to import it.
and then I din't take in account the price of shipping to me from the games I traded away.....

The price I paid on shipping and customs will get you a similar premium board if you live in the states.

I know the price is probably what stops most people of buying this game. Well if you buy a couple of games each month don't do it for three months. that will get you a nice board.
Actually that is more or less tha way I acquired mine. I used the money to get the games to trade for the crokinole board.
i don't want a paypal account because I would be broke before I even know it.



Besides that, the game is a work of art. (even more so with a painting of Penny hauffe on it)

If you own a game room, you owe it to yourself to get a board.
It is totally worth it. It will last a lifetime and everyone enjoys it.

sorry for the rant about the money. for those that cared to read everything despite the cost I still think the game is worth every penny. that has to say something about it.


RUNNER-UP
Dragonland


First of If you look in an abstract way at games a lot of games are racegames.


Winner is the person with the most VP.
winner is the person who gets the most people out of town
Winner is the person who powers the most cities.


So this game is a neat little race game that has great powerups for whoever reaches a volcano first.

MMM not happy about that.

Dragonland is a very well balanced game.
The very clever numbered dice (click the second picture) and the mechanisms work well.
Because you have three pieces that you can move but are only allowed to move two the game automatically forces you to make decisions. and if you don't move that piece perhaps some other player will run away with the diamonds you were after.
Theme well it is pasted on. So what? I haven't got a clue what could have been a better theme.

Include some easy rules so you can play this with a family.
Take the randomness of powerups,rings and dicethrows and you see that there is a lot of replay potential.

I like to recommend this game to people that play games with the family (ages :8+ , younger can play but they don't get the strategy)

I will play this occasionnally as a filler (45 minutes-60 minutes tops)
When my nieces are older I will certainly pull this game out from time to time.

Third place. Tops


I picked this up at a thriftshop because it had the ravensberger brand on it.

Well the three spinning tops are excellent.
The game well it isn't.


QUICK MENTIONquick mention.

I also got to playtest Phil Eklund's new game for Essen.

Never having played one of his games before I'm even more interested in his other games now.

The player mat was one of the best I've ever seen.
The addendum to the rules with all the explanations was way cool too.


So I had a great month. Because of the playtesting and my board finally arriving.
Not so great in the number of new games I played and August well if I don't go gaming in germany with some australians it will be even worse.

So one final thought about crokinole. If you plan on buying one eventually and you can afford it now why not give yourself the pleasure of enjoying it now? It is my only 10 and I would be surprised if it gets company.

Thanks for reading,
Kris
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30. Board Game: Cuba: El Presidente [Average Rating:7.77 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.77 Unranked]
Max Jamelli
United States
Chambersburg
Pennsylvania
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only two new games this month and this new game was an expansion. I am a big Cuba fan and El Presidente made for a deeper game. I am a big El Pres fan now as well.

The other new game was Oasis



Played this one time 3P. It was a fun enough game, but I really think it needs 4-5 players to REALLY play well.
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31. Board Game: Commands & Colors: Ancients [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:49]
Mick Weitz
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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My new game is Commands & Colors: Ancients

I have been a jerk, and a horrible snob. I admit that now...

Being an avid fan of the Great Battles of History series, I have avoided C&C Ancients for years now. Yes, I believed it would be too simple. Not enough chrome. Kids stuff...

So why did C&C A rock my world? Well, my WIFE plays it with me, and LIKES it. This is huge, perhaps even enough to endear this game to me (considering it's theme is right in my wheelhouse).

Of course, the game itself delivers. It's got style. It's got substance. It's got quality components. I can fight an ancient battle on a Tuesday evening in an hour, and STILL jerk around all afternoon Saturday staring at chits (yes, I said "chits.").

If there is anyone else out there who considers the Command and Colors system with haughty disdain, stop letting your pride interfere with a good time. Get THIS game, and play MORE ancient battles. Enough said.

Good Gaming~! Mick

PS Please excuse the lack of flashy pictures, graphics, and what not, as I don't know how to do that stuff.
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32. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:95]
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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Played a LOT of new games this month (a lot for me, anyhow.)

Loved it!:


Ra: Finally got to play this game (just a single 5-player game so far) and absolutely loved it. Simple rules but a lot to balance like which sun you'll get in the auction, how far you push your luck before bidding on a set, when you start the bid to try and limit what someone else will win, etc etc etc.


Dominion: Intrigue: Intrigue breathed new life into Dominion. I liked Dominion but didn't love it; after adding Intrigue I'm starting to love the game. The new cards add more interesting decisions to the gameplay.

Liked it:


Cleopatra and the Society of Architects: Got Cleopatra for $18 from CoolStuffInc. My wife and I have only played the 2-player game thusfar, but we're enjoying it (particularly my wife, since she's won both games handily.) We're looking forward to trying it with more players.


Blokus 3D: Bought on clearance at Target for $12. Haven't played enough to really get a feel for it, but I'm pleased so far. Blokus unexpectedly became one of my favorite games, so my hopes are somewhat high for Rumis, though it doesn't seem as Blokus-like as I'd expected. We'll see.


My First Carcassonne: This is a very good game for what it is: easily played by children and non-gamers (there are no illegal placements) but not totally void of strategy and entertainment. The games take about 10 minutes from start to finish. It's surprisingly fun!


1960: The Making of the President: Seems like a very good 2-player game, but my wife wasn't particularly fond of it. Plus the setup time and run time are a bit long for us, so it got traded away. Got the WoW Adventure game + 2 character packs. That one's still up in the air.

Not so sure:


Lord of the Fries: I enjoyed my first (and only) play of this, though I'm not sure how it'll hold up. Seemed like a fun, nifty little filler. I think it'll likely grow on me.


World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game: After a couple of plays it feels a little disappointing. It seems slow-paced and it drags a bit. I've only played with 2 players thus far, not sure if adding more would remedy the problem or exacerbate it. It helps that my wife and I are former WoW players, so we can giggle and say "neat, remember this from the game?" but that only carries things so far.


Age of Mythology: The Boardgame: This one prompted me to post a thread about kingmaking on here that grew to 12 pages. It has some nice mechanics but feels a little long for what it is, and the combat feels a bit shallow. It's not a bad game, but so far it makes me feel like it has potential, and it's almost a game I like.


Delve: The Dice Game: My first and only print n' play game so far. Good little game, definitely worth the price of admission. Tried a few different scenarios and different combinations of characters. Not sure how many plays it'll endure. Still, nice little dice game.


Duel of Ages Set 1: Worldspanner: Only got part of a play in, just to get a feel for the rules. Won't know for sure about this one until we get a couple of real plays in. Hopes are high.

Didn't care for it:

 

Overthrone: Not so hot. It's not really a bad game per se, but the luck factor is pretty high, and there is a lot of information to track in order to play well. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but the game isn't interesting enough to make me want to work for the win. I won't back out on a game of Overthrone, but I certainly won't suggest it either.
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33. Board Game: The Republic of Rome [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:212]
Joe Wyka
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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I got in more games than I did last month, at least. It was a real mixed bag as far as new games go. I started a few new games but did not get far enough into them to rate them, but they were all interesting and will likely rate fairly high when I get them back to the table for a fair treatment. Those games are War of the Ring, Starcraft the Boardgame, and Crash Tackle. Hopefully I’ll be adding them officially to a New To Me geeklist soon!

Now for the ones I did complete...

Republic of Rome - 8 - I spent a week studying the rules to this game, but still when we came to the senate phase it was like walking through a bog trying to understand how everything fit together. Even with our confusion in full effect, we still found it easy to get into the spirit of the deal-making, backstabbing chaos of the senate floor. Alliances and payoffs are short-lived and change vote to vote. It was a little unclear to us what was fair game for buying votes (can you give a commission already attached to a senator? Can you pay money from both faction and senate treasuries? Are knights fair game?). It might be in the rules somewhere, but it was not apparent to me.

The complexity of the game is both its strength and weakness. I think a few things could be streamlined without losing much in play and I hope Valley Games is able to produce a more readable rule set. I like what they did with Titan, so my hopes are high. What the game gets right is the balance players must find in cooperatively protecting and strengthening Rome while also selfishly working to raise the influence of their own factions in the senate. There are nice character touches throughout the game, such as the State of the Republic address, which essentially just a dice roll, but as a player how can you not actually speak to the rabble in the hopes of raising the prospects of your faction without causing a rioting mob of malcontents rampaging the senate and killing anyone they can grab a hold of. Republic of Rome is a heavy negotiation game with a lot of character. Players who enjoy long, complex games, negotiation and voting, and a bit of role-playing will find a lot to like here. With some thoughtful streamlining from VG, this has the potential to rise to a 9.

Caylus Magna Carta - 7 - Nice, stripped down version of Caylus. I strongly prefer Caylus, but I'll probably convince more people to play this with me. I don't mind. This is a good adaptation. Money is worth more in the first half of the game, but figuring out when to focus more heavily on resources than money is a key to coming out on top.

Bridges of Shangri-La - 7 - Theme? Not really. But in the abstract, this is a pretty good majority game. You spread your tokens mostly by running them along the road to neighboring villages. The catch is that after you do it, the road collapses, so timing your moves just right is key. One of the more enjoyable light majority games I’ve played.

Shear Panic - 6 - Puntastic action selection game. This is basically four abstract games played in a row, with different ways of scoring for each, but the trick is that you have 12 actions to spread over those four games and you can't use any of them twice. Also, the final arrangement for the previous mini-game is the starting arrangement for the next. Gameplay is okay (moving sheep in order to gain proximity to other sheep), but it's the production that makes this special. What sheep!

Richelieu - 6 - I guess I've never played a game that could be described as a "light majority card game". So it is a bit different. Still, the game play isn't all that exciting. Take one or two cards from the tableau to put in front of you. Repeat. The strategic difference maker is the three reserve tiles, which can make taking a particular card costly for your opponent. Fine game, but nothing all that special.

There’s A Moose in the House - 5 - The 5, 6, and 7 year olds I introduced this to laughed so hard it hindered their abilities to function. Silly card game, indeed! I would give it a lot of credit for that, except that there is some really sloppy design even for a silly game. There are cards that become useless early in the game and the solution is to discard and redraw when you get them? Please. I would give this a 4, but it gets a point for the laughter.

Titan - 4 - Ugh. What a disappointment! It's really the movement rules that killed this game for me. Looking through your stacks and comparing them to the possible movement options is tedious, especially given that there is usually one obvious choice once you’ve finally gathered all the information. Multiply that by the number of legions and the fact that no pre-planning can occur due to a die roll dictating your choices, and the game quickly becomes interminable. It’s not too bad if it is your turn, but all the waiting for others with very little to plan in the meantime! When we played, by turn 4 players had already turned their attention to other games on my shelves. This is truly a game that feels dated and irrelevant. That said, the production for the Valley Games edition is beautiful and the rules rewrite is fantastically readable compared to the old Don Greenwood approach.

And yes, I am saying that There’s a Moose in the House has more to recommend it than Titan...
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34. Board Game: FITS [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:888]
Erik D
United States
Elmhurst
New York
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Or as the wife calls it, "Fake Blokus". We have a lot of fun with this game. The games are breezy and quick, but strategic and fun. Can't go wrong here.

The other new acquisitions:

Dominion: Intrigue
What you would expect from a Dominion expansion. This is a good thing. I like how what I perceived to be the worst card in the set when I read the spoiler (Scout) became my favorite card when I finally played it.

Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs. Imperium
I've only played this solo so far but I love the new cards. The added emphasis on military is a welcome addition. In one solo game, my military strength was 17!
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35. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:219]
Michael J
United States
Folsom
California
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I actually played quite a few new games this month. My favorite was
For Sale, which I played twice waiting for the full game group to arrive. I was particularly suprised at how much tension and thought such a simple game could require. Almost every bidding round led to agonizing decisions about whether to match a bid, or beat it, or in the case of the sale phase, whether to play my 24 point property, or try to win the big money with my 16 point property. Because so much is dependent on other players, I don't think this game could ever bore me. It plays fast, and it's time/decision ratio is great. What a nice treat to find this one!

My next favorite was probably Automobile. The game's mechanics work well, well enough that the complexity seemed to fade into commense sense once the game got going. I'm 0-2 in this game so far, but I can see myself playing it many more times before getting bored.

My next new game was Finca. I enjoyed this game. I think my kids will enjoy it. It doesn't require brain burning thought, but I liked the problem solving aspect of how best to use my donkeys. Plus, I like saying "how best to use my donkeys". It's on my wish list now and we'll see if it turns up!

The last new game I played this month was Dominion. While i generally liked the game, and think the mechanics are fresh and original, after a few games in person and on BSW, I think I need more depth to keep up my interest. I come from a CCG background where I want 500 cards, not 10, to choose from. I see potential in this game, and would play again if someone asked. I won't be buying it though (although I've read how easily people become hooked even when they didn't think they would be).
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36. Board Game: Amun-Re [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:177]
Luchador
United States
Atchison
Kansas
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This was a fairly prosaic month for me as far as new games though. Nothing really great but at least I played a decent number of them.

My Friday nights are a really important break for me from my graduate studies. I imagine they will the break will become more important come fall quarter when things really pick up.


Amun-Re
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I did play an extremely protracted game of this online once, but playing it live gave a much better feel. I like the various paths to victory this game offers. I for my part was able to build a nice stash of cash in the first half of the game without building any pyramids. I had scored a few points but was easily in last.

I was able to leverage my cash into a ton of points in the second half with triple sets and majorities on both side of the Nile. Even with all that I ended up in a tie for first with a player who had a ton of card bonuses.

The card play is the only thing in this game that troubles me as I think that a person that gets good bonus cards can surge ahead on what amounts to luck of the draw. However, the cards get cycled through enough that this may be less of an issue than it seems.

In the end, I'm glad to have this in my collection. I like Knizia and this is one of the heavier games of his that I have played. Interestingly, I think it has more moving parts then most of his games too, but it has nice depth of play.

We played this as part of an all Knizia night that included Ra and Taj Mahal. While I would rank it behind both of these games, I really like the idea of committing an evening to one designer and hope to do it again.


Medici

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Did I mention that I like Knizia? He really has been feeling the love from my group lately. We even selected Taj Mahal as our spotlight game for August. It should be noted that most of the games that I am really enjoying are some of his older offerings.

I really like games like Medici where money is used both in game and for final scoring. It adds an extra tension to play that I love. I also love the simple auction mechanic that keeps things well balanced. As an extra bonus, we played with six and were done in a little over half an hour.

By all of my normal metrics, this would have easily been my favorite game of the month. However, the art is so obnoxiously bad that it significantly reduced my opinion of the game. I am rarely this affected by art but I may not even by the game due to it in this instance. The board really must be seen to be believed.


Powerboats

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My boat blew up halfway through the game and I still had a blast. This game is chaotic and fairly mindless (or maybe it isn't and that's why my boat blew up) but fun.


Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery

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This is a very interesting minion allocation game. There are a lot of things going on on the board and there seem to be a lot of ways to win. The buildings seem to be the key way to shape a strategy though. Getting money through collecting resources also seems fundamental (especially because the money is important to be able to buy better buildings).

I was never board during the game although I think there is almost too much going on. Especially problematic is that some of the strategies the game puts forward seem inferior. Discovery seems especially weak as I was able to steal resources out from under the person who opened up a territory several times during our game. I also don't like that some rounds I felt like I didn't have anything particularly useful to do with my last few minions.

All in all this is a fun game. My problem is that I feel that I have games in my library that basically fill the same niche and get it done in less time. As far as minion allocation goes, I think there are games that do a much better job.


Take it to the Limit!

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I really like Take it Easy! and I think it threw off my expectations for this game. This is a much more complicated game with many more tiles and new scoring options. After I played it, I thought there was too much going on, but as I reflect on it, I think that it really could be fun to play if I'm in the right mood. I really need to play this game again now that I see that it isn't just a bigger Take It Easy and I imagine that I might grow to like it more.


Formula Dé

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We got to play on the mega Zandvoort track and it was a a pretty good time though a little long for what the game has to offer. I hate that if a person hits a curve right they can power through and can leave behind those that did not roll as well. In our games after the first few curves put us into two different packs and it seemed fairly obvious that those groups weren't going to get too close to each other again.

Maybe if we had done another lap things would have evened out, but like I said one lap was already a bit too long.

The Bottle Imp

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I like the idea of this game with the unusual suiting and the card play. I just think that it is a bit too predictable depending on the hand that I have. We played with three and I'm told that is the optimal number, but it was ridiculously easy to drive the price of the bottle down if I did not have the 1 or the 2. Then I could get rid of cards at my leisure.

I can't help but compare games like this to Tichu and that may not be fair. I may still buy this game because the wooden bottle is pretty cool. Is there a better game out there that works well with three?
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37. Board Game: Tulipmania 1637 [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:2554]
Steve Kearon
United Kingdom
Cardiff
Wales
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Three plays of Tulipmania 1637 have left me wanting more to see if I can get to grips with the game. Selling & buying to drive up prices for fun and profit. So far, the profit has been going to other players, and the fun is a little nebulous. Basically - I'm having trouble figuring out what I should be doing, but I'm enjoying the finding out (I think). Certainly the most thought-provoking new game this month, although I'm not sure its actually the best new game.

Bürger, Baumeister & Co. (2 plays) feels typical Schacht. Limited actions, a tiny amount of money in circulation, tricky timing, and you're always having to weigh up what you’d like to do versus what you feel you have to do.

Dune (1 play) 6 player game. Long, felt pretty static. First 7 or 8 rounds had spice rather than worms, so no alliances. Finally a worm shows up so we split into 3 vs 3 deathmatch alliances. One player has to leave. We fight on. The final battle is a tie, wiping both armies off the map so the round ends 2 strongholds each, and play should continue, but we called it a draw before some of the hungrier players passed out. Play again? Probably, but there’s no rush, and I'd have to remember to bring a packed lunch.

Sky Runner (1 play) a blind-bidding card-driven race game. Mechanically, it works well, requiring a bit of bluff, a bit of psychology, a bit of luck. It also stands out across a room - people walk over to find out what on earth you’re playing.

Eschnapur (1 play) My kind of game. Hand/resource management, some planning, and blind bidding. I liked it enough to track down a copy after playing it at a convention.

Sternenhimmel (1 play) I have a soft spot for those old Goldseiber big box games, and this proved no exception. A nicely themed area influence game with some bluffing and a need to manage your pieces so you don't run short. Seems that aiming to be in second place for each scoring sounds a good idea.

Keltis: Das Kartenspiel (1 play) Another month, another Keltis. This version is a 4-player card game in a very small box. Not much to say, really - I've grown to like Keltis & its derivatives a lot. This one has grey wildcards (with restricted use), coloured end cards to add a card or two to a colour, plus you discard a pair to gain a wishstone.

Montgolfiere (2 plays) A lightweight game of blind-bidding cards to climb as high as you can. Maybe I'm fooling myself, but there seems a fair amount of reading other players, and playing the odds.

An den Ufern des Nils (1 play) sowing, growing & harvesting fruit on the Nile in the hope of earning points when a market sells its stock. There's a really unusual ebb & flow mechanism making the Nile and desert encroach on the fields. As with so many markets, timing seems to be everything.

Oregon Trail (1 play) An old 'guide your clan across American virgin lands' game. Essentially a solitaire simulation. I've never played a real wargame, and the amount of CRT and d6/d20 dice rolling involved here has taught me that I probably never should.

Congo Line (1 play) I enjoyed this stocks & deliveries train game with a large dice influence to dictate the scope of your actions.

Bombay (2 plays) Light pickup & deliver. First play had a rules error which made me doubt the game, but the second play showed it in it's true colours - there are plenty of little timing issues to consider here: a question of how much you can achieve with limited actions, but also identifying what you must do quickly or you'll miss out.

Fauna (1 play) Trivia game where you make bids for regions / weight & height bands, with points for being in the right area and for being adjacent. Rewards intelligent guesswork. Trying to interpret the German animal names actually adds a fun element to the game: does Alpen suggest Mountain or Alps? When some whale came up, we weren't sure of the scale, and we were very hesitant on guessing length or weight so we stuck to regions, figuring that since 14 would be right, what could go wrong? I managed to place 2 of my 3 bids in the only 2 regions this whale doesn't get to.

Mogul (1 play) This features the 'pay a token to stay in' bidding seen a couple of years later in No Thanks!, but here it's part of a stocks & shares game of auctioning either a stock or the right to sell a type of stock for VP. Winner chooses action, second place takes remaining action. Stock in hand at game end is worthless, so it's good to have bidding chips when there's an opportunity to sell your stocks.
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38. Board Game: Kansas Pacific [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:4105]
Jevon Heath
United States
Berkeley
California
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Kansas Pacific- One three-player game. It didn't look like much when I examined the rules and board, kind of a longer Chicago Express. But over the course of a week it grew in my mind until I was eager to play it. And I enjoyed it greatly, enough so that I posted my first session report ever on the game, which you can see here: CRI&P and MP Too Slow for a Land Grant! To sum, and to quote George Michael Bluth: It's like an awesome mind puzzle.

Also new this month (in some semblance of an order of preference):

Rommel in the Desert- One two-player game with the short scenario (Italians vs. Allies). I was the Allies, and I let myself get too embroiled in the fight by Bardia when the Axis reinforcements arrived. I was well ahead on supply, but I was greatly outgunned and, considering the scenario, all but done for. But then I remembered the other victory conditions: take the enemy base, and the game is over. I zoomed my little recon unit out by the oases. Foolishly and needlessly, I force marched and failed the roll, leaving my poor recon guys disrupted in the desert. But I still had enough supply to send a second, slightly-slower unit, to take the base.

Here's my point. If the smallest scenario in the game, with the lamest outcome imaginable, is able to provide such a narrative, what does that say about the game's potential? I look forward to playing more of Rommel in the Desert.

Tales of the Arabian Nights- One four- (then three-)player game. Fun but long. The game ended when I made it to Baghdad with enough points to win, but ended up with an encounter there that made me Envious and thus unable to win. We called it a tie.

Dominion: Intrigue- Five two-player games, as well as about ten three-player games mixing cards from both sets. Unlike many here, I really like this game as compared to the original. The only cause for complaint is the mind-wrench needed to accept that the viable strategies differ so much with the new set. I look forward to exploring Intrigue, but it's not a priority given all the other games I'd like to play right now.

Race for the Galaxy- Nine solo run-throughs and one three-player game. Rabbited solo, this game is fun in the same way a CCG deck test is fun, which for me is quite a lot. Played multiplayer might add a lot with more experience with the cards and strategies available, but as it was it was pretty easy to predict what would happen. Lots of potential though.

Source of the Nile- Having finally refurbished my copy of this game, I began the grand campaign by setting forth to explore the Benue river. Which immediately dead-ended.

Can't Stop- One three-player game. Good filler.

Ka-Ching!- One game. This feels more like a simple-ish puzzle than a game.
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39. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium [Average Rating:7.98 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.98 Unranked]
I am on a Journey...
Australia
Lavington
New South Wales
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July each year means it’s judging time for the ‘Best Children’s Game’ as awarded by BoardgamesAustralia. These threw up a number of new titles and a trip to stay with gaming friends in Canberra made sure that the New Titles List looked pretty decent.

They new kids on the block this month were -

d10-1 Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs. Imperium

16 Plays

This is pure gaming heaven and one of the few expansions that I rate a 10. New Start Worlds, more cards, additional phase powers and new bonus VP cards mean that this expansion offers good bang for one’s buck.

I’ve only played Solo to this point, but I love the new rules for selecting a starting world as it just tips enough back in favour of the human player to make most games a competitive affair against the robot.

I also like how the military angle has been given a good tweak to ensure that it is competitive against the economic engines that seemed to dominate The Rebel Storm.

Can’t wait to get a few multi-player games in this coming weekend.

d10-2 Samurai



1 Play

What year is it? Can’t believe I hadn’t played this Knizia before now. Pretty solid game of strategic placement and one-upmanship. Still think I’d prefer it as a 2-player so each person is in direct conflict and not getting screwed by a 3rd party. Glad I’ve played it but wouldn’t consider a purchase these days. Something I probably would have bought 5 years ago.

d10-3 Power Grid: Korea



1 Play

PowerGrid is one of those titles I have hardly ever played, so it was nice to get another play and see a new map. I really enjoyed the experience and liked what the new map had to offer. The top North East corner did seem kind of redundant however.

Still wouldn’t call myself a PG fan, but it could grow on me.

d10-4 Royal Palace



1 Play

I’m a sucker for pretty looking Euros and I enjoyed this game without loving it. The mechanics had a familiar feel, borrowing ideas and scoring mechanics from several games. The movement aspect and use of the powers felt like Louis XIV, whilst the scoring was pretty typical of Euors in general (majority etc).

I was a little concerned that certain early moves seemed rather obvious and this could lead to prescribed plays, but further plays would be needed to bear that out.

d10-5 Double Shutter Junior



6 Plays

This is a really simple dice rolling game that is all about closing the valued shutters using the pips rolled on 2D6. There is some odds calculation in there for those that can handle it but it is also fair to say that half of any given turn makes for arbitrary decisions (it doesn’t matter which combo of shutters you knock down).

This game will prove to be more educational (great maths development to be had) than fun over the longer term. But at the asking price I think it is a great game for families with children aged 5-8.

d10-6 Giro Galoppo



3 Plays

A game that allows the player’s to race horses using card play to determine speed (that’s Ave Caesar right?). I like what it tries to accomplish but I’ve just never really dug games where all player’s have the same set of cards and timing is the key. I think this can be tricky for young kids to recognise. I also dislike that the game can allow for Kingmaking in the final stretches.

This game feels a lot like Monza, just with a different them and Galoppo is way overproduced, putting it in a higher price range than it needs to be. Give me Monza’s dice system over Galoppo’s card system any day.

d10-7 The Ark of the Covenant



1 Play

Hardly play Carcassonne any more but thought I’d have a crack at this when the chance presented itself. It was better than I was expecting it to be but still wouldn’t warrant a purchase. The sheep/wolf thing reminded me of the Tigers in H&G and from that point of view felt like a combo of several Carc games.

d10-8 New World: A Carcossonne Game



1 Play

Man did I loathe this. The use of the ‘surveyor’ people tried to be novel but for me it just introduced a far to random/wild element that allowed player’s to get screwed through no fault of their own and other’s to benefit from that screwage. This resulted in a wildly one-sided game.

Felt like something different just to pump out another Carc title and cash in. Will need another play but...

d10-9 Whirlpool



2 Plays

This is basically memory meets Twister, but without the physical interaction fun. Each player takes a position on the edge of the swamp and must try to traverse their way through the 5 x 5 gris to the other side. Quicksand will halt you, Crocs will scare you out of the swamp and a Whilrpool will send all players back to the edge but rotate the players 90 degrees, meaning you have to get your bearings right and remember what other people stepped on. My boys love this game…I now question my boy’s sanity! The foam tiles does make it a summer outdoor game I guess. Not much else here though.

d10-1d10-0 Mancala



1 Play

One of my students taught me this, which was great, but the game itself wasn’t all that inspiring. Moving stones from a series of pools, each player is trying to get more stones into their end zone. Stones are picked up as a group and 1 is dropped in each of the pools in a direction of choice. Don’t really get the appeal, that then again the game does date back to 500 B.C. or so. I’m guessing there was less to do back then.

d10-1d10-1 Spaghetti Junction



1 Play

This is visual dominoes without any of the fun of dominoes. Traffic is the theme but the need to match up traffic cones on tile edges and ensure that traffic is flowing in the same direction is just a nuisance. They tried to add bridge pieces to give the game a 3D feel and look interesting, but the whole thing is just painful.
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40. Board Game: Liberty Roads [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:1052]
Andy M
United Kingdom
Norwich
Norfolk
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41. Board Game: RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940 [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:758]
Erin Sparks
United States
Garden City
Michigan
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RAF is my favorite this month. 3 games in one, two solitaire and 1 2-player. I've only tried Lion so far, but I had fun defending England against the Germans.

I played Le Havre twice. It's a good game, but I think I like Agricola better. The theme is implemented a little better and I don't feel I have to memorize the game as much. To do well in Le Havre you have to have a good strategy. To have a good strategy, you have to be intimately familiar with all the building cards so you can plan for what's coming up (and to remember what that guy's building wayyyy over there does). I feel like it would take an awful lot of plays for me to get that familiar with the game. I think "knowing" the game would make it easier to come up with an alternate plan when someone sits on exactly the space you need for several turns-until then it's exceedingly frustrating when this happens. As I don't own it, and we tend to play lots of different games instead of one game many times, I don't think I'd buy it.

I played Shadow Hunters and I'll reserve judgment until I play it with gamers. I played with non-gamers and it went over OK, but took a long time as people stared at cards wondering what to do (It either says "If you're a Shadow take a point of damage" or "If you're a Hunter take a point of damage" - what is confusing you?!?). I think it'll be great when people are playing at a decent speed. If someone is confused about a rule, it's hard for them to ask for help since it would often mean exposing their hidden role.

Land Unter was a fun but feather light filler.

Stone Age would be better if it was a bit shorter. There's no arc to the game - your last turn is exactly the same as your first turn except you're probably placing a few more people. Apart from acquiring tools, you don't feel as if you're building to anything. I think I'll stick to my other worker placement games.
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42. Board Game: What's GNU? [Average Rating:5.55 Unranked]
Jeff Jackson
United States
Mather
California
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OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
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One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's little brother ate Pop Rocks and drank a soda at the same time and his head exploded! 'K, bye.
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Five new games for me.

Brass - Wow! I really dig the interaction of this game. At first glance, I thought the card draw would bother me, but I actually like the hand management aspect. Only one play, but I'm confident that my 9 rating will hold.

Enemy Chocolatier - Unfortunately, I taught this Cheapass game without having appropriate player tokens. The group was disinterested because of that. The game certainly didn't suck, but I'm not a fanboy either. It'll get a 7 until I play a couple more times. And hey, it plays 6 (though I'm unsure how well), which is always a plus!

Genoa - This has a heavy player trading aspect similar to Settlers of Catan and Parthenon: Rise of the Aegean. Parthenon has a double-dose of luck that I'm not fond of (sailing cards then harbor cards). Genoa is an outright bidfest. And unlike Settlers, ANYTHING and EVERYTHING is up for trade in Genoa! You're forced into paying your opponents for those precious actions. Our 4-player game ended in a tie between two players - one resource cube to none broke it. The game play lasted a bit long (but don't all first games). Right now it's a 7 but that could move up with more plays.

Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery - Honestly, I can't say much bad about this game, but as worker placements go, Caylus, Agricola and Leonardo da Vinci are tops in my book. The Pillars of the Earth suffered similarly. I'd play either again, but would always push for one of the other three. 7 is where this one belongs.

Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization - Maybe this doesn't count because I played a solo two-player Simple game. Hey, I'm teaching myself so give me a break! The good news is I won 46-35, but that also means I lost :shrug:. I can't wait to get a three or foursome at the table for this! Unrated until I get a 'real' game in.
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43. Board Game: Small World [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:111] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Quinn Munnerlyn
United States
Carrollton
Texas
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My only new game this month. Quick and easy to explain and the fun of crushing an opponents big money-maker means a winner.
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44. Board Game: Powerboats [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:952]
Eric Landes
United States
Hillsboro
Oregon
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Played two new games this month. Powerboats and Guadalajara.

For me, and for now, Powerboats was the better of the two. Feels like it took the best bits of (the racing portions of) Robo Rally, Mississippi Queen and Formula De and put them together.

Guadalajara would have been the better of the two if they'd updated the rules. There's a LOT of errata, and it's just too hard to keep track of it all. But it's a good game once you figure out how it works.
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45. Board Game: Qwirkle Cubes [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1603]
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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This is going to be an extraordinarily tough month, as I played several excellent games for the first time.

Qwirkle Cubes - I won this in a contest a while back, but hadn't opened it yet. It's hit the table a lot because it takes two seconds of setup, and can be played at night when it's too late to start a longer, heavier game. When the numbers are tallied, I expect this to be my most played game, which is what swayed me to give it "best new game" as well.

Goldland - and OOP game that I was lucky enough to trade for. An excellent game that I really enjoy. I like the nice, solid tiles, the item bits, and the exploration feel. I'm very glad to have this in my collection.

Candamir - another exploration game that is a happy medium for a D&D boy and a Euro girl. We're playing against the game more than each other, which suits us best. I'd rather be rolling against bears than dragons, so the theme fits be better.

All the King's Men - a thrift find that I brought to the table one night. Interesting, I think my chess-playing father might like it.

Unpublished Prototype - we got to try out a new game, and were pleasantly surprised by the mechanics and the strategy. Can't give more details at this time.

Lord of the Rings - (the kid's version). We thrifted it, and the bits were too good not to play it once. It's on our trade/craigslist list.

In a Pickle - another thrifted game that was a little different than what we usually play. It will work well for our non-gaming/party gaming friends and family.

Settlers of Catan Card Game - definitely a contender for best game this month. This was a really good fit for us.

Roll and Score Poker Game - another thrifted game, with lots of great wooden dice. It's okay for a filler, and might make a good option for anyone who we might play Yahtzee with.

Snail's Pace Race - we thrifted this, and had to try out the awesome wooden snails before gifting it to a coworker.

Riddles and Riches - another thrift purchase. It's a cross between 13 Dead End Drive and Clue. A mystery game where you have to solve riddles to win the game.

Bandu - another thrift purchase. I can see this appealing to our non-gaming/party gaming friends.

La Citta - Wow, the board is big! Interesting mechanics, good strategy. Very well written rule book, good flow to the game. Will have to give this another try soon.

Archaeology - a surprise from LD for our anniversary. I liked it much better than I expected to, and it has seen several plays already. Nice artwork, good quality components.

Livingstone - another anniversary surprise from LD. This one will be good for worknights when we want something fun, but not too long, or with too much setup. I was way ahead and thought I was winning, but LD pulled ahead at the end. Will definitely play again.

See why it was so tough to choose a favorite? This has been a great month for gaming.



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46. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (first edition) [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:191]
Brandon
United States
Christiansburg
Virginia
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Only played two new games this month and both were fantastic.

The winner is definitely Game of Thrones. I also have the first expansion to play with the various optional rules that come with it. I'm a huge fan of the books and the overall theme and setting and this does an amazing job of recreating all of it. I remember our first game, the Lannister player was the only person who wasn't privy to any of the story, so was utterly confused why anyone would want to gang up on him.


Second was Heroscape!


I'm a sucker for the whole idea of warriors from various universes/times/eras duking it out. The mechanics are super simple and this plays fast enough that an unlucky game can be countered with a quick army swap and a replay. My only complaint is the price. Haven't not gotten into this earlier, the wallet cringes at the price of some of the OOP items.
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47. Board Game: Biblios [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:256]
John Earles
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Two new games this month:

Scripts and Scribes
5 plays

I finally got a chance to play everyone's favorite "self-published" game. Dr. Finn's Scripts and Scribes lived up to its reputation as a clever card-based drafting/action game. Like many of my favorite card games this game forces you to use cards as a way to win and as a resource to obtain other cards. The rules are simple but pack interesting decisions into both phases. I've played with 2 and 3 and the auction rules work for both numbers. Both my wife (who has played quite a few different game types) and co-workers at work (who are more acquainted with traditional card games) were able to quickly catch onto the rules and enjoy the game. Big props to Dr. Finn and I am glad that this game has been picked up by a larger publisher so a broader audience can discover this little gem of a game!

Current Rating: 8

British Rails
1 play

My wife loves the Crayon Rails series. After a lengthy break we finally broke out the series again. As we were playing 2 player we tried another of the smaller maps - British Rails. While I didn't find the map as balanced or interesting as India Rails the map was tight and forced you into dealing with its rivers and mountains. We'll be playing again soon I am sure.

Current Rating: 7.5
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48. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:50]
John Newall
United States
Lehi
Utah
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The VERY GOOD

Stone Age - 8 Plays
This was a huge hit with my wife and all my friends. One friend bought it immediately, while my wife has made me play this repeatedly. I have never come better than dead last in any of the games we have played but still find it to be highly enjoyable.

The VERY BAD

Fluxx - 2 Plays
After one play we thought that this game was bad, after the second game I realised it is the dumbest game in the existence of games. Too random, not even the right kind of silly to keep me amused. FAIL.


The Thing to Keep the Kids Amused

These aren't really truly games, but exercises to teach your kids, Manners, How to Listen properly, and How To Share. Each comes with a cute CD that my kids enjoy (all of them) and a book that takes the theme of the game and turns it into a learning story. I would recommend at least 2 of these to anyone with 3 or 4 year olds.

Learning to Listen Pizza Palace Game - My son loves this game. I will play it with him whenever he wants.
Learning About Manners Picnic Basket Game - When asked if he wanted to play this again he quickly screamed no.
Learning to Share Fun Park Game - Another one he really enjoyed and I will play with him whenever he wants.

The Had to Edit the List Item when I realised I had missed a good new game to me

Cutthroat Caverns - 1 Play

I very much enjoyed this (but as my friends and wife remind me, it is very hard to find a game I don't love from the instant I pick it up.... exception being Fluxx (see above). The one flaw in the game was the bad rule book (I went back to make sure it wasn't just me and my teaching style.) I had read the rules a couple of times, and went through it methodically with everyone (we played a 4 player game). Unofrtunately a couple of items came up that confused us, nad it chamged how we played our cards, as well as leading to a 5 minute review of how to deal with a specific situation before finally tossing a coin as both sides of the argument seemed reasonable ways to deal with the card. As it turns out, their FAQ online is pretty good and answered the couple of questions we had, so I might try and bust it out again, just to see the reaction.
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49. Board Game: Baltimore & Ohio [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:1183]
Stephen Shaw
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Wow and Wow!! I always love reading this list (Thanks, Grimwold), but this is the first time Ive truly felt inspired to add to it -- was thinking about doing a review, but I think clearclaw's review does the game a lot of justice.

Part of Winsome's 2009 Essen set, this game is, in my opinion, their best to date!

But for those who do NOT usually play train games, or havent bought a Winsome game in the past, I recommend this one without reservation!! 4 pages of relatively simple, elegant rules that belie a gameplay that is exceptionally deep, replayable, and engaging throughout its 3-4 hour experience, with plenty of interaction and screwage. It scales well across 3-5 (listed at 3-6, but I havent played with 6).

If you like meaty, thinky experiences that truly thwart you against your apponents, this is the game for you. Think Indonesia, Age of Steam, PotR, etc. Currently, though, I like this game better than those, and that's saying something!!! The presentation is spartan -- paper this and paper that, wooden cubes are the most glamorous things youll find here -- but the presentation actually fits the game well. Just wish the components were designed to hold up to the play this will get!
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50. Board Game: Valdora [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:811]
Bruce Bridges
United States
Los Altos
CA
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Very good month for games new to me. Most of them were average to above average and only one real stinker in the bunch.

Adult Games


Valdora

Played once with 5 players. This was a very pleasant surprise. I thought it would be good, but not as good as it is and it was the best of the adult games this month. There is hardly any down time between turns, even with 5 players since each player does micro moves and there aren't too many different options each go. While this is a pick up and deliver game, it is almost entirely about optimization of moves. Very clever mechanism with the book. Highly recommended for families, light gamers and even medium gamers.


Auf Achse

Played twice with 4 players and once with 3. This is an oldie but a goodie. Very nice components with the goods fitting nicely in the trucks. The game took a bit of learning as the cities used weren't too familiar to all of us, but after one game it was easy to remember where everything was. I printed English versions of the Yield cards, which made the game very easy to play for us non-German speaking players. I really enjoyed the screwage factor caused by the Yield cards and the overall game left me with a similar vibe as Viking Fury: Fire & Axe. I really enjoyed this game and am looking forward to playing with 5 and 6 players as I think a more congested board might make it more interesting.


Dixit

Played once with 4 players. This is probably best with the full complement (6 players), but it is still very fun with 4 and certainly 5. The card art is quite good and thought provoking for the most part, but there are some that could have a little more detail. Anyway, the idea of the game is nothing new, but is quite fun as it really brings out the creative side of people and it is a nice little challenge to try to guess what the story teller was thinking. Must be played with the right crowd to be good though.


The Golden City

Played once with 4 players. This is another nice new game from Michael Schacht. Definitely more abstract than Valdora, it has some interesting decisions to be made. The knock that I may have with it is that players could find themselves with little to do if they are not placing businesses in city locations giving new cards, but those same spots don't help too much with scoring opportunities so it may be a wash. I played a collecting goods strategy with the 3 point bonus per goods card bonus card in hand and I got edged out by somebody going for location cards. Very nice game overall.


Alea Iacta Est

Played twice with three players and once with 4 players. In the dice game category, this is definitely a step up from To Court the King, but there seems to be a significant advantage in going last for most of the building locations. The components are pretty nice and the game plays quickly in general, but there can be significant down time when a player is selecting the SPQR cards. I preferred it with 4 players to 3 since the Templum is a nice additional option.


Einauge sei wachsam!

Played twice with 3 players in total. Pretty solid game with 3, probably best with 4, most likely very good with 5. Not a whole lot of strategy to this game and if you get stuck short of sabers, you can be in a tough position for the rest of the game. Pretty nice artwork and fast game play. Good, fun light game.


Incan Gold

Played twice with 5 players. Supports up to 8. This is a fun press-your-luck game. The decisions are not tough at all, but there is almost always a good laugh to be had at somebody's misfortune and good fortune. Decent components except the tent is kind of hokey. 3rd edition is supposed to fix this.


Ubongo: Duel

Played twice. This game was pretty tough for both me and the other player. These puzzles seemed tougher than the ones in the standard Ubongo game. To even the game up between players of disparate skill levels, the designer put in a neat mechanism that makes it harder for the better player to run away with it. While the player mats are not of the best quality (I have the Kosmos version, which sounds like it's basically the same as the Z-man version), it seems of good enough quality to last a long time. Very nice addition to the Ubongo family.


Masters Gallery

Played once with 5 players. This was an extremely quick playing game, but I don't have a feel for any sort of strategy yet. If one does not get cards with actions on them, one will not have much flexibility or control over one's destiny. Still, I like it better as it is a more streamlined version of Modern Art. Nice components.


Big Points

Played twice with 3 players. Yet another nice addition to the Easy Play line of games. Much, much better than Finito! (mentioned lower in the list). This is somewhat similar to Tutakhamen by Reiner Knizia, but much quicker to play and set up and everybody controls all the pawns. Not a whole lot of strategy but enough to make one think at least 2 or 3 moves in advance to make sure one is not setting up somebody else. I probably enjoy this a little better than Burgenland since it supports 3 and 4 players too.


The Trial of Socrates

Played once. Fairly average area control game with not too many options available. The game is very dry and the theme is thinly pasted on. Disappointed with the game as it is not nearly as good as Scripts & Scribes.


Finito!

Played 3 times with 3 players. This game is like an easy version of Take it Easy! Which is probably as easy of a game as I like to play. There is so little control in this game. It's pretty much mostly about getting your tiles and the die roll to match up. Nice amusement for non-gamers, but gamers should stay far away.

Expansions


Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age

This is actually the expansion to the game, which I played 2 player. The added developments and rule changes were a very nice addition to the game. The game lasts longer so players have more time to get a civilization built. There are some really good decisions to be made with the new developments. We didn't try the ship building in that one game, but that seems like a nice option to explore as well.

Kid Games


Star Wars: Epic Duels

Best of the kid games this month and arguably could be put in the Adult Games section, but I only have played it with my kids so far. Played 4 times so far with my two boys (6 and 7). Even though there is not very much strategy, this game is a lot of fun as it evokes the feeling of Star Wars really well with the action cards. The components are pretty nice. For a longer game than my kids usually play, it really kept the attention of the kids for two games straight. Perfect game for kids and adults alike. Interested to see how the Clone Wars version differs.


The Touch

Fun, quick game which uses a different part of the brain from most games. Game can be customized to be easier or harder by removing or adding parts. Nice components, but the timer on mine does not work.


Schildi Schildkröte

Super high quality game components, this game has 4 or 5 different games. Really, only a couple of them are any good, but the game play is quite fun with how the turtles move. Good game for kids and adults to play together.


The Suitcase Detectives

Very nice components, but the game comes down to how well a player can spread the pieces apart when shaking the closed suitcase. The game did not capture the interest of my 6 and 7 year old boys, but I think it might be fun when they get a little older.
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