Too Many Games!!!

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

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Game Cup, Round 4: Star Wars Destiny vs. Terraforming Mars

sean johnson
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We picked thirty two of our games and we will play them against each other. Each round when we play them the only evaluative process we will use is "how much fun did I have?" We will rate each game on a 1 (total bore and border line waste of time) to 10 (top tier in memorable and best plays) scale. The game with the highest rating of fun for that particular play will move on. The goal is to find the game that is the most fun consistently. We are now down to the final four.

Star Wars: Destiny
Quick Description
This is a collectible dice and card game with a Star Wars theme. Players bring their own decks to a match up. The decks consist of 1-3 characters in one of three colors. Players can only include cards that match the character colors (or neutral gray) in their deck. Players also have 30 card decks that consist of upgrades and supports that can bring extra dice as well as events that have one time effects. One of the things that make this game unique is that on a player's turn they do one action and that is it. There are no interrupts, reactions, or action combos. Players attempt to either eliminate the opposing characters or make the opponent go through all of their cards.

The Game We Played
My wife played a team that used an elite version of the Darth Sidious version of Palpatine as well as Phasma from the two player starter set. Her deck had a lot of weapons in it, and a lot of the cards in her deck were there to get those weapons in play and optimize the damage. She could use Palpatine's power action to save resource cost on those event cards.

I played a hero mill deck that paired up Padme Amidala with two Jedha Partisans. I told my wife that my intention was to burn through all her cards, and I let her know what my people did. In previous games she had seen how indirect damage can add up so she went after the Partisans first. This might have been a mistake because I was able to use the focus from Maz's goggles to use Padme's special ability to mill her deck. I also kept claiming which caused her to do discard the top two cards do the to the claim ability.

We got down to where I needed four damage to be killed and she had one card in her hand. She actually had claimed on the previous turn and went first. She rolled the damage she needed, and since I had no cards in my hand to force a disard she won the game with a single card left.

Fun Rating
My Rating: 8
My Thoughts: I had just made the mill deck and I was happy to see how well it worked. Padme and the Partisans is a good pairing, but I could probably strengthen up the rest of the deck a bit. It was a good first outing and it was to see the deck work weel.

Her Rating: 8
Her Thoughts: This was a close and tense game. It was a lot of fun to play!

Terraforming Mars
Quick Description
In Terraforming Mars players seek to get the most points making the red planet habitable. This is done by playing cards each turn to a tableau that generate resources and/or points in some way. This is a longer game that usually hits around the two hour plus mark. Despite that, my wife currently considers this her favorite game.

The Game We Played
We played on the base game map and we used draft rules. My wife's starting corporation gave her bonuses for cities and her initial hand gave some extra synergy with that. She decided she was going to go with a city strategy, and she had hoped to draft into the cards that allowed city tiles to be placed. That did not happen, and she found herself hampered by a lack of income. She shored that up, switched streams and by the end of the game was heavily invested in Jupiter cards.

My starting corporation generated heat and allowed me to use heat as money. My first turn I played a card that gave me a plant every time an ocean tile was placed, and I managed to get my heat up fairly quickly. I focused on racking up terraforming points and I opened up a wide gap between our scores. I also managed to get three milestones before my wife met the conditions for even one.

Despite that she had a lot more end game points than I did. She closed the gap but did not pass me. I won 108 to 96.

My Rating: 8
My Thoughts: For me this was a fairly standard but really satisfying play of Terraforming Mars. Drafting worked out especially well for me because I was able to get a little bit better each round.

Her Rating: 6
Her Thoughts: This was a frustrating play. I had a strategy but even if drafting the cards did not let me pursue that. I switched strategies at the right time, but it was not enough. I really felt like I was losing the whole game.

Results

Star Wars Destiny wins 16 to 14

I did not see this coming. I really thought when we started this, Terraforming Mars was a sure bet for the finals, but here we are. Star Wars Destiny is going to take on Memoir 44 for the title to see what our most consistently fun game is.
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Sat Jun 23, 2018 4:48 pm
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Game Cup, Round 4: Memoir 44 vs. P.I.

sean johnson
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We picked thirty two of our games and we will play them against each other. Each round when we play them the only evaluative process we will use is "how much fun did I have?" We will rate each game on a 1 (total bore and border line waste of time) to 10 (top tier in memorable and best plays) scale. The game with the highest rating of fun for that particular play will move on. The goal is to find the game that is the most fun consistently. We are now down to the final four.

Memoir '44
Quick Description
Memoir 44 is the WWII version and perhaps the most popular version of the command and colors series. Players use cards from their hands to order units in one of three sections. Units can move and potentially battle. Battling is done by rolling dice and attempting to match the symbol that corresponds with the targeted unit. When a unit is completely eliminated it counts as a point. The game is scenario based and each scenario is created by placing terrain tiles on the board. Compared to other command and color games, terrain tends to play a much bigger part in Memoir 44.

The Game We Played

We played the Payagyi Burma scenario from the Through Desert and Jungle expansion. I played the Japanese side and my wife played the British. The historical description described this as a chaotic fight, and that is what we experienced.

The middle of the map had a bridge that either side could hold for a point. My wife got it early, but I managed to dislodged her. On the British right flank she crossed the stream and pushed the attack but was soundly rebuffed, and pushed back across the river. While I found success on that flank her counter in the middle and left flank went her way.

After an extremely successful turn I lost the bridge, was wounded, and on the defensive. My hope was that terrain would allow me to hold out long enough to get my tank units over there. It was not and my wife captured the village. She won 6 to 4.

Fun Rating
My Rating: 8
My Thoughts: This was a fun scenario where both sides got to press attacks, and the scenario did deliver a chaotic battle as promised. There was back and forth, at multiple points it felt like we both could win. I also enjoyed the off the beaten path Japanese vs. British battle.

Her Rating: 7
Her Thoughts: This game can sometimes get a little complicated for it's own good but I appreciated how straight forward this one was. There was a decent amount of extra things but it was all manageable and it was a fun scenario.

P.I.
Quick Description
This game has a noir private investigator theme. A board is set up that has crimes and suspects placed at random on location spaces. Each player will have a crime they need to solve by finding the right suspect, location and crime. Another player will know their solution.

On a player's turn they can take one of the nine available cards to find out if the card taken is what they are looking for or if the matching category is adjacent to the card they took. They can also use one of their five investigator tokens which give them information about all three categories. Eventually players will narrow down their options and make a guess. If wrong there is a penalty. The first one to solve the mystery gets seven points, then five for second, and three for third. Players do this three times and the player with the most points wins.

The Game We Played
In the first round my wife ended up with her person at her location, I thought this meant a quick game for me. Fortunately, she started snooping on the wrong side of the board and I managed to find my location right off the bat. She got stuck on her crime, and the cards available did not help. I ended up winning the first round.

Going into the second round we were both narrowing it down fairly close to one another. She was a turn ahead of me, BUT she really thought I was a turn ahead of her. She took a 50/50 guess and got it wrong. This left me an opening. I did not know my type of crime. However, in my wife's reasoning she had completely ruled out a crime as a possiblity, and it was one of the three I had to pick from. I deduced she ruled it out because she knew it was mine an I ran with that guess. It turned out to be correct, and I finished first. This effectively meant I had victory secured and she ceded the game without playing the third round.

Fun Rating
My Rating: 7
My Thoughts: This game consistently delivers the same experience and it manages to stay engaging. To be honest, I did feel especially clever after this one.

Her Rating: 6
Her Thoughts: It felt like the luck of the draw was stacked against me this time.

Results

Memoir 44 wins 15 to 13


Memoir 44 clears the last hurdle and advances to the finals. The scenario we played for this can be the first in a three game mini-campaign, so we will probably play the next scenario in that when we do the final match up.
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Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:45 am
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The Best Games of 2017 (that I have not played)

sean johnson
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I am curious just how many new releases the average gamer gets played in an average year? Every month on twitter a lot of people post their play stats from the Board Game Stats app, so I know relatively speaking I tend to play a lot of games. Despite that I feel like I am ALWAYS missing out on the newest games. So far at this point, I have played 61 games released in 2017. That is up from where I normally am at this point (for instance in 2017 and 2016 I had played 50 of the previous years releases by June).

Despite playing more games than previous years, there are still a lot of games released last year that I have not yet played. As usual this list contains popular games like Lisboa. I have made this list for several years in the summer, and I think this is the first time that I struggled to find ten games that I had not played and had genuine excitement and anticipation to play. Back at the end of 2017 when I made my favorite games list, I did mention that I thought the year as a whole was not as good as the previous couple of years for new games. Perhaps my thoughts on that are staying consistent.

Of the ten games I put on this list last year I have only played two of them, so perhaps that means it does not bode to well for these games. In either event, here are the top ten games from 2017 that I have not yet played (but want to!)

10. Betrayal at Baldur's Gate
I actually have never played Betrayal at House on the Hill either. However, I do like the D&D theme. I have heard that Betrayal at House on the Hill as the potential to be a dud scenario, but I would hope an update on the system would seek to fix that. It was on my short list at Gen Con to do an event for this game, but the times I saw it were up against other stuff I really wanted to do.

9. Anachrony

Everything I have heard about this game is overwhelmingly positive and that is the only reason it is on the list. Aesthetically this game does not appeal to me at all. Just look at the boring box cover. Seeing the game on the table also generates a complete lack of excitement. Despite that this game has universally good word of mouth, so I would like to see what the hype is all about.

8. Wasteland Express Delivery Service
In general I am not a huge fan of post-apocalyptic settings (it is just all too hopeless and nihilistic for me), but I do like engaging thematic games. While I like the pick up and deliver mechanism, my wife loves it. So a deeply thematic pick up and deliver game would be a good fit for us to try together.

7. Ethnos
Last year at game nights this game came out once maybe twice, and then disappeared. That was sad, because I really wanted the chance to play it. I like the card drafting and area control combo. I know one of the complaints against this game is the look and art, but I like it. Especially when compared to over-produced games full of miniatures today I liked the more minimal and retro presentation.

6. The Expanse Board Game

This game is based off the Expanse TV show. I have not seen that show yet. The game play description states that it is inspired by Twilight struggle. I have never played that game. However, I like things set in space. I have also played other card driven area control games and I enjoy the concept. This game seems like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup of a game that combines two great things I like, so I want to give it a play.

5. Bärenpark
I like the Tetris-shaped pieces in Cottage Garden, but I do wish there was a bit more game around it. To that end I think Barenpark is the game that would fit that bill. I have been looking for an opportunity to play this game for a while, and that chance has just never presented itself.

4. A Handful of Stars
This is on the list because again, the space theme naturally appeals to me. It is this high up on the list because of the designer. At this point it is probably safe to say that Martian Wallace is probably my wife's and I favorite designer. We have liked several of his games. Even though the game has some infamous problems, I enjoyed the system in A Few Acres of Snow and thought the game was really onto something. Martian Wallace must have agreed since this game is his third iteration of it. I hope the third time's the charm, and this is a game I want to play to find out if it is.

3. Alien Artifacts

I have been really close to buying this one in the past. The theme (again) naturally appeals to me, but so does the game play. My wife and I both like more complex card game and we especially like it when cards can be used for more than one purpose. If I can not find a way to play it first, this is one of the games on this list I am most likely to buy.

2. Charterstone
This is the only game on this list that I am guaranteed to play because it is the only game on the list we already own. We are waiting to finish Pandemic Legacy Season 2, but once we do we are going to start into this one.

1. Sagrada

This game has a lot of stuff going the right way for me. Even though it is mild, I do like the building stain glass windows for a church theme. I like the idea of dice drafting, and I like the look of this game. This is another game that I have only heard good things about, and as an added bonus I feel like I should be able to get this one played. I know a couple of people in the game group have it and enjoy it, so here is hoping Sagrada will make it to the table for me sometime in 2018.
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Sat Jun 9, 2018 5:03 am
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End of the Month Recap

sean johnson
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Somehow the stats for this month ended up sharing a lot of similarities with the stats from April. I recorded the same number of plays in the same number of games.

Most Played Game of the Month: Insider (5 plays)
Number of New to Me Games Played this Month: 7
Best New To Me Game: The Fox in the Forest

Backlog Progress
Because we played through all our games last year, we did not play many games we acquired through math trades or other means. This means we have an embarrisingly high number of games in our backlog. I want to end the year with zero unplayed games, so I am going to start tracking them here.

Number of Games Played: 6
Number of Games Added: 1
Current Backlog: 32

The only game we added this month was Fox and the Forest but we immediately played it. We are getting close to finishing our game cup series, and once we do that we will hopefully be able to make some real progress.

10x10 Challenge
At this point I officially feel like we are behind. I hope we can put a bit more effort in this so by the end of June at least half the games are half way finished.
Century: Golem Edition:
Star Wars: Imperial Assault
Terraforming Mars
Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
Sentient
The Castles of Burgundy
The Great Heartland Hauling Co.
504
Berserk: War of the Realms
Islebound
Memoir '44

Star Wars Destiny 1X100 Status
1 play this month 35/100
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Sat Jun 2, 2018 5:45 am
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Game Cup, Round 3: Ex Libris vs. P.I.

sean johnson
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We picked thirty two of our games and we will play them against each other. Each round when we play them the only evaluative process we will use is "how much fun did I have?" We will rate each game on a 1 (total bore and border line waste of time) to 10 (top tier in memorable and best plays) scale. The game with the highest rating of fun for that particular play will move on. The goal is to find the game that is the most fun consistently.

Ex Libris started off strong and beat Berserk: War of the Realm with a score of 15, but then it stumbled and barely beat Cottage Garden with a score of 12. P.I. was more consistent as it scored a 15 and 14 while it pulled an upset on the higher ranked Tiny Epic Quest and Glory to Rome.

Ex Libris
Quick Description
In this game players are trying to build the best library they can for a group of gnomes. This is a worker placement game, and each round the number of available potential locations increases. Players have two regular workers and then one who grants a special power.

The way players are building their library is by acquiring cards that have books on them in various categories and then shelving those books, in alphabetical order. Players will score points for having a variety of book types, getting the most of their secret collection, avoiding banned books, and having stable shelves. The player with the most points wins.

The Game We Played
I do not remember the names of the special libraries we both used. My wife had the fire meeple, which gave her the ability to burn the book cards at an action space. If she burned one she could do a home action, and if she burned all of them she could do two home actions. I had the ghost which allowed me to place on a place an opposing assistant was already at and if I did I drew a card. We did feel that these two special abilities were a good match against each other. My wife had no problem shelving cards, but being able to place where she already went gave me a lot of options.

She ended up shelving more total cards, but when we scored I actually did better at the variety bonus and we tied at the prominent works. She had one more banned book than I did, and even though she had four more cards out she only scored three more points from the stability bonus. However, she managed to get more of her focused book than I did.

As we did the end game calculations it was hard to tell who going to win. My wife edged me out and won 86 to 84.

Fun Rating
My Rating: 7
My Thoughts: After running into the balance problem of the Book Worm last play through, this one went a lot better. The way the action spaces came out was less than optimal for both of us so it presented a good challenge.

Her Rating: 7
Her Thoughts: This was a good solid play through. It was a close game and a fun time.

P.I.
Quick Description
This game has a noir private investigator theme. A board is set up that has crimes and suspects placed at random on location spaces. Each player will have a crime they need to solve by finding the right suspect, location and crime. Another player will know their solution.

On a player's turn they can take one of the nine available cards to find out if the card taken is what they are looking for or if the matching category is adjacent to the card they took. They can also use one of their five investigator tokens which give them information about all three categories. Eventually players will narrow down their options and make a guess. If wrong there is a penalty. The first one to solve the mystery gets seven points, then five for second, and three for third. Players do this three times and the player with the most points wins.

The Game We Played
In the first round my wife went first, but I managed to get one step ahead of her and I solved my case first. In the second round when I went first, it was almost the reverse. I was not 100% sure if she had it figured out though so I used one of my investigator tokens hoping it would help me solve the mystery it did, but my wife was one step ahead of me this time.

This meant we went into the last round tied. I had every thing figured out except the location, but I had it narrowed down to three possibilities. Unfortunately, there were no location cards to draw from and I was out of investigator tokens. It then become obvious after my wife took a card she now had all the information she needed to solve. Since the cards I needed were not available, I knew this was my last chance to beat her so I took a guess. I only had a 33% to get it right, and I managed to guess the right one. This gave me the win.

Fun Rating
My Rating: 7
My Thoughts: This game is consistently fun, but I am beginning to fear we are close to reaching the wear point for the two player game.

Her Rating: 8
Her Thoughts: This was a good play even though I loss, but I just loss. This game is always so satisfying to play because I love to solve the puzzle.

Results

P.I. wins 15 to 14

P.I. pulls off another big upset, and it is proving to be a consistently fun game. Going into the final four it will have to play off against Memoir 44, which is the highest rated game in the tournament. We will see if P.I. has what it takes to force the command and colors game to retreat.
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Sat Jun 2, 2018 12:00 am
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Game Cup, Round 3: Terraforming Mars vs. Castles of Burgundy

sean johnson
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We picked thirty two of our games and we will play them against each other. Each round when we play them the only evaluative process we will use is "how much fun did I have?" We will rate each game on a 1 (total bore and border line waste of time) to 10 (top tier in memorable and best plays) scale. The game with the highest rating of fun for that particular play will move on. The goal is to find the game that is the most fun consistently.

In the first round Terraforming Mars rolled over Colony with a score of 14 and it picked up steam to defeat Tiny Epic Galaxies with a score of 15. Castles of Burgundy mirrored Terraforming Mars also scoring a 14 and 15 as it defeated Lewis and Clark and then Sentient.

Terraforming Mars
Quick Description
In Terraforming Mars players seek to get the most points making the red planet habitable. This is done by playing cards each turn to a tableau that generate resources and/or points in some way. This is a longer game that usually hits around the two hour plus mark. Despite that, my wife currently considers this her favorite game.

The Game We Played
We played on the Elysium map. I played a corporation that started with a lot of Titanium and titanium was worth one more for me when I used it to build applicable cards. my wife had the corporation that allowed her to activate a blue card a second time in the round. We played using the draft rules.

I started off with cards that gave me more titanium production, I also horded a lot of high value space cards that I would be able to buy with the titanium. Early on I also got a card out that made it so titanium was even more valuable for me. This allowed me to get several big cost cards in play. I also rarely passed up a plant card so by late game my plant production was high.

My wife also played to her strengths. She utilized her special corporate ability and microbe cards to raise the global parameters. Mid game I was able to slow her down with the ants card.

When it came to raising our terraforming rating my wife got out ahead, but I was a bit like a snowball rolling down the hill and I caught up. When the game ended it was probably the least we had ever developed Mars. I think between the two of us we only had five cities in play. My wife had unlocked more milestones than I did, but I had several cards with points on them in play, and that was the big difference. I won 109 to 101.

Fun Rating
My Rating: 9
My Thoughts: There are plays where I scored higher, but I had a lot of fun this time. Using the draft rules allowed me to hone to the strategy I wanted to play for, and having big titanium production allowed me to get out a lot of cards that normally would have been passed up as too expensive.

Her Rating: 7
Her Thoughts: I was a little frustrated in this because I had assumed with drafting the cards I would more or less get to do exactly what I wanted. Even though I had more control, I still had to make due with what was dealt to a degree. This was another solid play of this game.

The Castles of Burgundy
Quick Description
Each player is seeking to fill their player's board with very settlement tiles. The game is played over five rounds and in each round the players take five turns. At the start of each of these turns players they will roll two dice and these dice dictate the options for their turn. There are four possible actions. The first is take a tile from the central board, but the players can only take a tile from the section that corresponds with the die used. The second is place a previously taken tile onto their player board, but the placed tile has to be adjacent to another tile, be the appropriate type and go in a place that corresponds the number used. The third option is ship a good token for a silver and points, but again the good must match the number on the die that is used. The final option is to essentially discard the die for two worker tokens that can be used to manipulate a future die by +1/-1.

The Game We Played
By happenstance we both ended up choosing to play the "1" starting board. My wife was the start player and she took advantage of that to grab the single castle and mine tile available for the round. From there things continued to break her way. She managed to complete a couple of areas in the second round and pulled ahead on points.

I managed to claw back and at one point got her point lead fairly narrow, but never quite caught her. On the last round of the game she managed to complete the big field and that was the final nail in the coffin she won 157 to 125.

Fun Rating
My Rating: 6
My Thoughts: Oh my goodness was this play frustrating. I could never roll what I needed. I think in the third round of the game I had possibilities to place tiles on every number but a 3. I rolled at least one 3 every single one of the five die rolls, and I rolled two threes twice!

Her Rating: 8
Her Thoughts: Sometimes I really struggle with knowing what to do in this game, but that did not happen this play. This time it kind of all came together. I hope I am starting to really get a feel for this game and this time was not a fluke.

Results

Terraforming Mars wins 16 to 14

If Terraforming Mars keeps the pattern going that means in it's final four match it will score a 17. Since Castles of Burgundy is a 10x10 game for us that it means it will be coming back to the table so we will see if my wife has really found her grove with the game.
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Fri Jun 1, 2018 3:42 am
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Neuroshima: Convoy (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
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We traded for this game as part of the 2017 Gen Con math trade. In that particular math trade we made twelve trades, and we are still working our way through that backlog. We initially traded for this game because we knew it was a two player card game by the designer of 51st State. Those were enough positives that they were willing to give the game a chance. Now that we have played it does this game deliver or is it waylayed along the way?

Game Overview
In this game one side plays a robotic convoy intent on destroying New York. The other side plays the defenders trying to prevent this from happen. Each side has their own unique deck of cards and the board is made up of five different city tiles. Each tile has a number of battlefields that will be competed over as well as a number of units per side that can be played to that city card.

Each round of the game begins with both players drawing cards. Then the robot player can play robots to the current city. After playing any number of cards the defender play does the same. Several of these cards have abilities such as modifiers that activate when played. Finally, the robot player can play and activate modules. At this point both players compare their strength and the highest strength wins. If the robot player wins then the next battlefield to the right is destroyed, and an opposing soldier might be killed. If the defenders win then cards will be discarded from the top of the robot deck.

The current battlefield is destroyed and the convoy marker moves to the next battlefield. If the robot player manages to destroy all of the battlefields in New York, then the robot player wins. If the robot player runs out of cards before this happens the defenders win.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: The rules work, but the whole things feels procedural. While everything mechanically worked together it did not generate much excitement or interest for me.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I found these rules to be inherently frustrating. As the defenders I did not like that I could not respond to the modules. I did not like on the robot side how the defender side is constantly tripping me up.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This might be the best aspect of this game. I have little connection to the Neuroshima theme, but the game did deliver the feel of a desperate group of survivors trying to hold back a monstrous convoy set on their complete destruction.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I did not care much for this theme. I also did not think it was implemented well because I had to be told the theme, I could not feel it from the game play.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: The locations are the same and the deck of cards are the same. Yes, the cards come out in different orders but there is not a ton of variety and nearly every card will be seen every game. This game has a couple of plays per side then it feels spent.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This is good for a play of maybe both sides but not much more. This is a one and done type of game for me.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: I thought the basic turn structure was interesting, but even for a short game it starts to feel repetitive.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I felt like this game moved way too slow.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This is an OK game at best that has some problems. Worst of all is this game is not engaging, not exciting, and completely forgettable.

Her Rating:
Her Comments:No, this game is not fun at all. It is boredom packaged in a small box.

Final Score

40/100


Everyone likes different games, so I am sure this one has its fans, and others will say it is "Ok for what it is." For others, that may be true. However, that was not our experience. More than anything we found this game to be boring to play.
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Wed May 30, 2018 3:47 am
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Game Cup, Round 3: Memoir 44 vs. City of Spies

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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We picked thirty two of our games and we will play them against each other. Each round when we play them the only evaluative process we will use is "how much fun did I have?" We will rate each game on a 1 (total bore and border line waste of time) to 10 (top tier in memorable and best plays) scale. The game with the highest rating of fun for that particular play will move on. The goal is to find the game that is the most fun consistently.

In the first round Memoir 44 beat the Penny Arcade deck building game and then in the second round it won over Key to the City: London. So far Memoir 44's high score is 17. City of Spies has had two surprising upsets over both 504 and Islebound. City of Spies has scored 13 out of 20 at it's high water mark.

Memoir '44
Quick Description
Memoir 44 is the WWII version and perhaps the most popular version of the command and colors series. Players use cards from their hands to order units in one of three sections. Units can move and potentially battle. Battling is done by rolling dice and attempting to match the symbol that corresponds with the targeted unit. When a unit is completely eliminated it counts as a point. The game is scenario based and each scenario is created by placing terrain tiles on the board. Compared to other command and color games, terrain tends to play a much bigger part in Memoir 44.

The Game We Played
We played the Sbietla Tunisia scenario from the recent Through Desert and Jungle expansion. This scenario was on a pre-printed map and utilizes the special Desert Combat Cards deck. My wife played the axis and I took the side of the Americans. Her objective was to use the roads to reach the exits. There were also two hexes in the middle that served as temporary victory points for which ever side passed through them first.

Both sides had several tank units, and my wife stated that she was going to be aggressive. She moved her tanks up and attacked my fortified positions. Her attack did not go well. My return fire did a lot more damage.

My wife continued to press the attack, but I had an ambush card and then on the next turn I used an out of ammo desert card to force back her attacking unit.

At this point my wife's attack stalled and I pressed the attack, moving tanks all the way back to my wife's baseline on my left flank. The game was to six points and I won 6 to 4.

Fun Rating
My Rating: 8
My Thoughts: This was a fun scenario. I felt like this scenario really brought out the desert combat as the tanks were able to make big moves and they truly did dominate the battlefield.

Her Rating: 7
Her Thoughts: This was a simple and quick scenario. I liked the combat cards, but the dice rolls went really badly for me the whole game.

City of Spies: Estoril 1942
Quick Description
In City of Spies, players are going around the city of Estoril trying to recruit the best stable of spies for their cause. The game is played over four rounds and each round players will place spies they already have to one of six locations, in an attempt to have the most power and recruit the spy. In between rounds players take their new recruits and pair back down to six spies.

The Game We Played
The end goals we were playing with were most British agents, most Polish agents, most assassins, and least amount of discarded agents. Going into the final round we were tied for least amount of discarded agents. My wife maneuvered well and I ended up getting one more agent than she did.

This meant she was going to get the least number of discarded agents goal. I counted her agents played in the last round. I noticed she only had one British agent, so I knew if I kept two I had that one. I also noticed she had zero Assassins, so I had that one. This left us building our final team competing for the most Polish agents. I had three agents to choose from, but I knew that my wife had four. I thought she would have me beat there so I decided to keep more agents for points. However, my wife did the same thing and she only kept two of her Polish agents and I kept one.

Her final team was worth more than mine so she won 42 to 38.

Fun Rating

My Rating: 7
My Thoughts: This was a really tense game. The least discarded operatives was an interesting goal. The final team choice was tough, and I chose poorly.

Her Rating: 7
Her Thoughts: Parts of this game annoy me, but the final decision about the final team is so good. I especially liked this play because I felt like I did it right.

Results

Memoir 44 wins 15 to 14

City of Spies has it's best showing and it just lost to Memoir 44. Going into final four I am not sure what scenario we will play in Memoir 44, because that decision can go along way in how well it does. Chance are we will play one of the Jungle scenarios from the new expansion.
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Tue May 29, 2018 3:31 am
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The Fox in the Forest (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
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Since 2009 my wife and I have had a tradition of buying a random game at the beginning of summer and spend a day playing it. The goal is to get a game that look like we might like but it has to be one we have never played and no almost nothing about. Over the years this has gotten harder and harder. For most of the years, either we picked out the game together or I picked it out. Last year my wife picked it out. This year, I took my son to the game store and let him pick it out. Almost immediately, this is the game he grabbed off the shelves. I knew absolutely nothing about it, but the back of the box showed it was a two player only game, so this seemed like a good candidate for our random summer game. Last year’s pick, Renaissance Man, turned out to be our most disliked random summer game. Would this year rebound or not?

Game Overview
This is a two player card trick taking game played over a series of hands. The deck consist of 33 cards in three different suits.

At the beginning of each hand both players are dealt thirteen cards. This leaves seven cards and the top one is turned over to reveal the trump suit. The non-dealer player plays the first card, and the other player must follow suit. If they can not then they may play a trump card if they have one. The highest numbered card wins, and trump beats non-trump.

The odd numbered cards all have a special ability that activate when played. These can do things like change the trump, give points, or get the lead even if the trick was not won.

At the end of the hand players see how many tricks they won. The goal is to get more tricks than the opponent, but not too many more. The player who gets 7-9 tricks will get six points. However, if a layer gets 10-13 then they get zero and the player with only 0-3 tricks gets sxi points.

The cards are shuffled, the start player changes, new cards are dealt, and a new hand begins. The game continues until a player reaches or exceeds 21 points and the player with the most points wins.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: The mechanisms and rules are genius. Using basic trick taking rules, the game is immediately intuitive. The special abilities really add a lot to the game, and the scoring is the true innovation. Trying to get the majority but not too many changes how players play the game, and adds a lot of tension to the game especially towards the end of a hand.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The rules to this game are straight forward and solid. I am very impressed how they made such a weighty game out of something so simple.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: The theme is a bit forced, but it is also unimportant. This does an admirable drop of taking the feel of a classic card game like euchre, which typically needs more players, and delivers it as a two player game well.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This really does feel like a gamer version of something like Hearts or Euchre (for two players)

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: Again, this has a real classic card game feel. The base game is very repeatable and it does not wear out its welcome at all.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I think this is highly replayable. This feels like one of those games I could just play again and again.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: It seems games tend to last four to five hands. This is about right. Everytime when it felt like this game should be wrapping up, it was.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game seems to last right at the perfect length.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: I was pleasantly surprised by this game. I was also surprised that the more I played it the better it got I feel like there is some real nuance and depth of strategy here that I am just beginning to get to.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I was pleasantly surprised by this game. After the first hand I did not think there was much to it, but with each game we played I found myself liking this one more and more. It is a lot of fun.

Final Score

80/100

We both appreciate the size of and footprint of this game. We both think this will be a perfect game to take when we travel and it is a great option when we can steal an hour or so away from kids and end up hanging out at Starbucks playing games.
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Tue May 29, 2018 1:07 am
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Jarl (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
Indiana
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Back in February we attended IndyCon. At this local con they do a big game giveaway. Each attendee gets so many tickets and they put them into the envelopes of the games they hope to win. When I put my tickets in I noticed this game did not have any, so I put one in because I figured my odds were good. It turns out they were as we won the game. It took a couple of months, but we finally got Jarl to the table. So does this game rule or not?

Game Overview
This game is actually based off the same system as The Duke, but it adds different pieces and abilities. The game is played on a grid board that will visually remind players of a chess board.

Each player starts off with the same three pieces one of which is the Jarl. Each piece illustrates how the piece can move or jump. It also illustrates what special abilities the piece has. For instance, one of the special abilities that is in this and not the Duke is block. If a piece has block then whatever space is shown in the square is blocked, and any pieces in that space are protected from capture.

On a player's turn they decide to move a piece or to place a new piece next to their Jarl. If they move a piece they will flip the piece after the move. The other side of the piece will show a different set of movement and abilities. If a move ends on an opposing piece, then the opposing piece is captured.

If a player places a new piece they will draw a random one from their bag and place it adjacent to their Jarl.

The game continues until one player wins by capturing their opponent's Jarl.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: This game is based off of the solid Duke system. I do like the abilities this adds. However, they do give more depth at the cost of simplicity.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game is fairly straight forward, but it has a lot of variety crammed into it. Before knowing the rules it seemed like the tiles would be confusing but I found understanding them to be very intuitive.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: I think the meta-theme of this game is a good fit. The idea being presented is that this is an abstract game that vikings would play. This game does have an ancient abstract feel mixed with modern design sensibilities.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I am just not a fan of abstract games, and this very much feels like an abstract game.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: This is the strongest aspect of this game. Not every piece will come out every game, and the usefulness of each piece will be contextual from game to game. This means that every play will be very different.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: All of the tiles do provide a decent amount of replayability.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This game can feel a little slow and it goes on longer than it feel it should.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: There is too much maneuvering for a lot of nothing and the game just drags out way to long.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: I am generally not a huge fan of abstract games,but I do like what this game does. Even though the tile draw is random it feels like there is a level of customization as each player's force becomes different from one another.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I am sure for people who like this sort of thing it is fun. But, No thank you please. It is not for me.

Final Score

62/100

This is where I should include the caveat that our thoughts/ratings are clearly contextualized to us. Neither of us are a big into abstract games so this game will obviously do worse than something we are into (like tableau building games). Going into it I knew this game was based of the Duke, and I did like that one. I like the idea of having a well rounded collection and we are weak on abstract games. However, I think for us Quoridor will continue to be the game that best feels that abstract game niche for us.
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Mon May 28, 2018 2:04 pm
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